Team Murder No Brain No Headache.

28Jan/06Off

Hardware That Isn’t Ten Iterations Behind The Curve

The replacement PDA is finally here after months of random clashes with my el cheapo Zaurus and I really really like it. I bought a Palm TX (I'll spare you the logo-included pipe between the 't' and 'x' that PalmOne Palm seems to stubbornly use to pollute so many of their product names) and it is pretty damned close to the ideal machine for what it costs. The only complaint I have so far is the flimsiness of the tiny leather loincloth included in the package that is presumably intended as some kind of protective flap. Mine disintegrated on my second attempt to attach it. When forced to decide between the exclusion of an item like that or passing along a total piece of crap I really do wish that more people would opt for the negative as my experience with the crude little mud flap was more frustrating. I ordered one of the aluminum cases for it and until it arrives I'm stashing the little fucker in a sock. If I were a public relations drone for PalmOne Palm I would note that substitution with some degree of embarrassment.

Most of this stuff is probably old news to those with more disposable income than me but there were a couple of features that really impressed me. One, the widescreen-ness of the PDA inspires a little awe in me after dealing with the cramped confines of previous handhelds. The fact that you can orient the screen in either portrait or landscape format with a single button makes the screen size an asset instead of a feature you might learn to use at some point when you have time to read the manual instead of just looking at porn or speed dialing prank calls with a Bluetooth connection. As I said, these distinctions might be dusty for folks acquainted with more recent versions of the PalmOne Palm OS but they're new to me as is the graffiti area that you can dismiss and actually use the entire screen. It's good stuff although there is a noticeable lag with Graffiti2 that kind of annoyed me especially since I was really fast with the older version and I tend to double up characters under the assumption that the first strokes were missed. I read a few reviews before I kicked down the cash and the main complaint for most people seemed to be with the mail client. I had it working with two IMAP accounts in a couple of minutes so I'm not sure what issue others had with it. I would fucking love it if more mail applications shipped with the ability to import keys for signing and encryption but when it comes to commercial software I'm always mildly pleased when it works at all.

One thing that bothered me about setting up the new toy was setting up my laptop to synch with it. I learned far too much about udev and spent an equal amount of time directly editing files that told me they should not be directly edited to be happy about the experience. It works now but I had to do quite a bit of indirect tinkering to put it in working order. It sucks to be unable to chmod permissions on a file because it phases in and out of existence on the whim of hotplug. Those solutions always seem more broken to me than the problem they are supposed to remedy. Everything does work though and looking at that from the perspective of one who has installed Debian Potato manually only to find that his kernel didn't feature USB support I'm pleased as hell to accomplish that in a couple of hours and learn something along the way.

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