Baby Treo 600 goes out in the real world

This weekend, we had commitments to attend a friend’s party and to visit my sister and her husband later, where we planned to spend the night.

I took NO COMPUTER. I took a change of clothes and a toothbrush. I took a purse. In that purse was the new Treo 600. . .and that was IT…

As we were leaving the house, Wayne asked if I’d brought any wedding pictures to share. I told him to give me 5 minutes. In that amount of time, I went into the office, pulled down about 40 digital pictures from our wedding, cropped them for the Treo’s screen and uploaded them into a slideshow using SplashPhoto. It was that fast and that easy. And that was the first time I’d used that program.

Even my husband was impressed with that application. (The 1 gig card, the connectivity options, the camera, the music, and the productivity tools left him cold, and he merely offered that “As long as it makes you happy, I’m happy.”) But, he liked the photo album I created in moments, without the need to lug the physical album.

This trip away from the farm was a test run. Most of the accessories I’ve ordered aren’t in yet. It was the weekend, so I could take it for a spin without the worry of handling clients on the road at the same time.

Right now, I have Documents to Go installed, so I can work on Word and Excel Docs as well as PowerPoint presentations. I’ll probably never do PowerPoint on the road, heck — I don’t even do those at the office anymore — but it’s a cool option.

I put my business expenses and mileage tracking worksheet (.xls) onboard and added a few things and rearranged a few items in the car, to make sure it was smooth. It was like silk.

I poked at the word doc I put on the Treo to test. It worked fine too — but I must say I’m looking forward to the fold-up keyboard for any REAL writing with the Treo.

I took a few pictures (and decided that the camera really needs the upgrade that’s coming in the 650), but it did a fair job of capturing Bill’s baby daughter in cute pose at the party.

It was kind of cool to use the extra apps that I loaded up. For instance, Bill commented that his little one had just started “dancing” whenever she heard music. I popped the Treo out of my purse and played an MP3. She boogied for us and everyone fell out in giggles.

I’ve loaded a killer program called “ListPro” which I would highly recommend to any other list making, A-Retentive folks who get the urge to write everything down and check things off lists. And, it’s not just for typical list making…

In this little program, I have my standard lists (the stuff I have to do everyday — customized for every day of the week) and I have the standard grocery list — which is cool, since it’s reusable. The grocery list is customized into “areas” of the store and has our typical items under each area, if they are needed, they are flagged. When I buy them, I check the box and they disappear — so I can set it to see only what I need to buy.

I have a list for the office supply store, the electronics store, the hardware store and the building supply store in addition to the grocery.

Some of the cooler “lists” I downloaded from www.illiumsoftware.com — the home of ListPro. These interesting freebies included a list of quotes (which I can add to and customize and which has offers keyword search and other interesting). As a quote collector, this is like a dream come true.

I now have a list (imported from my an Excel sheet), which contains every disk in my DVD collection. This is no small feat, since that’s well over 800 disks now. I can usually remember what I have and what I still want to buy, but now… it’s in the palm of my hand anytime I see a DVD on sale that piques my interest. Way cool, huh?

I also will be adding a list of my domain names (current holdings) and the information I need about when they are to be renewed, whether or not that’s a keeper domain, or one I plan to sell, and other critical information.

I have uploaded reference lists — traditional and modern anniversary gifts, birthday information (stones, flowers, dates, astrological signs), a list of herbs and their characteristics and typical uses, a list of web-safe colors, flowers — descriptions, planting information (including the zones where they grow best) and I even have a copy of the periodic table on my PDA — I may NEVER use it, but ever since high school and college chem classes, I’ve always had a copy around close. Don’t ask me why. I have a cheat-sheet of HTML tags and attributes which includes information on which browsers can use it.

ListPro also has “common substitutions” for those items that you discover you are missing in the middle of a recipe. And I downloaded a list of measurement equivalents, a clothing conversion chart that I REALLY wish I’d had while in China, healthy substitutes for unhealthy (but delicious) foods.

And, I downloaded the “simply six” cookbook. Its claim to fame is that every dish requires only six ingredients (and the directions are also included in the notes section). The great thing about this list program, besides the flexibility, is that you see it in a list format for easy scrolling, but then when you find what you want, you get it in a great index-card format with one “tap” of a stylus.

Before I became such a techno geek, I kept LOADS of information on index cards in an old metal pull-drawer file on my desk, and it took me several generations of computers before I gave up the digital “card file” program that I discovered and used to transfer all my data. I think I still have a copy of the original program AND all that data in one of my backup archives. (I saw it when cleaning backups a couple months ago).

I even have a few lists for our bi-weekly gaming session (yeah, I’m a D&D geek too — sad, isn’t it?). I can carry all the info on feats, spells and skills for D&D 2.0, 3.0 and 3.5 in this little baby. Let’s see the guys at the gaming table look it up faster than me NOW!

Although dice programs are available, I’ll pass on an electronic format for that. I like my little green velvet bag with the miniature purple dice.

I think that miniaturization has always held me in awe. In fact, I know it has. And, I think that’s a great deal of the appeal here. It’s got the “itty-bitty” allure alongside the “all organized” and “at fingertip access” impact. I just love it.

I’d not want to live in ANY other era. I like the old world, I like the ancient age, the future intrigues me too — but I think if I had to LIVE at any point in the past or future — and I could choose now.

I’ve seen so much in my lifetime — from the first home computers (and had the hands-on experience of building the second one in this state with my father). Back when a tangled mass of colored wires and silver pins soldiered into a hand-drilled green board was the “cutting edge” to now… when I carry more power in my tiny purse than a roomful of mainframes could manage when I was young.

I can only imagine the progress I’ll reflect on in a couple MORE decades!

The present day is amazing. Anyway, I digress…

Back to the Treo!

I’ll be able to keep all my checkbook balances and credit card information, my account and password information at the tip of my fingers! I’m not sure most people could imagine how many Username/Password pairs I have to manage. It’s around a couple hundred these days … and they have to be changed regularly for security reasons — so this is no small thing.

And music… OH MY… I’ve really missed having music when I work. I quit playing music on the computer because I multitask so much that it slowed things down. I now have music all the time while I work — at the office or on the road. I have my earbuds in now as I type this! I’m listening to McLean’s “American Pie” now, I just finished “Don’t fear the Reaper” and “The Time Warp” from the Rocky Horror soundtrack is coming up. I’m a bit eclectic in my musical tastes, as you may have guessed.

I have about two albums of my old time favorites on here now. I’ll be adding more soon, and will organize them in categories to make it quick to decide on music play lists based on my mood. CCR, Pink, the Dixie Chicks, Bach, and Fleetwood Mac will all have their own categories :O)

I like PocketTunes. It’s a sweet little program that allows me to work on other things WHILE the MP3s are playing in the background. And, although the Treo will play on the external speaker (which is nice) it sounds REALLY good with the stereo earbuds. And, no matter what I’m doing, it won’t skip like my old CD players did. I’ve ordered a nice little combo item online which combines the stereo earbuds with a mic – so it can be used for the phone or for music, as needed. And, it’s retractable, so you don’t have all this extra wire hanging from you when you use them – and the wire won’t get all tangled up when I toss it in the front pocket of my little purse (which is now a Treo bag). I’ve also ordered a retractable USB combo charger/synch cable – the one that comes with it requires a plug into an outlet and is too cumbersome for traveling with such a small PDA.

I’ve picked up a couple of games too – just for fun. Although I “test drove” several, I purchased Bejeweled and Fish Tycoon. Bejeweled is just plain addictive (I had it on my old cell phone). If you like the idea of having a “virtual pet” on your PDA, and if you have ever played and enjoyed the Sims (or a similar game), you will like this one. The unusual thing about the Tycoon program is that it continues to “play” even when the PDA is off — so if you forget to feed your fish, they all die. Now, it SOUNDS silly to tie up your “real” time with a “virtual” responsibility. But, it’s kinda fun. And, if you don’t want to be bothered you can ignore them. You can always start a new game later, right?

The coolest thing on the Treo for the writer in me is the American Heritage Dictionaries (College, Cultural Literacy, Idioms), which would entertain me for hours. However, the prize in my collection is the Roget’s Thesaurus II – the exact same book I keep within reach of my right hand at my desk every day. Now, I have it ALWAYS. I’m always looking for just the right word – one with the proper inflection, the proper tone, and one that will flow smoothly within the context. This thing is a dream come true!

My husband “tested” my claim that I could tell him something about virtually anything with the Treo now. He said “Tell me about Thomas Beckett!” I looked it up in the Cultural Literacy Dictionary and read him the entry. He raised one eyebrow and said,  “I knew all of that except the last part – that’s pretty cool.” He’s still not a believer, but he’s coming around. He liked knowing EXACTLY how old his nieces and nephews were (in years, months and days) – a feature of the GreatDates program I bought to store all the important dates that I have in one place that will alarm three days in advance (or any number that you select) to enable me to send a card or make a call as needed. I also bought “Holidates” which adds in cultural, religious and legal holidays into the standard datebook through 2008. Now THAT’s nice! And, I’ve added some of my own “memorial” dates just to take a moment to remember a special person or place or event that has long passed.

And, of course, I have ebooks. I’ve downloaded dozens of the classics on the laptop and have put a handful on the Treo already. I plan to download a couple bestsellers soon � when I’m all organized and I’m finished “burning in” the Treo and all my systems are working. I’m thinking a couple of weeks from now I should have time to do some reading for pleasure for a change. I read constantly, but 98% of it is online these days. I love research and learning. I live for it, but I’m ready to read some for no redeeming value other than pleasure. I’m test driving both the Mobipocket (recommended by a techie friend) and the eReader software. Although I’m leaning toward the Mobipocket version, I’ve not made a decision yet.

I even downloaded a little program called “The Magical Pond” to share with my daughter. It’s the digital version of the old “pick an adventure” books from my “tween” years. She gets to listen as I read, then pick from a list of choices, solve a math problem, or other brainteasers to determine the path that the story takes. She loves it. And it has a few illustrations, which she finds quite nice. And, when I leave it, it remembers where I was when I come back. And, it can be read again and again as a new story, depending on the choices she makes. It’s a great way to keep entertainment in my pocket for someone not quite seven years old. And, I’m enjoying the story myself. I may look into writing one of these myself later, it’s a great way to get kids of the video age to read. Illustrations are the key on the color PDA screens, I think.

And completely on the other edge of the world- I downloaded a freebie guitar tuner program for my eldest son – who always seems to have a guitar, but never a tuner. I bought him an expensive electronic tuner a couple years ago that doesn’t do as well as this little app. My youngest son (14) loves the onboard cookbook (he wants to be a chef) and he wants to help me get the family cookbook on the palm along with our current favorites. Then, of course, he wants me to “beam” it to him on his PDA. He got my old one when I bought this one. The whole “beaming” concept is pretty impressive to him.

I also have a program onboard that tells me what time it is in any city in the world – CityTime. It allows me to pick from a list, type in a city, or simply touch the screen’s map to see what time it is where my clients live and work. THAT is an app I’m using a lot in my business. Forget all the counting on my fingers to determine the time difference between here and there before I place that call. Two taps and I have it. Nice, huh?

The Treo 600 has a great sound as a phone (I tested that this weekend too). But, right now, I’m working on the PDA functions. I’ll be working with the online functions once I have the programs and the PDA functions exactly the way I want them. It’s going to be done in “waves” and I’ll keep you informed how it’s going. Right now, I need to go have lunch – and pop it into my Diet and Exercise tracker — so I can see my progress, my intake of calories, carbs, fat and fiber on a daily, weekly and monthly basis (graph or numerical).

And, just a bit of bragging here… even with all the stuff I currently have on the phone and the card, I still have 834.6 Megs still free for more documents, projects, programs, ebooks, photos, graphics and music.

Yah, I’m getting everything organized… *walks off smiling and singing along with “Werewolves of London”*

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