Yet Another Mac OS X Location Changer

I was going about my business, as you do, having used the LocationChanger script and launchd agent to automatically switch my Mac between my home and non-home network locations. Of course, I decided I could do it a little better, and got to work.

Here is the result: AutoLocation.

I learned a few new things while cooking this up, including how to actually deal with arrays in bash, a nifty thing called process substitution (which resulted in my favorite line in the whole script), and a great way to return arbitrary values into variables from functions.

I really like it when I learn new things on the way to solving a problem for myself. It’s the best way to learn something.

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Yet Another Mac OS X Location Changer

.Mac syncing for iPhone

A few weeks ago, when Apple announced all the new features coming to the iPhone, and specifically mentioned ActiveSync, I was reminded of a thought I had a couple months back:

There really is no good reason why the iPhone should not be able to synchronize its data to a .Mac account instead of being restricted solely to syncing via iTunes on a computer. This would actually make the iPhone even stronger for people who need reliable access to the latest version of their data without having to remember to plug the phone in all the time.

And then, this evening, as I’m going through the various RSS feeds I didn’t look at all day in NetNewsWire, If find this post on TUAW mentioning .Mac syncing on iPhones. Okay, that means the feature is most likely going to come some time this year.

Amusingly, even though I have my personal Mac at home (a 1.5GHz G4 PowerBook 15″) and a Mac at work (2GHz Core2 Mini), I still haven’t gotten myself a .Mac account. As much as I would like to synchronize my data between the two machines, I can’t seem to justify $100 a year just to be able to keep my Safari bookmarks and Address Book contacts synchronized. I already keep all my calendar information on Google Calendar, which my wife and I both use, and sync it to my Mac with Spanning Sync. (Spanning Sync will eventually have Contact syncing between Address Book and Google Calendar/Gmail too, now that Google has finally announced a Contacts API.)

The iPhone being able to sync to .Mac, however, changes the game. .Mac syncing means that, for $100 a year, I can basically never have to remember to plug the iPhone into my computer just to make sure my calendar, contacts, bookmarks and notes (well, hopefully notes) are all current. I don’t have to worry that when I add a contact in my iPhone, I need to plug in to sync it back to my Mac. For someone like me, who simply prefers for the technology to Just Work and do so on a consistent and transparent basis, .Mac syncing would sell itself.

Heck, it’s hard enough for me to remember to sync my music to my current iPod, because it means I have to dig out my cable. It’ll be interesting to see what really does come of this rumor.

.Mac syncing for iPhone