Charlie's Diary

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Tue, 28 Oct 2003

Gadgetitis redux

Well, last week my Treo 600 arrived. It's a great phone -- but when your phone sprouts a QWERTY keyboard for text messaging and email it helps if the space bar works. Mine didn't, and the phone's new enough to have confused Orange -- in the end they escallated the issue to the desk of someone with "manager" in their title, and a replacement (with working space bar) turned up this morning, so I'm reasonably happy, but it shows that new gadgets can display new and unprecedented failure modes. Thing is, a phone with a non-working spacebar is still perfectly functional as a phone -- but not as a mobile internet/email terminal.

Anyway, all that should be sorted out by tomorrow (I just have to charge up the new phone, swap SIM and SD/MMC cards, and send the old one back).

Coincidentally, today my Alphasmart Dana Wireless arrived. It's the 21st century Cambridge Z88 replacement, and it appears to work okay; right now it's plugged in and charging up. One annoying nit is that the software that comes with it expects to be installed from a Mac or Windows system, and I'd prefer to use it with Linux. This wouldn't be a problem if they'd packaged the stuff in old-fashioned zip archives, but as most modern users wouldn't know a zip archive if it bit them (or so the current opinion runs in marketing circles) they come in fancy installer executables. Which means I need to mug a friend with an XP box before I can install things like Documents to Go on it and get motoring.

The payoff I'm looking for with all this new kit is a machine for writing on and a machine for keeping in touch with the universe, both able to run for many, many hours while a long way away from an electrical outlet, anywhere in the world. Oh, and they should weigh less than half as much as a laptop and (equally importantly) cost less than half as much as a laptop to replace if they break. I am fed up with expensive, excessively delicate machines that require you to schlepp around a briefcase full of support equipment if you want to use them for more than a couple of hours. It's interesting to note that both of my chosen pieces of gear run PalmOS, while none of the more conventional operating systems seem to cater to these needs, which I'd have thought would fill an obvious niche.

(Oh yeah. Weight of Dana plus Treo 600: 1.13Kg. Weight of iBook plus spare battery: 2.56Kg, and that's before you add in the mobile phone. Even if you leave out the spare battery, the iBook is more than twice as heavy!)

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posted at: 14:20 | path: /toys | permanent link to this entry


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Engadget ]
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Boing!Boing! ]
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Walter Jon Williams ]
Making Light (TNH) ]
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Body and Soul (Jeanne d'Arc)  ]
Atrios ]
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This Modern World (Tom Tomorrow) ]
Jesus's General ]
Mick Farren ]
Early days of a Better Nation (Ken MacLeod) ]
Respectful of Otters (Rivka) ]
Tangent Online ]
Grouse Today ]
Hacktivismo ]
Terra Nova ]
Whatever (John Scalzi) ]
Justine Larbalestier ]
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The Law west of Ealing Broadway ]
Cough the Lot ]
The Yorkshire Ranter ]
Newshog ]
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S1ngularity ]
Pagan Prattle ]
Gwyneth Jones ]
Calpundit ]
Lenin's Tomb ]
Progressive Gold ]
Kathryn Cramer ]
Halfway down the Danube ]
Fistful of Euros ]
Orcinus ]
Shrillblog ]
Steve Gilliard ]
Frankenstein Journal (Chris Lawson) ]
The Panda's Thumb ]
Martin Wisse ]
Kuro5hin ]
Advogato ]
Talking Points Memo ]
The Register ]
Cryptome ]
Juan Cole: Informed comment ]
Global Guerillas (John Robb) ]
Shadow of the Hegemon (Demosthenes) ]
Simon Bisson's Journal ]
Max Sawicky's weblog ]
Guy Kewney's mobile campaign ]
Hitherby Dragons ]
Counterspin Central ]
MetaFilter ]
NTKnow ]
Encyclopaedia Astronautica ]
Fafblog ]
BBC News (Scotland) ]
Pravda ]
Meerkat open wire service ]
Warren Ellis ]
Brad DeLong ]
Hullabaloo (Digby) ]
Jeff Vail ]
The Whiskey Bar (Billmon) ]
Groupthink Central (Yuval Rubinstein) ]
Unmedia (Aziz Poonawalla) ]
Rebecca's Pocket (Rebecca Blood) ]

Older stuff:

June 2006
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December 2002
November 2002
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June 2002
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March 2002
(I screwed the pooch in respect of the blosxom entry datestamps on March 28th, 2002, so everything before then shows up as being from the same time)

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