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Palm Pilot Utilities

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New Treo 600

I like my little geek box.  It's just small enough that I always have it with me.   That makes it incredibly convenient for phone lists, grocery lists, to-dos, etc.

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Old Visorphone

I started with a Palm 1000 in about 1996, upgraded to a 5000, then upgraded to 1Mb.  But it didn't have backlighting.  Also, my roomie wanted a geek box, so in 1998 I got myself a new Palm III and she got my old one.  That lasted a few years, until early 2001 when the Palm III started to crash often.

So I splurged and got a Visor Prizm.  About six months later I got the Visorphone for it.  That lasted until Jan 2004.  By this time, the antenna was broken on the phone, and it was hard to adjust it properly to get an electrical connection so it would hold a cell connection.  The earphone jack didn't work, anymore.  And it would often only charge to half full and would only hold the charge for a couple of days.   Sometimes only a few hours.  And the phone would only work for a few minutes before it started to complain about a low battery.

When I finally got a job I splurged again and got the Treo 600.  This is almost exactly what I wanted.

Good points:

Bad points:

Update Nov '04:


The A Number One must-have addition to any geek box.  If you're using a geek box with character recognition you can't do without these.  A teeny piece of grit on the stylus will scratch the surface, which makes the character recognition much more error-prone.  Even without character recognition, they're just too cheap to not use to protect the screen.
This works.  I had a set of batteries that apparently weren't secure in the recharger.  I tried to keep an eye on the power level but missed it when it went dead.  Change the batteries again, hotsynch, and BackupBuddy automagically restored everything.  That's the way it should be.
Pops up your to-do list and datebook every time you turn it on.  I used to pretty much ignore my to-dos until this.  Now, they're in my face all the time.
Obviously, I like TealPoint software :-)  This program can lock the Pilot, requiring a password.  I don't use it that way.  I simply use it to throw up a screen that has my name, address, and my picture in case I ever lose my geek box.  It comes up first thing.  You can set how long the Pilot is off before it brings up this screen.
A simple grocery list program, including a PC app.  I used to try to use the to-do for grocery, but that didn't work very well.  This program an unlimited number of different stores.  I have grocery, Home Labyrinth, computer supplies, Radio Shack, etc.  Stuff that otherwise I'd likely forget.  Since I always have my Pilot with me, when I think of it I write it down.
A password-protected program to store passwords, PIN numbers, logins, etc.  Easy to use, and has several templates for common accounts.  Icons could conceivably make it easier to spot the account you're looking for, but almost all of mine are website logins, so they're identical.
A PC calendar program that synchs with the Palm Datebook+ app.  In addition, it can easily produce an HTML calendar to drop into your website.   A benefit I didn't expect is a robust CSV import.  When putting dates, times etc for 30 games into the program, a text file is much, much more convenient that going through the GUI over and over.
Pocket Tunes
MP3 player.  It just works right out of the box.
Decent reports and graphs.  I wish it had a desktop component.
An addictive puzzle game.  Really sucks battery power.
Nice, simple game to pass the time with a friend while standing in line or something.
A decent Yahtzee.  One or two player.

Useful sites:


The Handspring Mobil Portal, one of the default links, has some good ones.  Here are some more that I use:

I don't know if this site is sanctioned, but it works great.
Just the first of the big news sites I've found that has a mobile version.  I used to use CNN with Avantgo, but CNN killed it before its replacement was ready.
Movie Times
Look up movies in your area.  Don't save this link.  Set your zip code and then save the bookmark.  (I wish the list was sorted by distance, rather than alphabetically.)
Small Sites
Dunno what the deal is with the url, but it seems to work.  Collection of sites.
Another collection of mobile sites.

Sites I wish had mobile interfaces:  Netflix, CNN.  Amazon looks like it has a mobile interface, but everytime I tried to log in and look at my shopping cart it told me it was empty.

Old recommendations:

The A Number One most useful utility for the Palm Pilot. It draws digital ink on the screen while you're drawing your Graffiti character. My consistency went way up when I started using this
Good Enough, except that it doesn't have a PC app to update your grocery list.
Account Manager aka MobileSafe
Kept having trouble with the PC app.
Rechargable batteries
The original Pilot ate batteries about every two weeks.  Now, I think I get a couple of months out of each set.  So they wouldn't be as expensive today.   Still, I find swapping them out of the recharger to be much more convenient than trying to remember to keep a stock of disposables.
Update:  Many of the new geek boxes have built-in batteries, so this obviously doesn't apply to those models.

Editing history:

07/MAR/02 - Changed from JShopper to SplashShopper and MobileSafe to SplashID

02/FEB/04 - Updated for my Treo 600.  Moved TealEcho to old recommendations, since this doesn't have character recognition.  Added Calendarscope, TealAuto, and Pocket Tunes.

07/FEB/04 - Added interesting mobile website links.  Added link to case I'm prolly gonna get.

08/NOV/04 - Added Nov '04 updates.

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Last modified: November 09, 2004
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