Palms passing in the night

Wednesday night as I was on my way to the KGB reading (which I quite enjoyed) I was writing on my Palm Pilot, as I do on the subway. A man standing in front of me said, “Is that a….Zire 71?”

“Zire 72.” I looked up, surprised at being addressed and more surprised that he almost got it right. Also relieved that he was dressed like a successful businessman. I pulled the case down a bit so the camera could show. “It’s got a camera. They don’t make it anymore, which is terribly distressing.”

“Why?”

“I like having the camera.”

“Yeah, but they have other cameras, like the Treo.” He held up his palm, encased in a translucent gel.

I explained that I liked the graffiti and didn’t like the thumb keyboard. He said, “Yeah, I noticed you really working the graffiti.”

“I’m writing a novel on this.”

He laughed. “No way.”

“Yes. A lot of it on the subway, which amuses me no end. Writing graffiti on the subway..”

Aiming his palm at mine, he beamed his contact information across as the train pulled into a station. “You have got to contact me. My email is in there.”

I assured him that I would and then he got off the train. I pulled up his contact information.

Except it wasn’t there. The story I was working on was saving when he beamed and I think the address just didn’t take. That or he beamed me the wrong thing. It is frustrating. I sent an email to Palm’s NYC retail store, but I think it’s a long shot.

Drat. It was one of the more pleasant encounters on the train. I wonder what he was going to say.

Did you know you can support Mary Robinette on Patreon!

8 Responses

  1. Michele

    You must be really good with Graffitti! I tried writing my novel that way, but ended up getting frustrated and purchased a fold-out keyboard.

  2. West

    If I recall correctly (it’s been years since I’ve beamed with a Palm) it should have shown a message on your Palm indicating a beaming was in process. It would ask the question do you wish to accept this beam or something along those lines.

    And beaming would have to be turned on. Back then, I would turn it off as it helps to conserve battery power.

    And speaking of camera (and pictures) I was wondering how many others attended the KGB reading who escaped Ellen’s camera.

  3. West

    I assume he was using a Treo. Perhaps there’s some beaming incompatibility between the two.

    If you knew another Palm user one approach would be trying to beam with them.

  4. Mary Robinette Kowal

    I’m pretty confident that it was because my story auto-saved in the middle of his beam because I saw the auto-save dialog pop up. Since it’s a third party app, it seems pretty likely that it interfered with the process.

  5. Chris Billett

    That sounds really frustrating. Did I mention I hate technology? God knows why it’s my career…

    (yes, I’m working my way backwards through my friends list from the last few days – haha, I’ve been slacking)

%d bloggers like this: