27 December 2008

iPhone Japan Upgrade - Address Book problems

I just upgraded from a different Softbank phone to an iPhone here in Japan (and so far, I love it). One glitch I encountered that may bite other people, though, is the character encoding of the address information file.

Softbank, if you ask, will upload all of the address information from your old phone to the Softbank website, where you can download it as a CSV file. First off, you have to do that from the Japanese-language website, so it's not trivial for English readers: go to http://mb.softbank.jp/mb/iphone/sync_memory/ and click on the button near the bottom that says "今すぐ移動する".

This will take you to a login screen. Although I had a printout of the username and password from the Softbank store, that's not the username/password it wants. You should have received a message on your phone which contains the username/password you actually need. Once you enter that, you can download your information as a CSV file.

The basic idea here is a good one: now that you have a CSV file, you can import those contacts to your Address Book application on Mac OS X, and from there you can sync with the iPhone. The problem I encountered is that the file from Softbank is in Shift-JIS character encoding, but the Address Book app on Mac OS X wants UTF-8 encoding. If you try to directly import it, you'll get garbage (or at least, I did).

There are probably some utilities that can convert it (on Windows, I would have used SakuraEdit). But, since I know Python, I just used a tiny python script:

% python

import codecs
# SAB_20081228.csv should be changed to whatever name you downloaded
# from Softbank
f = codecs.open("SAB_20081228.csv",'r','sjis')
fo = codecs.open("SAB_20081228_utf8.csv",'w','utf8')

Now I could import the converted file to Address Book and I was off and running!

And the App Store is really cool.

1 comment:

FANTiM said...

Hey thanks alot, this post helped me out alot.