Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Lost Bits - Palm Tungsten E

Another year, another Palm and another group of bits have managed to vanish.

I traded my Palm m105 in for a Tungsten E over a year ago. I was amazed at the increased capabilities of the Tungsten E. As with every other computer, I managed to load it up with various apps and data. One app in particular, I had used with the m105 was Documents to Go. It's the app that allows you to view and create MS Office documents on your Palm.

Before I get into DTG, let me explain why I switched from the m105. The m105 uses two AAA batteries and frequently I would run out of juice. At this point, and many times when inserting new batteries I had on hand the m105 lost all of it's data. I would have to wait until I got home to resync and get all of my data and apps back. This became annoying and I needed something that could use a charger. The Tungsten E seemed to be a well-deserved update that allowed for charging, rather than using batteries.

Soon after buying the Tungsten E, I loaded it with DTG. Over the past year I've been adding new passwords and various other documents into it. I used the spreadsheet feature to calculate the gas mileage for the Isuzu Rodeo versus the Honda Nighthawk, etc.

I also utilized the Palm calendar alarm feature to remind me of various cable programs when they came on. This would prove to be my downfall. While it was very efficient to get a beep to remind my one of my programs was getting ready to start, and also remind me what channel I needed to tune to, I became very dependent on this feature. I loaded it up with cable listings, radio listings, along with various meeting reminders and what not.

When the Palm wants to notify its owner that they have a reminder or scheduled event, it powers itself on and then beeps. If the notification goes unnoticed, then it shuts off and repeats again in another five minutes. This repeated effort utilizes battery power. And you probably see where I'm going with this. You have to be present, or in close proximity to the Palm device to be reminded, otherwise the battery will drain. And so it went.

One Saturday afternoon I had stayed in bed nursing cedar fever. I didn't want to watch anything, listen to anything or talk about anything. I just wanted to stay under the sheets and suffer. My Tungsten E thought differently. It repeatedly reminded me to listen to the classical music station for the piano program, the guitar program. 60 Minutes on CBS, Boston Legal on ABC, and a few more. It spent all weekend beeping, but I never acknowledged its presence or its reminders.

I was revived by Monday morning and ready, bright and early, to take a look at my day's schedule. Nothing. A black reflective screen that had no life. Only my reflection could be seen. It dawned on me I had let all of the reminders go unnoticed. I quickly plugged it into the charger to give it enough juice to boot up. After about thirty minutes I checked it again and there was nothing but the basic data and apps present. OK, I'll do a hotsync when I get to the office I thought.

When I synced at the office everything came back, except for Documents to Go files and my personal photos. Those items had vanished. Even when I resynced on the mac, which operates as my paranoid backup syncing station. Nothing. Again, everything was there except DTG docs and my photos. Gone. Vanished.

Lessons learned...again.

The Palm is very good at what it does. I couldn't live without mine. I do daily brain-dumps of everything I don't want to carry around in my head. And I still want it to remind of the things I need to watch or listen to or people to talk to or meet with. However, I will pay more attention to the needs of the Palm. Just as the dog needs a walk, the cat needs me giving her water, the bunny needs a daily scratch on the nose, the Palm needs it's juice, if utilized as my personal assistant, beeping me when I can't remind myself. It has become another pet.

I've reworked my habits so that it gets plugged into the charger when I get home and taken off when I leave. So far is just the amount of attention it needs and is satisfied.


Blogger Miranto said...

Have you used Pocket PC? If not...

Well maybe this is a good opportunity to go and get one Dell Axim, my friend. I know, i know... you must be a die hard Palm user, but so was I and see, after my first Pocket PC device I did not turn back to Palm OS mainly for one reason: you don't need third party software to get all the funcionality you need. What just happened no way could have if you were using Outlook instead, for example.

Take it from a friend, at least get a cheap Pocket PC device and learn how to use it. You won't be disappointed. My favorites are the Dell's Axims, but maybe you can get something better for you out there.


12:57 PM  

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