That Ol’ PDA Is Still Good

by Reads (10,413)

I thought that I would try something different this week. I had a Pocket PC PDA sitting around that was collecting dust, and I figured that this week I would give it a full charge and then a good run to see how well I could adjust.

While I had a heck of a time adjusting to a handheld that is not a phone (weird right, especially after my articles about being happy with a two-piece solution), that ol’ PDA has shown me a few things that I have come to like about PDAs, but in a slightly different light.

Use It or Lose It

My ol’ PDA is an iPAQ h1935. It has no Bluetooth, no Wi-Fi (but I do have the Wi-Fi SD card), only enough RAM to get the basic things done, and it runs Windows Mobile 2003. Basically, it is the polar opposite of my Treo 650.

So I charged it up, then went to work, came home, went to sleep, and a few days later it was dead. I had not played with it. I also forgot that this was a device that would lose its memory when the power would run out. This made me change my actions a bit. I had to use this handheld consistently, and then charge it (yikes, usage).

It was at that moment I realized why PDAs have had to grow up. Many people to whom I recommended handhelds liked them, but never liked using them. They really had to be convinced to keep using them. And while PDAs have gotten better at doing the “common sense” things, for some, they are still cumbersome. With that all in mind, I sought some software to help make things easier.

Bring On the Software

The first thing was that dang ‘X’ button that doesn’t really close applications. I ended up downloading the free and easy to set up Magic Bar for that problem.

Then, because I know that I am basically away from computers all the time, I needed to download and install the Wi-Fi card drivers.

With just those I was kinda ready to go. I still needed a way to back-up programs and so I did an install of Active Sync 3.8 onto my work Tablet PC and then synced the iPAQ as a guest device. From there, I was able to visit a couple of download sites and directly snagged a few games.

A Learning Experience

So what did I learn in my time with that ol’ PDA? Well, for one, technology even of a few years ago is still quite usable. Though I do admit that the battery life of the h1935 leaves a whole lot to be desired (it can’t even give me a day of standby time, sheesh), it still is a nice device and one worth giving to someone who might need a handheld for the basics and not much more.

One more note, a PDA without wireless is not desirable at all anymore. I don’t know if it is my Treo that has spoiled me, but for some reason, if a handheld doesn’t have the ability to go wireless with Wi-Fi , Bluetooth, or cellular, then I just don’t want it. I’m so glad that lots of old PDAs like the h1935 can use wireless SD cards.

Crazy, the change in the PDA market user expectations.

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