[NBLUG/talk] PDA recommendations?

Christopher Wagner chrisw at pacaids.com
Mon Jan 30 09:07:16 PST 2006

Hash: SHA1

Lincoln Peters wrote:
> 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 
> Microsoft.
>>>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
>>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
>>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.

I'm looking into buying a PDA myself, and being a homeowner (as of only
recently) I have almost nothing to spend on one.  The Z22 looks like the
right price point, but I am interested to know how well it's working in
Linux for you and what you think of it's functionality?

- - Chris
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