The Problem With Palm

It’s particularly frustrating when a technophile like myself runs into a problem I can’t fix on my own. I’m used to doing all of my own troubleshooting, with minimal outside support. Part of this has been out of necessity — my department is the only Mac-based outfit in an otherwise Wintel company, and tech support from our IS department is pretty much nil. Now, the process is a little more standardized, with my cohort David Lawson handling departmental tech issues, but I still like to stay pretty independent.

PalmLast spring my Palm m505 refused to synchronize with my computer. After trying everything under the sun — and doing a pantload of research — I discovered that there was a recurring problem with the m505 units (one that Palm refused to admit) in that their USB connections would get hosed by a single static-electricity shock. And with winters being what they are in D.C., we get a lot of those friendly little zaps. Once Palm finally realized they had a widespread problem on their hands, they started being a lot more forthcoming and helpful in replacing the defective units.

Less than a year after their release, the m505s were discontinued in favor of the m515s. I finally ate the long-distance charges for tech support (plus the additional $25 charge from Palm) and called it in; fortunately, by this time, things were fairly well established, and they shipped me out a replacement (and waived the $25). In fact, they sent the replacement out first, so I wasn’t without a handheld at any point. It wasn’t a new m515, but at least it worked.

It just happened again. My Palm’s USB syncing died. And to their credit, Palm tech support was just as helpful and friendly as last time. Now, it’d be nice if they sent a more reliable 515 (or, why not, a Tungsten T), but I’m not counting on it. Right now, all I can do is wait.


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