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Palm PDA's

Updated on August 19, 2009

I had a habit of writing notes on pieces of paper. When I was at work or out and about, if I had an idea, a thought, or something to add to a To Do list, I'd scribble it down on whatever I could get my hands on and stick them in my pocket. When I got home I'd either type them up, toss it on the desk (which would eventually find its way into a drawer and then at some stage I'd force myself to type them up) or forget about their existence and have them go through the wash with my pants or work shirts.

That changed when I got my first Palm. An m130. I could make notes as I was having the thoughts. It fit in my pocket, or the inside pocket of my jackets. In the 8 years of having an electronic PDA I've never forgotten one in my pocket and have had it go through a wash cycle. They seem to be a lot more memorable than a folded up piece of paper.

Palm m130

The Palm m130 was one of the first Palms with a color screen. It had a 16 bit color 160 x 160 pixel LCD screen. I got a Palm m130 in 2001, along with a portable fold up keyboard. I also got a few programs, such as a wordprocessor. But it's just as easy to use the memo pad.

Unlike the others in the m100 series which were designed to run on standard batteries, the m130 had rechargeable batteries. The cradle which charged it was also used to sync (move the most current and up to date information from or to a PC) the PDA.

Data Input

There are a few ways to input data into a Palm:

1) Graffiti. It's a system of stylized characters. It takes a bit of practise to get used to it, but once you memorize the characters it becomes second nature. It
s a quick and easy way of writing notes on your Palm.

2) Using the touch keyboard on the screen. You use your stylus to select the letters on the screen.

3) Keyboard. Later Palm's (Treo) have a small QWERTY keyboard as part of the unit. Not ideal for touch typing but convenient. But most could also use a full-size fold-out portable keyboard. If you can get one of them, do so.

Palm m515

The m500 series Palms was less 'plasticy' than the m100's and felt more substantial in ones hands with its metal body, but it lacked the protective flat on the front. But a leather case could be bought for it. One that could also hold a few of SD cards. It was quite a handy wallet.

The m515 came out in 2002, I got mine off of ebay in 2005 for $80 to replace my m130. There were newer models, but the m515 would do everything the m130 did, and then some. And it used the same cradle and could fit in the portable keyboard. All the software worked too.

When plugged into the docking cradle the power button lit up. Handy to see that the unit was actually recharging. There was a few times I hadn't plugged the m130 in properly and it was out of juice when I needed it the next day.

The m515 had double the memory of the other m500 series units and better backlighting.

Palm Tungsten

I looked at the Tungsten series for my next Palm upgrade. Though while it's already been out for a number of years sometimes I don't mind using old technology. Even though the m515 is 7 years old I still get a lot of fascinated looks when I pull it out and attach it to the fold out keyboard. People are amazed at how compact and sleek it looks. They honestly think it's brand new technology.

The only problem the software for the m515 doesn't run on Vista, and since getting a new PC I've been without my trusty Palm's ability to HotSync data.

Doing research, particularly in Palm user forums, it would appear that I had two problems: 1) none of the Tungsten's would work in my portable keyboard, and 2) they're only compatible with Windows XP. I was going to have the same problem with Vista as I was having with my m515.

A shame, because all my favorite freeware Palm games as well as some I had bought on SD cards, including the Sonic the Hedgehog game that I couldn't play on the m515 because it didn't have enough RAM.

Most Tungsten models have Bluetooth and the Tungsten C has Wi-Fi

Palm Treo

The Treo is Vista compatible AND it has its own keyboard. Added to that it even has an inbuilt camera and a mobile cellular phone. Though I've now got a mobile phone with an 8 megapixel camera as opposed to the 2 megapixel one in the Treo. The Treo was considered but the LG won out be I could play divx movies on it.

But I'd recommend the Treo to anyone looking for a PDA that can be used as a phone. Treos allows synchronization with both Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac.

How I Use It

My Palm m515 can fit in my jeans pocket. If I'm wearing a jacket I can easily carry the fold-up keyboard. Otherwise it can all fit into a small backpack with plenty of room to spare.

The full-size portable keyboard makes typing a breeze. And it's as impressive as hell to unfold it, lie it down, and connect the Palm to it. The looks you get are priceless. It's like you've travelled back in time from the future. Not bad for 8 year old technology.

But impressing people only goes so far. Productivity is what counts. And being able to take notes on the move or type up content when you're sitting in a cafe, grabbing a bite at McDonalds or out and about means you're ready for action anywhere, anytime.

Though my Palm has gone into semi-retirement. It's no longer called upon to do the bulk of my out-of-the-office work. I now rely on a Dell Mini for ease of use and portability. It's not as compact and small as the Palm, but it's easier to use with a bigger screen and stability when I'm lounging on the recliner. But I still keep the Palm handy... because it's got some cool games on it for when I want to unwind.

This photo was taken at a neighbors property. He has a heavy horse stud. So I sat myself on the table out on the verandah and set myself up. There happened to be a large Pecan tree nearby. You can see the nut sitting there. I had been eating them. I
This photo was taken at a neighbors property. He has a heavy horse stud. So I sat myself on the table out on the verandah and set myself up. There happened to be a large Pecan tree nearby. You can see the nut sitting there. I had been eating them. I

It's about Talent, not Technology

The important thing to remember is that you don't need the latest bells and whistles, you don't need cutting edge technology, the only thing that matters is the writing. Your content will speak for itself.

In the end no one cares what I've used to write my hubs. And the only people that this hub will appeal to is a very small audience.

Let your talent do the talking in the quality of your hub articles.


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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I rely on my Palm Tungsten T-5 for all sorts of things. Although it's not a phone, and althuogh I have never been tempted to use it for my email (too much spam that's handled brilliantly by my laptop), It has some irreplaceable apps on it. Here are just a few:Vindigo find restaurants, museums, stores .. even bathrooms all over NYC, with walking, driving amd subway directions and reviews from the NY Times.Avantgo news from the NY Times, Reuters, the Washington Post and more.My own personal wine list with pricing and my own ratings.eBooks perfect when stuck at the airport or in the doctor's waiting room or in bed at night.My complete calendar and address book. Priceless.Real Player with my MP3s on a memory card. Who needs an iPod?Photos of the family and more. Who needs a wallet?A database where I have cocktail recipes, ASCII tables, and a stain removal database.A kick-ass Sudoku program and Solitaire, too.Also, I can have PDFs and spreadsheets on it if I want (I have in the past, but I try to avoid those).I wouldn't want to live without it!

    • Naomi Harcourt profile image

      Naomi Harcourt 

      9 years ago from New York

      I love my old Palm Zire 31. Picked it up in new condition off of ebay 3 years ago. Not the latest technology, but works great for me and the software works fine on my Vista laptop. :) Been thinking about what will replace it when it eventually wears out. I'm probably going to go with a netbook. Much bigger yes, but can do much more with it.

    • emievil profile image


      9 years ago from Philippines

      Gosh, I love Palm Pilot. My dream is to have a Palm Pilot. Problem is, it gets kind of expensive here (I would say around $500). Maybe if I can get somebody to buy in the US for me then just bring it home I'll be able to save a lot. But then again, I don't know if, technology-wise, the US-bough Palm Pilot will fit in here. =)

    • prasadjain profile image


      9 years ago from Tumkur

      So nice a equippment! But at the same time, we will not be 'free' with such expensive things as we have to care for them. Paper pieces are so simple and nothing to worry about them! simpler, the better!May be, my view is of a 'fossil'

    • darkside profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Australia

      Graffiti isn't predictive text. Though there might be a program that allows it. Think of graffiti as handwriting. So as quick as you can write by hand, that's how you're getting your data (or thoughts and ideas) into the PDA.

      And I LOVE the card games on the Palm :D As well as backgammon, billiards, and a few others...

    • frogdropping profile image


      9 years ago

      Darkside - I've thought about buying one of these for a long time. Still undecided. Is the graffiti software similar to predictive text? If so, a very handy function. For some reason one of my friends splashed out on one purely for the on-board card games. An odd reason, to my mind.


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