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Musings and Meanderings
Saturday, January 15, 2005
One of the coolest gifts I got this Christmas was from my Dad and Step-Mom. As you can see from the picture I have moved into the world of hand held "PDA's" with the gift of the Palm Tungsten E. This runs on the Palm OS software, the older of the two companies in the hand held business, still out performing the Pocket PC software of Micro$erf.
I was very excited to get it as it was part of the good Karma that was being laid down by everyone for the job I was still waiting to get. Of course it will be very handy in the day to day affairs of work, but up till now it has just been a personal info bundle that really rocks.
The biggest selling point of a Palm is it's handwriting recognition software. You write in the dark area you see above and it translates into typed text. If you are none to good at this you can even pull up a virtual keyboard and pretend type it in one letter at a time on the touch screen.
So here are some of the fun neat things (ok fun for me) that I can do with my Palm.
1) Listen to music. This palm comes with a version of RealOne. The only downside is that it only allows you to put music on a SD card so I had to wait to play with this till I got one. I acquired a 256MB card cheap off of e-Bay (till I can get a one Gig card) and now can load up a couple of CD's worth of MP3's on it. It will play in the background if you are using it, and if you leave the screen on the RealOne player after three min it shuts off the screen and leaves the music player running. Cool.
2) Read Read Read Read. The Tungsten E comes with three document readers: a Micro$erf Office "conduit" so you can import M$ documents via "Docs to Go"; an Adobe PDF reader; and the ubiquitous Palm reader. Via the Usenet there is a newsgroup that posts tons of e-Books, and you can buy and find free books everywhere on the web. Right now I'm reading all of the following when the whim takes me: the latest Economist (which I admit I have to cut and paste from the site into a Word doc, but it goes fast); The Fellowship of the Rings; and, The Art of War by Sun Tsu. In addition the Docs to go program allows me to put whatever I have in word on to the Palm, too many possibilities to go into but you get the idea.
3) Organize. Of course this is the raison d'etre for the Palm and it is only recently with bigger internal and external memory that all this other stuff can be handled. The Palm comes with some very handy features: a "memo" pad which looks like typed lists; a "notepad" which looks like virtual post it notes (you write directly on the "paper" not using the recognition program); a contact function where you can import your address books from Outlook; a To Do list where you can organize your thoughts etc. So in reality I have not written anything down on paper this year regarding "notes to self" etc. But to wrap these into one nice convenient interrelated bundle I recommend Agendus, an inexpensive program that brings all these facets together in an easy to use format, all under one program.
4) Games! Yes I said games. I have a one coming as part of the original purchase rebate but via the Usenet (warez) and some free downloads I have the following on my handheld. A killer version of Yatzee which is full color and very nice. A pinball game. Three card games. And a puzzle game.
5) A remote control. Yes I said a remote control. The PDA has an IR port and with a cool program called NoviSoft you can program your PDA to work on any of your electronic devices. Honestly the IR takes up lots of battery power so I don't use it that much, but being the techno geek I am I just had to have it.
6) An offline Web reader. I got a hold of a freeware program called "plucker" which is a website ripper (A program which goes as deep as you want in a website and puts the site on your HD) and HTML converter. This allows me to read any books that are HTML, as well as keep up on certain sites without having to be online. One such use is that I put all my favorite blogs into one "list" and Plucker grabs the site when I tell it to and I can read it from where ever I am.
7) Panache! Just look at the picture again. It's elegant and you should feel it in your hand, so there is a stylistic element here that can't be beat. Sort of the i-Pod design of Palm's. I've looked at others and they can't touch the sleek styling.
8) A world Clock. Maybe not that big of a deal to you, but when you have family in France and friends in Australia it's good to know what time it is before you call...
9) A calculator. Also included in the PalmOne package. This one is a pretty nice functional calculator that has a neat feature. You can calculate the number of days from event A to Event B. In fact I discovered that my day 16K anniversary on this planet is July 15th of this year. Cool.
10) Finally the neatest thing of all, is that all this is very portable. I can sit during commercials and read the Economist, or check a wish list of books when I am at the bookstore so I don't have to rely on my memory, or sit in bed listening to MP3's and reading The Fellowship of the Ring. I can't wait to start integrating it into my new job and really seeing my productivity soar.
So, what are you waiting for! Go get one.