Category Archives: Palm

Those Halcyon Days of the Rolodex

Jim Wright over at Stonekettle Station on Facebook is a frequent read of mine. I have moved his notifications to view first in the Facebook interface. Why? Because he makes me laugh, and I need a good laugh these days. Today was no exception,

Once upon a time an address book was a simple list of names and phone numbers that you scribbled onto little squares of cardboard and put in a little indexed box and kept by the phone — which was a big black plastic box with a dial and a handset, attached to the wall via wires, and heavy enough to bludgeon somebody to death with.

Back then, how many people did you really need to call? A few dozen maybe. Relatives. Friends. Anybody else was listed in the phone book.

My mom still has such a box full of cards next to her phone in the dining room. I knock it over nearly every time I’m there. Damned cards, why do you still have this mess? I ask as I’m picking them up off the floor. Why?

See, with the invention of computers, an address book became something you laboriously copied from those little cardboard rectangles into electronic storage. In fact some of the earliest programs for home computers (remember when we called them “home” computers?) were address books and contact lists. Periodically something would happen, a crash, an upgrade, something, and you’d have to retype the whole damned list into a different machine. So you hung onto that little box of cardboard rectangles, the ultimate backup.

The image at right is representative of what was my first smartphone. A device which was available long before Saint Jobs invented the iPhone. It had a music player before there was a iPod, too. I graduated from the Handspring Visor in the center to the Treo on the left, also available before the iPhone. Cheaper, too.

I haven’t used a Rolodex (the little squares of paper) ever in my life. Other people kept Rolodexes which I transferred once to my daily planner (5 ring. Transplantable address pages) and once more to my Handspring (Palm) device. Every transfer after that has been electronic. To quote Egon “print is dead”.

I have not ever attempted to recreate my list of contacts because (and this is important) I never wrote anything down that I didn’t have to and I never kept things I wrote out of embarrassment at my poor handwriting (more on that here) consequently my address book exists in a few digital places and pretty much no where else and the sad part is I can’t think of anyone’s number aside from The Wife, the city emergency number and information number.

Or maybe it isn’t sad. There are a whole host of things that people remember for no good reason other than their lives require them to remember them. The Wife is my link to sanity and the rest of the world, so her number I really do need to know. Everyone else is findable through lookup or the eight or so social platforms that I would utilize if I wanted to talk to someone. I would use them because who calls anybody anymore? I don’t even talk to people I pay bills to unless I absolutely have to. The phone is as dead as print is, for all intents and purposes.

However, I may have run across the problem Jim is talking about. Android creates a phone-only contact that is your contact information, and it will delete your contact of the same name from the gmail interface. It will do this pretty consistently no matter how many times you create that card. I know this because I used to beam my contact information to others with Palm devices, which meant I had to keep a digital card of my information to beam. If there had been more Palm users this may have been more useful back then, but it is the reason I still have a card of my information today. Or had until Android removed it from my contacts list when I moved to Android and identified the phone user as the same name on the card. Android is probably trying to be helpful and is only helping discover more colorful cursing in the process.

(blog entry back dated to correspond to the time the photo was taken and posted on Facebook)

‘Former’ Palm user?

I’m beginning to think it’s time to trade up.

I’ve carried a Palm device since Handspring first offered it’s Visor. While I was content to nestle in the (expensive) corporate software world that Bill and his buddies have carved out, Palm desktop’s Windows exclusive interface was not a problem. Now that I’ve struck out into the (nearly) trackless wilderness of Linux, trying to get my Palm devices to reliably sync with any version of Linux has proven to be more problematic than I had ever envisioned.

Consequently, I was heartened to hear that Android rolled-out the long awaited open source OS for the as yet sight unseen gPhone.

By creating an open platform, Google is trying to make money not on software or hardware sales, but by creating vast hordes of ad-susceptible phone users. Google can be less selfish about design, and less worried about stumbles on the road to perfection. Google boss Eric Schmidt told us today that they would not be in the business of clamping down on independent development, and from the sound of it, would be encouraging carriers to adopt a hands-off policy toward third-party development.

read more | digg story

Intrigued by this development, I wandered by the Engadget site, only to discover that

Palm, which has been struggling for years through countless setbacks to introduce its own Linux-based mobile OS, in the mean time using a continuously cobbled-together version of Palm OS 5 (originally introduced in 2002) throughout. Palm’s first attempt at a next-gen mobile OS, dubbed Cobalt, is announced in 2004 and quickly becomes the stuff of vaporware legend, delayed over and over until ACCESS eventually buys the flagging PalmSource (more here on how that whole thing went down); ACCESS pledges to finish development of Palm’s misplaced next-gen mobile OS, and then license it back to Palm (among other companies).

But Palm’s had enough, so earlier this year it announces its intentions to release its own Linux-based OS — again — but this time without the help of its spin-off sister company Palm Source (which, of course, is now a part of ACCESS). And that new OS is quickly hyped and lauded — and then delayed. Yet again. Pushed back into late 2008 at the earliest (although we won’t be surprised if Palm revises and makes that 2009 or even later). And so we ask, Palm, where the hell were you when Google was rallying its Open Handset Alliance?

read more | digg story

Yes, where the hell were you, Palm? Why am I still forced to juggle an OS that has essentially remained unchanged since 2002 with newer and faster PC’s and their constantly updated OS’s? Why hasn’t a shift to a Linux based Palm OS come about? Why is the Palm Desktop still exclusively set up for corporate software solutions (Windows/Mac)?

Most Importantly, will I have to endure a brain transplant (long before the iPhone ad, or the iPhone itself, I frequently referred to my Palm device as ‘my brain’) in order to get a device that plays well with the OS that I intend to use for the foreseeable future; A Linux OS?

Will we ever see a gPhone? Google executives won’t say … yet. For now, Google CEO Eric Schmidt says there will be a variety of Android phones offered by several wireless carriers. But even without a dedicated gPhone, we can all look forward to a software platform designed to better the user experience, while also being light on the pocketbook. All the while, Google is extending its seemingly endless grip on the technological world.

read more | digg story

So, in the meantime, I’ll keep carrying my Treo 650. I’m just not sure what manufacturer I’ll be purchasing my next device from…

iPhone Conundrums

Suit Accuses Apple, AT&T of Monopoly

The article on Digg points to the wrong link. Here’s the corrected link.

Intentionally breaking third party applications for their phone hardware is what is going to get Apple in trouble, in the end. It’s what got Microsoft in trouble, intentionally ‘breaking’ Netscape’s ability run on updated Windows products (something that was reversed in later releases) so that Internet Exploder, urm, Explorer, would run unchallenged on Windows systems. This was SOP at Microsoft for many years.

Yes Microsoft dominates the software market currently, but I wonder how much longer this will be true; and how is Apple ever going to gain customer loyalty when they alienate whole sections of their userbase by purposefully breaking their customers phones with software updates?

First you pay 200 dollars too much for the thing, and now it doesn’t work at all. Thanks Apple. Stick with Palm or LG or Nokia next time, lusers.


…And then the other shoe drops. So much for Apple’s control over their product base….

Hackers Claim to Revive ‘Bricked’ iPhones

It’s unclear, however, how permanent any “unbrick” fix will be, or whether changes to the hacks that allow modifications will survive the next Apple iPhone update.

read more | digg story

…but I still say you should have bought a Palm…!

Are we not clever enough to withstand Apple’s spin?

Steve Jobs has a mind control ray? It would explain a great many things.

Today’s papers are full of the announcements, all buying into Jobs’ “seven wonders of the world” line about the new touchscreen iPod. There’s no doubt it looks great but DO YOU REALLY NEED IT! And yes, I know you can say that about all technology but it’s a serious point where iPods are concerned.
Apple feeds off the hype that follows its announcements and I am surprised they still get away with it. I mean how often do you change your washing machine? Or you oven? Or your TV? Or your digital camera?
We buy those expecting them to last years but far too many people seem happy to splash out a couple of hundred quid or more on an iPod only to “trade up” six months later when Steve appears on a big screen presumably sending out some sort of psychic wave. I can’t think of any other explanation for the cultish behaviour that sees millions seemingly brainwashed into replacing a product that’s perfectly good for one that doesn’t really do anything different to what they hold in their hands.  

Jonathan Weinberg, TECHDIGEST; Opinion: Are we not clever enough to withstand Apple’s spin

I’ve never owned an iPod. Even though my first exposure to computers was on a Mac (the original) I’ve never had the need to own any of Steve Job’s new gizmo’s.

I’ve carried a Palm device since Handspring was formed; years before Jobs had his vision of the iPod. The first add-on I bought was a 64 meg MP3 player, which I used for several years as my only MP3 player. I’ve currently got a Treo 650 (which is two iterations behind the latest and greatest Palm device) and I have no need to upgrade to a newer Palm, much less a use restricted MP3 player that doesn’t include a phone.

When I first decided to invest in Palm devices, I did so based on the concept of one device that performs the functions of several devices I might need to carry; phone, camera, data, music and video. The first Handspring with add-ons could live up to this expectation. The current Treo does it with nothing more than an SD card for additional memory.

The iPod is just a walkman that plays MP3s, and now it plays video. Nothing new there. The iPhone is just another cell phone with a really cool interface. Also nothing new. Palm was the innovator of handheld devices, Apple is just the copycat. They lost their cutting edge when they lost the Woz.

I don’t know who the next innovator will be, but it won’t be Apple. Perhaps Google has something up thier sleeve? Ever heard of Archos? Who knows what the future holds; history, however, has shown that giant corporations do not produce innovations.

No iPhone For Me

I’m glad Rankin took the time to write down his reasons for not buying an iPhone. I’ve been thinking I needed to do this, and it saves me the time. Frankly, I don’t know what the buzz is about. I’ve been carrying a Palm device for more than 5 years now. My first device was a Handspring Visor (still have it) and it had expansion cards for cell phones and mp3 players (still have those too) it predates the iPod, and cost half what the iPod does. My current device is a Treo 650, and it does everything the iPhone does for about half the price as well. Go figure.

Ten Reasons Why the iPhone is not myPhone