Bill P. Godfrey et al


Monday, January 31, 2005

When we remembered Psion

My favourite computer I've owned (or shared) would have to be my old Psion 3c portable computer. That's beating a Sinclair ZX81, a BBC micro, various PCs running DOS or Windows, a couple of Commodore 64s, a super expanded Amiga 1200 and a Palm Tungsten T3.

It very nicely closed in half, protecting the screen and keyboard. Closed, it fitted inside a jacket pocket quite neatly. It was a truly portable computer. I even once used it in the toilets of a pub when an idea came to me and I just had to have access to a word processor. Try that with a laptop.

As palmtop computers go, this one was fairly standard for most features, but the inclusion of the word processor and the real keyboard integrated in set it apart. I could write stuff by holding it and typing with just one hand, although it was easier to hold it with my fingers and type with both my thumbs.

These days, I carry a Palm around with me. It became the type I use quite by accident, because it came as part of a GPS navigator. I try, but its not very good for writing. You hold a stylus in your hand and write on a touchpad. Its not true handwriting recognition, but you have to remember 26 gestures and few strokes which form punctuation or pressing 'shift'. I never got the hang of it, and I prefer to use the virtual keyboard.

Here, the keyboard comes up on the touchpad and you stab at the keys with the stylus. (Or "the stick" -- Thia.) I think faster than I can type this way, not good.

I still have the old Psion, but its broken down too much. It only uses RAM storage, and the battery container is loose. Disconnect the main batteries by accident, and once the backup battery has been drained, bye bye documents. Worst of all, the nice rubber couted case has melted and is now all sticky. Urgh.

Here's what I'd like out of my next portable computer (please)
  • Psion style case and keyboard.
  • Word processor.
  • No stylus or pointing device. (I hate those, really.)
  • Multiple flash card slots. (SD/MMC preferably)
  • Colour screen, high res.
  • Easy to transfer files onto a PC (via USB?)
  • Usual applications. (Diary, alarm clock, spreadsheet, voice recorder/playback)
  • MP3 player.
  • Photo viewer.
  • Downloadable games and mini-apps.
  • Several other things that don't spring to mind as I type this.
Dag nabbit, I'm tired. Good night.

1 Comments:

  • Buy "The rivers of Babylon" for only £5.99 :-)
    [I like the title]

    Anyway, onto the comment. I know what you mean about the Psion - I always liked the look of them with their built in keyboards. Just over 12 months ago I picked up my first handheld [then I put it down, picked it up again and eventually decided to purchase it] which is an ipaq 1910 [pocket pc running pocket windows 2002]. I was hoping to find something, at the time, that had the keyboard too - early pocket pc's running windows CE commonly had the Psion-style keyboard - but touch screen is the thing today.

    Anyway, most handhelds have the ability to have add-on keyboards [ http://www.pdamods.com/products.asp?cat=62&partner=google for example] ... the pocket PC however, allows multiple input methods - including on-screen thumb keyboards which look quite nice [but I've never tried].

    As for Photos, mp3s, games , videos etc. The pocket PC does this - although I thought the palm also had vast software library available [try http://www.palmgear.com/ ]

    My favourite computer has to be the sinclair spectrum - on every computer I've owned, I've sought out an emulator for it so I can keep playing games that were favourites way-back-when. [closely followed by the sam coupe [it had one of the better manuals I'd seen, and a really good "Basic" interpretter - just a shame it was too late to market] that I really need to find a new power supply for as I seem to have lost the one it used to have in one of many moves]

    By Blogger M., At 12:56 PM, February 01, 2005  

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