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Tuesday
Feb132007

My long-lost PDA was Found: do I really want it back?

Zire72s.jpgWell, will wonders never cease.

Today I found my lost Zire 72 in an obscure place — under the cushion of our living room chair! I was looking for my dad's lost mobile phone, which I found behind the back cushion. So, naturally, I lifted the seat cushion, and lo and behold, there was my Zire 72 in its pretty Vaja case.

I lost my Zire almost one year ago, which eventually led me to ditch electronic PDAs altogether in favor of a custom Moleskine planner I created myself.

I laughed hard when I saw the Zire sitting there dead after 11 months under a seat cushion. I don't know why we never checked there, since it's a popular place to rest things when leaving through the front door.

I charged and restored from the SD card backup within minutes and there were all of my apps, files and documents captured in early 2006. Question is: what to do with my Zire, now that my life centers around the Moleskine planner?

Care & Feeding Kicking In Quick
I was amazed how quickly I was sucked into fiddling with and and tweaking the Zire. I started considering how I might use my new-found PDA for reading blogs, e-books, the Bible, managing passwords and maybe handling my contacts.

This evening, I spent 30 minutes trying to get the Zire Syncing, then trying to sort out a Bluetooth sync connection with the PowerMac with no luck on either attempt.

Then it hit me — the discovery of my long-lost gadget carried with it a subtle demand on my time and energy to care for and feed it. I remembered the reasons why my PDA had become a burden last March — the demands of my time to charge, tune, sync, backup and generally care for it every day.

I began to recall the complexities of the applications I'd setup, and how some required manual tweaking, how if I wanted to integrate the Zire into my life again, I'd need to work out just what I'd want to use it for.

Would I need the WiFi drivers again? Syncing iSilo or AvantGo, or would I sync my contacts too? What state was the Mac sync package Missing Sync in? Where was my sync cable? On and on it goes — the list of requirements and things to think about seemed to compound and expand the more I thought about them!

ARRRGGGG! I don't need this right now.

I'm Enjoying Simplicity, Why Complicate Things?
Now I'm fully reminded of why I so appreciate the simplicity of a customized Moleskine planner and a small gel pen in my pocket. It has minimal requirements: spend a little time setting up the dates and task pages to cover 6 months, which oddly enough is relaxing and enjoyable to do, even though it is tedious work.

Each day I add a little more with my pen, throw in notes or tasks as I think of them. No worries about charging or syncing, what apps I need or how to solve the lack of sync, since it's not required. In fact, syncing is not even an option.

What to do with the Zire?
I'm not sure exactly what I will do. I should probably sell the Zire to someone who would love and enjoy this nice little PDA. I may use it for e-books and some blogs away from the Mac after all, to keep it as a focused reading device that frees me from the computer for a while in the evenings.

I think I need to leave it sit on my desk and brew on what to do with it for a while. I want to make sure I'm not so easily sucked back into the care and feeding trap without contemplation on the ultimate purposes of a PDA in my life.

It's funny how much my mind and heart has changed about a PDA. Just one year ago I was distressed by the loss of my device. Now I'm almost feeling this PDA, which was so important to me in 2006, has invaded my tranquility.

Funny how things change.

Reader Comments (11)

I say hang onto it - if not for current use, for the option of future use.

I kept my Palm, even though I've been happily using a Moleskine planner for 5 months now. I'm aware that I sometimes go through phases of preferring electronic over paper and vice versa. I think it's less about being fickle and more about shaking my neural synapses up.

Good luck whatever you decide - but it does feel good not to have to "manage" a device, doesn't it?
February 14, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDevika
Do not let it brew too long on that desk, lest it should tempt you again
February 14, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJoe
I find I pulled out my tx when life got more complicated... when I have a lot of appointments that change frequently...Once the rush is over... forget it.

February 14, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJuan
You can always donate it to someone/an organization who does need it. Not saying that you cannot find a use for it, but it seems more like you have done well without it.

But finding things does always offer a fun time to play. Enjoy the playtime, and it just might spark something in you towards design or functionality that you have missed and that you should consider.
February 14, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAntoine of MMM/BH
Maybe keep it as your pocket photo album/pocket camera to go?

//k
February 14, 2007 | Unregistered Commentermacfixer
Not that I'm trying to encourage you to take up the PDA again when you're so happy with your dead tree, but it sure sounds like you had more trouble with that thing than it was worth. I barely ever have to do anything on my Treo 650 that I would call "maintenance". I use it, to be sure. I use the phone and contacts, HandyShopper, camera, my password keeper CryptInfo, and a variety of other things every day. It's backed up with BackupMan in case of catastrophy, but I can't remember the last time I actually needed it (knock on wood). I barely ever HotSync, but when I do it works fine... then again I do so with my Windows computer. Maybe if you try to be more minimalist, it will be a better experience. Rather than trying to find the most advanced, open source bible reading program, just go get BibleReader. :) Use the built-ins for anything that can be serviced by those apps. Don't be such a tweaker. ;-)

Or, give/sell it away. :)
February 14, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterGreg
If you are that against it, I'd suggest selling it or donating it to someone who may find a use for it. I could certainly love to add another one to my collection, although, it will most likely to help display various accessories for reviews. I've always loved Palm devices and if the Zire 72 didn't come out with a mini-usb connector, would have upgraded to that.

Let us know what you decide.
February 14, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMay C
I wish I could get my Palm III to sync with my Mac, I'd like to play with it again and use a few apps I really miss.
February 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterPete Prodoehl
Devika, yes, it feels good not to manage a device. I probably pushed my devices to the limits, so it may be more me than the device. :-)

Joe, I'm not so worried about having it on my desk, or choosing to use the Zire after all � more critical to me was planning and limiting its use, so it doesn't own or drive me.

Juan, I think I will most likely use the Zire for an info-tablet � ebooks, Bible, news and some blogs I frequent, just to let me read things away from the Mac and my office. That also frees me from managining the sync or dealing with tons of apps, if the device is for a focused task like that.

Antoine, thanks for the good words. I have often given away devices I wasn't using to people who needed them and that feels great to see them being used well. :-)

macfixer, keeping it as a handy cam is a great idea as well!

Greg, thanks ffor the encouragement! I know I'm probably too much of a tweaker � lately I had reduced my apps and tweaking quite a bit, but being away for a while reminded me how complex of a system I had setup! Good to hear your Treo is working well for you � I think Palm devices are great, so long as you know what you are using them for and they fit your lifestyle pattern. I think as an info-pad and camera the Zire ought to work well, but I probably won;t use the calendar or other parts at all, now that I'm using my dead tree. :-)

May, I'm not against the Zire � in fact in pondering my thoughts and these comments, I realize I was more criticizing myself and my own tendancy to overcomplicate my PDA. I think moving to a Moleskine was just a good thing from the perspective that it forced me to simplicity, and at the time I was ready for that � needed that. I'm not anti-PDA, just realized I wasn;t making full use of a PDA to justify the care and feeding it needed.

As I think about how to best use the Zire, I think info-pad seems best. Of the things I've used the Zire for, as a reader has been the most useful and fun. I'll probably strip down the apps and get it syncing for install again, and go from there. Maybe iSilo or AvantGo for reading news -- we'll see.

Thanks everyone for your comments! :-)
February 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rohde
How much do you want for it?
February 17, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterEmil Lesner
Emil, going to keep it for now but can contact you if I do ever sell it. :-)
February 18, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rohde

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