MacPro 2013 Pt1. Multiple Outputs

I was quite excited when our new MacPro arrived last week after 2 months of back order. Although it’s main use will be as an edit suite in the office I can see it becoming a regular traveller to some of the larger shows. As such I made it my job to spend some time trying various connections and resolutions in both OS-X and Windows. I had hoped it would be a quick post saying it all worked amazingly well but from initial testing those of us planning on using one (and a backup of course)  for shows will need to do extensive testing to make sure the little trashcan can do what it should.

The Machine –

  • 3.0GHz 8-Core Intel Xeon E5
  • 32GB 1866MHz DDR3 ECC – 4X8GB
  • 1TB PCIe-based Flash Storage
  • 2x AMD FirePro D700-6GB VRAM
  • OS-X 10.9.2
  • Windows 8

4K + 4K + 2k = OK

Apples promotional material mention support for up to 6x 1080 displays or 2x 4k Monitors. I unfortunately don’t have a  4k monitor to test the maximum output on let alone two but we do have a couple of bits of gear that can take some form of a 4k feed and at least indicate it’s working – in my case a Blackmagic ATEM 1M/E 4k and a Datapath X4 image wall processor.

So far I can confirm that the MacPro can handle more than just 2x 4k outputs (at 30hz) – in my case I had both outputs running at 3840×2160 and a 3rd monitor running at 1920×1080. I did load a 7680×2160 clip into Millumin and noticed some stutter but it could be to do with the outputs sub 50Hz refresh rate as the both the CPU and RAM reported low usage numbers.

This could all change with the release of 10.9.3 which has already show come quite bit improvements with both 60Hz  and HiDpi support coming to both the MacPro and 2013 rMBP.

Built in HDMI Out

Based on OS-X System Info this port is considered a Passive connection and so is considered 1 of your 2 passive connections available to use – want 2 outputs and an HDMI out? Well you’ll need an active adaptor to get them all to work. I’m also yet to get Windows to work with this port at all.

Active vs Passive Mini Displayport Adaptors

Active-Mini-DP-to-Single-Link-DVI-pig-tail-AdapterFirst off – Not all adaptors are created the same and if you want more than 2 outputs from a MacPro you’ll need ACTIVE adaptors. A quick eBay search shows the price difference.
Now from my experience (albeit by testing only a couple of options) not all active miniDP adaptors are the same either. I bought the cheapest active adaptors I could find and although they were fine for DVI they wouldn’t display HDMI in the right colour space in OS-X (although Windows was fine).
Also another note that all miniDP->VGA adaptors are active as they need to convert from a digital to analogue signal.

OS-X Quirks

OS-X has always been the weaker performer when it comes to GPU performance compared to Windows and even though the MacPro is a graphical powerhouse I’m still expecting the same app on either platform to perform at least 20% better on Windows.

First off – as previously mentioned – you can only use 2x generic miniDP->DVI/HDMI adaptors before you need to invest in Active adaptors. Plugging more screens won’t make any difference – they just won’t work. What’s weird/interesting is that 3+ passive adaptors will work in Windows.

MacPro Active Out ProblemNow depending on which active adaptors you have will depend on how well they work – I have two to try – the official Apple Dual Link DVI adaptor ($NZ159) and a cheaper Wieson adaptor bought for $NZ40. When connecting DVI both work perfectly – but when connecting HDMI the Wieson used a weird colour profile and was unusable. The Apple one worked no matter which connection I used at the other end.

As OS-X doesn’t support AMD Crossfire each card is considered an individual card and all connections are routed from a single card (slot-1) with the other card (slot-0) never shows anything connected (as is also the case in Windows).

Windows Quirks

The new MacPro supports only Windows 8.1 so despite me hoping to avoid that turd I’ve been forced to give it a whirl. For now I’ve only used the bootcamp gfx drivers but apparently you can also install the current AMD drivers. I’ve also enabled CrossFire so both cards should work as one.

First off – never expect your outputs to be laid out the same on reboot. What was your primary display on one boot may completely shift to another output on reboot. This is a major pain for those of use wanting things to be exactly as they just were (crazy I know). With no primary connection any port seems to be chosen at random to be your primary screen.

Even though I got 6x 1080 outputs correctly working in Windows 8.1 eventually, upon rebooting all previous resolutions were lost (except for the 2x connected monitors) and no amount of replugging order would work to get back to 1080 output being an option for the 4x feeds going into our Blackmagic 1M/E switcher. Even trying another brand HDMI->SDI adaptor wouldn’t help Windows set the output resolution to 1920×1080. 

Wrap Up

So there you have it – lots of little issues but once some bugs are fixed, hopefully soon, the Mac Pro should make for quite the playback machine for gigs that need lots of outputs from a single computer.

Thunderbolts and lightening.

I must say I’ve very excited by Apple/Intel finally bring Lightpeak (now Thunderbolt) to market. Its a standard that should really move the whole connectivity part of computers forward.

As a video producer one of the big loses on Apple laptop line was the when they dropped Expresscard slots off 15″ MacBook Pros. We need a high speed connection that FW800 just can’t deliver – in fact we really need two – one for a RAID for content and another for either display output (not a graphics card) or for importing.
With Thunderbolt we can have up to four Expresscard speed devices running off one plug on even the cheapest unibody laptop.

Questions that I’m sure will be answered in good time:

  • Why does the new 13.3″ High end model list a 2.7Ghz i7 when the 17″ Model uses just a i7 2.2Ghz – are they different generations in chips?
  • Why do all MacBook Pros still only come with 5400rpm drives by default?
  • How long until a hub for Thundbolt comes out? How Much? I currently have to plug in Power, USBx2, FW800, Ethernet & Displayport when I get into work in the morning – I’m eager to cut this down to just power and Thunderbolt.
  • How long until updated CinemaDisplays that work as the above hub?
  • How long until iMacs are refreshed? Using Thumnderbolt the cost of a decent edit suit just dropped significantly, as just like the MBP line, as a video producer the biggest missing part on iMacs is a fast interconnect standard.
  • How long until the Mini (and all the others) are updated – weeks or months?
  • Infact more than anything – how awesome will the MacBook Air be once they add this. Its lack of ports just won’t matter.

UPDATE Engadget has more info along with some first products from LaCie and Promises – both drive enclosures – both featuring dual Thunderbolt plugs.

New Tablets – Slate & JooJoo thoughts

HP  Slate

Having managed to survive the apocalyptic release of the ‘magical’ iPad, there have been a few other tablet related products coming into the fray I’ve been thinking about. One being the HP Slate and the other the JooJoo. I think both are both good to see launching but both are lesser tablets than Apples first release.

First the JooJoo, which if you’re not familiar, is a 16×9 720P Tablet appliance with basically a netbooks internals – 1.6 Atom, ION Chipset, 1gb Ram, 4gb SSD, running a custom Linux install. It looks good in build the department but from the very get go it did seem to be like vapourware was written all over it. Low and behold though – 90 Pre-orders shipped to their unsuspecting buyers.

Early reviews don’t rate it too favourably, the hardware is all theree but the software is buggy and proving to be a major let down. Also it’s 16×9 screen offer netback grade screen quality despite just screaming widescreen video.
A big problem is the JooJoo is basically only a portable web browser unit – no file support, no media playback, no email – basically theres short cuts for websites on your front page and thats it. It supports flash (badly) and if you do play a flash video – expect your battery life to be halved.
Add to that the fact with a 16×9 aspect ratio websites actually look worse – large white edges on sites in landscape and the sides of sites cut off in portrait. Keep in mind this is a device designed only to view websites, you have to wonder why they didn’t plan the screen shape accordingly.

I will give it to them that this is a first release product and for a brand new company getting to even this point is quite the accomplishment. I do think this will fail to be be an option in 6 months time when theres another 20 netback internal’ed tablets on the market – of which we’re starting too see with the HP Slate.

Shown off in January at CES by non other than Steve Balmer, only a week before Apple announced the iPad, it reeked of ‘quick, announce it before Apple gets ALL the press and makes everyone forget there are other companies thinking similar things’ (which for the record is exactly what happened). Of course the announcement came with no information other than coming soon.
Well, as of yesterday, we have some specs and a price.
My first thought are this – why is it taking so long to get to market – its basically the same as HP’s current Mini line of Netbooks – minus keyboard and the addition of multitouch. I imagine it might be the software, which is said to be developed from the HP Touch-smart desktop machines.

2010 Tablet Screen Resolution comparisonThere are two issues I think the Slate and alll similar tablets will have – screen resolution and OS.

On the right is a little image I made up showing the three tablets I’m talking abouts screen resolutions in respect to the nytimes site – click on the pic for a 1:1 pixel version. With a native resolution of 1024×600 it still has the same issues of every other netback on the market – hiding as much as possible so to fit as much content on the screen – and generally failing. Either viewed vertically or horizontally, sites just won’t have enough room to display their content and in the end will mean users will be scroll every page you view no matter the amount of content.

The resolution also limits other applications being used bad as you’re running a desktop operating system, you’ll be running desktop applications which from my experiences will have been designed to run on higher res screens. A good example would be MS Office – half your screen real-estate will be taken up by the ‘Ribbon’ where as the Pages for the iPad is a complete original interface. Don’t think for a second Microsoft are going to re-engineer Word for a notebooks screen? Office was already one of the main reasons Microsofts previous tablet attempts came off so half assed.
Another example is IE’s horribly large Address, links and tool bars, I’ve jumped on numerous computer newbies IE installs to find HALF of their IE window to have Google, Yahoo, Digg bars – despite the user never using any of them, This is will of course lead to more scrolling and people just wishing they had more pixels.

The Slate will be the Tablet of scrolling – everything you do on it will need more scrolling down or scrolling to the side.

HTC HD2 - Windows Mobile skinning at its  bestThis issue comes from basing a portable product on the foundations of a desktop OS – whereas Apple has upscaled a portable, albeit more simple, OS, the Slate (and all other Win7 based tablets) will be forcing something much bigger on to a smaller screen.

It’s not like HP has much choice, they are one of Microsofts big customers (if not the biggest), and MS just can’t offer a reasonable mobile alternative – Windows mobile 6.5 is on its way out to pasture and Windows Mobile Phone 7 Series is not yet available for mobile devices – let alone other device concepts. A funny/depressing way to look at this whole thing is how Microsoft’s slowness on creating a major mobile platform is that they’re going to be following in the step of history – namely Windows Mobile and OEMs, such as HTC, having to do the actually end UI themselves.
I wonder how long will it take after starting to use a Slate until you’re thrown a dialogue box that will be just asking for a mouse interaction or for a complex keyboard shortcut – welcome back to desktop computing hell.

Apple may seem, and in ways are, offering an upsized iPhone or touch but I think its one of the iPads best features. The iPhoneOS will have only ever been designed to be held in your hand and it only expects a user interface via fingers.

Now – what will the iPhone OS 4.0 release entail? It should be interesting.

Apple refurb pricing weirdness

Those of you who read my blogs may have seen I’m a big advocate of Apple refurbs as a good way of getting a cheap Mac.
I check the refurb page of the Apple NZ Store most weeks, always looking for a good deal for myself or for others who are trying to get an Apple as cheaply as they can. I would love to see some other Apple products turn up – check the US Refurb page – almost every product is available with a solid discount.

Now for the randomness. Today I spotted this – a refurbished MacPro for only $6199, which is only $400 above list price of $5799. I’m not sure how this price is worked out, you have to wonder sometimes……

Apple Refurb Page
Apple MacPro Refurb pricing weirdness

Apple Store Page
Apple MacPro Refurb pricing weirdness

UPDATE And then the listing magically disappears after only a few hours.

UPDATE2 Spotted this one – the best deal ever? I think not.

iPad thoughts

iPad

So after following the live blogs and now reading the tech specs I thought I’d add my thoughts on this new gadget. A few things I’ve spotted on the Apple site not mentioned in the keynote –

Screen Res is 1024×768, 132ppi (the iphone is 163ppi). Reasonable but not stellar – I would have preferred a 16:9 1280×720 panel myself but I can imagine the raw LCD costs would have made it that much more expensive. Its good so see a good screen in it though – IPS & LED Backlighting should make this look amazing in person.

VGA connector coming soon. Supports 1024×768 – making Keynote actually usable. I imagine it will work like the current iphone TVout cables – click on a video (or now a keynote presentation) and you’ll see controls on the unit and the presentation/video will come out the cable – with no OSD. No HD output (just progressive scan SD or XGA).

1GHz Apple A4 Chip
. So it would seem Apple has indeed made use of them buying PA Semi a few years back. Its an ARM based processor just like the iPhone. It’s a “system on chip” – so this one chip does it all the work. This is apparently very similar to a Tegra & Snapdragon chips – can you say ZuneHD and Nexus One.

802.11n. Good.

ePub support.
Along with PDF support we already have on the current iPhone OS this should mean we can convert text, website to a format that we can then use. I think Kindle is the only eBook reader that doesn’t support it. Go standards.

A-GPS on 3G model. The biggest Sat Nav ever?

No Phone option, new SIM standard, Data only
. I know you wouldn’t hold this to your face but a secondary speaker phone using its 3G capabilities maybe?

No Flash - Gruber @ daringfireball sums it all up well here. I don’t think we’ll ever see it on either the iPhone or iPad.

No Camera – So that means voice only skype. I think this could have become the killer app and at a low component cost – but hell they need to have something to add to the iPad 2G.

iPadNo built in USB host port, or SD card port.
Apple have announced the iPad Camera Connectivity Kit though and it does give you both of these. I had hoped the iPad would remove the need to have another computer completely making it that much closer to a netbook than an iphone. The good news is though if this puppy get jailbroken (jailbreaked?) the USB port could allow for some very interesting mods and unplanned uses.

Market – When I watched the demo video, of all the people I could think of it was my mum who I think is the most likely to get one sooner than later. My parents have been making noises about a second laptop for a while now – dad was well over having to share his computer.
My mother has never been a savy computer user and has never had to learn how to use any more than the basics of a standard OS. More and more though she wants to do the basics the iPad offers – look at pics, surf the net, email people and generally stalk her children via Facebook. I think the learning curve on the iPad is about as much tech as she can handle.

Pricing seems reasonable I’m sure someone will say “I can buy a netbook for $600″ but at what I assume will be $NZ799 for the low end model, its close to the same price of a similarly spec’d netbook but with a better OS (for portable internet use), screen type and case/body.

Will I get one? Maybe. My iPhone 3GS is awesome, and I’m surprised I surf the net on it nearly as much as I do on my laptop. When I replace my laptop in the next year or so – will I get an iPad and a more powerful desktop machine? It’s something I’ve been thinking about well before the hype of this started.

No other announcments. No i5/i7 MacBookPro’s, no 12 Core MacPro’s, no new iLife. All iPad. I imagine there will be some spec bumps in the next week or so though.

One things for sure, I’m sure we’ll all pick one up and go – I want.

On another note – the iPad comes in ladies preferred options.

Some must have Mac apps

App UpdateI’ve been using a Mac for the last 4 years and I’ve over time built a little list of apps that must be installed. I thought I should share them here. They are all free to download or open source so go give them a try. Feel free to share some more in the comments.

App Update – A simple application update widget, in my opinion, besides currency converter, the only good widget in dashboard. It reads you Application folder against 3 update notifications sites – Apple’s official software directory, MacUpdate and Version Tracker. Best thing – it just works – and well.
http://gkaindl.com/software/app-update

The ArchiverThe Unarchiver – an open source decompressor app. For years stuffit was either preinstalled or a must download on the Mac. Over time the the program gained the usual bloat of over developed applications. Apple has included a built in zip tool for a while but it’s file support was limited really only dealing with zip’s. The Unarchiver, which is open source will extract RAR, ZIP, 7-Zip, LHA, SIT, HQX and TAR files to name just a few. The app has enough options to do everything you could need. To install, just drag it into your Applications folder, run once to set associations and you’re done.
http://wakaba.c3.cx/s/apps/unarchiver.html

PerianPerian – Chances are you’ve already got this – if not – get it. Perian is a free, open source QuickTime component that adds native support for many popular video formats. XVID, Divx, AC3, MKV, FLV and even adds subtitle support. The only thing missing is extensive WMV support – for that check the free Flip4Mac.
http://perian.org/

VLCVLC – if you do find a video that won’t play via Perian then VLC should have it covered. If you have these 2 apps installed there are few files you can’t play. Personally I find VLC’s interface clunky to use but as I say – it will play everything.
http://www.videolan.org/

MPEG StreamclipMPEG Streamclip – Where Perian is ‘the swiss army knife of video playback’, Streamclip is surely the swiss army knife of video conversion. It allows for setting in and out points and will read almost every format – from malformed mpeg2 streams to xvids to quicktimes to avi’s. I haven’t met a clip I can’t convert with this app.
http://www.squared5.com/

TextWranglerTextWrangler – an extremely versital text editor. Made by the company that makes BBEdit, this is a cut down yet surprisingly feature complete version. TextWrangler supports source formatting and is the one stop tool for editing HTML, PHP, plists or just about anything else.
http://www.barebones.com/products/TextWrangler/

MAXMAX – One stop open source audio converter – it will change anything to anything else. MAX can convert over 20 compressed and uncompressed formats including MP3, Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, AAC, Apple Lossless, Monkey’s Audio, WavPack, Speex, AIFF, and WAVE.
http://sbooth.org/Max/

Nice – Star Trek BluRay comes with free Digital Copy that is actually useful

Star Trek BluRay - with digital copy.I, along with the many people, found JJ Abhrams reinventing of Star Trek a great time. So much so I felt it more than worthy to be added to my small physical media collection. To my surprise, the pictures studio, Paramount Pictures, has started including a digital copy of the their films free. Each BluRay copy comes with a third DVD and note with a unique key printed on it.

I thought it would no doubt involve some horrible DRM and playback system, no doubt dropped or outdated a year from now. You can no doubt believe my surprise that the code really is really just a redeem code for iTunes Store. If you brought the movie in iTunes separately you’d be looking at $24.99.

The DVD contains an autoplay menu which offers links to either to copy the film in Windows Media or iTunes, by choosing iTunes you are taken straight into the Store and where you enter your code. You’ll need to download for that copy but the disc does include necessary WMV files – strangely there are 2. I can’t tell you much more with Windows being Windows just before copying the file I am told that I require security component update and it was required before installing. I clicked the link and sent to a page on the domain drmlicense.one.microsoft.com which offered little information and a single button that couldn’t be pressed. Shortly after Internet Explorer crashed. Good one. I spent a few minutes trying to find the update I’m looking for but its never stated and MS don’t really promote the DRM side of things too loudly.

Star Trek BluRay - MenuStar Trek BluRay - DRM Windows Media Errors

As far as the iTunes side goes, iTunes downloads as a 1.96GB M4V file, and uses FairPlay3 DRM which allows for syncing to up to 5 iPhones, iPods, AppleTV’s and the other computers linked to your iTunes account. Video wise, the file has a frame size of 640×352, 2052kbps H264 and audio comes in 5.1 AC3 (strangely QuicktimeX lists only 2 channels though). The file also includes chapter marks with thumbnails and can be played in Quicktime or iTunes.

It’s disappointing to not be a more standard 720 frame width, and of course no one likes DRM – but lets be honest, offering the movie in the first place is a good sign. Instantly I can use the film in a usable way outside of my PS3 and couch. I doubt I will ever watch it on my phone, but offering it in more than one format, shows the studio trying to be far more inclusive in the end usage process.

New Apple Products + NZ Exchange Rate = 15-40% Lower Prices

Just a quick tip – When Apple launch new products it works the new RRP based on current exchange rate of when the product is released. Sometimes this means price increases but sometimes, like now and with the NZ$ being retardedly good – a solid price drop. And the good news – no matter where the currency goes from now the prices will stay low.

Case in point – the newly refreshed Mac Mini was previously $1398 but is now $1049 (or even cheaper if you click on the educational discount link – $950). Thats a brand new Mac with half decent specs for sub $1k. The Plastic lowend Macbook was $RRP1999 – now is only $NZ1699.

But for those of us thinking now is the time to be running out and buying that 8 core MacPro at a new lower price – these lower prices are only worked out on new products – not old ones. But what this should mean that that these prices stick around until the next product refresh – no matter where the NZ$ goes.

Of course the downside of this is if you’re a NZ retailer with old stock – which you brought at the previous higher price. For the rest of us enjoy probably the most reasonably priced Macs we’ve ever had.

UPDATE – As wellygary says – the new top end 27″ iMac is even better value – 40% cheaper than the previous 24″ high end model.

Kicking Outlook and switching to Mail, iCal & Address Book

I used to be a big Outlook user, finding it the only PIM client that kept my life even slightly sorted. I was so tied to Outlook that when I first brought my Intel based Mac, I quickly installed the beta release of Boot Camp, XP and got Outlook going. For the first couple of months of owning a Mac, I ran Windows almost exclusively.
Outlooks IMAP support has always been my single biggest peev. That, and its continued use of a single PST file for all data storage. There a lot of good reasons to not use a single file db, mainly if it corrupts you could loose ALL your previous history from emails to contacts. I have seen more than one person just about cry when they loose all their digital lives thanks to a Windows reinstall and not seeing their well hidden PST file deep in the documents & settings folders.

Of course Outlook being a Microsoft program, export options are nonexistent, unless you wanted to move to, say, Outlook. If so then no worries.
There are commercial applications that can take care of this whole process but I like to do things the free, slightly harder way – so for you all here is a compilation of various steps to take a large PST file to a complete export to iCal, Address Book and Mail.app (or other standard supporting applications on other platforms).
These steps are for Windows XP and Outlook 2007, but should be the same or very similar on Vista.

Getting your email to Mail.app.
This is originally from Schwie’s Pad’s blog post, refined by myself.

  • First you’ll need a copy of Outlook Express installed on your XP machine. In our case we’re going to use it as a conversion tool and not the just the shittiest email client ever. I would recommend a virgin setup of Outlook Express.
  • Open Outlook Express, it should detect your other Outlook profile and ask if you want to import the profile. If it doesn’t detect Outlook, you can import your mail manually. Under the File menu, choose Import, Messages. Choose Microsoft Outlook.
  • Choose the default profile and then choose selected folders and choose any folders that have email in them. You can use CTRL to select multiple folders. You do not need to choose contacts or calendars, that is done via other workarounds below.
    Import Outlook Profile to Express
  • It should spend sometime slurping through your emails and bringing them into Outlook Express.
  • Once they are all imported, we now need to access the Outlook Express .dbx email files, these are stored in your Documents & Setting folder on your system drive (probably C:\). Best plan is to enable hidden files (via Tools menu, properties) and then go through the folders from C:\ – in my case it was – C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\{D54D6AEB-503D-49E3-BD59-11545746A4D2}\Microsoft\Outlook Express
    The two italicized names can be different but you should be able to get there.
  • Now you’ll need a little command line app by Ulrich Krebs called DbxConv.exe. It’s freeware and available here. Extract the zip into you Outlook Express folder you just found. This program will convert your email folders from MS’s dbx format to the standard mbox format.
  • Open command line via the Start Menu and Run command – from here type CMD.
  • Now for the tricky bit, as command line was designed from the days of 8.3 file names theres no real easy way to get your way to a folder buried deep in windows file system – I have discovered though if you type “cd ” and then drag the folder icon in the address bar of explorer to the line in command line, it will insert the full folder address in to the  command. Press enter and you should be in the same folder as the files you need to convert.Insert address in to dos command promptResulting command
  • Now in command prompt type this command – dbxconv -mbx *.dbx
  • Depending on the size of your original pst file it could take a while (up to 20mins). You will see few failed items that don’t convert (such as Contacts, calendars, Folders and Offline), you will not need these.
    Congratulations – your email is now in a format all reasonable email clients should use – mbox. From here you aren’t just limited to Mail.app, other clients support mbox including (ironically) Microsofts own version of Outlook for the Mac, Entourage and the opensource Thunderbird.

Getting your mail into Mail.app

  • From here you’ll want to get your newly created mbx files from windows to your OS-X install. I would recommend taking only the mbox files of previous email folders you want – Inbox.mbx and Sent.mbx being the obvious choices.
  • Now with them on your Mac, open Mail.app. If this is your first time opening Mail.app, setup your email accounts as you need. Once you’re all done there open Import Mailboxes from the File menu.
  • Choose mbox files and navigate to the folder with your converted mbox emails in them. You can select miltiple mbox files which will be imported as separate folders into Mail.app.
  • A progress bar later and you should find an IMPORTED folder, and you can now move them as you need to.

Exporting your contacts from Outlook to Address Book
Originally from macosxhints.
As you may have figured out by now, Microsoft makes it as difficult as possible to escape their Office/Exchange ecosystem, either by not including export options or making it as much a convoluted process as they can. For this we will make the files we need by faking an email with all your contacts as attachments – smart.
You can export individual contacts to a vcf file by selecting the contact and choosing Save As under the file menu. This is great for a couple of contacts but not those of us with 1000 odd contacts –

  • Switch to contacts view in Outlook, Select All contacts (or just the contacts you want to take with you) and the under the Actions menu, Send Full Contacts and then In Internet Format (*.vcf).
    Send Outlook Contacts as vcf files.
  • Outlook should then make a new email with attachments of all you contacts as usable VCF files. You could email that to yourself but if you have quite a few contacts, it’s best to copy the files out the unsent email and into a folder to move manually. Click on one of the vcf file icons in the attachment panes and select all. Drag its icon to an folder in an explorer window.
  • From here you need to get the folder of vcf files to you mac, open Address Book and drag all the vcf’s on to the Address Book window.

Getting your calendar
This is actually the easiest part of the process.

  • Switch to calendar view in Outlook and select the calendar you want to export.
  • Under the File menu, choose Save As. ical format should be the default.
  • Choose more options and set the date range as Whole Calendar, detail on Full, leave the advanced options unticked.Save as ical format in Outlook dialogue
  • Save.
  • Again, get the resulting files on to your mac, and then open iCal.
  • Choose File, Import and choose Import and iCal file
  • You’ll be asked if you want to merge with a previous calendar or make a new one.
  • Rinse & repeat if you have more calendars.

Things that don’t export/import.
Tasks! although these can be imported as an email folder via the Outlook Express method although tasks will be turned into emails as far as Mail.app is concerned.