[nSLUG] Rise & Fall of the PDA

David Potter dlpotter at eastlink.ca
Wed Aug 26 14:10:28 ADT 2009

I'm carrying a Palm Treo 700p (Telus) _and/or_ a Palm Treo 650p
(Bell/Aliant), both of which I keep synced with a {grimace} WinXP box.

Both phones do all the good Palm stuff __PLUS__ they use the infrared
port to communicate with the lockboxes realtors use to provide access to
property listings. The Palm software provided by GE/Supra works very
well, allows synchronization/authorization to take place on the road if


Daniel MacKay wrote:
> Does anyone remember the Palm?  I do -- I've had one attached to the  
> end of my arm since 1997, when my boss, John Sherwood, wanted to  
> upgrade his original Pilot 5000 to something a little more modern.
> A few years before that, John had noticed that I had something of  
> a ... let's call politely call it, "distress" over organizing projects  
> and my to-do list. He suggested that I get a Daybook -- we were using  
> the TSI one, take the course on audio cassette included with your  
> binder, and take the time / project management course - three or five  
> days or something like that. As far as I can tell, TSI was a ripoff of  
> the "Daytimer" time management system.  I chose the "Monarch" size  
> system; the pages are 8.5 x 11 so you have two 8.5 x 11" pages per day  
> -- the back side of yesterday's page, the front side of today.
> That course changed my life.  There were a main principles in that  
> course (there are a lot of smaller ones:)
> * you use the Book for everything: not just work items, but also  
> personal, and hobby stuff
> * that means, having it with you everywhere, and
> * it has to be 100% reliable; you have to trust it;
> * something is either a priority for today (an "A" item)- or it isn't.  
> Something bad will happen if you don't get an A item done today.
> * don't overfill your days.
> These organizational principles are hardly original - the Daytimer  
> religion was created in the late '40s, probably based on 1930s  
> industrial efficiency research, but I went from constantly being  
> worried - physically sick, often, that I was forgetting something I'd  
> promised to do, to being completely unable to forget promises, project  
> timelines, birthdays, and storing good ideas about upcoming  
> vacations.  A kind of serenity took over my life.
> The Daytimer has three main physical parts:
> * Day Pages which store information for about a month into the future
> * A Dates section which stores repeating events (e.g. birthdays,  
> "Start income tax", "Buy seeds for spring"
> * An A-Z "File Cabinet" where you could file anything alphabetically,  
> but particularly "project" information
> So anyway, years later, I inherited John Sherwood's old Palm, and over  
> a few months -- I carried both during that time -- I transferred all  
> my Daytimer stuff into the Palm fairly successfully. There were two  
> things that the Daytimer did better:
> * drawings: the old Palm screen resolution was 160x160; what is the  
> resolution of a 0.3 mechanical pencil on an 8.5 x 11" sheet of paper?
> * and, the Daytimer can reliably store other stuff -- up to about  
> MacLean's magazine size -- in the "File Cabinet" section.
> On the other hand,  the Palm could be backed up, replicated, unlike my  
> Daytimer which was once left on the roof of a taxi (but, I got it  
> back!)  --
> part of the Palm's religion was that regular backups were no brainers,  
> part of the charging system.
> About a year ago, my roommate started bemoaning the fall of the  
> Newton, lo, many years ago, and the loss of all of the organizing  
> tools that went with that. He looked at a number of other technologies  
> - for instance, a Nokia N800, and other web- Windows- and Mac OS-  
> based software; naturally I suggested he get a Palm like mine (I'm  
> currently using the Palm T|X.) He ended up with a Hipster PDA:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hipster_PDA 
>   and has created a local LinkedIn group for it:
> http://www.linkedin.com/groups?home=&gid=2211951
> Like the Palm and the Daytimer, there are two parts to the Hipster:  
> the physical unit, and the discipline (I usually call it a  
> "religion.")  The discipline comes from David Allen's _Getting Things  
> Done_ (there's a good review of it here: http://www.43folders.com/2004/09/08/getting-started-with-getting-things-done 
>   )
> Then, at a project planning meeting a few weeks ago, a consultant from  
> a competing business -- pulls out his Hipster!  Then, a couple of  
> weeks later, someone else!  I started thinking about this, because for  
> the last five years, people have been looking at my Palm T|X and  
> saying, "Oh wow, are you *still* using one of those?"
> The conclusion I've come to is: people abandoned their Palms when they  
> got celphones, because of the inconvenience of carrying around one  
> more thing;  most people (possibly not most people on this list)  
> consider having a gadget bandolier to be excessively geeky.
> The great irony of course, is that the paper and pen (oddly, not  
> pencil as was part of the Daytimer religion) Hipster is considered,  
> well, hip, and the much more capable Palm is considered outdated, even  
> when the Hipster is based on millenia-old hardware and both systems on  
> an organizational system in common use a half century ago.
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