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Last post Author Topic: PDAs - any use?  (Read 12421 times)

rjbull

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PDAs - any use?
« on: May 27, 2006, 04:05:45 PM »
I keep thinking of trying a PDA, most likely a Palm.  This is because I write lots of things down in a Filofax-type notebook, but then I can't find or manipulate them afterwards.  Are PDAs really useful forn that kind of thing?  I get the impression that quite a few people are starting to abandon them, but that those who do are mostly the GTD crowd who find PDAs don't fit what they want.  Whereas, what I want is mostly a portable text snippets database.  And, PDAs are still well above pocket money, if you decide you don't ge on with them.

Thanks...

Gothi[c]

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Re: PDAs - any use?
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2006, 04:09:12 PM »
I never really understood why one would buy a PDA over, say a laptop. The only good use I can think of is to run GPS software,...

jgpaiva

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Re: PDAs - any use?
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2006, 05:54:12 PM »
I never really understood why one would buy a PDA over, say a laptop. The only good use I can think of is to run GPS software,...
I wouldn't say so, I own a laptop, and i know how uncomfortable it is carrying it around.
I think i could find some use in a pda, as my university has wireless lan, which means i could be online most of the time.
One friend of mine has one pda, and gives much use to it, either to surf the web, listen to music, or just entertain with little games on the way home in the bus.
The thing is.. PDA's are expensive, and i wouldn't buy one.

On the other hand... A smartphone (something like a qtek, couldn't find better link), really is very useful. My father has one, and since he got it, he can't use any other phone anymore. It really is a big advance from normal phones, because of it's fast note/memo-taking, integration of the notes with phone calls and contacts and good calendar management.
I think that for those that have lots of meetings, and always carry with them a paper agenda, this is fantastic solution.
I only find 2 disadvantages: the price, of course, and the fact that it's barelly usable only with one hand, since you have to hold it with one hand, and use the other for the touch-screen pen.

tsaint

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Re: PDAs - any use?
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2006, 06:15:36 PM »
Here are some reasons I use a pda (and I have a laptop btw)...
Convenience:
My pda is approx the size of a pack of cigarettes, my laptop is bulky. I can take it anywhere (including to the bathroom!)
My laptop battery lasts 3 hours if Im lucky, my pda lasts more than a day
I can take a quick photo with my pda, my laptop doesn't take photos
My pda starts instantaneously, my laptop takes some time

What I use it for at school:
Attendance  / grades book at school - using excel compatible software
Photo database of my students at start of semester to assist with names
Jotting down info which won't get lost
Taking minutes at faculty meetings (using a small but effective foldup keyboard)
Displaying fractals to my students
Controlling my laptop via the school network (from another room)
Using graphics calculator software

Non school use:(each of these is no effort or inconvenience with a pda cf my laptop)
Storing heaps of travel info when I go on hols (clipped easily from web)
Storing novels for reading in a tent when I'm camping (no light needed)
Listening to music at night (either stored, or a shoutcast station)
Playing games when I'm waiting for anything
Storing a searchable singapore bus timetable, plus a street directory for singapore
Reference stuff like dictionary, cia world factbook, databases Ive made and/or downloaded
Unit conversions
Shopping list
Addresses
Calendar stuff

tony




tsaint

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Re: PDAs - any use?
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2006, 06:20:38 PM »

On the other hand... A smartphone (something like a qtek, couldn't find better link), really is very useful. My father has one, and since he got it, he can't use any other phone anymore. It really is a big advance from normal phones, because of it's fast note/memo-taking, integration of the notes with phone calls and contacts and good calendar management.
I think that for those that have lots of meetings, and always carry with them a paper agenda, this is fantastic solution.
I only find 2 disadvantages: the price, of course, and the fact that it's barelly usable only with one hand, since you have to hold it with one hand, and use the other for the touch-screen pen.

Price - shop around and there are some quite economical ones (btw filofaxes never struck me as cheap either!)
Usable with one hand - put it on a desk or your knee and its 1 handed. Cf laptop - unless its on your knee or a desk, forget "barely one handed" completely!!

I don't like cell phones so I don't care about that functionality, but for the rest of the planet, combination pda/phone would be ideal.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2006, 06:30:45 PM by tsaint »

jgpaiva

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Re: PDAs - any use?
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2006, 06:39:43 PM »
Usable with one hand - put it on a desk or your knee and its 1 handed. Cf laptop - unless its on your knee or a desk, forget "barely one handed" completely!!
I meant compared to a cell phone ;)
Needing 2 hands to handle it makes it a bit less handy that a regular cell phone. But i don't consider this as a big issue, other than when driving.

tsaint

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Re: PDAs - any use?
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2006, 06:45:11 PM »
I meant compared to a cell phone ;)
Oops - sorry! :D

rjbull

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Re: PDAs - any use?
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2006, 03:19:00 PM »
Thanks, folks!   :Thmbsup:

@Gothi[c]: if they made A5-form-factor laptops with all-flash memory, I'd be interested...

@jgpaiva: smartphones seem to be killing stand-alone PDAs, but they are expensive, and (I think) the screens and keyboards are both small.

@tsaint: Kay Shapero said she downloads novels from Project Gutenberg onto hers and reads them while waiting in line.  Her Web site even has a link for spare screws for Palm Tungsten T series, for people in the US.  Sounds like you get a lot use out of yours.  The instant-on and long battery life sound very appealing.


Josh

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Re: PDAs - any use?
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2006, 03:26:04 PM »
If you are in the arena for a PDA, I would suggest moving to the pocketpc line of products. Not only do you get a familiar interface (windows based in most cases, although there are some linux-based ones), but you get a wider variety of apps and far greater compatibility. I recommend the HP iPaq, they are great little machines.

rjbull

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Re: PDAs - any use?
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2006, 04:07:15 PM »
If you are in the arena for a PDA, I would suggest moving to the pocketpc line of products.

My instant reaction is to say  Palm  just because it isn't Microsoft, but I get the impression that Palm are fading and Pocket PC are rising.  Purely objectively, and only as far as I understand it, the Palm OS is lighter-weight and Palms still give you more bang for your buck.


Josh

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Re: PDAs - any use?
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2006, 04:14:05 PM »
Dont let the general microsoft views get in the way when it comes to pocket pc's. They are quite decent products as is windows mobile edition. Comparitively, and this is subjective, I feel the bang for the buck is best with the pocketpc because you get a much wider array of apps, far more compatibility with your desktop software (easier sync), and generally better support.

tsaint

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Re: PDAs - any use?
« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2006, 05:17:56 PM »

If you are in the arena for a PDA, I would suggest moving to the pocketpc line of products. Not only do you get a familiar interface (windows based in most cases, although there are some linux-based ones), but you get a wider variety of apps and far greater compatibility. I recommend the HP iPaq, they are great little machines.
Not too sure I agree with that. In the past palms have had a much greater reliability factor (lost count of the number of times Ive read of ex pocket-pc people who moved to palm and said they had been freed from incessant crashes) Maybe that's changed but it would be worth reading forums to try to get a feel for it.
Wider variety of apps? That's definitely debatable.
On the other hand though, it is that my impression is that the world is (sadly) moving to pocket-pc and if you're worried about not being mainstream, they are the way to go. (A linux based palm sounds kinda nice tho)
« Last Edit: May 28, 2006, 05:19:33 PM by tsaint »

jgpaiva

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Re: PDAs - any use?
« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2006, 05:34:16 PM »
@jgpaiva: smartphones seem to be killing stand-alone PDAs, but they are expensive, and (I think) the screens and keyboards are both small.
Actually, not really, that's the thing i like about the ones i mentioned. They are real pda's, there's no keyboard at all, only a big screen. Although, in the top versions, there's also a keyboard with the size of the whole pda. But for the price, usefullness and size and weigth of that cell phone, you'd better buy a small laptop ;)

As for palm vs microsoft, what i can say is:
Although i've never tried a palm, i've already used a couple of windows-based pdas, and i got to the conclusion that the OS is very well thought, all the options are there, and it's quite easy to use. As for stability, i've never used any of them enough time to see how stable it can be, but i never saw the owners complaining.

thomthowolf

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Re: PDAs - any use?
« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2006, 10:17:28 PM »
I am a former fil-o-fax user.  I moved to a palm several years ago (my gift to myself on the first anniversary of my quitting smoking)  and I would never go back.  In addition to the things listed above I also love the fact that I never have to re-copy my information from one book to the next. :)  I also love the fact that I never forget a phone number or address, and the fact that my files exist on my desktop, my laptop, and my PDA.  I can work on them wherever I happen to be.
Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.  - Benjamin Franklin

rjbull

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Re: PDAs - any use?
« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2006, 04:31:56 AM »
Hmmm, more and more bewildering!  ;)  Definitely food for thought...

Are the applications built into PDAs generally good, or does just about everybody immediately start adding third-party software, just like the PC?


tsaint

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Re: PDAs - any use?
« Reply #15 on: May 30, 2006, 05:04:50 AM »
Are the applications built into PDAs generally good, or does just about everybody immediately start adding third-party software, just like the PC?

Mine came with docs to go (word proc, spreadsheet) and an organizer , browser, pdf reader, jpg viewer and email client which met my needs. It had sundry other stuff which I didn't use much.
I purchased a database and then went on a search - never-ending - for freeware which met my needs. Have found a lot which Ive been happy with.


« Last Edit: May 30, 2006, 05:07:09 AM by tsaint »

rjbull

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Re: PDAs - any use?
« Reply #16 on: May 30, 2006, 07:53:26 AM »
Mine came with [...]

That 's a lot; it's good to hear it's generally acceptable.

Quote
search - never-ending - for freeware

Don't we all, on the PC  :(

Thanks.  I'll have to start looking at costs some time...



patteo

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Re: PDAs - any use?
« Reply #17 on: May 30, 2006, 08:22:08 AM »
then went on a search - never-ending - for freeware which met my needs. Have found a lot which Ive been happy with.

Perhaps you can help some of us by pointing us to the useful ones.

The number of PPC freeware can be overwhelming in sites like
Freeware for Pocket PC windows mobile and wm5 ppc, PocketPC free downloads.
http://www.freewarepocketpc.net/

So perhaps you can suggest some useful software and or sites.

Thanks

Jimdoria

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Re: PDAs - any use?
« Reply #18 on: May 30, 2006, 04:49:38 PM »
I've used a PDA for years. I've always used Windows-based handheld units - stylus only, no keyboard. They are great for jotting quick notes - shopping list, that great idea that hits you out of the blue - but not so great for any kind of extended text entry. It can be done, it just isn't fun. I wouldn't want to take meeting minutes on a PDA, for example, unless I had an external keyboard.

I have never bought a NEW organizer. My rationale was always that I didn't want to spend $500+ on something that would be garbage the first time I dropped it on the sidewalk. Buying 2nd-hand PDAs on eBay is definitely the way to go. The things depreciate like mad, so you can get great deals. This seems to be an item that people use once or twice, then put in their closet for a year or two before they decide to sell it. Also, the market has shrunk of late, with Palm and Treo merging and a bunch of manufacturers abandoning Windows Mobile/CE. So you get a better selection if you shop among all the units that were ever available, instead of just what's being made now. And there have been some interesting devices made over the years. Some options to google include:

CASIO Cassiopeia - This is the model I have always used, and it works fine. Despite its small internal memory, my old E-115 can play movies and MP3s from a compact flash card, although doing so whacks the battery life. The battery is just now starting to flag after about 2-3 years of service. I think it cost me $60. Bonus link: Play videos on any PDA with the Core Media Player (http://www.tcmp.org/)

Psion 5MX - If you prefer a keyboard, this has one of the best PDA keyboards ever made. It's a grayscale unit, and good ones are hard to come by and still rather expensive (relatively - about $150 - $200.) It's also a NON-MICROSOFT piece of tech, if that matters. I think this unit probably provided the best compromise between a laptop and a PDA. Fits in a coat pocket or belt pack, instant on, etc. but has a full suite of productivity apps as well as the PDA basics like datebook, voice recorder, etc. Not sure if it plays MP3s or not, though. Bonus link: Just the ones you'd want on eBay.

Vadem Clio - This was one of a small number of PDA's based on Windows CE that ran at full 640x480 resolution, offering another angle on the laptop/PDA compromise. (The Psion 7 also went this route.) It combined a touchscreen and keyboard in a "flip-over" design that let you use the unit as a laptop, a tablet PC, or something like a digital picture frame. Bonus link: Egregious Clio pictures.

And yes, the first thing you do is load it up with freeware. That's the fun part! One of my personal favorites for this is PDAGold: http://www.pdagold.com
- Jimdoria ~@>@

There are two kinds of people in the world: Those who divide everybody into two kinds of people, and those who don't.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2006, 04:53:57 PM by Jimdoria »

mouser

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Re: PDAs - any use?
« Reply #19 on: May 30, 2006, 04:54:29 PM »
heres a mini-pda i keep in my wallet..
i almost never use it but at least i never even realize i'm carrying it, so it's always with me.
(ps you can write c programs for it!):

“The world's smallest full-function PDA”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/REX_6000

Rex_6000.jpg

rjbull

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Re: PDAs - any use?
« Reply #20 on: June 05, 2006, 04:31:51 AM »
I never really understood why one would buy a PDA over, say a laptop. The only good use I can think of is to run GPS software,...

Looks like the Next Big Thing is decreed to be the "ultra-mobile computer," UMPC (formerly codenamed "Origami").  You can read a review of one such, the Samsung Q1, here

Appears to be a modest-sized (about 9 x 10 inches) tablet PC which includes ideas from PDAs and smartphones.


rjbull

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Re: PDAs - any use?
« Reply #21 on: June 05, 2006, 04:37:16 AM »
tsaint,

I purchased a database

Were you looking for a "widgets" dBase-type database, or something like Bonsai or ListPro?

Quote
search - never-ending - for freeware which met my needs. Have found a lot which Ive been happy with.

Do you have links for specially useful sites?

Thanks in advance...


app103

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Re: PDAs - any use?
« Reply #22 on: June 05, 2006, 05:29:22 AM »
This is a Jornada 540...old but quite useful. (keyboard sold separately but I have that too...full sized and folds up to same size as the Jornada.)

I love reading ebooks on it and prefer it for that use over reading them on the desktop.

I also have 2 cellular modems for it that double as extra battery life. You can probably find one of these on ebay dirt cheap, if you are the kind that likes ebay.


It runs WinCE 3.0.

It has a web browser (Pocket IE), Pocket Word, Pocket Excel, email software, MSN, AIM, Yahoo, calculator, address book, very nice scheduling calendar with alarms, the famous solitaire game, Windows Media Player, MS Reader, and other stuff too.

This Jornada used to belong to my dad. It stored in a custom protective case made from leather covered sheet metal, lined with satin covered foam. If you dropped the case, it will NOT end up broken.  Once he was pushed down and fell in a subway station in NYC, with this in the inside pocket of his suit jacket, landing with his full body weight on it. The Jornada didn't break...not a scratch on it from the incident, but he did have some really nasty bruises on his ribs from landing on the case.

http://img369.imageshack.us/img369/7229/jornada5403hp.jpg
PDAs - any use?

http://img369.imageshack.us/img369/7468/keyboardfolding7hm.jpg
PDAs - any use?


« Last Edit: January 25, 2007, 10:48:14 AM by app103 »

tsaint

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Re: PDAs - any use?
« Reply #23 on: June 05, 2006, 06:29:05 AM »
Were you looking for a "widgets" dBase-type database, or something like Bonsai or ListPro?

I bought handbase from http://www.ddhsoftwa...m_software.html?UID=
I used to monitor several sites for palm news and software ..eg -

http://palmaddict.typepad.com/palmaddicts/
http://www.clieuk.co.uk/index.shtml
http://www.1src.com/
http://www.spug.net/

For specific shareware/freeware repositories, you could look at:

http://freewarepalm.com/
http://zdnet.com.com/2001-2008-0.html
http://dmoz.org/Computers/Systems/Handhelds/Palm_OS/Software/
http://www.eurocool.com/type/?type=Freeware

Of course you have to wade through a lot of junk to find stuff that suits

tony


rjbull

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Re: PDAs - any use?
« Reply #24 on: June 05, 2006, 08:42:21 AM »
I bought handbase from http://www.ddhsoftwa...m_software.html?UID=

Thanks.

Quote
Of course you have to wade through a lot of junk to find stuff that suits

Ah, yes.  Again...