Monday, June 13, 2005

Joy's old Palm m100

During my vacation to the East Coast last month, I had some time to read The Psychology of Everyday Things. The book make lots of really great points about how designers have failed users in a wide variety of everyday things, but I was especially struck by the author's desire for a device that very strongly resembles the PDA. Since the book was written in the late 1980s, the cheap, powerful, simple, connected devices that so many people rely on, didn't exist.

Joy stopped using the Palm m100 she got free when she bought her UCLA class ring. I'm not sure why, but I think it got replaced by her cell phone. At any rate, it's been sitting in our desk drawer. So I bought a few more researchable AAA batteries and started using it to see what all the fuss is about.

Some observations:

  • It's a pain to carry around. I wouldn't have done it at all except that my job forces me to carry a cell phone now, so I carry a messenger bag to work to hold the phone and I throw in the Palm too.
  • It works better than the Yahoo Messenger alarm for keeping track of meetings and appointments if only because I carry it around more.
  • The time doesn't get updated when I do a synch with my desktop. Surely this is an option on newer PDAs. Actually, a built in GPS or cell phone would solve this too.
  • It's great to be able to synch with Yahoo address, calendar and todo lists.
  • I don't bother using Graffiti or the popup keyboard if I can help it. It's easier to enter things on my desktop. Of the two, Graffiti seems to be the winner once you get over the learning curve.
  • Games are a bit slow, but that is a function of the device's age more than anything else.
  • All-in-one devices (phone, GPS, PDA, camera, etc.) will have a definite advantage for the average person.
  • I have to be sure to enter meeting times as soon as I get an email. Otherwise, I'll miss them.

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