Friday, March 31, 2006

10 years of the Palm Pilot

Some of the gadget websites I read have been noting the 10th Anniversary of the introduction of the first Palm Pilot.
I was not that early an adopter-- when I first heard about the original Pilot, I thought it was one of those dumb things that get advertised in the SkyMall catalog, the kind of thing you buy and use once and then it sits there gathering dust.
But it wasn't long before a friend of mine said "I bet you can't wait to get one of those." I initially scoffed, saying that it really was not of interest to me-- at the time, a mini Filofax was my obsessive organizational tool of choice. But my friend's remark piqued my interest, and it wasn't long before I was researching the possibilities, and I bought my first PDA in 1998. It was actually a Casio E-11, but a few months later, my friend bought a Palm IIIx and I realized how much better it was, so I bought one of those. I used it, adored it, and then one day, watched in horror as it fell to the kitchen floor and the screen cracked. I sent it off for repair, but realized that I had to have a spare! And so it began... over the next 6 years, I bought a total of 15 Palm devices! I've given 2 away, had one stolen, and sold 7 of them on EBay. When you factor in the price I paid, less the money I made on the ones I sold, plus what I spent on accessories and software, I estimate I've spent about $4-5,000 on Palms. Yes, it is scary when you actually add it up. Most of this was before I started using Quicken, so this is the first time I've really totalled it!
I've pretty much gotten over that craziness. I've been using the same Clie now for about 3 years. I have an extra one as a spare. If a really cool new one came out, I would probably upgrade again-- that's the scary thing, I didn't really stop buying new ones because I was being financially responsible, it was just because I didn't find any of the new models particularly sexy after Sony stopped making the Clie.
I can't say all $5,000 was money well-spent, but some of it was. I do find a PDA to be incredibly useful. I track my daily spending on it with Pocket Quicken (which syncs with the desktop version), and I use Documents to Go to run my real estate spreadsheets on the go. I also have a currency converter, which comes in handy, and I use the To-Do list to track my grocery list and what I have coupons for. I also have all my bank account and credit card details in a password-protected, encrypted database. Other than the money-related stuff, it's also a great way to streamline your life-- instead of carrying a Filofax, MP3 player, French and Spanish dictionaries, novels, gameboy, photo album, alarm clock, calculator and digital camera, I can just carry one device that does all these things. (And if I had a Treo, it could replace my cell phone too.) When I plug my Clie into its folding keyboard, I can do a lot of writing on it-- I do some of my blogging that way by synching the documents back to my computer and then uploading the posts. I'm sure it's made me better organized and more productive-- it may have even helped me save some money (though probably not enough to make up for the $5000). So happy birthday Palm Pilot.


IRA said...

Yikes! I consider myself a gear head as well, but 15 Palm devices? Wow. I think I've only had 3 since 1998. And I don't have any spares. I figure that it's pretty easy to pick up a new one at a brick and mortar store if I manage to destroy/lose mine. And I backup all of my data at home and at work. I actually just sold my Palm m500 to someone last month on Hmm...that makes me wonder. How many computers and/or cell phones have you purchased in your lifetime?

Madame X said...

I'm not really that much of a gadget freak other than palms-- I still use the 2nd computer I ever purchased. I would probably still be using the first cell phone I ever purchased if it hadn't been stolen. I replaced it with one I bought used, and when that broke, a friend gave me her old one and that is what I use now.
Other than that, I've had one ipod that was given to me as a gift, a minidisc player that was a christmas present about 8 years ago, one digital camera that was a gift, one film camera that I bought on ebay, and a microcassette recorder I bought with my first babysitting money when I was 13! That is pretty much it!

Anonymous said...

Oh. my. gawd. I think you beat me...

PDA's I've owned:

Pilot 500
Palm Pilot Pro
Palm V
Palm IIIe
Palm IIIx
Palm VII
Palm m100
About 5 Windows CE machines (all forgettable)
Dell Axim x5

Most of these were bought,played with for a while, and flipped on eBay for either a slight profit or slight loss. I still remember playing with my first Palm Pro. (The Pilot was bought as an antique ;) )

Anonymous said...

That should be Pilot 5000...

IRA said...

Hi Madame X. Your post prompted me to blog about serial purchases. I think I'm more of a gear head in the sense that I like toys. But I also try to use things until they die, or until someone else in my family 'needs' it. So far, I've given away 2 laptops, 1 desk top and a fairly new car. But I'm wondering if that's just my way of justifying my own spending habits? I recently 'dropped' my iPod mini. I had to laugh at myself because I immediately wondered if subconsciously, I was trying to break it on purpose. I really want a new nano ;-)

Anonymous said...

Ha! I thought I was the only one who bought an extra old Palm in case the first one fails! I have been through about 10 models as well, and the Zire 72 has been with me for a couple of years now. Bought a second one a few month ago, just in case...