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  • RIP, PDA


I discovered to my chagrin this morning that the Compaq iPaq no longer
retains a charge, perhaps because its internal battery has gone kaput.
That’s what I get for leaving it dormant for almost a year. Like this
stubborn girl who occasionally just Wants to Stay in Bed, Darn It!,
the iPaq will grudgingly work if you keep it supplied with power, and
it’ll go back to sleep immediately after.

In retrospect, I should’ve paid more attention to the flashing orange
LED as I copied my (very few) phone contacts into the PDA using
Bluetooth. =) I had too much fun categorizing contacts and thinking
how cool it would be to be able to broadcast a text message to, say,
all of the Graduate House people for an impromptu barbecue, or give
you a filtered list of all the people I know who are into both AJAX
and Ruby, etc. I rather enjoyed filling in my calendar for the next
few weeks. I even played around with transferring some of the images
from my phone to the PDA, where I could view them with Internet

Oh well. =)

The good thing about that, though, is that it’s made me realize that
the commute is not really hopeless, and that my Fujitsu Lifebook P1110
laptop is more portable than I give it credit for. I can usually snag
a seat on the train, even during rush hour, and my laptop’s small
enough that it can fit on my lap without requiring any elbow space.
Glare is not a big problem. Even if it were, I could just switch to
speech synthesis and use headphones. (See, I _knew_ there was a reason
why I was into wearable computing in college!)

I don’t mind batching my mail and my blog entries. I’ve gotten quite
used to it, and it gives me time to think (and cancel stuff!). I also
don’t really mind looking phone numbers up on my laptop and keying
them into my phone to dial. I don’t do that too often, anyway. Most of
the time, I get in touch with people through e-mail.

One of the coolest things about my computer, though, is that it can
start conversations. I don’t think the Fujitsu Lifebook P1110 is sold
here, which is probably why it always draws comments. It’s cute! It’s
small! It’s different! (Take _that_, all you “Think Different” Mac
geeks! ;) ) Sure, it’s scuffed and held together with masking tape
(had some complications during open-heart disk-replacement surgery),
but that just gives the computer more character.

Besides, people smile when they see the sticker reading, “The geek
shall inherit the earth.” I think I need aother sticker reading
“emacs” just to drive home the point. I hope that means vi geeks will
still talk to me, though. ;) What I need, really, is something that’ll
allow me to indicate my changing interests. A tagcloud. An updateable
tagcloud, preferably. Not that I have much back-of-laptop real estate
left. There, I’ve made Stowe’s sticker
vertical instead of horizontal, which will give me more sticker space
to play with. Maybe I should add sticker paper so that peeling off and
resticking stickers is easier, or maybe I should just let stickers
accrete in layers to give people a better reflection of reality…

Oooh! Magnetic poetry for laptops using stickers and sticker paper!
That might be fun to try out. Or maybe I could add a little plastic
sleeve and have a “Thought for the Day” index card / Post-it. It would
be nice to have an index card holder for this, anyway. That sound like
a job for duct tape…

Battery life’s holding up, too. The commute is an hour and a half
long, which fits quite well. I might want to get a new extended
battery so that I can go back to advertised battery life (my current
one drains in 2 hours or so instead of the 8-10 promised, waah!), but that’s
not a particularly high priority right now because the cafe I most
like to work in is clueful enough to not only allow geeks to plug in,
but also to provide power bars so that we don’t have to fight over
outlets. ;)

A better battery would be handy for conferences, though, as I take
_way_ too many notes. It’s fun!

You know what would be really, really cool? A wireless chording
one-handed keyboard – like the Twiddler, but Bluetooth, but not one of
those homebrew Bluetooth hacks that might fall apart in my backpack.
Or a wireless mouse/remote so that I could control ebooks while my
laptop is in my backpack. I had this totally sweet deal going with my
Twiddler before, because I could just leave my laptop in my backpack
and control the speech synthesis output from outside.

I should try out the Vaio again to see if that’ll be a bit more
portable. That one was designed to be used while walking around, so it
might be an interesting experience.

Okay, I should stop writing about gadgets… <laugh> I don’t
have a pressing need for anything extra at the moment, and I’m still
learning to make the most of what I have. =)

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Random Japanese sentence: テーブルに猫の足跡が付いている。 There are footprints of a cat on the table.