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Which PDA Is right for me?

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Anonymous
August 5, 2004 6:18:08 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot (More info?)

Hey All!!

I am thinking about taking off about 6 months to a year to travel
around, either by car or motorbike and write a book about it. A PDA
seems to be a good medium to do this. I'm looking for a PDA with a
long battery life and QWERTY style keyboard, probably a detachable
one. A colour screen would be nice but it's not a must-have.

Has anyone got experience in writing on a PDA? And if so what would
you recommend?

Appreciate your help!

Peter

More about : pda

Anonymous
August 5, 2004 7:55:59 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot (More info?)

In article <4083e308.0408051318.2c978311@posting.google.com>,
peter.kievits@gmail.com (Peter Kievits) wrote:

>Hey All!!
>
>I am thinking about taking off about 6 months to a year to travel
>around, either by car or motorbike and write a book about it. A PDA
>seems to be a good medium to do this. I'm looking for a PDA with a
>long battery life and QWERTY style keyboard, probably a detachable
>one. A colour screen would be nice but it's not a must-have.
>
>Has anyone got experience in writing on a PDA? And if so what would
>you recommend?

Personally I suggest something heavier-duty such as a 12" laptop or a
smaller "real" computer (I've seen some amazingly small Sony Vaios). I
think a "real" screen, integrated keyboard and good editor would make
writing a lot more pleasant for you than trying to use a PDA. If your
main point is to write a book then it may be worth schlepping good tools.

I admit I have not tried using a detachable PDA keyboard, and maybe that
would make a PDA tolerable. They look flimsy enough to give me pause
when traveling. If you do go PDA then as far as good battery life, I
think your only choice in PDAs is a the B&W PalmOS model, and you may
need to avoid the faster versions of same. A high resolution screen
would be a big win for readability, but I have no idea if you can get
that and good battery life.

-- Russell

P.S. at the risk of sounding too cynical, portable devices tend to be
somewhat fragile and/or poorly made. Good luck finding something that
won't need repair during your trip.
Anonymous
August 5, 2004 11:21:09 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot (More info?)

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

Hi Peter,

I am using a Tungsten|T3 and a infrared keyboard with good success. It took not having the top row of key (numerals), but since
I am writing a novel, I don't NEED a lot of numbers.

Battery life is so-so. I tend to have it playing music while I'm writing, and the computer set to always on. Used in this way I
get about 6 hours to a charge.

When I travel, I always carry my laptop with me. Due to poor battery life and size, I found that I wasn't maximizing my writing
time. The Palm Infrared keyboard and Tungsten|T3 is fast and easy to set up, so I find myself when waiting for air[planes and
such doing some writing. You also need to decide what word processor you are going to use. I used Documents-to-Go for a couple
of years then switched to QuickOffice.

I would recommend that you get a PDA with a SD slot so that you can back up your writing daily I've used BackupMan for a couple
of years now and have been very happy with.

Ciao . . . C.Joseph

That which a man buys too cheaply . . .
~ He esteems too lightly

Peter Kievits wrote:
| Hey All!!
|
| I am thinking about taking off about 6 months to a year to travel
| around, either by car or motorbike and write a book about it. A PDA
| seems to be a good medium to do this. I'm looking for a PDA with a
| long battery life and QWERTY style keyboard, probably a detachable
| one. A colour screen would be nice but it's not a must-have.
|
| Has anyone got experience in writing on a PDA? And if so what would
| you recommend?
|
| Appreciate your help!
|
| Peter
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Anonymous
August 6, 2004 3:55:05 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot (More info?)

I would suggest a supply of paper and pencils. Unaffected by dust, vibration,
temperature or battery problems; always available and instantly ready.

And you can transcribe them at leisure on your return. If you're writing a book
you're going to be doing so much editing anyway that the medium of the initial
draft is irrelevant.

- Alasdair

>>Hey All!!
>>
>>I am thinking about taking off about 6 months to a year to travel
>>around, either by car or motorbike and write a book about it. A PDA
>>seems to be a good medium to do this. I'm looking for a PDA with a
>>long battery life and QWERTY style keyboard, probably a detachable
>>one. A colour screen would be nice but it's not a must-have.
>>
>>Has anyone got experience in writing on a PDA? And if so what would
>>you recommend?
>
>
> Personally I suggest something heavier-duty such as a 12" laptop or a
> smaller "real" computer (I've seen some amazingly small Sony Vaios). I
> think a "real" screen, integrated keyboard and good editor would make
> writing a lot more pleasant for you than trying to use a PDA. If your
> main point is to write a book then it may be worth schlepping good tools.
>
> I admit I have not tried using a detachable PDA keyboard, and maybe that
> would make a PDA tolerable. They look flimsy enough to give me pause
> when traveling. If you do go PDA then as far as good battery life, I
> think your only choice in PDAs is a the B&W PalmOS model, and you may
> need to avoid the faster versions of same. A high resolution screen
> would be a big win for readability, but I have no idea if you can get
> that and good battery life.
>
> -- Russell
>
> P.S. at the risk of sounding too cynical, portable devices tend to be
> somewhat fragile and/or poorly made. Good luck finding something that
> won't need repair during your trip.


--
For personal replies, remove "not" from email address.
Anonymous
August 6, 2004 9:37:04 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot (More info?)

On 5 Aug 2004 14:18:08 -0700, peter.kievits@gmail.com (Peter Kievits) spewed
forth these words of wisdom:

>Hey All!!
>
>I am thinking about taking off about 6 months to a year to travel
>around, either by car or motorbike and write a book about it. A PDA
>seems to be a good medium to do this. I'm looking for a PDA with a
>long battery life and QWERTY style keyboard, probably a detachable
>one. A colour screen would be nice but it's not a must-have.
>
>Has anyone got experience in writing on a PDA? And if so what would
>you recommend?
>
>Appreciate your help!
>
>Peter

Look for a model with the Universal Connector, (Zire 71, etc.). Buy a new Palm
Ultra-Thin keyboard on eBay for $35-40, versus $100 at retail.

--
"I'm not a cool person in real life, but I play one on the Internet"
Galley
Anonymous
August 6, 2004 7:24:23 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot (More info?)

On 5 Aug 2004 14:18:08 -0700, Peter Kievits wrote:
> Hey All!!

> I am thinking about taking off about 6 months to a year to travel
> around, either by car or motorbike and write a book about it. A PDA
> seems to be a good medium to do this. I'm looking for a PDA with a
> long battery life and QWERTY style keyboard, probably a detachable
> one. A colour screen would be nice but it's not a must-have.

> Has anyone got experience in writing on a PDA? And if so what would
> you recommend?

It's not a traditional PDA, but an AlphaSmart Dana might fit your
needs:

http://www2.alphasmart.com/products/dana.html

They're much tougher than conventional laptops and most PDAs, lighter
than all but the most expensive subnotebooks, had good battery life,
and can use AA alkalines in a pinch. It is much bigger than a
standard PDA, but the full-sized keyboard is much nicer than any of
the fold-up ones I've used.

If you insist on a regular PDA and you mean an external keyboard that
you can plug in, the PDA I'd consider would be the discontinued Palm
m125. It can take AAA batteries and is relatively tough. Another one
to look at would be the discontinued Handera 330.

If a thumb-board is what you mean by a keyboard, you might see about a
used or refurbished Treo 90 as it's the smallest non-smartphone PDA
with a thumb-keyboard. Other PDAs to consider would be from Sony's
CLIE range: TG-50, UX-40, UX-50, NZ-series, and NV-series. I put
those in what I'd consider a rough order of preference from my
perspective. None of these can take conventional AAA or AA batteries
as an emergency backup, and that makes them less appealing for
extended travel.

Irrespective of your choice, make sure the PDA has a memory card slot
and don't forget to get a memory card and a program like BackupBuddy
VFS. Since you'll be on the road for a long time, you'll want
something to backup your content to non-volatile memory. It would be
awful to lose 11 months of your writings just because you ran out of
batteries or your PDA got stolen or broken. It would be even better
if you set it to backup every night and got a couple of cards. Then
swapped the cards out periodically and keep the extra card somewhere
safe and away from the PDA. That way you're even better protected
from disaster, and recovery would be a matter of replacing the PDA and
hitting the "restore" button in your backup program. (all the PDAs I
listed above have memory card slots.)

-alan

--
Alan Hoyle - alanh@unc.edu - http://www.alanhoyle.com/
"I don't want the world, I just want your half." -TMBG
Get Horizontal, Play Ultimate.
Anonymous
August 6, 2004 9:37:03 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot (More info?)

In article <2nhm57F116f3U1@uni-berlin.de>, Alan Hoyle <alanh@unc.edu> wrote:

> On 5 Aug 2004 14:18:08 -0700, Peter Kievits wrote:
> > Hey All!!
>
> > I am thinking about taking off about 6 months to a year to travel
> > around, either by car or motorbike and write a book about it. A PDA
> > seems to be a good medium to do this. I'm looking for a PDA with a
> > long battery life and QWERTY style keyboard, probably a detachable
> > one. A colour screen would be nice but it's not a must-have.
>
> > Has anyone got experience in writing on a PDA? And if so what would
> > you recommend?
>
> It's not a traditional PDA, but an AlphaSmart Dana might fit your
> needs:
>
> http://www2.alphasmart.com/products/dana.html
>
> They're much tougher than conventional laptops and most PDAs, lighter
> than all but the most expensive subnotebooks, had good battery life,
> and can use AA alkalines in a pinch. It is much bigger than a
> standard PDA, but the full-sized keyboard is much nicer than any of
> the fold-up ones I've used.

At least one AlphaSmart model has built-in Wi-Fi for those times that
you're in a connected coffee shop, etc. and want to send email home or
look for the next hostel on the Web.
August 7, 2004 12:47:23 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot (More info?)

On Thu, 05 Aug 2004 23:55:05 GMT, Alasdair McAndrew
<Alasdair.McAndrew@notvu.edu.au> waived the right to be silent and
professed:

>I would suggest a supply of paper and pencils. Unaffected by dust, vibration,
>temperature or battery problems; always available and instantly ready.
>
Make sure you get a pencil sharpener, too. Single point of failure,
you know?
--
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
Anonymous
August 8, 2004 6:43:59 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot (More info?)

Peter Kievits wrote on 05 Aug 2004:

> Hey All!!
>
> I am thinking about taking off about 6 months to a year to travel
> around, either by car or motorbike and write a book about it. A PDA
> seems to be a good medium to do this. I'm looking for a PDA with a
> long battery life and QWERTY style keyboard, probably a detachable
> one. A colour screen would be nice but it's not a must-have.
>
> Has anyone got experience in writing on a PDA? And if so what would
> you recommend?
>
> Appreciate your help!

I use Palm Portable keyboards (Think Outside Stowaways) with the WordSmith
word processor on both an IBM Workpad 30x (rebadged Palm IIIx) and an IBM
Workpad c500 (rebadged Palm m500). If you can find a flat surface these
keyboards are great -- it's quite easy to forget that you're not using a
laptop when the creativity sets in. A Palm IIIx and Palm Portable Keyboard
sell for as little as $25 on eBay. Add WordSmith for about $10 to $15 (on
eBay) and you've got a great portable word processor with a long battery
life -- and extra batteries can be easily carried.

But...

There is kind of a Catch-22 in this. The IIIx uses AAA batteries and gets
many hours from each set. Problem is, it has no way to back up it's
documents locally -- it depends on synching to a computer. The m500 uses
SD cards -- local backup -- but it also uses a rechargable battery --
which may not be ideal for travelling on the road. You've got to be able
to charge it (and any new Palm device) while travelling. If you're going
to be near electricity on a regular basis, it really wouldn't be a
problem.

There is another option. If you can find a Handera 330 or TRG Pro, these
both used Compact Flash memory -- and the Handera 330 also used an SD
card. So you had the benefit of both AAA batteries (easy to find and carry
extras) and a way to backup your documents.

If you know you'll be able to get to power every week or so, you might
look at getting an older Palm (that uses AAA batteries) for typing and a
newer one (like the m500) that uses a rechargable battery but also
supports a memory card for backup. Then just use the I/F port to transfer
files from the older to the newer Palm for backup and nothing else.

Sorry to ramble.

--
RonB
"There's a story there...somewhere"
Anonymous
August 8, 2004 6:52:59 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot (More info?)

Russell E. Owen wrote on 05 Aug 2004:

> Personally I suggest something heavier-duty such as a 12" laptop or a
> smaller "real" computer (I've seen some amazingly small Sony Vaios). I
> think a "real" screen, integrated keyboard and good editor would make
> writing a lot more pleasant for you than trying to use a PDA. If your
> main point is to write a book then it may be worth schlepping good
> tools.

You've got a serious problem with battery life here, not to mention
innitial expense. Of course I don't know what the original poster had in
mind.

> I admit I have not tried using a detachable PDA keyboard, and maybe
> that would make a PDA tolerable. They look flimsy enough to give me
> pause when traveling. If you do go PDA then as far as good battery
> life, I think your only choice in PDAs is a the B&W PalmOS model, and
> you may need to avoid the faster versions of same. A high resolution
> screen would be a big win for readability, but I have no idea if you
> can get that and good battery life.

The Stowaway is an amazing piece of equipment and, using the bigger
print in WordSmith, the screen is quite readable on my Palm IIIx
(Workpad 30x).

> P.S. at the risk of sounding too cynical, portable devices tend to be
> somewhat fragile and/or poorly made. Good luck finding something that
> won't need repair during your trip.

That's partly why I like the older equipment (Palm IIIx, Palm Portable
Keyboard), they seem to be bullet proof.

--
RonB
"There's a story there...somewhere"
Anonymous
August 9, 2004 2:16:35 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot (More info?)

On 5 Aug 2004 14:18:08 -0700, peter.kievits@gmail.com (Peter Kievits)
was understood to have stated the following:

>Hey All!!
>
>I am thinking about taking off about 6 months to a year to travel
>around, either by car or motorbike and write a book about it. A PDA
>seems to be a good medium to do this. I'm looking for a PDA with a
>long battery life and QWERTY style keyboard, probably a detachable
>one. A colour screen would be nice but it's not a must-have.
>
>Has anyone got experience in writing on a PDA? And if so what would
>you recommend?
>
>Appreciate your help!

I have never considered writing a book on my PDA, but I have done a
very large amount of writing with the device(s). In fact, one of it's
initial appeals to me was the ability to write stuff "in the field"
and have it ready for the desktop. I've read briefly ahead in this
thread and have seen some advice about using a laptop over a PDA.

I don't know if I would put a lot of stock in the advice to choose a
laptop over a palmtop. While a desktop or laptop's display is much
more accommodating for tasks such as editing, for the initial bulk
entry of text, I find my T|3 with Palm Portable Keyboard (PPK) to be
*most* accommodating for bulk entry of draft text. I found this to be
the same with my IIIxe & IIIc with a PPK as well. You can always use a
desktop/laptop's processing power for spell checks and block text
moves when you get to a suitable location.

While some posters may argue that a PDA's durability isn't the
greatest, I don't think they are any better or worse than laptops; a
lot of it depends on how they are handled. PDAs being as small as they
are will be easier and cheaper to rugadize. The PPK I have has a metal
casing, so I think it's more durable (at least closed) than a laptop.
With the PDA fitting in one pants pocket, the PPK in the other, I have
spent a fair amount of time writing emails and other documents in
locations that I wouldn't have considered, such as during meal breaks.
I can have my PDA and PPK set up faster than most laptop owners can
get their equipment out of their bags, and putting the stuff up is as
fast too.

My recommendation, as far as hardware is concerned, would be to choose
a solution that allowed you to write to external, removable media,
such as using DocsToGo and a SD card. In this way, if your PDA suffers
from Amnesia, your documents still exist on the SD card.

Research *carefully* battery life and any potential recharging issues.
At least with my T|3, I have a charging sync cable from Belkin that
allows me to charge from a automotive cigarette lighter adapter, or a
powered USB port. With this cable and a CardExport equipped PDA, you
can also use the PDA as a drive for your removable media, allowing you
to use a desktop/laptop to edit your documents when you are near one,
assuming, of course, that the PC is equipped with compatible text
editing or word processing software. With DocsToGo, you can get by
with Microsoft Word. With QuickOffice (it used to be, anyways) that
you could use a Palm DOC converter, and edit with Netscape Composer.
If text formatting isn't important for your drafts, you can always
DocEdit for Windows, or use a Palm DOC converter with Notepad.

Another advantage to using a PDA with removable storage, is the
recovery time in the event of a catastrophe. If you store your
documents on memory card, and maintain a backup of your PDA on same
card, should your PDA belly up, you can be back up and running within
5 of recharging the replacement PDA.

Do *that* with a laptop.


--

The last song I started on my PC was: Slaves & Bulldozers-Soundgarden-Badmotorfinger
This is track 97 of 1023 in the current playlist.
Anonymous
August 9, 2004 3:21:25 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot (More info?)

GTW, I haven't tried it, but the isun solar charger from proporta seems
to fit your needs fairly well, if you chose a rechargeable batery palm...
Anonymous
August 9, 2004 6:15:36 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot (More info?)

Although you can certainly get the same basic things (word processing,
excel, etc) done on a high-end PDA, a mini-notebook may also be a useful
item to consider.

For a PDA, I'd look at two things - PDAs with built-in keyboards, and
PDAs with externally attached keyboards. The former will be much
smaller and pocketable, the latter will be heavier and require a flat
surface to put everything on.

The all-in-one PDAs like the Palm Tungsten C, the Treo 600 (which is
also a cell phone in case you want that feature), the various HP/Compaq
Windows Pocket PC PDAs, various Sony PDAs, and the various Sharp Zaurus
PDA models (SL-6000, SL-C700/800/etc series) will have small keyboards
built-in.

Here, consider a model with higher resolution (eg. a Palm with 320x320
resolution) or even the Sharp Zaurus models with 640x480 resolution
(SL-C700/800/etc models) so you can see and edit many lines of text
comfortably.

Also, because most PDAs require some sort of file conversion and/or are
limited to a small file size (realistically since large multimegabyte
files take too long to edit/open/etc), most of these will be limited to
plain text editing of smaller files.

The Sharp Zaurus SL-series is the only model here which will handle
larger multi-megabyte files easily due to the Linux OS they run on.

PDAs have limited wordprocessors -- think of them as equivalent to
Wordpad on a Windows PC. Nothing special at all. Here, the Sharp
Zaurus SL-Cseries would have a better word processor that can give you
more than just the basics.

PDAs usually have a limitation of printed writing input.

---

PDAs with built-in camera, audio recording, and/or cell phone may be
something to consider if you desire an all-in-one unit to go.

---

Out of these PDAs, I'd say that the Sharp Zaurus SL-C860 model sold at
www.conics.net and www.dynamism.com would be the most powerful, portable
choice. A high-resolution 640x480 screen, optional connectivity through
ethernet, wifi, modem, etc, a 'real' OS, Linux, driving everything, and
power built-in office applications make it a solid choice for editing
long/complex documents on the run.

A second would be the variety of Palm PDAs available -- while not any
more 'powerful' CPU wise vs. a PocketPC PDA, Palm PDAs do have a much
wider selection of 3rd party software to load (www.palmgear.com). Many
of these 3rd party choices include routing, city guides, etc. which may
be directly useful in your travels.

Here, a basic model such as the Palm Zire 72 all-in-one or a model with
built-in keyboard like the Sony PDAs (esp. the refurbished models
dirt-cheap at www.sonystyle.com) would be good picks. (eg. PEG-TG50 for
$199)

------------------------

However, there's nothing like having the full power and compatibility of
a true PC at hand as you travel, so a mini-notebook at <3lbs may be a
good choice to consider as well.

For the basics of wordprocessing, you may want to start with any of the
used Toshiba Libretto 110CT mini-notebooks (www.ebay.com). These
$200-400 mini-notebooks will run Windows 98 or 2000 quite well, can be
loaded with larger hard drives (up to the latest 100GB 2.5" HDs), and
will run Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, etc.), Internet Explorer, and
other common applications quite well. You get a long 4 hour run-time on
the battery, and at 2lbs, you can easily carry it with you in a small
daypack everywhere you go.

You can add a small PCMCIA GPS card, and then be able to navigate using
3rd party GPS/mapping software in your travels; copy pictures from a
digital camera and be able to upload anywhere in the world you have
access (and in the USA, with a TMobile $99 PCMCIA wireless internet card
and the unlimited $29.99/month service, go anywhere in the USA and go
online where there is cell phone coverage).

Many people have taken this unit for travels:
* One guy has taken his biking through the USA
http://www.kenkifer.com/bikepages/touring/laptop.htm
* The Libretto was used on Fossett's first ever solo balloon ride around
the world:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/2078121.stm
* I've used it in NY with GPS and digital camera in the city to navigate
and upload pictures to email.

http://www.silverace.com/libretto/ has a lot of information on this model.

---

alternative low-weight, compact notebooks include the Sony U50/U70
series (1lbs), and many of the others listed on www.conics.net and
www.dynamism.com

Here, the Sony U50/U70 series is like a large PDA, but can run all
Windows software like any regular PC -- in a package that's about 1/4
the size of a normal magazine cover, and can easily be carried about.

See picture here comparing U50 vs. Cell phone, PDA, IPod and Dollar Bill:
http://www.weblogsinc.com/common/images/782048337264802...

reviews here:
http://features.engadget.com/entry/7312188118797398/
http://msnbc.msn.com/id/5371466/

Priced more like a regular notebook (since it can do everything a
regular one can), but you get the benefits of the smaller size (which
includes video IPod! portable MP3 player, etc.).
!