Coping With the Loss of a Loved Gadget

My Pocket PC died Monday night. I checked email while I was at church over the wireless connection and when I got home, it was gone. Dead. Won’t operate, won’t charge; nothing. I never saw it coming. It was working fine, the battery had plenty of charge, but in less than a two hour period it went from useful and dependable tool to total brick.

I can’t believe how much I’ve come to rely on that device. I haven’t written about Getting Things Done (GTD) lately, but I found myself going out of my mind yesterday whenever I came up with an idea or task that I needed to capture and file. While driving to church last night I finally figured out what to say on the Critical Thinking paper I have to write for my final class that starts this week, and I had to take out my cell phone and record a voice note rather than take out my Pocket PC and actually start the paper. This all sounds very silly but I have come to rely on a lot of the features and convenience that device gave me and I now have to find work-arounds.

I’ve also been working on finding an interim solution. My wife tells me that getting a new Pocket PC is out of the question at this time. Here are a few of the solutions I have come up with along with my assessments:

  • Use old Palm Zire (original 2MB model from 2002): stopgap measure. Palm may have invented the modern electronic PDA, but they have not kept their electronic PDA modern. I would have to somehow compress all of my Outlook data into 15 categories or less. The Zire has limited memory (2MB) and no backlight. It would work as a very basic calendar and task manager, so if I can condense Outlook categories I may go this route.
  • One variation on this, which would be a lot more work, is to install Palm Desktop, then manually transfer important data back and forth between Palm Desktop and Outlook. This option isn’t very appealing however. I’d almost rather enter data on my cell phone’s keypad (see next possible solution).
  • Sync to cell phone: I have a SonyEricsson z525a. I did download SonyEricsson PC Suite and had synchronization working to my phone before. Since I upgraded to Windows Vista, however, PC Suite won’t connect. I am currently updating to the latest version of the software to see if this version will sync my phone under Vista. This solution is also highly limited, but at least I can keep my appointments and a very basic task list with me. I can record voice notes on the phone and play them back on my laptop.
  • Ask for iPaq 3765 back: My first Pocket PC was an iPaq 3765. When I bought my friend’s Dell Axim x30 I gave his wife my old iPaq. She has never used it. This model has Windows Mobile 2002. My friend gave me an iPaq expansion sleeve for my birthday which included an auxiliary battery and a CF card slot. This option is still limited but not as limited as the other options. This PPC should run Pocket Informant and some of the other software that I’ve come to rely on heavily. I would just have to live without wireless and Bluetooth (which I rarely use anyway) and the modern versions of Word and Excel Mobile. The hardest part included in this option is getting my friend to mail it. Getting him to mail anything is about as hard as, oh, getting me to mail anything. But perhaps I might ask.
  • Beg my dad to buy me a new Pocket PC: the email has already been sent.
  • My final option is to carry my laptop around with me EVERYWHERE. This might just drive my wife crazy enough to find money in the budget for another Pocket PC. Of course, the drawbacks to this are the worries about my laptop being stolen or damaged. If I’m having a hard time coping with the loss of a Pocket PC, I’d never survive losing my laptop.
  • I am partly being facetious in some of my comments in the hopes of providing a bright spot of amusement in the day of anybody doing me the favor of reading my blog. I do rely heavily on my Pocket PC though, and the adjustment to not having one will not be easy.

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