Outlook Syncing -- or, The Sound of the Dead Horse Being Beaten

Discussion in 'Android Applications' started by alkaholic, Apr 9, 2010.

  1. alkaholic
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    alkaholic Member

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    I apologize for starting a new thread on this, but this is ripping the life out of me and there are way too many apps out there (and way too much knowledge in here) for this answer to not be too much neater. I find it just plain silly that nearly six months into Android 2.0+ I'm STILL experiencing heartburn keeping my information synced between Outlook and my Droid! Based on previous posts of mine, let's just work under one assumption here--let's just pretend for the sake of ground rules that I just plain don't WANT to sync any other way than through USB, and my PIM/E-mail client is Outlook.

    I'm curious what other people have found, and I'm curious if anyone is actually happy. I spent the money on the Missing Sync and CompanionLink, and I'm getting ready to drop some cash on MyLink. I try the Misisng Sync every time they update it, but while it makes it through my contacts it pukes on "Groups" and gets no farther, (even though I only have one Outlook mailing list, and it only has 20 entries in it)...and tech support was no help, so that seems to have been a waste of money. I'm having success with CompanionLink, but it just bothers me for some reason I can't explain that it's information doesn't coexist perfectly with the native Droid apps (like the calendar and contacts), and I've had some problems with that. And as far as MyLink, I just want to be pretend that I have an Exchange server even though I don't, and I want (even limited) access to my home e-mail Inbox and Folders, of which I have way to many.

    This is killing me. I love my Droid. If polygamy was legal in my state I'd be taking it to Vegas before the day was out. But for the love of God, when I find myself wondering if I should have gotten a Crackberry for my information, I know things are not right with the world!

    Anybody?
     
  2. DerekH
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    DerekH New Member

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    I am looking for a simple solution to this as well. So far the best options I have seen involve installing something on the computer that syncs Outlook to Gmail (and the calendar and whatever else) but it seems to be a bit of a hassle.
     
  3. takeshi
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    takeshi Silver Member

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    Can't really help you (I'm on Exchange and everything works great) but you definitely wouldn't get subfolders with a Crackberry either. Not without BES anyway. USB Outlook sync does work well on a BB though. I am really surprised to hear that the various Outlook sync options for the Droid all seem to still have major shortcomings so far.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2010
  4. Big Lou
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    Big Lou Member

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    I simply sync my outlook to my Gmail and Google Calendar... which then syncs to my Droid instantaneously.
     
  5. jsh1120
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    jsh1120 Silver Member

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    This is such a can of worms that I hesitate to become involved with it once again. But I'll make the following suggestion in the hope it might help. (Though I fully expect folks who've been wrestling with the issues have already discovered this approach.)

    First, distinguish between server-side and client-side solutions. My firm uses Exchange (argghhh) but I was able to convince my IT department to send all my corporate email to my Comcast ISP rather than directly to my computer. This allows me to use server side features on Comcast to forward all incoming email to the Gmail server as well as leaving it on the Comcast server where my desktop/laptop could get at it with my Outlook client. Thus, I end up with all of my email, corporate and other, on my gmail account.

    I then use the gmail app and the K-9 email app on the droid to manage the email. (I use both because of the different ways the two handle "threading.")

    That handles the incoming email. At least I can read it. Now comes the "responding" part.

    I frequently respond to incoming email or initiate email through Outlook on my desktop. I've set up a rule in Outlook to send a copy of any email I send to anyone with an email address that includes my firm's name to my gmail account. This insures that even if I respond on my desktop, my Droid (via gmail) gets a copy of my email/response.

    When I respond to or initiate email on my Droid, which isn't often, I have to remember to send a copy to my work email address if I want to preserve the response throughout the system. This insures that the response traverses the path from my Droid to Exchange to Comcast to Outlook on my desktop. This is the only "manual" operation I have to engage in.

    There are other issues associated with "deleting," "marking as read," etc. on the gmail, comcast, and Microsoft Exchange servers, but those are issues that vary according to one's personal preferences. I won't explore them here.

    I certainly wouldn't claim this is an ideal solution. I suspect that Touchdown or Companion Link could substitute for some of this daisy chaining. It is, however, a "free" solution and it meets my needs for having push functionality to my Droid and maintaining a complete archive of email messages somewhere.
     
  6. waylman
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    waylman Member

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    Wow. That is a very messy solution! If email is that important to you why not use touchdown or just get a blackberry!
     
  7. johnnyvol
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    johnnyvol New Member

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    Lou,

    Care to elaborate on your method? Are you syncing contacts as well? So far the only way I've been able to sync all my Outlook with my Droid is through Google Apps, but that costs $50/ per year and since I've migrated my email over to another Host I would like to drop G Apps.

    If I could get my contacts to sync properly outside of Google Apps I'd have what I needed.
     
  8. jsh1120
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    jsh1120 Silver Member

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    Well, I don't want a blackberry. And the description is actually much messier than the actual implementation was since I've been using gmail for years to archive all my email. So the first part of the job was already in place. All I had to do was label my work email distinctly so it would jump out at me on the Droid and I was done.

    In case you haven't noticed, Outlook (even in its "improved" 2007 version) eventually fails with too many emails and you have to go through a delightful mess to create new outlook archive files. Gmail, on the other hand, literally never runs out of space. I receive several hundred emails every day, about 8000 a year, and I have over 40,000 emails on my free gmail account while only using about 40% of the allotted email space. Furthermore, I can find any email I've sent or received over the last five years on Gmail in seconds. Try that with Outlook.

    I only use Outlook because most of my work colleagues use it and I have to maintain a corporate calendar there. Otherwise, I'd never touch it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2010
  9. exqueezme
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    exqueezme New Member

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    I guess I'm the minority here or I don't understand what you mean by sync. But my outlook e-mail, contacts, calendar work great on my droid. All I did was setup my e-mail settings like any other account, I didn't have to buy anything extra to make it work. Is there some specific actions that you want done and are just not getting?
     
  10. alkaholic
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    alkaholic Member

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    I guess my whole point is I don't want any of my information on Google's servers...including some of my e-mail, contacts, and calendar information. Whether the nature of your content is such that you can't have it on other servers, or if you're just paranoid by nature, there are a bunch of us out there that want everything living on their own hardware...which unless I'm reading your answer wrong, Lou, you're not getting. Don't get me wrong, the folks at Google are probably charming individuals, and I trust them as much as anybody else...but that doesn't mean that I feel my stuff is secure there.

    As for what I mean by sync, I'm looking for the contents of my Outlook .pst (contacts, calendar entries and in a perfect case, my e-mail which is saved in the .pst) to be identical on the Droid. If I have an e-mail in my Inbox which was pulled from the server to my Outlook but NOT pulled down by the Droid, I want it to live on my Droid as well. If I delete an e-mail in my Outlook Inbox, I'd be happy if it disappeared from the e-mail client on the Droid. If I add an appointment in my Outlook calendar, I'd be happy with it appearing on the Droid's calendar app by way of a USB sync without going through Google calendar. That kind of syching may be outdated, but for my needs it's necessary, and I grew used to it using different Palm OS and Windows mobile devices in the past. Like I said, the Droid rocks, I just want to see it be able to pull that off.
     
  11. exqueezme
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    exqueezme New Member

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    Hmm...well I'm stumped, my Droid syncs perfectly, I just deleted some e-mails from the server and they were deleted from the Droid, it took a minute, but it still did. I also deleted some from the Droid and my Outlook deleted them as well. I can see all the subfolders on my droid e-mail as well. I can see all my appointments in the corporate calendar and those sync as well. All my contacts are there including the Notes section. And for better or worse these are separate from the Google apps, I have to have two e-mail apps and two calendar apps, but that's just fine by me.
     
  12. jsh1120
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    jsh1120 Silver Member

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    And you're certain that your ISP is not accessing your email when it hits their server because ??? Don't get me wrong. You're free to be as protective of your personal information as you care to be. But personally, I'm fairly content that Google has a huge investment in their reputation for maintaining security of such data. On the other hand, I know very little about the security my ISP provides. And in my case, it's a well-known national ISP. Many folks have ISP's that consist of little more than a storefront and some servers in the back room. If such ISP's are hacked, I'm not at all certain that the high school kid that maintains the server would even know it. Or he might be doing it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2010
  13. Booch_21
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    Booch_21 Member

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    Coming from Windows Mobile OS, I completely understand what you are looking for as I am in the same boat. I'll tell you what I am doing and what I've found.

    I went the CompanionLink route. The program has come a long way since its first release and I expect some good things to come in the future. Its not a complete duplication of the sync that we are used to, but it will do. I use CL and a USB sync for the contact information only. I am allowing Google to handle the calendar as there isn't much there that I would be of much value to anyone. The one thing that I have not seen a good solution for is the Outlook Inbox being duplicated to the Droid Inbox when doing the USB sync. I have my e-mail accounts set up as IMAP and get live mail messages off of the servers, but I'm missing the stuff that is already in my Outlook. I should also clarify that I do not use Exchange. It is strictly a standalone system.

    I have come to accept that this is a shortcoming of the Droid and the OS and really like the phone enough that I will accept the workaround in the form that it is. Yes, we may wish to be doing things in an old fashioned manner, but there is hope that CL will eventually come pretty close to what we need. I doubt I've helped except to offer my own experiences to you.
     
  14. alkaholic
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    alkaholic Member

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    Point well taken, but my e-mail's actually not my privacy concern, my contacts and my calendar are. I'm happy using my Gmail, but I only use that on the Web and my Droid--I have several different POP accounts that I use Outlook with, and my e-mail sync concerns surround those.

    As for the privacy of the contacts and the calendar...you're absolutely correct, and your accurate description of my POP3 provider is exactly why I don't send anything sensitive buy way of e-mail...because that's also exactly why I don't want to use the Google calendar and the Gmail contacts feature to sync.

    Sounds like you're talking Exchange server. Are you using stand-alone Outlook like me? If so you're my hero, and I want to know what you're doing!

    and Booch--preach on, brother. Unfortunately I keep way too much garbage sitting around in my Outlook e-mail, and I wish I could use the Droid as a crutch to access it from the road. But as you say, it is what it is, and CL appears to be my best right now as well.
     
  15. AquaDan88
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    AquaDan88 Member

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    I switched over to Thunderbird because of this.
     
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