If you aren't in the mood for a long rant, stop reading now. Unless you're a DJO employee, in which case, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE read this and take it seriously.

I used a Palm handheld for 15 years. It worked. It just plain worked. I could store contacts, tasks, notes, and my calendar in it AND on my desktop computer. Entering data was fast and easy on both the handheld and the desktop. Viewing data was fast and easy on both the handheld and the desktop. Synchronizing data between the two was fast and easy, starting with a Serial connection back in 1995 and progressing to a USB connection some time later.

In all that time, I lost data AT MOST once or twice, and the time I remember most vividly turned out to not be a Palm problem at all - I was syncing to Outlook at work (and Palm Desktop at home), and Outlook was set to purge old calendar events, so the data loss was my own error (not turning off the purge).

My wife and I both moved to Droids in July because my Palm was starting to die and we wouldn't be able to get replacements. We both started using DJO because it offered similar functionality AND could sync to Palm Desktop, which is STILL the fastest, easiest desktop organizer application out there. And I include the web-based apps in that list.

We both considered going all-out "modern age" and syncing to the cloud via native Android apps (calendar and contacts) and third-party apps (tasks and notes) but had concerns about usability and data security. So that was another point in favor of DJO.

I am very sad to say that my wife has rethought that decision and is moving to cloud apps, and I am very seriously considering joining her.

Over the past several months, I have had the following issues with DJO/CompanionLink. Some have been fixed, some have not:
  • Sync hangs
  • Sync errors
  • Data loss
  • Lack of recurring tasks
  • More sync hangs
  • Inaccessibility of data due to spurious USB mounting state errors
  • Slow data entry
  • Slow data saving
  • Slow data viewing
  • Inaccurate data
  • Lost notifications
  • Inefficient display layout
  • Inefficient data entry UI
  • Inefficient search results
  • More sync hangs
  • ... more, I'm sure ...

A few days ago, I upgraded to DJO 1.10.7 and CL 4032. It was a bit rocky, but since then, things have been mostly OK (in fact, the UI improvements are very good, with some notable exceptions:
  • At least one instance of the spurious USB mount problem
  • Hitting the Sync shortcut on my home screen (which I created AFTER installing 1.10.7) takes me to my last DJO view, NOT the DJO home, and does NOT start a sync
  • It is very hard to get from the week view to the day view in DJCal - clicking a date doesn't always work.

I can sort of live with those. But this morning, I went to do a sync, and it hung. Again. Actually, here's the entire sequence from this morning:
  1. (Phone is attached to computer via USB already, from charging last night)
  2. Hit the Sync shortcut
  3. Be taken to a Calendar view
  4. Hit the Home button in the top left
  5. Wait
  6. Hit the Sync button on the DJO home screen
  7. Wait a few seconds while "preparing SD card"
  8. See the "reading Android contacts" popup. Watch it run from 0% to 100% ad close.
  9. DJO goes to a blank Contacts screen, all on its own
  10. DJO goes to a blank Calendar screen, all on its own
  11. CL comes up on the PC
  12. Android decides to start downloading updates
  13. CL says "All done - please press OK" (or whatever that message is)
  14. I hit OK on CL
  15. I look at Palm Desktop, and it looks like everything is there (Yay!)
  16. I notice that DJO is in a weird state. Try to click around to get to the home screen, and can't. I'm still on the blank Calendar screen.
  17. I hit its "Back" button (top left) and get taken back to the blank Contacts screen.
  18. I hit its "Back" button and I'm now on a Contact entry screen for a contact I edited a few days ago
  19. I hit its "Back" button and I'm now on an empty DJO search results screen
  20. I hit the Android Home button to get back to my homescreen
  21. I try various ways of getting into DJO, and none of them takes me to anything useful
  23. I try again to get into DJO, and it Force Closes
  24. I try again, and get in successfully
  25. I change something on the PC Palm Desktop (to see whether Sync will accurately push things to the handheld after the above experience)
  26. I hit Sync in DJO
  27. It does its usual startup stuff
  28. I get the CL screen on the desktop, followed by the "All done press OK" dialog
  29. I press OK on the desktop. Everything looks good there
  30. I look at the handheld, and it's at "Reading Android Contacts 0%"

That was 30 minutes ago, and it's still on the same display. It is doing nothing. It is hung. Again.

I really, really, really want this to work. I want DJO to be a success. I want to be able to enter contacts, events, tasks, and notes in my handheld or my desktop and have them sync. I want to stick with DJO and Palm, because I believe they are conceptually superior to the modern web/cloud approach.

But I am really, really, really tired of fighting with my organizer. For 15 years I had an organizer that just worked, with no hassle, and I am tired of having an organizer that doesn't work.

I don't WANT to go to the cloud. I don't WANT to do my data entry on the web.

But I don't want to fight with my handheld any longer, either.

So I've run out of patience. I can give DJO one more try, but after 7 months of trying, I don't think I can give it more than that.