Fool Your Handheld

Purge Dialog BoxCasey Hales in Texas had a problem with Calendar on his Tungsten C. His date book was a complete mess with duplicate entries. He emailed me asking if I knew of a quick way of resetting the calendar. If he attempted to delete each calendar entry individually, he would have to invest a lot of time and effort. A hard reset would erase his entire calendar at once, but it would also delete everything else from the handheld. So, I gave him two pieces of advice. First, I told him to use Palm Desktop to delete entries. You can just click and delete each entry on the desktop. (On the Palm, it takes four taps to erase each entry.) My second suggestion was to use the "Purge.." command from the "Record" menu in Calendar. This won't delete future events, but it's a fast way to get rid of past events. Casey took my purge idea and ran with it:

The purge feature works great to kill the entire calendar! Of course, you have to lie to it a wee bit. I was sitting there deleting one at a time and remembered what you just wrote about it only deleting the past not the future events, so I pulled a Superman and flew around the earth forward really fast and ended up in December of 2006! OK, actually, I told the computer it was 12-31-06 and then purged it. Poof! all my troubles went away. I now have a blank calendar with the exception of the hard dates put in by the Desktop software like Christmas, St. Patrick's Day, etc. Thanks so much for the purge tip!
No, Casey, thank you for the tip! I never considered changing the system date to fool the device! By the way, Casey could have marked appointments so they would not be deleted during a purge. To do this, he could set each event he wants to keep as a repeating event that repeats, say, 50 years in the future (so it won't actually repeat on your calendar). The handheld will not purge the first occurrence of any repeating event whose repetitions have not finished yet. You can call this purge protection.

Casey solved his problem in a way not intended by the operating system. Many people use tricks like this to fool computers into doing their bidding. Here are a couple more ways to pull a fast one on your Palm handheld:

You can get rid of extra lines in Calendar's Day view. Blank appointment lines in the Calendar's Day view can be annoying, especially if they cause you to scroll down to appointments later in the day. If you want to see your day at a glance, you can do one of two things. You can try switching to the Agenda view if your Palm has it. Or, you can also choose Options > Preferences in Calendar. Change the Start Time and End Time be the same. When you return to the Day View, those extra lines no longer show up.

Take control of what category is listed first. Perhaps you have a category you use most often and would like it to be at the top of your list of Categories. Categories are normally listed alphabetically, but you can trick your handheld. Tap "Edit Categories..." from the categories menu in the upper right corner of the screen. Create a new category or rename one you already have so that it begins with a space. The computer considers a space to come before letters alphabetically. So, categories starting with spaces rise to the top of the list.

Aren't these the kinds of things we want students to figure out? "Out of the box" thinking is a valuable life skill. Besides learning about the curriculum, students (and teachers) learn important problem-solving skills from interacting with technology. What are ways you or your students have duped or deceived your handheld? Please share creative tricks by leaving a comment!