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On the Question of Handhelds: iPaq Best?

Hemos posted more than 13 years ago | from the what-to-do-what-to-do dept.

Handhelds 245

A reader writes "I've been wanting to get a Linux based handheld, and was trying to decide between an iPaq and a Yopy. This article about the Yopy has pretty well convinced me the iPaq is the way to go, but I'm hoping some /.ers might have some additional insight before I drop a bit of serious cash. I'm a poor student, and can't afford to make a mistake here."

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Poor student... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#141580)

Please tell me if a Ferrari is better than a Jaguar... I'm hoping some might have some additional insight before I drop a bit of serious cash. I'm a poor student, and can't afford to make a mistake here...

Re:Misinformed opinion (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#141583)

That apps bit is quite funny since if you flash your bios you lose out on all those WinCE apps that make up the majority of the apps that work well with the iPaq. Come on don't try to delude anyone that staroffice is going to run on an iPaq.

Consider Psion (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#141584)

Take a look at I've been using a Psion Series 5mx for more than a year and it fits my needs very well. The Epoc OS is a very solid alternative, and the UI is excellent, IMHO. The Good: excellent battery life (2 weeks on 2 AAs), great software, infrared backup and synch, has a usable keyboard, sound recording, and it's not the same thing everybody else has. The Not so good: the keyboard is pretty small, this model is not color, the screen backlight is not very bright.

Re:PDA (1)

/dev/niall (1043) | more than 13 years ago | (#141589)

Much more useful than an iPAQ which seems to be very hardly supported under Linux.

Erum, other than the fact that you can actually run linux on it you mean...?

If it's using Linux to support Free Software, I'll remind you that buying an iPAQ will profit to Micro$oft (WinCE is ALWAYS preinstalled, evn if you plan to use Linux on it).

This logic goes over my teeny little head. If you buy a Palm, are you not creating profit to Palm, Inc? MS has been a lot more open about WinCE than Palm has about their platform. You have to sign a friggen agreement to get a Palm emulator and development information!! MS will let anyone download full version of VB and VC++ for WinCE for free.

If you must... (1)

Misfit (1071) | more than 13 years ago | (#141592)

If you must have a personal organizer, buy a Franklin Planner. The palm and its ilk are fine gadgets, but you can do more with paper and pencil that you can a PDA.

With paper, you can write in the margins, write faster, have your own style of note-taking instead of being told what and how to do it.

I have a palm 3x and only use it for chess. My wife, who is in sales, uses hers only to sync-up FROM her computer. She uses a pad of paper for actual work.

Pen and paper is best. You'll never have to worry about your battery dying.

use what works,

Do NOT buy an iPaq (1)

Mike Greaves (1236) | more than 13 years ago | (#141593)

...unless you want to give money to Microsoft for a Windows CE license.

*I* would only get a "Linux" palmtop which actually came with Linux on it, never one which came with WinCE and required hacking to get a decent OS on there. Why pay BG for stuff that you are planning to *immediately* throw away.

I just ordered an Agenda VR3 yesterday, and I would say it seems like excellent value for the money.

Go with Agenda. They are the FIRST out of the gate with Linux actually pre-installed.

Save your money (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 13 years ago | (#141594)

Upgrade your desktop computer if you have to. If you really need one, get a printer. You can do all your organising on that thing. It will also have the added benefit of being unlikely to break in under a year.

If you can enjoy the joys and "coolness" of a PDA, then you're not *really* a *poor* student, but just a poseur.

Re:Nice one! (1)

Saurentine (9540) | more than 13 years ago | (#141599)

It's perfect! All slashdotters believe you must own a PDA, even if you are a "poor student". They'll make suggestions til the cows come home, never once asking "why not just buy a notepad and a pencil".

Very good troll.

Nice troll yourself, BillyGoatThree.

I, like many many geeks out there, had incredible difficulty remembering appointments, test dates, assignment due dates, and even classes in the real world.

I tried using the notepad method, but before long, it was as jumbled as my perception of time. I tried using about a dozen personal organizers at great cost, but the simple fact is that they didn't appeal to me enough to use on a daily basis because they'd end up with a more eraser marks, cross-outs, smudges and scribbles than actual useful information. I love neatness, even if it is virtually unattainable for me.

I never would have finished my degree if it weren't for personal organizers. I bought a PalmPilot about a week after they came out, and I really believe I owe my degree, in part, to its developers.

Finally, have you priced refills for those paper-based personal organizers? If you buy a baseline Palm, you're in the black when you start your sophomore year!

Re:What about synchronisation (1)

Dionysus (12737) | more than 13 years ago | (#141601)

How did you sync your visor with win/wmware? vmware doesn't have support for USB yet.

PalmOS dev (1)

Vapula (14703) | more than 13 years ago | (#141603)

FYI, you don't need to sign anything to get the Palm Emulator (which is under GPL) or the dev kit.

You only have if you want to download the OS (but you can aswell get it from your Palm without any problem... It works very well)

Walk Away. (1)

Raspberry (18668) | more than 13 years ago | (#141605)

I purchased a palm and used it for about 8 months. Then I broke it by giving the poor old iiixe an "unauthorized-upgrade" to OS4. It was nice having a handheld, and yes, I have seen the iPaq. I've even used one. Dinked around with writing documents, navigating on maps... et al. In the end, I'm enjoying my life with a piece of paper and a pencil. A couple of pieces of paper holding all the addresses/phone#/et al that I need fits into a lot smaller space than a handheld.

Sure they're cool, but think about if you really need one. Perhaps the answer is to choose neither.
Ray Raspberry

I love my iPaq (1)

dhiraz (19763) | more than 13 years ago | (#141606)

I got an iPaq about a month after Compaq started
shipping them. I love it. I don't run Linux,
so I can't comment on that. But using it with
CE is great. It's color and easy to see. It
also syncs well over USB with my desktop machine.

I've never been a fan of the Palm, and haven't
used them all that much, so I can't really
compare. But a few friends of mine have switched
from the Palm to the iPaq and now they just rave
about the iPaq.

Newton MessagePad is the antique classic (1)

freechina (56876) | more than 13 years ago | (#141613)

Steve Jobs made a BIG misteak in killing this excellent piece of hardware/software.

My vote still remains with the Apple Newton MessagePad 2100. The End of an Era!

Day Planner (1)

Capt_Troy (60831) | more than 13 years ago | (#141616)

I purchased a daily planner for 25 bucks and kept the other 400 bucks for myself! Sure, it requires a little physical movement to unsnap the thing and turn pages, but it'll bring back some nostalgia from years past, and as far as I can tell, it does the same thing.


ComPuke (1)

vbrtrmn (62760) | more than 13 years ago | (#141620)

I have serious distrust for Compaq. Even if they make a decent palm device, their desktop machines are total crap. I use one at work with Win95, it crashes about 5-10 times per day. Just stops working, I have used them at other companies and had the same problem. I will never buy anything from Compaq!

microsoft, it's what's for dinner

Re:Misinformed opinion (1)

idistrust (66924) | more than 13 years ago | (#141622)

You're talking about communication tools for the Palm on Linux. Big freaking deal. We're talking about running Linux on the iPaq. Natively. Who needs comm tools to transfer software downloaded from who-knows-where when you can fire up the TCP stack and telnet to your main box where your cross-compiler is to FTP up new programs?

Who needs tools? People who would rather not mess with their PDA and leave it how it is. Believe it or not, some people buy these things to use, not to show off how many different operating systems it can run.


We bought an Agenda.... (1)

SwedishChef (69313) | more than 13 years ago | (#141623)

and if you want PDA applications then you would do fine with this ($249) unit. Scheduling, calendaring, notes and contact lists work very well (I have a Visor and can switch between them with no problem).

However we really wanted the Agenda to test its Linux compatibility (very nice, actually) and as a future replacement for Linux-based laptops as a network analysis tool.

Our engineers travel to many sites over the course of a day and we frequently have to go back to the car to get our laptops to make checks on their LAN. The Agenda, which does not (yet) have a PCMCIA attachment, runs a good enough Linux to do that; at least eventually.

The IPAQ would be a good choice for us but it's expensive, unfriendly to battery life, and if we buy in the USA we donate to MS.

If you want a real Linux on a PDA now at a reasonable price with good standard apps and the likelihood of future expandibility try the Agenda.

Re:Nice toy perhaps, not best organizer (1)

pastie (80784) | more than 13 years ago | (#141624)

I have a Palm Vx and it kills the likes of the iPaq as personal organiser.
... handwriting recognition is good and the organiser apps are great.

If you love the Palm apps, but want something
altogether more computer-like as your PDA (ie. an ipaq), then why not have the best of both worlds and run a Palm emulator[1] on it? ;)

I admit, that doesn't improve the battery life or the price, but it's more of an upgrade than any of the recent Palms have been...

[1] Only useful link I can find at the moment is lot_faq.html

(Score: -1, Flamebait)

I'm a poor student... (1)

kooshvt (86122) | more than 13 years ago | (#141635)

and have no real necessity for a handheld. Sure it be nice to have one, I've heard that they are real chick magnets. However, pencil and paper works just fine for me. I don't have to worry about expensive memory upgrades, you can buy stacks of paper for a buck or two. Plus I don't have to worry about my batteries dying or someone trying to steal my paper. If I lose my stylus I can pick one up at almost any store for a few cents found in the couch or find one conveniently located on the floor around me.

I prefer to save my money for more critical student expenses such as beer on the weekends for that much needed human interaction people have been telling me so much about.

Please remove your pants before replying to me

Re:I never... (1)

Amokscience (86909) | more than 13 years ago | (#141636)

The real uses I've found tend to be storing addresses and phone numbers, writing quick to-do lists, carrying around a list of good places to eat, and making appointments. Storing personal information (usernames, passwords, accounts for your phone, complex urls, etc) is pretty useful as well. And because you sync with your PC you have a backup of all your data in case something should happen to your handheld.

The occaisional game of chess or minesweeper will help pass the time. Whoop. I know some people who like to read 'eBooks' as well, never tried that.

I also call places around the world and I've got a neat app that tells me what time it is in any part of the world. Definitely useful when. Waking someone up at 3am is a good thing to avoid.

Btw: personally I'd go for a Handspring if you absolutely want one. Yeah, you don't get to run Linux. If you really wanted to run linux as a student then you're just wanting a luxury toy.

Re:I never... (1)

edwazere (87203) | more than 13 years ago | (#141637)

I will believe you if you can tell me how I can pick up my email, write a response, and have a quick peek at slashdot from the middle of a field, or the back of a car, with a pad of paper? There just isn't an irda port on an a4 pad. If you only want to take notes with the thing then get something with a keyboard, I went all the way through secondary(high) school and the 2 years of Uni i did with a Psion 3a. (My handwriting is so bad that there was no point in bothering with anything else.) Now I have a palm and it's great, lusting after a ipaq, but can't really justify it.

Agenda VR3, Palm m505, or iPAQ? (1)

diversereality (100121) | more than 13 years ago | (#141650)

Ok, I have done a little research in the past day, and I have found that the Palm m505 looks nice, and appears to be nice, but nobody seams to put it on they're top list. I dunno, let me get to the point here. This [] is a review done on the Agenda VR3 from O'Reilly, and it doesn't look /nearlly/ as good as I has hoped. Doesn't even have color. shrug The iPAQ, from reading everyones post, also sounds disappointing. Specially with you only being able to push down one button at a time. Ok, what PDA should I get, and how would I put linux on it?

Poor Student? (1)

SimonMcC (104927) | more than 13 years ago | (#141651)

Correct me if I'm wrong here, but "poor student" and "buying an iPAQ" just don't seem to fit!
FWIW, I've just bough a Visor, and it's sweet!

IPaq not good for games (1)

Theovon (109752) | more than 13 years ago | (#141653)

Last I heard, Compaq still hasn't fixed the fact that it can't register both buttons being pressed at once. In fact, one of my friends was blacklisted by them just because he asked about it.

iPaq battery: shelf life? (1)

ciaohound (118419) | more than 13 years ago | (#141655)

I finished a project with mine and left it locked in a drawer unused for about a month. When I picked it up again last week, the battery was dead, and it had lost its configuration. Does anyone know if this is expected behavior, i.e., does it need to be in the cradle to prevent this from happening? It's kind of an expensive device to just leave out on your desk all the time.


Is it really necessary? (1)

nkpatel (136330) | more than 13 years ago | (#141659)

I've been a student, and I could probably have afforded one. But I still couldn't justify getting either a Palm or PocketPC. Even now, when I have a job. When I was debating myself on whether to drop the (then) $500 on a PocketPC, someone asked me to ask myself if there was really a need for it. Would it allow me to do anything that I can't do now? Sure, it would be nice to have, but it wouldn't really solve any problems for me....

Re:iPaq battery: shelf life? (1)

TomV (138637) | more than 13 years ago | (#141660)

...left it locked in a drawer unused for about a month. [...] the battery was dead, and it had lost its configuration

I don't know if it's "expected" behaviour, but I certainly recognise it. I've got an iPaq (3630 model, bought about 12 months ago) plus a Palm V bought with my Y2K overtime money.

I have three issues with the iPaq, all of which annoy, but none of which stops me using it:

  • Battery life - the palm survives quite happily on one night's docking per month, the iPaq's good for 3 weeks tops (remember, mine was a promo deal just beforethey hit the market, so this may have been fixed a bit since) - Clearly the colour screen doesn't help, but even if it just sits switched off, the batteries eventually die.
  • Bulk - the iPaq is a very gorgeous and deeply sexy geek-toy, everyone who sees it oohs, aahs and gets jealous, but the Palm V actually fits in a pocket and weighs a good deal less, making it a more useful tool
  • Software - there's a lot of 3rd-party stuff out there for the Palm, and I used it to play stuff like real Spacies and Galaxians on the bus. But then, it's my choice to leave the iPaq on WinCE, ....
weight and software, so be it. But the battery life thing is a royal pain.


Re:ComPuke (1)

tubs (143128) | more than 13 years ago | (#141661)

I have serious distrust for IBM. Even if they make a decent hard drive, their desktop machines are total crap. I use one at work with Win95, it crashes about 5-10 times per day. Just stops working, I have used them at other companies and had the same problem. I will never buy anything from IBM!

I have serious distrust for Dell. Even if they make a decent server, their desktop machines are total crap. I use one at work with Win95, it crashes about 5-10 times per day. Just stops working, I have used them at other companies and had the same problem. I will never buy anything from DELL!

My god, if it was built for 95 it is probably over 3 years old - if it is brand spanking new call thier engineers out and they will replace/fix whatever is broken, at least hardware wise.

Or why not get your IT dept to reinstall. That usually helps.

Re:Nice toy perhaps, not best organizer (1)

pizen (178182) | more than 13 years ago | (#141669)

Syncing with Microsoft's software sortof defeats the purpose of a Linux handheld, don't you think?

Perfect solution (1)

DigitalDragon (194314) | more than 13 years ago | (#141670)

I think against IPaq for a number of reasons - we try to cram too much into a handheld, trying for it to become another PC. Batteries last for very little, screen is small, sound sucks. You can't do anything serious with it, even game playing is really lame. Don't forget, it IS a handheld. What it should be used for is organizing.

I think the perfect setup that would be most convenient is the following:

Palm m505 - it's got color, good in light, looks awesome, fast, and simple

Feather-light notebook - here I'm a bit puzzled - I am thinking Sony - one of their 10 inch laptops, but if someone could advice another one - I would be more than glad. The main characteristics - good display, very very light, pretty small to carry around. You would use mainly for document writing, spreadsheets, emailing and light coding

Worstation - good PC. ofcourse dual flat screen, killer cards, enough ram.. I don't have to say anything more.

If you synchronize this whole thing correctly, you'd have one sweet setup.

A case (1)

KeyShark (195825) | more than 13 years ago | (#141673)

Take this for what it's worth, but my IPaq just died in less then a year. It won't work at all.

Re:A case (1)

KeyShark (195825) | more than 13 years ago | (#141674)

Sorry, one more thing. It is covered under warranty though.

I own a IPAQ (1)

Compaqed (203816) | more than 13 years ago | (#141678)

K.. here's my opinion. The pros and cons.

1. They are realy light.
2. They have a realy nice lite.
3. Memmory is easily expandable.
4. You can play quake on it!
5. The text is realy clean and crisp.

1. The face plate is made of GLASS and if it breaks.. Like mine did. They don't replace it under warranty.
2. Windows CE is built onto the ROM
3. When in bed. The light is extremely bright from the sides and keeps your wife up at night.

Re:I never... (1)

Rudeboy777 (214749) | more than 13 years ago | (#141680)

It's fascinating to think how many pounds of paper the perpertual calender in a PDA replaces...

As enviro-friendly as it sounds, replacing those pounds of paper with pounds of dead batteries, isn't something Mother Nature is likely to thank you for ;-)

Re:What about Palm VII or the Agenda VR3? (1)

Rudeboy777 (214749) | more than 13 years ago | (#141681)

It can sync to Gnome PIM (gnomecal and gnomecard, which is what I use), and for KDE it syncs with the KOrganizer stuff (which I'm not familiar with). No Evolution yet, but it is in development (or why not take a crack at it yourself, the syncing software is open source and available from their CVS!)

Both are great. Pick the one right for you. (1)

jdev (227251) | more than 13 years ago | (#141686)

The big questions to ask here is "Why do you need a handheld?" Both the Palm and the iPaq are great handhelds, but they have different strengths and weaknesses. What's more important for you? Size, battery life, screen quality, color, business apps, Linux ...

I have been using a Palm handheld for over 3 years now and love it, but that is because it meets my needs. (Small, long battery life, cheap, great organizer and it runs AvantGo.) But if my needs were to change, then I might need an iPaq.

The M505 is great. (1)

luxbane (229838) | more than 13 years ago | (#141687)

Once app owners catch up to using the expansion slots vs. normal system memory it will be even better.

The problem with running Linux on your PDA is that it's sort of like attacking a fly with a sledgehammer. PalmOS does the basics and does them fairly well. No, it's not a multitasking OS that can run web servers and connect to mass storage devices (without a little help from third party vendors anyway). It does do a pretty handy job of keeping track of the information you'd want to keep around you. It has a TCP/IP stack that allows it to talk to other systems with not too much trouble. I know it's sort of passe to ask "what more do you need?" but especially on a limited budget, you need to decide what features you'll really use and what's just fluff that you will never ever touch.

Re:I'd Go Palm (1)

tmark (230091) | more than 13 years ago | (#141689)

I can't stand people who sit in classes/meetings/conferences taking notes while typing away noisily on a keyboard. They might as well be listening to headphones that are turned up enough that neighbours can hear. Even worse is when you get more than one of those people nearby you at the same meeting...the cacophony can be damn distracting. At least using Graffiti on the palm doesn't disturb and distract people within earshot. Decorum at the expense of technology, I suppose.

Re:Nice toy perhaps, not best organizer (1)

nowt (230214) | more than 13 years ago | (#141690)

Out of the box, you're right. But in the long run, I doubt it.

Which will have longevity.. a device built for specific features, or a device which can accept linux and have all the software upgradeability of a full-fledged linux box? As times change, you can change the software to reflect your different desires for it.

Currently, there's an excellent foundation for 'organizer' software being developed in Python+Gtk for the ipaq called "Framework". "Mingle" is the result of its use (it currently only does contact list support albeit very well). If the current version of Mingle is any indication, it will be an excellent organizer.

But to me that's beside the point. Under linux, the ipaq is a full-fledged linux box which all the same potential. Taking advantage of its form-factor is both exciting and fun!

I'm sure Compaq's contest annonucement yesterday will only expedite an already large base of support from the linux community.

All PDA's have something wrong with them (1)

bdlinux13 (232862) | more than 13 years ago | (#141693)

I was in the boat sailing into PDA land a few weeks ago. I did my research and decided to turn the boat around. Why you ask? Well all PDA's have a problem that I could not live with.
1) For starters I only wanted a color one, so that ruled out about 80% of all PDA's.
2) I really liked the Visor Prism except for the proprietary expansion. We all know what expansion means (higher prices for consumers and lower quality goods).
3) The IPAQ was nice also, but I would never let myself pay for a Microsoft OS. Whether you are gonna use Linux on it or not does not matter. You are still gonna pay for the CE License.

How did I get my boat to turn around so quickly? Well I went out and got an emulator. I played with each model quite a bit until the newness wore off. Now I see no need to even have one. Saved me 400 buck :). You can download the emulator from Palm, you might have a little more trouble though finding the ROMS, but keep searching. You will find some.

Re:I never... (1)

alanwj (242317) | more than 13 years ago | (#141695)

Well you obviously haven't been keeping up with technology. Microsoft Pad of Paper 2000 (scheduled for release in late 2004) is going to come with full instructions for drawing spreadsheets and drop down menus and paperclips with EYES! It is even rumored to support hardware that implements the erase functionality.

Re:I never... (1)

Mr. Obvious (243243) | more than 13 years ago | (#141696), the thing that used to drive me mad with paper and pencil was getting a new calender at the beginning of every year, throwing out the old one, and all that. It's a little thing, but it's fascinating to think how many pounds of paper the perpertual calender in a PDA replaces...

However, I eventually got real tired of even the better-than-average handwriting recognition in the Palm. Have since installed the fitaly [] hack, and now that's not a problem either (or least, not so much, not so often).

So, you can feel smug being a traditionalist all day long, I'm not going back to dead trees any time soon --- not until they pry my PDA... you get the idea...

Ron Obvious

If you want to go the WinCE way (1)

dstanley (244917) | more than 13 years ago | (#141698)

There is a competitor to the iPaq, check out:
It has a full PCMCIA slot which is a nice feature.

However, I use a Palm 3ce and it does exactly what I have come to expect from my old organizers.

Re:Nice one! (1)

Pogue Mahone (265053) | more than 13 years ago | (#141708)

My notepad & pencil (dead tree version) is faster than a PDA.


Re:IPaq not good for games (1)

Strangely Unbiased (313686) | more than 13 years ago | (#141711)

In case you haven't read the story, the guy says he's a poor student.I wont say he shouldn't buy it, cause he obviously needs it for some reason or another.But he won't seriously play games on it, so your complaint isn't relevant to the subject. Anyway, poor student buddy, if you really really need a linux handheld, i'd recommend recommend IPaq, which at least comes with WinCE if change your mind about the OS.But being a poor student myself, I think you should opt for the cheapest of the two (don't know which one is the cheapest), or if you simply need Linux on the move, get yourself a old or second-hand laptop. This way you'll have full potential and less fuss.

Palm m505 (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 13 years ago | (#141712)

I recently purchased an m505 (as an upgrade from my Visor Deluxe) and I have to say that I am very happy with it. There is tons of support for synchronising to Linux machines, though you cannot (yet) run Linux on the m505 itself. It's got a nice color display, expansion room, a zippy little processor, is very small, and works quite well. It is certainly not as powerful as the iPaq or Yopy would be...those are more like mini-computers than organizers...but the m505 is more than enough for me. If I decided that I needed the extra power of something like an iPaq or Yopy, I'd probably go the extra mile and just get a small laptop. For my daily needs though, the m505 is more than enough.


Buying ANY machine now COULD be a mistake (1)

GreyPoopon (411036) | more than 13 years ago | (#141716)

I hate to be the ultimate pessimist here, but be aware that purchasing ANY of the handhelds right now could be a mistake. It all depends on what you plan to use it for.

If you're looking for something to keep your schedule on and handle light office duties, I'd definitely recommend the iPAQ. I've been using one for quite a while, and while it has its problems, it's pretty useable. Compaq initially had some hardware problems and trouble with the color displays, but I think they've fixed all of that. The newer models have 64MB of memory (instead of just 32), and should be more useable.

If you just want a handheld so that you can say you have a handheld, I advise that you wait. One of the most powerful aspects of these new computers is their ability to make wireless connections to the internet. Right now, there are basically two choices -- CDPD in the US, and GSM in Europe. Neither gives you a tremendously fast or reliable connection. The communications industry is in the process of deploying better capability, but since much funding has recently been yanked from those projects, there will be a longer wait. But if you can hold on until some of the dust settles, I think you'll be happier in the end. Also, if Palm wants to stay in business, they'll need to come up with something that tops the "Pocket PC." If they are successful, you could see a really cool technology war.

Also of interest are some of the new screen technologies that could eliminate the need for a backlight and make the units even slimmer. If hope turns into reality, devices with better displays and lower power requirements will one day be available.

If your primary reason for getting a PDA is to run Linux on it, you may want to be careful. Making a mistake while installing Linux on the iPAQ can render the device completely unusable, and I wouldn't count on Compaq being kind enough to fix it for you when used in such a manner.


Re:I never... (1)

TikkaMassala (411282) | more than 13 years ago | (#141717)

If you want to try and upload a manuscript you're working on to a pad of paper, then download your changes back to your computer without blinking, you probably don't want a pad of paper. And I've never seen a pad of paper play mp3s...

Re:I never... (1)

Purple_Walrus (457070) | more than 13 years ago | (#141726)

you'd be surprised as to what you can do with a pad of paper...! Make paper airplanes(try doing that one with your palm pilot)! Also, a pad of paper won't break if your dog grabs it in his teeth and drags it around the house. Simply go to CVS and buy another one for $1.50! Paper is good for wrapping your used gum in (have you ever tried to wrap your gum in a palm pilot?). Personally I prefer an mp3 player for listening to mp3s.

As i said in my previous post, if you really feel like you need it, go ahead and get one. Just don't go out and buy one if you're not sure you will use it a lot.

I never... (1)

Purple_Walrus (457070) | more than 13 years ago | (#141727)

...saw the use for these things. In my opinion a pad of paper and a pencil cost much less, are faster to use, and are more reliable. Plus there's almost no chance of a pad of paper getting stolen. Unless you're going to do a lot of work on one of these and you are sure you will need it, don't get it!

The iPaq (1)

RaboKrabekian (461040) | more than 13 years ago | (#141730)

I've been an iPaq user for a few months ever since I had a Palm V get stolen. There are a few issues which have been discussed above (the multiple button press one is the biggie for me), but all in all I think it's a great machine. However, I think it's important to focus on what you'll be using it for. A long and robust feature list is great, but in reality most people use these things for little more than PIM functions. I was wowed by the iPaq like everyone else, and I don't regret buying one. I do think that most of what I've ended up using it for could have been accomplished jsut fine by just getting a new Palm - and I would have saved a few hundered dollars. The important thing is to think hard about exactly what you'll use it for - especially if you can't afford to make a mistake on what's a pretty significant purchase for most.

PDA (1)

codexamurai (461241) | more than 13 years ago | (#141731)

I just bought a Visor Deluxe, before purchasing the Visor though. I bought a Sony clie Color that comes with a 8 MB mem stick. After I got the PDA I noticed their was minimal if not poor support for the System. I also considered purchasing the IPaq but if your a student. I believe this to be more a fancy toy then an organizer. For $600 dollars you can by yourself a new harddrive, new 32 MB video card, printer and a Visor. Which is what I did instead of keeping the Sony Clie. I believe its difficult to justify spending so much money on a system that will only be used for scheduling and task traking. As far as programming the Palm OS is much more popular then the WinCE system. You have a better chance of developing a better supported apps on the Palm then WinCE. If your a student I would go with the Visor and hold off on the IPaq till you graduate and buy it as a graduation present to yourself. Late.

yopy is unreliable (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#141735)

Yopy has not been doing well in providing a system to its customers.

At this point, yopy has only just recently been released, while ipaq is almost a year old (yopy promised that it would be ready last year at the beginning of the summer), even though their specs are almost identical.

Ipaq has had the time necessary for the testing of a thousand eyes (for bugs), while yopy hasn't. Also, ipaq keeps getting better. Yopy is still trying to get off the ground.

And that's making the assumption that all things are equal in terms of development. But they're not. The operating system for the yopy is an obscure distribution of Linux that they made mostly themselves, including a windowing system called W (which they didn't make). Forget using all of your own graphical programs - they won't work on W, only on X. Its almost as though they don't actually have Linux, only something that vaguely resembles Linux.

The ipaq comes with Windows CE, which has the added benefit of actually working most of the time, and having LOTS of developers. You can even download free development kits for it in various programming languages, including C++ and Java.

You can switch platforms, in which case you can use a more normal distro of Linux that actually has X. And recently, you can switch back (check here [] for info).

Re:Nice toy perhaps, not best organizer (2)

/dev/niall (1043) | more than 13 years ago | (#141736)

Palm certainly has the iPaq beat in terms of battery life and and size/weight/form-factor. I would question the handwriting recognition; I find scribble to be just as easy, and MS's transcriber has almost no learning curve at all (you just write normally on the screen).

If all you want is a PDA, a Palm would probably be your best bet. If you want a small, mobile computer capable of multimedia, network access, large storage, normal web browsing etc., get an iPaq.

Re:I love my iPaq. (2)

cdipierr (4045) | more than 13 years ago | (#141738)

The new color Palm m505 and the new color Sony clie (710C?) both use this same technology and are quite visible in sunlight.

Re:I never... (2)

Jonathan (5011) | more than 13 years ago | (#141739)

...saw the use for these things. In my opinion a pad of paper and a pencil cost much less, are faster to use, and are more reliable. Plus there's almost no chance of a pad of paper getting stolen. Unless you're going to do a lot of work on one of these and you are sure you will need it, don't get it!

That's pretty much what people said about personal computers in the 1980's...before they had one. Trust me, once you get a PDA you won't know how you survived without one.

Palm 3xe (2)

Gray (5042) | more than 13 years ago | (#141740)

I got one of the last Palm 3xe's.. Bigger display then an m105, same OS, same RAM, lower price..

It looks like Palm is offering all manner of mail in rebates and such to get these things off the shelves so they can sell the new models.. I got mine for less then $200CDN..

I'm not even sure how much an iPaq costs, and running linux in my poxket would be cool, but I'm still having trouble finding enough palmwarez to fill 8m..

Re:I love my iPaq. (2)

SteveX (5640) | more than 13 years ago | (#141741)

I'm not sure - the screen is supposed to be sealed, but I some flaw allows dust to get in.

The iPaq screen is reflective, which means you need light on the front of it (not the back) to see it. This makes it (as far as I know) the only color PDA that you can use outdoors in direct sunlight - the more light the better.

But because the screen is lit from the front (actually by lights at the side of the screen), this makes the little specs of dust GLOW.

It's annoying. But I'd rather put up with it than go through the trouble of sending mine back.

Re:I never... (2)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 13 years ago | (#141743)

Well, one thing you can do is see if you can get a decent return policy, and then try it out.

That's what I did. Because I wasn't sure if I would use it, I bought the cheapest palm (edging out the Visor by about $30).

Now, I use it constantly. It is in no way analogous to just paper, though I found it a great way to take notes in class. I carry it, and extra batteries, everywhere I go. My only complaint is that my initial thriftiness left me with a mere IIIe and now I can't justify an upgrade. *sigh*

Pads of paper fill up. (2)

Thag (8436) | more than 13 years ago | (#141745)

Once the pad of paper fills up, it sits at home and you can't access it. Plus, there is a lot of bulk after a while.

You can write for years and years and never fill up your Palm Pilot. I know; I have.

I used to have tons of those little notebooks that I jotted ideas down in. So I never had the one I needed when it came time to look something up. Now it's all in the Palm, and it all gets backed up regularly too.

I'll never go back!


The HandEra does sound sweet... (2)

Thag (8436) | more than 13 years ago | (#141746)

I'm waiting to see one in person so I can tell if I like the screen or not.

I also wish they had built in MP3. I'd have ordered one the day they came out if they'd done that. Maybe they'll come out with a CF MP3 card, or an SD one.

Jon Acheson

Re:Nice one! (2)

kurowski (11243) | more than 13 years ago | (#141749)

Wait! You can have the best of both worlds-

Looks like a palm, but you don't have to learn grafitti, and it's less than $5!

Re:First ask yourself: "Why?" (2)

JabberWokky (19442) | more than 13 years ago | (#141760)

Personally, I own a Visor. After spending 3 weeks playing with it, going "This is so cool!", I put it on the shelf and haven't touched it since. I discovered that I didn't really need it, I just taken in by its coolness.

I did the same thing with my Palm III, but I've lugged a sucession of laptops and two handhelds around with me constantly. I'm not sure what the difference was, but I don't *think* it was the input... I think it was the interface.

Simple, easy, and maddeningly unextendable. The inability to drop to a prompt and/or do real spreadsheet/text work drove me nuts. Any OS that has no real provision for a text file is not hacker friendly.

Eventaully I cracked the screen and shed no tears. The leather case for it (that is/was my wallet) now holds a penguin mint tin full of caffene pills, antacids and ibuprofen. Ready for a late night or SF convention at a moments notice!


Re:Don't forget the Agenda (2)

Rupert (28001) | more than 13 years ago | (#141761)

I love my Agenda, but...

It's very slow. On my Palm I can Graffiti as fast as I like, and it keeps up with me. On the Agenda, I'm constantly waiting for the handwriting recognition to catch up. The Agenda is also noticably slower at firing up applications.

Depressingly, I need the Outlook sync tools that didn't ship with it. We're forced to use Outlook at work, and since one of my main uses for a PDA is as a daytimer, I need to keep my Outlook calendar and my PDA synched.

I don't know what can be done about the speed. The Outlook sync will be there (if I weren't busy trying to get a job on the other side of the Atlantic I'd be working on it myself), and when it is it will be usable (for my purposes - I know other people are already using it productively as an Atari 800 emulator!).


the Handera 330 rocks! (2)

lamour (49437) | more than 13 years ago | (#141767)

I got one for my wife (mine hasn't shown up yet), and I have to say that they did a fantastic job designing this little beast. It doesn't have color, but then, I didn't want color on my PDA. I just wanted the higher resolution. The 2 card slots, jog dial, and other stuff is just a bonus.

You can read the marketing hype at Handera's website [] . [Note: Handera used to be TRG, but changed their name for some silly reason] Or you can read this excellent review at MemoWare [] .

The only thing I disagree with them on is the use of serial instead of USB. I can understand their desire to make it compatible with all of the palm III add-ons, but still.

As for linux support...I have no idea.

for what it's worth,

IPaq (2)

thetechweenie (60363) | more than 13 years ago | (#141768)

I love the Ipaq. It's a sexy little device, and for some extra dough, you can get a wireless modem (CDPD). You throw an ICA client on there, and you suddenly have access to any app on your Citrix server. I

What about synchronisation (2)

javatips (66293) | more than 13 years ago | (#141769)

There is a lot of talk about Linux handlhelds. However, I have yet to come accross an article which explain if they support synchronisation with the desktop.

And if they do support synchronisation, what protocol do they use. A good choice (instead of developping a different protocol per device) whould be to use SyncML (

The major problem I found running a Linux desktop is to synchronise my Visor with it. I've tried different synchonisation tools for Linux and they all suck (especially malsynf for AvantGo, it always retrieves everything instead of only the stuff that changed like the Windows conduit). So now I rely on Windows running in VMWare to actually sync my Palm.

Unless I have good synchronisation with my Linux desktop, there is no way I'm gonna switch to a Linux handheld.

Why ths poor student needs PDA! (2)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 13 years ago | (#141770)

For all those wondering why you'd buy a PDA if you were a poor student: To keep tabs on your student loan payment schedual!

Or maybe he meant "poor" as in "bad" ... in which case, he'll be using it for 'reference' during exams. ;)

Re:Nice one! (2)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 13 years ago | (#141775)

Real hackers' handwriting is worse than doctors'. Notepad and pencil storage only works well if you can read what you wrote a month later. In a university environment where you're always 10 feet from a terminal, it really doesn't matter, though. Just keep everything on your UNIX box.

portable mp3 (2)

StandardDeviant (122674) | more than 13 years ago | (#141779)

You might have better luck with one of the new portable cd players coming out that also play mp3 cd(r/rw)s. True the display probably sucks more, but then OTOH the sound is probably better and you can cram way more onto a cdr(w) than you can for even the largest CF/SD card, for a vanishingly small fraction of the price.

I just saw one of these beasts at Radio Shack the other day, damn if I can recall the name of it or how much it was though. (And if there are always the laptop-hd-in-pretty-case things (c.f. thinkgeek) too.)

Of course the ideal would be a mobile phone with better sound chips, blazing fast wireless ethernet, and your own personal WAPish-interface streaming MP3 server... ;-) "Yeah, all 120 gigs of mp3s are available through my phone..."

News for geeks in Austin: []

Re:I never... (2)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 13 years ago | (#141784)

Plus there's almost no chance of a pad of paper getting stolen.

Interestingly enough, each of my first two years of university I had my clipboard and paper pad stolen, once from right under my seat (!) and another time in the library when I stood up to walk to the stacks -- about 10 feet away.

In 1999 I bought a Vadem Clio and started taking notes with it. It hasn't been stolen. My only theory is that while people were stealing my paper for cheating purposes before, they're not stealing my PDA because it would be a much worse offense to steal such an expensive item...

Re:Nice one! (2)

Rudeboy777 (214749) | more than 13 years ago | (#141785)

Insightful indeed, but if money is such a consideration, why the hell wouldn't Agenda [] top your list? It costs way less than the Yopy or IPaq, and has a very active and geeky community: [] (Agenda slashsite)

subscribe to the mailing lists [] (between the user and developer lists there's 100 or more messages a day)

Agenda help page [] outstanding reference and starting point

Whichever you choose... (2)

briggsb (217215) | more than 13 years ago | (#141786) sure it has the "palm" attachment [] . It definitely makes any PDA more accessible and will make you more productive.

which PDA? hard choice.. (2)

ardiri (245358) | more than 13 years ago | (#141788)

it really depends what you need the device for. you have two major perspectives, first being "use" and the second from a "developer" perspective. as a PDA developer (Palm, VTech, others) it becomes aware of the low level restrictions on what you have from a development perspective.. from a users point of view.. it all depends on what you want it for.

while i dont want to start a PPC vs PalmOS argument here, you may want to think about the following:

- shrunken down mobile PC
- games (interactive), work processing, data processing etc
- battery life, size, expandability

- PIM, quick reference data
- simple games, KISS principles.
- battery life, size, expandability

loads of other issues too.. but, if you want to play doom type games (CPU intensive) - choose a PPC device.. if you want to mess with work processing, data processing, pretty much do things mobile that you can on your desktop, choose PPC.. if you want a device that you can just bring up information quickly, get a phone number fast, write a simple note.. choose Palm.

its never a question of "which one is best", as it always depends on what you want the device for. consider this question before you make a decision.

You said you are poor... (2)

jsse (254124) | more than 13 years ago | (#141791)

I'm a poor student

Dears, have you got your answer so far? Don't just ask the question, how about contribute to the society by giving us a detail comparison on the following Linux PDAs for us?

4P DAT500 rugged handheld []
Agenda VR3 []
HNT Exilien 00101/00201 Handheld PC and HNT Exilien 00102 Multimedia PDA []
Yopy []
SK Telecom IMT2000 WebPhone []
VTech Helio []

My boss told me to do so but I am just a poor employee and can't afford to make a mistake here. Thanks.
/. / &nbsp&nbsp |\/| |\/| |\/| / Run, Bill!

Poor Student vs Caveman Lawyer (2)

mkelley (411060) | more than 13 years ago | (#141793)

I'm just a caveman. I fell on some ice and later got thawed out by some of your scientists. Your world frightens and confuses me! Sometimes the honking horns of your traffic make me want to get out of my BMW.. and run off into the hills, or wherever.. Sometimes when I get a message on my fax machine, I wonder: "Did little demons get inside and type it?" I don't know! My primitive mind can't grasp these concepts. But there is one thing I do know - you should take a little trip through your local K-Mart to find a cheap PDA if you need one that bad. Do you want it for the "wow factor" or just to brag about how l33t you are now that you have a PDA.


Re:Right on, dude. (2)

Magumbo (414471) | more than 13 years ago | (#141794)

"Daddy only sends me 500 bucks a month for my allowance" vs. "My intestines are bleeding from eating ramen, the only food I've eaten in the last 3 years"


Re:I never... (2)

phr34k (459602) | more than 13 years ago | (#141795)

You couldn't fit the information you can fit in a pocket PC into your pocket though. I have to many phone numbers to fit them into my mobile, so instead I've got them all with me when I have my iPaq. I often have to have a lot of technical documents with me. A lot of these documents are a lot easier to have in my hand while I'm trying to integrate them into whatever I'm doing. I have enough paper information lying all over my desk that sometimes it's just easier to search by document on my PocketPC. Add E-books, it's always good to have something to do with me for times I'm waiting for a train/bus, etc. A lot of the pad and paper work I do is code related, so it's a lot easier to have a diagram / pseudo-code on a memchip then on a pad of paper, so that I can alter and change it later. I now only do quick scribblings that I know will not be needed again, less trees wasted. And I've got my MP3s to listen to on the way home thrown into the bargain :)

Re:I love my iPaq. (3)

/dev/niall (1043) | more than 13 years ago | (#141796)

Absolutely agree with the above post. I have an iPaq, dust bunnies and all. I would never give it up. ;)

That being said, they have supposedly fixed the dust problem by adding screen gaskets. I don't have one of these newer models so I can't comment.

The single button problem does make gaming impossible. Can't even play a decent game of Doom; Quake is a chore also. Folks are working on gamepad controllers to get around this problem.

Speaker click is very irritating, but the excellent sound when using the device with headphones (which is how I normally listen to music and movies) more than makes up for it.

The worst thing is size. A naked iPaq is a thing of beauty. Sure, it's bigger than a Palm (not by that much) - but hell, look at all it can do! A naked iPaq is a very good thing.
As soon as you slip an expansion jacket on it, forget about it, it's a brick. There are after-market modifications [] you can make to the sleeves (or pay someone else to) to slim them down. I'm working on mine right now.

Palms are great, and if all your mobile needs are met by one, fantastic. I for one love the expansion possibilities and features of my iPaq, whether it be running WinCE or Linux.

Re:I love my iPaq. (3)

RAruler (11862) | more than 13 years ago | (#141798)

IIRC The stylus silo has a hole in it for some reason, theres lots of ways for dust to get inside any device, but this is a particular nasty flaw. The monochrome version of the IPaq has this fixed, but for some reason they haven't fixed the colour version.


Re:Nice toy perhaps, not best organizer (3)

werdna (39029) | more than 13 years ago | (#141799)

Get a palm if you want an organizer. Get an iPaq if you want a computer.

The issue is nicely focused here. As a full-fledged development machine, the iPaq sucks. For most full-scale application work, the iPaq sucks. So do most desktops for that matter.

iPaq is more of a computer than a Palm, of course. But the question then is whether you need a computer at your palm.

So, its like this. When I need to do my organization and routine clicking to add numbers, the palm and iPaq perform about as well, and are both equally convenient at my palm. When I need to use a computer, the iPaq performs better than the palm, but both perform equally poorly. I would far prefer to use a computer, and don't usually need it at my palm.

In this sense, iPaq seems like too much and not enough.

Are you totally insistent on Linux? (3)

pogle (71293) | more than 13 years ago | (#141801)

I've just purchased a Handspring Visor Platinum a couple months ago (and *then* they drop the price down to $250) and it works great. It runs PalmOS 3.5 out of the box, which is what you will find most apps developed for. There is a lot of software and development options, including open source stuff. Is it really that critical that you have Linux on there? I dont know the price tag of the iPaq, but frankly I would seriously consider some of the PalmOS hardware as well. Its really quite nice. I've just started to develop on it, and its not any harder than elsewhere, except code bloat can become a problem if you dont watch it.

I dont have hands on experience with the new Palm M500 and 505, but my boss at work has a 505 (which is color with PalmOS 4.0 native i believe) and loves it to death. The Platinum [] and M505 [] both have 33mHz Dragonball processors and 8 megs of RAM, plus expansion room. Especially for the Visors, with the Springboard expansions. Reference to Handspring [] for their information and savings offers. I really like them so far.

Just my 0.2 cents.

Re:PDA (3)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 13 years ago | (#141802)

I've got a Palm as well, purchased before the assorted Linux handhelds hit the market.

Backing and synching it up is very nice. Just drop it in the cradle and hit the button. Various gnome apps have conduits to palm apps, so your calendar and address card list get moved over to useful apps. Your memos also get copied over and can be edited in your favorite editor. I also have my palm set to back up so if the batteries die I don't lose everything.

On the down sides, there have been times when I've wanted to program in Perl or Java. If you want to do an OS upgrade, you now need Windows to do it (Used to be you could do it from Linux, but that doesn't work for the latest one.)

I'm also a bit pissed off at Palm for charging me for the last OS upgrade. I wouldn't be except that the upgrade was necessary for the correct working of the device. Until I installed the latest OS upgrade, alarms wouldn't sound until I powered the palm on, and it was losing about 20 minutes a day on the system clock. The last OS upgrade fixed all that.

These days you can get a Palm III for about $100. The environment is open and easy to write programs for. For what the palm does, it does it very well. The IPAQ and other type devices have that nerdly "Cool" factor going for them, though. That may end up being the deciding factor for a lot of readers.

What about Palm VII or the Agenda VR3? (3)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 13 years ago | (#141803)

They have the Palm VII's now at 200 bucks! I am thinking about getting one of those. Be interesting if you can hack the wireless to work with other services....And since it's a Palm III style device, there are plenty of accessories.

Also, the Agenda people seem like they are heading in the right direction. Someone brought up a good point about the iPaq (not good enough, to me, to not buy one) in that you still pay a M$ tax on the device even when planning on loading Linux. If you wanted to look at a pure zealot's handheld, I think the Agenda would be better. I know there's no color, yet, but it runs Linux, you can flash new kernel's to it as well as software. Only thing that I never have seen about agenda is if it sync's with either evolution or some other Linux PIM app. I see that they have sync software for Linux, but they don't say what it syncs with. Be nice if you could use the same palm support with the agenda since if you can use the same software to transfer it, it would work with every Linux pim that already works with Palm.

Practical Advice (3)

robbway (200983) | more than 13 years ago | (#141804)

Don't pay more than $650 for a 3670. That is the retail price at Compaq [] . That means: no Ebay, no MySimon, no Bizrate, nothing. If you do manage to scarf up less than retail, go for it.

The joystick and buttons are crap. Not only are they useless for games (see earlier post), they aren't very robust feeling.

Compaq has sealed up the hole in the stylus silo in later models 3650 and all 3670s. They will fix any dusty screen problems by warranty for free regardless of how long you've had it.


Re:I love my iPaq. (3)

nowt (230214) | more than 13 years ago | (#141805)

To resolve these complaints, install the familiar linux distribution :-)

Then you can:

1. Use a Gravis Stinger gamepad and play xmame/snes games
2. Hear no clicking (although you can hear a mp3 or icecast/shoutcast stream with Scream)
3. Dust still a problem but Compaq willing to fix if you're willing to part with it - pay for shipping only.
4. Sleeve does make it bigger..and far more powerful! With pcmcia sleeve, I walk around the house on the internet, using dillo or Konq/e to surf the net while listening to tunes (see 2). Plus my nfs share to my linux box gives me mucho space ;)
5. Need more software? Write your own quickly with python and gtk :-)
6. Bill may not appreciate it but you will!

And at the end of the day, it's now a full-fledged computer. I can ssh into my ipaq from work while it sits at home, upgrade it with new ipkgs (think debian .deb files) and remote control it with vnc. Someone recently got apache+php going on it so you can serve up some pages if you like. Also lirc support now coming so I can taunt my wife by changing tv channels with ipaq. The linux environment opens it up and allows it to behave (and be viewed) very differently!

Re:I love my iPaq. (3)

nowt (230214) | more than 13 years ago | (#141806)

Regarding gamepads, see

Scroll down to Gravis Stinger and/or SpaceOrb 360 and salt to taste. I use both on my ipaq.

First ask yourself: "Why?" (3)

Lemur catta (459575) | more than 13 years ago | (#141808)

You shouldn't be asking which PDA to get withough stating why you need it, and more importantly, why you need a Linux PDA.

Personally, I can only see a few reasons why you as a student would need one:

  1. To keep track of classes, assignements, etc. A PalmOS gadget will do this for you better and cheaper.
  2. To support Linux. But remember, you're still buying WinCE with the iPaq.
  3. To develop Linux apps for palmtops. This would be a valid reason to own a Linux PDA, if you're that serious about development. But if you were that serious, you wouldn't be asking /., would you?
  4. To be l33t. If the price of an iPaq or Yopy is worth the l33tness you will feel, go for it.

Personally, I own a Visor. After spending 3 weeks playing with it, going "This is so cool!", I put it on the shelf and haven't touched it since. I discovered that I didn't really need it, I just taken in by its coolness. If you truly need a PDA, then you probably already know what your specific needs in a PDA are, and you should act accordingly. If you're like I was, and just want it for the geek factor, you'll be wasting your money no matter what you buy.

I'd Go Palm (4)

THotze (5028) | more than 13 years ago | (#141809)

I seriously considered an iPaq but ended up getting a palm, and (half a school year later) I'm happy I made that choice. iPaq's are nice devices, color screen, etc.... but think: what are you going to be doing that requires color? Furhtermore, what are you going to be doing that REQUIRES Linux? Palm's are easy to write apps for in Linux or any other OS, and they're much cheaper (= more money for that upgrade you've wanted). I got a Palm m100 handheld for $150 and a keyboard for $100. I found that even writing fast enough to give me a cramp wasn't fast enough for handwriting recognition, it's due to the limited space available on a screen. If you're going to be taking notes (like I do with my Palm), you'll NEED a keyboard. The Palm one works perfectly. Seriously, when you consider that Palm's have a perfectly good notepad-ish application for typing, and a spreadsheet app can be purchased for ~$30, you've got a computer that's every bit as good at taking notes as a iPaq for I'm not going to be changing the way I take notes (or at least I'm not planning on it), and my Palm's put up with nearly a year of abuse with no signs of wear. I'm finishing my freshman year of HS now, and I'm planning to use my Palm all the way through University. It's that good. Tim

I love my iPaq. (4)

SteveX (5640) | more than 13 years ago | (#141810)

It has it's problems, but the iPaq is one of those devices that seems to inspire a little bit of fanaticism in it's owners.. Check out Brighthand [] or PDA Buzz [] and look in the forums - you'll see lots of complaints about the iPaq, but nobody seems to want to give theirs up. Some common complaints:
  • You can't press more than one button at a time. This makes gaming nearly impossible.
  • The speaker "clicks" as the little amplifier turns on whenever it needs to make a sound; This is probably a WinCE thing, so hopefully the linux driver folks will make it configurable.
  • Dust inside the screen. Seems to happen to everyone - it happened to me, I'm just living with it.
  • Weird expansion capabilities. You can add a Smart Media or Compact Flash slot, but the sleeve you need to get to do so makes the iPaq quite a bit bigger, and you can only have one sleeve at a time.
I'd recommend it.. but maybe it's safer to buy it from somewhere like Radio Shack that will let you return it if you decide you really don't like it. - Steve

Misinformed opinion (4)

TBone (5692) | more than 13 years ago | (#141811)

Much more useful than an iPAQ which seems to be very hardly supported under Linux

Much not very informed opinion, since Compaq, until recently, maintained the "hh" reference port of Linux for the iPaq, and more recently changed the reference port to one of the community ports (Freedom?) since they were a little farther along. Everything in the iPaq is supported under Linux. The sound is supported, the handwriting recognition is supported. There are ports of things like Perl and Python, and it all runs under X.

You're talking about communication tools for the Palm on Linux. Big freaking deal. We're talking about running Linux on the iPaq. Natively. Who needs comm tools to transfer software downloaded from who-knows-where when you can fire up the TCP stack and telnet to your main box where your cross-compiler is to FTP up new programs?

Compaq supports Linux to the extent that they will replace your iPaq if you turn it into a brik while trying to flash the Linux update onto it. They, of course, would rather you didn't do this, but the option is there. And there are just as many apps for Linux as there are for Palm.

This space for rent. Call 1-800-STEAK4U

PDA (4)

Vapula (14703) | more than 13 years ago | (#141813)

I also hesitated about a PDA... then opted for a Palm...

You can find Palm tools (jpilot) under Linux, Palm Dev Tools (for free), Palm Emulator (to test your dev)...

Much more useful than an iPAQ which seems to be very hardly supported under Linux.

If it's using Linux to support Free Software, I'll remind you that buying an iPAQ will profit to Micro$oft (WinCE is ALWAYS preinstalled, evn if you plan to use Linux on it).

(I do own a Palm. Support for it under Linux is great... never unpacked the CD-ROM they give with it... and there are many apps for Palm, of all kind)

iPAQ (4)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 13 years ago | (#141814)

As the former webmaster of, I have to tell you to get an iPAQ. It's not at all clear that the G.Mate people understand how open source should work; not true for the Compaq CRL people led by Jim Gettys (insert impeccable credentials here). The iPAQ doesn't require that you have a CF sleeve if you don't need one. Yeah, it's got some design problems. But all-around, it's just so nice that you gotta have one.

Re:Nice toy perhaps, not best organizer (4)

DrXym (126579) | more than 13 years ago | (#141815)

Part of the reason the Palm is so good is precisely because it is a "calculator". It doesn't have to waste precious energy trying to power a colour display, or a fast CPU, or the large amounts of memory that the iPaq has. Less electronics also means the thing is smaller and lighter than an iPaq which means I can put it in my jeans pocket.

Despite being less powerful, I have yet to run out of memory on the thing, even though I have quite a few useful apps on it such as BigClock, AvantGo, DiddleBug and a dozen or so ebooks.

Personally, I'd like an iPaq to fiddle with but I don't see why I should splash out a large amount of money for one when I already have a PDA which does its job so well.

Nice one! (4)

BillyGoatThree (324006) | more than 13 years ago | (#141818)

"I'm a poor student, and can't afford to make a mistake here."

It's perfect! All slashdotters believe you must own a PDA, even if you are a "poor student". They'll make suggestions til the cows come home, never once asking "why not just buy a notepad and a pencil".

Very good troll.

Get neither, try this one... (5)

The-Forge (84105) | more than 13 years ago | (#141819)

I wouldn't get either. I am currently looking at getting a HandEra 330 [] . It runs PalmOS and has both a CF and SD sockets on the top. (It supports a 1GB Micro Drive, hmm...1GB on a Palm) Yes, it is only gray, but I don't like having to change or charge batteries every day. Gray Palms runs for about 1 month on 2AAAs. The HandEra take 4AAAs and weighs about .2 ounces more than a IIIx. There is a option comming out this summer for a Li Ion battery. It also has the same dimensions and connectors as a III series so you have a ready supply of cheap accessories.

Nice toy perhaps, not best organizer (5)

DrXym (126579) | more than 13 years ago | (#141820)

I think the iPaq is a neat device but it certainly isn't as good as a Palm device as an organizer

I have a Palm Vx and it kills the likes of the iPaq as personal organiser. It's lighter, smaller, has a much longer battery life, is much cheaper, handwriting recognition is good and the organiser apps are great. All these add up to a more convenient accessible device.

Don't forget the Agenda (5)

j2brown (149380) | more than 13 years ago | (#141821)

I've recently found my Agenda to be very usable after all the work that's gone on. You can get a pretty good deal with the developer model as well. See [] for the mostly finished site. See [] for the developer deal, and see [] for more information about the community supporting it.

The article may have answered your question (5)

jsse (254124) | more than 13 years ago | (#141823)

Fortunately for the developer community, Young Hoon Kim, a G.Mate programmer, ported X to the YOPY and made it available "unofficially." Finally, giving up trying to hold back water, G.Mate agreed an X environment would become the new base installation for the YOPY, dumping W Windows. In addition, a 2.4.x kernel would be made available, largely based on the work done by the group.

I submitted Young Hoon Kim's interview [] to /. last time. He's doing a good job to steer G.Mate getting back on right track. The problems with YOPY is that they don't know what makes a Linux handheld different. The following paragraph gave you an answer.

This shift in direction demonstrates (again) that introducing an incompatible technology without strong justification just won't work. Particularly amongst open/free programmers, no one is willing to invest in your new technology unless its worth their time. While W may be faster than X on a 206-MHz machine, is it worth the loss of compatibility? Empirically, NO!

See that NO? The key is to have an open platform PDA. G.Mate didn't see it before. That's the reason why it worth our time waiting, regardless of the fact that it's coming late.

If you want a consumer product, go for iPaq. It's there and it's good; but open source developers probably won't be interested in writing for CE.

Of course, unless your intention is to hack this iPaq like in Embedded Debian [] project; but then again, you've to pay for a preinstalled Windows CE.
/. / &nbsp&nbsp |\/| |\/| |\/| / Run, Bill!

Casio rocks! (5)

dasmegabyte (267018) | more than 13 years ago | (#141824)

First: don't do palm, unless you want flawless scheduling, calendaring, contact listing, memo writing and a host of quick apps. Palm has vastly inferior processor speeds, very low upgradability and an OS that, while quick, lacks any real power to go beyond the 64k Personal Organizer level of functionality. In short, if you want neat, programmable, full colour, true internet & wireless networking -- in essence, a real computer in your pocket -- don't go palm.

Second -- don't go iPaq if you plan on using your organizer mostly indoors. The screen is just awful, though it excels outside. Me, I went Casio for the screen -- true 64k colour plane, beautifully backlit, and slightly larger than the iPaq -- but I can't see shit outside during the day. I have to duck under awnings when on the street, but luckily, i'm almost never on the street. Casio has great upgradability -- slip on an adapter and a wavelan card, you've got a wireless network. Slip in a compact flash modem, you're on the 'net from a hotel room. Connect to your cell over IR, and you're netted again. Memory, cameras, hard disks, all sorts of stuff is in the compact flash form factor, and unlike the iPaq you don't need a seperate sleeve to have the functionality -- there's a little door that hides your card when it's not plugged into the wall.

Of course, Casio was just my choice, and a lot of people will lead you to the iPaq for its slightly faster processor (hint: it doesn't really casio E-100, their first colour unit, does mp3 and mpeg well enough, and it's only 133 MHz). But I think the great screen, and the ability to push more than one button at once (the Compaq won't let you do this...kills gaming in MameCE) outweigh the slight advantage of the StrongARM.
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