Friday, September 7, 2007

Pocket Computers

I think that most people like pocket computers (not Pocket PC's necessarily) and so I do. It's nice to have a device that fits in your pocket that enables you to keep notes and write programs anywhere.

I currently own a Palm Z22 and I also have my still-working Zire and a broken Palm Tungsten C. The oldest is my Zire which now has a worn out, thanks to Plua, digitizer making it almost impossible to input text without using the on screen keyboard. After the Zire I bought the Tungsten C which I managed to break in a month :'-(. The Tungsten C was far better than any other palmtop at the time. Finally I decided after some years of grief for my dead Tungsten that it was time to buy a new one and continue making some Plua programs. So I bought my Z22 because it was then the cheapest palmtop, so I wouldn't be shocked if I would ever break it like my Tungsten. The Z22 met my expectations in most areas. There are only a few things that I dislike. I will explain the most important in the next paragraph but you can skip reading it if you do not plan on buying a Z22.

Z22 has some differences from the other two palmtops. It has non-volatile memory as well as volatile (aka dynamic memory). It uses the faster volatile memory for buffering data that should be written on the non-volatile memory that is used as the storage of the Z22. How do I know that??? I know that it has two kinds of memory because there are even programs that show you the amount of used memory for both of them. And I suppose that the volatile holds unwritten data because if you reset the unit you will lose the last edited data. It is not a filesystem error because it also happens if you close the program that edits the data before resetting. So it must be that there are unsaved data in the volatile memory that are cleared with the reset. This is really annoying if you program on palmtops, because it's easy to crash the system and loose many lines of code! I found a way to avoid this. I installed FlushIt, an application that flushes the contents of the volatile memory when an application exits or on other system events (I also just noticed that it has been updated since I installed it).

I haven't said a word about Microsoft and Pocket PCs, now it's time. I never had one and do not intent to. Why?
  • I do not want to carry Windows with me. I want something different.
  • I prefer Palm to Microsoft. Those guys managed to create an extremely easy and powerful OS while ignoring some basic features! Palms, initially, didn't support multitasking or directory trees in their filesystem! The latest versions of Palm OS support multitasking although it is not that prominent as in Windows and other operating systems. Support for directory trees on external memory cards (secure digital) is also available on any model that has an expansion slot (my Z22 and my Zire don't have one).
  • I do not want to pay that much for a pocket computer. Any Palm is the only company that offers some cheap palmtops.
While Palm used to rule the palmtop market it seems that Microsoft made more clever moves. Or maybe it didn't, but the world prefers a palmtop that has "Windows", believing that it will be easier to learn. Of course Windows Mobile is completely different from XP. And Palm OS is much easier to learn, it can't get any easier in fact. But Palm is moving too slow; there are very few devices and they are quite expensive (except some low end devices like the Z22). The number of independent developers (who used to make quality freeware) is decreasing, and Palm isn't doing much to prevent this.

There are also some palmtops with Linux but do not know much about them. Maybe sometime I'll try one.


  1. I bought the same lap-top.I installed ubuntu 8 and compiz-fusion of course .It's really amazing.thanks for your help.I just want to know more about the HDMI and the S-video out.

  2. I guess that wasn't supposed to be posted here, but anyway... :-)


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