Today I saw a client in Douglaston, which is in on the eastern border of Queens, about a half hour out of Manhattan on the LIRR. I rarely leave Manhattan to see clients, but this client needed ACT contacts migrated from her desktop PC to Entourage on her Mac, as well as bringing in her AOL contacts, so off I went.
It was a pretty satisfying visit — everything went smoothly, and I like challenges like migrating AOL contacts, which isn’t nearly as easy as you’d expect it to be. (Cheat sheet: download AOL Communicator 1.0 from MacUpdate.com; log in and export the Address Book; import that into Mozilla Thunderbird; export again to a tab-separated file; import into Entourage, matching up fields correctly. Google “AOL contact export” to find an article with more detailed steps.)
But the funny part was at the end: I was at the train station waiting for the 11:55 back to Manhattan when at 11:41 I I realized I’d forgotten something: anyone who had an AOL email address came in to Entourage with just their screen name for an email address; in other words, no “@aol.com” at the end. I needed to write a small AppleScript to fix this. Whoops.
I called my client and she brought her MacBook to the train station. While I waited for her, I wrote the script on my own computer to make sure it worked. She arrived, I copied it over, and ran it while the train was sitting at the station. I had already resigned myself to the next train, but then I noticed that it actually worked. Without hesitating, I handed her computer back to her, said bye, and sprinted up the steps, two at a time, to the platform. The train door was closed, but the conductor must have seen me. It opened. I’m writing this post on the train. I don’t know if you can exactly call that a great hack, but it felt like it.