Goodbye, Palm V

Palm Vx

Recently, my Palm died on me due to me neglecting to charge it and brought with it more than a year's worth of statistics of my car's fuel useage, petrol prices, and mileage. Surprisingly from today's standpoint, Palm's memory is not flash and has to be powered in order to keep its contents. If the battery discharges, the device returns to the factory state.

I have owned and used a Palm Vx since 2001. For the last couple of years I have been using it for only two applications: storing passwords in Keyring and keeping tabs on my cars' fuel usage with Fuel Log. Both of these programs are GPL licensed. I've migrated passwords to pwsafe on the laptop a couple of months ago. Now that the fuel log is gone, there's nothing binding me to it.
Sounds like a good opportunity to retire the Palm at last.

I will always have fond memories of this little device. A truly portable PDA, less than 1 cm thick, the weight that does not strain a shirt pocket, battery charge good for several weeks of standby time or 20 hours straight of reading of e-books (tried that). The screen is laughably low-res by today's standards (160x160 pixels). Nowadays most mobile phones have a higher resolution screen. However it was very comfortable on the eyes, and the green inverse backlight was very pretty, was very comfortable in darkness, but made the screen pretty much useless in twilight.

Oh, the thousands of pages of books I have read on this thing! It was so convenient. I had Palm with me at all times and could delve into the book I was reading at the time at each opportunity: a long line in the supermarket, in the doctor's lobby, in bed at night, sunbathing at the lake, anywhere! I could look up a rare word by just clicking on it and switching to the dictionary app. I could not agree more with everything John Siracusa has to say about the Palm e-book experience in his excellent article on the history of e-books.

Palm had a great set of PIM applications: Notes, Address book, To Do. These were really excellent and served their purpose very well.

Miraculously, my Palm's Lithium battery is still working, about 9 years from production! Other things have obsoleted the device: my current laptop (Thinkpad X61s) does not have neither RS-232 nor IrDA ports, and these two are the only communication channels on the Palm. The 8 MB of memory were enough 7 years ago to keep several books and an assortment of useful programs, but are laughable today. But even in its heyday, getting online not too comfortable: if there was no table around, you had to balance the Palm and the mobile phone on your knee with their infrared ports aligned, and the 9600 bps dialup on GSM was slow by any standards, and there was no web browser, at least a free software one.

Later offerings from Palm Inc. were faster, brighter, more capable, more powerful, and more expensive, but lost to Palm V in several important respects: size, weight, and battery life.

So, anyway, I need a new fuel log application, and I know the device where I want it. My S60 mobile phone. I also have it with me at all times, it's always on and ready to roll, and it holds its charge for many^H^H^H^Hseveral days. And i'm going to write it in Python.

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