All the way back in 1997, I bought a Psion Series 5, and ever since, it has been my plastic brain, taking care of my calendar, tasks, contacts, travel diaries, notes on the road, thoughts to write, daily alarm clock, and a lot more. I have called it my plastic brain because to me, that’s really what it is. Without it, I’d be pretty lost. In those early days, I enjoyed comparing my brain to those mediocre Windows CE handhelds. Back then, portable Windows was really, really bad.
I’ve seen, and even toyed with, modern Windows portables, and I have to admit that they work a lot better than those old ones. Still, I always felt that they offered the wrong things – clunky software (made for Windows, as opposed to made for the road), color screens, and too short battery life – just to mention the top three that come to my mind.
But in these modern days with all those gizmos, I’ve been burdened by too many devices to carry around – plastic brain, personal cell phone, business cell phone, Bluetooth headset, perhaps my digital camera, and my MP3 player. That’s six items! Of course I didn’t always bring all of them with me and, obviously, very often I found myself needing one of those that I had left at home. I needed a solution, but nothing is really good enough.
Recently, a friend of mine gave me a new PDA, so now I’m trying it out. There’s much to be said, but I’ll keep it short. It really is nice to have the phone and the brain in a single unit, and a built-in camera and wireless networking as well. There are lots of things that are not at all up to par with my old brain, but I’m doing this as a field test that will run until I grow tired of it – or not.
The portable Windows software still sucks terribly, but I have come across a wonderfully useful application (Pocket Informant) that replaces all that – contacts, tasks, calendar – with a much better result. With that, the new brain is really very useful in everyday life. The downside? No keyboard and short battery life – less than two days; I was used to go 2-3 weeks between recharging!
Let’s see how it goes. I might even write up a comparison review and post it on my wiki website. Such a long text would be a breeze to write on the old Psion but rather impossible on this new one, so I’ll do that on my pc. Sigh. Such is the advance of technology, I guess.