Monday, January 12, 2009

RIP: PalmPilot Zire 72

After recently upgrading to an iPhone and exploring the device's full capabilities, I've finally decided to put my trusty Palm Zire 72 electronic organizer out to pasture.

I'll miss my ol' Palm—back in the stone age, as my calendaring and personal information needs grew, I began using a personal organizer/Filofax to keep things in order. After several years, however, the inconvenience of having to re-enter information each year on a new paper calendar soon had me eyeing, then eventually upgrading to a Palm device (first the m100, then the Zire 72) where items obviously could automatically carry over year after year.

I often described the Palm as essentially an electronic personal organizer, which had the added advantage of keeping all of the device's stored information synchronized with a desktop computer where I could back it up and also access and edit the data separately. In addition to the calendar, I used the Palm to store and track to-do lists, projects and, using an outstanding secure program called SplashID, a myriad of passwords and other private and confidential information for myself and my family like social security numbers, website and forum logins and passwords, etc.

When I upgraded to my iPhone, however, I soon realized that my new device (which is as much a mini computer and personal organizer as it is a mobile phone) rendered the Palm obsolete and redundant. So rather than carry both a mobile phone and a Palm, I moved to consolidate everything onto the iPhone, which I always carried with me anyway. It soon became just a matter of finding the equivalent Palm applications in the iPhone apps store. My main prerequisites were the ability to migrate my data easily from the Palm to the iPhone without having to re-key information manually; and the ability to access and sync the data on a computer desktop as well as the iPhone.

Along the way, I played with and discovered several great apps and functions.
  • For my to-do lists, I adapted Zenbe Lists, which syncs wirelessly from the iPhone to a personal free web account where I can also manage and edit my lists online.
  • For longer memos and notes (this is where I keep running lists like films I've seen, etc.), I installed gNotes, which wirelessly syncs my iPhone with Google Notebook, which is a free feature of my gmail/Google account. I already used iGoogle extensively, so adapting to Google Notebook was easy and convenient.
  • Finally, for storing my logins, passwords, and other sensitive private information, I ended up simply using the same application I used for this function on my Palm, SplashID. SplashID appears to be the gold standard for such software (and I do recommend it), but the primary reason I decided to use it was because I obviously was able to simply import the data from my Palm to the iPhone version of SplashID. However, I must say there were a few minor technical hurdles I had to overcome for the software to work and sync with the iPhone.
  • Honorable mention, however, must also go to Memengo's Wallet application. While SplashID provides a separate desktop application that wirelessly syncs over a wi fi network with the iPhone, Wallet provides a free web account that wirelessly syncs stored data with iPhone over the internet. (SplashID also is significantly more expensive.) This means you can access your data on your iPhone or from any desktop with Web access, and manage and edit the data there as well. (By the way, I should add that these password programs always require password access, so even if you lose your device, it theoretically can't be accessed). I actually found Wallet's iPhone interface to be to be more elegantly designed and organized. I've kept the Wallet app on my iPhone and have left the door open to fully migrate to it based on how SplashID pans out.
In a future post, I'll be mentioning a few other apps—both on the iPhone and online—I can't do without!

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