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A Winning Treonaut Lifestyle

PalmSource recently ran a contest around the theme "How has Palm OS improved you life?" and I am extremely glad to report that among over a thousand submissions Peter Arts - who you will know as a frequent contributor on Treonauts - has won this contest.  Heartfelt congratulations from all Treonauts Peter!!!

Below is Peter's original entry:

As an avid user of the Palm OS for eight years, I’ve owned six different Palm devices, with the current one being the Treo 600. I can sum up their impact on my life this way: the Palm OS has helped me easily manage and easily access “just-in-time” information...both personal and business. Happily, as my definition of such information has grown more complex and demanding, the Palm OS has matured in a complimentary fashion.

In brief, the Palm OS has had its greatest impact in these broad categories:

  • Managing contact information
  • Managing travel details
  • Managing scheduling
  • Providing mobile messaging
  • Allowing me to carry one device instead of many gadgets

One of the Palm OS’s greatest strengths is the hundreds of thousands of developers working with it, and the almost unlimited number of apps/utilities they have developed. This provided Palm OS users a level of customization and flexibility, which is the clear differentiator from other PDA operating systems. While I have used literally hundreds of apps/utilities for Palm OS over the years, here are the ones that have had the biggest impact on my life:

  • QuickOffice: Supports MS Office--Word, Excel, Powerpoint--better than Pocket PC. It also handles your eMail attachments, graphic files, etc.
  • TravelTracker: Tracks your plane flights, train trips, hotel reservations, car rental reservations, dinner reservations, appointments and transports (limos, car service, etc).
  • Vindigo: Helps you find your way, find restaurants, bars, museums, concerts, even a clean bathroom. Never worry about asking for directions or recommendations again.
  • SoundRec: Free app, that lets you record voice memos on your Palm 
  • Snapper Mail: An intuitive eMail client that couples with Docs To Go or QuickOffice to handle attachments in their native format...it handles attachments up to 2mb in size. Now supports both POP and IMAP mail.
  • PocketTunes Deluxe: What's an iPod? Skinnable, integrated music machine for the Treo. It handles MP3, WMA, Ogg Vorbis, WAV and streaming broadcasts. Plays in the background while you are doing other things on your Treo, and sounds just dandy in my car, via a cassette adapter. Feeling frisky? Go for a 1gb SD card, and get some comfy earphones!

The following are some specific examples of how the Palm OS has improved my life:

1.  I am in IT Sales. That means I am on the road more then 50% of the time…much of that travel via plane. Consider the logistics to be managed:

    a. Travel between home & airport
    b. Airline schedule/ticket specifics
    c. Shuttle/rental car
    d. Hotels
    e. Meetings with clients/colleagues
    f. Time Zone changes
    g. Finding convenient (decent) restaurants, pubs, entertainment, even a clean bathroom

Now, imagine keeping track of all that in a Day-Timer, or via printed sheets of paper. That’s a lot of filing going on in your pockets. TravelTracker has been keeping my travel life sane for a long time. It manages all of my travel information, links directly to my Calendar and Contacts apps, and automatically changes my Palm’s time to match my current locale. Vindigo gives me detailed reviews, maps, directions, etc. for everything I need/want to know about every major city in the USA that I travel to. Takes the guesswork out, and makes me less of a tourist. It eliminates mistakes such as missed flights/connections, screwed up hotel reservations, lousy meals, etc.

2.  As I have grown in my use of technology, so have my immediate and extended families. Somehow, they have appointed me Mr. Tech-Support. This means that I am hit with a lot of cries for help, while on the road. Thanks to the Treo, SnapperMail, and QuickOffice, I am invincible (at least, that’s what they think)! Every time I deal with a tech issue, I save it to a Microsoft Word doc on my Treo. In Phone Book, I have EVERYBODY’s tech info (IP addresses, telephone numbers, usernames and passwords, etc.). I can then get them on the phone, do some triage, and email them the appropriate doc to get it solved. Now, I just need a new hack that will make them all forget that I know how to do this stuff.

3.  Ten years ago, I (and every other sales person in the world) would stop in the rain, snow, etc. to use a pay phone, and call our offices for messages. If we had an important one, we would call our client back, and hope that they were available. If not, we would have to try it shortly afterwards, in another exposed payphone. Cell phones greatly improved this situation, but that was quickly negated by the advent of email as the communications media of choice. Now, with my Treo and SnapperMail, I can receive messages and attachments at anytime, and respond, in kind…all without leaving the safety of whatever dry place I am sitting in. DiddleBug is increasingly useful…if I need to write a sticky note real fast, I can just write it in long-hand (tel#’s, URLs, dates, etc.). Afterwards, I can send it as a graphic file, via SnapperMail. Oh, yeah!

4.  My personal life is daily improved with the Palm OS. I use it to manage day trips, vacations, doctor appointments, shopping lists, etc. I document mileage and repairs to my cars and make tee-times on-line. I can check the baseball score from the train, or listen to MP3s or streaming audio.

One little device, so many uses, so much confusion eliminated. Just what I need to know, just when I need to know it. It doesn’t get much better than that.

You can find the many other user stories here at the PalmSource website and you may also like to read some of Peter's previous posts here at Treonauts such as "How to Leave Your Laptop Behind" and "Irreverent Thoughts".

Posted by Andrew on October 19, 2004 at 09:11 AM

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by Dennis Ng | Oct 19, 2004 11:02:16 AM

Congratulations! Great piece!

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