What did mobile people do 17 year’s ago?

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I’m a musician & PDA user.  I make my living in music & depend on PDA’s for all aspects of my business.  I’ve used handheld devices for over 10 years now, starting with a lowly Casio BOSS.  I used the BOSS to keep my schedule & contacts at the time.  I probably went through three BOSSes.  Meanwhile, I also picked up a Poqet PC for word processing & basic accounting.  The Poqet ran Word Perfect, which worked great for me then.  Eventually, I switched to a Sharp PC 1000.  The Sharp PC 1000 took over my contacts, calendar, & basic accounting, & I also began to compile all the lyrics I needed for performing.  I was tempted to switch to the Atari Portfolio or an HP 95, but the Sharp’s large screen & keyboard (roughly the size of an LG Phenom or Toshiba Libretto) were just perfect for what I needed.  Everything ran in DOS, & I knew all the DOS commands well from my days at Tandy in the 80’s… More at tommunch.com.

Kirk reminded me of the above article yesterday and it works as an eye-opener for those of you who did not use PDAs and a wonderful reminder for those of us who did. The detail Tom includes is quite remarkable.

And he can write great music and sing perfectly as well. I would hate him if he wasn’t such a nice guy;)

8 thoughts on “What did mobile people do 17 year’s ago?

  1. I’m speechless. Thanks for the mention. I still contend that there are things we could do on those PDA’s that we can’t do on our smartphones.

  2. I enjoyed the walk through memory lane reading you article Tom, thanks a lot! I am curious of what we could do on the PDAs that we can’t do now? I would have thought the opposite!

    1. Wow! Lots of things. I could back up my Palm devices to an SD card and could restore in a few minutes. I could selectively back up and restore different apps. I could do a quick lookup of a contact from any app that supported the lookup feature. I could export calendar and memos very easily as well as move data from app to app. I could do quick alarms like I showed in the article with a screenshot. There were apps that had much more sophisticated database functions. With Hackmaster hacks there was quick access to all kinds of things that still aren’t supported in the widgets on iOS or share sheet even with IFTT and Workflow. I’m sure I can think of a dozen more things if I put my mind to it. It just seemed like the sky was the limit. I had to simplify greatly when I switched to a Blackberry and then to an iPhone. I’ve adjusted, but I miss the endless customizations that could be made. Of course it lacked the connectivity and communications. I even miss Graffiti and still cuss at the onscreen keyboard daily when it makes errors.

  3. Apart from the quick contact search from any app, I was looking at my mobile and I can do all of those. I used to use a back up app to back eveything up to my SD card and I could pick and choose which apps to reinstall (I don’t use it any more because the cloud has become good enough to meet my needs now!) I can import and export anything to and from my agenda.To move data from one app to another, I just highlight something, select “share” and I can choose an app or send it in any way I want. I have an app installed which I can call up either last used apps, back, home or (my preferred option) I have selected the apps or actions I use the most. You can choose how many. I just swipe my thumb to the centre, and go to the option I want. It’s a super quick way to get to the app I want. I sort of feel like I still have the flexibility to make my phone what I want!

    I like the music you make btw, Shaun is right, you’re very talented!

    1. Yeah, I probably should be using an Android device. I’m sure there are more hacks and options there. Android was pretty bad when I switched to the iPhone, and I haven’t wanted to switch the whole ecosystem since. If I can come up with more examples I will. It’s hard to get back into the frame of mind of older devices once enough time has gone by. I still have a Treo that’s working, so maybe a few minutes on it would refresh my memory.

      Thanks for the kind words about my music!

  4. I can completely understand being reluctant to switch, my whole family uses iOS, my brother keeps telling to switch back to Apple because of Face Time (I started out an Apple user, and he was Windows), but apart from being too expensive for me, I’m also not keen to switch everything I’ve built up on Android to iOS no matter how good it looks.

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