Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Cut the cord!

There is a growing trend in the Palm PDA world. Its not wireless syncing, as some would think, but a lack of syncing. I, for one, have not synced my TH-55 for a long time, at least since my PC died and I started using a Mac. I realized that you dont actually have to sync Palm PDAs anymore if you dont use the desktop applications for anything.

Some programs that have desktop components are iSilo, DTG (Docs To Go), the basic PIM apps, and many others. I dont use the basic PIM apps, but I do use DTG. For most editing, I use native .doc files, as these are easiest to transfer. If there is a doc I need to get onto my PDA, I can email it to myself, and open the attachment with Snappermail. The opposite works for transferring in the other direction. If you think about it, the benefit is clear, because you are no longer limited to transferring files with your main syncing pc, but with many other PCs too. Some people worry about having their handheld backed up. While the desktop does do a fairly good job of this, there are many alternatives, such as TealBackup, RescoBackup, and even some like MSBackup, which is found in most Clies.

When you disconnect yourself from the desktop, you use your Palm in a different way. I am at the point where I could do a hard reset with no backup, and still be up and running within 15 minutes, as I keep all of my applications backed up on my expansion card in different directories. Having this mindset frees you from needing a computer with you all the time.

When you think about the Palm OS, you have to look at its purpose. How can it be a "mobile" OS, when it needs to be constantly connected with a computer?

This may seem like a radical idea, but as handhelds become more and more like their PC counterparts, it begins to make more sense. I dont expect everyone to stop syncing their PDAs after reading this article, because there are few PDAs that can truly live without a PC. The TH-55 has WiFi, which is really a requirement for this, and so the true "Road Warriors" as they are called are limited to a few devices, mainly the TH-55, the LifeDrive, Tungsten C/W, and Tungsten T5 (depending on your setup).

It is possible to live without syncing, and after you have tried it for a while, you may find that it is actually alot easier. Tell us what you think?


Blogger strider_mt2k said...

I am 100% in agreement there, Brad.
I seldom if ever hotsync my TH55.

I have the network hotsync setup as well as the standard cable/cradle but I simply don't use any applications that require conduits anymore. I don't need to.

I also have BackupBuddy:VFS backup my system to the memory stick each morning at 5:00 am.
Once in a while I'll back up the contents of my MS to a folder on a secondary hard drive for archiving.

You are absolutely right. A mobile device with ties of any kind to a desktop computer is not truly mobile.

It must be able to stand on it's own.

5:37 PM  
Blogger Steven Fisher said...

We've noticed the same trend. The latest version of our software does not even support syncing via HotSync, instead relying on SD cards.

8:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PalmOS was never designed as a standalone OS. From it's initial conception, it was intended to be a "window into your PC's data". So hotsyncing was considered to be essential to your Palm's well-being.

Of course, that was back in the mid-90's, when PDAs did not ship with memory expansion slots, aside from the Newton (Oh Newton, how I miss you so!). The hardware has grown up, but the software is still stuck in the mid-90's. Palms are still designed to be synced.

That being said, it's nice to see companies coming out with alternative solutions involving memory cards now.

12:32 AM  
Blogger Tam Hanna said...

I rarely sync manually-but well, AutoSync does that for me ;).
But actually, I mainly use my cradle as charger nowadays. I never ever got VersaMail to work with my Outlook and thus do almost everything via drive mode or bluetooth.
HotSync is only a backup system for me to reduce strain on my 64MB SD card.
Best regards
Tam Hanna

12:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I rarely sync. In the last year I think I have synced 3 times. There are 2 reasons that worked together to cause this. First, I stopped using my windows machine almost completely. Second, with my Clie UX50, I can do a save to flash. So as long as I resave the current flash image every once in a while, or after I've made important changes, I don't lose anything. I mainly use my pda for notes and contacts. I used to use it for more, but the battery doesn't last long enough to use wi-fi. I will be replacing the battery as soon as I get a compatible screwdriver in the mail. When I do finally start syncing again, I plan on running network sync software to my webserver. So I will be able to access my notes, datebook, and contacts anywhere I can access my website.
Matt Grab

6:39 PM  
Blogger Tam Hanna said...

better be careful. Network hotsync failed to restore my T3 multiple times..
Best regards
Tam Hanna

9:02 PM  
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