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Aug 10

How to export contacts from a Nokia device to Gmail

I got my wife an iPhone this week. She used my old Nokia N95-8GB when we both decided we were fortunate enough that we could afford to get her an iPhone. The (virtual) keyboard and overall capabilities of the device just overwhelm compared to the Nokia.

Still, her contacts were on the Nokia and needed to be moved to the iPhone. Since her new iPhone uses micro-SIM cards, the Nokia's full size SIM could not (easily) be removed and moved to the iPhone. Software was our hope.

Google provides synchronization with mobile devices using the Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync protocol. To achieve that, the Nokia is expected to have Nokia's Mail for Exchange application installed. The Nokia had version of Mail for Exchange (MfE) and sadly failed to sync no matter how many times I tried. Ironically, Nokia has a Sync application that works with their Ovi Contacts website. Sadly, Ovi Contacts does not appear to have an export capability for the contacts it holds. 

So how do you do it?

My N95-8GB came with a software application on the CD called Nokia Nseries PC Suite. I believe it is similar to the Nokia PC Suite distributed today. I installed the application on my PC (no Mac version, sadly) and connected my phone. I started the application, which detected my device. I then clicked the tools button, and finally 'Nokia PC Sync'. PC Sync will then ask you if you wanted to synchronize your phone's calendar and contacts with Outlook, Outlook Express (which relies on Windows' Address Book installed on any Windows XP and newer machine) or variations of Lotus Notes. I chose Outlook Express as I do not have Outlook installed. The application then proceeded to ask me which address book to export to and then once confirmed, the application synced. 

Once synced, I disconnected the phone from the computer and opened Address Book. The application immediately showed the new contacts imported from the phone. Under the File menu, Address Book has the ability to Export. Select 'Other Address Book' and then select 'Text File (Comma Separated Values)'. Pick a location on your computer and Address Book will create a .csv file there.
Update (8/19/2010): Apparently Windows Address Book on Windows XP, at least, does not export mobile numbers in its export function. To achieve this feat you need to install Windows Live Mail. Windows Live Mail required me to uninstall a previous version of the Windows Live Essentials suite I had already but after doing that, it installed fine. Windows Live Mail comes with what apparently became Windows 7's address book – Windows Live Contacts. Windows Live Contacts, in turn, reads Windows Address Book's files but is able to let you export the correct fields – most importantly, mobile phone number.

To do that, open Windows Live Mail and select 'Contacts' from the application bar on the bottom left hand side. The contacts window will open. Now, press ALT+M or click the menus button. Select 'Export' and 'Comma Separated Values (.CSV)' from the sub-menu. A window will pop up asking you for a file name and location for the exported contacts file. Select one and click 'Next >'. You will now have the option to select what fields or contact attributes you would like to export. Scroll down the list and make sure that the 'Mobile Phone' field is checked. Click 'Finish' and the application will create the CSV file you need in order to import your contacts to Gmail.

Finally, go to Gmail and log into your account. Click 'Contacts' from the menu on the left. Your contact list will appear. On the contact list menu, click 'More Actions' and then 'Import…'. A popup will ask you to select a .csv file. Select the one you created with the Address Book application and click the 'Import' button. Google will read the file and voila – your contacts will be part of your Gmail account. This account can in turn run synchronized with your iPhone. 

Sep 09

Photo apps I love on the iPhone

If there was a one compelling feature to my Nokia N95-8GB it was its excellent camera. Photos in 5 megapixel resolution were crisp and nice, and the premise of video was always reassuring to have. Until videos started to stutter and general slow response time made it difficult to snap photos of my kids. The iPhone was not an option until the 3Gs model came out with a just-good-enough 3.2MP camera with video capability. The 2 year plus age difference between phones helped with CPU speed too – video on the iPhone is a reality. And like the N95, the iPhone geotags photos you take. That, intersecting with Nokia developing updates to newer versions of its Symbian OS and abandoning the N95 made my transition away to the iPhone simple. (N95 for sale, btw)

Yes, the iPhone camera is far from perfect. While the touchscreen is a phenomenal interface for setting the focal point for a photo, I would love having a photo timer or a way to reliably take self-photos without fumbling for the touchscreen photo button. Yet the iPhone’s photo apps make it so much better.

For about $10 (if you buy them on sale periods) these apps give you phenomenal versatility. The following is a not comprehensive review of the apps I bought and love.

This app is a basic photo editor with the functionality you would most likely need and then some. This includes trim and rotate, contrast and saturation, basic filters, frames and title insertion. Very useful.

I love panorama photography. Getting full landscapes in a photo always gives you a much stronger impact and memory of the moment you were there. Pano is a straightforward tool that makes panoramic photos happen. You choose landscape or portrait orientation and start snapping photos from left to right. Overlap is simplified through a ghost image of the last photo you shot that is superimposed on the current view. Saved in full size as a total of its constituent shots, no skimpy resize. Love it!

This one is more of a play on photos that need extra help moving them from just bad to artistic. You can choose from 8 effect bundles to apply to your photo, including Lomo-like, 60s and 70s camera effects and others. Lots of fun mutilating iPhone camera mishaps or just any photo.

TiltShift Generator
TiltShift photos make real photos look like they were actually toy or model images. For the real thing you could plunk hundreds of dollars for a tilt shift lens. There are also Photoshop tutorials on faking it and now there’s an iPhone app. It teaches you how to use its settings, tweaking photos to get the macimum effect. Well designed use of the touchscreen and plenty fun to use.

Which ones do you recommend?