My home computer meltdown over the last week seems to have stopped. Stop reading here, if you don't care about technology.
The source of the meltdown was our attempt to use the multiple users "feature" of Windows XP to allow different setups for my wife and me. Primarily, I wanted to be able to synchronize my PDA with Outlook, and she didn't. The result was a total failure, ending with the computer dying on us last Wednesday and requiring a nondestructive System Restore. It was bad enough, that I called and paid for support from HP - a pretty good deal, by the way.
Once I ran through the system restore, I had to get all my old programs back up and running. Some of them simply worked right away, and others had to be reinstalled to get all the registry entries correct. For some reason, both Netscape and ActiveWords had great difficulty getting restored. I installed an older version of Netscape, and it seems to be working fine. And the support people at ActiveWords were very helpful, and I am now happily keeping my hands on the keyboard instead of moving to the mouse for everything.
The last component of my restored system was to figure out how to get two PDA's talking to their own PIM tools on the same computer. It turns out that Chapura, the vendor of the PocketMirror that comes with most Palm Pilots, also makes KeySuite. KeySuite adds new conduits to the HotSync manager, rather than overwriting the old ones. This makes it easy to simply turn off the Palm Desktop conduits for me, and turn off the KeySuite conduits for my wife. The other big advantage with KeySuite is that I can now have more than 15 categories for my contacts (and notes, tasks and dates, but I don't use these as much). The down side is that thi means KeySuite has installed its own tools for each of these functions. We'll see how it works in the long term.