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Replacing My Palm

May 25, 2014

For some time now, I’ve been looking for something to replace my Palm Tungsten PDA.  I’ve been using the Palm for about ten years, and I’ve been quite happy with it.  Lately, the buttons and the screen have been getting intermittent.  It was time to replace it with something more modern.  I even wrote a blog looking for advice, but got no responses.  I suppose that nobody else was in the same predicament as I was.  I finally came to a decision by myself.

I wanted something as portable as the Palm, with about the same size screen.  A small tablet seemed best, but they were all to large to be portable.  I decided to get an unlocked Android phone, even though I wouldn’t be using the telephone part.  They all come with wifi now.  That would be sufficient for me.  I had no idea if phones came with a decent calendar application.  That was never mentioned in reviews I read on the web.  Perhaps they were so common that everybody just assumed that all phones had them.

I reviewed all the unlocked Android phones available from Ebay sellers, and finally purchased one that seemed to have all the features I wanted.  It was a Huawei Ascend Y300 with Android 4.1.1.  It was new, presumably unsold stock from Bell in Toronto.  As I expected, it had no SIM card.  However, it worked nicely with the wifi I have at home.  I was pleased to see that it already had a calendar application.  In spite of that, I decided to purchase the calendar/PDA application from Pimlico software, the same one that I was already using on my Palm.  I assumed that their application would already be familiar to me.  They also provide a way to do an automated transfer of calendar data from the Palm to the Android version.  After reading about it, I decided it would be simpler just to recreate the calendar entries manually on my new phone.  I did this gradually, over a week or two.

I also purchased a few accessories for my new phone.  I got a micro-SD card, as I was intending to keep all my calendar data on the phone.  I also got a case for it, one that I could hang on my belt.  I didn’t want to keep the phone in my pocket.  Finally, I got a stylus, in the hope that this would make text entry easier with the on-screen keyboard.

This was my first mobile phone.  I’ve certainly seen people using them, holding them in one hand and swiping rapidly with their thumb.  I suppose they were playing games.  I’m still getting used to my Huawei phone, but so far I must say that I’m extremely pleased with it.  The Pimlico application certainly does work.  I’m extremely pleased with it too.  Wifi does work nicely at home.  I had no problem installing applications from the Android app store.  I’m also amazed with the long battery life.  It rivals the battery life of my Palm, something I didn’t expect in a phone.  With both radio transmitters turned off, which is how I normally use it, the battery lasts about two weeks.  I’m impressed!

It’s not all positive, though.  The phone is different from my Palm.  The calendar/PDA application is different too, even though the principle is the same.  Many times I found myself reading their on-line document to find out how to do something on the Android version.  I even had to contact their support service once to get an answer to a question I had.  After a couple of weeks, I became comfortable with using the application on my phone.  I still find text entry to be more difficult on the phone.  Using the on-screen keyboard is still awkward.  I suppose that most people don’t do this very often on a mobile phone.  I’d hoped that my new stylus would make it easier, but it didn’t help that much.  The Palm used a slim stylus with a tiny point, making it easy to touch the keys.  My new stylus has a fat tip not much smaller than my little finger.  Phones are designed to be operated by finger presses and gestures; I’m going to have to get used to that change.

I’ve switched completely now.  My Palm is put away on a shelf.  My phone rides on my hip everywhere I go.  On balance, the phone is an improvement.  When I’m checking my calendar, people will think I’m playing a game.  Maybe I am?

 

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