Sunday, October 17, 2010

Palm Desktop Sync.

   I doubt if this will be of interest to anyone I could think of who reads this blog, but there may still be people out there who use Palm "Pilot"s and the Palm Desktop to manage their personal information and calendar.
   One thing that has been a niggling issue for me over the years was the inability to share the desktop information readily over a network between two computers.  We tried this at work, where we wanted employees to be able to manage their calendar and contacts in the shop, and have the receptionist in the front be able to slip in appointments from her desk.  We finally ended up setting up UltraVNC and the receptionist would simply take control of the shop computer and do what she needed to do.  This worked "pretty well", although it did occasionally make for actual conflicts if someone was using the shop computer at the same time as she was trying to enter information.
   Fast forward to this past week when I installed a computer in our kitchen to keep track of our family contacts and calendar...  The situation is virtually identical.  I have my personal computer in my basement office, and add appointments for us all, and contacts from here, but we want to be able to also do the same thing from the kitchen when things come to us.  I once again reverted to VNC, but this time it was less than elegant...  The screen resolution of the kitchen computer was actually higher than my personal one in the basement, and oriented differently, so the VNC was reducing the resolution and it was poorly readable for me.  Increasing the resolution made the calendar spill off my screen and required side to side scrolling.
   Then, last night while contemplating if I should just store the Palm information in a shared folder, and accept the limitation that it will get overwritten by whomever saves last, I realized that my Palm T/X itself could be the conduit for syncing!  It's purpose in life is to sync!
   I have the Macroplay programme installed, and set up to automatically HotSync for me every morning...  All I did was set it to HotSync TWICE via the network sync option.  You simply assign a static IP and right click on the hotsync icon in the system tray to select "Network Sync" on each computer.  Then perform a sync via the network on the Palm itself, selecting the computers individually from the drop-down menu beneath the sync icon.  Macroplay remembers which IP to select for each instance of the HotSync.  (The Palm seems to learn the UNC when you enter the IP address, but it CANNOT perform a sync using the UNC, you MUST use the IP address each time.)  Personally, my T/X syncronizes via wifi, but I believe you can still do a network sync via the cradle or cable.
   Anyway, long and boring story shortened, you can have the Palm Desktop running on both computers, and the Palm will sync between them on your behalf, so feel free to modify both desktops, knowing that at the very least, they will be synchronized with one another at least once a day.  You can even increase the frequency of this, but at this point, I think it's unnecessary for me anyway.

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