Bento 3 is an excellent product, but if you have any custom fields that you specified in AB, they aren't recognized in Bento 3. Most of the Related Name fields that are standard in AB don't sync over to Bento, and if you create custom fields in Bento, those aren't sync'd back over to AB - so they will never get into sync services, and Mobile Me won't send them to your iPhone. I've tried this at length. It's a huge gap in Bento functionality. And they seem to make no apologies for it, and when I talked to them, they made no indication they are even considering adding this functionality. Also, when you share Bento, you don't get a single - all inclusive view. In Bento Address Book, when you are on the same network as another Bento user, you can see their Address Book separately from your own. When you leave the network, you only see your own. Pretty big issue, if you want to have all of them on your iPhone.

There is a Bento iPhone app, but it's a little clumsy. Takes a long time to open, unlike contacts, which is almost instant, and it lists every single data field, whether there is data in it or not. I couldn't figure out how to sync it through MobileMe. Sync with Bento on the mac seems to be sort of manual, have to start Bento/iPhone and tell it to sync. Not the level of functionality we want.

If any of you have tried Bento, and you have found that I am wrong about it in any way, I would really love to know, so I can try it again.

We left NUDC a couple of years ago, when iPhone came out, and there was no way to get NUDC data to sync through MobileMe.

For calendar we switched to iCal with BusySync to provide the sharing. It really works flawlessly. When BusyCal came out a couple of us switched to that. BusyCal works fine with other users on iCal/BusySync.

For Contacts, we went to Apple's Address Book and a product out of the UK called Address Book Server (ABS) for sharing. It works exceptionally well, and the support has been superb. Since we started with ABS, they have added an iCal sharing capability too. We were happy with BusyCal/BusySync, so we never tried the ABS iCal sharing functions. Also, BusyCal has a few features that iCal does not.

Some of the things we really miss is the "Tag" or "Keyword" capability in NUDC and Now X, and the ability to link events, to-do's, files and emails to contacts. These features just aren't in AB/iCal.

I've tried Daylite, SoHo, Contactizer, but they seemed to be more oriented to pipeline management than just managing and linking together contacts, events, todo's, files etc. Since Now has closed, I might look again at Contactizer, but again there is so much more than we need, and some of our users will become confused by the extra stuff.


I'll conclude by saying I am open to other products I don't know about, so if you know of one I haven't tried, please let me know. And, if I have misunderstood any of the other products, and there is a way to use them more like NUDC that I've missed, I'd like to know that as well.

pjl