Who knows why Apple decided not to allow you to export your contacts from the OS X Address Book application? Maybe it’s fear of feature bloat; maybe it’s a sinister attempt to lock you in once you’ve started using their app.

One thing’s for certain: it’s a colossal pain.

(You actually can export individual contacts very easily as vCards. But if what you’re looking for is a handy comma-separated list — a.k.a. CSV, the text-based lingua franca of long lists of contacts — Address Book gives you the brush-off. Funny, because it does allow you to import a CSV file.)

Fortunately, the answer is as close as one of the shortest software downloads you’ll ever experience. AddressBookToCSV is a tiny, 39KB program that does one thing, and one thing only: make a CSV version of your Address Book file.

Because it never writes to your Address Book data, AddressBookToCSV is perfectly safe. And you can use the file it spits out for adding addresses to your GMail account, manipulating data in a spreadsheet, or extending your web of contacts on several social networking platforms. (Or even switching to a different address book.)

One last little trick: developer Ken Ferry (I think that’s his name, judging by his e-mail address) includes a newsfeed for every application he publishes on his web page. So you’ll never need to worry about missing a critical update.

For more Apple goodness, check out Rob’s Noise to Signal cartoons about life as a Mac user!

(two people looking at an iPad) It's the perfect device for watching Apple product announcements!(Steve Jobs onstage, introducing an amazing device and admitting he can't remember what it does)(man with fishhook in nose) Yes, it's a fishhook lodged in my nose. But it's an Apple fishhook, so the user experience is surprisingly pleasant.