Tuesday, October 25, 2005

techie stuff - or - "databases I have known"

I field a lot of questions about my PDA “palm device”. If I “tap” in public, I invariable get the question, “are you playing a game?” I should say ‘yes’ more often. Truth is, I’m terrible compulsive.

A good friend of mine surpasses me in that department, and she frequently says, “Don’t feel self-conscious about being compulsive. The key is to find a career that will pay you well for being compulsive.” That always makes me smile, because we both have capitalized on our idiosyncrasy. If YOU were having cancer treatment, wouldn’t you feel better knowing the people helping with your treatment are extremely particular about details?

Anyway, back to the topic: my PDA. Well, actually: my compulsivity. The prime use of my Palm is – TA-DA – my database. This palm is not just an electronic calendar and address book with a built-in clock. No, no, no.

One of my friends saw me tapping one day, and wanted to show off his new Palm. He’s a smart guy so I figured I would show him my database. He said, “Yea, mine has Excel.” I said, “Umm, that’s a spreadsheet, not a database.”

He: What’s the difference?

I fell silent. Where to begin? The differences are legion! And the uses … ? Infinite! I think I finally said something like, “I’ll explain later,” to spare his ego. Hopefully he went to work the next day and asked somebody, or asked one of his kids. hehe

My database is – well – I HAVE TO HAVE MY DATABASE! The program is a database builder called SmartListToGo. Kinda like Microsoft Access or FileMaker. Then I BUILD the databases that I want. I have built a few. I have 2 PDAs, and I have about 75 dbs on one palm and about 60 on the other one. I’m not a programmer, but even our IT guy seems impressed.

Databases. Gotta love em! A lot of people have lots of applications on their palms that could be done with ONE database rather than dozens of applications. And at less cost. And they could design it the way it suits them. A few of the databases I use most:

- shopping list
- car mileage & maintenance
- exercise log
- work timesheet
- to do list (a lot more detailed than the Palm To Do list) – with notes, date completed, etc & you can sort by Home To Do, Work To Do, committees, clubs, etc.
- blood pressure (and other health stuff)
- booklist (to buy / to read)
- movie list (handy when you get to Blockbuster, and can’t remember what you want to check out)
- calorie counter
- favorite quotes
- birthdays & This Day in History
- Daily Bible Verse & inspirational thoughts
- knitting needle inventory

You get the idea. All the stuff that used to be on little odd slips of paper or Post-its all over my house, my desk, and stuffed in books and my purse.

AND!!!! MY PALM HAS AN MP3 PLAYER (way cool and probably my 2nd favorite thing about my palm). AND MULTI-FUNCTION STOPWATCH. AND A CAMERA (which is not really that big a deal). Three doc readers. And a few games. It’s not a smart phone. I’m not inclined to want a Palm-phone combo. I want to get away from the phone once in a while. Plus my phone has to LOOK cool – not like a brick.

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