Palmtops

Well over the years I’ve had only a few palmtop computers each on slightly better in some respects than the previous one.

Back in the mid 80’s I used a Filofax in an attempt to organise my life, to remind me of things. It worked quite well, but I needed something with some form of an alarm to remind me of things like library books due to go back.

I had a simple calculator/organiser at first, but it was very limited so it disappeared from use quite quickly. This was replaced by a Casio SF4600B, it does Telephone lists, Alarms, World Time, Calendar. It was quite easy to use with a full QWERTY keyboard, batteries lasted a couple of years and it was very slim and useful. I still have it, but I’ve not used it in ages, so remembering the order of button presses would be difficult, as for where the manual is….


After a few years I decided I needed something more powerful. I invested in a Psion 5mx, these devices are excellent devices for note taking, email etc etc. There downside is the flexible cable that connects the screen to the rest of the machine, it cracks with age. Mine has been replaced twice. The mono screen isn’t as clear to read in some lights, but ok outside. The best bits are the availability of plenty of software, a good size keyboard, excellent battery life (4-6 weeks) of regular use on a couple of AA batteries. The email program is a little dated now and needs add ons to copy with modern protocols. Only having serial and infrared is a also a little bit limiting.

I still have a couple these machines and although they don’t get used as much these days, I wish someone would come up with a modern equivalent, may be with a better screen that is better engineered.

More recently I’ve been using an HP iPaq H5550, it has Wifi, Bluetooth and Serial/USB connectivity. A colour screen and a host of useful software. But at the expense of good battery life, it will last a couple of days of regular use at a push. It really needs to be thought of as an accessory to a PC, unlike the Psion it’s not very good without one. It does sync well with MS Outlook. and does most things I want. Unlike the one in the photo, I use mine with a clip on keyboard that works reasonably well. I’ve been using this for about 3 years now. But I never stop looking for that ‘Psion replacement’ something that you can put in your bag, jacket pocket and use for blogging, an email, linking to a bluetooth phone or GPS. There is certainly more choice out there these days compared to the late 90’s…

Will the perfect device ever come along…

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