I will add my voice of complaint. Apple, this was a significant error:
OS X Mavericks v10.9 and later do not use SyncServices. Instead, Mavericks supports sharing your information using several network-based and cloud-based solutions. If you want to sync your information across multiple devices and computers, you should use one or more of these methods. These include iCloud, CardDAV servers, CalDAV servers, and servers that utilize the Exchange ActiveSync protocol.
Consider what running a server entails and consider what it is replacing.
The 'old way':
People seem to be upgrading from an OS that they managed to live with.
iTunes before Mavericks had a handful of checkboxes, a single button and a cable to sync all this data to iOS.
Running a local only server:
Install & setup a CalDAV/CardDAV server on another machine, any PC/ Mac/ Linux box will do.
Servers are not intended to go to Starbucks with you so don't run it on your laptop.
Dedicate X Watts of power all day, every day for a fixed server just so your iOS devices can copy a miniscule amount of data (we are talking kilobytes) - a Time Capsule or an Apple TV easily could do this simple task!
A Raspberry Pi can host CalDAV/CardDAV for less than 4 Watts, if you invest time in installing, maintaining & backing it up.
A 'laptop' server won't work unless you get the iOS device on the same wifi network, so it is not very portable without creating access points on your laptop (more tweaking, more risk of being an idiot who forgets to enable wifi encryption, no more internet whilst syncing).
What happens when the hotel or company router blocks certain ports or bonjour broadcasts on the local network, no more syncing?
Dedicate some time for checking your backups and installing updates and hope nothing is broken by them.
OS X server is simple until it breaks or you need to change a setting Apple took out of the GUI (start with 'sudo serveradmin').
It doesn't sync Notes unless you setup a Mail server too (sorry that's your own fault for relying Apple apps).
Running a server with internet access:
A server won't reach out onto the internet unless you open ports on your gateway.
If you open ports on your router you hopefully have a clue about fixed IP's, VPN's, subnets, DMZ's, firewalls and how to read log files otherwise you just risk compromising every device on your network.
Bots are constantly scanning for open ports and configuring firewalls isn't easy.
Throw a dyndns address or a domain name into the mix so you can find the server running via your home internet connection.
Now you also need to run the DNS server locally otherwise the data on your network goes to the internet & comes back in.
You do know what you are doing right?
A calendar & contacts server is great if you are a geek, business, or a need one for the other services. It's even better if you have IT staff to run it correctly for you so it can exist outside your wifi network.
It just seems like an irrational decision to me, it defies logic and reasoning for a 'typical Apple user' to set this up. Once weekend should be enough to revert a Mac.
Reinstall the last OS & carry on with your life. In 6 months Mavericks will still exist & it may have a third party fix that doesn't eat up your weekends.
What seem irrational is the absolute bat-guano crazy paranoia of those who seem to think that using a cloud service for contact and calendar data is going to cause the downfall of civilization... as if your carrier doesn't already have all the information on your location 24/7, everyone you call, text, etc....
Don't get a lit match too close to that strawman, Drew.
You don't have to run your server all day and all of the night. You can turn it on to sync just like you did with the cable.
You don't have to maintain contact with your server 24/7. You can add, update, delete contacts and calendar events all day long. Then, when you return to the network that hosts your server, you can sync your changes (after you turn it on, of course).
Apple clearly think Mavericks does:
"OS X Mavericks v10.9 and later do not use SyncServices. Instead, Mavericks supports sharing your information using several network-based and cloud-based solutions. If you want to sync your information across multiple devices and computers, you should use one or more of these methods. These include iCloud, CardDAV servers, CalDAV servers, and servers that utilize the Exchange ActiveSync protocol. "
Believe what you wish, OSX does not support ActiveSync, IOS does, and OSX supports the full Exchange protocols rather than the Mobile (ActiveSync) version. (Only Exchange version 2007 SP1 r4 and newer are supported)
Why don't you connect via ActiveSync, post back and show us how that works on your Mac. And if you don't have a Mac try it on a PC, they don't support it either (Unless using Outlook 2013)
And, Drew, in addition to Barney-E15E's comments, you can sync between your iPhone and the CalDAV CardDAV servers on your laptop without using anyone else's network. Just choose the 'Create Network…' option from your laptop's wifi menu and your laptop will create its own wifi network which you can then use to sync your iPhone.
Yes, I agree it's a lot of work to restore an approximation to the lost functionality.
I'm aware (now) that Sync Services was deprecated some time ago, but the impact wasn't clear to this 'ordinary user' of iPhone, OS X and iTunes.
If it had been I would have held off upgrading until somone else had done the 'bleeding edge' stuff first!
The knowledge base is a bit unclear (your excerpt) ActiveSync is a supported method for IOS devices, but if you have a Mac it will need to use Exchange protocols (OWA or EWS), it matters not if your Mac and your iPhone use different protocols to access the Exchange, it's still the same account.
MS have (very recently) added ActiveSync to Outlook, but only Outlook 2013, and only for Windows. Fortunately there is plenty of support for the regular Exchange connection methods.
None of which is of any use if you do not want to use a cloud system, but if iCloud is the only cloud you are trying to avoid then ActiveSync will get you there on your phone, add Exchange to your Mac and there is your stuff, right up on the internet again. Only this way MS are hosting it for you.