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Do People Really Use Their PDAs?

Cliff posted more than 11 years ago | from the useful-tool-or-status-symbol dept.

News 814

TAL asks: "With Dell entering the market with their new PDA, the PDA market appears saturated. I work in a high-tech industry and I see more people carrying their PDAs than actually using them. At the same time, I see many people actually going back to their paper planners. I've ran the PDA gauntlet myself and have found that much time is wasted syncing, charging and reinstalling the software. Have there been any studies on PDA turnover? I think the PDA has become more of a status symbol than a useful tool."

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814 comments

I'm carrying my PDA (3, Funny)

Frivas (219029) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745239)

just to play missile command

Re:I'm carrying my PDA (3, Funny)

massive-cow (628099) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745382)

I carry mine for the sole purpose of Dopewars.

Well, until the bird nicked it... for the sole purpose of playing Dopewars.

*sigh*

Re:I'm carrying my PDA to play Missile Command (2)

Sun Tzu (41522) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745384)

Sounds dangerous to play MC in a meeting... I can just see your panic as you frantically try to save your cities in the end-game. Does anyone notice?

P.S. Will you share the source? ;)

No they don't (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4745243)

They're just status symbols. (because I don't have one)

Satus symbols? (5, Funny)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745349)

Hmm-- I am all for Public Displays of Affection. And yes, when I get the chance, I use them ;-)

Re:Satus symbols? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4745366)

uh here ----> t
I think you left one out.

My PDA is... (2, Informative)

bic2k (140221) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745244)

sitting at the bottom of a box unused for the last year... good turn over... most of my toys don't last more than 6 months...

Usage (5, Informative)

pbobby (86169) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745245)

I use mine all the time.... to read eBooks /:)

Re:Usage (1, Informative)

JedKivi (171236) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745326)

Same here

Re:Usage (5, Informative)

Jonathan (5011) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745367)

Exactly -- eBooks are an application of PDA's that the designers never really thought of, and one in which the PDA fulfills much better than full-size dedicated eBook hardware. I like to read books, but often I don't have one with me when I have a few free minutes. A PDA is far more portable than a paperback book and I almost always have mine in my coat pocket.

Do People Really Use Their PDAs? (1, Informative)

skoda (211470) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745251)

Do People Really Use Their PDAs?

Yes.

(schedule, address book, tracking cash expenses, games during boring meetings)

Re:Do People Really Use Their PDAs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4745361)

umm.. how is this a troll?

anyway.. I use my PDA much like parent does, except I can also scan for and detect wireless access points to get on the Internet while I am waiting for busses, etc.. I think that these uses are perfectly legit for a PDA... :)

I remember my PDA (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4745252)

I had it back in 97-98... tried to use it everywhere I could. Now, it just sits on my desk next to the real computer.

I agree... (5, Insightful)

wumarkus420 (548138) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745258)

When I first got my Palm, people marveled at the chance to look at all the phone numbers I could store at one time. I even kept it in my pocket at all times and tried to incorporate it into my wallet (pretty tedious with the original Palm). However, within a couple months, I was only using it to play Galax. I eventually gave it away to my girlfriend, who also used it for a week or two before deciding it really wasn't worth it to have this giant thing for the purpose of only storing phone numbers and playing the occaisonal game.

So then I get a CE device from work. I thought I would give PDA's another chance. While this time, I had color and ethernet, and a decent media player, it fell prey to the same problems at before. I stopped using it within a month and it now sits in a drawer never to be used again.

I think PDA's are cool, but no matter how much I want to like them, they just aren't useful.

Re:I agree... (5, Funny)

billwashere (167019) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745353)


I stopped using it within a month and it now sits in a drawer never to be used again.


Can I have it then :)

--
Billwashere

Not to knock PocketPC, but... (5, Insightful)

dachshund (300733) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745368)

So then I get a CE device from work. I thought I would give PDA's another chance

On top of that, the PocketPC devices-- despite being way more powerful and generally cooler-- are much less suited to the basic tasks of a PDA (storing numbers, calendar, etc.) They're just too big, eat too much battery, and the software isn't as concise as Palm's.

I really thought my shiny iPaq would be a great replacement for my Palm and my laptop, with it's ability to handle an 802.11 card (and Ricochet back when that existed). Turned out that it was an enormous and inferior substitute for both, and it crashed a lot with the network card in. Now I don't use either, because I'm dissatisfied with the inflexibility of my Palm and the flaws of the PocketPC.

Constantly (2, Interesting)

Devilzad (85311) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745261)

I use my Palm IIIxe constantly, and I don't travel a whole lot at all.

The built-in address book, to-do lists, and calendar are all I use it for, with two entertainment apps loaded on it. One is an app that spits out Homer-isms and Bart-isms from The Simpsons, the other is called Space Trader, very much like the old Elite from the Commodore 64 of yore.

Re:Constantly (-1)

Yr0 (224662) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745352)

{ot} where did you get the simpson program from, it sounds kinda cool {/ot}

i use my palm m500 all the time. im an engineer, and it doubles as my contact list, my planner (i dont know what im doing that day, but it tells me where im supposed to be)(it syncs with outlook) a graphical calculator (easycalc) and i also use it for email and to check slashdot (eudora) when i cant get to my PC. its also useful for rather dull meetings, because i can play irogue (a rouguelike for the palm.)

the other thing is you can get porn for it, in the form of palmasutra.

wouldnt this have been more useful as a poll?

PDA's need killer apps (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4745262)

Like a decent pr0n player otherwise what's the point of having something you can hide in your pocket until ahem... uh... oops never mind.

Of course I use it. (2, Informative)

Stradenko (160417) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745263)

I use my PDA (Sony clie) for everything I can - japanese study, scheduling (classes, work, travel) - it really helps me to prioritize things, games, pictures, contact info, etc. It's hard, well terribly inconvenient anyway, for me to do without it these days.

It was definately a good investment in my case.

I agree (5, Insightful)

n__0 (605442) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745265)

Seems people are trying ot find reasons to use their pdas once theyve got them. Realising they aren't as useful or as easy to use as they thought. My dad picked up one a few months ago and a lot of the price of the ipaq that he got seems to come in afterwards with memory expansions and interfacing wires etc. He doesn't need to interface it to everything, it jsut seems he needs to justify why hes got it and having gps and camera photos on their is really a status symbol.

Need too much discipline. (5, Insightful)

monadicIO (602882) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745267)

I found that I needed to be too disciplined to use my PDA for tasks that I'd use it for like todo lists and phone,contacts. I got a free one sometime ago. I tried using it but found I was spending more time trying to organise my life in the PDA. I gave up shortly finding that it was more convenient to forget things than to spend time and energy inputting every thing in the PDA.

Now if only I had a personal human analog assistant inputting everything into my digital one.

Not Really (2, Insightful)

toomz (175524) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745268)

I sold my PDA. People who first buy PDAs vow never to part with them. Soon you notice them sitting on the desk all the time next to the desktop computer.

I used to (5, Informative)

Peyna (14792) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745273)

I used my PDA for a little while my freshman year in college (Palm V), I'd take some quick notes on it and use it to store schedules, important dates and addresses. Aside from that I used it for games during boring lectures, or to beam stuff to other classmates about the teacher =]

Now it sits in my deskdrawer and I don't use it anymore. Batteries, syncing, and everything else weren't problems at all. In the end it was too cumbersome to enter data (even if you knew it well), and the software offered was minimal.

I probably would have been happier with a Windows CE device, since they come with a much larger, easier to use range of applications. It's hard to say. But, I don't miss it much.

On that note, how much is someone willing to give me for an old Palm V? =]

Re:I used to (1)

bic2k (140221) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745356)

I'll give you $20 plus shipping for your palm V.

I don't know about "studies" (5, Informative)

Snarfvs Maximvs (28022) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745276)

But I work in a large (50k+) high-tech company and NOBODY in my part of the world uses paper planners anymore. Even our over-compensated super-high-up VPs etc. use a combination of RIM, cellphone, and Palm/CE devices to stay on track. When you're quadruple-booked for meetings all day in multiple geographic locations, paper ain't gonna cut it.

My boss wouldn't survive without his blackberry! I make do with an iPAQ and sync when I get to my desk. The only way I get work done is that I don't have a cellphone or a pager. My boss keeps threatening to get me one and I respond with threats to quit. ;-)

I don't (2)

JanneM (7445) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745279)

I have a PalmIII which I used for about a year and a half. Eventually, the small screen, lack of a decent keyboard and the constant mess with syncing led me to simply carry my old but small Omnibook 800 around instead. I thus have a full Linux system (using the console only) with a far better screen and easy access to 'real' applications.

who bumped up the progressive meter?? (0, Troll)

peculiarmethod (301094) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745280)

Man, only two years of pda color releases here in the us and you're already judging the usefullness?? People only had (I STILL cant afford one) 24 months to figure out how to integrate this new complex device into their lives and pay back the cost through use? Or is slash just looking for sunday posts...

I'm only sayin.. you guys BEGGED (I did too) for the star trek type handheld.. anything to maybe power a portable version of your gear.. well.. progress takes TIME. remember VESA drivers? remember how long it took to get from hercules cards to color? dang.. you guys have been spoiled and get bored quickly now..

pm

pm

PDAs are wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4745281)

What are they, bloated pocket calculators, or lobotomized laptops?

Personal Downtime Annihilator (1)

aiba (628946) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745282)

Can't live without my PDA

Yes. (5, Interesting)

NetJunkie (56134) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745283)

Usually the people in the tech industry don't. They get them for a toy and then don't use them. I didn't use mine much, so I gave it to my wife. She uses it constantly and keeps a lot of info in there. It's much easier than the paper system she had before.

At my office the directors and VPs use theirs like crazy. They'd be lost without them. The guys on my team (network team) don't use them much, since we don't have all the meetings and contacts to track.

My PDA... *is* useful (!) (2)

alister (60389) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745288)

Well, I use mine, but the biggest bugbear is the syncing software. I have issues syncing with Mozilla mail, which by now may be easily resolved, but I got tired of dealing with it. My main use isn't notes and to do lists, but the calendar. I get disorganised on occasion, and having something that will beep at me when my next meeting is is invaluable, especially since my work uses a networked calendar program - other users add meetings for me and I don't have to note them... they just appear.

You can't beat the convenience... until a dead-tree-organiser can tell me where I'm supposed to be, anyway...

Glad I'm not the only one (1)

Snotnose (212196) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745292)

I bought my wife one of the original Palm Pilot's for xmas several years ago. She used it a few months, then quit. So I snarfed it. I gave it 2 months, then gave up on it myself. IMHO, carrying a regular lab notebook around is a lot more convienent.


Around the same time, several people at work got the things. And like me, all but 2-3 dropped out of sight.

Sometimes (2, Insightful)

occamboy (583175) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745295)

It depends on the mode I'm in.

Sometimes I'm fortunate enough to be working on one project with undivided attention. Then I usually don't carry my PDA -- it's easy to remember what I should be doing.

When I'm in my more scattered mode (meetings-R-us), my PDA is a godsend, keeping me on track.

In the past, I've always carried my PDA while travelling because of the address book feature. But I've just purchased a cell phone (Motorola V60i) that allegedly syncs to my Windows address book, so the PDA might not be as necessary for this purpose anymore -- we'll see.

I could not survive w/o my PDA (5, Informative)

xchino (591175) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745296)

I have no idea how I got along before I got one. Mine isn't even a good one, Just a Visor Handspring, 16-bit grey scale, but damn is it useful. With my Nokia 3360 I can connect to the internet via infrared on the pda and phone and use PalmVNC to control my servers from anywhere. Also, the the infrared is hella useful as a universal remote control.. Between omniremote and pmremote I never have to miss my favorite shows whenever I'm around a public TV. I also use J-Pilot + the Keyring plugin to carry a nice encrypted list of l/p combos and general server info. I jot down notes on it all the time. I can also use the phone book etensively. I don't really use the scheduler at all, cuz I have no schedule :)

But the BEST use for my pda I've had so far is basically as a gameboy :)

I like the ones on Star Trek (1)

Goalie_Ca (584234) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745298)

I've always thought of them as glorified day planners without the quick ability to jot notes and flip through pages. I don't think i'll buy one untill they can take dictations kinda like the ones on star trek.

Do I use a PDA? (2, Interesting)

mgrochmal (567074) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745299)

Sure do, because there are some things that a laptop can't do for me right now.

1. It's easier to bring a synced PDA of information to do quick errands than it is to enter said info into a laptop. As in, I'm more likely to use a grocery list ina PDA that fits in my hand than bring the iBook.

2. I don't tend to install many applications beyond the included suite. So far, the only things I've installed on my PDA since I got it are: an enhanced calculator, an eBook reader, and a couple of text games. If I need a full office-program or media apps, then I bring the notebook computer.

As for paper/pencil, I tend to lose the pieces of paper easily, whereas I'm more likely to pay attention to a piece of electronics gone missing. Yeah, the PDA also won't handle a bunch of the accessibility functions that the iBook does, but for me, it's easier than lugging a several-pound book or relatively large notebook while on the go.

Constantly (5, Informative)

CodeWheeney (314094) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745301)

The reason I've stayed with my now old-school Palm IIIx is because it's invaluable to me. It doesn't have wireless or color, but it has my life on it. I now don't forget to carry the appropriate piece of paper or list with me because I always enter these things into my PDA. I'm currenlty 2700 miles from my home, but my PDA has all of the information I might need for my work or personal use (family phone numbers, infrequently seen friends who I thought of seeing because I was near them, and I had there number). It's also got important work information and useful lists. I can pop into a record store and pick up a new album on my list. I can also pop up several useful astronomy applications and get some casual binocular observing in, and log the results.

My IIIx is very useful because it's simple, reliable and omni-present. I carry it everywhere.

Only know two people - not the corporate type (1)

WaxParadigm (311909) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745303)

I only know two people who frequently use a PDA. One is an independent lawer (he is the only employee at his "firm"), and the other is a minister.

I think part of what makes it useable for them is that their "home" and "work" e-mail systems, calendar, contact list, etc are one and the same. That seems to me to be the best use case.

I know I used a PDA until I hit the corporate world. I'm religious about keeping work and personal mail separate, same with contacts...so there is no way for me to keep everything in sync. When I was in college, my PDA was great...now it just sits in a box unused for many years now.

Personal Digital Assistants really are assistents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4745304)

Yes, I use my Sharp Zaurus SL-5500 a lot. Mostly for e-mailing, chatting and surfing the world wide web using wifi. Wireless is a technique which is about to prove it's capabilities, which it really has. This afternoon I was at a very big computer exposition, everywhere I went I had uplink and was able to communicate with the rest of the world.
Why I don't buy a notebook? Because I really hate the size of a notebook, a PDA is so handy because you just put it in your pocket and pull it out wherever you need it.

Really, I'd have to say 'yes' (1)

Moonwick (6444) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745305)

I'm not sure where you're getting this sense that PDAs are particularly difficult to maintain. I happen to own a Kyocera QCP-6135, which is a CDMA phone that runs a complete version of the Palm OS; I spent perhaps 20 minutes installing the software and linking it with our Exchange server at work; I spend about a half-second hitting the sync button whenever I put my phone into the charging cradle, and I haven't had any trouble whatsoever keeping this setup working.

One thing I will say is that having a PDA integrated with the phone makes it a great deal more usable; not only is my list of phone numbers always up to date, but since everything is in one unit, I don't have a separate Palm to justify leaving at home.

Re:Really, I'd have to say 'yes' (1)

janda (572221) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745370)

I'm not sure where you're getting this sense that PDAs are particularly difficult to maintain.

Think "WindowsCE"

palm Vx used daily for 3 years + (2, Insightful)

wilton (20843) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745307)

I've used my palm Vx nearly everyday for last 3 years. The ONE thing keeps me using it is the rechargeable battery, and LONG battery life. If I had to run out to buy a set of AA every week I would have stopped using it. The Long battery life of 3 weeks on a full charge is great for extended trip. Palm Vx and mobile with infrared means I can keep checking emails quickly and easily.

Avantgo is another program for adding value. Free editions of all main magazines and newspapers. Defiantly payed for itself that way.(Economist, Wired, Guardian, BBC)

Use of PDAs depends on features/abilities (2)

Sancho (17056) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745308)

I picked up a PDA on the cheap (Palm iiixe just before they killed the line) and used it for quite awhile. Ultimately the lack of a backlit screen and constantly having to replace batteries made it more trouble than it was worth. I used rechargeable batteries which helped with the cost, however this meant that "replacement" was more frequent. Once or twice I would actually lose my data because of this, so I had to go through the process of reinstalling all my software and then syncing back up.

Finally I decided it was more trouble than it was worth. A backlit color PDA with an internal rechargeable battery would be much more useful to me, and I imagine that if I had one of those I'd still be using it today. Also, those Treo's have been /awfully/ tempting since you get Internet access on them as well. I may eventually get around to picking up one of these, however the time I would spend re-inputting my data might remove some of the utility/value--at least at first.

Yes. (2)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745310)

If you work in an office where you have to go to a lot of meetings, they're invaluable, since your entire schedule is with you at all times.

I find the Palm units superior for this functinon.

I've owned every kind of PDA, and most ended up in a drawer. The Palm is the first one that I've used every day for almost 2 years.

Oh, the games are a definite bonus.

PDAs are useful for the right person (2, Insightful)

ArmageddonLord (607418) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745321)

I got a PalmV about 2 years ago. In college I find it extreamly useful tracking my schedule, homework, quick notes to myself, professor's contact info and office hours, etc. I seriously couldn't live withough it. However durring the summer durring my internships I find it quite useless. I no longer have such a complex schedule and all the company info is already on my PC. So why bother with the PDA? A PDA's usefulness depends really on what you need it for.

Yes and no (2)

ChrisDolan (24101) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745322)

I've carried my Visor to and from work every day for almost two years. At the beginning, I used it constantly: the calendar, the todo list, etc. Now I use it only maybe once or twice a week, but on those occasions, it's fantastic. It's my definitive repository of phone numbers and addresses (I manually "sync" to my paper address book at home occasionally), I keep all of my infrequent calendar event in there (when was that concert again?), and I keep a bunch of Twain/Poe/Doyle short stories on board for when I'm bored in the dentist's office.

So, it doesn't *need* to be a life-defining piece of hardware to be essential.

Oh, and Bejeweled. Can't forget Bejeweled. Stupid, addictive game...

All the time (2)

SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745323)

I've had my Vx for over 2 years now. I use it all the time. I never had to reinstall stuff, and syncing only takes about 10 seconds, much faster than re-entering data from paper to my desktop. that's for sure.

I use mine (2)

rakerman (409507) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745328)

To keep a portable copy of the ridiculous number of meetings I get scheduled in Outlook, and to download websites (like Slashdot:) to read on the bus on the way home.

Games? (1)

bluenirve (470125) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745329)

Well, I got mine to keep track of addresses/homework, but when you can play so many games and emulate game boy games, I don't see why you need it for your addresses. I have had a blast developing on my palm... I got linux to work on it, but I ditched that after missing Zap!2000.

Better PDAs (1)

zzubzzub (584831) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745331)

No you don't understand. People don't use them because they're not good enough. They need better ones, yeah, like with more features and functionality such as playing mp3s, hard drive storage, full-keyboard, compact-size, wireless communication, etc, etc. And when the next one comes out, that one will suck too. It's never enough!

You said it yourself (5, Insightful)

ektor (113899) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745332)

I work in a high-tech industry and I see more people carrying their PDAs than actually using them.

If people carry them is because they use them. Sure, you can carry some gadget for a week for its novelty factor but if you don't use it sooner than later you will stop taking it with you.

Having said that PDAs are not for everybody. Unless you spend certain amount of time away from you desk and in need of contact information, scheduling or some specific application maybe a PDA is not for you.

Personally I love my XDA [t-mobile.com] especially because I have my email always updated anywhere I go. I don't use it as a phone very often but when I do it works very well although certainly not as well as a normal cell phone.

Of course... (1)

shepd (155729) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745338)

I think the big point is that the cheapest PDAs get used the most. Why? Because when you buy one for $50, it ain't cool enough to be a status symbol, so you must have bought it to use it.

Now, people who buy those $500 macro-computer type PDAs, they're usually just big penis extensions.

My pda is my computer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4745339)

I have a sharp zaurus sl5500. I use it as much as i can! Its not just a pda its a linux computer in my pocket. I can understand palm devices getting boring but with a zaurus its never boring.

Mostly superceded by cell phones (1)

curious.corn (167387) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745342)

Here in Europe they never had much success because cells completely took the scene and most people need nothing more than a phone number repository which already comes in most cells anyway. Business people could make good use of one but usually carry a laptop so that's it; PDA's are just the poor man's laptop. I would have it run some super-sexy calculus program, something like a light mathematica, but I guess they lack the horsepower; where I see a market is in warehousing, portable billing, and the like

Why I Used My PDA and Why I Stopped (4, Informative)

Carnage4Life (106069) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745343)

I used to love having a PDA (Palm IIIxe [palm.com] ) around and used it for a variety of reasons including
  • Meeting schedule always handy even when I wasn't at work (plus beeping reminders).
  • Todo list always handy (plus beeping reminders).
  • Games to play during boring meetings.
  • Email Inbox always available
  • No more scrabbling for a pen when I want to get a girl's phone number
reason I stopped using it
  • It started taking too long to sync Outlook to my Palm which sucked since I used to do it at the end of the workday and waiting 10 - 30 minutes for it to finish syncing wore on my patience.

They're BANNED where I work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4745346)

Before I had this job, I couldn't live without my Palm IIIx. Coupled with my call phone, I could export X sessions (via VNC) and check on things whether I was next door to the office or a thousand miles away. I no longer carried paper around (still needed pens and dry erase markers).

My current employer believes that PDA are evil since "terrorists and criminals" use them. It has been quite an adjustment for me to go back to "legacy" paper and pencil. My coworkers don't understand my whiteboard graffiti.

IPAQ used daily (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4745347)

Use mine all the time, e-books, web when away from my desk, and even as remote for the tv, wouldn't be without it, thinking about a 400Mhz one now.

Do I use it? (2, Interesting)

Unipuma (532655) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745348)

I have a Palm OS based PDA, and I have to say that I am using it more and more often. At first I bought the thing more or less as a geek toy (hence going for the colour screen, even if it meant it was more expensive), but I have found it to be of great use.
Not only the usual basics, agenda, planner, but also checklists of things to do that you can actually archive (and not just dump on top of that pile of paper that is already eating up more than half your desk), but for me, most important was to have a database.
I have been collecting Sci-Fi books since I was about fifteen, and used to keep track of them in DBase, keep a printed version of it with me, whenever I went into a used bookstore, so I knew I didn't get titles double (which is hard to keep track of once you go over a thousand).
Now it's so much easier to have it all in a small carrying form (instead of a bulk of papers you have to scribble the new titles on untill you do a new printout), a quick search to see if I already have the title of an author.
Also, I use it to keep track of the things I order at the comic shop, to see when I ordered something, and if it should have arrived already. And with a few touches to the screen, I change the order list into the list of comics I already own if I need to make sure I should backorder anything.

So yes, it started out as a toy I wasn't using too often, all I did was write some appointments in it, but now I'm using it quite a lot.

(As a side note, I have heard that the use of the PDA depends a lot on how easy it is to access, and that some PDA's are just so slow that you rather find the information some other way. So your question might actually result in different answers for different models and PDA OS-es)

PDA / cellphone is a big win (4, Informative)

patSPLAT (14441) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745350)

I just got a cellphone module for my Handspring Visor. That nice address book becomes much more exciting when you just hit a button to call the number.

~ Patrick

Bordering on PDA twoard my PDA (2, Interesting)

Lord_Covenant (105707) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745357)

I use my Treo 270 all of the time. It's damn near a laptop replacment for me. I can check my email & surf the web wirelessly (albiet at a 9.6Kpbs connection or thereabouts). I synch with my desktop email and can read & reply on the road. I've got an office-like package that lets me view & edit word & excel files (as both attachments and as independent documents). I synch with AvantGo to get offline reading. And, of course, there are a ton of games out there (although I do wish some of them were higher quality).

Honestly, the main thing I can't do is write code on it. :\

But, on an airplane, wandering around, on the train, in meetings, whatever, my Treo rules.

As a side note, it feels VERY much like an early 90s personal computer. The screen resolutions, the performance, etc. all make it very interesting, especially for a small-scale developer. If I wanted to pursue a career as a shareware or very small scall (aka "income replacement" as opposed to "fast burn and flameout VC-funded dot com") developer, I'd take a strong look at the PDA market.

As a final comment, note the GameBoy - it's something like $89, doesn't even have a (much needed) backlight, and kids are hauling them around everywhere. Or cellphones, for that matter. We're all getting used to hauling around these little devices, it's just a question of what they are going to do & look like.

Paper Planners don't beep (1)

oo7tushar (311912) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745360)

That's one of the nicest things about my Handspring Visor...it'll beep to tell me when I have an appointment or when I get an email (wireless card).
It also lays out all my planner stuff in a nice graphic (date+) so I can visually see when I have some free time to work on personal projects and when I don't.
Hotsyncing is all too easy, just put it in the cradle and press one button.
Sure it's a status symbol but it's useful too. Too many people just put phone numbers in it rather than taking notes in it, writing code (pocketc), sending emails, reading the news (AvantGo), or even having a bit of fun with "laser" tag (there's an infrared port tag game).

I can't find a use for them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4745363)

When I first got my old Jornada 640, I used it quite heavily. However, the limitations of the devices soon become apparant, and that was with a keyboard. The transcriber on these Pocket PC's is not really practical for taking quick notes, unless you want to try and decipher afterwards what you've supposedly written. I personally rely on a Nokia 6310i to store phone numbers, take e-mails, check the news, and play some games. It also doubles up as a handy phone.

Use it constantly... (4, Interesting)

reezle (239894) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745365)

I use mine to keep track of where I've been. I travel to many clients, and have to record where I was, and how long I was there, and what I did.
Every few days I synch it to the computer, and every other week, I sit down and put the information into a time&billing system. I've tried many times to keep a pad and pen in the car to track this stuff, but it never happens. Since I've had the PDA (about a year and a half) I've been MUCH better about tracking my time.

Also, it plays a good game of cribbage. :-)

"People" (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745371)

From what I've seen, "people" don't use PDA's, but geeks do. I haven't been in the tech industry in a while now, and I haven't seen a single one since I left. Not a single one. I think that Palm's net income of ($258,745,000) for the quarter ending August 30, 2002 tends to back up my anecdotal evidence, too.

PDAs suck (1)

Subcarrier (262294) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745372)

I got a PDA to organize my life only to find out that I don't have one.

Used to own a PDA... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4745373)

I thought I really needed one to keep track of all my addresses, phone numbers, contacts, etc. Then I realized what I really used it for, chucked it, and bought a GameBoy Advance.

I use my Palm every day (2)

sulli (195030) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745374)

and have for years. Works great. Also carry around and use my iPod all the time. Looking forward to the two being combined in the next several years.

PDAs? (2)

m.lemur (618095) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745377)

I thought they were fashion accessories for vapid marketing types?

I had a Palm III once (received as a gift), but there was nothing I could do on it that I couldn't do with a notepad and pencil. Now it sits in a drawer with run down batteries, like 75% of a PDA's i'd imagine.

It depends on whether you are a tech or not. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4745378)

I have not yet seen someone in the technical world (which I work in) use one for any extended period of time. However, the real estate agents, doctors, college students, and other busy folks I sell them to seem to use them a whole lot. Another big difference is whether it is a palmos based model, or not. The WinCE models seem to be much higher on the list of discarded PDA's. Too many toys, not enough real work.

My use has been on and off lately (4, Interesting)

gaj (1933) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745379)

I'm a Palm user. Have been for quite a few years. I was a Franklin Quest user before that. I'm one of those people that needs a planner of some type.

Lately, though, I find that my Palm Vx sits in its cradle most of the time. I still need the planner, but a palm-top is just too big a pain. I'm so keyboard-centered. I can use Graphiti just fine (faster than I can legibly write), but it is still to much of a shift.

For my next laptop I'm seriously considering an ultra-light such as the Fujitsu P2000 series. My previous laptop was a Sony Z505ls, and it was almost small and light enough. Too bad the base battery only lasted a hour and a half. Reguardless, something with the following features would be perfect for me:

  1. useable keyboard (must be able to touch type easily on it. I'm willing to get used to a slightly smaller size than standard, but only if it isn't too far off
  2. standard battery life must be at least 5 or 6 hours.
  3. must run a Unix-like OS *well*, preferably Linux. By well, I mean that power management must be fully functional, and all hardware must be supported, with the only excepetions allowed being the internal modem, if there is at least one PCMCIA slot.
    1. Best fit I know of is the P2000 series. I think I could work with that. The Apple iBook is in the running, but all the samples I have examined have seemed cheap and fragile. Perhaps just perception. The keybards do have a lot of flex to them, though. Yuck. Also, sigle button "mouse" is a pain. (yes, I know I can define keys as mouse buttons. so what. when I'm using the pointer I want to use the pointer, not the keyboard, and vise versa)

      Anyway, that's my take. I still like the Palm the best of all the PDAs I've tried, and I still go through stages where I use I quite a bit. Perhaps if it were even smaller and lighter, like the new ones.

... and a built in /. preview would be nice (2)

gaj (1933) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745401)

<sigh>

Item 1. should have read:

  1. < 3lb weight and no bigger than an 8.5" x 11" notepad

.....not a status symbol. (5, Interesting)

jki (624756) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745383)

"I think the PDA has become more of a status symbol than a useful tool."

You think so? I think atleast here in Finland the trend is beginning to reverse - if you carry a communicator - like I do - that is a sign of you being just a workhorse :) If you have the luxury of not needing it - then that's a real status symbol :)

Anyway, I don't think just the PDA functionality would be enough a reason for me to carry it. But when it is at the same time your only phone, and a use anywhere SSH client then there is enough value.

Re:.....not a status symbol. (2, Interesting)

JMemmert (564338) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745424)

There is a saying dating back to the early days of mobile phones:

Mobile phones are no status symbol.
Those who have really made it have a competent secretary and won't need it.

As far as I can tell, it's still true.

PDA == PAC (Personal Alarm Clock) (2)

joestump98 (320730) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745385)

The automatic alarm feature on the PalmOS is incredible. I have some issues with UI, but overall I've loved using my Samsung I300 [samsung.com] . However, I just bought a Sony Ericsson T68i [sonyericsson.com] with Bluetooth [bluetooth.com] , IR port, Calendar, and a camera. IMO, the PDA/Cell Phone convergence is most important. I HATE carrying around 2 separate devices when one will do. BTW, email me at if you are interested in purchasing my I300 :) --Joe

PDA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4745390)

I Guess you've never used YAPS(Yet another password safe). It has saved my but on many occations at and away from the office. :)

reasons why pda's are useful (1)

xo0m (570041) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745392)

i bought my first pda relatively late (when the palm Vx came out), but i still use it all the time. sure its a little more difficult to read or enter text than a regular old planner...but it can fit in my pocket and hosts a number of programs that i see very useful to me. first and foremost, vindigo is by far the most useful application to have especially if you live in a higly urbanized area (like new york :) avantgo is also a very useful tool. i stopped subscribing to the nytimes, wired, and the economist because you can get almost the same amt of content on ur palm. same goes for pcworld, etc. you can also synchronize all ur financial accounts from ur yodlee account into ur palm. very useful finally, with more and more devices coming out now that have more memory, wifi connectivity, pda phone combinations, mp3 players, etc..., i see less of a need to carry more and more devices, when you can have everything in one package. unfortunately i still only use a palm Vx...anyone wanna buy me a new pocket pc?

Theyre all missing something (3, Insightful)

Proc6 (518858) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745394)

PDA's will possibly be useful for the long haul if they would keep slimming them down, upping the battery life, but most importantly, they ALL... and I mean ALL Of them, have to have at least 802.11 but preferably some kind of always on cellular (or other type) connection to the net. The net is what makes most every computer useful, (what do you do with your PC when your net connection is down?, other than play games). So a PDA without a 24/7 nailed up connection to all your other PCs, office, home, and web, to me, is just really missing the boat. And Im not talking about some deck of cards sized wart you can plug into the top. It needs to be inside, invisible, and functioning all the time. Then Id stop putting mine in a drawer.

Carrying it (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4745395)

The real obstacle is carrying it. In order to justify using it, you basically have to commit to having it with you all the time. It's very all or nothing. Since my cell phone keeps phone numbers, I don't really need a pda anymore, and I don't mind carrying my cell phone. However, I HATED carrying my pda. It's way way way too huge. Even my cell phone is almost too large, and it's one of the smallest on the market.

Basically, the only thing I used my pda for before was storing numbers. Since I have a cell phone, I don't really need it anymore. PDA's generally have an advantage over cellphone in the synching department, but that's about it. They're way too cumbersome to take notes. And, now that most cell phones give you voice memos, you can leave yourself a voice recording of a telephone number or the name of someone you met, which is infinitely superior to using a stylus. The only improvement over that, would be voice recognition that would automatically convert a memo that contained a telephone number and a name into a contact entry in your cellphone.

Of course (2, Informative)

LegendNH (65593) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745397)

My dad bought me an ipaq (3635 I believe) when I was in my last year of high school. I wrote down every assignment, I set dates to do projects, when they were do etc.... I never lost anything again. In the summer I bought a (1) gig micro drive for it to play mp3's while I walked around my lake.

In college now, it is like my best friend. I store a backup copy of class notes; many of the handouts (posted online only) are in Word format so I download them to my ipaq and read them off there. I couldn't do it any other way. The only time I print anything out these days are when my professors ask for a physical copy. I can play games in between classes. Listen to music when I work out, take notes, highlight handouts posted online. I store my daily assignments and tasks.

When I am driving home from class and I forgot to do something, I would pull out my ipaq press the record button on the side and talk to it. When I get home I usually take a break before starting my homework and sometimes I forget what I was supposed to do. I play my recorded message and do what I was supposed to.

I do so many things on my ipaq I couldn't even name everything. I don't think I could ever go back to pencil and paper again. I do other things like securely store my passwords, I have phone numbers in there, email address's of friends, family, people I am working with on a project etc... The ipaq was by far the greatest school investment for me...

Also my ipaq case stores my College ID, Drivers License, Credit card, $40, and a phone card. So I don't have to carry around a wallet. My ipaq is truly an all in one device.

I'm just waiting for the new ipaqs to drop a little so I can replace so I don't have to carry around a wallet. My ipaq is truly an all in one device.

I'm just waiting for the new ipaqs to drop a little so I can replace my older one and at the same time replace my cell phone.

I do use mine but... (1)

billwashere (167019) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745398)

mainly just as an offline browser (read AvantGo).

The one thing I did that I found more useful was write (with some help from a friend) a tool to get data from our group calendaring program (CorpTime) and page me 30 minutes before a meeting. I almost always wear my pager mainly because it is so small. When PDA's get that small I think they will be more useful.

--
Billwashere

Many people do (4, Interesting)

analog_line (465182) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745399)

I have several clients who might as well have had their PDAs surgically grafted onto them. The first thing they need installed whenever they get a new machine is Palm Desktop.

I had a PDA for awhile, and there were a lot of neat things you could do with it, but it never really stuck with me. Toward the end of my use of my PDA (an older Palm) all I basically used it for was to play chess in the bathroom. Addresses I keep on my laptop, which is almost always on (or closed and asleep for quick access). It's much easier to take notes on my laptop than my Palm. Syching was always a pain in the rear.

Guess it just depends on the person. Some people just love them. Some people can't stand them. Different strokes for different folks. *shrugs*

I use mine every day (1)

Lemuel (2370) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745408)

My PDA (Palm III/Visor Deluxe/Clie 610) has been a major lifestyle improvement. The killer app for me is Supermemo, a flash card program that gives you the cards you get wrong more often than the cards you get write. There is a PC version, but I like being able to work on Supermemo wherever I am.

Other useful apps:
  • Life Balance: Fancy todo list
  • Datebk5: Fancy calendar
  • Oxford English-Chinese Dictionary: I'm learning Chinese so it is handy having a dictionary with me. I also just bough an English-Spanish dictionary to take with me to the Dominican Republic.
  • Strip: Password storage program. This way I have my DES-3 encrypted passwords with me whereever I go.
  • Handy Shopper: Shopping list and general purpose checklist program. I use it for shopping and packing for trips.
  • iSilo: Stores web pages and plain text documents for convenient access.
  • Xmap Handheld: maps of anywhere in the US.


None of these are forced uses. While I can obviously survive without them, they make owning a PDA worthwhile.

I'm also a bit baffled by the poster. Charging a PDA only wastes time if you sit there watching it charge. I haven't had to reload software that often on my Palms. Syncing may take a few minutes, but I don't sit and watch it either.

They key to a PDA is to find a useful application for what you do. For me it was programs to help me learn Chinese, but there are programs for lots of other areas of life. Go to Palmgear [palmgear.com] and find something you can use.

If PDA == Cell Phone...then they're using it (2)

Kaz Riprock (590115) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745409)


I have a few friends who use the phone adapter on their Visor (adding a speaker and antenna). Every time I call them (or vice versa), they're using their PDA. They also use it for everything people use the 2 inch LCD phones for (calendar, alarms, phone book, etc).

In the meantime, I have a 2 inch LCD phone, so I don't use my PDA nearly as often....then again, it's a Palm III with 2 MB of storage. This becomes a lesson in futility if you want to use AvantGo, Vindigo, and 3-5 games at any one time.

If I go out and buy a newer 8MB PDA, I'd probably use it more often. Then again, I'm also a guy who would whip out a GameBoy on a busy bus/train, instead of stare out the windows...so I might not be a totally unbiased sample for whether the average Joe uses his PDA.

My disenchantment with the PDA market... (2, Interesting)

eunos94 (254614) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745412)

I was one of the early adoptors of PDA's. My US Robotics Professional model served me well for many years. I upgraded to a Handspring Visor last year, but after many technical problems, I have since left the PDA world.

Here's why. The PDA market has gone in a direction that is completely wasteful in my world. Color screens? Why would I need to color me phone number list? mp3 support? That is what my iPod is for. While Bluetooth will be nice for sync-ing the information, almost all other 'connectivity' devices are too much.

Prices have gone from 'too high' to 'outrageous'. I just want a durable device that I can keep in my pocket, ease of data entry, well planned UI, and a game or two to pass time.

I don't need video editing. I don't need movie playback. I don't need web browsing. I don't need IM features. I don't need SD or PCI cards. I dont' need high res screens. I don't need 90% of the crap they are trying to sell me (yeah, sure, it would be nice, but for $400 you can get laptops these days off eBay that do more for less.)

With as much as tech has progresses in the last several years, a well built, basic planner with Bluetooth connectivity, decent memory, and relatively easy interface shouldn't cost more than $50-$75 bucks.

I'm honestly thinking of finding an old Palm/US Robotics/3Com Professional because it did everything I wanted (ok, no Bluetooth, but work with me here)

Stop trying to feed me my home entertainment system/computer/media center/gaming console in a cigarette pack size case. We're not there yet and that's not what I'm buying a PDA for. I want the PIM features without the bloat for cheap. That's it.

Yes I Use Mine (1)

Daftspaniel (527440) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745413)

As with any information system you get as much out as you put in! Besides I can have ebooks, games etc anywhere without the bulk of a laptop. I don't like the trend towards phones though. The great thing about Palms were they were cheap cutting edge pocket computers at only £200ukp or so. These days the prices are reaching those of laptops. Not good.

Almost Pure Status Symbol (1)

blueworm (425290) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745414)

I agree, PDAs constitute more of a status symbol than an actual helpful tool. Whenever someone I know gets a good job in the tech sector they always are very quick to tell about their PDA the company gave them.

I couldn't live without my Palm (2, Interesting)

rynthetyn (618982) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745416)

I'm a college senior, and own the Palm m125. I used to use a paper planner, or maybe I should say that I carried a paper planner around in my backpack and never looked at it. My Palm, on the other hand, gets carried around with me wherever I go--in my backpack, purse, etc, and it actually gets used all the time. I find that it is much more convienient to keep track of my schedule on my Palm than on a paper planner, it's easier to carry around than my paper planner, and it had more useful functions than my paper planner did. Plus, I just installed EasyCalc, an open source graphing calculator application, which means that I don't have to carry around my big graphing calculator except for tests.

I do admit, there is a bit of the status symbol element involved--all the other computer science majors have PDAs, I don't want to be the only one without a PDA. However, the usefulness factor far outweighs the status symbol factor.

pda vs paper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4745418)

im a really forgetful person... so i like to keep a pocket-sized memo with me wherever i go.

sometimes my reminders get way too long to manage, or crossing out "done" items make the pages all messy. a pda would do.

i once owned a pda (now my mom owns it :\ ) and it was really convenient... plus i could keep a bunch of contacts and ideas on it, as well as my reminders and to-do list.

now, for new contacts i add while outside, i use my subnote if its with me -- which requires me to wear a bag of some sort... way bulky compared to a pda.

the downside of pdas now imho is the stylus input is tooooo slow. often the text input makes mistakes, and i spend double the time just writing a short note down. thumb keyboards are just about as slow. with shorthand i believe most people can probably write at 30+ wpm.

so you have those pocket keyboards... but it defeats the point of jotting notes everywhere.

so now the zaurus with a keyboard behind it looks cool. gotta master one hand typing so i can finally quickly jot things on the fly :\

yeah sometimes it actually takes me less than a minute before i forget something on my mind :(

Depends schedule complexity (2, Interesting)

battis (317725) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745419)

I'm a teacher/tech and I originally bought my Palm so that I could have a schedule that I could carry with me (I don't carry a bag, and day planners kept getting lost -- I have actually lost one Palm too -- my keys are now on one of those little tethers attached to my belt, as I slowly lose my mind. I'm not even 30, but senility is kicking in. :) I've been using mine for about 3 years now, and that was after having kept my calendar almost entirely in my computer for the 5 years prior to that. What it comes down to is: if you have to schedule meetings on the fly, or if you have to consult your calendar to find out what happens in 10 minutes, the PDA makes a huge difference in your quality of life. Where I've found that the interest has dropped off is in all the "other" features of the PDA -- basically, I need it to store addresses and calendars (and to play Solitaire). I use it for nothing else. I tried other things (eBooks, etc.) and just found that I didn't use it -- and it made syncing just way too painful. Several of my friends (also teachers) have found that they just love their PDA's for that reason -- rather than trying to figure out when they can meet with a student/administrator/parent based on a dim recollection of their calendar, they can just haul out the Palm and _look_. The big bugaboo for me has been syncing -- iSync from Apple has been great, in that all my computers, devices are talking to each other (which is very, very cool). The downside is having to buy into all the other crap -- iCal particularly. I'm on the verge of writing my own ICS interface just so that I don't have to have my time wasted by watching iCal think.

My Zaurus (2)

sakusha (441986) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745420)

I have a Zaurus PI-6600, the Japanese model. I solely use it for the Japanese dictionary. I used to store phone numbers and addresses, but not anymore. I remember the last time I stored a phone number in it. I had been trying to meet a certain woman for 3 or 4 weeks, then when we met, she came up to me and asked me if I wanted to go out, and boy was I happy. Showing off, I put her phone number in my Zaurus right in front of her, and said I'd call her that evening. Unfortunately, my Zaurus died and wiped her number. I never ever saw her again. Since that time, I make sure to store all IMPORTANT data on nonvolatile storage: a little black book.

Communications is the key (1)

Galius Persnickety (623126) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745426)

I've got a Motorola PageWriter 2000X, a big, clunky clamshell 2-way pager with some PDA features, and I wouldn't be without it. The ability to use the device to communicate, store email, etc is what makes the difference. I store all my notes, contacts, and other needed info so they are always available and it sits in a holster on my belt. The 2-week run time on the rechargeable battery doesn't hurt. Unfortunately it doesn't run PalmOS or allow me to 'surf', so I'm lusting for the Kyocera Smartphone.

Yeah... (1)

WWWWolf (2428) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745427)

I got a Palm m100, cripes, 2 years ago. It has been in constant use ever since - as a calendar (God how nice this is compared to paper calendars!), with Keyring [sourceforge.net] it's extremely extremely useful for storing all of these millions of passwords! And, of course, plucker and avantgo are good for web stuff and electronic books. On lectures and in train and stuff, I take notes and write stuff with the memo pad. Most recently, I've been simply writing down my payments in memopad so I can enter them to gnucash on my home computer.

All in all, extremely useful little thing. I'll never go back to paper calendars!

All the time. (4, Interesting)

jonabbey (2498) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745429)

These days I'm carrying around a Sony SJ-30 model, running PalmOS 4.1. Color, 16 megabytes, hi-res screen.

What do I use it for? My calendar and address book, certainly. As a diabetic, I use it to record all my blood sugar readings. I have a very nice multifunction scientific calculator on it which I use all the time for anything for simple math or better. I have several games on it. I have a dozen e-books on it, which I read whenever I've got an idle moment. I have a dozen of my less-used passwords stored on it in a triple-DES encrypted form using Gnu Keyring. I use Plucker to download and carry around web clippings from national newspapers, and the Austin Chronicle's movie listings and reviews. I have several technical references stored as well, along with some utility calculators for special purpose conversions.

I carry my Sony around with me all the time; I would feel rather naked without it.

Survey Sais: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4745431)

From my experience:

PalmOS based devices are useful tools.

WinCE/PPC based devices are status symbols/paper weights.

Reverse evolution or PDA roach motel (2)

The Mutant (167716) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745433)

Here's my story :

I started with a Newton 100, moved up to a Newton 130 (backlit screen, yow!), and later migrated to a Sony Magic Cap.

Howly cow! I still remember that interface, especially the abstraction of the local area net (i.e., you'd go outside and look down the street at all the buildings - other computers - you could enter).

Anyhow, this led to a flirtation with the Palm camp, and I used pretty much anything they sold including various Visors once the two co-founders had left the building.

AND THEN

I bought a Compaq iPaq.

I admit it; I was seduced by the colour screen, the generous amounts of RAM (64 MB), easy connectivity.

But something happened.

I had to reset the box a lot and resinstall sw. And the box lacks a built-in search function. Shees! To search my notes for a particular name I have to purchase a third party tool?

Ok. But then there was another problem? How the hell do I get my name and address data out of iPaq and Outlook? I've never found an easy way.

I like the iPaq for its form factor, the colour screen, and relatively fast processor.

What I don't like is its apparently the roach motel of PDAs; get your data in and it ain't coming out.

tablet? (3, Interesting)

simpl3x (238301) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745434)

well, i just dropped for a Fujitsu table, since it is light enough to carry around, actually has a real screen, and functions as a full computer. the oqo (http://oqo.com/) sounded cool, but is likely vaporware. and, the ibm version is nifty (http://www.research.ibm.com/resources/news/200202 06_metapad.shtml). i did have a newton, and would have loved a more capable machine with a bigger and better screen, though it wasn't all that useful when syncing is such an error prone process. i do not get syncing! i want a machine that is fully functional, portable--light, and useful as a desktop when docked. for now this (http://www.fujitsupc.com/www/products_pentablets. shtml?products/pentablets/st4000a) is what i got.

My iPaq (3, Informative)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 11 years ago | (#4745440)

I use my iPaq all the time. I don't even work since I'm disabled, but I use it to store all my contact info, which comes in handy during medical appointments when doctors want to confer with others. I would forget all my various medical appointments etc. without it. And I have alarms set up to remind me to take meds on the strange schedule they require. Also I play MP3s and games, of course. I have software to track diet and exercise, but havent been disciplined enough to use that much yet really. I listen to MP3s and play games or read ebooks while in waiting rooms.

REX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4745441)

The only actually useful pda was REX [rex.net] , which was credit-card size and so quite portable. Most versions were read-only indeed, which was a good thing, since paper seems to be a better solution for writing...
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