As the social media guru Douglas MacArthur should have said, old technology doesn’t die, it just fades away. What’s fading on me, lately, is my Palm Tungsten PDA, one of the two that Noah used on the ark. It’s the third Palm I’ve owned, though the second one’s life did end prematurely when a heavy shelf decided to part company with my office wall.
The PDA doesn’t have Internet access, can’t make calls. What it used to do, reliably, is synchronize my contacts, my calendar, and my to-do list so I could use these things either on the PDA or on my laptop.
A while back, the calendar stopped synching, which means the PDA won’t remind me I’m supposed to be at the dentist’s or that the scope of work is due at the client’s on Thursday.
I’ve decided not to try fixing this thing. My idea of a good time, or even a mildly tolerable bad one, doesn’t include textual analysis of error messages when they boil down to “nope, that didn’t work, either.” Instead, I’m trying to figure out what I want to do electronically so I can choose a suitable solution for myself.
The status quo:
- I use Outlook for email. I’m an independent practitioner, so it’s not like I’m required to use it. I’m just accustomed.
- I use Outlook’s calendar and to-do list a lot.
- My portable phone’s a very basic model. It makes calls. I don’t have a text plan; it’s too much trouble to enter text when you only have 12 keys.
- Most of the time, I work from my home office. Most of the rest of the time, I’m using my own computer at some client site.
So, I’m considering getting a smartphone to replace both the PDA and my current phone. I still want synchronization, by which I mean I want to be able to rely on either the smartphone or my computer for calendar, contacts, etc.
I am not welded to Outlook, though by nature I’m reluctant to shift fundamental applications. If I had to switch email, I’d be looking for solid evidence that the New Thing linked well with calendar and to-do stuff. And if I were really unhappy, I might go to the recommender’s house and let the air out of a tire or two.
I’m not opposed to an iPhone, though I do think Apple’s business model includes the Beanie Baby approach: create the appearance of exclusivity, then charge more. I talked a bit yesterday with a Verizon salesperson about the new Droid phone; I’d like to hear more from people who do the kind of stuff I’d like to do.
So–how should I be thinking? What am I overlooking? Feel free to add a comment here, through Twitter, on LinkedIn, or at dferguson [you know] strathlorne [ditto] com.
CC-licensed image of PDA sketch by andreaspopp.