Technology Overkill?

Do I really need this box of tricks?

I’ve been reading Lifehacker for a while now. I really like the Getting Things Done (GTD) articles. Keith Robinson’s Getting to Done: How GTD made my Treo obsolete really made me thing about how I use my Treo! Mind you, I am still using the little gadget even if I do feel that I am carrying too much stuff around with me. Having all those client phone numbers when in the pub can’t be a good thing.

Where Are My Palm Treo 650 SMS Messages?

What happens when the SMS database on your Treo 650 stops working?

You may be aware that I have been a long-time Palm user and fan of their products. Sure, like many, I have been frustrated that their development lacks the pace of some of the others in the same space and their product range is limited. But, I was a user of the Treo 600 when it was first launched in the UK and am, currently, a Treo 650 owner. They may not be the best ‘phones in the world and they’re old-school when it comes to PDA functionality these days but they more-or-less work for me. I also have a Palm Lifedrive that I don’t really use and am trying to find a sensible use for.

Having said that I am a fan I really must impress upon the product managers to work with users. It’s always the technology that lets me down. Yesterday, just before I went to Helsinki, my Treo’s SMS Message program somehow corrupted leaving me with limited access to messages. There are a few users who have posted handy hints but little official help (its the Messages Database in case you’re wondering and not the SMS Messages as some threads seem to hint). I spent a good hour trying to fix it as SMS capabilities are quite important to me when I travel (it saves on the cost of the calls).

To resolve the problem I had to completely remove the Messages Database and then we were back to normal functionality. On my journey of Palm discovery, I realised there is really no SMS back-up help. I sync my Palm daily and you would have thought that SMS and MMS messages would have been archived in the Palm Desktop. But no, they are stuck in their little databases with almost no way to get them out – and once your database is corrupted all hope is gone.

Fortunately for me, it’s not that important to keep old messages but it’s nice. This site is a reminder of things I did and I increasingly use my Palm Treo 650 photographs on Flickr as a visual reminder of what I have done. It would be nice to add a SMS/MMS timeline to that as a personal record (a little like Nokia’s Lifeblog). So, c’mon Palm: help us keep our data in multiple ways.

Some People Are Helpful

The staff of the Orange shop in Wimbledon were very helpful. Thank you.

My mobile phone developed a fault. It started a few weeks ago but has made the device unusable now. There’s an electrical noise that became so bad other people couldn’t hear me. I could hear then but they had no idea what I was saying. So, I went to talk to the people at Orange and discovered they don’t have the right phone on the insurance that I have been paying for. They said it’s my fault, I said it was their fault. Anyway, after much discussion it appeared that I could upgrade for free anyway so there’s really not that much difference.

I spent a day or two thinking about what to do. I have had a Palm Treo 600 for several years. I think I must have mentioned before that it is not a perfect telephone but it does allow me to take a whole pile of numbers and information with me when I am on the road; and that is very useful indeed. So I decided to upgrade to the Treo 650. And that is where the problems started. The Orange shop I was in said that they have been unable to source a Treo for months and the other central London outlets that I contacted said the same. Other networks now offer the Treo so I contemplated switching – which is a big deal for me because I have an irrational loyalty to Orange despite recent poor service and packages I am not convinced are great value.

Fortunately, there were some very helpful people in the Orange store in Wimbledon. In fact, I can’t recommend that shop too highly and that is the point of this post. While other shops were unhelpful, Wimbledon were fantastic. It might have helped that they actually had the phone I wanted in stock but I think it deserves notice that they were more than helpful. So, on Wednesday I walked out with a shiny new Treo 650. Let’s see what it’s like.

Nokia E61

Nokia’s new messaging phone comes complete with QWERTY keyboard but doesn’t have the treo-style annoying aerial.

Dear Palm

Please take note:

Nokia Announces Eseries for Business (Phone Scoop): E6 -: A slim (0.55 inches) messaging phone to compete with the Motorola Q. Features a landscape 24-bit QVGA display, QWERTY keyboard, and a miniSD slot. Supports quad-band GSM/EDGE and WCDMA 2100.

With no annoying sticky-up aerial to jab you when it’s in your pocket.

Thanks in advance
Me

Vacillation’s What We Need

I think too much about some things, especially, about useful pds gadgets which aren’t important.

If you hadn’t worked out that I like my pda gadgets by now where have you been? I suggest you take a crash course: Phones & PDAs, Another PDA, Personal Information Management and Why Do We Love Our Mobile Phones?

So I decided that my Treo 600 was a pain. I mentioned before that it’s OK at many things but it isn’t great at any of them. As a regular Palm it’s good but as a ‘phone it’s just OK (by which I mean poor). As a camera it is very poor. So I started to become obsessed by finding a solution to my problem/desire to get it all in one. Then, because I vacillate so much, I decided that my Treo 600 on Orange is actually pretty good and I want to keep it. A few hours later a whole Nokia fetish kicked in before I decided that, yet again, Treo wins. I don’t like the idea of not having my contact and diary synchronised properly. I thought, for a moment, that WAP could be a solution but it’s not the same. Then I saw the new Palm Tungsten E2 and thought well …

Now, please tell me why I become so engrossed in this subject. Why can’t I, just like a normal person, have a ‘phone that is a ‘phone?

Why Do We Love Our Mobile Phones?

Why are we always looking for the next new ‘phone? I know I’ve been looking.

Occasionally I have noted my use of a Palm powered Treo on Orange in the UK. It’s an OK ‘phone and an OK organiser (and an OK MP3 player and a poor camera) but as one, pocket-sized device it more-or-less rocks. Sometimes I wish it was smaller and sometimes I wish it was bigger. Sometimes I wish I’d spent the cash on the keyboard accessory and then, sometimes, I don’t.

Last month Engadget carried what they said were ‘actual pics of the new Treo Ace/Treo 650‘ which is the next version of the device and – of course – carries some neat improvements. At the start of next year I will be 12 months into the contract for the ‘phone and able to change it. The thing is – although I love all the features and I love the whole Palm experience – I can’t help thinking that I need to get a simpler machine that is just a telephone.

Ah, the dilemmas of the gadget obsessed.

Personal Information Management

A little rant about data synchronisation is brewing. This isn’t it.

I have such a long post ‘brewing’ about data that we all need to transport around with us regularly. I have Microsoft Outlook at work; a palm-powered Treo ‘phone and a Palm desktop/Mozilla combination at home. I occasionally back all my data up to Yahoo’s organiser (calendar, address, memo). There is no reliable synchronisation tool which can handle everything well for me and this is one of the things that truly frustrates people who are trying to utilise all this technology. It was one of the reasons I switched to a Palm-powered Treo rather than my old Nokia favourites (at least a good part of the synchronisation works). There are some immovables in the equation: Outlook is in use in my office and I can’t change that and I am attached to Windows-based computers. Although I have heard some reports that Apple’s i-sync isn’t as great as it’s claimed it is – at least – an option for Mac users. I notice another satisfied user today: Jase and his Sony Ericsson T610. Maybe that post will eventually see the light of day!

Phones and PDAs

I have spent the last few days trying to decide if I should update my ‘phone with Orange and today I have decided against.

I have spent the last few days trying to decide if I should update my ‘phone with Orange and today I have decided against. I have been contemplating upgrading my phone to one of those ‘phones that is both PDA and ‘phone. I am hoping this would stop me carrying multiple devices around with me and, also, ensure that I was in sync across all the things I use to try and orgainse my life. Sadly, I have decided there isn’t a device for me.

The Orange SPV seems to get me a lot of the way but the ‘phone hasn’t had the greatest reviews and, to be honest, if I was going to pay that much money I think I would like either Bluetooth or a camera built it (apparently, the next version will have both of these things). It also features a MP3 player that will, of course, play WMA format. I won’t get started on music formats – I am sure there is a whole post there.

Now the Treo 600 also interests me. It is a combined PDA and phone and will be able to utilise most of the palm-related software that I have already installed and use on my trusty Palm Vx. The Real One Mobile that you could use on the Treo doesn’t play WMA files which means that I would have to re-encode most of my music and, as I am not that much of an audiophile, I’d rather have the disc space.

Now, neither of these devices does all I need or want and I am not going to spend that much money yet. My Nokia 7650 tries to sync contacts and a diary but doesn’t do it very well. I looked at the Sony Ericsson T610 but it doesn’t seem to be much of a leap on from the Nokia I have.

So, what’s my wish list? A Palm-powered device which is also a ‘phone and decent MP3 player. If I had the money it would also be Bluetooth and WiFi enabled. One day, somebody will make it, I’ll have the money and we’ll meet in a shop on Oxford Street.

Oh, and if you have tips on getting the Nokia 7650 to sync well (not just sync, but sync well) with the Outlook I use in the office, then please let me know.