Living with the Palm TX

It’s been over a week since I got the TX, so I’ve had plenty of time to give a good workout. It’s been a rough road, but I’m really warming up to this new model.

The built in wi-fi is awesome – really nice to have. The unit itself is fairly nice, if very much cheapened since the T3 days. The new software for hotsyncing is better than the old, or should I say it has more features. It’s the first version of Hotsync that has had problems with syncing to Outlook reliably.

The unit started out with about the same reliability as Windows ME (which, as I recall, stood for “Mostly Excrement”). It reset about every other time I tried to access a network of any kind. Most of the time when a program tried to fire up a connection I got an error saying the attempt failed, but if I went into the wi-fi tool or prefs directly I had no trouble connecting.

The hotsync process had been very unreliable as well. It would sync just fine, as long as I didn’t change any data anywhere, or try to sync with another computer.

When I got the TX, I had read enough to know not to just do a recovery sync to get everything out of my old T3 into the TX. I carefully uninstalled everything, even the PC software, and started fresh. I did save my old backup directory, and did transer a few items from there to the new Palm, but only a few – Teal Auto, and Splash ID.

That’s why I was so frustrated with the unit, and I thought for sure Palm was just foisting more junk on us. Then I decided to try again.

This time I just stuck with what came with the Palm, and didn’t sync with any computer but my work PC. So far, it’s been very reliable. I have added a few more apps,and the only penalty I’ve paid is a bug with the bluetooth setup for adding a phone (maybe more on that later).

Another thing I did, which I think is significant, is I reformatted the memory card I had been using. I copied all the stuff on it to my PC then stuck it back in the TX and reformatted it. I can’t offer any particular evidence, but I think this helped with the reliability.

Now I’ve got a totally different impression of the system. The ability to have the memory card in while on the net is very key for keeping your email with you – my entire 100+mb IMAP account is tucked away in Snappermail, and even finds work fairly fast.

I’m sitting in London as I write this – I’m there for an IFRA conference – and the TX is the only computer I’ve brought with me. So far it’s been enough, and it’s so much easier to carry. The syncing really needs to be improved, as it takes a long time, but I suppose there is some security in knowing everything’s backed up. The bad news is that they’ve removed the “Primary PC” settings choice from the hotsync menu so you cannot setup a freshly-hard-reset palm to recovery sync from the net. That’s a shame – one should be able to do that. One of the things that makes the Palm so attractive as a laptop replacement is the relative ease of disaster recovery. At least, in theory.

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