Re: Need device to remember appointments

On Fri, 05 Oct 2007 01:36:07 -0000, gordonb.swsgz@xxxxxxxxxxx (Gordon
Burditt) wrote:

I have seen people with small (calculator sized) devices that they use
to keep track of appointments, to-do lists, and shopping lists, etc.
I have always had problems remembering apointments, especially those
that are made weeks in advance. As I age, my memory is getting worse.
On top of that, I am going in for a bunch of medical tests and
treatments, and that means more appointments to remember. The doctors
always hand out little cards (on paper). These serve me no purpose at
all. They get stuffed in my pocket, wallet, on the car seat, or
somewhere in the house. When I need them, they are no where to be
found. I need some sort of electronic calendar/notebook. That way I
can look each day and determine what appointments I have, and when I
go shopping I can look at my shopping list and leave the store with
all my needs, whether than trying to rely on memory and forgetting
half the stuff I need.

There's several types of devices that do what you want, although
you need to figure out what you want it to do first. How
useful/important is it to you that the device set off an alarm some
time before the appointment as a reminder? How much can you afford?

I do keep some sort of list on my desktop computer, but I dont have
that with me when I am away. I do not have a laptop computer,
cellphone, or any of that.

A PDA such as a Palm is expensive but it will do a lot of what you want.
It may or may not come integrated with a phone. It can keep your address
book, calendar, to do list, and assorted stuff (e.g. shopping list) as
a "memo". These things require batteries and the more expensive ones have
rechargeable batteries. Some of them have flash memory so you do *NOT*
lose your data if the batteries run out, but you can't get to it until
you replace/recharge them. A very important feature of a PDA is the ability
to sync your data to your computer. Make sure you can sync the PDA you
select to your computer (whatever type it is).

If you carry something around with you, sooner or later it will get
lost, damaged, get dumped in the toilet, or just wear out. It's
important to have a backup on your computer for situations like
this. You can resort to a printed day schedule if the PDA goes
missing for a couple of days, or if you have to buy a new one or
send it in for repair, reload it with your data.

There are some cheaper electronic desk organizers that tend to have
fewer features, but they are cheaper. You may not be able to back
up your data. They may not be intended to be carried around. It
might not give real-time alerts like "Colonoscopy - Morgan Hospital
- 3PM" timed far enough in advance so you still have time to start
driving to the hospital on time.

Your computer with some software *might* be sufficient. Keep the
data on your computer. Print out the day's schedule every morning
and take it with you. Make notes on the back of new / changed
appointments on the back. It sounds like this isn't working for

And you can do the whole mess on paper. I did pretty well with the
paper "assignment book" and a copy of my class schedule in college
(not that there was a lot of alternative to paper available then
that a college student could afford) but it was mostly a To Do list,
not a calendar.

About phones - unlike some people here, I do not think a cell phone
is essential. If you spend most of your time around landline phones
anyway, and you don't need to make/receive calls on the go, don't
get a phone. They are expensive (and much more expensive than the
advertised prices). On the other hand, if you want a cell phone
anyway, get a cell phone with a built-in PDA (it may be hard to
find a phone without one). But be sure you can sync your data, so
the phone company doesn't hold your data hostage.

What can I purchase to suit my needs?
Please do not recommend a laptop computer, they are too costly and the
last thing I need is another computer to maintain. I also need

I think I agree here, for perhaps different reasons: they are too
inconvenient/heavy to carry around with you, and battery life is
often way too short. They are awkward to use at a meeting, standing
by the receptionist making an appointment, and they take too long
to boot up during a phone call to check your schedule or record a
meeting appointment. Also, a laptop is much more likely to be
damaged if you drop it than a PDA. Laptops are for putting sensitive
data on and having them stolen at airports, or for getting actual
work done on the go or at remote locations.

something thats simple and easy to use. I'm older, I do have a good
understanding of electronic devices, but I hate bloated software as
well as complicated devices. I basically only need something where I
can enter a doctor appointment to it's calendar DATE as soon as it's
given to me at the docs office. And something where I can add "dish
soap" to my shopping list as soon as I realize I need it.

A Palm could accept an entry like "Dr. Kevorkian - colonoscopy "
along with a date and time, and you set it to remind you an hour
ahead so you still have time to go there when the alarm pops up.
Also it shows up on the day's schedule when you check it. You can
also have Dr. Kevorkian's address and phone number in the address
book. A "memo" can collect all sorts of random text like a shopping
list. You might consider a bunch of features you don't need to use
as "bloat", like a calculator or expense log, but many people find
them convenient, and they don't cost much in memory or speed if you
don't use them.

If you only need the date, not a reminder at the appropriate time,
a cheaper device than a PDA might serve you better.

I've had pretty good luck with my Palm dealing with appointments
and todo items in the fairly far future (e.g. doctor's appointments
made a year ahead), compared with not-so-good results using paper.
Right now I've got 3 tasks in 2010 and later (one of them is "renew
domain name").

My two biggest needs would be the appointments and a reminder for
them. I go to the doctor, get a small paper card, and when I leave
that docs office I have my mind on other things, I stuff it in a
pocket, toss it on the dash in the car, or somewhere else. When I
remember that I have an appointment coming up sometime in the next
week or so, the card is gone. It went thru the laundry, fell on the
car floor and turned to wet soggy trash, or ended up in a grocery bag
that went in the trash.

I CAN remember most appointments that are the SAME WEEK. Once it's
more than a week away, I dont have a clue when it is.

My other need is shopping and todo lists. This is not just groceries,
which I can improvise on, but more importantly home building supplies,
and stuff like that. I live in a rural area. Every few weeks I drive
to the city and buy my building materials. But when I get there, I
often forget half the stuff if I dont write it down. For example, the
garage floodlight burned out and I used my last spare bulb last week.
The local stores want $9 for one bulb. I wont pay that.... When I get
to the city, I can get them for $2.50. While I may easily be able to
remember to get nails, 2x4's, and paint for a project I am doing, (by
concentrating on my project when I am in the store), those bulbs are
something I will most likely forget.

And lastly are phone numbers and email addresses. People often give
them to me on all sorts of odd sized pieces of paper. Some go in my
wallet where I can find them, but if they are too large for the
wallet, they get destroyed in my pocket, or end up on the floor in the
car when I am driving down the road with the windows open.

That pretty much covers all my needs for the thing. I miss far too
many appointments now, and waste too much gas because I forget to buy
things, and also lose contacts for people.

As far as cellphones. I can only think of two times in the last few
months I could have used one. Once when I ran out of gas out in the
country, and once when I got lost driving and it would have helped to
call the place I was going from my car. All my other calls I just
make at home, and I may stop at a phone booth about twice a year. (as
a side note, I probably would have not run out of gas if I had a
reminder to fill the tank...... The older I get, the more I seem to
forget things like that....)