Entrevista a Mike Rohde, fundador del PalmTipSheet

Hello Mike, thanks for being so kind to speak with us on occasion of the 10th anniversary of the first Palm Pilot coming to the market.

I'm happy to oblige and offer my thoughts on this occasion. Honestly, the 10th anniversary snuck up on me, so I was surprised myself when the announcements were made. It may have had to do with my starting with a Pilot 1000 in 1997 -- I thought maybe I had a year yet to go! :-)

Can you tell our users about your job, and what you use PDA's for?

In my job I am a visual designer, with a focus on web design, corporate identity design and application icon design for the international firm MakaluMedia. I work remotely with colleagues based in Europe from my home office in Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA.

As for my Palm, I've recently lost my Zire 72s, and have just reverted to an older Clié N610C as my daily PDA. Mainly my uses for a PDA are management of my contacts, tasks and agenda while mobile, reading email, weblogs and studying the Bible, and playing an occasional game.

I used to use a Palm to manage my work agenda, tasks and contacts, but moved that management to my Mac a few years ago, in a effort to focus and separate my work activities from my personal activities.

How has this changed on these 10 years of Palm OS's existence?

Well, I first started a little skeptically using a Pilot 1000 and quickly was addicted to the Palm for managing my life. My use of the Palm for work and personal probably peaked somewhere in 2002, just before my son was born and about the time I'd sold the Palm Tipsheet.

I wanted to put more energy toward my design skills than to the Palm, and so around late 2002 I began scaling back the time spent keeping up with Palm stuff (having sold the Tipsheet) and using my Palm a little less.

I think it's somewhat cyclical for me, as moving back to the Clié has invigorated my use of the Palm for the basics: contacts, agenda and tasks.

Are really PDA's now more useful than 10 years ago; I mean are all these new features really the ones users need, on your opinion?

I think it depends quite a bit on whom the user is. Most of the time I am not very mobile, so a basic, even retro Palm device works well for my needs. Meanwhile, I have other friends who are constantly mobile and cannot be as effective without their Palms or Treos. I do think the features in the last 4-5 years have improved the capabilities of the devices, but again it comes back to what you need.

I've always contended that your device and usage should be based on your lifestyle needs -- I am at the Mac all day long, so having a super-powered PDA just isn't so critical as it might be for someone else.

What is the daily life main change you would remark on this period (whatever tech or not)?

I think for me it has been the realization that paper has a place in a digital lifestyle. I love my Palm and Mac and tech in general, but in the last several years I've come to appreciate pencil sketching in my Miquelrius, note-taking with pen in my Moleskine and using paper, pen and pencils of various sorts to do things in analog mode.

Again, this comes back to the idea of using what works for your system: I like the power of the PDA for certain things, but also make heavy use of analog tools like sketch and notebooks to capture ideas that would be difficult to do with a Palm or even a Mac.

How do you see the next 10 years in the PDA world?

I see it converging more and more with the phone and PC. There will remain a small niche for the traditional PDA, but the expansion will be for wireless devices for data management (LifeDrive) and of course phones (Treo) which will add improved PIM features that our Palms have currently.

As Catalans we are interested in open source as we see it as the only way to a Catalan operative system. How do you see the next years about open source for PDA's.

Not sure. I think open source is a great way to approach development of software, and it is gaining popularity. However, I think open source faces the hurdle to regular people with its design and usability levels -- so very often open source software focuses on bare function but not usability.

If some group can marry open source with great usability, I think they have a chance for mainstream use. Right now Apple's Mac OS X is the closes to this idea, though it is of course not and open source OS.

Would you like to add anything else?

Nothing really, other than thank you for interviewing me! :-)

More opinions from Mike Rohde on his site/blog:

Have fun! :-)



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