To PDA or Not to PDA?
By Natasha Thompson
coming... I don't know when but it's on its way. I know it's small, a couple ounces and
very quiet. What does it really look like? Should I give it a name? Oh yes, my own
PALM courtesy of PALM Japan.
For a week, I get to try out the Palm on my own. I'm not a gadget person, I always ask
other people for recommendations, I stick to popular brands and model #s to the tee and
sometimes, I make decisions based on price and durability only. At the same time,
purchases have been made without much concern for conventional thought. Instead more focus
was given to trying out various products and deciding what is really important to me.
As soon as I set up the PALM, I'll see how versatile the dictionary is. Some dictionaries
are more helpful than others, right? Well, that's another article. I'm hoping that I can
look up Japanese words in English, English words in Japanese, Japanese grammar in English
and kanji in English from one source. Studying Japanese would be less daunting if I
didn't have to stay hunched over several books at a stuffy library. PDAs certainly have
the memory to store large amounts of data. User interfaces help to navigate through the
information efficiently. "Chicklet" keyboards are available to make typing more
convenient. Chances are a list of new grammar terms and vocab could be tracked, saved and
printed for future reference. I'm anxiously waiting to test this feature on the PALM.
Besides the word searches, I'm keen on checking if there's a kanji dictionary. Can I have
the stroke order and the meaning of kanji right at my fingertips? This would be any
language student's dream. Just think: many more of us would be more inclined to read
books in Japanese and my notes would be easier to read. I'm pretty confident that all this
can be done.
As enthusiastic as I am about PDAs, there is a limit to how much I'm willing to pay. PDAs
are advertised to be able to store several books and dictionaries, games, send email, surf
the internet, create a database, organize information, connect to your PC and the list
goes on. Is the PDA sold packed with all these features when you start it up? It looks
soooo compact and unpretentious! I'm afraid that I'll need to buy this wireless card or
this upgrade or this chicklet keyboard to really maximize the use of the PDA. That's fine
for now since the PALM is on loan for a couple of days. What if I really get to like it?
I have to keep in mind that more has to be spent on peripheral equipment to make it meet
my expectations. Knowing how I shop, I'll probably end up hesitating until the price
Can the PALM really make my life run smoothly? To make a fair judgment, I jotted down
typical characteristics that would interest a first time owner. Battery life, design,
number of useful features, difficulty navigating your way around without the manual or
help wizard, retrieving information, and compatibility with your PC, and word searches
using the dictionary. Time will be spent experimenting with the PALM to see how well it
performs. And, a brief summary will be included in the next issue.
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June , 2002
The Newsletter of the
Tokyo PC Users Group
Tokyo PC Users Group,
Post Office Box 103,
Shibuya-Ku, Tokyo 150-8691, JAPAN