[NBLUG/talk] PDA recommendations?

Lincoln Peters sampln at sbcglobal.net
Sun Jan 29 16:51:30 PST 2006

On Sunday 29 January 2006 14:58, Bill Kendrick wrote:
> On Sun, Jan 29, 2006 at 01:07:29PM -0800, Lincoln Peters wrote:
> > First of all, I need a new PDA that will do everything that the m515 did
> > as well as the m515 did it (I used it primarily for its Address book,
> > Calendar, and To-do list functions).
> I don't know the specifics of the m515, but I would imagine that pretty
> much any PalmOS device would fit your needs in the PIM (personal info.
> mgmnt.) departmnet.

That's what I figured.

> > That seems pretty easy, considering the PDA's I
> > saw on display at Office Depot and CompUSA this morning.  But I also want
> > to be able to sync it with my Debian/Etch box, which is using Kontact
> > v1.2 (with KPilot v4.6.0, KMail v1.9, KAddressBook 3.5, and KOrganizer
> > v3.5).  If I can do that, I'd also like to sync it with a Macintosh
> > running OSX 10.4 (but I'll save that for a mailing list that's geared to
> > Mac users).
> There _may_ be issues with connectivity (USB vs serial, drivers, etc.),
> but the last time I played with a Palm under Linux was with a Palm III and
> a serial cable. :^)
> > I'm also curious about multi-function devices.  If I could get a
> > smartphone (e.g. the Palm Treo) that would replace my m515 *and* my cell
> > phone, that would be one less device I'd have to carry.  But I don't want
> > to go for a multi-function device if it doesn't do at least as good a job
> > as each of the individual devices that it would replace.
> Not sure what, or whether, to recommend anything here.  I've got no
> exeprience with the Palm-based phones, but as anecdotal evidence, I have
> some friends that really like their Treos.

I've heard good things about the Treo, but I just don't have a compelling 
enough reason to buy one.  Besides, last I heard the Treos were being 
transitioned to Windows Mobile, and I'm morally opposed to anything 

> > Finally, being a college student on a tight budget, I want to make sure
> > that what money I spend on a new PDA is as well-spent as possible.  The
> > PDA should do everything I need, it should be reliable, and I shouldn't
> > have to pay extra for feature that I won't use.
> Wow, there are features people _don't_ us? :^)

I didn't use the "Expense" program on the m515 because it was pretty much 
useless for anyone other than a business traveler.  I didn't use the "Mail" 
program either because I could never get it to work with ANY software on 
Linux or MacOS X (apparently you can send e-mail through KMail, but you can't 
read incoming mail).

> > 1. What kind of PDA do you use, and how satisfied are you with it?
> I've got a Sharp Zaurus SL-5500.  From a PIM standpoint, it's reasonably
> good.  It ended up replacing my Palm for that functionality, _plus_ it's
> a Linux box in my pocket, and was way more capable than the Palm III ever
> was.  (Color screen, played MP3s and videos, 3D games, web browser, SSH,
> wireless, etc.)

The Palm m515 has a color screen.  It won't do any of the other things that 
you describe, but I don't see myself ever wanting a PDA to do so (I already 
have an iPod for MP3's, a laptop for web browsing and SSH, and I can't see 
myself needing to play videos or 3D games on a portable device).  As long as 
several single-function devices do their respective jobs better than any one 
or few multi-function devices, and the devices will fit comfortably in my 
pockets and on my belt, I'd rather go with several single-function devices

> The battery life is cruddy, though, but that was fixed in later models.

The *last* thing I want to do is to replace a PDA that's unusable because of 
intermittent crashes with a PDA that's unusable because the battery life is 
too short.

> > 2. Can you sync your PDA with anything on Linux?  If so, how reliable is
> > it?
> I really never got into that, aside from backing things up.  On occasion
> I've wished that I had a full PIM on my desktop and could sync it, but 99%
> of the time I was happy enough having the PIM in just the device.  (Backed
> up in case of loss or breakage.)

I like being able to sync for several reasons:

* I can enter my class schedule into the PC *much* faster than I can enter it 
into a PDA, even when using a keyboard with the PDA.

* I can easily transfer contacts I create on the PDA to the Palm, which is 
useful for e-mailing them quickly when I get back to my computer.

* If I ever lose my address book, calendar, or to-do list on *either* device, 
I can easily restore from the other.

> These days, I'm in the midst of switching from Sharp's official Zaurus ROM
> for the SL-5500 (which is pretty old) to OpenZaurus.  I haven't had the
> time to fully play with the PIM features, though.  They seem improved,
> compared to Sharp's stuff, but being a bleeding-edge OSS project, I'm
> concerned about stability.

I'd also be concerned about stability, considering how heavily I use and 
depend on my PDA.  If nothing else, I'd like to know that I can yell at 
someone if my PDA stops working.

> > 3. What multi-function devices, if any, are worth considering?
> The middle ground doesn't seem so good yet. (e.g., a cellphone that has
> PIM functionality).  I haven't played closely with any, and have only seem
> BREW ones (since that's the kind of phones we develop software for).
> I have an LGE VX7000 and the UI is better than most BREW phones, but still
> pretty lame.

My Samsung cell phone (which was free with my cellular service) includes 
Calendar and To-do applications, but they're pretty lame (even if you ignore 
the difficulty of typing with a 10-key pad).  Although if I could find a way 
to read its Smart Card under Linux, it would be nice if I could sync the 
phone numbers on it with the PC and the PDA.  But that's another project, and 
I'm running out of time before school starts to work on such projects (and 
I'm signed up for 19 units!).

> > My experience with the Palm m515 has been that it worked nicely for what
> > I needed, and sync'ing with the Kontact suite works most of the time
> > (sometimes KPilot crashes in the middle of a sync, to-do items on the PDA
> > always overwrite those on the PC even if the items on the PC are more
> > recent).
> Sucks that it's not perfect yet.  But in any case, it sounds like a PalmOS
> device might be what you want.

Since school starts for me in about 15 hours, I bit the bullet and bought a 
Palm Z22 with extended warranty at the Rohnert Park Office Depot.

Lincoln Peters
<sampln at sbcglobal.net>

The man who runs may fight again.
		-- Menander

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