Update on August 23, 2012 (when I gave it 1 star). I have come up with a solution to the problem with Bento/iCloud/Lion. When I am updating addresses (which sync with address book), I TURN OFF THE WIFI on my MacBook. This prevents Bento Address Book from trying to sync with iCloud (which is apparently where the problem is). When I am done updating addresses, I turn the wifi back on. Address Book then synchronizes with iCloud and iCloud synchronizes with my iPhone. It's actually quite painless and I like Bento again.
I started with Bento 2 and upgraded to Bento 4 whenever it came out (about a year ago?). I use it to manage our small non-profit with about 1200 names. I would be perfectly happy with the Mac built in Mail and Address Book programs if there were 2 more features: 1) Could print out a customizable list of contacts that could be formatted decently. 2) Would allow customization of mailing labels. I need a place to put expiration dates. To put in expiration dates in Address Book, I entered them into the "company" field which is one of the two fields that Address Book allows you to toggle when making labels. Since switching to Lion and moving from mobileme to iCloud, Bento has become excruciatingly (and unpredictably) slow. When going through the database to update files, what used to be a pleasant and quick experience has become so unpleasant that I put off the necessary work as long as possible to avoid the pain. I filled out an online form with Filemaker which they never responded to. Interestingly, a few days later, I received a survey about my experience with their technical help. Needless to say, I gave them low marks. There must be a way to manage a small non-profit easily-- I thought Bento would be the way. I guess I was dreaming. I switched to a Mac three years ago to avoid frustration and to save time. My understanding is that Apple owns Filemaker. Why can't they get their act together? This experience is making me yearn for Outlook which, as I recall, was one of the reasons I switched to a Mac.
I have had nothing but trouble with this program since I was forced by Apple to upgrade to lion and switch from Mobileme to iCloud. I say "forced" because I was very happy and productive with Mobileme and, having been around computers for long enough, that I could smell a disaster in the making. I have now wasted hours on this program and see no end in sight,
Here is a quote from another user on the Bento Forum:
posted May 15, 2012 by Phil Russell Jonathan and others:
Yesterday I had a long chat with a senior support person at FM about this issue. First of all, there is no clear message from FileMaker about this issue. A lot of hemming and hawing and prevarication, various suggestions, etc. The bottom line is, it doesn't work. I urged them to be clear with their users about this. The right thing for them to do would be to just come out and tell the truth. In the absence of them doing it, I'll write the support article for them:
"Dear Bento users, Bento will not integrate with your Mac Address Book if you sync your Address Book with iCloud. If you attempt to use it in this way, you will experience various problems. You Bento application will frequently freeze, requiring a Force Stop. Data will not synchronize properly between Bento and Address Book. There are so many problems with this, we don't even know all of them. We're very sorry for the problem. We released Bento 4 before iCloud was available. We never tested it with iCloud. We now know that it simply doesn't support iCloud-synchronized data. THEREFORE WE CAN CLEARLY STATE THAT YOU SHOULD NOT USE BENTO WITH ICLOUD-SYNCED DATA ON YOUR MAC. If you attempt to do so, we cannot be responsible for the results, and you will probably lose some or all of your valuable data. We know this is a terrible problem for many of you. We are working hard to fix it. While Sarbanes-Oxley law prevents us from providing a projected date when this problem will be solved, please rest assured that it has the very highest priority within our development team. We realize that iCloud is an essential part of the Mac ecosystem. Our goal is to provide complete and robust support for iCloud. With each new release of Bento, we will work hard to make this goal a reality."
Of course I've editorialized somewhat, but this is what we'd all like to hear from FileMaker at this stage. Let's see whether they'll do the right thing and make a statement that is substantially similar to this.