Return to the Organizing the Home Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Palms & other electronic organizers

Posted by Elisabeth_pinelake (My Page) on
Mon, May 9, 05 at 12:58

This came up consistently in the "what have you bought" as oneo f the most valued items.

I have often considered it but never done it. However, my paper and leather organizer is just too heavy. So, with all of your endorsements, now is the time.

One thing that keeps me from doing it is - how do you enter data? Do you get an auxiliary keyboard? It seems like it must take ages.

What features do I need? (i.e., do I need the latest & greatest model, or something more modest?).


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Palms & other electronic organizers

There are at least three ways to get data onto a Palm. Maybe four.

One, of course, is using the Palm itself. You can either print on the screen, which then recognizes letters, or you can use an on-screen keyboard to tap out the letters. While this is good for updates and onesy-twosy data entry, it doesn't make much sense to enter all your data that way. There are keyboards available (some of them even roll up for storage!) but that's not the easiest way to enter data in a Palm (IMHO).

Palms also connect to your PC (or Macintosh); there's Palm software that runs on your computer which synchronizes with the Palm through a cable. You can type in all your appointments/phone book entries/to-dos/etc., push a button, and it all will be copied to the Palm. Any changes you make in the future on either your computer or your Palm will be updated each time you "sync."

Another way is to buy software which will synchronize between your Palm and Microsoft Outlook or Lotus Notes or Macintosh's Mail and Address Book applications or 'most whatever PIM (Personal Information Manager) you already may be using on your computer to keep track of things.

The features you need depend on what you like to do. Some Palms play MP3 files. Some have cameras. I don't need either of those. On the other hand, I'm kind of a Palm power user, so I didn't buy the cheapest one, either. I would recommend starting out with a Palm Zire model. The Zire 31 has a color screen, twice the memory of the cheapest model, and a faster processor. At only $30 more than the cheapest model, it's worth the extra $$. The next model up is more than twice the price and I have a hard time recommending that to someone just starting out.


 o
RE: Palms & other electronic organizers

I don't have any specific advice for you; just general.

Don't cheap out. Round up, in capability, by at least one step. You will find more uses than you think, and you can't always "round up" easily later. Think of it as buying options.More time & less frustration, because your processor is faster. Or it syncs more easily. Or its battery life is longer.

Good luck.

Thanks for the info, Steve! you're handy to have around.

I've found this to be true in many areas, but never as frequently as in electronics.


 o
RE: Palms & other electronic organizers

I enter a *lot* of data on my Palm by writing on the screen. This is because I'm in court nearly every day, and need to enter new court dates and notes for my clients. While Steve is correct that this isn't the easiest or most efficient way to enter data on a PDA, don't let that deter you. After a very short learning curve, you'll have no problem writing directly to the Palm.

For everything else, though, I use the software provided with the Palm, and enter from my personal computer.

No, you don't need the latest and greatest model. Just about any handheld you look at will do more than your current paper and pen system. Virtualy all have an address book, a calendar, to do list and expense tracker. Many can display photographs, play MP3s, and allow you to create and edit Word and Excel files. Plus, there are a myriad of extra programs to be had at places like Tucows.com and Download.com.

I can wholeheartedly recommend the Palm Tungsten E2, the upgrade to the Tungsten E, the biggest-selling PDA in history. (That's the one I have.) It sells for about $200 and is a good, basic PDA. I know that there are many other PDAs out there that are excellent, so do check Epinions.com and Cnet.com for suggestions.

Best of luck. I'll bet you *never* go back to paper and pen!


 o
RE: Palms & other electronic organizers

Oh, another odd thought--perhaps discouraging.

i found it very hard to take notes. I felt pretty proficient at Graffitti (which my HandSpring Visor, an old model) used, but it was just too hard. As an address book, schedule, respository of info like the kids' sizes, etc., it was fine.

But I still needed a notebook to take notes for PTA meetings, etc. I couldn't completely eliminate paper. The PDA wasn't big enough, wasn't fast enough, wasn't accurate enough.

Maybe if I'd stuck w/ it longer (I lost all my data on a battery outage, bcs DH hadn't set up the link for backup, and I just gave up) , I'd have gotten better about writing smaller and fewer notes. Better essentially at editing my notes AS I am writing them. But that's pretty hard for me.

My DH is enjoying his, as an address book mostly. I've thought about trying it again--I don't take as many notes as fast and furious as I used to. And I might approach it differently--take notes on paper, and transfer only the important parts.

Back when I used a Franklin Planner, I liked being able to poke holes in piece of paper (fold it in half first) and stick it in the planner. I didn't need to retype the company phone list, the kids' school schedule.


 o
RE: Palms & other electronic organizers

Back when I used a Franklin Planner, I liked being able to poke holes in piece of paper (fold it in half first) and stick it in the planner. I didn't need to retype the company phone list, the kids' school schedule.

The truly geeky among us (*cough*) take such papers, scan them to PDF, and use Adobe Reader for PalmOS. I don't know as everyone would take that route, though. :-)


 o
RE: Palms & other electronic organizers

Elizabeth,

It's good to see you back.

I bought a IPAQ on my grandson's advice. The one in the Navy told his brother what I should have and NO/NO went shopping with me. I love it. I bought it to keep track of the books in my library, which is hugmegeous. (My DBil cannot understand why anyone would have two room devoted to books.)

I made sure the pda had excel on it and did almost all of my typing on my pc. It worked really good that way.

When my DH had to have minor surgery two weeks ago, I took my pda with me and entered a lot of my address book in it while waiting.

Since my DD died in December, I have trouble concentrating on reading, so it was nice to have somthing which occupied my mind.

I love gadgets and am blessed with grandsons who are willing to teach me how to use them.

I told the boys, one time, that I was smarter than they were since I had lived longer. You know, they did not laugh at me!!

shirley


 o
RE: Palms & other electronic organizers

Thinking a little more clearly, I need it for lists and reminders, addresses and phone numbers. Maybe birthdays, and odd notes to myself that I think of while I'm in the car (will only enter while stopped - I don't use my cell phone while driving) on the commuter train, etc. Won't use for taking notes at meetings as Talley Sue does. But I am so disorganized I don't have birthdays on the computer, or anywhere. Maybe one of those email birthday reminder programs would work best for me anyway, not PDA. But shopping lists, yes. Measurements of things in house which I have to buy fixtures for, yes. Now they go on bits of paper I lose. Appointments and addresses, yes. And that program for keeping passwords secure sounds great! Right now they are all at the office - can't do a thing from home.


 o
RE: Palms & other electronic organizers

Steve, do you truly geeky types CARRY your scanner around with you? or do you add a chore when you get home? (though I guess it's wrong to call it a chore--it's really an excuse to play with the toys, isn't it?)

Shirley, I'm sorry to hear about your DD's death.

Elisabeth, you might find your own self better at taking notes--maybe other people don't take so darn MANY; they just listen, and enter only to-do items.

I did like the to-do feature in it. If I can get it syncing up again (DH has it set up for HIS PDA, natch), I might give it a whirl again--my need for a calendar, a floating to-do list (stuff I need to do for the home, from work, gets forgotten all the time).


 o
oh, and...

Oh, and, Steve: I thought I was being geeky w/ my little snap-in 5-hole punch!


 o
RE: Palms & other electronic organizers

I cracked the screen on my PDA, so I'm looking at new models. This will be my third PDA. I've pretty much decided on the Zire 31, the one Steve recommended. It's about $130. As Steve said, it's worth the $30 that it costs for the cheapest model, if only for the color screen. I'll be using mine only for personal things - shopping lists, contacts, notes, etc. I don't really need or want a camera in my PDA & I have an iPod for my music. One program I've found very useful in the past is HandyShopper. It's very useful for keeping track of shopping lists.

Greta


 o
RE: Palms & other electronic organizers

Steve, do you truly geeky types CARRY your scanner around with you? or do you add a chore when you get home? (though I guess it's wrong to call it a chore--it's really an excuse to play with the toys, isn't it?)

No, the scanner is at home. :-) I'm somewhat fortunate in being surrounded by people who prefer to deal with electronic copies of things, and I've become adept at using email, the Internet/remote control programs and those little "thumb drives" to move stuff between computers. But there still is some paper I have to deal with. I simply don't want to carry around a Palm and a holder for paper and a pen. And I'm weird enough to consider it fun to figure out how to do all this without touching paper. :-)

One program I've found very useful in the past is HandyShopper.

Excellent recommendation. I've used it in the past. I tend not to use it now because I set aside time on my calendar to go to Target/grocery store/whatever and list what I need to buy as a note within the Date Book item. It's all preference and it's whatever works for you.


 o
RE: Palms & other electronic organizers

Elisabeth -

I love my Palm Tungsten E. No more scraps of paper or post-it notes laying around! I am so much more organized... and all for under $200!

I'm spoiled by the Contacts list. I categorize my contacts using my own categories. If I can't find a contact, I use the search feature to locate it.
I use lots of categories: Family, Friends, School, Church, Scouting, PTA, Restaurants, Home Improvement, Doctors, etc.

It's so easy using the Task list. You can set a date and/or priority for a task and the PDA sorts the list for you. I enter all my tasks before I go to bed; I sleep much better not having to think about what I need to do the next day.
I have the categories setup based on my location: At Home, At Computer, Phone Calls and Errands

I'm not that swift at "typing" information quickly into the PDA, so I love the Note Pad feature. It takes just a few seconds to turn the PDA on, scribble a quick thought onto the screen, then turn it off. The note is automatically saved. I use this alot when stopped at a traffic light. (The only problem is trying to read my handwriting later!)

I also use HandyShopper (it's a free app), but not for regular shopping lists. I enter all the gifts I purchase for Christmas and birthdays. It helps me keep track of what I purchased for whom.

I needed a place to store all my passwords, credit card numbers, bank accounts, social security numbers, etc. So I splurged and purchased an application called SplashID. The data is encrypted and password-protected so you don't need to worry about the data if your PDA is lost or stolen. It was well worth the $$ I spent.

I also use my Palm as an alarm clock when I'm traveling. I can wake up to the sounds of Reville.

There are lots of free games that you can download; these keep my 10 year old entertained when we're out and he's forgotten his gameboy.

I also bought one for my teenage son. He uses it for homework; he can type a report into Word when he's not home. Once he gets home he simply synchronizes the PDA to his computer, then prints his homework!
He also loves the built-in mp3 player (you'll need an SD card to store the mp3 files). I enjoy it most when he's using the headphones, but the PDA has a small speaker that can be used.

Hope I've convinced you!

Here is a link that might be useful: Palm Tungsten E on amazon


 o
RE: Palms & other electronic organizers

What does the HandyShopper do? Does it just let you put in your grocery list or is there more to it?


 o
RE: Palms & other electronic organizers

Here's a link to a description of the program. There's even a "user group" for it (think THS for HandyShopper)!

Here is a link that might be useful: HandyShopper


 o
RE: Palms & other electronic organizers

Since we are retired and not into activities very much, I probably wouldn't use one, but my BIL has one, and puts everything in it. Even when we go out with them, he has to ask what time are we going to eat, where are we going afterwards etc. It drives me NUTS. He and his wife are very orginized people and my DH and I just get into the car and go. I know they are valauable for people on the go as it seems much easier that puting everything in a note book like we use to many moons ago--or on a slip of paper--or a napkin.


 o
RE: Palms & other electronic organizers

My Dh bought a PDA (personal digital assistant, which cracks me up) about a year ago? 9 months ago?

He said to me that it's already obsolete; he wanted to buy a separate keyboard for it but couldn't because it was already obsolete. I don't quite get that, but I thought I'd mention it.

Perhaps the advice from it is, don't buy a model on its way out; or, if you are going to, then ALSO buy any attachments you think you might need. In the scheme of things, it's probably a wise expenditure, and probably a wise thing to do even if you're buying this year's hot model.

Steve, do you know--are the keyboards that model-specific? Is there a universal interface for them?


 o
RE: Palms & other electronic organizers

This article was fascinating--it seemed pretty useful, as background, and to help you make a list of what to look for.

Here is a link that might be useful: PC Magazine's buyer's guide


 o
RE: Palms & other electronic organizers

The problem with connecting things like keyboards is the connector on the handheld device. Manufacturers use different connection sockets and some manufacturers use different sockets on different models. If a model is popular enough, keyboard manufacturers and the like will bite the bullet and make more than one version of their product using the different connectors. But, for the less-popular organizers, it's a "carpshoot" as they might say here. Palm's Tungsten line used a common connector through the various models -- until they got to the E model, which uses its own connector. Fortunately, the E remains a popular model, so there are many accessories available for it. But it does make life more interesting than it needs to be. Which model does DH have?

Your advice about buying the accessories you think you'll need is sound advice. I would suggest waiting a little bit, but certainly not dawdling, because it's hard to get those accessories once the model has been dropped.


 o
RE: Palms & other electronic organizers

For all the years I had a Palm, I almost ALWAYS input data to it from our PC. That is the way it is usually done, except when it is unavoidable, like when you are meeting with a client and they give you their contact information. You can also beam info. from one plam to another if you share the same kind - I have done this quite often as well. I did buy one of those collapsable portable keyboards for it and it worked quite well - sometimes I would travel with that instead of the laptop - and with Documents to Go, you can load Word, Excel and PPT files right on to the Palm. This was very useful.

Gave my old plam to hubby - a teacher - and we now keep all his excel files for student grades on it. That way if someone has a question, he can look it up w/o having to carry paper around with him.

I am now in a Blackberry environment, (w phone) which I love, since I need 24/7 access to e-mail.


 o
RE: Palms & other electronic organizers

Ok, I think you all have convinced me to get a Palm. I've been tossing around the idea for a while, and I'm thinking now's the time. So last night I was doing a bit of research on which model to get. Keep in mind that I don't need a WHOLE lot of fancy features - more just the basics for me. I'm torn between the Zire 31 and the Tungsten E. I'd be totally sold on the Zire 31, but some aren't happy with the amount of memory and the quality of the screen. Can anyone comment?

-Jess.


 o
RE: Palms & other electronic organizers

Jess, I'd get the Tungsten E. Better resolution, twice as much memory - and, if you check the prices on Epinions, it's actually cheaper than the Zire.


 o
RE: Palms & other electronic organizers

Joann, I looked at Epinions, but only one store had the lower price listed on the Tungsten. When you go to the store, it's not available at that price.

Jess, DH & I have been using Palms for years - before they even had color screens. I use mine for addresses, shopping lists, to-do's, memos of things for the house, etc. Even the older ones had plenty of memory for these things. If you're going to be putting a lot of extra software on it, then you should get the Tungsten. I add software, but not a lot of it. The same thing is true if you will be using it for MP3's. I know you can play them on the Zire, but if you want to store much music, you'll probably want the Tungsten. I believe that both the Zire & the Tungsten have expansion slots to add memory if you need it. One of the reasons I'm going with the less expensive is that I intend to buy an integrated cell phone/PDA in a year or so. Please give us more specifics on what you'll be using yours for.

Greta


 o
RE: Palms & other electronic organizers

Thanks for the feedback. Greta, I'll be using mine for roughly the same things you are, with the addition of the calendar function. I would like to add software, specifically that Handyshopper one and a maps one. Aside from that, I honestly haven't done enough research into software options yet to know what else I'd like to add.

Do you think I'll be good with the Zire 31, or should I just spring for the Tungsten E. The other thing is that the TE doesn't get the greatest reviews from users. I'm just so torn!

-Jess.


 o
RE: Palms & other electronic organizers

Jess, I would make sure the mapping software you want to use will work on the Zire31. The screen on that model is 160x160 -- not high-resolution -- which either will make maps harder to view or may make it impossible to install the software.

You may not know that Pa1mOne just introduced a Tungsten E2. The key improvement over the E is Bluetooth networking built-in. The E2 also can use a Palm card to connect to Wi-Fi networks (the E cannot), but the price of an E2 and the Wi-Fi card is really close to other, better Palms.

That aside, unless you know you're ready to use the Bluetooth, I think you'll be happier with a Tungsten E. The E was one of the most popular PDAs Pa1mOne ever made, so there are likely to be numerically-higher numbers of unhappy customers. While the E does not have the Tungsten "universal" connector, it is decently supported with peripherals like keyboards and all kinds of cases and sync cables and such.

Finally, one way to try out a Palm without paying top dollar is to look at the Factory Outlet on their Web site. I purchased my Tungsten C open-box and I was hard-pressed to find out why it wasn't considered "new in box" -- at a much lower price than a regular C would cost. Might want to check that out. The link is below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Palm Factory Outlet


 o
RE: Palms & other electronic organizers

Thanks for all the feedback, everyone. I ended up going with the Tungsten E. I bought it from BuyDig.com, and I think I got a pretty good price on it. I ended up buying one for DH too. Can't wait to get them.

-Jess.


 o
RE: Palms & other electronic organizers

Jess, glad to hear you rounded up. It has been my experience--with the P-touch labeler, with the Handspring Visor my DH loaned me, with the personal stereo, the digital camera, with the Acrobat Distiller application on my desktop at work--that I'm better off rounding up than rounding down.

I *think* I only need a minimum set of features. but there's a very high likelihood that I will actually find a use for the extra features. Or, in the case of Distiller (purchased for shipping files to the printer), I've found lots of OTHER times that it's tremendously useful to make a PDF for someone.

So I've developed a basic philosophy--so many times I really *could* afford the slightly bigger, better thing. As long as it's not a PAINFUL stretch, I stretch. And I've never really regretted it.


 o
RE: Palms & other electronic organizers

Great post, TS NYC. I've often felt the same way about electronics. I LOVE gadgets, but always feel like they're too expensive. So I buy the lower end model, and regret it. I'm pretty happy with my Palm purchase, but already I'm sorta regretting I didn't spring for the Tungsten E2, which has WiFi capability (with an added card). The TE doesn't. But it was just so much more $$ for what I didn't think were enough added features. Oh well. I think I'll live.

-Jess.


 o
RE: Palms & other electronic organizers

there's a real challenge w/ rounding up, bcs, like you, I try not to spend too much and am in danger of not getting the oomph (or the options) I need.

But you can ALWAYS round up; where do you stop?

Look at the WiFi option this way: pharmers set up fake WiFi stations, and steal your info from them.


 o
RE: Palms & other electronic organizers

You're right, TS, that's a great way of looking at it. I'm saving money AND keeping myself safe!

BTW, I got my Palm and am in love. I already have Handyshopper loaded in and literally dreamt last night of all the things I'm going to do with it.

Thanks for all your help.

-Jessica.


 o
RE: Palms & other electronic organizers

Jessica,

It's good to hear that you like your Palm. Haven't you already discovered a whole lot more you want to do with it than you could have anticipated? Too much fun - and functional, too.


 o
RE: Palms & other electronic organizers

Absolutely! The best thing I'm finding so far is that I no longer feel like I have to REMEMBER things. Things are forever popping into my head at odd moments - I need to pick up shampoo at Walmart, don't forget the sale at Strawbridge's this weekend. And I try to remember them - I do. But of course I don't. So now I can just pop them into my Palm. It's a relief, really.

-Jess.


 o
RE: Palms & other electronic organizers

Jess, I refer to my Palm as "my brain." I also excuse myself when I whip it out to make a note in it by saying, "If it's not in here, I didn't do it -- and I'm not gonna!" People usually understand that! It really is that much of a help.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Organizing the Home Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here