24 April 2001

My Palm runneth over

Dammit, my Palm V is full. I don’t have enough RAM for Vindigo (Boston restaurant and movie database with street maps), PocketMoney (personal finance) and Life Balance (spiffy hierarchical to-do list and life goal balancing tool).

Vindigo is obviously vital, especially now that Boston is filling up with tourists again and restaurant plans need frequent last-minute adjustment. PocketMoney is what I use to keep track of my various bank accounts at the moment, so that has to stay. Life Balance is a tougher choice. It’s certainly pretty bloated for a glorified to-do list, but on the other hand it’s useful—something I would never call the Palm’s built-in to-do list.

Everything else on the machine is small. I don’t have tons of games on it or anything like that. So reluctantly, I’m forced to conclude that it’s time to consider an upgrade to one of the newer machines with 8MB instead of 2MB.

It bothers me, because I hate software bloat. As soon as the first 8MB Palm came out, I thought “That’s it, it’ll be like Windows all over again”. So far the worst offender, the most bloated pig of a Palm application I’ve seen, is AvantGo. All it does is convert web pages to text you can read on the Palm, yet the damn thing takes up about 400K before you even download any data. Take a bunch of maps and some pages of cinema listings and you can be looking at a megabyte or two. For 400K, Vindigo gives me the whole of Boston including street maps and route-finding. Yet AvantGo is the one everyone seems to use—doubtless because it’s the most heavily advertised and promoted.

So now I have to decide between the cheap approach (Palm Vx), the stylish approach (Visor Edge), and the featureful approach (Palm m500/505). I like the style of the Visor itself, but the springboard modules need an ugly plastic expansion pack stuck on the back of it—and if I’m not going to use expansion modules, I might as well go with the Palm Vx. The m500 is tempting, but I’ll have to wait for them to release the damn thing. Then there’s the option of color for an extra $50—I have software that’ll use color, but do I really need color given that I don’t play games? Is there any compelling benefit to a color screen, beyond being able to browse photos?

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