17th Sep 2005

Posted in

Blog :: Will Shill for PDA

I am considering buying a tech gadget.  This is actually a first for me - for a tech geek I have a fairly spartan collection of tech toys.  I do own a wireless router and a wireless bridge (Linksys WET11; very useful for extending my network to ethernet only devices) and am currently ebaying the detritus of several old laptops I've aquired for free.  I do own a digital camera and I have a cellphone (cheapest model my provider supports) but really, for a geek I don't have much in the way of gadgets.  I don't have an MP3 player (my wife does though). I don't even have a usb key, and I don't have a pda.

It's that last one that I've decided to remedy.  I've never needed a pda because I work from home: my 3 monitor, two box command center has always been all I needed and I'm never away from it for long enough to really need mobile computing.  With my new job, however, I'm spending a lot more time away from my computer than I used to and am finding myself needing to take more extensive notes while I'm away from my computer.

Additionally I've been wanting for a long time to have remote internet access inside my house.  I'd like to be able to check my email from my bed when I'm reading at night or read my blogs from the comfort of my couch.  My previous attempts at a solution (involving the aforementioned free laptops and wireless bridge) weren't too successful.  When you have two power adapters to plug in (the bridge and the laptop; old laptops do not have useful batteries nor will their pcmcia slots work with newish wireless cards) and the entire package weighs about 10lbs for a slow device (64 MB ram, pentium 200) with low resolution (800x600) you tend not to see it as very "mobile".

So I'm in the search to meet both my needs by way of a pda.  My minimum requirements are a vga screen (640x480 minimally) that runs Linux.  Built in wireless is a strong plus.  Finally, it would be nice to have convenient text input methods.  So far I've lusted after the high end Zaurii (Sharp SL-C3000 family), and the older Zaurus SL-6000.  (Information about the pda's discussed can be found at linuxdevices.com).  I can't quite bring myself to pay $700-$900 for the C3000 family and the SL-6000 model is discontinued and very rare on Ebay.  So I've been looking at some of the upcoming devices available.  The Nokia 770 seems to be the most interesting of the bunch - 800x480 touch screen with built in 802.11b.  I am slightly concerned at rumors that it is slow and bluetooth keyboard unfriendly (both appear to be resolved and/or false).  Still, especially if the price is as rumored (around $350), I'd probably buy one if it were available today.

Which brings us to the problem.  Nokia's website has said that the 770 will be available in the 3rd Quarter of 05 for quite some time, and it's almost the 4th quarter now.  A few individuals already have them (Ari Jaaksi blogs about his 770, (he's the head of Nokia's Open Source software development ) but there doesn't appear to be any way to buy a pre-release model yet, despite some weird craigslist postings.

So I'm stuck here, waiting for tech nirvana.  I'd happily shill for a pda if Nokia would let me buy a prerelease version of the 770.  In the meantime, do you have any ideas for a pda I've missed (Archos PMA400 is qvga only, Lifedrive runs palmOS, the PepperPad is almost perfect but too much money..)?  Or do you perhaps have a Zaurus 6000L you'd sell me cheap? :)  Mail the webmaster@metapundit.net if you've got answers...

Posted on Sep 17th 2005, 01:24 AM