Hello old friend

Today on my commute home from work, I struck up a conversation with the man sitting next to me because he was using a very special pocket computer:

psion_s5mx

That’s a Psion Series 5 (technically a 5mx but that’s irrelevant to you normal folks.) It’s probably the best pocket computer ever built, but by now it’s also extremely rare and, in the context of electronic progress, rather ancient.

I have owned and used one of these for a decade, and I posted about it. It served me well and I still miss many aspects of it. If such a machine existed today with Internet access then I would probably still be using it. But mobile Internet didn’t exist back in its day.

I bought mine in 1997 and sold it again in 2006 when I finally replaced it with a smartphone (an iPhone 3G was a good choice at the time). This man in front of me bought his Psion in 2000 and is still using it in 2015, many times each day. That is really amazing! He does not need Internet on the go and just syncs with his desktop computer when he gets to work.

These devices just keep on working, and the amazing thing is that they’re every bit as good as modern equipment (as long as you don’t need the Internet). In some aspects they’re actually better!

Instant on. Touch screen, naturally. This is pretty commonplace today. But how about three weeks battery life! It also has the world’s best small physical keyboard, better even than some twice the size, allowing me to write as fast as I can think. If I squeeze fingers together a little, I can actually ten-finger touch-type on this – unthinkable even on tablets of today. For people who write a lot on the go, this is a major benefit.

But I digress. The point simply is that there are still people using these magnificent machines, and it made me smile to meet one. I’m nostalgic that way.

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