Friday, 10 June 2011

Goodbye Palm...

I've been an owner (and a heavy user) of a Palm device for many years (around 15 years...) but lately I was not using it anymore, so I decided to get rid of it, but I needed to backup some of its data. Basically this came down to backing up:

  1. The contacts, which I did by using the J-Pilot software for linux. The contacts were easily exported to a CSV file. I tried to import into BBDB following these instructions, but the program was outdated, so at the end I had to do it "manually" (through regular-expressions inside Emacs).
  2. Birthday data store in the HappyDays application. I didn't find an easy way to export the data compiled by HappyDays, but in the end decided that it was not that important, since the birthday data is actually collected from the contact data, which I already exported.
  3. The most important data after the contacts was the data stored in SplashID. I believe that more recent versions of the Palm software come with a version to export directly in the device into a CSV file, but my version is very old (2.03), and didn't have this feature. The trick was to install the Palm Desktop software (Version 4.1.4) in a Window XP virtual (VirtualBox) machine, and then install the 2.59 old version of the SplahsID Windows software. But I couldn't get the Windows virtual machine to recognize my USB-connected device. It turned out that I had to upgrade the VirtualBox that comes with Ubuntu 10.04 and install the 4.0.8 version, and add myself to the virtualbox group. I got it to work by following these instructions (although I din't add myself to the usb group, only to the virtualbox one). Once that was in place, I easily synchronized my SplashID data in the Palm to the Windows software, and then exported the data in CSV format, which was then imported into an encrypted org-mode file to handle with Emacs (which is much more convenient to me now).

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