ganley.org -> Writing -> PIM Wish List

PIM Wish List

I have a Palm IIIx, which I love, but the software that comes with it (both in the unit itself and the desktop companion) is pretty rudimentary. The following is a list of features I wish the Palm's software had; many of these seem pretty obvious and not difficult to implement, and I can't believe the PalmOS built-in apps haven't really improved in a couple of years. (Despite the fact that they're charging for the 3.5 upgrade, which as far as I can tell contains very few changes.)

Some of these are available in third-party apps, such as Datebook and DateMate. However, the desktop software does not support the features provided by these third-party apps, and they don't always play well with one another.

Someday, I'll write a PIM that does all this, if someone doesn't beat me to it.

  • When you sync, the time on the PDA should be set to the time on the desktop machine, or better yet, to NIST reference time.
  • The calendar should handle time zones, including appointments such as flights in which the start and end time zones are different.
  • Further still, I should be able to tell it a range of time during which I'll be in, say, California, and have it adjust all my appointments accordingly. Entering a trip could be a one-shot thing: enter flight info, and it does the right thing with the times in between.
  • I should be able to link appointments with people to their address book entry and vice-versa, so I can easily jump back and forth between the two.
  • I should be able to associate an image of a person with their address book entry. This would be especially useful on devices with cameras built in.
  • Ideally, the calendar could communicate with a Meeting Maker or Exchange Calendar server.
  • There should be a journal capability, whereby I can enter events that are associated with a particular day but not a particular time. For example, I'd like to be able to note that on a particular day I filed an insurance claim, and have it remind me some chosen amount of time later to check if that claim was paid. Outlook, for example, has such a thing, but there is no corresponding service in my Palm's PIM apps.
  • I should be able to enter birthdays, anniversaries, etc. in the address book, and have them automatically show up on the calendar.
  • My desktop email client should take its email addresses from the PIM's address book. (Currently, I sync my Palm's address book with Outlook, even though Outlook's contact manager sucks, because Outlook is my email client.)
  • The address book should intelligently handle families. Probably, the whole family should be on the same "card," perhaps with tabs for each individual, and should handle fields that are shared among all members (home address and phone, anniversary) and those that differ between members (work address and phone, email, birthday).
  • The address book should handle name changes. You should be able to annotate the old and new names, and while the "real" entry appears under their new name, there should be a "ghost" entry (in italics or something, perhaps) under their old name for a certain (user specified) amount of time.
  • The address book should include checkboxes for each person, which you could use (for example) to check people off as you send them Christmas cards. In its simplest form, there would simply be one checkbox per person. More advanced would be multiple customizable checkboxes (e.g., Cathy suggests for checking off both sending and receiving Christmas cards).
  • I should be able to have multiple to-do lists. The current categories almost work, but there's no way for me to (for example) look at all to-do items except those related to work.
  • To-do items should be able to have a "not sooner than" date. For example, if I need to do something in January, I should be able to create a to-do item that must be done between January 1 and January 31, not just by January 31.
  • The desktop/sync software should intelligently handle "his and hers" PDAs. Say my wife and I each have one. There will be some appointments, datebook entries, etc. that we will want to share, and others that will pertain only to one or the other of us. We should be able to flag them as such, and sync our PDAs to our PC(s) and to each other accordingly.
  • The desktop software should be able to print calendars, address books, etc. with lots of control over format. In particular, one should be able to specify which categories of contacts, to-do items, etc. you want printed. Also, you should be able to set up your printing preferences permanently, e.g. when I say print, I always want a monthly calendar for the next six months, my personal contacts, and all of my to-do items with due dates. It should print in formats to fit in popular organizers such as Day-Timer and Filofax (MeetingMaker does a good job with this last point, but of its contact and to-do functionality is quite lame.)