July 2009: Big problem - I sync my Outlook 2003 contacts to my iPhone. Most of them come across in perfect condition. However a few of them have the person's name where their email should be. For instance, on the iPhone instead of seeing:
Work: Paul Johnson
Huh? All the other fields for contact Paul Johnson are fine. I've tried pushing all contacts to the iPhone again and that doesn't help. I've looked at the contact in Outlook "all fields" tab and I see:
Apple phone support was quick and nice, but could do nothing. No idea. Zip. Remember, most of the contacts show up in the iPhone with no problem at all. Out of 1000 I've just run across a few bad ones. Of course it shows up in the worst way. I've typed in an email on the iPhone, I've added people to the address list, I click send, and the iPhone says, "One of the email address does not appear to be valid. Send anyway?" Grrrrrr. How could I find these ahead of time? No way to do that says support. Crap.
Almost by accident I found a clue... In Outlook when the contact is displayed I can double click the email address to bring up a dialog with the email address in it. Well on these messed up ones, a double click on the email address gives:
The name or distribution list has been deleted and is
no longer a valid Address Book entry.
The item could not be found.
Now this is patently false. The item is shown, the email address is shown. I can send an email to the person using that contact in Outlook. Crap, crap, crap.
So instead I drop my cursor in the email address box on the general view in Outlook contacts. I select the entire email and copy it. I then clear the text box. I try to paste the name back in and it shows up until I move my cursor out of the email address box and Outlook clears it!
Wow. So then I paste it into the Notes part of the contact. I select that and copy it. I then paste that into the email text box and it sticks!
I save that contact and sync to my iPhone again and the contact comes across correctly. My God, what kind of screw up is that, Microsoft?
So now I've gone through each of my contacts and tediously reset any that gave the error on double-click. It looks like they all come down to my iPhone correctly. Sheesh.
Jim Schrempp is a sometimes freelance writer (only Vanity Press will publish his work) living in Saratoga, California. His writings have appeared on numerous pages on his own web site. The opinions expressed in this piece are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent those of anyone else (although Jim wishes more people shared his opinions)