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Palm to iPhone

I’ve been using an iPhone for a little over a year and a half now. This is after using a Palm device for more than a decade. I started with a Palm 1000 that I picked up at a Father’s Day sale (sorry Dad I kept it). Over those years I’d collected a LOT of useful information on various topics. My Palm had everything in it including Pocket Quicken for keeping my finances straight as I made my purchases. I’m still waiting for a iPhone version of Qucken, I’m talking to you Landware team.

So aside from not being able to track my finances, and as a result not using cash at all any more, the only other missed thing from my Palm was those memos. But today I learned how to get them on my phone, searchable, and synced with the web.

I used a site called Toodledo . They have the ability to import a CSV file for memos, which is good, because the Palm Desktop can export as a CSV file. Unless you’re a Mac user like me, then it’s a Tab&Return file and there is a lot of text editing that goes on to fix the format of the file. Couple their site with their iPhone application Notebook ($4.99) you can have all your notes back in your pocket. Just search for Toodledo in the App Store and you’ll find it.

A couple of tips if you are one of the unlucky ones like me who has to use the garbage Mac version of Palm Desktop. Go ahead and export the memos you want, but choose just the Title, Note and Category columns.

The open the file in excel, or another spread sheet program, and add an extra column between the fields. We’re doing that so when we re-save the file as a CSV we can strip out all the ” characters.

Do the following replacements:

Remove all the “
Replace all the ,,, with “,” (hence why we added the extra blank columns between the columns.)
Replace all the \n with “\n” (\n is a new line)
Replace all the ^ with a tab
Replace all the | with a new line.
Add a ” to the front of the first line and you should be 99% of the way there.

You can test import until you get only 3 columns imported and all should be good in the world.

4 Comments so far
Mike Schiff February 5th, 2009 11:51 am


I’m one of the authors of another alternative: Notespark. Our website imports memos from Palm Desktop Tab & Return directly (as well as CSV). I think we have some advantages over Notebook/Toodledo, in that we wrote both the web site and the iPhone app so that there would be more interface consistency and more robust synchronization. You might give us a try as well.

Jason February 5th, 2009 12:29 pm

You do an excellent job of importing the Mac Desktop version of the file. However you’re missing one very important feature… Search.

I have 128 notes, searching is a must.

You may also want to provide a purge ability on your web site, to delete all notes, good for testing imports.

Having the categories as a list of selections right on the main screen saves an extra tap, it takes 3 to get to a note that is in a particular tag.

Mike Schiff February 5th, 2009 12:51 pm

Search is implemented in 1.1 of the iPhone app, which we submitted to Apple a few days ago.

Yeah…we’ve run into the purge issue before…you can delete your user account, but that’s not as convenient. And we’ve thought about adding tags to the main screen as an option. That does make sense.

Anyway, thanks for taking a look!

Jason February 5th, 2009 1:09 pm

Well, I’ll take a look at 1.1 when it comes out.

It would be great if you could pickup the Date stamp from the original memos that are part of the Tab delimited file as well 🙂

The purge can be added to your import routine, overwrite existing. Small UI change and backend change. Saves writing new UI for it.