I've been using Microsoft Windows, Office, and Outlook beginning in 1986 with Windows 3.0 and then moved onto PDAs in the mid 1990's and smartphones around 2003. I thought there were limitations when I couldn't sync everything from Outlook to my PDA. I did not realize what limitations were all about until I moved from a Palm Treo 750 to an brand new iPhone 3GS 16GB 10 days ago. I just took for granted that I could select any of my 300+ inbox subfolders and sync them to my phone to take work "on the road" or to have archived e-mail correspondance at my fingertips during a meeting. And at that meeting I could set a follow-up meeting on my Treo with 5 day reminder (I like to be able to set reminders well in advance instead of making 2 calendar entries; one to remind me to prepare for the meeting and the second to remind me of the actual meeting). I learned that by having the ability to set a reminder for one or two weeks in advanced "triggered" me to plan for the upcoming meeting. And at that same meeting we would all look at our phone calendars and decide on an agreeable date and time for the followup meeting and instead of having everyone enter the meeting into their phone I merely suggested that I send everyone a meeting invitation. This would allow me and them to remain updated as to the status of the meeting, include an agenda in the meeting notice, or to insert attachements on the meeting invite. I could invite attendeeds using my Conacts or just by entering their e-mail addresses. And I kind of got used to having over 150 categories in my Contacts so that I could index contacts by category when I need to contract several interior painters for the same project and create a rating system for all of the sub-contractors that I stored in my Contacts.
I must be the only person on the planet that finds this archaic manner of organizing and synchronizing information to be highly effective and efficient. I'm probably the only person that is not willing to give up my 10 year-old e-mail address that's tied to a small ISP that no one has ever heard of (some little known company owned by Time Warner called Road Runner) in order to move from a POP3 e-mail account to another e-mail account that accommodes IMAP protocal. Silly of me to trade in a smartphone for a "fun" phone. As a matter of fact I find this great app that is designed to be a virtual police and fire scanner that allows you to listen in on police and fire calls in many parts of the world. Unforntunately no one at my last meeting seemed to be very interested in that app and they had their Blackberries, and Motorolas and HTCs and Palms and were curious about the iPhone, but they laughed a bit as they watched me struggled to make two calendar entries for our next meeting, one to remind me to prepare for the meeting and one for the actual meeting. And of course we all had a good laugh over the fact that I was no longer in the role of "Invitor" and was now just another invitee, but still required to send out the agenda and attachments; which of course required me to make another calendar entry to remind myself to send those out as a separate e-mail when I returned to the office. Invariably someone asked me if I could recommend a hardwood flooring installer, and I told them I'd check my Contacts when I got back to the office. They gave me a very puzzled look and I simply replied "it's and iPhone thing, you wouldn't understand". I don't even understand it myself. I've been workig on and with computers since 1978 and even now, as a homebuilder, I continue to try to stay on the "bleeding" edge, but this iPhone thing has me stumped. I've never seen so many "workarounds" in my life!!! Things like "oh, just use this app and set up a Gmail account and then sync your Outlook with Gmail and then sync your phone to the Gmail account....blah, blah, blah."
I'm missing something here aren't I? There is some big secret about this iPhone thing that everybody besides me knows about. The iPhone suddenly empowers people (beside me) to not have to have direct access to customer e-mail folders on their phone, or to magically have plenty of time, within 2 days (the maximum alert time) to prep for that follow-up meeting that they scheduled last month...even though they have about 10 days of other work to get done between the time the meeting reminder pops up and the meeting actually begins. Maybe I'm just getting old and I should remember the which of the 1,000 entries in my contact list are exceptional hardwood floor installers.
Okay, enough sarcasm. Does anyone have any SERIOUS solutions to this nonsense other than to put things in reverse and get another phone that is competent at running Windows Mobile? My real dilemna is that the iPhone actually does some things exceptionally well and some things that I could never have available on any of my smartphones. For example, there is a particular construction calculator that is used by most construction tradesmen because it allow the calculation of inch-feet-yards and every permutation thereof. It makes the calculations extremely fast and accurate. These specialized calculators sell for between $50 & $80 and I own 5 of them just to make sure I have one "planted" whereever I might need it. Unfornately it could not be easily morped onto a smartphone because of the button layout that makes it so effective. The company just released the $80 version of the calculator for the iPhone as a $9.99 app and it looks and operates exactly like the physical calculator. I always have my phone with my so now I don't need to be so concerned about keeping the batteries fresh in my five other construction calculators (they never did make a solar version and no other company makes such a specialized calculator). Unfortunately the capabilities that the iPhone lacks are real productivity killers and I've Google these capabilities till I'm blue in the face. That's how I found this forum which seemed to be the only forum that had some semblance of an understanding of how necessary these capabilities are.
Any information that you could provide; jailbreak or whatever, to get this thing to mirror my Outlook and all of it's vital capabilities, without having to setup other mail accounts and do frustrating workarounds would be greatly appreciated.