A PDA in every pocket?

Subject: A PDA in every pocket?
From: mlist -at- safenet-inc -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 18 Oct 2005 15:41:18 -0400

Over in the "Blogs replace newsletters" thread, Bill Swallow

> I read blog content unplugged as well as
> when plugged in. Have Bluetooth PDA, will travel. ;-)

This raised a question in my little brain:
Do most of the rest of y'all have PDAs? What is your
primary usage of them? What are you hoping for, technology-wise
that would prompt you to switch from PDA to handheld PC,
or from handheld PC to... what?
Or are you fully satisfied with the current state of
the beast?

I would expect the distribution of PDAs -- especially
more expensive things like Blackberries -- to crowd
the ranks of the contractors and freelancers. I'm
sure some captive writers can't live without their
Palm or Blackberry or other device, but I'd expect
the concentration to be lower. Is it? If I've missed
a Techwr-L poll on the topic, just slap me upside the
haid, an' ah'll shut up.

I keep wanting a PDA for the neat-thing factor, but
I don't seem to have a convincing use for one... yet.

I'm a "captive" writer. I've been at this current gig
for 7 years, the one before that for 7 years (... oh-oh...)
a blip job that lasted a year, and a 9-year employment
before that...and then history gets kinda fuzzy...
All that to say that I'm not a contractor
or free-lancer, and so I don't maintain a network of
contacts that I "work" and "massage" and "ping".
I've totally lost track of anybody from my previous
employment, because it was in another city, it was
7 years ago, and it was the kind of company and division
where people tended to transfer around the world every
few years.

The people who are important to my current work all
work where I do, or at another office of this same
company, accessible via our e-mail system address lists
and other means. That is, I don't seem to need to
maintain a vast electronic storage of contact data.

I don't even maintain a big phone-number list in my
cell-phone, since it's a pain to enter data on phone
keypads... probably I should look into methods of
downloading from a computer... but then I'd need to
create the list in my computer, from the big, old,
hand-written, paper list that I do keep.
(blush! how embarrassing... but at least
it's nicely leather bound...)

I briefly inherited my wife's old Palm 1__ (forgot
the model number, it was old), tinkered with it, off
and on, for a couple of days, then mislaid the thing
and forgot about it. I had thought that I'd use it
for note-taking, both at work and for those "aha"
moments while commuting, or for those brilliant ideas
that never seem to strike except in the middle of the
night... but the process was too cumbersome, somehow.

So, except for freelance contact maintenance, are PDAs
and handheld computer-thingies an indispensible work
tool for tech writers? Or a very dispensible toy?
Or a piece of additional clutter that you really don't
need in your life?

Those who have them for work, did you pay for it yourself?

If you subscribe to some service (a la Blackberry, or the
text-pager units with the PDA features) do you pay for
that service, flat-out, or is it covered by the employer
or by the guvmint (tax deduction, work-related)??

Inquiring minds (well, one anyway) want to know.

Kevin (PuDAh-less... oh, ok... PeeDeeAey-less)

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