Talk:Why A PDA?

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I think this could be a page on it's own linked to from both the Palm and PocketPC pages (and maybe as a counterpoint from the HPDA page). Please, comment, contribute do what wikizens do.

Well, first comment of my own: Obviously, brevity (or a lack thereof) is one of my strongest shortcomings in some places here. I'm trying to strip down some of those paragraphs into sentences and just generally tidy it up a bit. If you see something you want to reword before I get to it, don't be afraid to step on my toes. --ThePolack 21:12, 12 Apr 2005 (EDT)

Pulling a couple of things out here. As you say, brevity isn't a problem ;) -- ironically however there are things that should be less brief, I think. Viz (in the last section):

  • It's easier than most paper organizers. Why?
  • Why does Graffitti 2 leave much to be desired?

"With a paper-based system, there is always some data redundance. You have your boss's address and phone number written in your paper address book but his email is stored in the address book for your email program. Your sister's birthday is entered into your PC's calendaring application, but it's not written down in your HPDA anywhere so you forget to get her a card the next time you have some discretionary time near a shop."

The same paragraph could be written about PDAs -- data (storage) redundance is as much a problem with them as with paper.

--RobertDaeley 03:06, 13 Apr 2005 (EDT)

It needs to be rephrased. The idea is that you have only one "datastore" instead of having to keep track of the same data in multiple places. It's a reduction in data entry that is the primary gain. I need my info on my computer for certain reasons that I can't avoid, but I also need it on my person at times. By synchronizing the Palm to the PC, there is no need to duplicate the effort of data entry. If information is altered on one, it automatically syncs with the other.
So the same paragraph really couldn't (or shouldn't) be written about PDAs. If you set it up properly, the redundancy issue should disappear.
--ThePolack 11:06, 13 Apr 2005 (EDT)


[edit] Phones as PDAs

Many of the advantages of an electronic PDA can be found on good mobile phones. For example, mine syncs with my calendar and address book, I can play games, listen to the radio and music, and store and take pictures (sony ericsson k700i) as well as make calls. It can do e-mail but I already have two e-mail inboxes so don't really want another one! I find it complements my hipster PDA and I can also use it for task lists and notes (getting quite good at typing using predictive text - do PDAs use that?). --Sophia 03:04, 13 Apr 2005 (EDT)

Smart phones could easily be mentioned somewhere on this page. I wasn't really trying to exclude them. --ThePolack 11:06, 13 Apr 2005 (EDT)

[edit] Totally Off-Topic

This really has nothing to do with the subject in question. but wherever I see or hear the word PDA the voice inside my head no longer sounds like my own. I hear Master Shake. It's completely beyond my control. --JamesRifkin 16:07, 14 Apr 2005 (EDT)

[edit] Perhaps a nit, perhaps a definition

The article says "All in all, it sometimes seems as though PDAs are the perfect portable reference device, but they're not ideally suited for taking lots of notes or performing a lot of text input." This is, more or less, not considered a weakness, but is by design. Palm, at least, was saying this back when they were call "Palm Pilots." If you need to enter a lot of text, use the PC/Mac keyboard and sync.

[edit] The downside of PDA's

3. They're hard to take notes with. I don't care if it's by design. If all I'm carrying with me is a PDA, then that's all I have to take notes with. Also, if I add a calendar event or a todo, I'm going to want to append a note usually. 2. They're not completely reliable. I synced daily and still lost data due to hard resets. It wasn't much, but it was annoying. I know people sync once a week and tell horror stories of irretrievable files. That's not my definition of a trusted system. 1. They break. My wife ran one through the wash. I left one in a hot care. I sat on one. One just plain wore out and stopped working. Every time, not only did I lose data, not only did I lose productivity because the heart of my trusted system was AWOL, but I had to shell out cash to buy a replacement. Finally, my wife came home and said, "I bought you a new palm pilot," and she dropped a fifty cent hand-held calendar in my lap. I've since upgraded to something larger and easier for me to take notes with, but I'll never forget the slowly dawning realization that this little baby would never ever drop data. My wife even washed it, and I just set it in front of a fan and kept using it. --Smilez 23:13, 17 July 2006 (EDT)

  • I think the reliability issues are anecdotal and are the result of the specific circumstances surrounding the failure and don't necessarily apply to PDA use in general. I've used Palm OS devices for years, churning through four devices in the process (none of them broke, I just had a serious new gadget fetish and a lot of disposable income), and I've never once had a backup failure. Any hard resets I performed were always the results of my own actions, and really had nothing to do with the stability of the device itself (like trying out a haxie instead of just finding a suitable application or doing something else equally destablizing like using early beta software). That being said, if there were a large number of PDA failures that could indicate some kind of flaw in their design which makes them inherently unstable under a variety of common conditions, but I see no evidence of that being true except for a few isolated models of device. In the experience of myself and other heavy Palm users I know, PalmOS PDAs are extremely reliable. Now that doesn't mean that my limited experience is a clear indicator of a wider, more generalized trend for PDAs as a whole, but your statements of unreliability are based on similarly limited experiences with a similarly small group of PDA users (relative to PDA users as a whole) and I feel it's worth offering the counterpoint for perspective. As for PDAs breaking, that's already been addressed in the article and most paper organizers run through the wash cycle would not fare too well either. --ThePolack
  • Thanks for the counterpoint. I agree that PDA's in general are reliable; they're just not as reliable as paper. I agree that PDA's generally handle average wear and tear well, they're just not as sturdy as paper. And as I mentioned above, a huge issue for me was price. I thought I needed something slick that saved me from inputing info twice and kept reams of info at my fingertips. Turns out I needed something rock-solid reliable and able to take a beating that would still manage to keep the right info at my fingertips. Turns out I had completely misjudged the importance of note-taking/sketching/outlining in my info capture process. What I had was something generally reliable and fairly fragile that made taking notes a chore and was very expensive to replace. Clearly PDA's were not right for me, but perhaps other's needs are different than mine. --Smilez 22:24, 18 July 2006 (EDT)
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