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So, in 16?? (fill in the blanks if you know) Samuel Pepys wrote a huge diary that stands still as a historical document of the time. In the same century, Daniel Defoe toured around the whole of England and Wales and his account of his journey in similar style stands as a historical record of the country. (Daniel Defoe makes for a great read - buy it and spot you home town.)
In four hundred years what will they find to reconstruct the history of our time? Not much really ... paper and pen are giving way to digital systems of recording that whilst offering greater capacity in a smaller space also offer a temporary storage medium that is wiped clear and reused. And if a diary survived what would it read - well, a list of dry and pointless appointments that record only the tedium of twenty first century living no doubt.
And so I come to what I believe to be the cheapest Palm computer - correct me if I'm wrong. I paid £119.99 but these are even cheaper now. Let's get straight to the point. This was designed to be cheap and succeeded. As a consequence it was taken in huge numbers and yet ... I'm not quite sure why in hindsight.
When I first dabbled with hand held computers they came with keyboards and the quality of the keyboard was the selling point. Everybody remember Psion - still around if you look hard. Now, Palm was a new system. A touchscreen and a tiny pen meant opening and closing programs was easy and a tiny box at the bottom of the screen promised handwriting recognition. This was before its time and the fact that you need to learn a whole new language (graffiti) is testament to the problems of handwriting recognition then. Now of course Palm have taught this system to so many that even though true handwriting recognition is here they still rely on this strange language.
So what can it do? No, you can't write a novel. You'd be pushed to write an opinion for Ciao. Basically with a little patience from the person giving the details you can record contacts. You can plan meetings.
Mmmm ... yep ... that's it.
When I ran a Psion 5MX I wrote articles that were published. With this toy (and I chose that word carefully) you write diary appointments. Despite the usual suite of Palm software this is not a gadget that inspires.
The processor is slower than all other Palm devices and it comes with a measly 8Mb RAM. This means that it isn't even really worth buying the keyboard that would allow the device to be used for a greater range of uses. It does come with a docking station and software for Windows and Mac connectivity. The software works well and the diary synchronises effortlessly with Outlook.
This is like getting a 1980s phone as sold by DelBoy out in front of friends and colleagues mind. When they all sit in front of neat looking devices wrapped in brushed aluminium and exchanging colour photos to go with the contacts list you will be stuck with a cheap clack plastic casing and a screen that even the least fashion conscious would hide.
OVERALL If you want to spend about eighty notes on a diary then this is for you. If you want the functionality of a decent handheld computer then I would leave alone. Mine - gathering dust while I hanker after the days of chunkey handhelds with decent keyboards.
Thanks for taking the time to read this opinion and I look forward to any comments you might leave - Phil
I really enjoyed reading this review. It was easy to read and written fluently. It included plenty of need to know information about the PalmM105, and plenty you didn't! It was personalised just perfectly and by the sound of it, it would be easier to get excited about your review, more than the palm itself!
mark-southside 24.11.2004 16:47
I have put off buying a PDA and this has helped me defer it again. I am never convinced that it will be easy to use or have the functionality I want. I can synchronise my mobile with Outlook Calendar and send emails, so it wont be long before there is full convergence. And laptops are getting very dinky too. Just bought a new Filofax safe in the knowledge I can wait another year....