Combining a HIPster with a Palm/Shadow

I've been using a HIPster for a few weeks now, and like it. However, I still have my PalmPilot IIIxe... I'd like to use it for keeping items in as well, but I've been scratching my head in vain to figure out what is the best way to use it. I just started synchronizing with Now Contact (yes, another happy Apple PowerPC Macintosh user) which has great potential. I've not used Now Up-to-Date a lot, but it's there, too, of course.

I could type stuff in I suppose - I have a long-ago purchased version of BrainForest Mobile and am currently evaluating ShadowPlan and BrainForest Deluxe and their Mac desktop counterparts (the way I go, I'm liable to get both :-)

What do you all think? I certainly use the Palm for other things - the address book quite a bit. I even wrote several of my own programs and cobbled another - and have four different language development environments in it :-) (Lua, two Forths, and Scheme...)

How do you coordinate your Palm (or whatever) with your HIPster? Even if you use one of those other operating systems...

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I tend to simplicity by nature. I have a Palm and recently started using DIY. My Palm is used exclusively for the calendar function. It is synched with Outlook daily or more often and that's really all I use it for. My DIY paper planner has everything else, my next action lists, waiting for's, projects etc.

I've gone mostly paper, but

I've gone mostly paper, but that doesn't mean my Palm has been tossed. Things the palm is great for:

1) Music. Add a pair of earphones, and who needs an ipod?

2) Books. Yes, paper ones are better, but I have 14 books in my palm right now, which gives me a choice. What am I in the mood for? A mystery? A biography? SF? A Classic? A few ounces for the palm vs. more pounds of paper than I could carry.

3) Photographs to share. And they never get smudged or creased or faded.

4) Games! (Actually, I should take those off. They eat too much time I should use elsewhere.)

I'm with SusanBeth. Having

I'm with SusanBeth. Having been exclusively Palm-based, and having got more and more fed up with my vain attempts to enter data directly into the thing, I've gone much more paper based. I still use the Palm for contact info, and for appointments (though even there I think I'd rather have a paper-based option, if not a complete paper-based schedule). Beyond that, I keep a few books for emergencies (i.e. when I've finished my paper book and I'm stuck on a bus with nothing else to read), and games. I should do more with the photos, but never get round to it. Music? Yes, once upon a time, but then got an ipod and never looked back -- sorry SusanBeth, but I'm afraid the Palm is just no substitute for the real thing, on so many levels ...

Neal |

Voice memos

This isn't afforded by all palms I understand but quick voice memos that act as a vocal inbox can sometimes be advantageous if you don't have the time to scratch it all down or type it all in.

As a new convert my treo 600 will become an extended calendar checker which like most sync with my ical/outlook/sunfire.

At home I think my wiki will become my extended planning device. Analog for in the moment, data for long term adhocing, but I'm not sure if my palm has any inbetween efforts anymore besides hooking me into my wiki while away...

Time will build, question, obscure, and clear more ;-)


I do not have a Palm but I do have a cell phone which has a voice memo feature that I use quite often when it is not convenient to take out my pen and hPDA. Also for those who have older cell phones, what I used to do was just phone my home phone and leave myself a message.

data entry is the problem

What I'm hearing in this forum thread is the feeling of data entry on a Palm being the problem. I have to ask if it doesn't depend on the system you're using. I have a Newton, love it, need it in my life, etc. (Yes, my wife teases me about this.) The text entry on my Palm (when I tried one) was difficult in comparison. On the Newton, I just plain write.

Since the Newton is dead to all but us old weirdos, it brings up a different question. Are any users of tablet PCs out there, reading these fora? What do they think? Because they have easier text entry and excellent integration with "desktop" tools. What's their take on the diy-pda movement?

GTD and Palms

I don't know why more Palm users don't try Teal Point's TealScript. It lets you replace Graffiti with your own profile, so that it recognizes characters as YOU write them. You can train the profile and tweak problem characters. It allows me to use Graffiti 1 on a Graffiti 2 device. Once I trained the program, I find that I can write fairly quickly on the Palm.

Not just data entry

For some perhaps, but data entry is not the only problem. I used a Palm V for, um, almost 7 years. It just didn't work completely. I actually got very good at grafitti, but it never was as fast and as comfortable as handwriting (writing in a window below the text, as opposed to a with your test is a problem; writing on glass as opposed to a natural surface, and I've yet to see a computer handwriting system which has resolution which gets beyond the feeling of writing with a crayon).

But also, the small screen, the difficulty of seeing appointments with a week or month view, batteries and charging, viewing under low light (yes, perhaps newer ones are better), and the hassle of sync'ing. All a problem.

I currently use a paper planner, which works nice with the GTD system I'm working with now. I love my palm dearly, it's a great idea, such that I still carry it around in my large briefcase. I use it only for the address book and a flash card program. I'm more than open-minded about electronics - I actively want to find a nice solution, but, sigh, paper just works well and it's fun.

The address book is a natural for electronic PDAs - addresses change frequently, and that's a hard thing to do with paper (unless you use pencil), and my address book has a large number of entries which I don't consult much more than once a quarter or once a year. It would be awkward to carry around a large addess book, but I inevitably need to consult it at a time when my desk or desk computer is not around. Perfect for the PDA medium.

I thought calendar might be a good choice too, but it was not for me. The week and month viewing is the major problem. I use a paper master calendar and Outlook - Outlook is a satellite calendar - required at my work for shared calendar scheduling

The value of the Palm calendar

I thought calendar might be a good choice too, but it was not for me. The week and month viewing is the major problem.

For me, the value of the Palm calendar is not so much the viewing (although more on that in a mo) as it is the alarms--the reminders. I enter an event, meeting, task, phone call, and forget it. When the time comes, I get a reminder. This way, I don't have to think about it, remember it or bother myself with them until the time necessary. Some items, I have to set an alarm far enough in the future to properly prepare, but once the alarm goes off, I reset it for a final reminder to allow me to be ready to either get there, or prepare (like for a phone call). As I said, I don't need to spend a lot of time thinking about these things, because the alarms remind me with enough lead time.

However, I don't use the built in Datebook, I use KSDatebook. It has an awesome week and month view that actually _show_ the text of events--and they are readable! This does help, as I can look at a week in advance (usually Mondays) or month at a glance, to see what's coming up or coming due. I could never go back to my old Palm's built-in datebook, and haven't seen others that compare.

Now, for me, tasks, to dos, next actions, etc. just do not work on my Palm. I need paper for that, if only to keep it "in my face" to remind me. I also prefer to organize my project time and such on paper. Also, since I no longer use my Newton, paper notes work much better than the lame Palm memos. So, I use Pocketmods and a A5 Circa/Rollabind notebook for these things. Works great.

So, to summarize, Palm for names and hard landscape items with specific time frames (with alarms) and paper for everything else. (although I usually write a new name/phone number on paper first, and enter it electronically later.)

YMMV. ;-)


Paper & PDA

Having recently discovered the HPDA and DIY templates, I still find the Palm more useful for calendar (I do lots of copying & repeating of appointments, etc.) and address book functions.

I also still use ShadowPlan and Life Balance on my Palm, but instead of entering new one-time tasks in these programs as I used to, I now find them helpful for tracking the recurring tasks I have both at work (recurring projects)and at home (cleaning, exercise, music practice & study, etc.). This helps me keep in view those ongoing activities (which are often the most important because they're for my own cultivation) that often, if not written down somewhere, take a back seat to the stuff on my list, which tends to be of a more administrative or clerical nature.

I also have a Waiting For list in Shadow for tangible (not project-oriented) things I'm expecting - something I've ordered, a check, something being repaired. I delete these as they come in, so no messy, stale list of these kind of things. But for "Agenda" items I'm waiting for someone else to get back to me about, I mark these on my ToDo list in my Hipster with a circled W; makes it clear it's not something I can do anything with yet, but keeps it on my radar as part of a front burner project.

For me this arrangement takes advantage of what the Palm and paper each are better at.


I'm new to the DIY community and am very intrigued by it. I first heard about it at BAR CAMP LA. I like all the pen and paper solutions, but for me something digital makes more sense. You refer to a PALM solution. Can you tell me a little more about it and where I could find it.

Thank you,


Palm solutions

Not sure from your msg where you're at in the process, but if you need the physical PDA, then you can go either with the Palm Pilot or iPaq designs. My Handspring Visor (Palm operating system) is nearly 4 yrs. old - so cannot advise as to the latest developments, though a lot of people now seem to have the Treos, which include a thumb keyboard and a built-in cellphone.

One of the big websites for Palm software (there's more software out there for this kind of PDA) is Personally I like to buy directly from the developer, but PalmGear is great for researching what's available, then going to the developer's own website from there.

You may want to look at different calendar programs, outliners (like Shadow or BrainForest), and other software under the Time Management category at PalmGear.

Hope this helps! And apologies, DIY'ers, for going on about PDA's! :)

I'm only just now beginning

I'm only just now beginning to implement a GTD-based hPDA system, but I second your point about the usefulness of Palm pilots for Calendar (especially advance notice, and repeating events) and Address Book functions.

I also use the Palm daily as a digital timer (cooking, blocks of study time, sleep) and a calculator. But it's the daily task management where it falls flat, in no small measure because of the slow text entry.

Incidentally, this can be helped a great deal with the excellent keyboard overlay / software solution FitalyStamp.

Palm/HPDA crossover

First off, I had a Handspring before Palm switched to the new handwriting recognition system (graffiti 2, I think). It worked well for me, but then I upgraded to an HP iPaq and I am in love. You get FOUR choices in how to input data including an onscreen keyboard, actual handwriting recognition (like on the Newton) and a system almost identical to the original graffiti. Add to that the ability to play music and videos, plus check my email (free) in WiFi spots... it makes me very happy.
With all of those features, I use it primarily for the calendar, contacts, the voice memo feature, and to check my email when out and about. Like others have said, for next actions and the like, the hpda is just more useful.


I did, as I mentioned, pay for both Brainforest Deluxe and Shadowplan. I use Actioneer for entry (it helps a lot!). My long-ago purchase of TealScript also helps - easier Graffiti entry.

For GTD, I put my projects into Shadowplan and then link them into the ToDo list - which is synchronized into my Now Calendar.

I plan to get back to the Hipster for notes on the run and other such things. After all, Palm Pilots still don't fit into your pocket....

HPDA and extensive use of my Palm/Treo


I am in week 3 of my hipster PDA, in year 3 of using a tablet pc, and in year 8 of using a Palm (now Treo). I use all three extensively.

I decided to try the hipster b/c I found that looking at my lists of projects and next actions rather troublesome on the Treo. And b/c I do this frequently throughout the day, I wanted a better solution. (I previously used Bonsai to manage them). I thought that having my lists in paper form, right out in front of me on my desk was easier, more enjoyable, and served as a better reminder than having them tucked away in my Treo where I would sometimes forget them.

I still use the Treo to store tons and tons of information. Examples are sensitive information like credit card #s, passwords, etc. (via eWallet), tidbits I want to refer back to only when needed (via Palm memos), databases I maintain (visits to the doctor or vet, car maintenance), expenses to submit for reimbursement, a dictionary to work on my spelling and expand my word usage. Very little of what I do on the Treo is entertainment. The thing, though, is that I do not refer to any of this information nearly as often as I refer to my projects list and list of next actions. So, I decided to yanked out those two databases and put them in a hipster. All of my other "stuff" stays in the Treo, where I can collect as much data as I want with out adding bulk. Oh, the other thing I do with my treo is project management via Bonsai. (I conduct research and manage my various research projects there).

Not much to say about the tablet pc. In some ways, I love it. But b/c of limitations on battery life (true for many notebooks) and hickups with software, the love is just beginning to fade. For example, I love OneNote. I use it extensively for capturing meeting notes. But it never fails that the software gets hung up for a few seconds just as I'm capturing what someone is saying or trying to capture a thought from the book I'm reading. Thus, I purchased a Circa notebook last week for meeting/book notes. (I also bought a CircaPDA to upgrade from the binder clip!) There's no way I would try to use my tablet as a replacement for either my Treo or hPDA.

Hope some of this helps,



how do you organize your research projects? I am constantly juggling the various parts of my phd and thinking there must be a better way...


Not very creative, but it works for me.

Hi kb,

That's a good question. I tend to do my "thinking" via writing. So I write, write, write (with a pen) in OneNote. Once I hash out my thoughts and make certain decisions about steps to take, I create an outline of 'to dos' in Bonsai. Here's a link in case you're unfamiliar with the application. (ListPro is an alternative).

So in Bonsai, I make headings for each section of the manuscript I'm writing-- Introduction, Literature Review, Data and Methods, Analytical Strategy, etc. (you know the drill). And under each of these headings I place all of the stuff I have to accomplish to get that section written. These kinds of tasks are ones I do not want to track via my hipster, but I need a place to store all of the steps necessary to complete various papers. (I create an outline for each paper I write).

This worked quite well for me when writing my dissertation, so I continue to use it.


Thanks, Ripley! Bonsai looks incredible! I'll put it on my someday list fo now though, my supervisor seems to have noticed my existence, so no time for playing with new software...

I also break up chapters/papers/etc. in little pieces that look a lot more doable than the ominous "write paper". I still remember a bit of advice about my master thesis: look at it like a pizza, you wouldn't attempt to eat the whole thing at once, you go slice by slice (we're talking about 20cm European pizza, not enormous New York pizza)!

Anyway, thanks for the explanation!


Glad it was useful to you.

Glad it was useful to you. Good luck with your research!