looking at buying a pocket PC / PDA

Tomasz Rola rtomek at ceti.pl
Sun Oct 29 15:08:34 CDT 2017

On Sat, Oct 28, 2017 at 08:03:31PM +1000, tom sparks via cctalk wrote:
> I am looking at buying a pocket PC / PDA, so I can write idea/notes
> when I am away from my computer
> the [Psion 3](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psion_Series_3) and
> [Psion 5](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psion_Series_5) look like
> good options,
> but i read about the hinge/screen issues
> I am leaning more towards the Psion 5 because of the easy of getting
> accessories,
> but it has more things to break
> but I am wounding about other options?

I was looking down that road and recognised what was there at the end
of it, and decided I want something else.

The way I understand it is, basically, those are proprietary
unmaintanaible units - designed for "sell and replace when broken",
maybe not as much as modern designs, but still. Getting old rather
fast. Not much options to have one's own OS on it. Not much options to
have any additional software on it - old websites died off, people
sometimes followed, sometimes went on or retired. Hence, not much
options to ask questions when I get stuck. No manuals, AFAICS.

Surface mounted electronics have not encouraged me either - albeit I
can see increasing number of DIY folks who can solder this in and out.

As of additional suggestions, some people sweared by their Palm Pilots
and later Palms.

But it boils down to buying used hw, no guarantee, and taking it with
you, jumping, shagging, pressing as you go. I would be afraid of it
dying anytime. It might last next twenty years, but this cannot be
counted on. Thus if I developed habit to depend on it, I would have to
keep alternative habit ready to depend on, too. And if so, going
straight for alternative habit would seem much more rational, wouldn't

Thus I choose the alternative. Positives:

- no moving parts
- keeps working on zero volts with no problem
- no proprietary unrepairable circuits
- no worry that rohs-no-lead solder breaks
- no manual required
- repairs can be done anywhere, cheaply
- expansion can be done anywhere, cheaply, as long as there is
  stationery nearby
- mods can be done, and require only very few manual skills
... and more...

I realize my advice is a bit orthogonal to the letter and spirit of
this group, but when I choose something, I try to be serious about
it. So either the above way, or I would have to buy few more
replacements and serve as my own repair shop (time sink alert! money
sink alert!), but without manuals and fearing that there might be a
proprietary connector broken, which can be bought and transferred from
a country ten thousands km away (provided I can name it properly, so
it could be found), which might be ok if I made more shopping, but for
just one plastic part is rather excessive, which sends me back to my
selected alternative.

In case you have not guessed yet:







If you wonder, yes, I have the paper notebook, two even (but I think I
would be joining them in a future - scissors, glue and more
paper). Not as creative as the ones on pinterest (some of those are
probably more "show" than "practical"), but I am slowly inventing my
own way of doing it. Preying on the web to see how other people do
this, from time to time.


Tomasz Rola

** A C programmer asked whether computer had Buddha's nature.      **
** As the answer, master did "rm -rif" on the programmer's home    **
** directory. And then the C programmer became enlightened...      **
**                                                                 **
** Tomasz Rola          mailto:tomasz_rola at bigfoot.com             **

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