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Topic Title: For Palm Top Users: Psion 5mx
Created On Sat Sep 01, 07 08:35 PM
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CactusMan
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If you're like me, and travel and write a lot, then you know the value of a mini-notebook computer.

And you also know that the market has not been kind to us in providing what we need (I even know some writers who still use a Radio Shack notebook from the 80s!!! Because they say nothing much has come along that's better!!!)

So, what's the best one?

Check out this new one:
Asus Mini-Notebook

In addition to meeting our needs, this looks damn cool in it's own right. Note the Linux operating system (!!!)

Also, check out this fun video on the Via Nanobook:
Via Nanobook

Anybody else have good experiences with any of these? I've gone through several mini-notebooks now: The QuickPad is good, but pretty basic. The HP Jornada 720 kicks a**, but it's keyboard is tight. So, what's the best one?

Don't say "Just get a notebook." If you do, then you don't get it. These gadgets are for people who need ultralight, portable, word processor and other simple things.)

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You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never truly live if you are forever looking for the meaning of life. --Albert Camus

Edited: Sun Jun 21, 09 at 09:26 PM by CactusMan
 
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CactusMan
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Tue Sep 04, 07 11:28 PM
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Oh, that reminds me. Anybody know of a good place for used and refurbished old computers and gadgets?

Here's one, for example:
NovaTechGadgets

-------------------------
You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never truly live if you are forever looking for the meaning of life. --Albert Camus

Edited: Tue Sep 04, 07 at 11:28 PM by CactusMan
 
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Traden4Alpha
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I've not used either of those, but have been monitoring the ultraportable space for 20 years (I started with a Cambridge Instruments Z88 in 1988, then had a knock-off version of the Poquet PC, then the Psion 5 series). From what I've seen, NONE of the current machines meets my needs because none of them have decent battery life. The two you linked to have 3 hrs and 5 hrs of battery life, which isn't sufficient for a trans-continental flight, let alone a trans-Pacific one or a day-long conference.

Currently, I use a Psion 5mx as my ultra-portable. It's 12 oz and gets over 30 hours on a fresh pair of AA alkalines. Absolutely nothing on the market today can beat the Psion in battery life and software stability. The Psion is an old-school computer with a monochrome screen, no WiFi, no camera, no video, no-optical drive, etc. But for writing, light spreadsheets, sketches, schedules, personal databases, and the occasional game, the Psion does the job wonderfully. My wife uses an old Palm III with a folding keyboard that probably gets about 16-20 hrs on a pair of AAAs.

As for looking for old computers, I've found that you can get anything on eBay and that the relatively low prices (compared to refurb retailers) compensate for the lower quality of merchandise.

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"It often happens that a player carries out a deep and complicated calculation, but fails to spot something elementary right at the first move." -- grandmaster Alexander Kotov --inscribed on gift chess sets given by Amaranth hedge fund.
 
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MCarreira
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Some time ago Tom's Hardware discussed exactly that:

Redesign Psion 5mx

Redesign Psion 5mx - Input

The Psion was really a good product (I have one gathering dust at home).

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"Let your actions speak your will" - VNV Nation
 
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CactusMan
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I wonder how different the Jornada (680, and up) and Psion 5mx are to use? They seem very similar. Though, I'm all for Psion 5mx's black and white screen. Don't need color.

I'm glad others see the issue. They try to make these gadgets serve the 14 year who wants entertainment AND the professional, and that just doesn't work. IRONICALLY, the industry hasn't produced much that you can just grab a go down to the beach and write your brains out, or do other basic work.--without worrying about killing your back or batteries.

My Jornada and QuickPad are great for now, though.

-------------------------
You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never truly live if you are forever looking for the meaning of life. --Albert Camus

Edited: Wed Sep 05, 07 at 07:19 PM by CactusMan
 
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Traden4Alpha
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Thanks for the link to the Psion redesign pages, MCarreira. I wish they would revive the Psion series, but fear that it will never happen. Too few people want a simple machine. Everyone claims they need compatibility with bloated MS Office files, access to the latest javascript/flash-laden websites, and to watch DVDs on the plane.

I'd think the two biggest differences between the Jornada and the Psion would be the battery life and software. First, I don't know the battery life of the Jornada, but it seems to have a color screen and a much faster processor, which bodes ill. Second, the Jornada uses WinCE, which isn't known for its stability (I'm sure some people have no trouble). In contrast, the Psion does not use Windows, for better or worse. The Psion's custom OS and built-in office suite are extremely stable and are really well designed for the form factor (in 9 years of regular Psion use, I'd say I average less than 1 crash per year).

I'm currently intrigued by the OLPC project (hardware specs at http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Hardware_specification ) This laptop is a bit bigger (and more garishly coloured) than I'd like, but looks like it could offer excellent battery life (probably on the order of 10 hours). I'm also hoping that someone creates an add-on keyboard for the Apple iPhone or newly released iPod touch. If that keyboard had a secondary battery (for ballast), then the combo could double or triple the iPhone's 6-hour "internet use" battery life.

I can only hope that as the PC industry matures, near-modern OS variants will be able to run on ultra-low-power processors.

-------------------------
"It often happens that a player carries out a deep and complicated calculation, but fails to spot something elementary right at the first move." -- grandmaster Alexander Kotov --inscribed on gift chess sets given by Amaranth hedge fund.
 
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CactusMan
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I just found a Psion 5mx on UK eBay and bought it.

Boy, there is an active market in these old Psion 5mx's and Jornadas also.

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You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never truly live if you are forever looking for the meaning of life. --Albert Camus
 
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Traden4Alpha
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Quote

Originally posted by: CactusMan
I just found a Psion 5mx on UK eBay and bought it.

Boy, there is an active market in these old Psion 5mx's and Jornadas also.
Congrats! An active secondary market is a sure sign of unmet demand for these devices. That owners would think their machines still have value to offer them and that buyers would bid for used computer equipment suggests that Psion and HP got it right in creating these devices.

Enjoy!

-------------------------
"It often happens that a player carries out a deep and complicated calculation, but fails to spot something elementary right at the first move." -- grandmaster Alexander Kotov --inscribed on gift chess sets given by Amaranth hedge fund.
 
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MCarreira
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Quote

Originally posted by: Traden4AlphaAn active secondary market is a sure sign of unmet demand for these devices.


Speaking about old technology, I found that the value of a Curta calculator on eBay is quite high ... I think there was a surge in demand after Scientific American published an article about it. Wish I had found about it earlier.



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"Let your actions speak your will" - VNV Nation
 
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CactusMan
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I'm enjoying my Psion 5mx.

Now, the keyboard is amazing and perfect, but can you connect to a larger external keyboard?

I have an external keyboard that connects to my Jornada using the RS232 port. I wonder if it's possible to make this work with Psion 5mx?

I wonder is I could hook one of these up somehow:
Laser Keyboard

-------------------------
You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never truly live if you are forever looking for the meaning of life. --Albert Camus

Edited: Thu Sep 20, 07 at 07:38 PM by CactusMan
 
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Traden4Alpha
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Congrats on the 5mx.

I don't know of any external keyboards for the Psion, but I can think of two solutions (assuming the Jornada keyboard + hacked cable will play nice with a standard RS-232 interface):

1. Use the Terminal application and log the session to a file. That would serve for comfortable text entry, but not for real text editing or other Psion applications. I have no clue if the Psion OS can be hacked to take RS-232 input for keyboard input.

2. Install Linux (search for Psion Windermere linux) and see if you can reconfigure it to use the RS-232 port instead of the built-in keyboard for all input. You'd lose the nice graphical psion apps, but that might be acceptable to you if all you want is basic text processing and are happy with Linux-based editors.

I've not tried either solution, so take the suggestions with a metric tonne of salt...

Good luck!

-------------------------
"It often happens that a player carries out a deep and complicated calculation, but fails to spot something elementary right at the first move." -- grandmaster Alexander Kotov --inscribed on gift chess sets given by Amaranth hedge fund.
 
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CactusMan
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I have seen a few websites where people mention doing it. So, it sounds like it can be done.

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You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never truly live if you are forever looking for the meaning of life. --Albert Camus
 
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CactusMan
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Here's one:
Newton Keyboard Driver

I'm going to give this a try.

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You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never truly live if you are forever looking for the meaning of life. --Albert Camus
 
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CactusMan
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Check this out:

Coffee Card
I like this line: "Get independent for[from] the piss what you mother-in-law calles "coffee". "

(Found it on this page: Psion Accessories)

HA! HA! HA! I gotta get one of those!

Oh, also, I have the external keyboard working now, and it's great.

-------------------------
You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never truly live if you are forever looking for the meaning of life. --Albert Camus

Edited: Mon Oct 22, 07 at 10:11 PM by CactusMan
 
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CactusMan
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I'm going to use a PS2 keyboard with an RS-232 serial port. You have to use a complex converter like this: Converter

Is that right? Anybody know an easier way? Or a better one than this one?

Thanks

-------------------------
You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never truly live if you are forever looking for the meaning of life. --Albert Camus

Edited: Fri Feb 01, 08 at 10:56 PM by CactusMan
 
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Traden4Alpha
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I don't know of a better off-the-shelf solution.

If you are up for a bit of soldering, the only other idea I'd consider is getting an old Landware GoType keyboard (such as http://www.amazon.com/LandWare-GoType-Pro-Keyboard-Palm/dp/B00000K10G) for early Palm PDAs and hacking a cable (and 2xAAA battery pack) for it. The old Palms used RS-232 (see http://pinouts.ru/PDA/palm_iii_pinout.shtml for the pinout) which suggests that the GoType keyboard should be RS-232 compatible. It's a kludge, but may be more compact than the PS2 keyboard solution.

Good luck!


-------------------------
"It often happens that a player carries out a deep and complicated calculation, but fails to spot something elementary right at the first move." -- grandmaster Alexander Kotov --inscribed on gift chess sets given by Amaranth hedge fund.
 
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CactusMan
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Thanks. I want to be able to use any standard keyboard, though (i.e., PS/2). Take a look at this product: RS-232 Adapter

I think this would work.


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You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never truly live if you are forever looking for the meaning of life. --Albert Camus

Edited: Sat Feb 02, 08 at 08:34 PM by CactusMan
 
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Traden4Alpha
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Yes, that adapter should work. I'd watch the power consumption, though (especially if you also have the "Coffee Card" ) You might find you need an external battery pack or careful selection of a low-power PS/2 keyboard.

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"It often happens that a player carries out a deep and complicated calculation, but fails to spot something elementary right at the first move." -- grandmaster Alexander Kotov --inscribed on gift chess sets given by Amaranth hedge fund.
 
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CactusMan
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Oh, here's another one that looks like it would work. Cheaper too!
ezKey

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You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never truly live if you are forever looking for the meaning of life. --Albert Camus
 
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CactusMan
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In the Psion 5mx "Extras bar settings" dialog, there is an item titled: "'Slide' on"

What this do?


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You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never truly live if you are forever looking for the meaning of life. --Albert Camus
 
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