[Semi-OT] Palm suggestions?

ubuntu at rio.vg ubuntu at rio.vg
Wed Jun 21 14:33:57 UTC 2006

Julio Biason wrote:
> Hello people.
> I decided to finally buy a palmtop, but I'm unsure about which
> model/brand to buy.
> I'm looking for something that could be easily connect to my Ubuntu
> box (for syncing contacts, emails, accessing the internet, anything).
> Also, if it could play MP3 and have a big storage or work as a USB
> storage, that would be a plus. :)

It really depends on what you want to do with it.  Do you want an MP3
player that will also keep track of a few addresses?  Or do you want a
device to primarily keep organized your contacts, calendars, and day to
day affairs with little direct input (all data comes in synced)?

For the latter, the traditional PDA functions, the Palm OS based devices
are regarded as the superior.  However, Palm OS doesn't do well outside
that niche.  I've known many a techie who wanted a pda, but really
didn't have as much need for the traditional PDA function and was more
looking for something cool.

A number of years ago, I got a Sharp Zaurus.  Runs Linux, great
expandability for storage and options, and plays mp3's well.  At the
time, I was working for a large university, and I found the perfect
niche for it.  I could use it to ssh into servers over wifi while I was
in the server room.  Normally, I'd be limited to the rather poor serial
console, or have to constantly go in and out from my office.  SSH
connections from my hand was perfect.  A PalmOS device wouldn't work
there.  Trying to write unix commands in graffiti is an exercise in
frustration.  The Zaurus has a thumb keyboard built-in.

That said, the contacts and calendaring and other PDA-type functions
weren't as good on the Zaurus.  The functions were there, but the PalmOS
devices are designed for them initially.  Of course, my Zaurus could
handle larger documents, even microsoft word and excel documents through
Handcom Office.

PalmOS == Electronic Calendar on Speed.
Zaurus == Shrunk down laptop.

I've found most devices fall into one category or the other.  Pick which
one you'll be using the device for.

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