I love my Lifedrive…

It is far from perfect, but it get’s the job done!lifedrive-full.jpg

The sweetest tool in my arsenal of business tools is my Lifedrive. I have owned many Palm handhelds over the years, and the Lifedrive is probably my favorite, despite it’s faults.

I think Palm’s biggest mistake in designing the Lifedrive, was make it a Hard Drive memory based device. Think of it this way… You know how most Operating systems use a “Swap File,” to provide virtual memory, when “real,” physical memory runs low?

Well the LD uses a 64MB partition on the built in 4GB hard drive as memory, in place of RAM. The result of this is a beautiful handheld with tons of storage, that has to spin up the hard drive every time you load a program or access data in “RAM.” Can you imagine using a PC where there was no real memory, and everything literally ran from the hard disk?

I believe you got the picture… It sucks. It also sucks that this particular memory scheme also makes the LD really flaky at times and causes innumerable resets, which are made worse by the fact that the Handheld must literally Reboot… Sometimes taking as long as 1.5 – 2 minutes to do so…

Those are the downsides to the LD.

Now, for the Upsides!

  1. Gigs of Memory! With 6 GB’s of memory (4 Built in and 2 on an SD Card), I can carry tons of multimedia content, all of my business documents, and a huge library of eBooks, including novels, technical manuals and documentation.
  2. Editing and Creating Office Compatible Documents on the fly. With Documents to Go, I can leave my notebook behind, carry an optional keyboard and work on full featured Word, Excel and Powerpoint Documents, all in their native format, without loss of formating. (Something Windows Mobile devices can not do).
  3. Wifi and Bluetooth. While on the go, I have the option of connecting to public WiFi networks, or using my Treo Smartphone as a modem, and connecting to Internet based resources, sending and receiving email, or browsing web pages.
  4. Project Management. There are tons of good project management applications available for the Palm. One of my favorites is Progect. It is open source (Free), and is robust enough to handle most of my project needs. I also use a notepad manager called MemoLeaf. Memoleaf has actually made using the memo pad on my LD a useful function.
  5. Reference. For years I have carried a copy of Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War,” with me wherever I go. It has proven to be invaluable to me as a reference and business tool. With eReader, ISilo and Plucker all on my LD, I carry a virtual library of several dozen books, including The Art of War, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, and others.
  6. Email attachments. Scenario…. I get an email asking for information about our consulting services. I am away from the office, but want to get back to a potential client as soon as possible. I have several synchronized folders from my Windows desktop with ALL of my important documents, including brochures, sample contracts, resumes, etc. It’s as simple as connecting to a public Wifi network, or using my Treo as a modem to connect and email the documents.
  7. Entertainment. I can load several full length feature films onto the lifdrive and use the Core Media Player to watch them, or listen to a subset of my huge Mp3 Collection.

Yeah, the Lifedrive is far from perfect, but aside from carrying my notebook computer with me everywhere I go, the Lifedrive is my on the go digital enabler.

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