PDA & Handheld Computers Buying Guide

The Personal Data Assistant (PDA) has won rapid acceptance among university students and executives who are constantly on the move because of its ability to package a lot of different data requirements into a palm sized device. The PDA is designed to make a busy life easier by providing sensible connections to all the information you need, have it at your fingertips when you need it, and transport it to other systems. Once ‘organised’ with your PDA, you will have all of your contact phone numbers, be collecting your emails, process your business orders, display your photographs and relax to your mp3 library. Many PDAs also act as a digital recorder and have windows based compatibility for word processing and spreadsheet financial calculations.

PDAs At the simplest end of the market, a PDA can help you manage your daily to-do lists, keep track of your diary and record your memos. But it’s important for people moving into using a PDA to understand that it is a tool that is most beneficial to an already organised mind: it won’t actually do the organising for you. But if you find you need to view and manage documents on the go, keep track of your appointments and have instant access to your name and address book, then the basic functions of a PDA will probably enhance your productivity. And of course the added bonuses of listening to your mp3s, watching short video clips, reading ebooks and being able to rehearse and review your presentations can only help.

PDAs with the Windows Pocket PC operating system and gutsy memory are compatible with your normal windows and office environments. Screen size and image resolution can be critical if you intend to use the device for reading books and managing text-heavy documents. While sales of PDAs have steadily declined over the past two years, losing to smartphone technology, the main manufacturers have advanced the usability of PDA devices with faster processors, increases in memory and multimedia capability. In many situations, smartphones have been able to replace many functions of the PDA, combining data management with mobile phone technology. But if you want to work with spreadsheets and web pages on your PDA, smartphones are at a disadvantage from smaller screen sizes and data storage capability and sometimes cost, but they obviate the need to carry two devices.

What to look for

There’s a hand-held PDA device to suit practically every budget and need. You need to consider just how much data you want to carry with you and how connected you want to be. Obviously more memory, faster processor and bigger screen attract higher price tags. You can compare brands, models and prices by searching Myshopping.com.au using the following specifications to guide you.

A budget basic unit might offer a processor speed of 16 MHz, 8MB of memory and at 2.5 inch (diagonal) screen. At the high end, you can get a 4GB micro hard drive, WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, 400 MHz processor, 256MB memory, with expansion slots, 4 inch (diagonal) LCD screen with 65,000 colours and 640 x 480 display resolution, GPS functionality, MP3 player, digital camera and instant messaging. In the middle of the range you will find devices with 64MB of memory, a 200 MHz processor, 3 inch screen and built-in microphone or audio input jack. Bear in mind that all of these specifications and functionalities change continuously, and devices are upgraded with new features over very short spaces of time.

Apart from processor speed, memory and screen size, some of the critical specifications that you can use for cost and brand comparisons include:

Data input – While some models have a full QWERTY keyboard built-in, you may want to consider adding a fold-up full-size external keyboard. Entering lots of text with the small built-in keypads or using the handwriting software can be frustrating.

Audio input – A built-in microphone or microphone jack is needed for recording voice memos and meeting notes and store audio files.

Music playback – MP3 audio file playback can sometimes need additional software.

GPS – While there are a number of purpose-built hand-held devices for industrial applications, your PDA’s GPS capability may not be suitable for rugged outdoor activities.

Communication – Look for integrated Bluetooth 1.1 and a built-in 802.11b Wi-Fi adapter

Smartphone – Combines the functions of a mobile phone with a data management device in a single unit. Phone capability requires a separately purchased service contract

Audio Output – A headphone jack is essential for listening to your audio files

Cradle/Charger – This device allows for easy connection and synchronization with your PC while simultaneously recharging your battery. Consider buying an additional cradle for the office for maximum convenience. Some PDAs include a cable or a special cradle that provides an interface with your desktop computer to synchronize data.

Battery life – Each device will have its own battery-life characteristics. Battery recharge life is also dependent upon the data you are processing. You can use manufacturer’s specifications as a guide to compare between brands and models, but these specifications are laboratory measurements and may not reflect your actual use.

Bluetooth – This wireless technology lets you to exchange data with other handheld devices or any other Bluetooth enabled device such as a cell phone, fax machine, personal computer, laptop computer, headset or printer. The Bluetooth feature will allow you to add an external keyboard.

Digital camera – PDA cameras usually capture low resolution images (around 1.2 megapixels), which are perfect for emailing but not ideal for printing.

GPS – Global positioning system allows you to navigate from any point on or near the surface of the earth.

Music/Audio – The MP3 playback quality will depend on the bit rate of the audio file and the quality of the built-in speaker. The audio quality is often better when played back through a quality headset.

PDA Screen – PDA screen sizes are measured in inches diagonally and are available from 2.6 inches up to 5 inches on the very high-end. Larger, brighter screens require more power to operate therefore increase battery consumption.

Processor speed – refers to the speed in which a PDA coordinates its internal functions. Processor speeds are measured in MHz (megahertz) and range between 4 MHz and 624 MHz. Although these specifications can change rapidly as technology develops, it is recommended to have a processor speed of at least 16 MHz for general day-to-day functions.

Video capture – Video playback often requires an additional expansion card and a third-party software download, and higher memory capability.

Web Browser – Used with a Wi-Fi connection, lets you browse the internet as you would from a desktop computer.

Wi-Fi – Integrated 802.11b WLAN (wireless local area network), enables you to connect to the internet in any hot spot. Enabling the Wi-Fi features tends to consume battery life quickly.

In summary

You may like to consider whether you are a novice (that is, new to PDA technology), an entrepreneur or a technophile, and make your search based on your level of understanding of the technology involved. As a novice, you will be searching for a basic unit, as a technophile you will be looking for all the bells and whistles. An entrepreneur will be searching for the most adaptable capabilities. The following might assist.

Choose amongst functionalities. Consider you need for mp3 players, or video players, or web browsing. Doubling the functionality of your PDA may reduce the need to have to carry another device around in order to enjoy the benefits offered.

How much internet access do you need? Bluetooth connectivity can give you mobile phone enabled internet access, Wife can give you access from hot spots, and simple cable connection to your desktop computer can let you read your emails on the road.

Go for maximum memory for money. Memory determines how much data your PDA can process and store, and its ability to handle applications. Memory can be boosted in many devices using expansion slots and flash memory cards.

Search Myshopping.com.au to compare models and brands, and vendors and prices.

How Does a Palm Pilot Work?

Just The Facts, Ma’m

Palm pilots are all the rage now. Everyone has a pda or wants to get one in the near future. If you don’t know much about a pda, however, it might be helpful to learn a bit about them. The history of the palm pilot is an interesting part of our technology advances.

How does a palm pilot work? A palm pilot uses a microprocessor. AN operating system tells the microprocessor what to do and sends instructions to the various parts of the pda. Batteries power pdas, and depending on what model of palm pilot you buy the batteries can last varying amounts of time.

Who invented the palm pilot? The palm pilot was invented in the 1990’s by Jeff Hawkins. He came up with the idea to have something small, yet similar to a computer to store personal information like addresses and phone numbers, take notes, and track appointments.

A palm pilot has many more uses and options now than it did when it was first invented. The pda has constantly been improved until it has become nearly indispensable to many people. Palm pilots are used to store personal information, track appointments and expenses, make lists, do calculations, send and receive email, listen to music, do word processing, access the Internet, and play many types of games.

What is the best brand of pda? That all depends on whom you talk to. Everyone has their personal preferences, and if you are going to buy a pda, it makes sense to talk with people who already own one and to read reviews of the different brands.

Review of Online Shopping – Changes in Buying Everyday Items

The internet has changed a lot of things of how people go about their daily routines. Communication has become that much clearer, finding friends and family is now a click away and searching for information is done in a split second. It is no question that a lot of things have changed now.

One of the biggest modifications that the internet has done is with purchasing items. Online shops have emerged everywhere selling everything from clothes to food to toys and to medicine. Almost anything can be purchased out of the internet now as long as you know where to look. The question now is why and how did the online shopping craze start. To answer the question, here are the advantages.

The Advantages

The largest advantage of online shopping is the reality that a person does not need to leave his/her home in order to purchase the items needed. It allows for the consumer to simply sit in front of the computer, connect to the internet, find the product and buy it using a credit card or any other online payment method. The order will then be sent to the doorstep of the buyer. This makes it easier for the buyer to acquire what he/she needs.

Another great thing about shopping online is the fact that no one needs to see you buy that item. This is especially true about sensitive items such as adult toys, weight loss products or other medication and more. You will be saved from the humiliation of having the salesperson glance you that “knowing look” or even ask you about what you bought. For some people, this is a really big deal.

It also comes to mind that compared to store prices; items sold over online shops are cheaper. This is mainly because maintaining an online shop costs much less than maintaining a real or physical shop. Rental fees of a small store can range from a few hundred dollars per month to a few thousand dollars per month while paying for hosting services for an online shop can cost just a few hundred dollars per year.

Most of the time purchases made from online shops are free from problems and very convenient. The process involves a couple of simple steps and the order will be sent right onto the consumer’s doorstep. Of course, this isn’t free from problems. There are certain disadvantages in purchasing items online.

The Disadvantages

Perhaps the most evident disadvantage of purchasing online is the fact that the buyer cannot check the quality of the item before paying for it. He/she would simply have to trust on the images posted by the online shop and the product description. Other than that, the buyer will have no other assurance of the quality and appearance of the product in question.

Another thing that people fear about buying online is the time it takes for the order to be sent to them. Sometimes the point of origin of the order is from far away and it would take weeks or even months before the order gets to the consumer’s doorstep. In line with shipping the item, there are also doubts that, especially if the product is easily broken, the courier will botch it and break it even before it arrives.

The biggest disadvantage of online shopping however is trust, assurance and guarantee. How can you be sure that what the seller is saying is true? How can you be sure that the seller will actually deliver the product? In other words, how can you be sure that the seller isn’t a scam?

These are all understandable and real fears about purchasing in the internet. It is true that there are some online shops that promptly deliver the goods; but there are those who are in the industry whose goal is to make a quick buck by scamming people. They do this in a variety of ways such as overcharging the purchaser’s credit card, posting misleading information and there are those who don’t send the product at all. The question now is how can you be sure with the purchase?

The Guarantee

Reality is that there is no 100% guarantee about buying online. First of all, the problems said earlier could have been caused by a third party such as the contractor or the courier. Fortunately, there is a way to at least lessen the problem by making use of online shop reviews.

There are a lot of different websites who are giving consumers the chance to share their experiences with specific online shops whether it is positive or negative. Using this information, other buyers can avoid those with recurrent bad reviews and stick with those who generally get proper reviews. Most of the time, these review sites also offer a list of suggested online stores as well. It is best to stick with those online shops to avoid getting scammed.