Ever since I officially got promoted to a more managerial position at work, it’s has become painfully obvious to me that I needed some sort of external brain to keep track of all the things I need to be tracking. I can keep notes on paper, but its hard to keep everything organized, and my PC is easy to keep organized, but not portable. The solution was obviously to replace my long-abandoned Palm Pilot.
Back in 2001, i got a free Palm m100 when I bought my cell phone. It was a Best Buy promotion, and it was attached the phone I had already researched and wanted to buy anyway, so I regarded it as a curiosity. It was a useful address book and calender, but with only 2mb of memory it really couldn’t do much. It was also large and bulky, and I eventually stopped carrying it around. Eventually, I gave it to telynor, but soon after that it stopped syncing up and became officially useless.
kitanzi and I had decided to get telynor a replacement Palm for her birthday in time for her to take it to London with her, so I had already done a significant amount of research on what was available, and I ended up buying for myself the same one I selected for her: a Tungsten E. The T-E really does have the best price/performance ratio of any of the units out there. (If the Zire 72 had Wi-Fi in addition to it’s 1.3 mp camera, it might have been worth the extra $100. But at $200, the T-E is hard to beat.)
I had everything working beautifully at home, but at work I had a small problem: I don’t run Windows, and Palm doesn’t officially support Linux. But all I really need to have working here is the Calender and Tasklist, and Evolution will do that. All I had to do was get my Debian Linux box to talk to the Palm, and I should be in good shape.
Step one was finding out that my current installation had no USB support. I still had the kernel source from when I had to recompile it to enable multi-processor support, so I figured it’d be a fairly simple process. (Especially since I had great instructions from fleetfootmike on how to accomplish that). Unfortunately, the newest version of gcc appears to not like the 2.2.20 kernel source.
Well, I’d vaguely been thinking of upgrading the kernel anyway. Not that I had a pressing need to do it, but it was something I honestly had never really done, and horizons are for seeking. So I downloaded the newest non-development kernel, 2.6.6, and set to work.
I had a few rough spots, as I kept finding stuff that I had left out that I needed, but this morning I was able to boot, and a couple of recompiles later I got back networking and serial communication. 🙂 Finally, after searching, I found a great website specifically aimed at demystifying what bits were needed to get my Palm device talking to Linux. One more recompile later and I was able to set up my Palm and sync it with Evolution. Yay!
I’m inordinately impressed with Debian’s kernel management process. The last time I had do this, it was a much less painless procedure, which is one of the reasons I’d been putting it off for so long. Yet another reason I’m glad we’re moving towards it as a platform for our work servers as well.
This was a pleasing way to start the day.