EDitorial ± 2-Jun-2003

File Of Facts

I wouldn't consider myself an early adopter: you know, one of those people who has to be first on the block with the latest gear. We use a colour portable most of the time; there's no Sky or digital in the house; and DVD? Not for me yet, ta very much, though the VHS shelves at Blockbuster are shrinking like the latest Big Brother viewing figures.

Here's a cautionary tale. Back in 2000, I got me a snazzy PDA for my birthday. This was the very recently launched Handspring Visor Deluxe, and I was one happy camper. It could store around 100 times more names & addresses than I knew, it could run endless downloadable bits of freeware, and it was the same colour as my iMac at home, a small but essential detail.

Close-up of dead tech

One of the best features, IMHO, was the ability to take a long article or out-of-copyright short story from the web, something that would be a pain to read online, and download it to the device. That way, I could slip the Visor into a coat pocket at lunchtime, then idly flick through the pages while sipping a caffeinated beverage in town. Saved on dead trees and looked cool too.

Over time the novelty wore off. You get out of these things what you put into them, and I put in less and less. And when I did extract it from the leather case, it demanded fresh batteries before it would play. Consequently it fell into disuse. I wasn't proud of this state of affairs.

Having been carted around in my rucksack for months, I decided a few months ago that it was time to give it another go. Only then did I discover a crack in the screen, and it resolutely refused to recognise a single tap of the stylus. Not good. Really not good.

Much more recently I've been using a retro PDA that:

  • is stylus independent,
  • requires no power source,
  • fits in my back pocket,
  • and is practically disposable

Yep, my trusty WHSmith 32 sheet narrow ruled notebook is doing the job, ta. A snip at 49p.

If You Take Away With You Nothing Else

The lure of tech:

  • ebay has Visors for around £35, a sixth of the original value
  • no way I can justify getting an iPod, desirable as they are
  • mind you, these Sony Clies are pretty good value (must resist)

Be seeing you!