Archive for March, 2011

If you’re like me, you have a few desktops, laptops, mobile phones and other personal devices, all of which are capable of storing contact information and can send emails or make calls. I get very frustrated when I am on one machine and the contact information of the person I want to email or call is not on it. So today, I decided enough is enough and I wanted to fix all that once and for all.

How many!?

First, let’s have a look at what I typically use for contact information storage.

On my laptop, I have Linux and on it, I typically use Mozilla Thunderbird or Evolution Mail.
On my wife’s laptop, she runs Windows and she mostly uses Yahoo Mail.
I also have an iPod touch, with its own address book,
I have a Sony something phone also with its own address book
and When I am not with one of those devices, I normally am on GMail.

vCard format

The vCard format is going to be the saviour in this case as most programs use it and for those that do not, I am confident converters can be used.

First in line, GMail. GMail can import and export vCard address books. Google have once again done an excellent job as it allows to merge duplicate entries – which most other programs have closed their eyes to. Because of this handy feature, GMail will hold my master repository of contacts.

Secondary repositories

With all my other contact repositories, the process will be as follows:
1. export the address book to a file, possibly in vCard format
2. convert the export file to vCard if needed (
3. import into GMail
4. repeat for all repositories
5. Merge all contacts, remove duplicate, general cleaning
6. export from GMail in vCard format
7. convert from vCard to LDIF if needed (
8. import to all repositories. Note that most will not bother checking duplicates, so a good cull first may be needed):

  • Evolution Mail: reads vCard, so no problem
  • Thunderbird: uses LDIF, so get converting
  • iPod: the ipod will read a vcf file, so all we need to do is send an email to ourselves with the export file from GMail. The iPod can also be made to use GMail’s address book directly.