The world in my pocket

Not a very exciting day. I guess not every day can be.

Played around with my site a bit between bouts of dealing with clients, chewing through proposals and reading reports.

One of the things I added was a way by which people using Avantgo can pick up my diary and read it on the road. Well, when I say “people” I really mean myself, of course, but if you know what Avantgo is, feel free to add (you can’t go there with a browser, because I currently allow access only from Avantgo’s servers – something that will change eventually when I have made some more additions to that section).

In any case, while I was working on this, I remembered a conversation I had with a friend who was visiting. He too carried a PalmOS based hand-held, so I asked him what he did with it. He answered “well, the usual – addresses, appointments…”.

I was aghast. This person had no clue what one can do these days with a handheld computer! In fact, to him, it was little more than a digital diary! So I sat down and showed him some things he could do, including loading entire books (novels, manuals, etc.) on it, picking up news and other information from the web, email, games, wordprocessor applications, spreadsheets….

When he left, he was visibly a changed man.

So I was thinking about this phenomenon – people who adopt technology, but don’t really use it. One cannot call them badly informed – they bought the blasted thing, so the very least one could do is find out what it can do!

I was chatting with another friend the other day about this. He too didn’t feel the need for a handheld computer. This guy is even worse – he knows what a handheld can do (since he sees me using mine so often), earns enough money to buy one himself, works in a job where such a thing would be a major asset in his work – yet he tells me he has no need for a “digital diary”.


I have been using a Palm Vx for a while now, and before that I had a Palm III. I can honestly and without hesitation say that my cell phone and my Palm Vx are the two most important pieces of technology that I carry with me everywhere I go – even to the loo!

What gets in the way of using technology is perception. For example, one of the biggest fallacies I see people succumbing to is that a computer without Windows is useless. Therefore, a PalmOS based handheld is not for them – they need a PocketPC (formerly known as WinCE, and with good reason ;) . But they don’t even invest in that. Why? Because the darn thing (a PocketPC based HH) is so expensive!

You can buy a decent 2 MB PalmOS based unit for about 6.5K INR these days, while the lowest-priced PocketPC based unit costs closer to 25K INR.

I don’t really care whether you use a PalmOS based unit like I do, or whether you use a PocketPC or Linux based one – they keyword here is “use”.

My friend V. is a Windows bigot – he doesn’t miss a chance to tell me how much better Windows is than Linux. But V. at least uses a PalmOS based handheld. He probably would have a nervous breakdown without it. He lusts for an iPAQ, but until he gets one, he is at least using the technology of a handheld! (He also uses Linux, but don’t let him know I told you! ;)

That is more than I can say for many other people who just can’t make up their minds about it. They talk year in and year out about “getting one soon”, but in the end, they don’t.

And they don’t know what they are missing.

Wake up! The PC is out. Information access devices are in. The one with the most information at his fingertips is the one who wins the game.

It is ironic.

Once upon a time, handhelds were positioned as “PC companions”. These days, I consider PCs and notebooks as “Handheld companions”.