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That’s It. I’ve joined the cult.

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Family | Posted on 16-11-2009

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Of the iTouch, that is.

It started relatively innocently. I got my first iPod this summer, finally giving up the wee little mp3 player that has served me fairly well for years. That and an older Palm PDA were all I needed, right? I mean, I'm not the podcast nut, and I'm at home most of the time anyway, so I've got all the music I could want at my fingertips anytime I want it.

I finally admitted that I'd outgrown those solutions and permitted an iPod classic into my life. I was shocked when I realized just how much music would fit into 120gb, believe you me! Then I got somewhat obsessive about getting everything tagged properly. And adding covers. I'm trying, very, very hard, really, to resist the feeling that all the albums should be complete and all the songs should have lyrics. They don't all have to be perfect. Right?1

I refused Sam's sugestion of an iTouch at the time. Nope. Didn't need one. No way, no how. Couldn't imagine it. The Palm T|X I'd inherited from him was more than sufficient, thank you. Contacts, calendar, medical information for all of us, first aid reference, an entire library of books, Pocket Quicken, Bejeweled, Glyph, Mahjongg, migraine and mood trackers, WWCalc, Documents to Go, journal, ear training coach, photos—yep, got it all, thanks. The PDA had occasional connection foibles, and PalmOS absolutely will not support WPA2, so I can only connect via Bluetooth on one of our PCs (I'm not selfish enough to demand that the wireless router be left unsecured so that I can play with my PDA!). But I was home pretty much 24/7, so it still wasn't that big a deal.

I resolutely avoided even touching Sam's precious, partly because he wanted me to fall in love with it so much. He praised it. He waxed enthusiastic. He got more efficient because of sweet little things like Grocery Gadget.

I have to say I've been very, very glad of the iPod over the last week, as the power supply on my desktop died, and without the iPod I wouldn't have access to most of my favorite music! We had to ship the power supply back to the manufacturer to get it replaced, and are still waiting for the new one, so I'm using the laptop for now. I adore my laptop, but that's not where I store the music most of the time. The iPod has saved my sanity.

Anyway, things have changed a bit from this summer to now. I'm out and about more, going to several appointments a week. That's partly thanks to having a newer, more reliable car, and partly thanks to having a sweet little scooter that greatly improves my mobility. In any case, I'm not at home as much, so having reliable information at my fingertips is more important than ever—as is portable music to block out the noises of the world around me while in all those waiting rooms.

And the PDA is getting more and more annoying. Airset, the service we've used for the past few years to share family information, has gotten really annoying recently and just will not put contacts into the address book I specify when I synchronize. I end up with multiple copies of them in my personal address book with different tags, and none in the shared address book, so Sam and Katie can't get to the information when they need to do so. I got fed up enough this week that we started up the latest round of the quest for working, affordable family groupware. And honestly, being on more than one platform just makes that more complex than it needs to be.

So as of tonight, I'm the owner of an iTouch. It's synchronizing now. It won't have everything I've come to expect on the PDA—for instance, ReaderWare doesn't run on that platform, but there is a suggested workaround for it. It has some things I couldn't get on the PalmOS, like the new official Weight Watchers application, and Grocery Gadget, Pandora, etc. I haven't found anything that comes anywhere close to the functionality of HealthFiles Plus, unfortunately. There are iTouch/iPhone apps which might come close, but there isn't a companion desktop application for any of the ones I've seen, and there's simply no way I'm going to sit down and enter all of my and Katie's medical information and history into any portable device!

So speak to me, oh fellow cultists. What are your favorite applications? (I'm not one for games so much, except the puzzle sort, honestly, although I did grab some of the free ones.) And while we're at it, how do you and your spouse/partner/kids keep your calendars and shared contact information synchronized? How do you handle tasks and lists? Or are you backing away very, very slowly from the control freaks who would even consider family groupware?

I know what my family did when I was growing up, and what (I think) my parents still do. Mom kept a calendar on the kitchen wall, and some things went on it, and some things were forgotten. People made appointments while away from the house and if they conflicted with something already on the calendar, there was a big to-do with making calls and changing them. Numbers and addresses were scribbled in a book that was kept in the microwave cabinet, or on pieces of paper stuffed into that book, or sometimes on scraps of paper stuck on the fridge with magnets. Or maybe they were in Daddy's pockets, and he'd empty his pockets at the end of the day, and they'd live on his dresser for a while, and…you get the picture. In any case, everybody asked Mom about how to contact so-and-so and what was happening when, and if she could find the information you were in luck, and if she couldn't you were out of it, and if it was a bad time, oh well. So Mom had to put up with people who really should have been able to look all that up themselves bugging her when I'm quite sure she had plenty of other things to do. In fact, to this day, if I want to know how to reach most of the extended family, I have to call Mom! After I became the Mommy, I decided pretty early on that I didn't want to be the keeper of a book under the microwave or any of that stuff, so I focused on setting up access to information rather than being the source of it myself.


1 OCD? Who, me?

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