Thursday, August 19, 2010

Handyshopper to ToMarket

I am not the only one that is heartbroken that the maker of HandyShopper has expressed no interest in making an app for Droid. I have used it for years, and the only thing I didn’t like about it was not being able to edit it on my desktop.

So, I looked at several other shopping apps (Grocery King, OI Shopper, Dr. Shopper, Upvise, Our Groceries, Hungry, Andyshopper) and ToMarket (free for Lite, or $3.99 for Pro) is the most Handyshopper-like app I could find. And bonus - you can edit it via a csv file on your computer, but it’s still not easy to add things to the list.

However, I did successfully add all 1500+ of my Handyshopper items to ToMarket, and while it did take some time, it wasn’t all that hard.

How to import your Handyshopper lists from your Palm to ToMarket on your Droid:

  1. Export each of your Handyshopper store lists to your Memos, using either dashes or bullets (I unchecked everything, I didn’t care about prices or aisles, but I imagine you can tweak these steps to add whatever you like from HS).
  2. Sync your Palm with your computer.
  3. On your computer, open a Word Doc (or even Notepad) and cut & paste each file into the document.
  4. Do a “Find & Replace” to “replace” all the dashes or bullets with nothing (deleting the dashes/bullets).
  5. Do a “Find & Replace” to “replace” all the commas (“,”) with “@comma@” (not in quotes).
  6. If you have any multiple line items (like I used to paste entire recipes into my shopping lists), make them one line.

    If you have this:

    Change to:
    Flour & Sugar & Eggs
    Flour @comma@ Sugar @comma@ Eggs

    (Whatever, just keep it on one line!)
  7. On your Droid, download ToMarket (either the “Lite” or “Pro”).
  8. Open it, and add each of your stores (They are the titles of each of your Memos): Menu button ->More->Store Maintenance.
  9. For each of your Databases (I had “General” and “Christmas”) in HS, make that a List title in TM: Menu button->Switch Lists->Create a New List
  10. Helpful hint: Add a couple items manually on your Droid to each List (so when you open the CSV file, there’s data in there to kind of guide you).
  11. Export the Database: Menu button->More->Tools->Preferences->Export Database (Click OK)
  12. Hook up your Droid (as a USB drive) via USB to your computer. Go to the ToMarket\export folder and you’ll find the ToMarket.csv file. Copy this to your desktop, and make a backup copy somewhere else (just in case you mess up the first file.)
  13. Back on your computer, open the file… How the .csv file is laid out is explained by ToMarket here, along with some tips on how data should be entered (some we fixed in steps 5 & 6 above). Note that Column A is your “List” names, and Column B is your item names, and Column D is the store names (separated by semicolons).
  14. From the Word doc, paste one of your lists (except the first line (store name)) into Column B under the items you had manually entered on your Droid.
  15. Edit Column D with “All;Storename;” (If you have something that you want to appear on multiple store lists, like toothpaste, change it to “All;DrugstoreName;GroceryStoreName;” or whatever (Note: If you had an item on multiple store lists in HS, it will be showing up in each exported Memo – you can delete the multiples of the items, you just need one, as long as you change the store names to the ones you want it to show up in).
  16. You can also edit the other columns if you want (or just fill down each column so it matches what’s above it).
  17. Once your file is complete (or if you just want to do a test run), save and close the file, and move the file back onto the Droid via the USB (replacing the old one).
  18. IMPORTANT: Disconnect the Droid from the computer!
  19. Open ToMarket on the Droid.
  20. Import the file: Menu button->More->Tools->Preferences->Import Database. This may take a while, depending how many entries you have (I had 1500, so it took a few minutes).
  21. Everything should be in ToMarket! (Note: If you open your file and notice weird names (“Flour” “Butter” “Sugar” “Eggs” for example) for stores or lists, go back and do steps 5 & 6 – Remember: NO Commas, and No multiple line items!)

The whole process was relatively easy (especially compared to the time I had moving my calendar to Google Calendar), just took some time. I also found it pretty forgiving, like when I didn’t remove all the commas, and had items on multiple lines in the cell in the csv file.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Oooooo Swyping!

I had read about Swype in several places before getting my Droid X, but I didn't mess around with it until recently. And wow!

On the Droid X, Swype was already part of the system - it is the alternative to the regular keyboard. It works by apparent magic, remembering words you entered (I use a lot of shorthand that the regular keyboard kept "correcting" for me), and just somehow "knowing" what word you want to enter. It's fun, too.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Outlook & Google Calendar & Droid Calendar

The easiest way to sync your Outlook and Google Calendar is via Google Calendar Sync. However, it has many unresolved issues (for me, it only syncs calendar events that I created - not any of the meetings I was invited to).

As long as your Outlook Calendar is your work calendar (or maybe even if not), you can use these steps to set up your Corporate Email on your Droid, and that will give you the option of adding your Corporate Contacts and Calendar onto your Droid. Works perfectly.

Since I really just want them on my Droid (since I can check my Outlook calendar and my Google Calendar (separately) pretty easily on my PC), I'm ok with this.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Remember the Milk... for $25 a year

I just paid the yearly $25 fee for Remember the Milk. Yes, I think that fee is a little inflated, but it is simply the best task app out there. I'm hoping that Pimlical comes to Droid soon, or IRT Calendar steps up it's game with floating events (and the ability to Exchange sync would be nice too).

I miss free to-dos and floating events on Palm. :(

Searching & Texting

Oh, how I miss the magnifying glass search tool on my Palm!

For Droid - I use PowerSearch (free) to search the entire Droid, and Calendar Companion ($1.99) to search your Google Calendar that's stored online (not just what's in your droid). With Calendar Companion, you can only search for one word phrases.


Since I like to read texts immediately when I get them (as I would think most people do), I was pretty surprised that the default Text Messaging app did not have an option for the texts to "Pop up" as you received them. Luckily, Handcent SMS (free) does just that. The interface also looks a bit more like the Iphone text messsaging.

Memos/Notes Apps

Coming from Palm Desktop with over 400 memos, it was important to me to have a way to easily get all the memos to the Droid, and still have a way to edit them on my desktop. I am constantly cutting and pasting various recipes and travel information in there, and I needed access from anywhere. I didn't think that was much to ask for, but it took me way longer than it should have to find a suitable app.

I tried:
  • Note Everything - Notes are only editable on Droid
  • Goo Memo - seemed promising, since it uses an editable .xls file in Google Docs, but everytime I tried to cut and paste my memos in, it would truncate SOME of them, but not all. FAIL.
  • GDocs Notepad - everytime you opened a note on the Droid, it had to load it in from Google Docs, and it was way. too. slow.
  • Evernote - Fully editable through desktop application, but only able to “Append Text” on Droid, also really slow to load each note.
  • Noteworthy Pro - I couldn’t find it in the Market.

And the winners were:

  • 3banana / - It syncs with (although you have to tell it to sync), and you can use # tags to Categorize your memos. I did have to individually cut and paste all 400+ of my memos, but it really didn’t take all that long. It's a little painful to have to scroll through pages of memos on snaptic, but you can search to find the one you want, also.
  • BFolders - Made to store passwords, but can store memos too. It is password-protected, and there is a desktop application you can download to edit files on your desktop. However, you have to initially turn OFF your firewall to sync the first time and since I sync at work, I couldn't do that. So, I do keep my private memos and passwords in there.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Splashmoney for Droid

I was just trying to find details on importing my SplashMoney data into EasyMoney, when I found this:

Per a post on this Splashdata forum, an email on 8/2 said that "SplashMoney is currently in beta testing and should be available in a few weeks."

This makes me a happy girl, and I can live with SplashMoney Desktop for a few weeks while I wait.

9/2/10 - Update - It's here!

The Droid Calendar

Coming from Palm, Droid kind of sucks for a power calendar user.

On Palm (with Datebk6), I had every minute of every day planned, with floating to-do events filling in the gaps. I check my calendar/to-dos many many times a day, it is my life.

Things you CAN do:

  • Show multiple google calendars.
  • Sync with Outlook AND google using google sync and/or the Corporate Calendar app.
  • Customize a widget for your home screen (Pure Calendar is the best).

Things you can't:

  • Easily and quickly add an event (you have to set lots of options for every event).
  • Easily change the time of an event (it's like a rotary dial... uggh)
  • Easily navigate to a day a long time from now
  • Slide from month-to-month (only week-to-week, or day-to-day)
  • Show ALL your 10 years of google calendars (without a lot of work) - for some (me, at first) it only shows 1 month of your past data, and one month in the future. Currently, mine is showing 2010 and 2011, so I may still try this to get the entire calendar on there.
  • Show To-dos (at specific times, and be able to check them off) and your calendar in one widget/app.
  • Easily look at untimed events in the default calendar. They are all crammed at the top, you can’t see them without clicking on each one.

I tried many calendars/calendar widgets: Gemini (hated the default view), Agenda Widget (too busy looking), CalWidget (not customizable enough), Calendar Pad (no default 1 day view?, and just looked "messy" to me) and some others.

I just downloaded IRT Calendar ($5.99), and it does look promising (except that it currently doesn't support Exchange servers, which I think means there's not an easy way to display my work Outlook calendar). Per their website, the developer is going to add floating events to the Pro version, which would rock my world.

Currently, my Palm equivalent "calendar" is a combo of Pure Calendar Widget (using the default Droid Calendar), the Remember the Milk Widget showing one day of To-dos, along with Calendar Companion ($1.99) which allows you to search ALL your google calendars (but only one word phrases).

Droid Day

I was very excited the day the Droid X arrived in the mail. I couldn't wait to charge it up and play around with it. I went through the set up process (thanks to CompanionLink, all my contacts from my Centro that had been sent to Google Contacts were on the phone as soon as I logged into Google from it (awesome)).

The calendar, however, was a different story. The steps in my previous entry is actually a concise version without all the trial-and-error that I did. It took DAYS for my calendar to actually work sort of correctly.

Meanwhile, I was experiencing Stages of Grief over the loss of the Palm calendar(Pimlico's Datebk6):
1. Denial - "Droid CANNOT have this crappy of a calendar!"
3. Bargaining - "I would pay $1000 if Pimlico would come out with a Droid calendar."
4. Depression - "I give up, I'm going to take this damn Droid back."
5. Acceptance - "Well, with Pure Calendar and RTM, I can have both my calendar and my To-dos on the same screen..."

I also had headaches, I felt incredibly stressed about not having all my data in one place, and I really couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.

The second week felt better (found 3Banana, heard Pimlical may come to Droid in ~2 months, discovered the 8 MP camera (wow!), played around with Google Maps (had a “map off” with my hubby & his Iphone), downloaded some wallpapers, and realized how powerful the Droid X really was). I’m still carrying my Palm (for Handyshopper and Splashmoney), but I can see a day when that won't be necessary...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Pimlical to Google Calendar

With 10 years of data in my Palm calendar, I still had quite the battle ahead of me using Pimlical. I'm hoping that this will help someone not go through everything that I had to go through.

Once you open Pimlical, ALL your Palm calendar data is already there (it uses the same databases as Palm).

I never used Categories on my Palm. Every single entry was "Unfiled." So, the first thing I had to do was figure out how I wanted to break up the data into manageable chunks (the limit for any google calendar is 10K appointments, so 5K is probably a good number). I (thanks to the Pimlico developers suggestion) decided on 2-3 year chunks. I did Before 2000 (since I got my first Palm in 2000, there shouldn't be much on it), 2000-2003, 2004-2005, 2006-2007, 2008-2009, 2010-2011.

Then, go into Google Calendar and create these calendars (dashes aren't supported), so I did Before2000, 20002003, 20042005, 20062007, 20082009, 20102011.

Now, back in Pimlical, go to File->Google Calendars.
Check the "Show" and "Sync" boxes for your new google calendars. Note the "Category" name (should be G_GOOGLECALNAME). Click OK.

Now, when you create or change a calendar item in Palm Desktop or Pimlical in that category, it will sync with your google calendar(s) (when you do File->Google Calendars->OK).

"You can change the default creation category (Options | Preferences - use Find button to locate the preference DefaultApptCategory) to create an item directly in a google calendar and you may want to do that if by default you want all newly created items to appear in Google calendar." (From Pimlical)

Changing multiple items' categories.

"Suppose you have several items in Pimlical that you now want to appear in Google Calendar. You would need to assign a google calendar to each item. You can either do that one at a time if there are only a few of them, or you can take advantage of Pimlical's ability to change the category of a large number of items in a single step, either replacing an existing category or appending a category to existing categories.

Example, you have a bunch of items in the categories PERSONAL and BIRTHDAYS in Pimlical and want every item in those two categories to appear in a Google Calendar called MyCalendar. If you have set up to sync with this calendar [as we did above], you will find a category called G_MyCalendar in Pimlical. What you need to do is assign the G_MyCalendar category to every item in the PERSONAL and BIRTHDAYS categories:

1. Click on Advanced Find
2. Click on CLEAR button (to clear ALL filters)
3. Click on Tab: Categories & Icons
4. Click on the area where the assigned categories are listed (underneath the radio buttons)
5. Select the PERSONAL and BIRTHDAYS categories (make sure the radio button: IN ANY OF THESE CATEGORIES is selected)
6. Click on FIND - this puts all items in those two categories into the Display Results dialog
7. Click on CHANGE button to change every single item
8. Click on Category button
9. Click on G_MyCalendar category (again - whatever the category name is
for YOUR Google calendar and make sure no other categories are assigned
(such as unfiled).
10. Click on ADD checkbox so this category is ADDED to the current category
list (so it stays assigned also to the PERSONAL and/or BIRTHDAYS categories.)
11.Click on OK

Now every single item in the CALLS category has also been assigned to the
G_MyCalendar category and will appear in that google calendar on the next sync.

Note that if you routinely want everything in a local category to also appear in Google Calendar, you may want to use the preference option: AssignPimlicalCategoryToGC set to True. What this does is automatically create a LOCAL category in Pimlical that matches the Google Calendar Category, so assigning an item to that local category will also result in it being assigned to the Google Calendar as well. This is especially useful if you want an item in Google Calendar to also appear on a Palm Handheld as it must be in the local Pimlical database to get synced to the handheld." (From Pimlical)

What if all (10+ years of) events are Unfiled and you want to break them up like I did?

Here is Pimlical's advice (paraphrased):

You need to separate out the events. If you have not categorized your calendar AT ALL (or they are all in the same category), then at the very least, you should separate them off by date. Chances are 80% or more of your calendar is in the past and rarely gets looked at, so I suggest you setup a couple of archive calendars in Google Calendar with a name like: Before2000 and Before2009 and then just put items from 2010 on (plus all repeat events) into a current calendar. that should be a lot more manageable.

You can isolate those events pretty easily using Pimlical's advanced Find by doing something like:
1. Go into Advanced Find and click on Clear button to remove all filters
2. Click on Date/time tab and select start date of 1900 (i.e. earliest date) and end date of 31-dec-1999 (this for the calendar Before2000).
3. Click on Regular Appts. tab and for Repeat, leave only NONE selected (removes all repeat events) [I left the repeats in, hence why I broke it up into 2 year chunks]
4. Click on Find, and in the Display Results dialog, check the size of the calendar - you really want to keep these calendars below about 4,000 events for best performance in Google Calendar
5. click on Change.

Now assign all these events to the Google calendar which would be something like G_Before2000 by clicking on the Categories & Icons tab, clicking on Categories and selecting just that one category. Then click on OK."

Palm Calendar to Google Calendar

With July 15 (Droid X's release date) approaching, I had done enough research to know that I needed to get my Palm calendar over to Google. With 10 years of calendar entries (and I put EVERYTHING in there), this was no easy feat.

I read this thread several times.

I tried this - she was kind enough to convert my file for me since it was so large via email, but google calendar still wouldn't take it.

CompanionLink - all my calendar entries were completely messed up, BUT this did get my contacts ported over to google with NO problems.

I also tried this dbatocsv, but once again Google wouldn't take my large file.

I kept reading about Pimlical, and since I am a huge fan of Datebk6, I paid the $30 for their Desktop software. Now this software is not for everyone. It is VERY powerful software, but not entirely user friendly (and the Help files don't cover much of the software beyond the basics). With that said, the developer is EXTREMELY helpful, and always answers emails within a day.

Palm History

I got my first PDA - a Handspring Visor with Palm - in September 2000. Prior to that, I was in college, and obsessed with writing everything in my planner. Having a little computer to put it all in was a whole new world for me.

A couple years later I upgraded to the pretty blue Palm Zire 71. I dropped it one time too many, and smashed the screen, and bought a refurbished one on ebay that same day.

In 2006, there were MANY Palms on the market. I did tons of research, and ended up with the Palm T|X. Just over a year later, I started having digitizer issues with it. Fortunately, my dad had recently grown tired of his TX and gave it to me.

December 2008, I finally took the Smartphone plunge and got a Palm Centro. The INTERNET on my Palm? HEAVEN!

Since then, there has been all this news swirling about Palm getting bought out, them not supporting their software, and how their smartphones were not nearly as smart as Iphones... or Droids. I knew I had to make a switch. Being on Verizon, I held my breath for an Iphone on Verizon with every rumor. June of 2010 came with no Iphone, I was ready for Droid.