I cannot get over how much I love it.
My aging, and essential, Palm Pilot (my second) was starting to show those warning signs of enfeeblement. And I’d always been annoyed that Palm synced with their own software, and not the native Mac applications.
Well, now there’s joy in Mudville.
First of all, it’s so small and thin. Seeing it on the TV does not hint at how little it is. The only way it could be more portable is if they implanted a chip in my skull. It’s maybe a quarter the mass of my Tungsten-e Palm.
Gorgeous, too. You can see that on the TV, but handsome is as handsome does, so I’m here to tell you that it’s so fluid and easy to operate, it’s also gorgeous on the inside. I can finally USE the Mac Calendar and Address Book. (Of course, I email with Gmail, so it’s not Utopia.)
On the other hand, I can Safari over to my Gmail and have that handy; when I can get wifi. Since I live in Back of Back of Beyond, I can’t avail myself of that the way more urban dwellers might. For instance, I ate breakfast out this morning at one of my favorite coffeeshops, which has wifi.
Only it was down this week.
But I have wifi at home and at work, so it’s not a dealbreaker by any means.
So I’m in love, but I’ll be upfront about the deficiencies. As far as the Calendar, Address Book, Alarm Clock, and so forth, the programs are better on the Touch. The one big thing is… text. Any kind of text.
Strangely enough, the Palm was better at vanilla text operations. It had a clipboard. It had the Graffito recognition system (one of the first things to go, in my experience) and it had the keyboard you could peck at with the stylus.
The Touch has a keyboard that works a lot better than I expected. For me, tilting it downwards a little and getting the right angle makes it about as fast as I can move my finger. For most applications, you can turn it on its side, opening up a landscape keyboard which is even better. I probably typo the same amount with the Touch as I used to on the Palm. So it’s not really a problem.
The problem is there is no Clipboard. None. (Though I keep hearing that it’s coming.)
The Palm synced with Memos so I could transfer text back and forth really easily. And that’s the big stumbling block with the Touch-As-PDA that made me hold off for so long. If that’s bothering you too, here’s what I’m doing, and what convinced me I could make it work:
-I have the Google Notebook online, and there’s an app which will sync up with it. Works even when it’s not connected to the Internet. Work with what you have, type in new stuff, and the next time you get a signal, it appears on the browser on the computer, which has a clipboard. So that’s beautifully sorted out. Google Notebook has folders and searching and free online backup storage and anything else one could want from a Notebook. Both the service and the app are free.
-Need to view PDFs, Word documents, Scrivener text (which can be pasted into Notebook, BTW) or pics? I got an app called FileAid which lets me view any of these, and use FTP with CyberDuck (a free FTP program) that makes it drag and drop. But you can’t highlight from it and paste it into something else on the Touch; viewing only.
-Without any extra apps, you can use your Contacts that comes with the Touch. Just create a Group called Notes, use the note feature in the contact, it has a search, and it syncs automatically. No Internet connection needed.
So that’s what I’ve come up with so far. So it’s not the Word Processor in my Pocket we all dream of. For that, the Palm with a folding keyboard is still the Go Anywhere and Create Deathless Prose combo that combines usefulness and portability in the tiniest package. And I almost went that way.
Until a friend of mine got a Touch, and let me check it out. So even with what, for a writer, could be considered serious deficiencies, I still love my Touch with a mad passion.
Because the Palm never made me stay up 'til 3 in the morning playing with it. The Palm was never so lovely and responsive. The Palm did not have the amazing range and utter coolness of the Touch programs. And the Palm didn’t go on the Internet.
Yes, it’s a challenge navigating the web on a screen just about the size of one’s hand. But there’s very easy zoom and drag features that make it extraordinarily doable, considering it’s so tiny. I can send email and text messages. I can play cool games. I can watch videos and listen to music.
And I have almost all the PDA capabilities I had with the Palm. I brainstorm and draft, as opposed to actually working on something. But as the Significant Other pointed out, I have a nice little laptop for full capability. With Scrivener, not a text editor, which is no small thing at all. That’s why I upgraded my old laptop in the first place.
On balance, I’m thrilled. Thrilled, I tell you!