My PDA is old, battered and dropping to bits but I love it. Compared to today’s ultra sleek mobile and handheld devices it’s a compete brick. However, with a wide variety of software applications, it can really be a handy little device and certainly worth a second looks especially as PDA’s can now been found on eBay for next to nothing. Even as a mobile PC and phone, it’s actually not that bad.
Here’s mine – An 02 XDA II
Due to it’s large-ish 3.5″ touch screen, my PDA doubles as an excellent GPS system for my car. Coupled with a cheap car cradle and GPS dongle is works perfectly with Tom Tom Navigator 7. Connected to my PC I can easily transfer map updates, voice packs and camera updates. I have a standalone Tom Tom device but I find the larger PDA screen an advantage (especially in landscape mode) as well as being a multifunctional device rather than stand alone product.
Downloading my routes to Google Earth via Tyre
I often listen to a lot of Podcast in the car. Previously I used iPod shuffle connected to my car stereo but absolutely hated the iTunes experience on a Windows platform. Plugins for Winamp was a little better but I just wasn’t happy with this setup so I brought a new stereo with a USB/SD card inputs. Great I thought, play Podcast from a USB pen stick but most of these podcasts 1-2 hours longs and the head unit didn’t support bookmarking. In other words, when I switched car engine off I would loose wereabouts I was in the podcast and I’d have to play it again from the start. The fast forward button on the stereo doubled as the track forward button so trying to keep a finger steady on the button whilst driving was near impossible. A work around was to use an mp3 splitter program to split each podcast into, say 10 minutes tracks. It was ok but it soon became a bit of a pain. Now, I connect my PDA headphone out to my stereo and by useing pocket Windows Media player I can stop/start tracks at leisure..as well as auto downloads/sync podcasts with Juice http://juicereceiver.sourceforge.net/ and MS Active Sync.
The TWiT network on the go.
Having a pocket media player is also useful to have during lunch breaks to catch up on TV shows/Movies/Books etc
As a retro gamer, I run a pocket varieties of my favorite emulators such as MAME for arcade classics, Pocket C64 for the odd round of Leaderboard, ScummVM for my ever favorite Secret of Monkey Island as well as Nintendo Gameboy and NES games.
Originally my PDA didn’t support WiFi ‘out of the box’ so the only way I can browse the Internet was by using the desktop cradle and active sync to create a simple connection. Pretty useless really because I’d be tethered to a PC. I now have a Wireless SDIO card therefore can quite happily surf around the house/garden/work or wireless hotspot – It came in handy the other day to have a hand held video guide whilst working on my car.
Editing my blog post.
A few other things I find useful.
VNC for remote access to PC’s at work.
Pocket Telnet, again for accessing a range of IT kit.
Desktop extension to display a whole range of useful (and useless) widgets.
Desktop extension for MS Flight Sim (see my previous post https://stiggyblog.wordpress.com/2009/07/18/dual-screens-and-software-solutions/ )
The list could go on.
Modern mobile devices are fantastic, but for less that £30 I think my ‘brick’ is perfect for my needs.