Using a Palm Pilot to manage the home

Posted on Tuesday, January 27th, 2009 at 5:23 pm

I’ve been using a Palm Pilot for over a year to help me manage my day to day activities and have found it to be invaluable. I know Palm Pilots are so yesterday, what with iPhones and Blackberrys and other smartphones on the market, but I don’t have any need for accessing the Internet on my phone and certainly don’t want to pay more than the $100/year I’m currently paying for my phone plan. Also, used Palms can be had for under $50 on Ebay. I’m currently using a Tungsten T from 2001 that I bought for $50 last year and it works okay. It’s tech on the cheap.

My Palm Tungsten T displaying the HandyShopper application

My Palm Tungsten T displaying the HandyShopper application

Besides the usual calendar, address book, and to-do lists, which are great for organizing my schedule, I’ve found two other programs that really help me with my tasks:

  1. HandyShopper works great as a shopping list that I can use again and again. Items are organized by store, and once added the entry stays around in the database making it easy to re-add it later by searching by the first couple of characters. Anytime I need to buy something or realize I’m running low on it, I whip out my Tungsten, make a few scribbles, and put it back in my pocket. In the store, I check off the items as I add them to my shopping cart. Very Handy indeed.

  2. ReDo adds items to my To-Do on a schedule that I determine. Among other things, I use it to add my usual household cleaning tasks to my To-Do list, such as vacuuming the carpets or changing the sheets. The deadline date for each task is also quite flexible, so I can specify that certain tasks are due within a day of being added and others are just due sometime in the next week. It’s really helped me keep on top of what needs to be done, and gives me the satisfaction of crossing things off my list after completing them.

    Unfortunately, the website that used to host it is gone, and my attempts to reach the developer have been for naught. Among other things, it means I can’t pay the $10 shareware fee, and get a monthly reminder to register that I cannot get rid of. If you need a copy, your best bet is to look at the Internet Archive copy of the original page.

So far, I’ve been able to keep up with my To-Do list tasks because Hong is still on maternity leave from the office, but I have no doubt that I’ll have to scale back once she goes back to work in March. There’s no way the floors are going to get vacuumed once a week while I have to manage three small children.

Addendum: In case you’re thinking about buying a used Palm at this point, I would advise you to stay away from the Tungsten T model. It has a nasty bug where, after time, the pen’s register will drift away from where you actually pressed. I have to constantly re-calibrate mine, sometimes each time I turn it on. This only takes me a few seconds, but it’s enough of a hassle to warn people to avoid this particular model. As far as I know, the Tungsten T2 and T3 do not have this problem.

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One comment

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jjlin:

Hey! I too am still using a Tungsten T that I got years ago! Great minds must think alike. My digitizer drifts too when the battery is running low. Once it dies, I’m thinking of getting the T2 so I can use the same case.

March 13th, 2009 at 11:29 pm

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