Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Missing on the iPhone

  1. A good memo application capable of sorting memos according to category, and available on iPhone, Mac, and PC. C'mon, folks. Palm did this in 1996, twelve years ago. This isn't brain surgery. Right now, the closest is Evernote, which has the disadvantage of putting all your memos on a central server somewhere and if that central server goes down, your notes disappear into a poof of blue smoke.
  2. A conduit mechanism for syncing application data between the Mac and the iPhone. Right now, any data you enter into an application other than one of the Official Apple-Written Applications basically cannot be accessed on the Mac side. (Substitute "PC" for "Mac" if that's your poison).
  3. A decent TODO program that syncs with the iCal TODO list and/or Exchange TODO lists. Needs conduit mechanism above. Preferably has categories too so I can separate out business TODO's from personal TODO's and have them sync to different places (e.g. business TODO's syncing with Exchange, personal TODO's syncing with my iCal TODO list).
  4. Cut-and-paste between applications. Doh. Even Windoze Mobile can do cut-and-paste between applications.
  5. The ability to sync via Bluetooth and WIFI as well as via USB cable.
What's most irritating is the fact that the iPhone still can't do some things that the Palm could do ten years ago, like cut-and-paste, TODO and categorized/synced memos, etc. Part of this is because Apple has no conduit mechanisms so it's impossible for a third party to make them work -- e.g., there's no way to make TODO's and memos sync via iTunes because Apple has no sync mechanism. The mechanisms others have used, e.g. Evernote, rely on klunky things like a third-party proxy service.

Hopefully Apple will eventually resolve these problems. For now, I'm going to go download Apple's development kit and see if I can whip up some applications to fill some of these gaps. On the Mac/PC side, I'll probably whip up a quicky XML-RPC program in Python to serve as a "synchronization server" for individual applications, but, alas, it's impossible to have a global sync mechanism this way because of the way Apple sandboxes the applications (each runs in a chrooted jail, meaning that if I had a 'conduit sync' application it still wouldn't be able to access data belonging to other applications in order to sync with the Mac/PC/Linux). Application-by-application sync sucks big rocks but that's all that's possible until Apple gets their head out of their asses... grrr!

-- Badtux the Geeky Penguin


  1. I have no need for any of that, I do after all have a brain and a pen and paper.

    And I'm damn if I'm spending the money for crap I don't need to make my life work.

    Cell phone (or whatever), forty bucks a month, scrap paper and free pen's, hello?

    I do keep track of a few things with my computer but if it dies it isn't the end of my world, maybe the beginning being as I waste so much time on it instead of doing more useful things.

  2. Try "Things" for To Dos

  3. There's several To Do programs out there, but none of them sync with iCal yet. There's one that claims it will be able to do so Real Soon Now, but I'm not sure how they're going to manage it... at least not in a transparent manner, given Apple's brain dead applications API, which has no provision for Palm-style "conduits".

    BBC, you're retahrd (as my uncle used to say about himself). You don't have anything to do except eat, sleep, and bitch at youngsters to get off your grass. I have multiple projects ongoing with multiple teams, plus we're undergoing a corporate reorganization that is changing our product outlook. So my needs are considerably more complex than yours. I bought my first Palm Pilot in 1998 to oversee a complex move that required coordinating dozens of different tasks in three cities according to a tight schedule. So I have a lot of data in my Palm. I'd like to get it *out* of my Palm someday, though for right now it ain't goin' anywhere where it is (being both in my Palm and backed up to my Macbook).

    - Badtux the Programming Penguin

  4. Hey BBC I bought my first quill pen about the same time you did. If we call ourselves Ludites it sounds more fancy!lol :)

  5. I just saw an article regarding Palm and their release of something called a "Pre smartphone," that runs webOS. Hopefully the iphone is still better-


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