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Archive for January, 2016

How I Use an Old Palm PDA Even in 2016

Palm Tungsten T introduced and made in 2002, still used nearly 14 years later

Palm Tungsten T

CLOSE friends of mine rightly find it hard to believe, but I still carry around with me (and regularly use) a device that’s nearly a decade and a half old. Well, newer is not always (or not necessarily) better, especially when there are habits and workflow involved.

Whenever I get asked about this I end up explaining that I use it primarily as a voice recorder and the older Tungsten was replaced by a newer (identical) one purchased in eBay a few years ago for my wife (we still have both of them and have used them both on occasions, even in tandem). Remember beaming? Yes, it still works! The truth is that the old one was not in a good enough state anymore, though battery life was OK (acceptable enough for use between daily charges).

Why make this newer purchase nearly a decade after the device was actually made? Well, the older one looked worn out after a decade’s use (almost a decade), having been carried around a lot (some bits of it no longer worked or were missing). How the eBay seller managed to keep this device in pristine condition (unused) for so long will remain a mystery. I don’t know the seller. Maybe it was kept in some attic (loft) in a home or a warehouse of some business. Maybe an unwanted gift from 2003 (ish).

What is it currently being used for? Well, I use it as a password manager with a master password (theft or loss less risky an incident this way). It stores it all (passwords) on a device without an Internet connection or a baseband OS, which makes it more secure in some ways; definitely no back doors can exist without physical access. Encryption at the storage layer on devices with back doors (usually the baseband OS is being used to hijack the principal OS, e.g. Android or iOS) is very limited as they can remotely rooted. This is widely understood these days, thanks to document leaks (mostly GCHQ) from Edward Snowden. Even the BBC covered it a couple of times in 2015.

I still occasionally use the device as an address book, though no longer much as diary/calendar. There are various ‘apps’ that come in handy as well; it is sometimes used for memos, scribbling, timing, calculations, conversions and so on.

How long will I use this Palm PDA? Judging by how long this first one lasted, it can easily last well past 2020. Even then it will remain equally secure.

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