Tag Archives: pda

My First PDA – Sharp Wizard

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My first PDA was an old Sharp Wizard which carried 64k of data! It was over $300 back in the day, and was considered to be a high-end model. I could add things to my calendar and keep track of what I had to do. My calendar from 1989 is still intact even! I added memos and contact lists, since there was no such thing as an iPhone. It doesn’t have a Qwerty layout, which was confusing as heck. This was literally state-of-the-art back in the late ’80s. Can you even believe that?

I relied on this a lot back in high school and even college. I used it to track assignments. Heck, I admit it… I even used the translator in Spanish class! It did have the ability to hook up to a computer using a cable and software. However, it was a pain in the butt, and not really worth doing.

So, let’s hear it. What was your first PDA? Do you even remember? Do you still have it?

If you tell me your first was something like the iPhone, I think I’m going to cry.

[awsbullet:pda iphone stylus]

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iPhone vs Windows Mobile

A geek known as Gilbert shares a familiar tale of frustration: which is the best mobile device to own? I’m sure you’ve already made up your mind by the time you reached the end of that sentence, but let’s hear a little bit more about what’s going on in Gilbert’s world. He scribbles:

Thanks for your great contrast between the iPhone and the Windows Mobile devices, on how it relates to business use. I had been using the HTC Advantage for a year and a half now. Although I loved the big screen and strong processor and memory, I’ve gotten tired of lugging that big “brick” around and was looking for an alternative.

I decided to purchase the HTC Fuze yesterday to lighten the load and replace the Advantage as my portable device. I brought it home and played with it, and I was . . . kinda impressed, but also disappointed. I have never owned an iPhone, but, I bought my wife an iPhone for Xmas last year, and my daughter also owns an ITouch. So, I had a cursory overview of what the Apple OS “PDA” could do.

Like yourself (back in the day), I was perfectly happy with WM, for the most part.

But there was a certain application it couldn’t do. So, frustrated, I came across your youtube opinion on the contrast between Windows Mobile, and specifically, the Sprint equivialant to the HTC Fuze, and, it hit home.

In less than 24 hours, I traded my Fuze in and am now a proud owner of an iPhone 3G. I think it was the right purchase, and, in the long run, it will pay off. But I want to tell you that, initially, I’m some what surprised as to the challenges that I’m now facing, that I didn’t have with my initial WM device.

First off, I have a Motorola S9 bluetooth headphones. It paired beutifally with my HTC. It paired with my iPhone, it just doesn’t work. I hear no music through the headphones, but plenty through iPhone speakers.

Second, the e-mail, which was a big sway for me in your commentary, I couldn’t get it register with the e-mail function on the iPhone. I utilize Hotmail, and the iPhone, didn’t configure it. I believe there was a $20/Year workaround by a gateway service, but hey, I didn’t need that using WM6. I then thought I’d sign up for Yahoo mail, but, that attempt failed since it appears you need a $20/Year upgrade to set up the proxy servings there, as well. And MobileMe, at $99/Year, when (my mail) ts free now, well, as you “tried” to say . . . “forget about it!” I also noticed that I couldn’t install Windows Live Search. This was a great function in WM6, that’s not, understandably so, available for our beloved Apple device.

These are just my first 12 hour initial observations. I am, for the most part excited about overcoming these “iPhone shortcomings”. But, I just thought I’d share with you my initial observations of the contrasts from my perspective. Yeah Windows Mobile is clunky and stale, but damm, it does a lot of things pretty adequately!

As a P.S., the reason I chose the HTC Advantage was because it had a Video Out, and, Windows Mobile had the SlingBox application. This worked well for me. I researched and knew that the iPhone doesn’t have the SlingBox capability yet, but Slingbox is working on it. The Video Out on the iPhone is limited to just the media output itself, but not the full functionality (menu scrolling, etc.) I say this in post script because, all this, I knew going into what the iPhone limitations were.

I am very intersted in your comments and reactions to this. For better or for worse, I took the fork in the road towards the iPhone, in part because of you (no pressure here!

Palm vs iPhone

Andrew Norman sent me this note earlier today, and it was just too good not to share with you. He makes his case on why Palm is still a choice over the iPhone. Do you agree or disagree with this assessment and perspective? The following words are Andrew’s…

Some of the reasons for disliking the iPhone, even some of the important ones, have gone away over time, such as the abnormally high price both of the software and the service, both of which have reduced drastically (and I’ll have to give props to Apple for reducing the price of iPhone 3G to $200). However, I have a few thoughts on the iPhone, and after reading them maybe you will see why I opted to go with Palm instead.

It seems that the iPhone 3G fixes problems that the first iPhone should never have had. It should never have been on a 2G network, as other smartphones have been on 3G long enough that the iPhone should have started out that way.

Something that I think is even more important than that, however, is that it should always have had an office suite. I think I read somewhere that the iPhone 3G is going to have this feature, but this is something that should have been present from the very beginning. I honestly think that a PDA that cannot edit office documents is nearly useless except as a phone. A Walkman Slider, a non-smartphone, can play movies, music, send and receive email, and even browse the web (though the mobile version), but cannot view or edit office documents, and I think that’s the most important difference between a Walkman Slider and, say, a Palm Centro or an AT&T Tilt.

I’m not about to say that the iPhone is stupid, but I think it’s not nearly as revolutionary as Jobs seems to put on, if at all. The biggest advantage that the iPhone has over other smartphones (by far) is Safari, but after the public release of Skyfire that will disappear. After that, the only clear advantage is people who prefer the UI. 3G, GPS, mobile email, and most everything that the iPhone boasts has been on other smartphones for quite some time.

One of the more subtle disadvantages, at least in my opinion, is that the screen is not pressure sensitive. Multi-touch screens are good at times, but I don’t want to be putting my fingers all over my PDA, getting it smudgy all day. I like to be able to bring my PDA into restaurants with me and not worry about getting it dirty, and I definitely like not having to wipe the screen off all the time. I’m not the only one that sees this need, either; Thinkgeek.com has developed a stylus that can be used on the iPhone for people who think the same way. With the pressure-sensitive screen, however, I can use either my fingers or my stylus, whenever I desire. There are times that I use my fingers, like if I’m just pulling it out for a second and putting it right back, and times when I decide to use the stylus, like if I’m editing a document. And call me crazy, but I’d much rather have real buttons instead of an on-screen keyboard (and I say that having tried the iPhone keyboard).

I personally decided to go with a straight PDA instead of a smartphone because I didn’t want to deal with service issues, so I decided to get a Palm T|X, and I am very happy with it because it does everything I need it to (of course, that means I get neither 2G nor 3G, but for my purposes that works fine). At the same time, I do not think it is in any way idiotic to get a smartphone, and sometimes I have seen some of the features of my friends’ smartphones and thought I would like them (especially my friend’s beta version of Skyfire, which will unfortunately not be released for Palm or non-smartphones).

Documents-To-Go may be a fairly simple office suite, lacking many of the advanced features of a PC’s full office suites, but it is incredibly useful and I think one of the most important features of the Palm. Editing office documents is, I believe, the most important feature of any PDA, even over email and webbrowsing. What’s the point of having a computer with you wherever you go if it can’t perform very basic computer tasks? The most commonly used applications on my Palm are its office suite and its pdf reader, two things that I desired more than anything to bring with me anywhere. Of the two, the first iPhone had only the second. I edit documents constantly, including .doc files and .xls files. I use .doc files for many, many reasons, including taking notes while shopping around, creating lists of movies I want to see that I add to whenever I hear of one or subtract from whatever I see one, making personal notes, or even just writing down detailed outlines for ideas I’ll have for school papers or videos that I’m making. I use .xls files to reference my bank account instead of carrying around a check register with me. I’m also looking forward to a good mobile version of Photoshop or an equivalent (though it may be out there already; I haven’t really looked yet). I’d love Adobe Premiere on a mobile device, but I also realize that that’s very unrealistic.

I hope that this is something that you enjoyed reading, and, of course, I hope that it did not offend you as an iPhone user, especially since I do not think the iPhone is stupid.

Wireless Mobile Devices and Phones

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PongoShawn writes: “As the years go by, more and more people are buying wireless devices.” Here are some tips he sent in for you to keep in mind when purchasing one.

  • Consider a case! At one point in time, we all drop our cell phones accidentally, or purposely. Under certain conditions, if your phone is dropped, you may damage your phone beyond repair. Wouldn’t you rather pay for a case versus a new phone?
  • Know your accessories and shop online for a possible discount. I was looking for a BlueTooth headset for my phone in stores, and once I logged into my account online, I found out that I qualified for a $20 discount. If you do not have a absolute need for the accessory, then it will pay to shop around, especially online.
  • Go to look at the phone in stores. By doing this, you ensure that you do not get any surprises and you know what you are paying for. This has got my friends so many times, and each time they do it, they wish they would have seen the phone in stores before purchasing it.
  • Consider a two year plan for your phone. This usually means that you will not have a setup fee (depends on which brand you choose) and you will have a lower price on the phone. The only downside is that SHOULD you want to cancel the two year contract, the prices are quite high. After a two year plan, you are eligible to purchase a new phone for a discounted rate.
  • What do you want a phone for? Texting? Music? Navigation? These are important questions to consider when purchasing a phone. If you like text messaging, then you would not need to get a music phone. If you are interested in having a good multimedia gadget, then you should consider the iPhone or competitor LG Voyager.
  • BONUS TIP I would not recommend purchasing a phone at another retailer, such as Best Buy. I have seen many people coming to the customer support because they cannot activate their phone. I would always purchase the phone in the retailer’s store – By purchasing in store, you can ask any questions to the representative that you may have, as well as get support with the first time setup.


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Is the iPhone a Good PDA?

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Robert is a regular viewer of our videos, who happens to be a very busy man. He relies heavily on his iCalendar in order to stay organized. Overall, Robert is happy with his iPhone, but laments some loss of functionality for him. He likens the iPhone to a “super sexy secretary who isn’t very good at her job”. Keep in mind those are his words, not mine. Here are his top 5 things he’d like to see Apple improve to make the iPhone a better PDA.

  • Speed Compared to other devices, the iPhone is just slow. It takes 7-8 seconds for the phone to ‘wake up’ and open the Calendar feature. This is just inacceptable.
  • Copy/paste functionality When Robert meets with a client, he enters the date and specific notes about the meeting. Each time, he has to retype the same information over and over, since he cannot do a simple copy/paste.
  • More iCalendar capabilities He wonders why we can’t have the real iCalendar installed on the iPhone. He wants the ability to drag and drop appointments. Robert also wasn’t aware that you can change the calendar view from daily to weekly or even monthly. Lucky for him, I showed him how. Strike one small thing off his wish list.
  • Connectivity between contacts and appointments Robert wishes to be able to open a contact, and make an appointment from there. He also thinks that notes within that contact area should be hyperlinked to other information about them.
  • Moving of Email This isn’t really PDA related, but it is annoying. Ever notice how if you try to move an Email from the trash bin back to the Inbox… it simply disappears? It’s no longer in either place. It’s just gone. Not very cool, is it?

Excellent list, Robert. Who knows? Even if Apple doesn’t step up and answer some of your wishes, a third party may. Very soon, there will be a SDK (Software Development Kit) coming soon from Apple. This will allow developers to create more things for the iPhone.

Editing to add another Top 5 ways to improve the iPhone, sent in by another community member!

Okay Chris, I had to send in a top 5 list. The Iphone is a truly unique device, however here are my top 5 improvements for it.

  • Copy and Paste Feature. How could this basic computer function be missing? I used it a lot when I emailed from my blackberry, Apple should add this simple computer function to the next version.
  • No MMS built in? A BIG oversight by apple. It’s a big hassle to picture message anyone. There are work arounds using email to phone email addresses, but when using a phone as media rich as the iPhone, MMS should have been present, no doubt.
  • GPS Feature. Almost all new phones have the GPS built in now, the Iphone does not. Now, the google maps function is really great, but many users long for GPS. For me, it don’t make much different, but it would be nice to have.
  • Video Capture. Another thing Apple overlooked when releasing the Iphone, was video capture. The camera, despite not having a flash, works very well, however I would love to be able to take videos on the next iPhone.
  • Storage!!! At only 8Gigs, the iPhone forces me to leave about 500 songs at home, along with half of my podcasts. Now, the reason I went to iphone was to “Combine” my Ipod and Blackberry into one device, but I don’t like being choosy about the music that goes on my iPhone. With Ipods now at 80gig, why don’t the Iphone have more storage, or AT LEAST a way to add external storage?

That’s my top five list, I figured I would send you one since you ask for them so much 😉 The iPhone is a great phone, and I am proud to have it, however like EVERYTHING else, it’s not perfect, so these are my top 5 improvements. There are more than 5 if you really want to picky, but these are in my opinion, the most significant.



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