A Blast From the Past – PDA Horror Story

kinnon —  November 14, 2006 — Leave a comment

In a moment of pure, unadulterated self-interest – I did a search for me on Google – and came across this story I wrote from 1999, eight pages into the Google search. (It’s after midnight, and yes, I am pathetic.)

From Geek.Com circa 1999:

Fear and Deja Vu in South Africa

I have the pleasure of traveling from Toronto to South Africa every year or so. Until this past year I always took a laptop to do my writing and e-mail. This year was the year of the Palm for me! I’d been a faithful Palm user for two and a half years and never had a problem.

My Palm Pro, upgraded to a III, was loaded with every imaginable software for the traveling Palm aficionado: Traveler, Gulliver, MemoPlus, Multimail . . . you name it. My GoType keyboard and Palm Modem were ready for road warrior duty. I even brought the Palm software to load on a friend’s computer–just in case. But, hey, nothing had ever happened to my Palm before, so why worry? AKKKKKK!!!!!

My Palm lives in a wonderful RhinoSkin Titanium case. It’s been protected from the ravages of my three kids (“Gee, Dad, I just stepped on your Pilot, is that a problem?”) and been everywhere with me. I have, in fact, dropped the Palm a number of times, but with no problems. However, the drop has always been onto carpeted floors.

Except in Cape Town, South Africa. There I am, coming out of a room and deciding I need to access something on the Palm. I go to pull it out of the RhinoSkin holster, securely attached to my belt, and as it comes out it slips from my hands and drops to the tiled floor. Do I worry? Nah, it’s in the RhinoSkin, what could possibly happen to it? Well, actually, enough to ruin my trip. It seems when the RhinoSkin-covered PalmPilot hit the floor, the body of the Pilot stopped moving but the board inside kept going, leaving the secure environs of its connection, breaking one of the plastic clips that holds the board in place–and losing all my program data. And, of course, I had yet to back up my Palm onto my friend’s computer (I was going to load BackupBuddy onto his computer so that everything would be back to normal).

A week later, and now in Johannesburg, I had the Pilot up and running to the point where I had e-mail access (but I still couldn’t download the driver for the keyboard). I had just backed it up on the friend’s computer when, wonder of wonders, the naked Palm slips from my hand and falls to the carpeted floor where the unsecured board slips out again. However, back I go to the friend’s computer and restore–and all is well in the land of the Big Five.

Another week goes by. I’ve been in Zimbabwe and am now back, walking to the gate to catch my flight from Jo’burg to New York. I go to pull my ticket from my deep-pocketed Tilley traveling shorts and somehow manage to dislodge the RhinoSkin holster from my belt. It falls to the floor . . . and you know the rest of the story. My friend and his computer are still in Zim. I spend the rest of the flight using a pen and paper to do my work.

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A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

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