A Palm Zire 72 time-capsule has lessons for today

Posted on Apr 30, 2021

I dug my 2004-era Palm Zire 72 out of a drawer the other day for the first time in years. I thought I’d lost all the data on it until I remembered that I always used to back it up to the SD card which was still sitting in it. I restored the entire contents from that card and everything came back within a few minutes. DateBk5 calendar and to-do data, months of DayNotez journal entries, Pocket Quicken ledgers, blurry 1.2-megapixel photos, and all the varied other project plans and shopping lists that lived in the stock apps and databases. So many tasks that never got done. It was a complete snapshot of where I put the bulk of my day-to-day data for a couple of years.

I noticed that the built-in global search in Palm OS works way, way better than the one on iOS. The Palm having much less data to sift through is probably an advantage here, but it’s still much faster and more elegant at surfacing what matches the thing you’re looking for and its context, and then taking you through a worm-hole directly to the record you tapped on.

As I paged through DayNotez and the cute little post-it note icons that meant “more details here” in so many stock apps, I saw names of people I’d since forgotten. I wished I’d written more journal entries. I wished I’d made more art and worked on more music projects. And for all the fixating I do on note-taking now, for the first time I did not wish I had taken more notes back then on things like trivia, politics, media, news, quotes, apps, etc.