PDAs and the like

The PDA application is for keeping track of notes, phone numbers/addresses, appointments, acts as a calculator, plays games, sends and receives messages and lets you read while standing in line. I’ve experience using a motorola cell phone, a Palm IIIx, and MS Outlook.

Personal Assistents in general: They all need to synchronize to a PC, because entering the data with anything but a full sized keyboard is crazy.

PDA: Great for reading long and short texts. Palm IIIx couldn’t use as a phone. Not too bad as a calculator, but not as good as a real calculator. Usable, but not comfortable as a note taking device. Can send and receive email, but by the time the synch is done, you alread have read the email on your PC! Likewise, when sending mail, by the time you synch, you could have typed the email 10 times. Reminders kill batteries and are a nuesance. Games are okay. Real pain is losing all you data every few months when your batteries die. Synch saves most of the data but not all of it. With a lot of work you can interactively browse the web, with a bit less work you can send faxes. Doing extras eventually requires bringing along a bag of accessories that are about 5 times heavier and bulkier than the Palm IIIx itself (modem, keyboard, etc) Very fragile screen! Don’t drop it!

Cell phone: Best place for keeping phone numbers. Barely usable as a calculator. Email & web is something of a joke, at least on my old Motorola. Reading anything beyond a few news articles is painful. Searching the web is almost possible using numeric google, but sometimes google make really bad guesses about what you are searching for in WAP-space. My phone didn’t have any games worth playing. Seems pretty sturdy, but I haven’t dropped it very many times.

MS-Outlook: Why bother put notes here? Use MS Word. Appointments are good for reminders. Good for email, but email doesn’t have good search capabilities. Not best place for contact info because it isn’t portable and gee wiz, you can use internet phone books to find numbers and addresses & you don’t have to do the data entry. On the otherhand, if you can synch to a PDA, do your data entry in MS-Outlook. Sort of portable if your company has a web-interface set up for Outlook.

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