PDAs - What are they good for?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Darren Haycock, Jan 28, 2004.

  1. Darren Haycock

    Darren Haycock Second Unit

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    Hey guys, this isn't a PDA bashing thread. I've been browsing Dell's website a little bit lately and the Axim's look pretty cool. But then I got to wondering, what would I use it for? My roommate got a palm pilot for his birthday and was all excited. I'm like "oh cool, so what can you do with it?" Didn't get a huge response. Maybe it's due to the fact that I'm still in college, and they're used a lot more in the business world. I've looked around the internet just searching for what one can do with handhelds, and haven't really found anything. I know lots of you guys have them, so fill me in!
     
  2. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    a PDA is something i really want to need. unfortunately i dont think i would really use the thing much. my friend has a dell axim, the thing is sweet. the technology seems pretty advanced, maybe i will need one eventually, but i dont know enough people yet [​IMG]

    CJ
     
  3. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    I have a basic Palm (handspring visor deluxe) with no frills (no mp3 player, wiress internet, etc) and im in 1st year university.

    For me, its just a smaller, more efficient version of my agenda. Phone numbers, due dates for projects, assignments, readings, homework, and exams. WIthout it though, i'd be lost as to what assignemnts i have coming up and whatnot.

    Basically a phonebook, datebook, todo-list, memopad.

    It seems really useless when you dont have it, as you can just use your datebook, but it is quite convenient to have all the data in the palm of your hand you can reference quickly.
     
  4. Scott Dautel

    Scott Dautel Second Unit

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    I've been a Palm Vx user now for 2+ years. I literally use it every day (mostly for business).

    At work, our email platform is Lotus Notes & the palm can synch to my address book, todo list, calendar, memo pad etc. You can also synch emails, but I dont bother with that function. I mostly use the address/tel book (I have hundreds of entries) and memo pad. It's kind of funny to go into a customer visit and find that they have palms ... everyone is beaming (via IR port) their business cards back & forth ... actually quite useful since they automatically wind up in my Notes directory when I return home. The memo pad is aslo nice. I have a little keyboard and can type up trip reports and letters while travelling, then everything gets synched and filed on my return

    The "toy" function I really like is www.avantgo.com
    This site offers hundreds of news, weather, sports, tech, etc. mini-sites that down load to the palm & update with every synch (i.e. every afternoon for me). Right now I get weather (5 cities), movie reviews (metacritic), local movie listings (great for the weekends), airline flights, Wired News, etc.

    The newer palms & Pocket PC's can connect to WiFi ... It would really be nice to surf while sitting in airports, starbucks, etc. That will be my next one. We have now upgraded to Axims at work. They can show pictures and play MP3/WMA files (via SD memory cards) ... nice feature, but the media player really burns battery power, so I'm told. So what, most are rechargeable

    OK ... so thats really it. I'm not sure much of this applies to college students, 'cept perhaps for the little black [e]book.

    Scott
     
  5. Eric Samonte

    Eric Samonte Screenwriter

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    Ask any medical doc and he'll say its a Godsend. Its a great help with information available right there and right now, from patient's lab results to recent drug interactions. But my take on it is its kind of a cheat. During my residency years, we had to think of everything right off the bat, during rounds and just about anytime. Nowadays, everyone has one of them "cheat" devices. They all seem to not have to think anymore and trust in technology.
     
  6. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I've been using a Sony Clie for over a year at work, and it has become a necessity to me.

    I synch with my work calendar, so I have my schedule with me. I also set alarms to remind me of upcoming meetings. The calendar also tracks personal things: Toastmasters meetings, girlfriend visits, vacations, going to friends to play games.

    I have my division's phonebook in it, which is extremely useful. I also have the number for the local pizza place so I can pick up a pizza after work on Fridays [​IMG]

    I purchased a scientific calculator program so I've always got a robust calculator with me (and don't need to carry a second gadget around).

    I've got a few puzzle games for very boring meetings or when I'm on hold during experiments.

    The memo pad is handy for keeping tidbits of data like how to map a network drive for remote email access or directions to a party.

    My shopping program is used for grocery lists and Christmas shopping. My ID tracker keeps all my passwords in one handy (protected) place. Much better than scraps of paper.

    Granted, all this can be done with a traditional organizer, and for some people that's a better choice. (Some people work better with a larger calendar to take notes in.) A PDA is also much more expensive than the non-digital options. But for my needs and desires, it's the right choice.
     
  7. Tommy G

    Tommy G Screenwriter

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    I have to admit, I was doing just fine with my old Daytimer and writing appointments in it. Then we were required by my company to use outlook so that people can book appointments right in our calendar. That's when I started missing appointments because I would often times forget to transcribe them in my Daytimer. Got the company to approve a PDA for me (barebones) and at first I thought it wouldn't work but I made myself get in the habit of using it all the time and now I can't live without it. It's great to be able to synchronize appointments and doing expense reports right in the thing is priceless (not having to search everywhere for that stupid piece of paper I wrote the mileage down on). It's just one of those things you need to force yourself to use and then you love it.
     
  8. Colin Davidson

    Colin Davidson Second Unit

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    I am a Compaq IPAQ user.

    As some stated above I use mine for:

    Appointments - especially upcoming DVD releases.

    Contacts

    Notes

    Listening to music while on the bus

    Reading ebooks

    Pocket Streets for finding my way to addresses

    Ewallet - which allows you to keep all your personal info on your PDA - encrypted I might add. Great for helping me remember the several dozen passwords that I have to use. Also if my wallet ever is lost/stolen all that info is available.

    And most importantly a complete list of all the DVD's I own and a list of ones that I want. DVD Profiler has the ability to save the list in several different database formats. I then convert it to an Excel format and put it on my IPAQ. Then I can look at any time to cross check what I own to what I am buying at the moment. Has saved me several times from duplicate purchases. Practically impossible to keep track of several hundred DVD's.

    The lastest version of DVD Profiler has given hints that in a future release it will have direct PDA capability which I can hardly wait for.

    Regards,
     
  9. andrew markworthy

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    I think the question you have to answer is how many of the following do you use regularly:

    (1) diary
    (2) address book
    (3) basic works of reference (dictionary, tables of formulae, etc)
    (4) calculator
    (5) personal stereo

    If there are more than three items on that list, then get a PDA. It will do all of the above and more besides, as some contributors to the thread have already noted. Plus it's smaller than a diary, and of course if you alter an appointment or address, you don't have messy crossings-out.

    I used a Filofax for years (I got into them years before the yuppies after finding one in a shop catering for vicars, who prior to the 1980s, were, along with army officers, the biggest users of Filofaxes, believe it or not). Then I bought an Apple Newton (I know, I know [​IMG] ) and that soured my liking for PDAs so much that I went back to a Filofax. However, the next generation of PDAs were superb and I'm now the proud owner of a Clie NX 70 with MP3 player, camera, and loads of extras.

    If anyone is contemplating buying a PDA, I'd say make sure you get one with a mechanism for protecting the screen (if it doesn't come with one, you can usually buy a cheap custom-made case on ebay), but otherwise, just enjoy it. Oh yes, and I personally would recommend the Palm system over the pocket PC, but that's a swings and roundabouts argument.
     
  10. Darren Haycock

    Darren Haycock Second Unit

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    Thanks for the replies guys. Gotta question for you. I'm currently connected to the internet thanks to a wired router, but on campus many of the buildings including the library have wireless function. So, that being said, the Axim X3i looks to be pretty nice. However, my question is this. How good is the internet on one of the PDA's? I ask this because on my cell phone they're like, access the internet through your cell phone! And it really seemed just like a gimmick. You could get a couple news items from CNN, check the weather or something, but not much else. It's not like the whole internet was available to you. What's it like on PDAs?
     
  11. AllanN

    AllanN Supporting Actor

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    I have a Palm m105 its perfect for me because I don’t use it for any multimedia applications. I basically run the calendar, to do, contact list, notes, I also have an application that syncs with MS Money 2004 so that I can keep my account balanced. I use my debt card for everything so having an accurate balance with me is very nice. I use the notepad to take notes at meetings. I also have a vehicle expense tool, even though it’s just for my personal use. For productivity apps the palm is the way to go. The entry level models are very reasonably priced vs. the Pocket PC models. One thing I wish I did have was Pocket Streets of PalmOS, if such software existed.

    But a PDA is only as useful as you make it.
     
  12. andrew markworthy

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    To be honest, I think it's a bit of a gimmick, but a couple of colleagues of mine swear by it. I can't see it's all that much use, given the screen size and the relatively modest processing capacity of most current PDAs. Even if processing power improves (and it inevitably will) I think screen size will always be a major drawback. In any case, I don't think that's really the PDA's main function, and blaming it for its shortcomings in this area would be like criticising a mainframe because it doesn't fit in your pocket.
     
  13. Darren Haycock

    Darren Haycock Second Unit

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    I agree man, I just wanted to see how realistic some of the options on them really are...
     
  14. Joe Szott

    Joe Szott Screenwriter

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    I think it is a lot like a cell phone: some people can't live without one because it fits their life so well, and some just have no use for the thing. I have a Palm V and love it to death for the address book, memo pad (passwords!) and occasional Solitaire game while bored. It just makes keeping up to date with things that much easier. BTW I don't have a cell phone, never used the ones I tried [​IMG]
     
  15. Colin Davidson

    Colin Davidson Second Unit

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    Web browsing isn't to bad. Many sites now have locations for people browsing on PDA's. Those sites will display just fine. Someone above was using AvantGo for movie times and stuff like that which is displayed in the web browser.
     
  16. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    The PDA isnt really a new technology imho, its more of an improvement, or evolution of the datebook/todo list/phone book.

    People who haven't used it think its just a gimmick, an unnecessary gadget. People who do use them can't live without them.
     
  17. Bill Cowmeadow

    Bill Cowmeadow Second Unit

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    Whats a PDA for...

    Bejeweled and Yam.

    Play those games all the time on mine. As well as all the other stuff mentioned above.
     

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