Resolving A Google Calendar Error [Tech Tip]

Some users have reported seeing the following error message display in CompanionLink when attempting to sync with Google:

“Unable to access Google Calendar. Please create a record in Google Calendar first, then try again.”

If you are seeing this message, and have already created at least one event in your Google Calendar, please do the following to resolve the issue:

For Google hosted domain users:

1. Visit the following webpage in your browser:
https://www.google.com/a/<your domain name>/UnlockCaptcha

2. Enter your Google username and password (the same as the email and password you entered in CompanionLink), then solve the captcha and unlock.

3. Reattempt a sync.

For non-hosted domain users:

1. Visit the following webpage in your browser:
https://www.google.com/accounts/DisplayUnlockCaptcha

2. Enter your Google email address and password (the same as the email and password you entered in CompanionLink), then solve the captcha and unlock.

3. Reattempt a sync.

Google Sync vs Secure Hosted Wireless Sync

When it comes to syncing your mobile phone, some of the options available can be confusing. To help you navigate through the various options, I wanted to answer a common question we get from users trying our software:

“What’s the difference between Google Sync and your Secure Hosted Wireless Sync?”

While they accomplish similar tasks, there are actually quite a few differences. Google Sync allows you to keep your Gmail, contacts, and calendars synced wirelessly and instantly between your mobile device and Google’s servers. When used with CompanionLink, it is possible to sync data from Outlook, ACT!, and more to Google. Google Sync can then sync contacts & calendars to you mobile devices. Google Sync is free to use, and it works well for users who want a simple sync.

Secure Hosted Wireless, on the other hand, allows you to sync contacts and calendars, as well as tasks and memos, directly between your mobile device and your PC. One unique advantage to Secure Hosted Wireless is that we do not actually host your data online like Google. Additionally, we protect your data with AES-256 bit encryption. This alleviates potential security issues, which can be a big concern for business users. Since Secure Hosted Wireless sync is built to work directly with CompanionLink and DejaOffice on your mobile device, we are able to provide you with more advanced control over your data, as well as end-to-end support. Secure Hosted Wireless is $9.95/month and it works well for users who need a more secure, advanced wireless sync.

If you have any questions about the differences between these two sync options, let us know in the comments!

How To Remove Duplicates With CompanionLink

We’ve talked about dealing with duplicates before on the blog, but today I wanted to share with you a video we just published on the topic. In this quick video, we’ll show you step-by-step how to remove duplicates using CompanionLink – and how to avoid them in the first place!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2ma4IMcrJc]

Keep an eye on our YouTube channel for more great videos coming soon, like Sync 101 and How DejaOffice Interacts With Native Databases!

Which Sync Method Is Best?

This post will help you understand the differences between the four sync methods that CompanionLink offers you: Direct USB Sync, Local WiFi Sync, Secure Hosted Wireless Sync, and Sync via Google. Below, I’ll explain each one to help you find the best sync method for your setup.

Direct USB Sync

This method synchronizes your data via USB cable. It’s the plain “old-fashioned” method that HotSync provided in the old days. Data is directly transferred to and from your device without the need of any cloud or hosted services. USB sync is recommended if:

  • you require a high level of security
  • you are averse to hosting your data in the cloud
  • you do not need your data synchronized continuously throughout the day

Simply dock your phone to your PC and sync.

Works with: Android, BlackBerry, and webOS devices

Pros:

  • Secure and direct transfer
  • Data is stored locally
  • HIPAA friendly

Cons:

  • Must be connected to PC
  • Not a direct sync for iOS devices*

*Syncs via Outlook/iTunes

Local WiFi Sync

This method uses your local WiFi network to securely sync information from your PC directly to DejaOffice on your device. Both your PC and device must be connected to the same WiFi internet connection. Local WiFi Sync will then detect when you are within range of your local WiFi network and sync in the background, hands-free!* WiFi Sync is your best choice if:

  • you want a quick, wireless options for syncing data
  • you are in and out of the office or house all day
  • you regularly update your data throughout the day

Set it up once, then enjoy the convenience of a wireless sync.

Works with: Android, iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch devices

Pros:

  • Wireless sync – no cords!
  • Optional automatic sync*
  • AES-256bit encryption for security

Cons:

  • Range is limited to your local WiFi connection
  • Not available on BlackBerry, webOS, or Windows Phone

*Automatic sync is currently Android-only. iOS users must initiate the sync on the PC.

Secure Hosted Sync

Secure Hosted Sync is our most robust and reliable sync option. CompanionLink will sync your data securely to your device using AES-256 bit encryption. Most importantly, we do not host your data, meaning users who are concerned about security and hosting data online now have a convenient wireless sync option, all for just $9.95 per month! Secure Hosted Sync is recommended if:

  • you need a fast, secure, hands-free sync
  • you do not want your data hosted by a third party (such as Google)
  • you want the convenience of a wireless sync with the security of a wired sync

Secure Hosted Sync works in conjunction with our free Android and iOS app, DejaOffice (or DejaLink for BlackBerry users).

Works with: Android, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and BlackBerry devices

Pros:

  • Secure wireless sync
  • Works anywhere you have internet
  • We do not host your data
  • Automatic, real-time sync*

Cons:

  • Monthly fee
  • Not available on webOS or Windows Phone

*Currently Android-only. Coming soon on iOS, as well as for Zoho and SugarCRM.

Sync via Google

Sync via Google allows you to sync contacts, calendar and tasks from your PC to any Google, Gmail, or Google Apps account. Once your PC data has been synced to a Google account, Google provides wireless sync with most smartphone and tablet platforms. Sync via Google is best if:

  • you are looking for a free wireless sync option
  • you already rely heavily on Google for other services
  • you want hosted access to your data online
  • you have basic contact & calendar databases*

For more information on how to sync your device with your Google account, visit google.com/sync.

Works with: Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, and webOS devices

Pros:

  • Free wireless sync
  • Creates an online backup of your data
  • Sync your Google account to multiple devices

Cons:

  • Data is hosted by a 3rd party
  • Google controls the sync process to your device
  • Data is limited to basic contacts & calendars

*Google imposes certain limitations on the type of data we can sync. As such, we do not recommend Sync via Google for those with more complex databases.

Hate Duplicates? We Do Too.

Image Credit: Jeff Evora

Duplicates. Perhaps the most despised sync issue that could arise. There are few things as annoying and damaging to your productivity as seeing 5 copies of your data.

At CompanionLink, we have worked hard to eliminate data duplication. With over 15 years in the business, we’ve learned a lot. But even the best sync solutions are prone to error. This is due to the fact that they must rely on a computer to make the final decision. The computer simply cannot know if the “John Smith” with just an email is the same as the “John Smith” with just a phone number.

In our own software, we’ve learned that if a user experiences data duplication, it is almost always a result of an incomplete setup. To that end, we have created a resource that quickly informs you how to achieve a proper sync setup. Head over to our Sync 101 page for the 3 easy steps that will help you avoid data duplication and save your productivity (and sanity!).

How to Sync Windows Phone 7 with Outlook


A number of years ago, Windows Mobile 6.5 was released to the public. Though it had its quirks, the Windows Mobile platform gathered a small but loyal following of business professionals and productivity enthusiasts. Perhaps the biggest reason for this following was just how easy the platform made it to sync with Microsoft Outlook.

When Microsoft released Windows Phone 7 last year, they completely revamped the interface to make it much easier to interact with. Some would even say they’ve made it pretty. At this time, many existing Windows Mobile owners assumed that Outlook sync would work the same way it had before. It didn’t. Disappointed, confused, and upset are only a few of the words that would describe the general reaction to the situation. Amazingly, Microsoft offers no method to sync Windows Phone 7 to Outlook directly via USB.

What are Windows Phone 7 owners supposed to do? Microsoft offers two official solutions: Sync via a hosted Exchange server or use the Outlook Hotmail Connector. Exchange setup is fairly straightforward – if you have an Exchange server, that is. For those who don’t, the Outlook Hotmail Connecter is the only other option from Microsoft. This option requires you to sync your Outlook data to Windows Live/Hotmail, which then wirelessly syncs to your phone. Both options limit you to syncing contacts and calendars only.

While current Windows Phone 7 API’s prevent CompanionLink from providing a direct sync option, we can sync Outlook to Windows Phone 7 devices via Google. This option offers advanced wireless sync of contacts and calendars, as well as tasks and categories. We sync your Outlook tasks to the calendar as untimed entries, and we sync Outlook contact categories as Google Groups. Once CompanionLink syncs your data to your Google account, it is automatically synced to your phone, courtesy of Google. This happens through your phone’s wireless data connection. Two-way sync is fully supported too, so you can make changes from anywhere.

To get started, simply download CompanionLink for Outlook and configure it with your Google username and password. Detailed setup instructions can be found on our support page. Next, set up your Windows Phone 7 device to sync with your Google account and you’ll be done. It’s that simple!

We’ll be keeping an eye on the Windows Phone platform. With any luck, perhaps a future update will allow developers such as ourselves to implement a more robust sync solution.

If you have any questions, please let us know in the comments.

Tech Tip: Use CompanionLink with Google’s New “2-Step Verification” Feature

Google recently rolled out a new security feature called “2-step verification.” As Google puts it, this is designed to add an extra layer of security to your account by “requiring you to have access to your phone – as well as your username and password – when you sign in. This means that if someone steals or guesses your password, the potential hijacker still can’t sign in to your account because they don’t have your phone.”

While this feature certainly makes your Google Account more secure, it can cause applications that need access to your account, such as CompanionLink, to stop working with your usual Google/Gmail password. Google planned for this, however, and built in a solution. You simply need to set up an “application-specific password.” This is a special password that only works with the specified application. If  you have taken advantage of Google’s more secure login system (or if you want to), you’ll need to be sure to create an application-specific password for CompanionLink to ensure uninterrupted syncing.

Google has posted a guide with instructions on how to create an application-specific password.

New Online Knowledge Base Makes Using CompanionLink Easier Than Ever

CompanionLink is pleased to announce the launch of our new support knowledge base (KB). Our goal to make public the sync and configuration expertise that we have in-house. We’ll be sharing setup guides, tips & tricks, productivity tweaks, and more. Over time, the KB will grow, adding additional setup guides for existing devices, as well as guides for new devices as they are released.

Currently, the KB features easy-to-use setup guides for Apple and Android devices. Learn how to sync your new Nexus S to Outlook. Or, learn how to sync ACT! data to the Verizon iPhone. Whatever your setup is, we’ll show you how to get everything up and running. Just visit www.companionlink.com/support/kb. Then, simply choose your device and sync method and you’ll be directed through detailed steps, photos, and videos showing you exactly how to configure CompanionLink and DejaOffice.

We will be expanding the KB in the future in an effort to better serve CompanionLink and DejaOffice users!

Get Microsoft Outlook Categories On Your iOS & Android Device

As many Outlook users will tell you, categories play an important role in keeping everything organized. Categorizing your contacts, calendars, notes, & tasks helps you to break them down into manageable groups of information. Color-coding this information further helps by giving you the ability to interpret data at a glance. For example, I use yellow to signify a business call.  I use red to denote a mission critical appointment.  I use blue for business meetings, and green for personal meetings. Just by glancing at the color of an appointment, I know what it’s for.

Business people rely on similar systems every day to be productive. However, another thing many Outlook users will tell you is that they have not found a great way to sync categories to the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, & Android devices.

This is a major concern for many people. The ability to categorize data efficiently becomes severely limited when it is only accessible at the computer. We are a mobile society, and we need our information available at a glance if we are to stay productive on the go. Therefore, the ability to sync Outlook categories is not just convenient for most users, it’s quite important!

That’s where DejaOffice enters the picture. DejaOffice is a free iOS and Android app that we built in response to the need for a great way to sync data from Outlook, as well as a variety of other popular Personal Information Manager programs. Using DejaOffice in conjunction with CompanionLink for Outlook allows you to sync your existing category data from Outlook to your Apple or Android device over Wi-Fi or via CompanionLink Secure Hosted Wireless. With DejaOffice and CompanionLink, you are able to take your categories with you! For more information on how to set up and sync Outlook categories, visit our support page.

Switching from BlackBerry to Android

Thinking about making the switch?  You’re not alone.

There are at least 300,000 new Android activations every day!  The Nielson Company has some lovely graphs that show Android dwarfing both iPhone and RIM (BlackBerry) in terms of growth in the past 6 months.

But many BlackBerry owners are worried to make the switch.

  • Will I get secure email?
  • Will I get the same level of productivity that my BlackBerry gives me?
  • What happens to my beloved keyboard?
  • Is Android really ready for my business data?

Here’s a free reference guide that answers these and other questions.  It does three things:

  1. Walk you through the pitfalls of migrating from BlackBerry to Android
  2. Educate you about what busiuness capablities Android devices do and don’t do well
  3. Advise which third-party apps to download to achieve the most business productivity