So a while ago I needed an organizer…
Short story: I decided that pen & paper versions are too primitive (and messy when you need to move/delete a lot of stuff). Desktop and web apps are too distracting, and I cannot take them with me unless I take the laptop. Modern PDAs have too many features that I don’t need (for this purpose), and again it’s too easy to get carried way playing with tons of games and silly apps. I wanted something *simple*.
More specifically, I was looking for something to:
- store my appointments (granted, I don’t have too many of those)
- remind me of birthdays
- keep a simple diary (not a blog)
- manage a number of to-do lists
- manage my projects (work and personal)
- keep a contact list with people’s addresses and such
Sooo, I ended up getting an older PDA, the Palm Zire 31.
Many people nowadays would probably consider this a bad choice. Only 16 Mb of memory, fairly low resolution (160×160), no camera, no phone, no wireless, no bluetooth. But you know what? I don’t need all that stuff. I already have a camera, and a phone, and a music player, and game devices… I don’t need my PDA for that.
It was around $65 on eBay (refurbised, but looks like new). It’s pretty, somewhat colorful, and does just what I want. I use the built-in Calendar, Contacts and Tasks apps, plus a few more, like:
These are very useful; I use my Zire to store ideas, keep track of places I applied at (yes, I’m still looking for work; here’s my updated resume :-), keep a wishlist, lists of blog ideas, etc.
There are plenty of games for the Palm OS as well, but I’m doing my best not to install them, otherwise the handheld will become as much of a distraction as my laptop. I couldn’t resist adding a few of them though… There’s Frobnitz (to play interactive fiction), and roguelikes, and Pocket Civ…
There are also programming languages available, like LispMe and Dragon Forth… but Palm OS 5 isn’t exactly the most popular platform to code for nowadays, so I’m not really doing much with them. It’s cool to have a Lisp on the Palm, though. ^_^
(There’s also an astrology program called Delphi for the Palm, which is interesting because it’s chock full of little features and things you can click on. Click on a planet to see the aspects it makes, click on a sign to see the planets in that sign, etc. It makes good use of its little 160×160 space.)
Syncing is easier than when I first had a Palm Pilot (in 1997)… although the Zire doesn’t have bluetooth or wifi, all it takes is to connect it to a PC or Mac with a USB cable, and click the “sync” icon. Installing new software is usually easy too; on my Mac, all I have to do is download it, then doubleclick on the .prc file to schedule it for upload for the next sync.
Overall, I like it rather a lot… There are some minor drawbacks as well, like the fact that it freezes sometimes and needs to be reset. Just remember to carry a paperclip around. :-)