Saturday, August 1, 2009

Moving from Palm Desktop to Outlook and the Google Apps


By David Gewirtz

Reader Doug Falk has been poking around in the dusty PalmPower/Computing Unplugged article archives, but has a question that's relevant for today:

I just read your article on using Palm Desktop 4.0 on a Handspring Visor. If I do this, would I then be able to use my Visor on Vista? If not, do you know how to get a Visor to sync with Vista?

Oh, Doug, Doug, Doug. I'm thinking you might be doomed. Palm has given every indication that they're running as far and as fast away from Palm Desktop as they can. This is a shame, because many of us lived in Palm Desktop for years, even more than a decade. But the days of the old-school Palm handheld that would sync with your desktop are long gone.

The good news is that Palm has an updated version of the Palm Desktop, version 6.2, that will work with Vista. You can find it here. The bad news is that they don't like your Visor enough to support it, so you're stuck at version 4.01, which doesn't support Vista.

Palm is now offering a Data Transfer Assistant that they claim will move your data from the Palm Desktop into the cloud, or to Microsoft Exchange, or into an online service they call the Palm Profile.

Migrating to Outlook and the iPhone

When my Treo 700p finally died, I decided to migrate to the iPhone. I'm not entirely thrilled with the iPhone, but I was writing some iPhone apps (I've published 40 pinpoint productivity apps and made enough to pay for the iMac I use so rarely, I've turned it into a fashionable file server).

But I rely far more on my desktop system than I do on the phone, so I wanted to move all my Palm Desktop information into Outlook and, by extension, Exchange. I used a neat little product called PocketCopy, from long-time Palm developer Chapura. PocketCopy, at $24.95, reads data out of your Palm Desktop and into your Outlook .PST file.

Warning! This is not a good idea unless you make a copy of your PST file!

I am always nervous of programs diddling with my precious PST file, so I created a virtual machine using VMWare, installed Outlook, and configured an empty PST file. I then installed Palm Desktop and PocketCopy on that virtual machine as well. I ran PocketCopy and (almost) all my data moved into the PST file.