Friday, February 06, 2004


For years I've used a few apps that I created that let you send searches directly to Amazon, iMDB, the Python Cookbook, etc. The last app of this type I wrote is the searchexplorer sample included with PythonCard, which was a port of a Visual Basic (VB) app which I'm pretty sure was based on an even earlier HyperCard app, but I can't find the HyperCard version. The reason for such a utility is twofold: one it lets you easily find a cached search, so you can get to a page even if you are working offline, but the most important reason for me was that it saved going to the sites, finding the search box, specifying the type of search, etc.

Anyway, as of today I no longer need to use my earlier hacks. I found iSeek, which sits in the Mac OS X menubar, exactly where this type of utility belongs. iSeek comes pre-configured with setups for Amazon, iMDB, and most of the other sites I typically search; of course, it supports Google too, but that isn't as important since there is a Google search built-into Safari.

You can try out iSeek for free and/or watch a movie of iSeek in action. A license costs $15. Of course there is still the need for this kind of utility in the Windows task bar for the rest of the world that doesn't use Mac OS X, but I'll leave that as an exercise for the reader.

Now I just wish GameFAQs and a few other sites would support GET style search requests instead of requiring a form POST.

2:47:27 PM    comment []


Last September I bought a 15-inch PowerBook and started working with both Windows 2000 and Mac OS X day-to-day. On Windows, I still use Outlook 2000, mostly due to sloth, but slowly and surely I'm moving most of my daily computer activities to the Mac. The most difficult transition besides all the PC programs that of course don't run on the Mac - more on that later - are email and contacts. Somehow I needed a simple and reliable way to move half a gigabyte of mail, notes, contacts, etc. So, I looked at what Outlook could export and the Mac apps could import. I did some searches to find out what Apple and Mac enthusiasts recommended. I thought this would be a top question of the Apple Switch program, but apparently somebody forgot to cover that part about switching contacts and email. Note to Apple, most people at home don't use Exchange server.

After chasing down various Google threads I finally took a chance on a program called Outlook2Mac made by Little Machines. Here's a partial feature list:

  • Exports Your PC's Microsoft Outlook Email, Email Attachments, Contacts, and Calendar Appointments to Portable Macintosh-Compatible Files You Can Import Into Apple Mail, Address Book, iCal, Microsoft Entourage, and Other Third-Party Programs
  • Compatible with Microsoft Outlook 97, 98, 2000, and 2002
  • Creates Industry-Standard mbox, vcf (vCard), and ics (iCal) FormatsEasy-to-Use Wizard Lets You Choose Folders to Export, Export Options and Filters, and More
  • Attachments Can Be Saved into Emails, Separately as Detached Files, or Stripped Out Entirely
  • Preserves Disk Space Attachments Can Be Filtered Out by File Type and/or Size
  • Performs Incremental Exports Specify a Date Range of Emails or Calendar Items to Export
  • Details of Each Export Are Clearly Captured to Log File
  • Compatible with Stand-Alone PCs or PCs Using Microsoft Exchange Server

You can download a trial version and export a few emails and contacts to see how it works, but the program only costs $10 so I went ahead and bought it. It did a fantastic job, so all I had to do was move the exported vCard and mbox files over to the Mac, which I did in one big zip file, and then I was able to import the data into the Address Book and Mail apps. Outlook2Mac worked like a champ and now even more of my daily life is spent on the PowerBook.

In short, Apple should just license Outlook2Mac and make it available as a free download to PC users as part of their Switch campaign.

10:49:08 AM    comment []