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Handhelds Hardware

PalmPilot as fetish 120

Croaker writes "Hmm-the PalmPilot as a fetish object? This article makes a pretty interesting case that, since people are pushing the Pilot to do things that are really outside its simple, elegant design, that it's more of a fetish symbol than tool " Interesting account of Palm experiences.
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PalmPilot as fetish

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  • This concept keeps coming up - the idea that being more accessible means you have to make yourself available to whomeever wants you whenever they want you. But frankly, it's just not true.

    Most of us have figured out by now that when the phone rings in the middle of dinner, you let the machine pick it up. Or you use CallerID to screen. The only way technology will control our lives is if we choose to let it.

    When I go home on Friday, I read my alphanumeric pager but have no compunction about ignoring anything that is not important enough to interrupt my day off. Likewise, my employer knows that something had better be on fire if I am getting work calls at home.

    So, with a little common sense, don't bring the whole kit and kaboodle with you when hiking in the mountains, or learn to say "No" to whomever is bugging you while on vacation.
  • Ohmigawd you have to write on the Newton with a 'special' stylus!!! How unlike the perfectly _ordinary_ stylus on the Palm.

    In a way it's too fsking bad that Garry Trudeau apparently reached the height of his cultural influence with the Newton...he singlehandedly set the state of the art back a decade or so, because it's the first damn thing _any_one mentions when they mention the Newton, or handwriting recognition in general.

    No 1.0 technology could stand up to that sort of ridicule, and it showed: no one but Apple and a couple of others tried to even enter the field.

    The Palm, while it _is_ a neat hack, has exactly one thing, it's size, going for it. It gets around the handwriting recognition curse by not offering any.

    You have to letter (not write) things in one letter at a time, in a made-up alphabet.

    Even my aged Newt 100 lets me write anywhere on the screen, and if I use it in _letter_ recognition mode, it recognizes my handwriting pretty damn well.

    In it's final incarntion, the Newton handwriting recognition was fast and nearly flawless. Too bad Apple's not doing anything with the technology...

    It's ironic, too that one of the things the author faults the Palm for, it's tiny little screen, is one of the things everyone raves about: 'it's small enough to stick in my pocket!'
  • I have a perfectly good reason for perusing the personal ads. I'm doing a study on why 90% of the people in personal ads describe their perfect evening as 'Moonlit walks on the beach' despite the fact that their ideal evening consists of watching rental movies. This is serious scientific research. The idea that I read the personals in the hope that I'll find an ad along the lines of: "SWF 25 - perfect feet, seeking pale, unhygenic, poorly hung geek with sloppy coding practices for foot worship and other podophiliac amusements." is absurd. Really. I mean it. Would I lie?
    P.S. Before anyone calls the cops, note that I said podophile not pedophile. There's a big difference.
  • I'm not sure that you could top the original display of perfection...

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Jon focuses on the tiniest most esoteric use of what is simply "a personal robot" and writes a whole article about nothing while missing the greatest potential use of his 'bot idea. It would be like an inventor in the 1800s proposing a new creation, the electric motor, exclusively for use in vibrating dildos; totally missing a vast and more useful set of applications of such an invention.
  • You're missing the point (as did Apple, which is why the Newton died). Apple made a device that they though was really nifty and expected people to shell out a bunch of money for it on thier word that it was the Next Big Thing. Unfortunately, for all the times Apple did this on various products and failed they never really Got It.

    The Palm Pilot instead takes a look at what people really want to do and impliments it. It solves all the complaints I constantly heard of the Newton:
    - size
    - handwriting (if it don't work, find a better way)
    - Quick easy sync with normal apps
    - price

    I see lots of business execs I work with buying PalmPilots. They ALL do their work on their PC and hotsync it to the Palm. That quick one-button sync makes all the difference. Whereas Apple said "This is so cool, you won't WANT to work on your PC", Palm gives people what they ask for.

    But IMHO mostly Apple just never got the idea that to cross the chasm into the consumer market you have to price accordingly - cut the bells and whistles that you think are nifty but no-one ever asked for, and chop the price down.

  • I am unable to remember phone numbers. I spend a lot of time on the road (systems engineer). Traffic is brutal in Silicon Valley, so a lot of the time on the road I spend making and taking phone calls.

    a) paper dayplanner -- don't make me laugh, sucks for so many reasons, but lack of backup and search capability top the list.

    b) keep my laptop with me and open it on the passenger seat. Worked for a while, but it's slow and heavy, screen can't be read in bright sunlight, and battery life is about an hour.

    c) keep my pilot with me and open it on my lap. Look up phone numbers. Jot notes and to-do's. It beeps when I'm supposed to be on a scheduled call and gives my the dial-in and access numbers.
  • That's precisely why I have a sports car... 2 of them.. and a big old boat for a work car. I have them because I wanted them.

    Not that I would buy an SUV, personally I have no reason... but if you choose to, so be it. And I'll see ya in the rear view mirror.. :)
  • Still, it says something interesting about technology that we are expected to adapt to its needs rather than the other way around

    This is such a specious argument. Learning to write on paper is adapting to technology. Learning to type and use a mouse is adapting to technology. Learning to drive is adapting to technology.

    Until someone comes up with the perfect IUI ( Intuitive User Interface - an AI that can speak and hear and interpret pointing, head waggles, and other gestures), we will ALWAYS be adapting to technology.
  • It stands for Stupid Useless Vehicle or Stupid Ugly Vehicle, depending on your POV.
  • So overkill is okay? Efficiency is a secondary consideration? This from the the same crowd (Linux users) that like to brag about being able to host a website on their 486 DX2/66 while the Windows NT boys need Pentium Pros/2's to see decent performance?

    I always thought Slashdot was frequented by people that were into using the right (command-line, GUI-less) tool for the job?

    *sarcasm added for effect

  • I wrote a 4 frame grayscale movie of bevis and butthead headbanging for the TI-85. This was before ZShell was officially released. I came up with the way to do grayscale when the screen only could show B&W and Dan Eble wrote most of the ASM code. Dan's work eventually led to the creation of 4 and 16 shade libraries that ASM developers could use just as if the screen were a 2/4 bit display! All the TI-Calcs use this method for grayscale.

    Next I wrote a generic wireframe 3D rendering library. Scale+Rotate+Translate objects in the world, specify camera angle & position, then draw it. It was probably the only programming project I ever did that I thought would become popular. Then some asshole spammed it all over usenet and the Calc-TI/Graph-TI/Zshell mailing lists claiming he wrote it (Coz it was so 31337) I abandoned because of it and the library died, sadly.

  • It's kind of ironic that this man believes that Graffiti represents some kind of milestone in human slavishness towards computers. As a kid in the 1960's, I used to watch endless This Is Your Future documentaries, all which assumed that the crooked looking alphanumerics that you see on the bottom of your personal checks were going to be how all printed media was going to look....about the year 2000. While "computer literacy" (for want of a better, less anachronistic, term) was trumpeted as the greatest thing since sliced bread, the specifics usually boiled down to learning to read the patterns of punched cards, which, along with the binary system, would slowly render our fusty old Roman alphabet and decimal arithmetic obsolete.This would be necessary, since even quite modest homes would own a computer, or at least a terminal, and it would be simply more convenient to apply the same system to everyday life than to demand anything more of the machine.
    Well, it's true that quite modest homes own computers, and microwave ovens, too. But I wonder out loud how many of you could read an 80-column card, or for that matter have used binary arithmetic outside of technical life. (Note: Playing NIM as a sucker bet doesn't count.) Truth is, the history of computing since that time has been one of progressively increasing "user-friendliness"--we don't have to (personally enter the source code for every program we want to use, struggle with huge decks of potentially slippery cards, worry about paper tape chad, deal with large rolls of newsprint, keep our silicon friends--and ourselves-- in large glass climate-controlled boxes in order to work, READ TYPE THAT LOOKS LIKE THIS, etc.) The fact that the Palm only reads Graffiti isn't so much a experienced butler's demand from an aquiescing employer as it is the pleading of a newly hired counterman at Mickey D's to please, please, decide what you want before ordering, and to do so in English. Experience will come in time, and with it, a degree of sophistication. Till then, I suppose, we'll all be patiently having to explain that the Number 4 Supersize is a double quarter pounder with cheese, with large fries and drink.
  • Believe me, I'm not jealous. I don't own a car at all, I don't want to own one. I just think it's stupid to spend a great deal of money on something that not only is unecessary but also degrades my quality of life by polluting the air, wasting space and make idiots feel like they are invicible while they control 2 tons of hurtliing steel.

    Sorry, it's a sore spot with me.

    matthew reilly
  • Some of us have had our asses saved by programming a TI-81 to iteratively solve Fourier series on tests that we could not do by hand...
    and nobody was the wiser
  • I believe that was the original definition of hacker. Hack it to shreds to find out what you can do with it.
  • ...except when the screen is 160x160 pixels, which is not big enough to hold a long sentence.

    I tried writing long pieces on my Pilot, and found it to be more difficult and challenging than writing on something with a larger screen (such as vi on anything VT100-sized). The lack of context means that you have to mentally keep track of what you've written more than a few lines ago, otherwise you end up paging back and forth a lot, as well as omitting and/or repeating things.
  • It's called OmniRemote.

    http://www.pacificneotek.com [pacificneotek.com]
  • I have owned a palm pilot, and in my honest (and unedumikated) opinion they are nothing more than a little gizmo for wannabe-geeks and "busy" CEO's. They do not have any interesting features to them, the display is rivaled by a C=>64 and it's ugly! ... a bulky little thing to stuff in any pocket, I simply do not see what the fuss is... down with the Palm Pilot, back with the Newton - the last message pad was what 167mhz?

  • Umn - call me crazy (everybody else does), but nobody lumps big trucks with SUV's. I consider a double cab truck a big truck, not a SUV. Stop projecting your insecurities about your vehicle and let the rest of us ./
  • I've got the original USRobotics Pilot 5000 with a 1meg Pro upgrade. It's been my loyal friend for a few years now. I cried when I cracked its casing trying to yank the stylus out one day. Its screen is scraped all to hell, and the back memory panel falls off every chance it gets. I've been through about 12 styluses and will be on #13 soon.

    Pilot lovers, do not dispair. Do not be afraid to be a Pilot lover. Times will change, people will begin to accept you. Remain loyal to your 5000's those of you who love the youngest of the Pilots, they will be loyal to you.

    Join NAMPLA!
  • I was addicted to mine for about 18 months. The fractals programs were cool as hell...
  • Well, it was something like:

    The Palm Personal was on sale for a pretty low amount on the clearance rack at the local Office Depot, I'd just been back-paid three months of GI Bill benefits for courses I'd paid for already, and the job I had during last school year sometimes involved being a desk nomad. Worse, sometimes I wasn't given anything to do. I just sat, waiting for a phone to ring.

    So I bought the Palm knowing, before I had it out of the box, that I was going to download a doc reader and Go. The four hour stretches at an alien desk became a little more tolerable, and I eventually converted some db's we used at that place into JFile format, so I could free myself of needing to scamper up three flights of stairs and down a hall to get at information I needed from time to time.

    Sure, it's easier to get a book from the library or bring a magazine, and a nicely indexed printout of the sort of information I needed would have worked. Packing my old GameBoy (which kept me entertained many a night of radio watch while I was in Korea) would have provided the games. But like I said: it was on sale, I had the money, and it's useful without me bending my brain to make it so.

    An ex-military note: I would never have used a Palm while in the Army. Some young staff officer had a Newton and a custom holster that he wore around Brigade HQ, and he was the only time, as a junior enlisted soldier, that I ever saw officers break down and poke fun at a brother officer in front of the enlisted. Plus, I'm sure I would have tried to drag it along on a jump or out into the field and smashed it.


  • I *need* my Palm.
    I *need* my SUV, for the interior room, and the occasional ability to handle rough terrain/bad snow days, and the ability to crush Honda Civics that get in my way.

    I do agree that 99% of SUV-drivers don't *need* SUVs, and would probably be much better off with a minivan or AWD subaru or volvo station wagon. But don't assume all SUV drivers are of that ilk.

    As for your demographics estimate for the Palm, what doctor with a flashlight handed you that number? With the increasing whizz-bangedness of the computer age, the author of the article is way behind the curve. I am now expected to have all of this information at my fingertips, and though pocket spades is nice, the "basics" of what the Palm is intended to do are a necessity for an airhead like me to do my job. It also made my wallet MUCH thinner, as it is no longer used as a carrier for dozens of misc. sticky-notes.

    "The number of suckers born each minute doubles every 18 months."
    -jafac's law
  • "I bleed in six colors too"
    The Newton was WAY, WAY, WAY overpriced, and WAY, WAY too big.

    Put a Newton in a Palm III - sized package, in an eBay - Palm III price range (not retail Palm III), and I'd buy one in a second.

    Palms are also WAY WAY WAY overpriced compared to some of the Wince devices out there. (but I still love my Palm III).

    "The number of suckers born each minute doubles every 18 months."
    -jafac's law
  • I have a cel phone. *I* pay the bill. It's *my* convenience. Same with my home phone. Just cause I have a phone doesn't mean I have an obligation to answer it (no matter what ASSumptions others make) It takes a while to get over the twitching caused by an unanswered phone, but once you get past that, it's pretty cool.

    If you pack your satellite uplink communications device in the mountains, you have no one but yourself to blame. When I'm off the clock, I'm off the clock. If I don't feel like carrying my cel phone or pager, I don't.

    Yup, I've missed out on a party or two. Darn. That woulda happened if I didnt have these toys.

    Oh, and I love my Palm connecte device.. but if I want to run FreeCell on it, I do. Guess who paid for it?
  • Just think, they could assume the tasks of your palm pilots...

    Ah, sexbots. Something to replace your palm and your Palm Pilot.

    Have a sloppy night.
  • >> "You can, with the right software, program it to act as a remote control for your TV. (This same capability can reportedly be used to defeat a car's anti-burglary system as well, giving a whole new meaning to the phrase "computer crime.")"

    COOL!!!! Where do I find this????

  • a picture is worth a thousand words, and a gesture is worth a million. By itself, your post is meaningless, but by posting this message twice with different line breaks you show a degree of lameness (is that a word?) that mere words are not sufficient to describe. I'm not sure if you are really lame, or if you are a poetic genius of unprecidented brilliance. I'm sorry that this is totally offtopic, but this little pair of posts aroused such a degree of pity in my breast that I had to comment. It was pure poetry.
  • I completely agree with all of your concepts. The problem I guess that I have stems from the price really I would guess - who wasnts to pay 300bucks for something that should only be 50? -- I had an electronic organizer back when the pocket rolodexes were "all that" - I kept everything on it but was strikingly unamused by its lack of features, upgradability, or otherwise. But then again, I am quite cheap -- I absolutely won't spend 50 bucks on a dayplanner because to me it's nothing more than a little book with paper in it. The last question I would have is what sort of laptop did you have? That sounds terrible only 1 hour? I got 1 hour of battery time from my Mac Portable .... every Powerbook I have ever owned was at least 3 hours, and I used to get no less than 3 hours off of my p120 compaq (which was broken anyways).
  • I'm just a cheap, impatient guy - I can't stay with any piece of electronic equipment for more than a year really.
  • I'm still working with a dead tree Franklin [franklincovey.com] planner. I actually schlep it around everywhere. Then I won (not bought, won) a Wince box--for showing up at a meeting (go figure--the company had to give some away, I guess). Being the office anti-Windows bigot, I got a couple of ribs about it.

    Then I tried using it. I don't know if it is because it's Wince, whether I am a dyed-in-the-wool Franklin addict, or the state of the art isn't quite there yet, but the result was the same; I have never been more disorganized in my life. Since I couldn't use it as an organizer, it became a lame game machine, doing nothing but sucking up time. Worse, I can't hack it. I'm not buying a compiler for it, I can't find a Perl interperter for it, and you can't replace hardware boards. It's now sitting in the trunk of my car.

    Part of what bugged me is that I can't set it up the way I want about it. The reason I stick with a dead-tree planner is that paper is infinitely hackable. The Wince box forced me to plan its way, which had nothing to do with the way I do things.

    The other problem stems from the fact that a PDA is not an island. You need to sync it up with desktop stuff. That's well and fine by itself, but how good is the desktop stuff? The only thing I would consider would be the Pilot/Franklin Software combo, but the Franklin Planner desktop software is Windows-only.

    The PDA technology just seems too limited and immature to help me. I figure it does help others, but it just doesn't work for me. I'll check the field out in a few years, but for now I am using dead trees until the twisted sand can do better.

  • Not true! I bought my first Palm in February of this year, basically because I could afford to shell out the US$150 for a Palm Pro. It was stolen about 3 weeks ago, and I was RUINED!! Ruined, I tell you. Then a co-worker sold me his old Palm III, and now I go to dept. meetings and we all beam away just as though all of us had had Palms all along...

    Once you get into using them, they become great PDA's, and you really learn to love 'em.
    Plus also, you can write cool programs, play games, everything. Palms are so great that those who use them recognize each other as a fellow traveler. Yeah, I'm sure that there are some Wired-readin', coffee-drinking, fast car drivin' marketroids out them with 'em, but those are the only people who care about that kind of crap.

    Veteran Palmists will get a kick out of you enjoying your new nerd-o-tron...
  • I wish they used formats like CF for memory..it would make it so much easier to upgrade. And I don't care what anyone says..grafitti sucks..period. Jot is a lot more intuitive/closer to my own chicken-scratch
  • My weapon of choice. At my high school everybody was forced to buy a G as a freshman, but I was the only kid who even bothered to learn how to program it. But it was cool because then all my friends really appreciated all the stuff I made it do.

    Once I started writing progams for it that didn't fit in the machine, I bought a GX. Those were the good old days, ripping through Riemann sums, turning the television on in the middle of class, playing Christmas carols on the internal speaker (I actually wrote one piece that required 4 HP's to play in harmony), playing Baballe (this phat 3d game where you were a ball on a moving and changing set of planks), looking at a grayscale picture of Pamela Anderson in the middle of sex ed....

    No joke, I stayed up until 4 or 5 the night before my Honors Physics exam writing programs that made all the problem sets unbelievably easy. The calculator would ask you questions in plain english then use its own logic to find the answer for you. I finished the whole test in 15 mins and got a perfect score. The teacher didn't have any problems with this because he realized that if I knew the material well enough to write the programs I deserved the grade.

    Then I defected to Ti with my purchase of the TI-89. Good calculator (very nice screen), but I never had the time to really play with it, college essays and all. I still miss the HP.

    I, too, could put to good use any spare palms :-)
  • SUV=stupid ungainly vehicle
  • The sad thing for me is that the Palm get so much
    press of this type. It's not like they invented a
    new concept or anything!

    I was doing most of this kind of stuff on a Psion
    (an Organizer II LZ) back in 1989, FFS! Palm just
    took an existing product/concept and refined it -
    and now the converts are becoming zealots!

    PDAs are great, sure. They can be life-changing.

    But Palm != PDA.

    Psion did it first, and for my money, still do it

  • FYI, I believe that there is a card you can drop into the Palm Pilot's memory card slot that gives it pager capability...

    That's fine, if you don't mind the fact that it has no non-audible way of notifying you. (i.e. it just utilizes the Palm's beeping, there is no vibration-emitting device)
  • True that! One of my co-workers gave me the headsup about Accompany [accompany.com] selling the PalmV (I went for it because it was the coolest, it seemed the most durable, and because it was on sale for a then-unheard-of $350 plus shipping) a couple of months back. I snapped one up, and as soon as it arrived, I was The Envy of My Peer Group. Palm geeks traveled from all over our building to my cubicle so they could pick it up and mess with it ("It's so SMALL!" was the constant refrain). I had guys offering to beam me over this hack or that program. I felt like I was in first grade and had the Battle Damage X-Wing Fighter.

    Even my mom likes it, and she thinks most technogadgets are dumb.

  • hehe
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • Well I saw a guy with a rubber case on his and he was trying to fit it all in his mouth.

    So, yes, thats probably a fetish.
  • Its definitely funny, mainly because i've tried the same things with my now dead Psion3a, i even wrote a ~8000 word story on a long road journey once.
  • by El Volio ( 40489 ) on Friday July 30, 1999 @11:48AM (#1773798) Homepage
    For those who want to read the article, he re [bostonphoenix.com] it is.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The palm pilot will never replace the secretary's box.
  • I find that the undertones of the article scream out one large fact. The author is in denial of his geek-hood. I mean come on every geek on the planet knows its much better to read an article on a screen of some sort rather than a smashed together ex-tree (paper).
  • If you haven't figured it out already, here's a working link [bostonphoenix.com].
  • by Booker ( 6173 ) on Friday July 30, 1999 @12:05PM (#1773803) Homepage
    Perhaps literature is not such a great thing to try to read from a Pilot, but I have found that using an offline HTML reader like Plucker [rubberchicken.org] or AvantGo [avantgo.com] to read HOWTOs can be invaluable. Especially when it's something like the Hard Drive Upgrade HOWTO [unc.edu] or the Boot Prompt HOWTO [unc.edu] - times when you need information when, and perhaps because, you don't have access to your computer. Becaus these are relatively simple documents, they actually format quite well on the Pilot. The NAG [unc.edu] and SAG [unc.edu] also work well, although they get a bit big... I also use it for weather, and for upcoming live shows in the Austin area [auschron.com]

    The dates, memos, address book, and all that are handy, but the ability to read hypertext documents anywhere has been a great asset.

  • Nope, the link was just borked, evidenced by the floating /a tag that shows up in the status window when you hover mouse over link.

    "Use the preview button, and check those links!"

    truly words to live by. ;-)
  • i love my palmpilot (III, even though V looks cooler, it's way more $$$, and no significant improvements.) but i find that even a $200 piece of technological marvel can help me improve my time management skills. sure, it's great for email and phone number tracking (especially, when you're double booting into NT and linux, and can't have one address book :-(
    but the "to do" list, and the calendar don't help me at all. i just can't stick to them...even modern technology can't make me STOP being a slacker....

    i'm sure i'm not the only one. come on, you're wasting time reading /. right now ;-)

    -iGor (pronounced like iMac :-)

  • "...since people are pushing the Pilot to do things that are really outside its simple, elegant design, that it's more of a fetish symbol than a tool..."

    Using that definition, I guess there are a lot of us who have duct-tape and WD-40 fetishes...

    And all of you running Linux PPC on your iMac: You've got an iMac fetish. Actually, that last bit seems pretty plausible. Running Linux on a big translucent butt-cheek... :-)
  • Prolly so...I know *I* get turned on by *my* palm...
    Put Hemos through English 101!
  • You don't know HOW many times I whip out the WD-40 during sex. It makes it so much more erotic. ;)

    BTW: If the PALM is considered a fetish for that reason, Baking soda is light-years ahead.

    -- Give him Head? Be a Beacon?

  • Back in tech school I programmed a number guessing game into my HP-11C that would end up getting passed around the room during boring lectures. I got a second HP-11C a few years ago at a swapmeet. It's not as powerful as my upgraded HP-48SX but it's a nice package.
  • by Zack ( 44 )
    I think that this is simply a tribute to geekdom.

    Taking an object, in this case a Palm Pilot, and seeing exactly how much stuff you can make it do is not anything new. I'm sure there are tons of you who spent HOURS programming something on a TI or HP calculator... something totally worthless no doubt, but just to see if it could be done.

    If it wasn't for people who constantly strain and push whatever systems their on, then there would be little incentive for advancement.

    On that note, anyone have a spare pilot they want to send me

  • I'd say that anyone who writes "In short, you can -- just as with a regular computer -- take a device that was designed to save you time, and instead let it suck hours upon hours out of your life." embraces and understands geekhood just fine.

  • SWM, 6000 keystrokes/hr, seeks other
    for beaming, HotSyncing, possible LTR.
    I'll be your cradle if you're into PDA.
    Send picture of Palm Connected Device.

    I should go home. I must be missing PalmOS Night at the fetish bar or something.

  • I'll also go on record as being geekingly in love with my Palm. But I don't think I'm SO much in love with it that I've lost all my objectivity.

    It's simply a workable version of my old Franklin "Seven Habits of Highly Defective People" Planner.

    I can't carry my old Planner in my pocket.
    The Palm III will actually cost LESS over three years than Franklin Planner startup and refills costs.
    I'm not killing anywhere near as many trees.
    I can do a global search in the Palm III's records for names or other information.
    I can backup the data quickly and conveniently to my desktop PC, in case I lose the Palm III.
    I can reasonably secure private data from casual prying eyes on the Palm III.
    My Palm III proactively reminds me of appointments and birthday's I'd otherwise miss or forget.

    - - -
    Then there's all the other geeky toy stuff. Games, electronic books, etc. But that's under the starry-eyed geek love category.

    Then my boss showed me his Wince box, 4 times the RAM, stereo sound, a full-duty OS, full compatability with MS Schedule+ and stuff (which is what everyone else at work uses, so I pretty much have no choice). Rechargeable batteries. 90MHz MIPS processor (compared to the Palm's 16MHz DragonBallz) $130. $70 less than my Palm III. I was a bit jealous, even though the thought of actually paying money for a Microsoft product made me cringe. Then I watched my boss over the next week. THIS thing was only a toy to him. He never used it. Not once. He showed it off plenty, but he never used it. This was my first week with the Palm, and damn, it was in near-constant use. Bottom line is, the basic functions that make the Palm a necessity, are much, much easier to use than with a Wince device, even with attempts by the Wince designers to copy some of the basic Palm features, like the application hot buttons, etc.

    Now I'm finding that I'd kind of like the Palm to do two things; be smaller, and have news on it (like my stupid text pager). Damn, I'd actually like to merge my pager with my PalmIII. Someone pages me with a text message, phone # or something, I can cut and paste it right to the address book. Palm/Cellphone combo? No thanks. I'm not in the mood for a brain tumor today, plus, the cell phone, not the Palm, is what causes the obligation for you to "be reachable all the time". Changing back from Cellphone to Payphone erects (heh heh, he said "erects") a big barrier to that kind of crap. It's a lot easier to say "no" when there's no payphone around.

    "The number of suckers born each minute doubles every 18 months."
    -jafac's law
  • The article mentions Pilots are between $200 and $300...interestingly, though, the 2 meg Palm III is now down to about $160 new, via buy.com.

    I think the most interesting application I've heard of for a Pilot is the adjunct to the TV remote control program that will let you control a Furby. I should try that sometime.
  • One of the unusual things about my attraction to the Palm Pilot was that it was the first computer that I didn't like when it was new, but loved a year later. Seriously, it grows on you. At first the handwriting was slow, the screen difficult to read, and the applications not compelling relative to a notepad. However, after I got my first "application" that ran on the Palm that helped me do my job (the well known IP calculator) my interest began to increase. I new I wanted to keep the thing with me and that provided the commitment I needed to make the relationship work. Is that a fetish? Or just a healthy relationship?

    I'm on my second Palm now (IIIx) and it is just part of the scenary. Sure - sometimes it would be better to use a notepad, or paper organizer, or laptop, or calculator, or rolodex, or etc. but the Palm has all these, in a package that can certainly use some improvements, but is good enough. That's the Palm zen. Enough and available.
  • I knew you could.

  • Actually, I heard that the Marines were getting a lot of use out of Newtons, albeit somewhat hacked Newtons, and were miffed when they were cancelled. I don't know all the details. I think some of the modifications involved comm gear.

    It's really too bad, because I am not sure anything else has caught up to where the Newton was when it "failed."
    Phil Fraering "Humans. Go Fig." - Rita

  • FYI, I believe that there is a card you can drop into the Palm Pilot's memory card slot that gives it pager capability...
  • New Fetish: Lonely Hackers Getting Perverse Pleasure From Using Palms for Unintended Purposes!
  • Me: Let me give you my office number Them: (9 miinute rigamarole getting out planner, finding your name alphabeticaly. finding pen)OK.. shot
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • by delmoi ( 26744 )
    couldn't you just take a book with you? I mean, they have these big buildings now where there are lots of books, and they let you rent them *for free* there called "librarys" and you should look into it. much nicer then the little 160x160 screen of the palm pilot :)
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • A friend of mine has a WinCE, and he's a serious Windows fan, but I think even he uses the WinCE more as a toy than as a tool. The WinCE just doesn't provide the same useful user experience as the Palm (from what I've seen, YMMV).

    Speaking as an ex-Franklin user and a current Palm user, the transition to Palm was a lot less painful than I thought, and I now end up using the Palm all the time. I organize info on the Palm in pretty much the same way I did with the Franklin, but it's significantly more fluid now. Errors are easier to correct, information is easier to find, and my notes are infinitely more readable. :-)

    The built-in desktop software that comes with the Palm is great for the same reason that the Palm is great -- it's simple, and it does just what's necessary and no more. What I personally like about the desktop software is that it's essentially a view into the same data I keep on the Palm, organized in the same fashion, presented in the same manner. It's a seamless information space.

    When I'm at my desk (Windows box for client development, Linux and Solaris for server development, all on the same desk), I use the (Windows-based) desktop to track work activites and todos along with the usual phone number/address book usage. I sync up as a matter of course when I'm leaving the office for an extended amount of time, and I can pick up where I left off with that data using the Palm -- without any jarring feeling of transition. (Unlike getting Word documents into and out of my laptop, which is an explicit act of will...) It's great to pull of relevent data about the project in a meeting, to take brief notes, and have it all back at my desktop pretty much instantly when I return to the office. When I'm offline and I need to send an email, I can write and address it on the Palm (a III) and forget about it. Next time I hotsync, the email is automatically transmitted. That's pretty darn convenient.

    A GNOME-based desktop package (using Pyrite or something similar for connectivity) would be great! True wireless connectivity wouldn't hurt either, but I can wait for that. :-)
  • yeh, well the newtons *were* stupid :)

    I'd be willing to bet you could keep your palm inside your' pocket at all times, the'd never know...
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • So, I'm used to reading entire books on the Palm IIIx and I love this beast a lot. But what's next? Why does the thing run at such a ridiculously low processor speed? What is wrong with more memory or maybe a little mass storage card, stick, sliver or whatever? Why can't I dictate to the thing for hands free note taking?

    The PP is nice but it ain't state of the art. It has some growing to do. And no, the VII isn't largely in the right direction. I want real full Internet access, not to pay through the nose for some speciality Internet services including even a per byte charge! Is this the third Millenium or what?

  • I purchased my palm because of organization. I was one of those people who bought day timers and never used them and when I was given and opportunity to buy a friend of mine's palm, it was wonderful. Instead of lugging around a huge book, everything I could need is in a little hand held device.

    I do, however, work with a guy who codes on his palm and he has used it so much the touch screen has a lot of scoring on it.

    -- Shadowcat
  • No: You will still be adapting to that "perfect technology" by learning to speak in a recognized language. That doing so also allows you to function in society may someday be an incidental byproduct.

    The only intuitive user interface is a nipple. I agree with dillon rinker: That is such a specious argument.
  • Palm aces size AND battery life.
  • I gotta agree. I've bought my PalmPilot Personal before 3COM bought USRobotics. Before my Palm, I spent years trying to make a paper daytimer work for me. Moving to the Palm was a natural. I'll NEVER go back. Bwwhhahahahahahaaaaaa!
  • by Shoeboy ( 16224 ) on Friday July 30, 1999 @12:17PM (#1773838) Homepage
    I refused to believe the palm-as-fetish thing at first, but then I noticed the following 2 items in the Seattle Weekly personal ads -

    Case 1
    Men Seeking Men:
    GWM 35 fit, attractive seeks same for vigorous palm action.

    Case 2
    Men Seeking Women:
    SWM, College student - 24 Tired of staying home on friday nights having sex with my palm. Looking for older woman for cheap meaningless fling.

    The evidence cannot be denied.
  • "Real Hackers"** run PIM software on their trusty HP-48.

    ** Not really, of course, if you want to think otherwise, of course.

  • Wonderful tag line...
  • There are maybe a few thousand people in the world that actually need a Palm Pilot. I firmly believe this to be true. Just like there are maybe a few thousand people in the world that actually need to create PowerPoint presentations. Its all about the *perception* of being important and/or productive and 'cool'. Its just like the so-called Sport Utility Vehicles. How many people that own one actually have driven it on anything but pavement? I love technology, but I hate 'overkill' technology. And thats what the Palm Pilots are. For most people, a paper notebook would be better.
  • Its all over...why didn't someone tell me? My IIIx is arriving on Monday! How could they do this too me? :)

    I agree with the author: the Palm enthusiast craze is reminiscent of the early PC world. And they are ultra-cool. Heck, PalmChess is enough of a reason to own one.

    BTW- All geeks should seriously think about picking up a Palm. They are almost requisite geek gear. The III's are really cheap right now, so you can jump on the boat for not much dough. Seriously, if I had waited much longer to get a Palm, my LUG probably would have kicked me out...

  • I didn't get one -- wanted something with a built-in keyboard.

    After months of searching, there was a "Managers floor display special" on a Zaurus. Picked that up for a hair over $200. The IR beaming device was $40.

    2Mb ram, Wordprocessor, Spreadsheet, stylus, clipboard, notebook (for stylus writing), 3 data books, 3 phone books, vt100 and ansi terminals, fax sender, search utility, games, PCMCIA slot, the whole thing... and the keyboard :-)

    I don't think it's that much larger than the Pilot either.

    Right now I loaded a list of some 4500 available DVD's and going through the list as to which ones I want to buy and which ones I want to consider buying...

    I use mine, but not in public situations:
    Me: Let me give you my office number
    Them: (3 minute rigamarole getting out Palm and going to application to write down number) Ok.. shoot.

  • Preach on brother... When I don't want some aquiantance emailing me anymore, I whip out my trusty canned response simulated email bouncer. When I answer the phone and I have to WAIT a second for the party on the other line to pick up, I hang up before the telemarkter says "hi". If I don't want to be contacted in the middle of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, I simply won't acnowledge that I've packed in my satalite uplink with me. ("satalite uplink..." *drools like homer simpson*)
    BTW: I'm organized and I have a good memory, when that fails me I have a post-it note folded in my pocket and a pen to write down my shopping list, daily contact list or to do list. I recycle it once a week and with the proper caffine induced states, I can play tetris on it. A palm would be neato but I'm a student with my eye on a new PPC750.
  • I used to program a ball bouncing around the screen on my HP 42S. (Not the same language, etc. as the 48GX I think). I once tried to make a 2D shooter on the 131 x 16 pixel screen (yes, that sixteen) (like galaga, kinda) but it just wasn't feasible. Way too slow.
    I used to use my 42S all the time but ever since the end of High School (calculus AP, physics AP, chemistry AP) I haven't really needed to actualy calculate anything except checkbooks. Even in college.
  • I was going to make the obvious palm and fetish joke, but then I saw this part.
    "Magazines that specialize in what might be called business erotica, such as Fast Company and Wired, often describe such futuristic moments in rapturous, almost orgasmic tones."
    Can't top that.

  • I'm glad somebody got it. maybe if i'd added a "first post" at the end it would have been the perfect last line? -Lisa
  • I'm a surgical resident - I can't tell you how useful this little tool is for saving patient data, operative logs, important phone, pager #'s , antibiotic data and all sorts of other crap - like when my cases are scheduled. Basically 85% of the residents in my program have one of these because of those reasons and because it keeps our lab coats from overflowing with paper junk. Plus I can sit and play a game or take care of some other stuff when I'm waiting for anesthesia to finish putting the pt. under.
  • ...or perhaps you are merely trying to validate your perusal of the seattle weekly personal ads?

  • The irony of this article the author starts off telling about reading a magazine article on his palmpilot rather than photocopying it....and here I am printing a copy of the article off so I can take it with me to read later. :)
    John Kramer
  • Doesn't this article apply to technology in general? It wants to extend a bit of truth to unabomber-manifesto proportions. Still, I imagine there are more than enough anal editors, middle managers, and meddlesome cow-orkers to abuse a geek's wired-ness.

    I confess: I have a Palm organizer and a Nokia cellphone. Both have changed my lifestyle in subtle yet profound ways: the organizer let me let go of the little yellow stickies that always seemed to hide when I most needed their help (and let go of the frustration that ensued); it gave me the scheduled ammunition to tell people "no" -- I have the same 24 or so hours in a day as everyone else and now have a handle on how I use my 24; and it became another little burden to carry around. However, it's there for me to use as I need.

    Unfortunately, choosing the progressive, cellphone-is-my-only-phone stance was not the best choice for me. It made me a perpetual resource for others: I'm always on, always available, always ten digits away. It's so convenient, yet so frustrating. Even my beautiful girlfriend complained that every time she calls, I answer. Everyone needs time "unplugged," whether we geeks admit it or not... she was irked that my continual availibility made her feel intrusive. Fortunately, I'm finding a balance by using the "silent" mode more and refusing calls at inopportune times. IRL, have you ever been momentarily ignored while your conversation partner takes a call? It's a silent compliment to refuse the call, apologize for the interruption, and continue with the conversation.
    [mental note: it's uncool to get a call from clueless customers while mugging at ALS]

    I enjoy being a geek, and I don't regret my early-adopter tendencies. But even geeks are social animals -- I'm working to find a balance between being wired and having privacy.

    How do you manage your connectedness?

  • Flamebait is better when it has a kernel of truth in it -- please try again. Attack my on my attempts to use Linux for writing MS Office apps, and you might get somewhere.

    Anyway, I always thought SUV stood for Suburban Utility Vehicle?
  • Once apon a time I purchased a Compaq C120 "HP/C". It runs WinCE 1. I payed 300$ for it at local ComputerCity. BIGGEST WASTE EVER. I bought it intending to use it in class instead of the mandatory school planner. I used it for about 2 weeks. I quickly realized that a pen and little sticky notes work much better for me.

    Now I am in sticky note hell. At pressent I have 13 stuck to my monitor and keyboard. Oh well... the Compaq still lives... i sold it to my sister for 100$. She, now 11, loves to play Solitare on it. hehe... She even has a modem for it... CRAZY when you think about it.
  • My boss said "We'll be doing work on those - expense it."

    I would never have bought one myself.

    I'm not an organized person, but I am a pretty hardcore geek. I usually carry it with me and I find I use it for the things I WOULD use a paper/pen for IF I didn't abhor paper. Notes, phone numbers, etc. My life is a little more organized than it was before...

    In addition, I commute (via train) to work. I sync my email and read it en route. I used to sync /. and read it, but it's too big and I hit /. at work anyway. I've also downloaded and read 2 of Shakespeares plays and read them. I have Plato's "Republic" installed and will read that, as well as a play by Sophocles (forget the name). Unlike the author of the article, I could not have dug those up in a Library in the time it took to download and install (but, like I said, I'm a geek).

    It's not hard for me to imagine I'll read 40 literary (or not so literary - I have to check out more of Guttenberg) works on my palm - making it worth the $200 it cost (for work) to buy it...
  • Hey, when I used to collect musical lyrics and put them on my web site.. it was a fetish. By then lyrics.ch had popped up as leo went down. We all remember that.

    The fetish part of it is the consistent, driving to go further, with something. In this case, people are trying to drive thier palm's (yes you momo's.. they've been renamed a year or two back) to do more. It's not a geek thing.. it's a motivational thing. I'm a psych minor.
  • I feel like a geek for *not* having one.

    Now, if I got one, I'd just be a wannabe.


"You can have my Unix system when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers." -- Cal Keegan