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From Palm OS to Android (Droid)

Discussion in 'Android Apps & Games' started by jonathankrall, Dec 17, 2009.

  1. jonathankrall

    jonathankrall Lurker
    Thread Starter

    I've been relying on a Palm OS device (Palm TX) for contacts/calendar,
    etc., and have been working to get my Droid to replace the
    functionality of my Palm. The main issues have been with finding
    equivalent apps and with security/privacy issues. Here is what I've
    got so far.

    1. Apps (in no particular order):

    File manager (Astro): On the Palm, a file manager was handy for
    seeing what all was on my device and for cleaning up after the OS
    "deleted" a file or app. On the Droid, this is essential because some
    files, such as PDFs, are usable on the Droid even though no app is
    obviously present that can do the job. Example: in Astro I can select
    a PDF file and get options for viewing it. So far, Astro seems to be
    doing the job pretty well.

    Shopping program (Dr Shopper): Handyshopper was a great/simple
    shopping list manager. I am now using Dr Shopper, which seems to have
    similar functionality.

    Memos (TextEdit): I'm in the habit of keeping lists and notes (like
    list of books I'm planning to read). Textedit is a nice app for this
    because it edits text files that can be found on the SD card. This
    provides good routes for getting info onto/off of the Droid. It helps
    that I still know what a "text file" is. I haven't tried the popular
    Note Everything yet.

    Reading saved text, Word or HTML files (Documents 2 Go free): I
    sometimes download/save HTML, TXT or other files (such as news
    articles) for later reading or reference. For now I am using a
    computer to open and save these in MS-Word so that I can load them
    onto the Droid for later reading, using Documents 2 Go. This is a
    fairly awkward solution.

    eBooks (Aldiko): The Aldiko app can import eBooks if they are in
    epub format, which seems to be common, so it isn't limited to the
    books that the app itself downloads. I have a few e-books lying
    around, but haven't tried converting them to epub yet.

    Expense tracker (no app yet): I used QuikBudget on the Palm to
    record when I spent money and what I spent it on. It was a simple and
    effective way to keep track of expenses by category. There are
    several possibilities for the Droid, but I haven't narrowed it down

    Making a line graph (no app yet): I had a program on my Palm to
    make a simple line chart from a set of x,y points. I used it to keep
    track of my progress towards various goals. I've looked, but have not
    found an app for this. I may have to take a shot at writing it

    Keeping encrypted login info (B Folders?): Like everyone else, I
    have enough username/password combos to choke a horse. Or maybe a
    Droid. I installed B Folders to store all this info, but haven't
    gotten very far with it yet.

    Picture viewer (Gallery): for now I'm using the app that came with
    the Droid. I like this program a lot, though support for multi-touch
    gestures would be fun.

    Logging my miles on my bicycle (no app yet): I'm still working on
    this one.

    Keeping track of gas mileage (aCar): I had a little gas mileage app
    on my Palm that was nice for a geek like me who enjoys
    collecting/graphing data (Did you know that fuel efficiency peaks in
    the spring and summer? Do you care?). This app eventually saved me a
    bit of money on my car insurance because it is also a record of my
    annual mileage, which had dropped far enough to lower my insurance
    costs. The aCar app has functionality for tracking repairs and
    maintenance. I haven't used this yet, but I do need that
    functionality, so I'll try it (I used to just keep a list).

    Mixing drinks (no app yet): This isn't all that important, but the
    Palm OS MiniBar app was a handy database of drink recipes that could
    be filtered by ingredient. For example, I once used it to get of a
    list of drinks featuring the ingredients available in my best friend's
    pathetically under-stocked bar. I haven't gotten around to seeking a
    replacement yet.

    2. Privacy issues:

    The Palm OS had the nice feature that individual records or
    individual files could be marked as private. These could be seen,
    masked, or hidden depending on a global setting, controlled via a
    password. I was only able to reproduce this functionality in a
    limited way on the Droid. The scheme I use lacks a password, so only
    casual and non-tech-savvy users are kept from prying. My current
    approach only hides files on the sdcard.

    To hide files or sdcard directories: Use the Astro app to hide a file
    or to hide a directory containing one or more files. Do this by a)
    renaming the file or directory with a leading . (example: "myfile" ->
    ".myfile") and b) setting Astro to not show these files.

    To restore access to hidden files: a) set Astro to show hidden files
    and b) rename selected files and directories by removing the leading .
    from the name.

    This is a highly imperfect solution--experts can access these hidden
    files with ease.

    That's what I've got so far, which isn't bad for my first week in
    Droidville. I've made progress faster than I expected.

    Thanks for reading. Questions and comments, if any, are invited. :)

    1. Download the Forums for Android™ app!


  2. KlaymenDK

    KlaymenDK Android Expert

    What an interesting post. Thanks for that. I must say you've been quite active with the Market. :)

    I'll have to have a look at Aldiko; so far I've been using FBReader (and been quite satisfied with it).

    As for the Expense Tracker, have you seen the app called just that? :p Don't know it myself, but it's a pointer.

    Regarding password management, I just rely on simple rules combined with SuperGenPass.

    Sadly, it's true that there is no per-record privacy settings on Android. We ex-Palm users are so spoiled!
  3. srothkin

    srothkin Member

    Regarding privacy, I ended up buying SplashId for Android. It has a piece that runs on the phone and another piece that runs on the PC, and there is bidirectional sync between the 2 via wifi. SplashID's database is encrypted and you have to type a password to launch the app (on either the phone or the PC).
  4. writhum

    writhum Well-Known Member

    Try using HandyCalc. It's a great multi function calculator (with many advanced features), and I've loved it so far. To graph type in the x and y equations and a button will show up for 'Show Graph'. Hope that helps.
    Great post, btw.

    Rereading it, I misunderstood what you were looking for (multipoint graph). Not sure if HandyCalc does that. Damn.
  5. jonathankrall

    jonathankrall Lurker
    Thread Starter

    Thanks for the replies. SplashID may be a good possibility if my wife and I decide we need to share info.

    As for expense trackers, there are a lot of them and my wife has been trying and discarding them. I don't know if she's tried Expense Tracker yet.
  6. jonathankrall

    jonathankrall Lurker
    Thread Starter

    Following up, I now use RealCalc for a scientific (RPN) calculator, Mileage for a fuel log (aCar was overkill), and am still working on the expense tracker. Everything other Android app I mentioned in my first post is still in use and I'm liking them.

    Finding a good expense tracker is a challenge as there are many applications, some of which are for accounting or for keeping track of balances in various types of accounts instead of for simply tracking what I've been spending my money on. Expense Tracker (mentioned above) has a clunky interface and worries about cash versus credit transactions. So far, Budgetroid is the leading contender, but we (my wife and I) are still working on it.

    Like others, I did catch on that export/import via vcard is the way to go to get Palm contacts into Google, so that is working just fine. I didn't have many memos, so I moved them by hand. I should be able to stop carrying my Palm TX around with me any day now (can you say "separation anxiety?").
  7. skeezicks

    skeezicks Newbie

    The only place where I missed per-record privacy was in the memo application. Luckily, Note Everything has that feature -- along with the ability to import Palm memos -- so the transition was speedy and flawless. Just unmark your private memos for the transfer, and then encrypt them when you open them in Note Everything.

  8. iPhone2Droid

    iPhone2Droid Well-Known Member

    I feel your pain. Meanwhile, the expenses have to be handled. I finally decided to skip device-specific apps, and just created a me+expenses@gmail addy with a related filter and label. The filter skips the inbox, marks it as read, and files it so I don't see em til I want to.

    FYI: I purchased Email to Self, which makes it kid's play to use the assorted "+" addys I've implemented (+notes, +tickler, +tasks, +BrainDump). It gives you a drop-down list from which to choose a desired addy, with the cursor landing in the subject field. I'm now in the habit of using a set format, to ease review come tax time or whenever:
    A/ 12.24 $x.xx AppName (A tells me it's Android)
    K/ 12.27 $.75 WashPost (Kindle purchases)
    H/ 12.xx $xx.xx HomeDepot Something for home
    W/ 12.xx $xxx.xx CLE (work related expense)

    On my BigBoy laptop, I use freebie Launchy to quickly and effortlessly send the same kinda expense, etc notes to gmail.

    Since I typically stick to the subject field for all except notes, all I have to do is scroll for review. (Using GMail's stars, I add a green checkmark once I've pulled the associated item into my 1040/Schedule C spreadsheet.) The rare times I add something to the body, I just add an * to the subjt field.
  9. DAE51D

    DAE51D Member

    I too am a Treo 650 PalmOS user and sadly just purchased a Centro off ebay because I'm very disapointed at the lack of seemingly obvious features Android (and iPhone and others) don't have that the PalmOS has and has had for 5 or more years. It's almost as if these newfangled OS were written from scratch without ever doing comparisons of existing operating systems and trying to take the best parts... And for what it's worth, I had a G1 for a few weeks and got rid of it because of the lack of comparable PalmOS features. Very sad. Very sad indeed. :(

    I use HandyShopper daily. It is one of two killer apps I can't live without. Good to know about thsi Dr.Shopper, I'll have to try it sometime.

    I too use the Memos all the time.

    This is also critical for me. I am a promoter and have the personal information for several Top 100 DJs in the world. I can't afford to have my phone "Paris Hilton'd" (remember that debacle). I set the individual records to private and rest easy knowing that nobody can retrieve them should my phone be lost or compromised.

    Related is an application that thank God I've not had to use, but it is called "mSafe". Should my phone get lost, I can send a text to it and it will wipe the memory and/or the SD card. Is there something like this for Android?

    More on privacy. My girlfriend is very nosy. So it is important for me that when an SMS message comes in, my PalmOS only says "New Text Message". It doesn't say who it's from or what the contents are. I think Android fails in this department too right?

    The second killer application I need is a group SMS text messenger. I'm flabberghasted that one does not exist for Android (or iPhone or Pre even!). WTF? How is this possible? I've posted it here in the "wanted" area:

    Finally, I'm really upset that there isn't a native Outlook sync. Come on! EVERY phone ever made syncs to Outlook. Going through some stupid GMail account is NOT the same. For one, photos are not retained. But for two, I DO NOT WANT MY CONTACTS IN THE CLOUD. They are nobody's business, but mine. I don't trust Google (or anyone) with this information. Not to mention, I actually USE Outlook2003 for my calendar, contacts, email, tasks (not Exchange). This is just either lazy on Google's part, or them trying to force people to use GMail. Either way, it sucks.

    I see I'm not the only one who desires this functionality:
    and this is equally useless:

    I didn't get far enough into my G1 to know this either, but I absolutely rely upon custom .mp3 ringtones for individual people vs groups of people and also SMS messages. For example, if someone in my "work" group calls, I have one ringtone, if I get an SMS message, I have a different one. If my G.F. calls it's a special ringtone and if she SMS it's still another one. All of these are little .mp3 snippets I made (looped myself). Can Android do this? I thought I read that it can not. On the Palm, there was "mRing"

    Also, the "ringer/silent" physical switch on my Treo is indispensable. Do any of the Android phones have the common sense enough to incorporate a physical method of muting the phone?

    I sort of feel like the PalmOS is to Android/iPhone as Amiga was to Windows 3.1... it was just way ahead of it's time and has yet to be mimicked.
    AHMIOWA likes this.
  10. (G)

    (G) Android Expert

    I love Note Everything, except that the encryption feature has a major flaw that I've reported to the developer: if you call up an encrypted note, don't even enter a password, but instead make even one little change to the title of the note, Note Everything says that it can't decrypt the note later on. Even if you change the title back again, it's still encrypted forever. Plus, you can delete encrypted notes without entering a password.

    Those are two huge flaws, which, as I said, I reported to the developer, who promised he'd fix them.

    While I'm really pleased with the performance of the Droid, I, too, miss many of the features of my Treo 680. Like, just a simple search of the device (looking up "dentist" so I can see exactly when that 6-month check up is) would be great.
  11. jonathankrall

    jonathankrall Lurker
    Thread Starter

    As I delve further into Droidworld, and reach for my Palm TX much less often, I am getting used to "cloud computing" and learning better ways to do old tasks. For example, now that my phone is also my PDA, I often bring up Google calendar before I call to schedule an appointment (my old Palm Desktop was only on my home computer--I've never messed with Outlook). And, where I never liked the old PalmOS ToDo list, I'm becoming fond of Astrid.

    I now depend on Android apps for functionality that was built into the Palm, such as Memos, backing up data, or anything to do with keeping private info private. Since writing my first post I have found a number of programs that can password-protect text or images. I still like my approach of using hidden folders as I really only need to keep casual users at bay.

    In the long run, I think this dependence on apps will be an improvement in that it confers more flexibility. But then again I'm an optimist. I do miss the on-device global search function, but expect there is an app to do it (a quick search on "search" in the market brought up an app called "power search," but I haven't tried it yet). I agree with others that the contacts
    interface is weak (it doesn't make use of "groups").

    I did a quick search and found several apps that say they can attach ring tones to individual contacts. On the Motorola Droid, press-and-hold the power switch to bring up the mute option. Not quite the same as a dedicated switch though.

    There used to be a popular app (Datebook, I think) that was written to replace the PalmOS Calendar. PalmOS had been around for years before Datebook was adopted as the native Calendar app.

    I do like that the Droid charges with a standard micro-usb cable and that the SD Card's contents can be accessed using any computer that happens to be nearby. Unlike some, I like the "cloud." All of these features untie my PDA (and me) from my home computer.
  12. AnnaKuz

    AnnaKuz Newbie

    Hi guys - I am with you there! I am an old Palm junkie, loved it for years - relied on it on the road and it actually did everytning I needed. And the privacy functions were important to me - I could have all my passwords, account numbers and other private info password protected on the phone and handy when needed. The email function on the Treo is top class.
    Having my stuff in the "cloud" does not bother me - I just keep my private info off the phone (not very practical after having it on the Palm), but I can live with that.

    The thing that REALLY gets me is the native email app on the Samsung Moment - it is a sad little thing. And the fact that you cannot even empty the trash is a mystery.

    I tried K9 Mail, but since I could not find any user guides I gave up trying to figure it out - I only have so much patience and it very near being used up.

    I have spent hours trying to get Moxie to work, I will try one more time by heading to the local Sprint store...

  13. srothkin

    srothkin Member

    Pimlico's DateBk+ -- I had it on my Treo.

    Pimilco told me they're working on porting Pimlical (replacement for DateBk+) to Android and hope to have it out by the end of 1st quarter 2010. I'm eagerly awaiting it :)
  14. kokiangel

    kokiangel Android Expert

    I will check into Dr Shopper. Thanks for the tip on that. I have been using Easy Shopper. It is all right but not nearly as nice as HandyShopper. I was so spoiled with my Treo 700p.
    I did buy palmarysoft alarms as I am a very absentminded person and need alarms for everything.
    Aldiko is a very good book reader and I gotta say I love the screen on this phone for reading books. Calibre is a very easy converter for epub format and also free. Always a good thing!
    For music/videos/audio books I use meridian player pro. I like the all in one functionality of it. Not quite as nice as Pocket Tunes but then it only costs $1.50 so who's complaining.
    I haven't found a good calendar replacement yet. I really miss the calendar on my treo.
    I got TakephONE for android when it went on sale but, again, not as nice as it was for Palm. Funny, that. Expected better.
    Cindya10 likes this.
  15. (G)

    (G) Android Expert

    Hear hear! Or should I say, "See see!"

    Was at the dentist's office today and used Aldiko for the first time and was VERY impressed with the way it looks on the screen.

    But, boy, do I miss having a TAB on this phone...

    Also discovered that there's no way [that I know of] to generate a "degrees" sign, but that if it already exists in a document or email, the Droid will indeed read it and display it. Weird.
  16. kokiangel

    kokiangel Android Expert

    What are you referring to when you say tab? Do you mean going to the next page? Or a different app altogether? I like the different options with Aldiko for changing pages. I usually just tap the screen but I also like that I can use the volume key or the camera key depending on how I am holding the phone as I read. Just wish that volume button were on the left side of the phone since I usually hold mine in my left hand!
  17. (G)

    (G) Android Expert

    Sorry, wasn't very clear. I mean generally, there's no way to make a tab (multiple-space indent) in an email or a note, because there's no way to generate a tab on the phone. On the Treo, I believe it was "Shift/Space."
  18. jeffdlb

    jeffdlb Android Enthusiast

    Doesn't Alt+A generate a TAB on the Droid?
  19. jeffdlb

    jeffdlb Android Enthusiast

    Also, doesn't Alt+Spacebar allow you to enter special characters? (I still don't have an Android phone, so I can't check it myself.)
  20. AnnaKuz

    AnnaKuz Newbie

    Nope Alt (or rather the fn+A) generates the "pipe" sign (the vertical line). And I agree - we need a tab!
  21. kokiangel

    kokiangel Android Expert

    Back to shopping lists....someone mentioned an app I hadn't heard of before and I checked it out today. Its called Hungry. Odd name but it allows you to import and export your list of items using excel and .csv format. Makes it much easier to get your long list of regular groceries onto your phone. Limit of 20 categories like HandyShopper once was. The only problem I had was that I couldn't get the import to accept categories per item. I had to set those up manually after I imported my grocery items. It was still fast though. A couple taps per item and I was done. I only had 100 items to start though. Check it out. It is a free app on the market. Seems pretty user friendly.
  22. Wraithbane

    Wraithbane Member

    Another Palm user here. I started with a M515, and then I've been on a LifeDrive for the last 3 years. I used it a lot for work, between Excel docs, the address book, listening to MP3s while working, and Plucker for reading during downtimes. Now that I have a Droid Eris I've been looking to basically recreate all those same uses. I've got Documents to Go, which is nice as that was the program I was using, but unfortunately no sync with the desktop anymore. I had to switch to the Aldiko book reader, and, of course, none of my books would move over, so I now have to reformat around 800 book files. TuneWiki is nice, but I miss my pTunes and it's functionality.

    What I *want* for my droid:

    A better address book app, preferably NOT something buried with all the silly "social" links. I don't need myspace, twitter, facebook, etc. I just want a good clean address book with a nice interface. The native one works, but could be much more friendly.

    A good mp3 player, with the ability to do some basic equalization tricks, WinAmp for the Droid would be perfect!

    A better book reader. I've seen Stanza on a friend iPod, and that looks ideal.

    A video player that will handle more formats!

    And, knowing my luck, most of this exists and I just haven't found it yet. One thing that really surprises me is that Google did not make the Market accessible via a PC. Seems like an obvious thing to do.

    Other than that, I look forward to the next year or so and seeing more apps become available.
  23. Found this nice thread via Googling...

    Just switched from the good ol' Palm OS to Android as well, not a Droid through.

    The biggest disappointment is from the PIM apps. Was using DateBk6 and loved the Floating Events feature. The Calendar app in Android is just, pity. Entering tasks is tedious. The date/time picker is time-wasting. Resorted to use the online Google Calendar to enter new tasks.

    Contacts doesn't do birthdays, but there's EboBirthday and EboBirthday Sync (import birthday records from google.com/contacts), which mitigated the problem a little bit (was using HappyDays).

    No built-in Notes/Memo app but there are tons of them on Android Market. The problem is that none of the ones I've tried can do custom sorting like Palm's. Anyway using OI Notepad for now (can import CSV files).

    No built-in Tasks/Todo app as well. Used to use the floating event in Datebk. Now just use All-Day Event and move them to new day every night (tedious!)

    On a related note, trying to find a desktop Outlook sync solution. Companion and Mark/Space are out there. But Companion uses its own Cal app and Mark/Space doesn't do Cal/Memo/Tasks sync at all at this moment.

    Also missing NVBackup (secure device backup), Butler (change volume key function), KeyCaps (long press capitalize letter).

    Chatter has been more or less replaced by K-9.

    PalmBiblePlus has been replaced by CadreBible.

    CallRec has been replaced by Voice Recorder.

    Yinghan has been replaced by ColorDict. No pronunciation and instant translation through.

    Tried the shopping apps mentioned above but still no HandyShopper equivalent (needs priority sort and price fields). Any other suggestion?

    OTOH, found some good apps, like Handcent (a bit slow through), Wi-Fi Tether, and the built-in Browser app is years ahead of Blazer.

    Please keep this going.

    Cindya10 and tammy123 like this.
  24. (G)

    (G) Android Expert

    Take a look at Note Everything. It puts your memos into "folders" similar to the way Palm sorted them. It also has a "Notepad"-type of feature that lets you just scrawl handwriting or drawings on the screen and you can save those. I think it's just as good as Palm's.

    I've found My Backup to be very good, and much like NVBackup. You set a schedule, and it automatically backs up your apps and your data (separate files), and will keep X previous days' backups on the card in case you need to restore.

    I SORELY miss KeyCaps and have actually requested a similar app in the "Application Requests" forum here. I doubt anyone will see it, but, man, did I rely on that. And that would be SO handy on the Droid.
  25. GirLuvsDroid

    GirLuvsDroid Android Expert

    Did you ever find that "degrees" sign? I'm not sure if this is a function of Better Keyboard, but when I hit the "?123" on the bottom left of the keyboard, and then the shift, the "degrees" symbol is in the middle of the 3rd row of letters, about where the "f" normally is (I say about, because the keys shift a little when you hit the "?123" key.
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