Saturday, August 28, 2004

Why the old Palm IIIx is still the coolest thing ever

I've been thinking about getting a PDA for ages but the cost of both the object and wireless Internet stalled me.

I mentioned this to Daniel and he said that he had an ancient Palm IIIx lying around that I might like to try. Old technology! Oh well, I might still use it as an address book and diary. Worth a try I guess. And I shouldn't be buying expensive things when I'm not working anyway.

Due to the slowness of the serial cable (apparently there once was a time before USB was popular - I know, I can hardly remember either) and only 4MB of memory, syncing my email to it is stupid. I made that mistake at first, and it was a bit painful to undo. There's no wireless Internet, no colour screen and most applications available for download won't run on old OS 3.3. No bluetooth, no built-in keyboard, no phone, no Microsoft applications, no camera, no radio and no mp3 player.

BUT AvantGo has changed my life. I no longer need to sit at my desk to read the newspaper (or other excellent publications). I can take the newspaper on the bus without all that tiresome broadsheet folding that makes it hardly worth it. I can take it on the balcony with a plunger of coffee, where a slight gust of wind isn't going to blow it off the table. I just put the Palm on the cradle in the morning, press the sync button and magically the new pages are there.

Not only that, but when watching a fine British production inspires me to read Jane Austen again, I can. Reading in bed on something smaller than a book is easier on the tired arms, with the advantage of a backlight if the person next to you is trying to sleep.

There are also plenty of games to download (although admittedly not as many as for more recent OS), including some of the tried and true favourites (I never thought I'd be so pleased to be able to play Solitaire in bed).

Daniel pointed me to a place where I could download and convert Infocom games for the Palm, and now I'm having a great time being driven completely crazy by Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Of course the diary and address book functions are also fine, and I'm starting to use the notepad more and more - to get my thoughts down during the ad breaks of Neighbours. Conveniently, Daniel also had two keyboards for me to plug in, so writing something while waiting for Karl to discover that Izzy's baby isn't really his (gasp) isn't the chore Graffiti alone would make it.

You can buy one on Ebay for around AU$50.