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Richard
Richard, Mac Software Engineer
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Following instructions from XXXXX XXXXX at http://macs.about.com/od/Clo

Resolved Question:

Following instructions from XXXXX XXXXX at http://macs.about.com/od/CloudServices/qt/Sync-Your-Macs-Address-Book-Using-Dropbox.htm
I set up the sync exactly as instructed. it worked like a charm -- for a few days. Not only the AB data, but even the Groups from Leopard showed up on Lion (and on my Leopard laptop) as anticipated. Changes made on one AB appeared within a few seconds on the others. Suddenly it quit working: No contacts at all in the Lion AB (still so) & changes don't sync.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mac
Expert:  Lindie-mod replied 1 year ago.

Hi,
I'm a moderator for this topic. I've been working hard to find a professional to assist you with your Mac, but sometimes finding the right professional can take a little longer than expected.
I wonder whether you're ok with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.

Thank you!
Lindie
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Yes, I am. As this Sunday is Pascha (Easter) for Orthodox Christians, and the "lead-up" services get closer and closer together at the end of the week, I'll be effectively out of office from midday today until midday Monday anyway, apart from quick responses to simple questions.


— Fr. Gregory+

Expert:  Lindie-mod replied 1 year ago.
Hi

Thank you for your continued patience. We will continue the search for a professional for you.

Lindie
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I'll be available until about 6:45 CDT, back briefly later this evening (around 9:00), only spottily available tomorrow & Saturday morning, then unavailable until late Sun. afternoon.


— Fr. Gregory+

Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.
Hi there, and welcome to JustAnswer, I look forward to assisting you today with your question and providing the best answer possible.

Can you open the Dropbox App on your computer and check if there are any error messages being displayed?

It is likely an issue there, or potentially your account.

You can also try to log in via Safari on www.dropbox.com and make sure there are no issues signing in.

Let me know the results please

Thank you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Blessings! No error messages either in App or on Web. I'm working primarily with 2 installations: one on MacPro Lion, the other on a G5 Leopard (there are connection problems with my laptop). I made a trivial change to the DB folder (added a small file) on Lion last night, properly reflected on Leopard. The problem seems to be specific to Address Book.


— Fr. Gregory+

Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.
thank you

If you redo the synch of the Address book, does it work again?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by that. If you mean redo the symlink, no — I already tried that (on Lion) and just got a message that the link already existed. The AB folder is present in DB on Lion with some 40Mb of data, but when AB is opened it is empty. I have to go to church in about 15 min. & will be offline till late morning (CDT).

Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.
Yes thats what I mean.

Are you able to remove the link then re-add it?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I presume so but I don't know how to remove it (no instructions given for that!). I'd probably figure it out eventually but don't have time to do the research before leaving for church.

Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.
you open the Dopbox app and go to your preferences.

there you see it synching the file (address book), you remove it here.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

When I try to open Dropbox App on Lion normally from Finder nothing happens (thus no Prefs). it appears in the menu bar, however, & says it is up to date. Perhaps there's something wrong with the app itself?

Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.
Yes, this is what I believe.

Can you uninstall and reinstall it please.

then add the Synch link again and test.

Let me know the results please

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Will try this when I get back around 11:30. By "uninstall" I presume you mean just drag the App to the trash? I've seen a hint that it might have been corrupted by MacKeeper (which I have uninstalled).

Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.
Correct, drag it to the trash to uninstall.

This is going to be the most likely reason, so the place to start.

Let me know how it goes please.

Thank you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

OK, I'm back for a couple of hours.


I trashed & re-downloaded DropBox; installed without difficulty. After a short while it registered "up to date".


Opened Address Book on Lion; no contents.


Tried & failed to locate the symlink in /Users/papa/Library/Application Support/AddressBook/ (can't find anything remotely resembling that).


Reran the symlink from Terminal with these results:


agape-server:~ papa$ ln -s ~/Dropbox/AddressBook/ ~/Library/Application\ Support/AddressBook
ln: /Users/papa/Library/Application Support/AddressBook/: File exists
agape-server:~ papa$


Re-opened Address Book on Lion; no contents.


— Fr. Gregory+

Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.
When you go to

/Users/papa/Library/Application Support/AddressBook/

Make sure you have the ~ before it please

As it is hidden, you should then see it.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Sorry to be dense — but where do I put the ~? I've already made the library folder visible (for a number of reasons), and I'm getting into the Address Book folder OK, which shows a considerable list of files (many of them having to do with conflicts), but nothing like this.


 


Just for kicks I tried this (found on the Dropbox website):


For our advanced users


 


If unlinking and relinking your account doesn't solve the issue, your settings may be protected or inaccessible due to a permissions problem. If this is the case, you can remove your settings by hand using an administrative account. Here's how:



Mac OS X On Mac OS X



  1. Quit Dropbox by clicking on the Dropbox menu from the menu bar and selecting Quit

  2. From Finder click on the Go menu and select Go to folder... (Shift-Command-G)

  3. In the resulting field, type:
    ~/.dropbox
    This will take you directly to your settings files, which are normally invisible in the Finder

  4. Move all the files in your settings folder to the trash

  5. Restart Dropbox. Dropbox is located in your Applications folder


Once Dropbox loads, the application will rebuild your settings files and you will be asked to relink to your account.



Note: We're working on a way to check and fix your Dropbox installation automatically from within the application. Stay tuned...


 


To no avail.


— Fr. Gregory+

Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.
It is synching everything else ok correct?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Don't know about everything, but at least something. Just ran another test:


Added a document to DropBox folder on Lion


Switched to G5 Leopard & checked; it was there by the time I could get the screen switched.


Just to eliminate the possibility the problem has something to do with folders within Dropbox, moved the same document (on Lion) into DropBox: Documents.


Switched back to Leopard; it is where it should be.


The problem seems to be specific to Address Book (as I always supposed).


 


Is that symlink hidden somewhere within the Application Support: Address Book folder? or is it a hidden file, period, even though the folder is open? If so, how to reveal (& delete it)?

Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.
Do you have any Anti Virus Software installed?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

No. I did have MacKeeper installed but removed it after Mike the MacMedic strongly recommended I do so and an hour or so of searching through the wildly conflicting reviews online. As it was the current version, I was able to uninstall it quite simply — but nevertheless followed through (as recommended in one article) to make certain it really had removed all lurking files. The only thing I haven't done in that department (and am a bit loathe to do as it causes all kinds of havoc as this computer is the server for Daylite & MoneyWorks, which have clients running on other computers), is to shut down & restart the Lion computer.

Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.
Did this problem start after removing MacKeeper?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

No. It started within just a few days after being set up, and I think well before MacKeeper was installed ( I'm not absolutely certain of that, but I think I would have become aware very quickly and been suspicious of a connection had that been the case, as I would normally use AB several times a day).

Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.
ok, it is going to be down to this process not being stable from Dropbox yet.

Dropbox is more intended to synch common files as opposed to Address books, and there is likely, as mentioned, a permissions issue.

Can I suggest and easier alternative?

You can use Plaxo. This is a service for synching your contacts securely online.

It has developed into a very mature product, and would really save you a lot of hassel on keeping your contacts sycnhed and backedup.

It can then connect with your Smartphone if you currently have one.

You can review it here

http://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/20816/plaxo

Please let me know what you think.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Sounds great — except that of the 7 computers plus iPhone 5 (which will only sync with an intel machine) on the system only 2 are intel, and Plaxo, it seems, works only with intel Macs:


Requirements
Intel/PPC, Mac OS X version 10.3.9 or later and an active Internet connection to sync your data.


I can sacrifice sync to all but two of those non-intel machines (one of them my laptop) if I'm forced to, but it's going to be pretty crippling.


And then there's the question of how I undo the DropBox setup — esp. as I can't find the symlink.

Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.
ok, would we be able to look at Synching to Google instead? this will work for your version

Click Me

If it is not synching, there will be nothing to undo. If you do not see the symlink, it would not have created it.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Quick look at Google doesn't look very promising either.


Apparently the symlink is there somewhere, as Terminal says so when I try to re-install it.


Also, of course, as the setup now stands there's no actual data in the Address Book folder in Application Support, only aliases. I presume I would need to delete all those aliases, then move the actual data from the Dropbox folder back to AS:AB (but of course that data is now no longer synced with any changes I might have made in other Address Book installations (little if any — I've been proceeding with much caution, mostly relying on Daylite).


BotXXXXX XXXXXne: sure would like to "rescue" Dropbox's problem!

Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.
ok, you have done a complete search via finder for the symlink?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I finally came to the conclusion that Address Book alias in Library/ Application Support is the symlink. Deleted the alias (& its contents), then reran the Terminal command to install it; no "already there" message this time. But it didn't do any good. Address Book still comes up empty on Lion (but not on Leopard).


I'm offline now until tomorrow morning (unless I get a couple of minutes to make a quick response or test later tonight); service shortly, then another this evening.


— Fr. Gregory+

Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.
Ok, I want to rule out Permissions as an issue.

Can you do the following when you have a chance please.

Open the hard drive on the Mac, go into the "Applications" folder and then open the "Utilities" folder. Now launch the Disc Utility application.


Select your main hard drive. You'll probably see two options--one is the manufacturer's name of the disc and the other name is XXXXX XXXXX called it. Choose the name of your hard drive.

Click on "Verify Disc Permissions" and the computer will perform a diagnostic test. After a few minutes, the problems with disk permissions will be reported in the Disc Utility window. Click on "Repair Disc Permissions" to fix them.


Insert your Mac OS X installation disk and restart your computer. Hold down the "C" key on your keyboard to boot from the disk rather than your computer's hard drive. Cancel the OS installation and open Disc Utility.


Click on "Verify" to have Disc Utility check your computer's hardware. Notice that this option is only available when the program is run from the CD. You can only test the hardware of a computer that isn't running the program locally.

Once complete, test if it now picks up the Address book please.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thanks, Richie. Will do (though I've done it before), but probably not before late Sun. afternoon, unless I get a few idle minutes somewhere.


— Fr. Gregory+

Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.
You ran the complete repair?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Complete permissions repair, yes. Then DiskWarrior — did both of those a couple of weeks ago. Just reran Permissions and Verify Disk; all OK, it says. Too late & tired tonight to fool with a shutdown & CD restart. Very doubtful I'll be able to get to it before Sunday afternoon.


No change in Address Book — still empty. Since a raft of the repaired permissions had to do with Ricoh files I hoped that perhaps my MP C6000 might now show up properly in the Default printer list (it's currently installed as an IP printer); no such luck.


Thanks for hanging in there on this!


Fr. Gregory+

Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.
ok, if you are also having the printer problem, it indicates a system fault on the computer

We are going to need to reinstall the MAC. Are we able to do this?

Have you backed up your data off the computer?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Before resorting to such a drastic measure (complicated by the fact that I don't have a "legit" Lion DVD, but only an untested clone), I'm going to take two steps:


one, as you suggest, restart this one (where the trouble is) with the DVD & run disk test/ repair from it;


and secondly, install DropBox & the Address Book symlink on a second Lion computer (still in the "building" stage) to see what results I get there.


As to the Ricoh issue, all evidence is that it's a driver/ architecture issue. The printer does work if set up as an IP printer, just doesn't appear in the "Default" tab on the printers list. Ricoh admits that the scan to folder system doesn't work at all on Lion (offers an ftp alternative), promises a fix. For my situation I've got an easier work-around: send the scans to my tandem Leopard computer, and I've placed the Leopard scans folder in Lion's side-bar. Works like a charm — as long as I'm running both computers.


BTW, I'm still having intermittent problems connecting in order to reply to your messages — been trying now and then for the past hour (getting "Access Denied"), finally succeeded just now.


—Fr. Gregory+

Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.
The workaround is a good one.

How is the progress on having Drop Box proceeding?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

OK, back to "normal", sort of — still have to work around lots of other backed-up work.


To my surprise: I installed Dropbox on the "new" Tiger machine downstairs, no problem, trashed the existing (and empty) AB datafile, ran the symnlink from Terminal; showed up properly (as an alias folder) in Application Support — no contents in AB (as I said, it did work on my office Tiger machine for several days). So no progress.


I'm going to go back to another site & double-check the symlink formula.


If all else fails, it may be worth exploring syncing via Daylite (there would be a lot of pluses to that anyway), just a potentially dangerous procedure I've never gotten around to thoroughly examining.


Still having trouble connecting -- took several "Access Denied" tries this morning before I finally got to this page from the link in your e-mail.


— Fr. Gregory+

Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.
ok, there does sound to be issues in the Mac, with the problems you explained.

But where are we now on the problem computer?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Since the same problem (no AB content!) is apparent on BOTH Lion computers (but none on the Leopard computer with the same setup), I think either


(a) there is some problem with the symlink syntax (this is what I have from Tom's article: ln -s ~/Dropbox/AddressBook/ ~/Library/Application\ Support/AddressBook_, or


(b) for whatever reason, some slightly different syntax for the symlink is needed for Lion than what is needed for Leopard, or


(c) there is, as you once suggested, an inherent instability in DropBox trying to deal with a database (though Tom's article and a couple of other similar ones all say this WILL work!).


I've just made a quick review of Daylite's sync notes (it has inherent ability to sync w/ Address Book & iCal) & it appears that might be a reasonable workaround, maybe even better (since all the local computers & my laptop run Daylite & sync to a central database on office Lion)


— Fr. Gregory+

Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.
Are you able to trial Daylite?

Richie
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I have had Daylite up & running (v.3; can't run v.4 unless/until I upgrade all essential Macs to intel -- 4 more expensive purchases!) for several years. The "trial" with have to do with syncing -- and potential problems arising therefrom, biggest of which is that I think all this monkeying around has created a horde of duplicates in Address Book, which I think I'll have to clean out before trying it. I'm going through the Daylite sync documentation carefully right now trying to ward off problems.


If you want to stay with me through this I'd appreciate it (it's likely to take a couple of days on and off & all kinds of interesting problems may pop up), but I think I'm going to drop the Dropbox route for AB sync, useful as it will still be for other purposes.


— Fr. Gregory+

Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.
Of course I stick with you, thats what I am here for :)

The Dropbox route is a workaround, it is not what it is designed for, and as such, these things fail easily.

Let me know how you with Daylite and if you get stuck please.

Thank you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Well, I already got stuck, but may have found the answer. I deleted the AB alias in Application Support, moved the "real" AB data folder from DropBox to Application Support — and opened an empty address book. It appears the "real" symlink is lurking somewhere else (I haven't a clue where) and needs to be removed from Terminal. I've got (somewhat scary) instructions for that at http://www.cyberciti.biz/faq/symbolic-symlink-mac-osx-remove-command/. I tried this a couple of ways with the following non-results:


agape-server:~ papa$ rm ln -s ~/Dropbox/AddressBook/ ~/Library/Application\ Support/AddressBook
rm: ln: No such file or directory
rm: -s: No such file or directory
rm: /Users/papa/Dropbox/AddressBook/: No such file or directory
rm: /Users/papa/Library/Application Support/AddressBook: is a directory
agape-server:~ papa$ rm -s ~/Dropbox/AddressBook/ ~/Library/Application\ Support/AddressBook
rm: illegal option -- s
usage: rm [-f | -i] [-dPRrvW] file ...
unlink file
agape-server:~ papa$


What am I doing wrong?


— Fr. Gregory+

Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.
You are only using this

rm: ln

where is the path for it?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Well, I've tried a number of variants. Here is the "model" for removal:


rm /tmp/foo ls -l /tmp/foo


 


This is the originally entered command for creating the symlink:


ln -s ~/Dropbox/AddressBook/ ~/Library/Application\ Support/AddressBook


 


Somehow I'm not getting it how to put these together to do the removal.


—Fr. Gregory+

Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.
What is your symlink name and location?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I haven't a clue. Any "naming" or "locating" occurred as a result of issuing that initial command without any further intervention on my part. I wouldn't even know what to search for — much less where!


—Fr. Gregory+

Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.
/tmp/foo in the example is the location of the Symlink

for you it will be where you initially installed it, do you remember where?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I didn't install it (if you mean the symlink) anywhere that wasn't designated by the command ln -s ~/Dropbox/AddressBook/ ~/Library/Application\ Support/AddressBook.


There's nothing of the sort in the Application Support: Address Book directory, and there is no such directory for Dropbox.


All I did was to copy the above command from Tom's article, paste it into Terminal, and hit Enter.


— Fr. Gregory+

Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.
ok, then can we continue look into using Daylite?

As without knowing what it is called we cannot remove it.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

This appears perhaps to have succeeded:


agape-server:~ papa$ rm ~/Library/Application\ Support/AddressBook
rm: /Users/papa/Library/Application Support/AddressBook: is a directory
agape-server:~ papa$


But Address Book is still empty, even though the Application Support: Address Book folder is 40Mb.


How on earth would I find out what the symlink is called & where it is?


— Fr. Gregory+

Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.
That's the difficulty, it is near impossible if you do not know yourself, which is why I suggested the reinstall of the Mac,

Is this possible?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hello! I've been trying since early this morning to respond; every time got an "access denied" message until just now. Very frustrating!


The evidence is that there is no such symlink, apart from the alias folder created by the Terminal command. Finally, last night, I (a) deleted the alias folder in Application Support, (b) restarted Address Book, which of course came up empty, (c) located the Address Book datafolder copy which I had made before beginning all this last week and (tipped off by a website note) renamed it with the .abbu extension (ignoring the warning that if you do that with a folder the system may treat it as a single file), then (d) did an import of that data into the Lion address book. Worked like a charm. Repeated on the other 2 computers where I had attempted the Dropbox setup. No problems.


Daylite: In theory this should work, but when I attempted to turn Daylite/AB syncing on this morning (for all contacts & organizations) I got a warning that the number of entries was excessive & Daylite might crash in the attempt. I've spent several hours pruning (much of it badly needed anyway). It's possible there's some way to limit the syncing to entries already present in AB, but I haven't yet discovered it. I'll at least try to keep you posted.


— Fr. Gregory+


 

Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.
There is no way to limit it, but you can easily remove duplicates.

Are there a lot of Duplicates?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Actually, there IS a way to limit what is synced in Daylite — once the sync has been established (took me a while to ferret out that info). I used the "add later" setting (it synced all the contacts & organizations (about 1500) anyway! — in only a couple of minutes. That done, "Sync Contacts" & "Sync Organizations" lists appear in Daylite. It's fairly easy then to filter through them & tell Daylite not to bother so sync this or that. But a caveat — anything unchecked in the Sync lists will disappear from Address Book, even if it was already there. I'm going to let this "perk" for a couple of days before proceeding to the next step — setting up the Daylite/AB sync on other computers (it has to be on each computer individually, with a Daylite client syncing with its own local Address Book). I don't foresee any problems (other than a lot of work filtering the sync lists. Thanks for hanging in there with me!


Still lots of trouble logging in to your page. Couldn't get in this morning; couldn't get in just now from your "reply" e-mail but did from the "feedback" e-mail. Rather frustrating!


— Fr. Gregory+

Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.
Ok, not sure why they would set the limit like that, but good you got to it to correct it!

IT was a pleasure sticking with you. Sorry about the site problems.

Are you able to Rate My Service on this Answer?

Do you need anything else?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I think not. Too bad Dropbox didn't work, but at least between us it seems we got back out of it. Thanks for hanging in there.


— Fr. Gregory+

Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.
We did get back out of it, and I just dont think this is Dropboxes specialty.

If you have continued problems, or would like any additional information or assistance, please do not hesitate to let me know.

And if you can take a second to rate my service, that would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you
Richard, Mac Software Engineer
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 16838
Experience: IT Engineer for over 15 years
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