I have about 70 pages about Epoc and Psion PDAs in my Epoc directory.
My older computer material is mostly about palmtop computers, especially older models, in the palmtop directory.
An old directory contains about 20 manuals, about 3 MB of PDF, for the 68000 based Applix DIY computer with a pre-emptive multitasking operating system and many utilities in EPROM. It was designed by Andrew Morton during the 1980s. I had a lot of fun with that, and got a lot of work done using it.
Finally, this computer directory has a jumble of minor general comments, and complaints, that wouldn't fit elsewhere.
I store virtually all my critical information and programs on Psion brand Epoc based pocket organisers.
I avoid replacing my increasingly obsolete Windows computers each time a faster one appears. These days, I think Windows has negative utility. Modern computers offer a lot of bloated "do everything" programs, often at considerable expense. Instead of increasing my productivity, I now think they tend to slow me down as I waste time trying to understand how to best use them and fine tune them.
About all I use my PC for is web surfing, email, and text editing, and that is mostly for access to the larger display and keyboard. The web, email, and text editing all use very simple ASCII text formats, that are described by international standards. They don't use proprietary formats. You don't need to use a Windows PC for that. Any sort of computer can handle standard formats.
What is the point of all your computing power sitting on a desk someplace else? You need to carry computing power with you, and have easy connection back to your base. Pocket computers are starting to offer possibilities far beyond what was available when I got my first Sharp PC3100 back in 1991. My favourite computers are small ones, and the directory above lists some I started using back in 1991.
My idea of essentials in a computer:
- Instant On
- Switch on and use it instantly, with no boot period. All PDAs do this. Other computers just don't get the idea.
- A keyboard I can use for extensive typing. I need to enter information, not just look it up. So neither Palm nor PocketPC organisers work.
- Stand Alone
- Operate for extended periods away from home base, while on holidays or travelling, away from power supplies, away from a PC. Must replace a PC for months at a time.
- Text Oriented
- I manipulate, search and format lots of text and data while I travel. Just having an organiser isn't sufficient. It has to handle most of what a desktop computer can handle.
- Printing Facilities
- A weak point of all PDAs. I want to print complete copy ready publications, with all the layout and indexes included, without needing a PC.
- Desktop Replacement
- Must be able to handle your computing needs for long periods. Needs most of the applications I'd normally use on a PC.
- Program it without external computers. You never know when you might need some minor new program, so you need to be able to write them using your pocket computer.
- Carry it in your pocket or purse. I'd prefer pocket size, but getting a decent sized keyboard and display in that size factor is a problem, so I'm willing (reluctantly) to compromise a little.
- Hand Held
- Easily hold it in one hand. I'm not compromising too much.
- Standard Batteries
- Can use standard AA or similar batteries. If it needs a charger, or especially a PC cradle, how can you be sure they will be available?
Many popular and/or excellent PDAs don't meet these requirements, as they are aimed at an audience with different demands or different perceptions of their needs.
The Palm style computers are designed to operate mainly in conjunction with a desktop computer, no programming language is included, and the lack of a keyboard doesn't suit me.
Windows CE systems don't seem to be designed to operate independent of a Windows computer with MS Office.
Psion computers seem to me to be designed primarily as a small self contained computer that can also connect to a PC. That was what I needed and that is what I use.
Various Computer Comments
The pages in this directory are generally background material that didn't fit in with the Psion or palmtop material.
- Bluetooth is a short range wireless data connection.
- Caller ID
- Camcorder Digital video cameras
- A neat portable wind up phone to modem cable.
- Digital Cameras
- Quick summary of things I learnt while trying to make some sense of advertisements for digital cameras.
- Digital TV
- Disk Drives
- The technology of computer displays, LCDs and their replacements.
- Do It Yourself Computers
- Placeholder for the good old days when I did build my own.
- DVD Combo
- Eiger ISA to PCMCIA
- Ancient ISA card to PCMCIA adapter, to read PCCards on a desktop computer.
- Fax notes, very obsolete.
- Gadgets Page
- Brief descriptions of interesting gadgets, with links.
- Geek Gear
- I've been amazed to find a jacket for geeks, so I started this page as a placeholder in case some more turns up.
- Glossary of terms
- A placeholder for a glossary of computer terms used on this site. Corrections and additions are welcome.
- Global Positioning System
- Technology behind the GPS.
- History of computers
- A placeholder with notes about how computers, especially personal computers, have developed over past decades. Mostly just to help remind me that things do change. Corrections and additions are welcome.
- Home control networks (placeholder)
- Infra red Data Association standard
- Why I don't like this programming language (yet).
- Mailing Lists
- Why mailing lists don't work as a commercial tool (yet).
- Microfax modem and automatic fax receiver.
- new page sample
- Not Macintosh
- PCCard, PCMCIA
- Memory cards, and anything else we can put in little removeable cards.
- Phone Page
- Mobile phone technologies outlined.
- Policy Page
- My policies on linking to other sites, privacy statements, disabled access, and similar semi-legal material.
- Pop 3 email protocols
- Brief notes on how op3 and SMTP email works.
- The End of Printing
- Printing as an output mode is nearly dead, and the big office applications with it. That is why these are changing, and the selling method is likewise changing.
- Printing - a different approach
- I use a Postscript printer (or Ghostscript freeware), and Graham Freeman's 35k freeware Postscript pre-processor called QuickScript, and QuickScript's very simple ASCII compatible markup language for most of my printing. Fast, free, and extensible. Most commonly used MS Word layout facilities can be duplicated.
- Raves about the loss of privacy, Echelon and similar.
- Reconfigurable chips
- RS232 - brief notes
- I can never find my copy of obscure pinouts.
- Search engines
- Old rants
- Links to Other Sites
- I tried to move general site links to their own page.
- Smart Homes
- Software I Like
- Brief descriptions of some PC software I find of use, or interesting, with links to where to obtain it.
- Links to Anti Spam sites
- Links to anti spam sites, advice on avoiding spam.
- Tablet PC using Windows
- Travel with a Computer
- Notes on travel computing and connectivity.
- TV Card
- Twiddler Chord Keyboard
- A single hand chorded keyboard and mouse.
- Usability problems on the web, why web businesses annoy me, and why I think some fail.
- Why I don't like USB devices.
- vCard and vCal
- Brief notes on vCard and vCal standards
- Wanted Devices and Programs
- Notes of programs (and gadgets) to find or build.
- WAP - Wireless Application Protocol
- Why I think WAP is a proprietary dead end that should die.
- Webready? Disabled Access
- Quotes about whether the web should be available to the disabled and handicapped. Some links to advice and tests.
- Avoiding Some Windows Problems
- What I decided were my best options for avoiding putting up with some Windows problems. Not for everyone.
- Windows problems encountered
- Places where PCs, Windows and similar go wrong for me. Don't try to view this page if you use Windows 95/98 (Windows PCs may turn to stone if they view this page, unless they have the latest crash prevention patches).
- Wireless Networks
- More notes on wireless.
- What is XML?
- Links to explanations, and hopes for an open future.
"The trouble with Total Quality Management is that there is no such thing. It is a buzzword. I have never used the term, as it carries no meaning." W. Edwards Deming, 1993
Dr Deming is honoured in Japan by the Deming Prize for corporate quality, established in 1951. He died a prophet without honour in his own land in 1993, aged 93, still "trying to keep his country from committing suicide".