Saturday, August 08, 2009

For Gadget Geeks and Wanna-Be's

I am a time management junkie. That doesn't mean that I spend endless amounts of time tweaking and re-tweaking my calendar, task list, etc. (ok, I only spend a shitload of time doing those things--but all in the service of being more efficient, I swear!), but it does mean that I require that my time management gadget is effective, easy-to-use, and versatile. The iPhone addicts out there will be laughing at me in a second, but I don't care, because really, the PalmOS offers the most effective time management/calendaring functions of anything, and I mean anything, I've seen out there.

I'm a diehard MacPerson, and my purchased-in-2005-Powerbook-G4 is my most valued piece of property, but I'm sorry, iCal does not help me be productive. It's confusing, doesn't let you make tasks into events (crucial if you are serious about managing your time well), and on and on. Outlook, Entourage--pah. PalmOS' old school calendar, with tasks that you can categorize by color and name, which also match categories for your events (in iCal you have to create different calendars to do this, Jeez!), and which you can sort by date due and priority level, beats them all.

My personal gadgetry is, by modern US standards (especially in the Bay Area where it seems like everyone has a Blackberry, iPhone or other SmartPhone) pretty old school: I have a year-and-a-half-old Palm Handheld Zire (one of the last Palm non-phone PDAs) for my calendar, tasks, and many of my contacts, and a mid-level Samsung phone for Sprint that is good for calling and texting, which is mostly what I do with it. I don't even have an iPod or MP3 player. What a luddite, eh?

Now, I am enough of a technology-geek that I would like to have the all-in-one capability of a SmartPhone, but so far I haven't been able to give up the efficiency and ease of PalmOS for the cool slickness of an iPhone. Lately, though, with my consulting practice ramping up and my related need to be more mobile (conference calls, email from a cafe, not wanting to always have to lug my laptop around with me), I've been craving the convenience of one gadget over two. The frustrating thing is that I haven't been able to find what I really need--time management, WiFi, email capability, a reliable browser, a solid way to sync my contacts--all in one device. If anything, the more reviews I've read about what's out there and what people are using, I've realized some people who are as addicted as I am to efficient gadgetry are STILL using more than one device because the all-in-ones just really aren't that. I personally know at least two people who actually use a SmartPhone and a PAPER calendar! That says something about the time management (in)capability of the SmartPhones out on the market.

My search for the perfect SmartPhone, of course, began with the iPhone, since I am a MacGirl and am devoted to the brand (sick and twisted for a woman who claims to be anti-capitalist, but true). But like I said before, iCal wasn't gonna cut it for me, and even the seemingly powerfuly app OmniFocus didn't seem to be what I wanted. I want tasks+calendar, not tasks in one place, calendar in another. It's the bedrock of how I manage my life!

Blackberries never appealed to me because of the difficulty people I knew seemed to have with syncing it to their Macs. Since I've worked on Macs at home AND at work (I know, lucky me, eh?) for more than a decade now, it really wasn't an option to have a SmartPhone that wasn't Mac-friendly.

So then, I got all excited when the Palm Pre came out earlier this summer. Actually, I got excited about it way back in late 2008 when I first heard about it. Palm's answer to the iPhone, it claimed to take the best of Palm and take it another level with very conceptually coolSynergy, the new WebOS platform, cut-and-paste, 3G and very pretty design to boot. But after playing with it at the Sprint store a few times, I was greatly disappointed that it also didn't have a good calendaring/time management system. And I know I'm not the only one thinking, 'WTF, Palm?'

There may be hope, though, in MotionApps' new PalmOS emulator app. I need to check it out to make a final assessment, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Being that Palm has been my go-to time management device-source for nearly a decade now, I decided to check out the Centro, and although I still need to go play with it a little bit more, I think I my have found what I'm looking for. As the article linked above shows, the PalmOS is indeed soon going to be a thing of the past, but I hope that Palm listens to its loyal, highly-efficient base of customers, and integrates some of the features we loved from the old platform into a new calendaring app for the new WebOS.

When that happens, I will gladly buy a Pre--but only if Apple and Palm kiss and makeup so that Apple will stop blocking iTunes syncing for the Pre, and other such capitalistic, proprietary nonsense.

For now, I'm probably gonna stay closer to the old-school camp and finally get a SmartPhone--a PalmOS-based Centro with email and web capability. At $50 (after rebate, since I'm already a Sprint customer), I really can't go wrong. Or if the PalmOs emulator app works well on the Pre and I can have my PalmOS and WebOS at the same time--that could be the true definition of gadget-geek-joy!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Rest in Peace: Corazon 'Cory' Cojuangco Aquino

Although she was probably never as progressive as her husband, the late Senator Benigno 'Ninoy' Aquino, and disappointed many people with the lack of major reforms during her Presidency, I will always remember Cory Aquino as the first woman President of the Philippines. She was in many ways the epitome of the Filipina ideal (never too forward, unendingly loyal to her dead husband, morally upright and religious, supremely family-oriented). While I don't fit that ideal myself, and don't like its patriarchal constraints, there was something elegant and beautiful about how Cory carried herself in the world, and how she commanded respect and deference from her people as well as world leaders. I would be lying if I didn't say that the fact that Cory became President of my parents' home country didn't inspire me on some level to want to be the first woman President of the United States someday (a hope I've pretty much abandoned, of course, but my mother hasn't forgotten about it!).

She was a truly feminine leader, and paved the way for the next female Philippines President, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (or GMA as she is more commonly called), who in many ways is sort of a shadow-Cory: more outwardly brutal in her suppression of 'subversive' elements and violently abusing her own people's human rights, more ruthless in her dealings with the many powerful men in her political sphere, and nowhere near as popular as Cory even during her lowest times.

I remember when I was in junior high and Ninoy Aquino was shot, and later when the People Power revolution on EDSA took the Philippines (and the world media stage) by storm. At the time, being as young and naive as I was, I was a little bit confused but also very proud of my countrymen (even though I had never been to the Philippines). The drama in the Philippines also played out in a different way in my family, as some of our (and wealthier) relatives were on the 'wrong' side of People Power and later needed to flee like the Marcoses did from the righteous wrath of the masses. I, even at my young age, knew that they were on the wrong side and was happy to see Cory and the yellow-clad people on EDSA drive the corrupt politicians and military henchmen out of the Philippines.

Of course, history would show that this glorious time of saying 'No' to corruption wouldn't last long, but Cory and many, many other of the brave leaders and ordinary people who stood up against a brutal dictatorship could celebrate their victory for a little while. And the Philippines got to bask in the glow of the People Power revolution on the international stage, proving that if we pulled together, we could overcome one of the most entrenched and violent US-supported dictatorships in the world.

Rest in Peace, Cory.