Monday, December 05, 2005

the palm in my hand

Doug seems to face never-ending torment with his PDA, and he asked (challenged?) me to list what I use mine for. I briefly considered creating the list on the Palm itself, but a whack to the head quickly brought me back to reality (and was likely less masochistic than actually creating the list using Graffiti 2). Anyhoo, here are some of the things I do with my Palm:

  1. Reading articles and papers. I started with iSilo several years ago, but have been an avid fan of Plucker ever since trying it about two years ago. I use the Sunrise offline sync tool and Firefox extension to quickly grab content for Plucker to display.
  2. Read MS Office and PDF docs offline. As I've mentioned in a past posting, Documents to Go has excellent support for native MS Office files, and the latest version adds support for native PDF files as well.
  3. Offline calendar with alarms. The original "killer app" that got me interested in PDAs in the first place. A 15-minute alarm prompting me to get to a meeting I've forgotten about has saved me more times than I'd care to admit.
  4. Offline Tasks with alarms. I use Outlook Tasks to track the stuff I have to get done, and alarm ticklers for these tasks sync'ed to my Palm mean I'm bugged at least three times more often than I otherwise would be. The jury is still out as to whether or not this is a good thing, and whether this has any impact on task completion rate [grin].
  5. Offline contact list. Now what was that phone number again? With my Palm at hand, I can quickly look up phone numbers and email addresses when I'm away from my computer. Hey, Doug, it even synchronizes photos embedded in Outlook Contacts!
  6. World clock with time zones and alarm clock. World Clock lets you set up a simultaneous display of the time in several locations around the world, and I've found the alarm clock more reliable than many of the clocks (and wake-up calls) I've come across in my travels.
  7. Carry around pictures, audio and movies. My Palm TX does come with a reasonable amount of internal memory, but a 1GB SD card gives me the space needed to carry around some mp3 tunes, podcasts, a selection of photos, and even try out the odd video. The open source TCPMP player can handle nearly any audio/video encoding, and video support on the new iPod has done much to increase the availability of digital videos formatted for smaller screens.
  8. Pass the time with games like Bejeweled 2 (which I'm finding to be a seriously addicting game).

On reflection, what I find most interesting is how I actually use my Palm vs how I thought I would before I got my first one. I anticipated using the Palm to manage appointments and tasks, with the potential to eventually replace pen and ink as my note taking tool of choice. Instead, I really treat my Palm as a portable viewer for documents, appointments, tasks and notes that I primarily create and manage on my computer.

[PS] If you use a blogging service or engine that is supported by Writely , consider trying it to create blog entries. I've posted my last few entries using Writely 'cause I like the WYSIWYG interface and whole-screen text area.

1 comment:

  1. My killer app is the same as yours -- offline calendar with alarms. It's the reason I bought my Zire 31, and it's still the best reason for continuing to use the Zire. I have tried to GTD with the to-do lists, but that keeps falling flat (every so often I try to kickstart myself but I can't keep it going). But I agree, just having the alarms when I'm away from my desk is worth it.