DYNA-FORMTIME & BUSINESS MANAGEMENT
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This page presents trends, specific models and links to reviews, to help in your buying decision. This page also contains my perspectives on whether any, all or a combination of these devices will make you more productive. The issue of using paper (day planner) vs. electronic or combinations is presented in depth. A date stamp is provided on my postings in Current developments-latest at the top. Earlier postings on the page present in-depth overviews of this sector of time management. Start by reviewing the chart that clarifies various classes of product and determine your technology tolerance. (Scroll down it is after Current developments).
Buying or upgrading ?:Personal Digital Assistant - P.D.A., Smart phone, hand held computer or mobile computing device? Note: I am aware of how dated this heading is. A reminder of how rapidly technology has progressed in this field. The reliability of my cell phone is impressive. The following link demonstates that supporting infrastructure also works well.
April 2014: This web site gives examples of business (enterprise) software applications that enable employees to interact with head office while on the road. The value of this is the 'one write' process. The field entry is routed to all collaborators-a real time-saver.
Sept. 2012. The 'Apple' in the garden of technology, that is most coveted now, is the I5-Smart Phone released this week. I visited the Apple store in Palm Beach Gardens Mall, an upscale district within 10 miles of the ultra posh island of Palm Beach. The store was packed with both shoppers and wanna be buyers. The buyers were segregated into a buyers only line and were worked on by a diligent Apple employee. I should have attended that line up to hear the spiel but decided to fast track into the throng already in the store. If you haven't been in an apple store may I suggest a visit. One develops a sense of wonderment. I wondered how they justified their prices considering the ultra low labour and out sourced components. However, in fairness the I5 replete with 64Gig of on board memory was US $399 before the telephone company plan. Now the phone pricing is quite favorable when one considers that the retail price of my Windows HTC smartphone was about $700 a year ago. The I5 has incredible functionality and breaks new ground in many only to be dreamed of applications and tasks. I don't think one can 'go wrong' with one of these phones but do be prepared for a steep learning curve if you haven't owned a smart phone before.
Nokia, HTC are ready to release a Windows competitive model and I shall wait to see the technology and price point they offer. This of course will give Apple the opportunity to work the kinks out of their new map program which generated a lot of negative publicity on release day.
April 18, 2012 Productivity ideas/tools/apps from software designed for Tablet or Smartphones. If you don't have one of these devices consider developing a system that helps you monitor your productivity. Check this website for ideas http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Enterprise-Applications/Mac-OS-X-Productivity-Apps-10-Tools-to-Help-You-Work-Smarter-551439/
Nov. 2011 The Superphones have arrived. Slightly bigger 4.7" inch touch screen and a 1.5 Ghz processor vs. 1.2 Ghz processor . I purchased a Smartphone because there were great deals to be had now the Superphones were out. WOW! What these devices can't do? The main reason for me to buy was to 'keep up with' technology so I don't get too far behind. Also, to evaluate how useful these devices are in managing time. I am not disappointed and nor do I resent the monthly phone bill. I spent about a year 'shopping' and defining my needs. I purchased a Windows phone (not an Android) because I like what Bill Gates does with our money (making the world a better place for a lot of disadvantaged people). Please note I got the phone on a 'special' $0 (the normal price for any of these phone is about $650). My model is the HTC HD7. a slightly 'older' model, but I download the new operating system Mango 7.5). My monthly plan includes 200 day time minutes, free after 9 PM to 7 AM, 100 long distance minutes, 500 MB a month of web access. My monthly bill is $50. I got a ONE year plan-a limited time special. I was able to download all my M/S Outlook contacts into the phone using a combination of Windows Live (cloud computing) and Zune (the download store for music and apps). I can watch TV (easy to connect) on the phone etc. It has a 5MB camera (the Superphones have from 5 to 8MB. GPS, mapping etc. all included in my Smartphone. In fact to make this article as short as possible anything I can do on my computer I can do on the phone. The 4.3 " screen can be touch expanded as necessary and I have no problem reading anything the way one would on an Amazon Kindle etc. Does it save time? Yes. All the phone functions allow you to store and access your phone history. The apps. can 'functionalize' a lot of routine tasks. I can read the news, bank, answer Email, plan work, keep notes and generally remain productive whenever and where ever I want to. The phones speaker with a Bluetooth headset (I have a BlueAnt) allow you to voice command the phone and talk while driving. Please note I also received a free phone # transfer from my previous phone/contract, free activation and system fee, and a complimentary phone car charger. Downside, there is a learning curve in becoming familiar with all the phone features but phone support has been very good from HTC. I downloaded the entire 78 page instruction book and printed it into booklet format, double sided, which made it easy to carry around while I learned the phone functions.
Twitter. Yes I have a Twitter account with a few links. It is useful to get instant news feeds on stock market in selected areas. I don't post to any feeds but can understand why some people do.
Dec. 30, 2010 this years best Smartphones I have been using a Samsung cell phone with a slideout keyboard, web enabled, with all the bells and whistles. The form factor is very good but the screen for web browsing is a little to confined. It is not a Smartphone but still a cell phone. Functionally-does just about everything that the smartphone does. It does not have the expandable touch screen and speed scrolling feature
June 3, 2010 Useful web site to review top performing Smartphones.
2007-2008 The handheld industry products have become too varied and niche oriented to recommend specific models. The materials below provide a good overview before making a buying decision. I will not be adding on further product descriptions, but do suggest you purchase a magazine dedicated to developments in this field or visit the web links provided above.
July 15, 2007. What a difference a few months make. Smartphone is now a term commonly used. The term PDA seems to be waning. The introduction of the Iphone has made the world aware of phone technologies that have been quietly emerging and trying to get market share. Regrettably a company that has contributed many innovations in this field, HTC, fails to get the recognition that it deserves. It designs and manufactures for HP. Nokia is going to include Skype on its phones later this year which hopefully forces the dominant telephone companies to reduce their long distance cellular rates. Should you buy an iPhone or wait? As always the advice is wait a few weeks or months, let Apple iron out the bugs, add the missing but desirable features. Remember, you will have to buy a two year plan to operate the phone. Make sure that it has the most important features you need. The innovative touch screen, scrolling, video/movie, camera and music features are available on other phones priced much more competitively.
Feb. 12, 2007 Prescience. Since our Dec. 1 2006 posting, Hewlett Packard's (HP) engineers gave been busy. Check out the review on the new HP iPaq 510. You can use the Wi-fi connection with Skype (Beta), surf the web and dictate to the phone for writing or listening to Emails - hands free. Fantastic! Voip and MS Mobile 6.
Dec. 1, 2006 I
strongly suggest a cell phone that has WI-FI capabilities e.g. for eventually
adapting to Skype cell phone software. Also Bluetooth is a must for hand's
free driving - which is being legislated in more U.S.A. states and in some
provinces in Canada. For a review of the practical, technical and service
providers aspects of choosing a phone use this review
Fall, 2006. Smart phone/service provider and other function criteria. Choosing a wireless device (e.g. Smart phone) first means choosing a carrier (phone company), reviewing their area coverage (where you live and travel to), type of technology they use (CDMA, GSM/GPRS, Quad band, Tri band, EV-DO, push technology) and the cost of the plan in terms of usage time (minutes, speed and download MB/Mega byte limits). With all this determined you then choose from the hardware models the manufacturers provide to fit the phone companies systems. This results in the same basic phone having different model numbers. Look for the 'dropped call' reports for the phone company as a measure of their willingness to quickly upgrade their technology/system investments. Pick up a copy of Mobile Magazine Cell Phone Handbook for ratings and comparisons of all of the above features. (Spring 2006). $5.99 US, $7.99 CDN. Good investment.
Ongoing developments in the smart phone field. Read latest before you buy; plus many review links included on specific phone models.
|Classification of PDA vs Smartphone from Gartner|
Decision making criteria for purchasing a handheld devices-PDA categories.
1. PDA. Handheld, personal digital assistant. A planner and organizer with a custom operating system such as Palm or Psion.
2. PDA with phone capability. Mainly a PDA but has cell full phone capability.
3. Pocket PC. A PDA like device with a Windows based operating system.
4. Non windows Smart phone: Mainly a cell phone with PDA capability – Palm or similar OS5. Windows Smart phone: mainly a phone with a Pocket PC Windows Mobile CE, 2003 or 5 operating system.
6. Handheld computer. Slightly bigger than the PDA family. Is a scaled down version of a notebook computer that can be held in the palm of the hand. Can be based on a Windows or other proprietary operating system.
7. Industry specific PDA’s. Not covered here. A great # of selections.
8. Mobile computing devices: continuous connection to Email servers, plus all othe PDA features. Blackberry is the most common.
entry level classifications
of Palm products by Palm
PDA entry level classifications of Palm products by Palm
making purchasing decision for a PDA consider your level of aptitude,
interest and and needs. Some Palm recommendations: if you are buying
used products you may find some of the older model numbers on this
list helpful. 2005 model updates included.
When making purchasing decision for a PDA consider your level of aptitude, interest and and needs. Some Palm recommendations: if you are buying used products you may find some of the older model numbers on this list helpful. 2005 model updates included.
If you are purchasing a non Palm product you can still use the above guide to gauge your technology savvy and purchase a product that you can manage easily. The KISS principle was never better used than in this field. Keep It Simple............What is is that you want to do? Does the unit do it? Chances are no unit will do everything that you want to do, or the costs are prohibitive. Check my guideline for making a cost benefit analysis. http://www.timemanage.com/techsw.html
More details about above PDA categories.
1. PDA. If you want basic Scheduling and a database a PDA will suffice. Palm operating products are a professionally reviewed as reliable. Buy with a minimum of 8 MB of RAM. Remember many manufactures use the Palm OS. Stay in the lower price range and become familiar with functions. Migrate your database to a unit with more functions when your business grows. Can synchronize all products to your desktop. $200 +/- if you shop. Choices, Palm, Handspring, Sony Clio.2. PDA with phone capability but be prepared to buy a new cell phone plan if you purchase Treo. $700 or Blackberry 6750 from Bell $599.
With phone plan purchase on a one or two year contract the cost of these phones can be as low as $200.
3. Pocket PC. If you have over $400 to spend and wish to sync. all your desktop Windows programs seamlessly with your handheld device or use this as a computer, this is your choice. Preferably buy with Wi-Fi capability – can connect to network without wires. So if you use MS Word and XL while “on the go” this unit will useful. As powerful as many laptops. But no keyboard unless you buy a collapsible add on or a thumb operated add on. You will need to have a separate cell phone. You will also need to choose a “pocket edition” of a contact manager if you want more than MS Outlook. Processor speeds up to 400 Mhz. and 64 RAM available. Buy units with slots for additional memory cards. Hp.iPAQ, Toshiba, Dell and most major electronic manufacturers.
4. Non Windows Smart phones. This is the 'hot' item for 2005. The smart phones were using Palm operating systems until Microsoft entered the fray. Now the choice software is Windows Mobile (2003-05). Handy for quick checks into to a higher capacity database, scheduling functions and note taking etc. Keypads for typing are an issue and some innovative shortcuts are appearing. E.g. Samsung, Kyocera. 7135 - $699
5. Windows Smart phone. Windows compatibility will be found in these phones as Microsoft tries to take market share from the PDA's. A good choice if the phone is your first priority. Choice software is Windows Mobile (2003-05). $350 and up for phone and PDA.
6. Handheld computers. As powerful as medium price range laptops with all the same functionality but smaller screens. Pricing is just a little less than a laptop or notebook computer. So if you want reasonable computing power with a small keyboard built in and don’t mind a small screen, but bigger than a PDA screen this might be your choice. But cost is high, $800 - $1600+ All major computer manufacturers. HP has a good reputation in this area. Models upgrade every year. Note: If you need constant access to Email then a Blackberry would be the best current PDA choice and some have phone capability (e.g. Bell sponsored units). Treo (Handspring) has some good PDA/phone models, but read the consumer reviews before buying specific models. Remember with these products you need to buy a more expensive airtime plan to be connected all the time. We all have different needs. Match your product to your needs and not to fads and marketing schemes. It takes time to set up and learn all of these new electronic devices, not to mention the need and costs to upgrade them – if they can be. So if your focus is on developing your business, and you don’t want a relationship with technology, buy basic.
as of Nov. 2003 Palm and Handspring (makers of the Treo PDA/phone) have
joined forces .
The Treo 600/650 which is available as of 2005 is competitor to the Blackberry.
The Treo can display web pages whereas the Blackberry is dedicated to
Email and limited web sites.
Note as of Nov. 2003 Palm and Handspring (makers of the Treo PDA/phone) have joined forces
. The Treo 600/650 which is available as of 2005 is competitor to the Blackberry. The Treo can display web pages whereas the Blackberry is dedicated to Email and limited web sites.
selection process would always be determined by, "What are you going
to use the device for?"
The selection process would always be determined by, "What are you going to use the device for?"
Users perspectives. Dec. 13, 2006 Lexmark survey results re: Blackberry
Writer's perspective 2006.
I still use my Dyna-form paper based day planner for managing my time and Microsft Outlook on my laptop for maintaining my data base - tranferring to my Palm as needed.
I also use an IBM T42 laptop with Centrino mobile wirless connectivity, a Palm Zire 21 PDA (USB connection to laptop) and a Qualcom cellphone that can also be used as a modem for picking up Email. In the officer I use a phone headset when working at my desk, Card scanner, 6.2 HP digital camera (great time saver for many tasks), Samsung laser duplex printer (double sided printing - great money and time saver), HP copier, scanner, printer, Panasonic fax machine (the laptop can also send receive faxes). See below for features to consider when purchasing a laptop.
2005. My current perspective has not changed much in the past year since investing $300 in a Handspring (Palm Operating System 8MB PDA). I use my PDA as a database for phone numbers and the occasional note taking. I still prefer my paper day planner for planning and keeping track of my projects and commitments. I use a laptop extensively for all my computer related work including Email. I pick up my Email twice a day. Most of my Email involves sending or receiving attachments from my MS Word or XL applications and a PDA would be cumbersome for this. I like to use a phone as a phone with hands free whenever possible I use a collapsible full size keyboard for my PDA to enter most data – not the pen. I have a relatively good and inexpensive digital camera HP 315, 2.1 Mega Pixels (cost $230 CDN, new) and wouldn’t use the poorer quality images when a camera is built into a PDA or cell phone. I use a USB cable on my laptop to connect to LANs (Local Area Networks). I use a D.Link wireless card to connect to wireless networks. My cell phone has a cable ($100) that connects to my laptop and this enables me to get Email using my Bell Mobility account – right into my laptop. 25c a minute and slow. Or, if you buy a cell phone with the new 1x technology (and new phone plan) you get faster speeds but pay by the amount of MB that you download – so you probably wouldn't’t use the cell for cruising the web. In 1998 I bought a new sub notebook computer. It was about the size of an average hardcover book. Weighed 4 lbs. It enabled me to do all my important work on one unit. I used a full blown ACT contact Management program on it and could type, design, Photoshop, web design and Email as fast as I wanted, and with plenty of memory (for those days). I still use a laptop today as my main business tool. I still think this is the most productive approach. My PDA is my phone book if I need to look up #’s from an extensive database while away from my laptop. Appointments are only in one place. In my planner. “May I get back to you…”? I like to flip my day planner open to the appropriate pages when I am on the phone and write once, directly into the correct places. Contacting your Internet provider if you travel a lot and don’t use AOL or want their L.D. surcharges. The best long distance discount plan I know of is CI CI. I use it for all my long distance calls and to get my Email when I am out of town. 3 cents a minute. I connect to my Toronto ISP by adding a specified local numbers ahead of my Internet dial up number and placing,,,,,,,, (commas) to give time for the operators messages. I then download and send mail very cheaply. I used to buy the CI CI cards in convenience stores but now you can have a permanent account, without pin #’s for most calls. Call 1-888-836-2347 to set up account, have your various phone numbers assigned to the account and then prepay or credit your account from $20 and up. This can be done by phone or web. From that point on you just pick up the phone dial one number and you receive huge saving on long distance and you are advised how much available credit you have with every phone call. No surprises. Tell them Fred Pentney 416-697-7177 referred you and ask your friends to do the same for you. You get a token credit on your long distance account. If you have a product you like or a system that you would like to share please send me a brief summary and I will include it in my next write up. I am currently reviewing scanning software called "Paper Port" (available at Staples), after a referral from one the group in Whitby. This enables one to set a filing system for all documents scanned into your computer. I am encouraged to try going paperless in some aspects of managing my office/files after reading Bill Gate's book, "Business at the Speed of Thought" 1999, Warner books.
Writer's preference and update: Oct 12, 2003 with updated links to manufacturers, product pricing
.Writer's preference to Oct. 7, 2002. I purchased a Handspring Visor (has a Palm operating system) in Dec. 2001 and have slowly added its use into my daily routines. It has a vast capability. I like to use it as a portable data base for phone numbers. I still use my paper based planner (using custom designed forms), two laptops (one PC Pentium 2 and a Mac 2400) and occasionally a desktop computer. The desktop is a die hard, reliable machine (Mac 7600) that always enables the job to be done, especially if there are any problems with the laptop. For purposes of time management and planning a paper based (Dyna-form) system is still my main tool. Previous position. The need to have immediate electronic entry of new data while on the move has not yet happened. Yes, paper entries are often made and then considered for entry into the laptop/computer data base. (Act 4.0 is the current Contact manager, which has been added to since ACT1.0) What determines if a electronic addition is to made to the data base if whether there is likely to be any activity required related to the entry. If so then I take advantage of the many powerful features that a contact manager has over a P.D.A. e.g. numerous templates and completed letter files. Detailed histories of accounts, records of all contacts, etc. I still like the idea of compartmentalizing my day so that I am not constantly work connected. This means being focussed and productive when it is time to work. So to this day I have held off buying a P.D.A. The thought of having to transfer and then maintain yet another system for scheduling is daunting. Perhaps its not so bad if you are being paid employee wages while you perform the tasks.
Most common makes include the Palm, which uses Palm's own operating system (Palm). Models include the Pilot, 3, 5, 7, X series etc. Prices range from $150-$800 (Canadian). Wireless models are available in the higher price range but the transmission is only as reliable as the network services you subscribe to. Other manufacturer's of P.D.A.'s include the some of the major computer manufacturers such as Compaq and Hewlett Packard. Casio, Psion, are two other leaders. Many of the non Palm makes use their own operating system or Windows CE. (a scaled down version of the Windows operating system). Comparison of the technical and practical aspects of the various makes and models can be found in current computer magazines. Price comparisons, electronic vs paper. Comparisons of electronic organizers to paper organizers on price has to include the annual maintenance cost in addition to the initial outlay. A typical day planner in quality leather binder will cost about about
$150 CDN. Each year new dated inserts will have to be purchased. If one considers an average of $75 as the annual update costs for a professional edition of inserts, the total outlay after three years will be about $475. This happens to be the midrange price point for the P.D.A's. Assuming that you kept your P.D.A. for three years your costs are about the same.
The question of the P.D.A. having a resale value has yet to be determined. There does not seem to be a glut of used units in the market which would perhaps suggest that obsolescence and wear and tear may take their toll. Quality leather binders should have a minimum life expectancy of 5 years. Factoring in all the variables, the initial long term cost of either type of system is roughly the same, but, the cost of the electronic adds on for the P.D.A. plus batteries, chargers etc. may eventually result in a significantly higher outlay. I would also suggest that if you buy a P.D.A. you will still need a good looking leather binder, of some type, for notes
and other tasks that paper is well suited to. Final conclusion, no savings by buying a P.D.A.
Competing. Are the P.D.A.'s competing with the computer? No. There is a distinct market differentiation between the two. Note the P.D.A. is not a PC computer. The P.D.A. can perform some of the tasks that are typically done with with a computer, but the software is not industrial strength. However, the P.D.A. may soon been competing with the handheld computer. The handheld computers such as the Compaq, Jornada, and the Hewlett Packard HHC's (see our technology pages for more makes ) are just slightly larger overall and are just a little bigger than a hand, but have a great deal more functionality and memory. Price however ranges from $1000 to $1500 CDN. The next class of product beyond the handheld computer is the sub notebook computer, which now has the power of a full sized desktop and weighs as little as two to three pounds. I have personally used an Apple 2400c sub notebook (call it a very small laptop) for over two years. It weighed four pounds and I found it very comfortable to carry and easy to make inconspicuous. I am currently working with a PC notebook computer weighing 6 lbs. and still find it quite manageable. I like the convenience of the CD player and the floppy drive built in, which gives me immediate full range of activities, which is much more important to me than lightness. Remember, the tools we use are a means to an end and the not end itself - unless we are rich or product reviewers.
So what are some of the reasons for buying a P.D.A based on strengths/benefits
. If your company uses them to communicate with its employees then you have
instant access to the latest company information, including tapping into
the data base and getting some or full client information without having
to do more than log onto the company network. If you are a single user you
have immediate access to all your appointments, data base of all contacts,
and a mass of other select information and games. Both types of users can
enter data on the spot, by keying in (made by Research in Motion,
Blackberry model), or using pen based computing, or collecting the data
via an infra-red link with someone else's unit or a computer with an infra-red
link. The key strength is the amount of storage than can be kept in a very
small and portable unit. Some units are much more powerful than computers
were a few years ago. Current common range is 2MB to 8 MB. 2
MB will allow you to store about 6000 contacts. The increase in memory is
not exponential, and the average user would not need
more than space for a thousand contacts.
As with any other computer related product other issues include cost,
obsolescence, crashes and data wipeouts, battery life and charging cycles,
ease of data entry and retrieval and functionality for the specific purpose
you are going use it are all potential hazards. I have heard complaints
that the unit have crashed and all the data has been lost. Not so bad if
you can reload with the infra-red from the computer, but not very reassuring
if you are with or preparing for a client, or don't have a paper back-up.
But more than anything else is the time needed to learn the new technology
and the possibility of having to buy expensive add ons to do the specific
things we need it for. I notice there are a huge variety of carrying cases
available that can reflect your personal image. That's $35 CDN for the first
add on. Next the flexible fold up keyboard, and the special software for
many of the applications that you use your desktop/laptop, and the
and your expenses start to add up to the equivalent of a sub notebook (4lb) computer. And the obsolescence issue is still present.
Will your current add on be functional on the next model of P.D.A.
to topics on this page:
|Return to home page||P.D.A.vs
(personal digital assistants).
These electronic handheld devices provide some of the benefits of a paper
based diary planner, plus many electronic features, minus the comfort that
comes with knowing how to do something quickly and easily without having
to learn yet another set of procedures and commands. As with most computer
innovations there is the inevitable tradeoff. If however you are a committed
technophile, then is issue is which unit to buy, how much and how long before
you need the next model. What
do P.D.A.'s look like? Something between a cell phone, a large pager and
a handheld T.V. Some have small or add-on keyboards, some used pen based
computing, and some are wireless. Common makes and models include the Palm
series, which uses Palm's own operating system. Models include the Pilot,
3, 5, 7, X series etc. A wireless model is available (you have to pay the
phone company for the plan. Bluetooth added in 2005 - which allows
short range transfer of information - previously accomplished with Infrared.
Prices range from $200-$800 (Canadian). Other manufacturer's of P.D.A.'s include the most of the computer manufacturers. Many of these use the Windows CE operating system. Comparison of the technical and practical aspects can be found in recent computer magazines. Our purpose is to compare their value to or in addition to a paper based diary planner. So the critical issues with buying or owning a P.D.A. are: do I really need one, what are the benefits, how much does it cost, and do I want to add another item to my drawer full of electronic gizmos (yesterday's must haves) and gadgets that have made somebody else rich?
Competing with the P.D.A. is the handheld computer. Note the P.D.A. is not a computer (yet). It does perform some of the tasks that can be done on a computer, but the software is not industrial strength. The handheld computers such as the Jornada and the Hewlett Packard (see our technology pages for more makes ) are slightly larger overall and are just a little bigger than the hand but have a great deal more functionality and memory. Price however ranges from $1000 to $1500 CDN. The next class of product beyond the handheld is the sub-notebook computer which now has the power of a full sized desktop and weighs as little as two to three pounds. I personally used an Apple 2400c for over 7years. This is in the class of sub notebook (call it a very small laptop), it weighed four pounds and I found it very comfortable to carry and easy to make inconspicuous. I am currently working with a PC notebook computer weighing 6 lbs and still find it quite manageable. Updated Aug. 2004 to an IBM Thinkpad weighing 4.2 lbs including the CD burner, but no Floppy drive - a $60 add on. I liked the convenience of the CD player and the floppy drive built in on the 6 lb unit, which gives me immediate full range of activities, which is more important to me than lightness. Remember, the tools we use are a means to an end and the not end itself - unless we are rich or product reviewers.
with any other computer related product other issues include cost, obsolescence,
crashes and data wipeouts, battery life and charging cycles, ease of data
entry and retrieval and functionality for the specific purpose you are
going use it. I have heard the complaint that the unit can crash and one
can loose all the data. Not so bad if you can reload with the infrared
from the computer, but not very reassuring if you are with a client. .
For those who have to make the buying decision factor in the time you spend in researching and buying, plus the learning time, and the time for needed to maintain the data base and other entries so that it becomes a useful tool. The issue of whether a P.D.A will do a delegated job faster than using a paper based planner has been explored in various media articles, and we suggest that unless the article is very current it has little value because of the speed at which new models and new features are being added to the P.D.A.'s.
Before we continue, the writer will inform you that he uses a paper based planner (custom designed forms), a laptop, and occasionally a desktop computer. The desktop is a die hard, reliable machine that always enable the job to be done if there are any problems with the laptop. For purposes of time management and planning the paper based system is the main tool. The need to have immediate electronic entry of new data while on the move has not yet happened (to me). Yes, paper entries are often made and then considered for entry into the laptop/computer data base. (Act 4.0 is the current Contact manager, which has been added to since ACT1.0) What determines if a electronic addition is to made to the data base if whether there is likely to be any activity required or related to the entry. If so then one can take advantage of the many powerful features that a contact manager has over a P.D.A. E.g. letter templates and completed letter files. completed histories of accounts, records of all contacts, etc.
So what are some of the reasons for buying a P.D.A based on strengths? If your company uses them to communicate with its employees then you have instant access to the latest company information, including tapping into the data base and getting full client information. If you are a single user you have immediate access to all your appointments, data base of all contacts, and a mss of other select information and games. Both types of users can enter data on the spot, by keying in (the Blackberry model), using pen based computing, or collecting the data via an infrared link with someone else's unit or a computer with an infrared link. The key strength is the amount of storage than can be kept in a very small and portable unit. Some units are much more powerful than computers were a few years ago. Do these points make compelling reasons to buy. Not necessarily.
Discrimination. Time management includes using tools and resources based on priorities. However, personal management allows to use what makes us feel comfortable. I will give you a few examples. In one of my seminars we discusses the P.D.A.when it was in its first generation. It is now about 3rd generation (6th generation in 2005). One attendee endorsed his P.D.A as the best tool he had ever used for time management. He liked the pocket size, portability, versatility in storing different types of information, speedy access to important phone numbers and the sense of being technologically proficient. This person was not interested in whether I could plan a complex day with multiple projects, cross references data files, and manage ever changing priorities. That was my problem. He may not even had a time management problem before he made his purchase. His life and work seemed to be very straightforward. His solution was straightforward. I like it. I'll buy it. I'll use it.
As our work becomes more complex I believe we need more than one tool. As P.D.A's develop greater memory capacity they will be adopted for a while by a greater number of industries. They will be made industry specific. Pen based computing, a forerunner of the P.D.A., has used held electronic devices for many years but geared to the specific needs of the user and the job at hand.
Some industries that are currently using the P.D.A. The financial services industry, service industries such as the home heating fuel delivery, some hospitals to record patient data. The list will grow as the technology advances. We are advised with wireless units we can read web pages on the units, send wireless Emails, get the weather, stock prices and a myriad other information.
I am not sure how much information I need beyond what I enjoy reading in the newspapers and what is available to me in large chunks when it is convenient to log onto the web for a period of time. So to this day I have held off buying. The thought of having to transfer and then maintain yet another data base is daunting. Perhaps its not so bad if you are being paid employee wages while you perform the tasks. Note: Finally bought a PDA in 2000 order to provide a perspective to my readers.
We would be interested in your experiences using a P.D.A. Please use our Email link and specify the make and model. Thanks.