PAA (personal analog assistant)

I use an analog sheet of paper instead of my personal digital assistant to manage my todo list. A friend recommended I upgrade from the blank pages I currently use to a hand-crafted page from Maybe I will.

I have a PDA that I use mainly for my vocabulary flashcards and playing Bejeweled. Once in a long while I have an appointment or a phone number to look up and it does that too. But it’s lousy for keeping lists of things to do.

  • Partly this is because my Apple-branded to-do software is lousy. (Lousy as to-do software. As a calendar it’s not half bad. Better than the one that my PDA has, and that’s a whole separae problem.)
  • Partly its because it takes forever to sync my PDA with my iBook. To sync at all requires third-party software, which runs fine until it starts running the Apple conduits.
  • But mostly it’s because the input methods on the PDA range from lousy (typing on the on-screen keyboard) to worse (handwriting using Graffiti 2.0).

Instead, I put next to my PDA in my shirt pocket either a 8.5″x11″ sheet of paper folded in half vertically then thirds horizontally, or, sometimes, a 3.5″x5″ index card. I can write anything I want on them, including diagrams. That’s where I generally manage my todos.

Now a friend has pointed me to PocketMod, “the free disposable personal organizer.” I’ve played with it and it’s pretty cool. Give it a try.

My first reaction was that they have something downloadable but it requires Microsoft .NET. (Unlike Vista.) Well, I’ve got rid of my last Windows box months ago and I’m not going back. So that’s a dead-end.

My next thought is that they have a downloadable something for Mac OS X. I’m working on one of the lab machines at school so I can’t check it out. Save that idea for later.

My third observation is that they have some interactive feature I can use right now. Okay. Let’s give that a try. Oops. No good. My web browser doesn’t have the right plug-in loaded. (Nor will it, ever. I enabled JavaScript, didn’t I? That should be enough, and at some sites, even that is too much.)

Since I’m at school, I fired up a copy of IE6 (pausing to note how ugly its toolbar is … but not as ugly as it will be next year) and of course it wouldn’t be a IE6 if it didn’t have every plug-in under the sun all quivering anxiously, just waiting to collude with the script kiddies to turn your machine into a zombie SpamBot. But! whatever plug-in it is that PocketMod needs, it has that too. So I played with it and it’s pretty cute. Give it a try.

Update. Could it be a Java applet? No way! I knew that Cobol programs had survived the Y2K transition and were still running, but it’s hard to believe that anybody is still using Java!

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