iSync support for Sony Clié TH55

My Palm PDA, a Sony Clié TH55, is a bit of an antique. To get it to work with the Apple laptop I received from work last summer --I was switching to Mac for the first time--, I had to perform a few hacks, that I googled here and there. The most useful instruction page now being a broken link, here are my notes, for Mac OS X 10.5 aka Leopard.

  1. Download and install Palm Desktop for Mac 4.2.1 from http://www.palm.com/. It seems that it is now available as a .dmg package; it was a .sit archive when I downloaded it last summer, I had to install Stuffit Expander first to decompress the file. The software that you find on the Clié CDs is Windows only.

  2. Open for edit the (3) Info.plist files located under:
    • /Applications/Palm/HotSync Manager/Contents/Plug-ins/USBNotifier/Contents
    • /Applications/Palm/Transport Monitor/Contents/Plug-ins/USBNotifier/Contents
    • /Library/Application Support/Palm HotSync/Transports/USB/Contents
    You can use the Terminal for this (cd then vi). If you wish to navigate down the directories through the graphical interface, you will need to right-click --oops, ctrl-click ;-)-- "Show Package Contents" to navigate into the applications.

  3. Add the following lines:
    • <dict>
      <key>USBVendor</key>
      <string>1356</string>
      <key>USBProduct</key>
      <string>324</string>
      </dict>
    in the USBDevices section. Any text editor will do, as well as the Property List Editor application that comes with the Apple Developer Tools. If your Clié is a different model than the TH55, the USBProduct ID will be different.

  4. Reboot. Run HotSync Manager once to have a clean backup of your Palm.

  5. Follow instructions in iSync to enable Palm OS syncing and add your Palm device.

  6. If you are running an old version of Leopard (10.5.4 and below), there is a bug that prevents you from syncing the Apple Address Book if you have defined Groups there and/or in conjunction with the Calendar sync. You will see the following error message in the HotSync Manager log : iSync Conduit received NULL message. Best solution is to upgrade to the latest version of Leopard --I am myself running 10.5.6 today. If you need to stay on an older version, the simple solution is to turn off Contacts sync for your Palm in iSync. You could also delete all Address Book groups and alternatively sync your Contacts and Calendar to your Palm, but that's kinda painful over time. I tried though, it works.

With these steps, you can now sync your Palm as part of the iSync framework, i.e. you get a multi-way sync between your Palm, your cellphone, the various Mac applications, etc.

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