Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Smartphones, Dementia, and the Demise of the PDA Market

I've never been a fan of $300 phones that can easily be dropped [into a bathtub] by your kids, or eaten by your dog but I ordered one of the Palm Centro's (from Sprint) over the weekend. Of course I had to cancel the order because not only did boneheads at Sprint interrupt an important call with my son's Dr. yesterday to confirm the order I placed over the weekend, but they wanted me to fax a copy of my drivers license and a bank statement F--- that. Like I have time to fax something somewhere. And I'm certainly not going to give them a bank statement. Why the hell do they need that if they've already done a credit check?

But, basically, I have felt like I've been losing my mind.

I have assumed most of the administrative/transportation/[child|pet]care duties while my wife recovers from the C-section. I can't remember names. I don't have all the phone numbers of neighbors, zillions of school officials I'm dealing with, various meds, and I only can only remember the times of appointments to the nearest 4 hour granularity.

I needed a PDA! That will solve my problems. But who uses PDA's anymore? Do they even sell them? Or perhaps a phone with decently calendaring and todo lists. That's all I want. No MP3 player. No camera. No shitty web browser. Why don't these devices exist? There were a couple of Samsung's (since the first little Startec I had when I worked at SBC I have loathed Motorola devices) that might have worked, but I don't want to sign another contract to get a decent price.

So I desperation, I picked up a Z22 (you can't spit without running across a Best Buy on this side of town, but good luck finding a Sprint store, of course now I just realized they sell Centro's at Best Buy, but no matter). Small and $99 and I didn't need to get new cell service. Whether or not it actually works, the GTD principle of dumping as much of the things you have to do/decide to do onto paper (or some electronic form) to avoid thinking about them (as a means of de-cluttering and de-stressing) has always seemed appealing. And it appears to be working.

And the Z22 feels very comfortable and soothing. I've had 5-6 PalmOS devices over the last decade. My 2nd CLIE was pro bably the best (before my dog cracked the screen) but Sony exited the market 3-4 years ago. It is a shame, because palm got a so many things right: a simple desktop and graffiti. I have looked at Window Mobile, Pocket PC, or WTF it is called but it just feels klunky. And of course you can't sync to Linux or use something like JPilot or pilot-link right?

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