R.I.P. My PalmOne LifeDrive: 2007-2012

Update: It’s not dead yet. See Update at end of original post.

Ah, it was May 24, 2007 when the dead LifeDrive I bought off eBay for cheeeeep was finally brought back to life via a CompactFlash transplant.

For the past two weeks, however, I’d been having unexpected lockups. None of the app buttons would work and it’d sometimes refuse to power down.

Today I decided to perform some surgery:


Actual photo of surgery!

I thought I had the problem detailed in this post.

But I didn’t. My switch was fine.

I reassembled it and screwed up, so I had to disassemble it again.

That didn’t help, and then I stupidly decided to do a Quick Erase.

Which did not work at all.

So I disassembled it a third time to really look at that switch.

I could see nothing I could fix.

I put it all back together and it would never go past the PalmOne screen at all.

Which, I think, is the original state I bought it in.

How’s that for rotten karma?

So I’m once again without a PDA, which is already driving me a bit mad. Trying to simulate what I do on the LifeDrive, I had over five Windows open to look at data (PilotYid’s Easy DOCViewer was a lifesaver here, letting me Copy and Paste DOC data into text files). (And I haven’t lost any data. I did a HotSync this morning because Something Told Me I’d need it! And, of course, everything that was on the SD Card is still there too.)

I’ve been through:

Palm III — which broke when it fell out of my pocket when I bent over to pet a cat

Sony CLIE — which was stolen

Sony CLIE — an eBay replacement (not built as well as the first)

Palm Tungsten E — which mysteriously just dropped dead

Palm LifeDrive — which is now FUBARed

I can’t go without PalmOS yet. So I might have to buy a Palm TX.

I’d go back to using the Sony CLIE except the damn battery will no longer hold any charge at all.

And I don’t think I could fix the LifeDrive’s CompactFlash. I tried to DIY that originally and completely failed. And I expect I’d only fail again. Besides, there’s still that damn faulty switch (an idiotic design I always hated).

As for the LifeDrive itself, if any of you are thinking of buying one, don’t. It’s a damned beast. It’s fat and heavy and even with the CompactFlash replacing the MicroDrive, it was never fast. And it was prone to getting all cloggy, requiring soft resets (which would take like six minutes to complete!).

And the dumbest thing Palm ever did was break the Hacks with OS 5. I could have put up with the slowness of the LifeDrive if my Hacks would have worked. The LifeDrive simply was never as good as either the Palm III or Sony CLIE for accessing information instantly. And the lack of Hacks meant I’d have to switch between DOCs and Memos (a Hack would let me display a Memo over a DOC — multitasking that Apple’s modern iOS still can’t do today!).

I don’t know what went wrong with Palm back then, but they’ve certainly paid for it. They died before my LifeDrive did.

That seems very fitting now.

Update May 20, 2012:

So I wound up accidentally ripping the damn wires in a pair of (cheap) earbuds.

And that pissed me off.

I had the LifeDrive still half-disassembled and in my earbud rage decided to give it another try.

My rage must have frightened it.

It booted!

The Quick Erase had worked after all.

I tried a Restore sync. It failed at some point.

My Memos are a mess (thank you for that bit that was never fixed, Palm!). I’ll have to redo the entire restoration tomorrow.

And, just to drive me over the edge, the buttons became unlocked for a while too.

I’ll probably spend tomorrow morning fixing the Backup/Archive folders it’s pulling from. It restored stuff that I had deleted ages ago.

We’ll see how this all goes tomorrow and I’ll either update this post again or do a separate one.

If it continues to live.

Update May 21, 2012:

The LifeDrive sort of lives again.

The power switch is FUBARed, keeping the app and page buttons locked. I’m now using a program to power off instead of the switch.

I had to delete MobiPocket and the eBooks I had because the restore sync would fail at that point.

It’s basically a lifeboat (ugh, bad pun) for all of my data until I figure out the next step.

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