Back to Palm…again

Palm Treo 650

Michael at work just got a Treo 650 and because I have a Palm T|X (review roundup), he was wondering how to get up using the Palm features.

In my opinion the two are not the same product, there are a lot of cool things that I could do with a PalmOS that are too inconvenient when spread across two devices. The fact is, I bought my Palm T|X as a stop-gap measure for the stuff that I used to keep on my Palm m505 years ago. These apps are probably outdated now, but I figure I can coast a while with it until the cell-phone and PDA integration wars end.

Instead, a much better source for him will this blog series I found of a Windows Mobile user who purchased a Treo 650. It’s a fresh perspective from someone whose primary interest is having a Treo for the things the Treo does well.

What do I use my T|X for?

If you are wondering what I use my T|X for, here is a list. Granted it’s only been a month so I haven’t really had time to get adjusted yet.

Organization:

  • DateBk5 still running after all these iterations has my iCal information via Missing Sync. Unfortunately, I forgot how to use this complex application and I forgot how I had my icons organized.
  • I keep nearly my entire Address Book on it, synched via the Mac OS X Address Book (one way synch while I test out some synch incompatibility issues) via Mark/Space Missing Sync. This is synced with my windows machine via Plaxo for Mac and Plaxo for Outlook and Outlook Express and synced with my Yahoo! account via Plaxo for Internet Explorer. (It used to sync with other macs via dotMac, but I’m pretty sure dotMac sync services is buggy.) The Plaxo stuff is free. Anyone know of a good Address Book replacement? I used to use TealPhone but now they are charging me to upgrade.
  • My To Do list is synchronized with my Mac via Life Balance as it has for many years now.
  • I jot down notes to myself using the built-in Memos. I never got used to Notes or to third party stuff. But I should look into a 3rd party font replacement (preferably something that can do sub-pixel rendering) as the Palm OS is still ugly to read
  • I make lists using HandyShopper which is free and can be synched to my Mac (sort of) via HS2Edit.
  • I keep passwords stored using Web Confidential. Both the Palm and Mac app are more than a bit dated, but I own them and have used them forever. If it were today, I’d probably use SplashID which is missing some features on the Mac side, but is simple and cheap.
  • I use Pocket Quicken to enter expenses before I forget them.

Apps and Utilities:

  • My remote for home entertainment is Salling Clicker. There are IR universal remotes out there, but I use a computer. Besides, I own Salling Clicker already so that I can push slides with my cell phone during talks, guess this year it will be a Palm.
  • I am still looking for a clock/stopwatch/timer program. I used to use the freeware BigClock and am thinking about using PalmaryClock. Missing Sync synchronizes the clock with my Mac.
  • PalmPDF is both free and good, though it could do with being a bit faster, and having bookmarking feature
  • DocumentsToGo, pTunes, and a Media come with my Palm. I haven’t really used them yet. I rarely need Office, I have iPods coming out the ass. Someone please tell me why I want to listen to music on a device that already drains battery too much for comfort? Video playback using media or MMPlayer would be nice since the screen is much larger than the Video iPod, but the iTunes-integration/convenience is a deal killer. Plus, I don’t watch videos (yet). Maybe I’ll transcode some of Caitlin’s samples just for fun. Is there a better multimedia player for the Palm?
  • My iPhoto album is synced to SplashPhoto via Missing Sync. Too bad I use Aperture. Perhaps I should buy Aperture2iLife, or maybe get off my but and write the 10 line AppleScript Studio app it must have taken to make this product? In any case, it’s pretty cool having a picture frame go automatically when your palm is plugged into an outlet.
  • Power48 is god’s gift to geeks. What is it? It’s an emulator for the HP48GX, HP48SX, and HP49G calculators. When I was in college, the 48SX was the cat’s meow at Caltech (because I broke a lot of calculators, I settled on a HP 32SII. I should mention that the HP calculator engineers thought I was a weird bird because one of them had one of the first 32S’s to roll down the assembly line and it was still running. Of course, I’ve broken everything that is portable, so that hasn’t changed.) I had to get the Palm T|X compatibile version here, and you have to read the manual to figure out how to download the HP-donated ROMS to get them to work. It’s free. Did you know that the 49G is not an RPN calculator? What’s up with that?
  • I generate memorable passwords using PassPhrase—an app practically nobody remembers. Ironic.
  • Another Freeware app DOFMaster LE gives me a portable Depth-Of-Field table for photography. Very cool.

System Utilities:

  • I use Missing Sync to access the 1GB SD card on my Palm. It’s slow as crap. Is it me or does anyone else think it’s time for Palm to get out of the dark ages and support a 4 or 5-pin USB 2.0 connector instead of this stilly sync cable?
  • FileZ to manage files. I heard there are better things out there, but are there any cheaper ones?
  • I use FitalyVirtual and a hack for text entry. This is my first Palm with Graffiti 2. Fitaly is no longer supported on the Palm so the future looks bleak, but I challenge anyone to do over 30wpm using Graffiti 2 after a month—I was tapping that speed right out of the box (though I had to pay to upgrade from FitalyStamp to FitalyVirtual).

That’s everything. You notice, I don’t use any of the SMS, phone or internet features—I never learned and this is a stop gap, as I mentioned before. Also, there are a ton of stuff I forgot about, no longer need (like Métro) or haven’t found out about.

I hope the above article and this list helps Michael use his Treo though.

One last piece of advice: Don’t install any games on the Treo. Can you say “time sink?”

2 thoughts on “Back to Palm…again

  1. One tip I read is that in order to speed up synching you can synch over 802.11 (which is supported by Missing Sync). The sync communication is unencrypted if that is an issue for you.

  2. PalmInfocenter posts a list of must-have free Treo applications. This is a great idea because a lot of Treo users are first-time Palm users who haven’t built up a huge application library.

    This way, you can install these “must have” apps and see if you like them. If they are good enough, you are set. If you have a need for more, there are commercial versions of nearly all of these apps that can add more features. If you don’t like them, then uninstall and no-harm/no-foul.

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