Saturday, August 16, 2008

My brutal Palm to iPhone migration - lessons from refactoring a geek workflow

Sometimes it's tough being a geek.

I'm a "market of one" -- when I adopt a technology I push it to the limits -- and beyond. When it dies, I have a heck of a transition to make.

My Palm to iPhone/cloud migration has been particularly tough.

Gordon's Tech: My Palm to iPhone migration challenge -- summarized

Google Docs - Palm migration is a spreadsheet that captures in a glance how very hard the Palm to iPhone migration is. There's a feed for change notification...

... Of the 10 core functions I have identified migration strategies for exactly 3 of them.

Suggestions are most welcome, but I need suggestions that allow me to migrate my
data as needed. Data lock is not acceptable for this material.
Ok, not "brutal" as in the things life routinely does to us, but tough in terms of lack of sleep and exercise. So far I've more or less migrated my personal calendar - by starting over.

Consider the tasks problem. Of the many, many solutions I've looked at, only ToodleDo (bad name) and come close, but ToodleDo allows operations on only one task at a time (web 1.0). That's a long, long, way from what I've grown accustomed to.

So I have to backtrack. I feel like I've moved into an alternate reality, a "past earth" where the printing press has yet to be invented but millions live on Mars. I can't migrate on a functional basis, I have to refactor what I do into different solutions.

So the combination of Palm and Outlook let me keep a large catalog of ideas and potential actions as tasks, but that workflow won't fit into my iPhone world. All the iPhone can handle as tasks are things I might actually do in the next few weeks. So I'll have to split my data stream, moving 15% forward as tasks and finding new homes for the rest (Evernote, would you please show me you don't want to lock my data?)

There are interesting lessons here that relate to my real-world job. I develop what we like to think of as "advanced" healthcare IT knowledge rich solutions. They all change what people do. Those changes have costs, costs like my Palm to iPhone transition. Even if it's for the better, the near term pain is pretty extreme.

It's good to get a reminder of what that feels like.


Jeff Ball said...

I share your pain, and will try your solutions.

Like you, I looked at Toodledo, but there is a bug in the managing European dates, so I gave up on them.

Passwords are a problem for me too. I started entering them into secure notes on my Mac keychain... but they don't sync. I will look at your option.

So I'm still half way split between Palm and IPhone, and wondering whether to go forward or backward. As my 3G IPhone is incompatible with all my IPod accessories (thanks Apple), the choice is not obvious. Maybe just stay on Palm and wait and see if they can remember their customer base and launch a decent new product which runs a Palm OS rather than horrible Windows Mobile?

JGF said...

It's quite reasonable for a Palm user to wait a year I think -- Rubinstein is leading their dev org and he's superb.

Just keep trying to run the Tungsten variants and wait for their next OS.

One lesson from my iPhone migration is that the original Palm platform was true genius -- even 12 years later the wretched, battered, beaten dregs of the original vision remain impressive.

I'm too committed to turn around, and I anyway hallucinate light at the end of the tunnel. Or maybe that's lack of sleep from too many late nights dealing with iPhone bugs and insane sync workflow!