Saturday, January 06, 2007

Yelling Solves Nothing

The moral of the story is: Val should not be TRUSTED with technology. A lot of power--or even a little power--in the wrong hands is a frightening thing. Really.

How frightening?

You asked.

Remember the lovely Palm Tungsten E2 hubby gave me for Christmas? I didn't play with it much for a few days after Christmas. I could see it was going to be something that required a quiet house and some concentration to figure out. Serendipitous thought, that.

After my house emptied out on the 28th, with great care and slow, well-thought-out steps--and much reading of .pdf files--I got the baby charged up, the cds loaded onto the desktop, and performed my first synchronization. How beautiful. How lovely. I did notice that Microsoft Outlook was uploaded, and I did notice that I hadn't been using the program to its fullest. I was only using it for email addresses for our family contacts, but that wouldn't be much help in the long run. I envisioned having all the phone numbers, including cells, of everyone I knew on it, street addresses of distant friends and relatives, so that when we should be traveling I would have all this pertinent information at my fingertips. Ah yes. Visions of glory and well-organizedness. (Yes, that's a word; don't argue with me.) I began recording all this information, gathered from various sources, into Outlook.

Meanwhile, I went back to work on the 3rd. My *other* vision was accessing story outlines, character profiles, random notes, etc, from either my work computer or my home computer via the pda. It should be a simple matter, I thought. The pda would operate as a glorified flash drive.

Uh. Huh.

I installed the cds and hooked up the pda. Something went wrong; I wasn't sure what. It wouldn't let me open the profile or do anything on the second computer. A few days later when I was showing off the pda to somebody, I realized that I had no contact information. Odd.

Today (at home again) I determined to get to the bottom of things, learn more about how the thing works, since it was obvious I didn't quite have a handle on it yet. Little did I know how little a handle I really had. I struggled to synch it back to this computer and got continuous errors. Finally, with some help from Mar, I managed a hard re-set (there was nothing that dramatic ON the machine yet, nothing irreplaceable).

When there was finally a successful synchronization, I was interested to note that I still had no contact information. This very brilliant technologically gifted whiz had synched Outlook backwards, effectively deleting all the data not only from the handheld but from the home computer. I have NO database of my personal contacts. Anyone reading this, no doubt you're my imaginary friends. No doubt your info is safe in my yahoo address book. But for the flesh-and-blood folk I know, well...

I have a hardcopy backup from August '04, which isn't particularly recent. Honestly, most of the information won't be that hard to get again. Some of them I have memorized, others I have noted elsewhere. Others still I have phone numbers and snail mail addies for in my little address book. For the most part, this is just a nuisance. There are a very few, though, that I may have lost permanently. Those are likely ones I don't keep in good contact with to start with, and may not even remember they were once in my database. And that makes me sad.

And yes, I'm more than a little aggravated, too.

Now I discover that the Palm isn't really designed to work with multiple computers but that it can be done. If you or anyone you know has the same model I do, a Palm Tungsten E2, and have successfully set it up to operate on more than one machine (not networked machines), I'd really be glad to hear from you. Email me at valerierco AT yahoo DOT ca. Put something in the header so I know it isn't spam, please, if I don't already have your addy.

Oh, while I'm ranting, here's a related rant. As I've been mumbling about, the Palm is set to synch to Outlook. Then why does the Palm cd come with something called Palm Desktop? It has many of the same features--a contact list, a calendar, a task memo pad thingie--but the Palm Desktop is not even on the list of things to synch with in the custom setup (yes, I know where that is now!). So why would I use it?

So now that my Outlook is empty and the corners are all dusted out, I'm thinking, surely there is some way to transfer these files. So I've entered one address in Outlook and a different one into Palm Desktop. Then I spent a couple hours trying to figure out which direction would be easier to import/export these files.

I have a headache.

They have different file extensions. Fair enough. Outlook has a custom setting that I found after awhile that allows you to save a file in VCard format (for the Palm). Cool. So I do that. I'm hopeful that means it will add itself to the VCard homeland. Hahaha. I am the eternal optimist, and it is rarely well-founded. Today...definitely not well-founded. How do I find the VCard homeland in order to find the path to browse? I eventually find where Outlook has stored this lonely file, and I note the path. But when I do the process in reverse, to import it, the same folders do not exist. Honest. Cross my heart and hope to die; they are not in there.

So...I can save the Palm Desktop contact files in Excel format. Excellent. I not only know how to do that, but I can find the darn things later. And very excited to find that Outlook can import Excel files.


Only if you have all the custom stuff downloaded off the Windows XP disk. I got out the disk, popped it in the drive, looked at the menu, and got cold feet.

With today's run of luck, I am not risking wiping WinXP off my computer as well. I'm sure I could do it. I am THAT talented.

Hubby's on his way home this evening. He phones from his cell phone. "So, how's your day been?"

Me: "Uh, okay."

Him: "Whatcha been doing?"

Me (thinking 'do I really want to go there over the phone?'): "Cleaned the house, did some laundry, went for a walk. Been working on the computer."

Him: "So, you getting things figured out on the Palm?"

Me (drat): "Um, you are sitting down, aren't you?" (Of course he's sitting down, idiot, he's DRIVING!!!!)

Do let us give credit where credit is due. Upon learning what I had done, he didn't yell or anything. Which was nice of him, because I was feeling like I deserved to be yelled at. Of course, I've been doing the yelling already. And really, what's the point? What's done is done. Yelling solves nothing.

That's today's mantra. Yelling solves nothing. But sometimes it feels good.


Maripat said... Lots and lots of mocha coffee? Good luck, Val.

Random Walk Writer said...

*passes Hershey's espresso-flavored dark chocolate kisses*

Love the new look, btw, Val. Even if I am imaginary. *sniff*

Hugs. Palm Desktop is because not everyone uses Outlook, much as that might outrage Microsoft. Of course, the way my PDA syncs with iCal is flaky, too. It's because everyone wants you to use *their* program.

Hope things get sorted out soon.

Anonymous said...

eeek! this is one technology problem I cannot help you with.

Valerie Comer said...

Thanks guys. I've found most of the information elsewhere already. And thanks to Jean for the email!

Anonymous said...

Hugs again Val. It's really a good tool once you get familiar with it. I've occasionally lost things in failed syncs with my palm, but really that's rare considering how much work I've done on it. And I don't have yours either. I have the first Tungsten model.

Katya said...

Yikes. This is one thing that I've never figured out. My husband had a PDA (not Palm) and it worked really well most of the time, but every now and then it would totally crap out on him. Drove him crazy!

Anonymous said...

Oh, honey--hugs from over here too!

good grief!