Re: A PDA in every pocket?

Subject: Re: A PDA in every pocket?
From: "ceffyl -dot- aedui -at- comcast -dot- net" <ceffyl -dot- aedui -at- comcast -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 19 Oct 2005 11:59:39 -0400

Interesting discussion on PDAs and cell phones. I use both a PDA and a cell
phone. My cell phone is a Nokia 6820, with a built-in fold-out keyboard.
Besides voice services, I use it for limited email, text messaging, instant
messaging, and gps-enabled browsing (like finding a restaurant within oh
five miles of where I am).

My PDA has really become more than just a day-planner replacement. I use a
Sharp Zaurus 6000, which runs a version of linux (Qtopia). It's a large,
awkward PDA with a crystal clear screen with 480x640 resolution. I have a
portable infrared keyboard for it.

In many instances, my PDA takes the place of my portable computer. I have a
word processor (Text Maker) installed that can read and write MS Word
files, deal with revision marks, and import graphics. I've used the
keyboard and PDA to edit files while on a plane, take notes in a
conference, and code HTML pages.

If I felt adventurous, I could flash the ROM, run X-Windows (pdaX-11) and
install The Gimp, Firefox, Thunderbird, and all of that fun stuff. There
are versions of Web servers (Apache)
and mailman so the Z. could be a complete Web development machine and mail
server. Theoretically, with the SIP phone number and software package
installed, I could use the Zaurus as a VoIP device, too.

Similar packages and options are probably available for Windows CE and Palm
OS devices. A PDA can become a lot more than just a day planner
replacement. It depends upon how you would use a PDA.

Even though I love my Zaurus, it definitely isn't for everyone. Much of the
software for it is open source, syncing with Outlook 2003 is problematic (I
use an embedded version of KOrganizer for PDA and desktop syncing), and
some times you have to hack things to get them to work. If you want a PDA
that will sync with Outlook and have lots of nifty software available for
it, then you're better off wtih a WinCE device. However, if you want a PDA
that has some really neat capabilities, can double as a (limited) linux
development machine, and will definitely have "geek factor," the Zaurus is
a fun ride. (Did I mention that Sharp's support of this device in the U.S.
is almost nonexistant?)

(See or or

Kim Nylander

mail2web - Check your email from the web at .


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