The Original Palm Pilot Mirror

Reflecting upon oneself in seat 18F

Note: This story is from the archives. It might contain out-of-date information.

It all started one grey winter day in the mid 90s, during a lonely Friday afternoon flight from Charlotte, NC to Chicago. It had been a long week at the client, and it was time to get back home to my lovely wife and a Dos Equis or two at the local Mexican joint.

So there I was, folded uncomfortably into seat 18F, trying to update my To Do list on my PalmPilot. But there was a problem: the setting sun was streaming through the window, reflecting my face in the screen of the Palm and making it nearly impossible to use.

And then it dawned on me - the PalmPilot might just make a handy little mirror. I turned the contrast all the way down, and wouldn’t you know it, I could see myself pretty well. That weekend I hacked out some code to turn the screen black, and posted it to the web as the "Palm Mirror".

Little did I realize that that little app would eventually be downloaded over 1,000,000 (!) times, and get written up in newspapers as far away as Madrid. I even came >this close< to getting an endorsed version from Claudia Schiffer, exchanging e-mails with her agent and everything.

And people who downloaded the application from left all sorts of feedback, ranging from "The best Palm app ever" to "I can’t believe I downloaded this stupid thing."

As life would have it, Mirror spawned a dozen imitations across a decade of devices, and after five or six years finally mostly disappeared from the public mind. That said, it still got downloaded 700-800 times a year from here for years after the Palm went out of style.

Download the Original Palm Mirror

More Palm applications

A few more little Palm apps that I wrote back in the day:

Dotnote, a large on-screen keyboard
Dotnote Hack, a fast method for entering frequently-used letters
JackJill, a cartoon of the traditional story for the kids
Tronic, a game similar to snake with a Tron theme
TronicZ, Tronic for the Zires

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