Technology gone mad: I need your advice

by Lee Hopkins on April 25, 2008 · 9 comments

in tools

technology is driving me to drink... I must remember to thank it

Okay, technology is something I love. Truly.

When it works.

But now it’s got to the point where it is ridiculous. Nothing is communicating with anything else and I’m “thick, thick, thick up to here” as a very old English comedian used to day.

I have in my possession:

  • a hiptop3/Sidekick3 which no longer talks to Outlook2003, despite several downloads and uninstall/re-install hoops (and has never spoken to Outlook2007);
  • a Dell Axim x51 pda with a broken screen (it got crushed in airport baggage handling) which is now useless as Dell don’t sell pdas anymore;
  • a Linux-driven Asus EEE PC (I am refusing to load Windows onto it, because it starts up so quickly under Linux and I’ve never known a computer start up quickly under Windows);
  • a filofax/day planner, because a) I love the tactile nature of writing, and b) at least I can carry something with me that I can sort of keep up to date.

All I want is to be able to synchronise my various computers and use my EEE PC as my electronic filofax.

But Google Gears doesn’t yet let you keep offline copies of your contacts and diary.

The PIM (Personal Information Manager) in my EEE PC doesn’t allow me to sync my calendar with my Google calendar (which if it did would at least allow me to keep my diary fully electronic and synchronised). It certainly doesn’t allow me to sync any contacts.

My Hiptop/Sidekick is a wondrous piece of technology and I truly love it. But not being able to sync it to Outlook (oh, believe me I have tried; I have wasted over two dozen hours trying to get the effing things to talk to each other!) causes me more heartache and stress than is healthy in someone my age.

My E3 cruzer usb stick is a marvel of technology, but I am exceptionally scared that it will one day break, fail, or otherwise lose my password data, secured as it is by ‘SignUp Shield’. Of course, the E3 stick only works as an E3 tool under Windows… rendering it as just another drive under Linux and not loading any of the E3 programs like ‘SignUp Shield’.

So I have resorted back to pen and paper, which I consider a ‘failure’ of both the technology and of myself; Mrs BetterComms gloats over the fact that my beloved technology cannot yet beat pen and paper.

Please help me. I am in despair. I need to have everything current — calendar, contacts, tasks — across phone and personal information system(s). What technology would you suggest in an environment that is not ‘always connected to the internet’?

  • http://www.olioradio.net/ Clarence Jones

    Having only one device (my pc) to sync info to does NOT help. After a fairly regimented every month (or so) backup of files, plus other backups going back to the year 2000 (on floppy), I can state with complete confidence that I have no flippin’ idea where to find password info, reciepts, etc.
    Believe me Lee, pen and paper are the only reliable backup. Any device or software that you can perform a task with (especially if it’s easy to use) will not work next week due to a change of devices, software update, server/data center problem for Web-based apps, etc. This isn’t bitterness: It is a fact of modern life.
    BTW, I’d recommend a 5-subject wire-bound notebook. Easier to separate the different aspects of one’s work/life…
    Love & Peace, Clarence

  • http://www.olioradio.net Clarence Jones

    Having only one device (my pc) to sync info to does NOT help. After a fairly regimented every month (or so) backup of files, plus other backups going back to the year 2000 (on floppy), I can state with complete confidence that I have no flippin’ idea where to find password info, reciepts, etc.
    Believe me Lee, pen and paper are the only reliable backup. Any device or software that you can perform a task with (especially if it’s easy to use) will not work next week due to a change of devices, software update, server/data center problem for Web-based apps, etc. This isn’t bitterness: It is a fact of modern life.
    BTW, I’d recommend a 5-subject wire-bound notebook. Easier to separate the different aspects of one’s work/life…
    Love & Peace, Clarence

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  • http://unbreakable-bonds.blogspot.com Donna Tocci

    Oh, Lee, I feel your pain…I have resisted most of these tools because I don’t have your patience (2 dozen hours?!). I have a database in this computer, but also have Rolodex cards for contacts. Yes, people, I still have them. Why? Because they don’t ever “crash” or give me error messages. I’m with Mrs. BetterComms and Clarence, there isn’t anything better than pen/paper yet. At least IMHO.
    But, good luck there – I’ll go send you a drink now on Facebook to “help”.

  • http://unbreakable-bonds.blogspot.com/ Donna Tocci

    Oh, Lee, I feel your pain…I have resisted most of these tools because I don’t have your patience (2 dozen hours?!). I have a database in this computer, but also have Rolodex cards for contacts. Yes, people, I still have them. Why? Because they don’t ever “crash” or give me error messages. I’m with Mrs. BetterComms and Clarence, there isn’t anything better than pen/paper yet. At least IMHO.
    But, good luck there – I’ll go send you a drink now on Facebook to “help”.

  • http://leehopkins.net/ Lee Hopkins

    I take everyone’s point and have gone back to the good ol’ pen and paper version.

    I’m still struggling with getting Outlook to print out calendars and address books in a visually attractive way, rather than ugly black lines everywhere, but I’m excited with my latest purchase, which hopefully will arrive in a couple of days time: a six-hole punch.

    I went into a local upmarket pen and paper supplier and they were going to charge me $100+ for one. I scoured Doug Johnston’s superb diyplanner.com and found an Aussie supplier: http://www.hbs.com.au/Punch.htm

    I still have a gorgeous black leather A4 sized planner, four rings (and I have a nice big 2-hole punch that can resize to get all four aligned nicely), but A4 is just too cumbersome to carry around, although it certainly makes printing off diary and contact details a breeze.

  • http://leehopkins.net Lee Hopkins

    I take everyone’s point and have gone back to the good ol’ pen and paper version.

    I’m still struggling with getting Outlook to print out calendars and address books in a visually attractive way, rather than ugly black lines everywhere, but I’m excited with my latest purchase, which hopefully will arrive in a couple of days time: a six-hole punch.

    I went into a local upmarket pen and paper supplier and they were going to charge me $100+ for one. I scoured Doug Johnston’s superb diyplanner.com and found an Aussie supplier: http://www.hbs.com.au/Punch.htm

    I still have a gorgeous black leather A4 sized planner, four rings (and I have a nice big 2-hole punch that can resize to get all four aligned nicely), but A4 is just too cumbersome to carry around, although it certainly makes printing off diary and contact details a breeze.

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