Tiny Code

Tiny Code

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Life after Palm

I've finally settled upon using my iPod Touch as the best PDA replacement device for my Palm. Having used Palm PDAs since I bought my first one at the employee price working for U.S. Robotics in 1996, I've come to rely heavily on a number of key applications to keep my life organized. Fortunately the iPhone application market has matured to the point that I could easily find replacements for all my "must have" applications.

First and foremost, I needed a way to sync my contact information from my Mac to the iPod Touch. Luckily, Apple anticipated that by adding that capability into iTunes.

It was also imperative that I be able to sync memos between my desktop computer and the iPod Touch. Mark/Space has a product called The Missing Sync which takes care of that problem for me.

It was also important that I be able to sync calendars between my desktop system and the PDA. Fortunately a combination of iCal on my Mac, iCal on the iPod, and Google Calendar was able to handle that thorny issue. This article on using CalDAV with Google Calendar and iCal helps explain the rather tricky configuration.

For a number of years I've been using a Palm application called SplashID to keep my passwords secure and yet easily accessible. The good folks at SplashData have created a version which runs on the iPod Touch. Using a new version of the same application made conversion very simple.

I've also grown reliant on having access to a simple database application on my PDA to keep track of things such as books I'm interested in reading as well as a number of other topics. I've used a great little Palm application called JFile for many years to fill this need. One of the best known names in Mac databases, FileMaker, has recently released a personal database application called Bento. They also have an iPhone/iPod Touch version available which can sync with the Mac version of Bento.

The last important thing I required on my PDA was a way to read books. I'd been using the mobile version of Adobe's Acrobat Reader on the Palm. I discovered that there's a free product called Stanza Desktop which is available for both Mac and Windows machines. They also have an iPhone/iPod Touch version which can sync books from the desktop version. Couple this with the fact that Google Books has announced that they have over a million public domain books available in the EPUB format (which Stanza supports) and my needs for a PDA book reader is more than met.

It's been a bit of a challenge but I've finally got all these applications installed and my data transferred. The only problem which remains is I'm still not able to see subordinate calendars from Google Calendars yet. Aside from that, I'm very happy with the new device. It's thinner, easier to read, and has better battery life than my Palm did. Plus it functions as a very good music player to boot.

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