Post Sun Sep 23, 2012 8:48 pm

Confessions of a Palm OS addict

Well, this post doesn't exactly fit perfectly in this forum category, but it seems to apply to this subforum more than any of the others. It's also probably too boring for most people to want to read, but I felt like writing it anyway.

In 1998, among other activities I was designing security systems. I was using about 2500-3000 minutes a month on my cell phone plan at a time when the largest rate plan I could find with any carrier was 1000 minutes. Overage charges were a bitch, but it let my customers keep in contact with me.
The alternative was to lose business, which meant losing money.
My average cell phone bill was over $300 at a time when most people's cell phone bills were around $30 or $40.

I was busier than I could handle and unsuccessfully tried to keep track of everything using an old-school paper and pen day planner.
It was easy for things to fall through the cracks.

One day I met with a new customer who worked for 3Com, and he pulled this little gizmo out of his pocket to refer to some notes.
I was intrigued.
It was the recently introduced Palm III, the replacement to the original Palm Pilot.
He spent the next 20 mintues showing me all the cool features. It had an intuitive interface that could do basically everything I needed it to do. I was dumbstruck.
It was the answer to my prayers.

They cost $400 at the time, but since Palm was a division of 3Com my customer could get factory refurbs for $200.
One week and two Benjamins later, I had my new electronic organizer. I was instantly hooked.
With it's alarm feature, there were no more missed birthdays, no more late or missed appointments. Customer contact numbers no longer had to be tediously programmed into my phone one by one, I could keep a permanent record of them which could now be migrated from device to device.

I went through four or five generations of Palm devices as each wore out due to heavy use, or it ran out of memory.
I relied on these things like a drug. Luckily I never lost one, but if I did, I liked that it maintaned a backup copy of all my data on my PC.

The Treo smartphones were introduced which combined cell phones with my Palm Pilot, but I'm slow to adapt to change and wasn't terribly keen on spending $500 or more for a combined phone/pda.
In 2008 I finally caved in when they introduced the Palm Centro for $99. What a bargain! As far as I know it was the lowest priced smartphone to hit the market up to that time.
I was able to sync the device with the data from my old Palm Tungsten and I was off and running. [cue the song Happy Together, by the Turtles]

However, only about two years later, Verizon Wireless announced they were discontinuing the Centro. Not only that, but Palm was abandoning the Palm OS altogether and was introducing a new OS that wasn't backwards compatible with all the apps and data on my phone.
The horror!

I was devastated. Before they ran out of stock I quickly used the two phone upgrades we had available on our account and bought two more Centros as spares, then later picked up three refurbs when I found them available on a daily-deals website.

It's been over four years since I started using my first Centro. The speaker died on my first one after two years, and my second one has been acting up for six months. It finally died today, so I'm on my third Centro. Only 3 spares left, and they're all the refurbs. If you've used refurbs before, you know how unpredictable they are. I'm betting at least one, maybe two of them will be unreliable when I go to use them.

Today is a day of mourning. Centro #2 has been retired.
I have vague hopes that if I disassemble the two defunct Centro phones, maybe I can assemble one working one out of the two of them.
But given my limited skills with electronics, it's doubtful.