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View Full Version : Giving Up Palm After 13 Years - Some Transition Advice Needed



rjbinney
06-17-2010, 11:29 AM
I'm afraid my Palm is not long for this world, so I'm thinking pretty seriously about the HTC Evo.

My primary need is the basic "Palm Desktop" functions:

Calendar
Contacts
To-Do Lists
... Each with the ability to sort and display different categories (e.g., "Work", "Personal", "Airline Reservations", etc.)

I've been using Palm Desktop - NOT Outlook - for all these years, and I only have one beef with it - I travel quite a bit for work, and so I need to manage appointments in different time zones. The Palm handheld does this brilliantly - you just put in what city your appointment's in, and it makes the adjustments based on what city you're actually in.* The Palm Desktop does NOT handle this well! So you have to be careful when you sync...

Anyway, here's my dilemma.

Deja Office looks like it will accomplish everything I currently do on my Palm, and quite nicely. It also looks like by adding Companion Link, I can keep using Palm Desktop, so I won't have to worry about how to transfer 13 years' worth of archived information into a new platform.

So, a couple of questions:


Does Deja Office support multiple time zones for appointments?
How "clean" is the interface with Palm Desktop?
Has anyone else transitioned from a Palm to an Android, and have any advice?
Any other good calendar/contact softwares out there?
NOTE: I do NOT like Google calendar! And I'm not thrilled with keeping my info in the cloud, either. I've tried Time and Chaos - but it looked like it did NOT support separate time zones. And really the only reason why I'd make a switch from Palm Desktop is to accommodate different time zones.

I'm sure I'll have more questions, but if I can manage the above, I think I will be less fearful about making the transition.

Thanks!



So, here's an example:
Today I'm in Salt Lake City, which is in Mountain time. I have a flight tonight to Phoenix, which is Pacific (actually, technically, Mountain STANDARD - which means Pacific time in summer, and Mountain in winter... Arizona, why do you have to be so difficult about everything?). Tomorrow I fly to Denver (Mountain) and then to Philadelphia (Eastern).

So, I type in my meeting today - 12N to 5P (Salt Lake), and it knows it's MDT.
I type in my flight - 8P to 9:30P (Salt Lake), and it knows it's MDT.
I type in tomorrow's flights - 8A (Phoenix), and 5P (Denver). (And my meeting at 1P in Denver).
So when I'm at home - Philadelphia - and look at my calendar, it would show:
THURSDAY
2P - 7P Meeting (12N MDT)
10P - Flight (8P MDT)
FRIDAY
11A - Flight (8A MST)
3P - Meeting (1P MDT)
7P - Flight (5P MDT)
But if I go to World Clock and tell my Palm I'm in Salt Lake, it automagically adjusts everything for THAT time zone.
THURSDAY
12N - Meeting
8P - Flight
FRIDAY
9A - Flight (8A MST)
1P - Meeting
5P - Flight
And tonight, when I get to Phoenix, and adjust my Palm, it will show:
FRIDAY
8A - Flight
12N - Meeting (1P MDT)
4P - Flight (5P MDT)
and so on. It's just handy for helping me manage. It looks more complicated than it is!

DJOCTO
06-17-2010, 01:20 PM
> 1. Does Deja Office support multiple time zones for appointments?

Yes, but Palm Desktop doesn't have a time zone setting. So we record all appointments in the time zone you are in when you sync.

> 2. How "clean" is the interface with Palm Desktop?

That part is easy. It's just a sync, just as with Palm.

> 3. Has anyone else transitioned from a Palm to an Android, and have any advice?

For others to answer. My $0.02 is that you are transitioning from a 14 year old stable platform for a primitive processor, to a 6 month old unstable OS with a powerful processor. Expect both good and bad parts.

rjbinney
06-17-2010, 02:53 PM
Thanks. I just went and played with the Evo, and absolutely love it.

Like I said, the one knock I have with Palm Desktop is that it does NOT support multiple time zones. And it gets really screwy. (There was this one time at band camp, I had flown from US West Coast to UK... My "home" time zone is US East Coast... My laptop was set for Pacific time, my Palm was set for Greenwich Mean Time, and ALL of my appointments went permanently out of whack - most by seven hours, but the four years' appointments from when I was in Seattle are off by ten hours. Mostly. It's ugly).

FOLLOW UP QUESTION: So let's say I'm in Philadelphia, and I'm putting in my information for a flight from Seattle to home. It leaves at 1PM Seattle time, which is 4PM Philly time. So I put the appointment in - 1PM, mark it as Pacific time. When I look at my calendar, it would show as "4PM". What would it show when I sync? What time does it show on my Desktop? This is really hard to articulate the problem by typing... I will try to come up with some better examples.

Are there any other desktop-based systems that play nicely with DejaOffice, and also have the multiple time-zone thing? I've played with Time and Chaos and a couple of others from cnet, but that seems to be the downfall of all of them. When I tried migrating from Palm to Outlook, it was a dog's breakfast.

Thanks again for your help. As you said, I've had a certain amount of stability around how I've managed my info for a long long time... I'm a bit apprehensive about making this change!

DJOCTO
06-17-2010, 03:30 PM
rjbinney, I checked this just a couple weeks ago.

In the native Calendar, I added an appointment at 1pm. Then I changed the Time Zone for my phone to Eastern time. The appointment moved to 4pm.

I have a development issue to see if we can expose and modify a hidden field for "native" time zone for the appointments, and designate a "local time" such that the appointment would stay at 1pm. So far, however, my tests indicate the phone has Linux/Unix time behavior where the appointments will all move every time the time zone changes. So when you fly and land, all your schedule will move. For now, the best workaround is to keep the phone time zone set to a fixed value, even when you travel. This makes it hard to get up at the right time to make the next flight.

rjbinney
06-17-2010, 06:13 PM
From what I understand, the Evo automatically adjusts to local time.

Now - the way you described it - that's what should have happened, right? (I presume you were playing with West Coast/East Coast). A meeting that happens at 1PM West Coast time SHOULD appear at 4PM when you're on the East Coast.

My "workaround" - if you can call it that - is that I always set everything back to East Coast time before I sync. The Palm, the desktop, whatever. It keeps everything intregous on the the handheld, and I know if I'm outside of the East Coast, I can't use my Desktop as a minder. It IS handy for data entry...

At the risk of sounding like a complete and utter lunatic, have you seen the way Palm handles it on the handheld? It's my only frame of reference, so I don't know what other alternatives are like... But it's intuitive and brilliant.

It almost - ALMOST - sounds like you're dissuading me from buying your product! Which I just got myself totally psyched about!

DJOCTO
06-17-2010, 06:30 PM
DejaOffice is currrently free. So there's nothing to buy.

I'm cautious in overpromising. A lot of people get angry when DejaOffice doesn't make their Android into a Palm OS device. It's just an app. Keep that in mind.

If you want your appointments to change when you change time zones, then that's what Android does. For DejaOffice, I hope to add a mode for people who want an 8am appointment to stay at 8am, no matter what time zone you are in right now. That's how airline schedules work. That's all.

I hope this information helps.

rjbinney
06-17-2010, 06:41 PM
Right - airline schedules are always in local time. So if you have a 7AM flight to Phoenix that's 5 hours, and then a flight from Phoenix to San Francisco that leaves at 11AM, if you CAN'T adjust for time zones, you have to either:
- Put in a TWO hour appt. at 7AM, and then an 11AM appointment,
or
- Put in the five hour appt, and then the conflicting 11AM appt, and then you have no idea how long a layover you've got.

It seems Deja Office is the closest thing to emulating Palm out there - and I mean that as a compliment. When you say a "mode" for people who want 8AM to stay at 8AM, would that be an OPTION or would you change the entire code?

Thanks for your patience here.

rjb

ETA: I'm using Palm Desktop 4.2. If I "upgrade" to 6.x, will all my worries disappear?

rjbinney
06-18-2010, 12:30 PM
By the way, big props for putting your upgrade timeline and project status on your homepage.

rjbinney
06-22-2010, 11:16 PM
Does DejaOffice play nicely with Mozilla's SunBird?

Eric
06-23-2010, 09:54 AM
We're focusing on the sync between DejaOffice and applications like Outlook, Palm Desktop, ACT!, and Lotus Notes. Sync to SunBird is not supported.

rjbinney
06-23-2010, 12:26 PM
Shoot, looked like a winner of a package.

Clark
06-25-2010, 12:34 PM
I have used the Palm Desktop for over ten years and did not wish to lose all my data, nor transition to Outlook, but needed to escape the old Treo. I bought the Droid based on this software being able to sync with my Palm Desktop. After a bit of thrashing around and lots of help from their technical support, I'm a happy client. Its not completely palm-like on the Droid, but it is good enough. I don't have the time zone issue though.

kirby001
06-30-2010, 12:40 PM
I'm also a long time happy user of Palm and Palm Desktop and am considering moving to either iPhone4 or HTC Evo. It looks like Dejaoffice would accomodate my needs with one exception. It is not clear to me how they handle Memos (in Palm terminology). They seem to have conflated "Tasks and Notes" into one category in Dejaoffice. So, I'm not sure what will happen to the several thousand Memos I now have and the ones I might make/alter in this new configuration when I sync between Dejaoffice and Palm Desktop. Does anyone know?

Eric
06-30-2010, 12:58 PM
DejaOffice does have separate tasks and notes (called DejaTasks and DejaNotes). So, using CompanionLink, your Palm Desktop tasks will be synced to DejaTasks, and your Palm Desktop memos will be synced to DejaNotes.

2thman
07-07-2010, 04:51 PM
I'm on the same wild train ride - Palm user too many yrs, love the palm interface, and appreciate it even more now that I've tried to use outlook, google, etc (for the sole purpose of syncing EVO to desktops). Got the EVO day it came out and has been a slow learning experience since, but getting there. Still don't have a comfortable sync routine, between my EVO, home and office desktops - was simple with Palm (when it worked;). I also miss my memos, and am considering using this sw and/or companionlink. Will keep reading for more positive feedback.

rjbinney
07-07-2010, 06:32 PM
Now, I thought DejaOffice HAD memos?

Getting mine next Monday. Debating between the Droid X and Evo... I think 4G outweighs the "battery issues"...

Eric
07-08-2010, 08:46 AM
DejaOffice has memos; you can find them in DejaNotes. True, we call them "notes"...different name for the same thing (Outlook also calls its memos notes). Not to be confused with contact notes, which are notes attached to a contact record. DejaNotes are standalone notes/memos.

rjbinney
07-08-2010, 09:26 AM
But to confirm - in addition to DejaNotes, there's also the ability to add notes to calendar entries, address book entries, and to-do items? (Sorry - I know I can answer all this once I buy the phone and dl your product!)

Eric
07-09-2010, 09:12 AM
Yes to all! You can add notes to contact, calendar, and task records in addition to creating standalone notes.

rjbinney
07-19-2010, 11:45 PM
So I did finally buy an Android phone, but haven't transitioned everything from the Palm yet. I remain concerned with the time zone issue. I understand that the Palm DESKTOP doesn't support time zones, and Google calendars does not, but the Palm Handheld and everything I've ever touched that uses Outlook also does.

Everyone has issues, I know - that's mine.

Just a thought. Or two.
1) On the Palm, you can select the city your appointment is in. Then when you set the time, it correlates the two. So a 1PM San Francisco appointment shows up on your calendar at 4PM if you are in Charlotte. (And it notates that it's actually a 1PM PDT appointment). If'n you want the appointment to be absolute, that is, always at 8:00, no matter what time zone you're in, you just don't specify a city. I know nothing about programming, besides a BASIC class I took in 1981, but maybe that will jog an idea in someone's head on how to accomplish this?

b) Or, maybe, you could build a table that automagically correlates to something like GMT. So when I put in an appointment and select EDT, it knows it's GMT-5, so when I'm in a MDT city that's GMT-7, it can calc the difference. Again, just a thought.

I really appreciate that you guys are here supporting your product. I found one glitch, but I'm going to search the forums (fora?) to see if there's a fix somewhere already. (ETA: Found it. http://www.dejaoffice.com/forums/showthread.php?166-RequestL-DejaOffice-widget&p=768#post768)

Thanks!

rjbinney
07-21-2010, 06:20 PM
Don't know if this helps or hurts:
http://developer.android.com/reference/java/util/TimeZone.html

rjbinney
08-13-2010, 11:57 AM
So my hard drive crashed last week and I had to use Outlook Web access to schedule appointments. I scheduled a lunch meeting from 11:45 until 1PM yesterday in Salt Lake City. Everyone showed up at 9:45... (11:45 on the east coast, natch). Very embarrassing.

This is the kind of stuff having time zone friendliness built into my handheld prevents me from screwing up.