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Which scheduling and communications devices for B-school?

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Which scheduling and communications devices for B-school?

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Which scheduling and communications devices for B-school? [#permalink] New post 26 May 2007, 22:45
So I've been thinking about the subject matter of keeping up with appointments and have been considering getting a PDA for some time. However, as I investigated the issue, I inevitably arrived at the PDA+phone = smartphone combo. I have recently learnt that there are a few of these devices which have built-in WIFI, allowing its user to browse mail, the internet, open Windows applications (in the Mobile Windows mode). I've been checking prices for these "babies" and found a few which come quite cheap (100 bucks) with high-end 2 year contracts but will run about 400 - 500 bucks unblocked (i.e. with no contract). There's also a few phones running windows Mobile but without the full keyboard and without the touchscreen (this seems like a pain in the neck, but you compromise ease of use for size and weight). On the other hand, I could get a 2nd hand Palm and a shabby phone (with my contract of choice) with around 100 - 200 bucks. All options with Windows Mobile will allow me to synchronize with Outlook, while the Palm OS devices would probably required me to use Palm soft for scheduling exclusively.

So the question is: which way to go? Should I get the smartphone and keep the number of items-to-carry low? Can the smartphone actually replace carrying the laptop around at times? Or should I get the PDA and phone combo? Or maybe just the phone, since I'll have my laptop with me all the time anyways?

Please chime in and share your impressions. I know there's lots of techies in the site and would honestly appreciate the advice from anyone who's using any of these arrangements.

Cheers. L.
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 [#permalink] New post 26 May 2007, 23:13
I'm currently using a Blackjack - I voted for #1 but this device doesn't actually have Wifi. It does have 3G wireless which is more than fast enough for checking emails and browsing any site worth looking at on a small screen like that.

I think the keyboard is critical if you are going to try to answer any emails. I know some people are really good with normal keypads, but I'm voting for a keyboard. This phone (as with most smartphones) can be attached to your laptop using USB or bluetooth to be used as a modem if you are somewhere where you don't have access to Wifi. The speed is pretty good, I get 800-1000 kbps around the Bay Area, which is faster than some of the bargain broadband services. The 3G services offered by Sprint and Verizon should be even faster than that soon.

I don't think this device, or any handheld for that matter, is a substitute for a laptop in most situations. You just lose too much functionality when you shrink the screen and keyboard.

I've owned a whole bunch of different smartphones, including ones with keyboards, without keyboards, ones resembling regular phones, blackberries, and other devices. I think some of the current thin smartphones with keyboards are the best devices I have used. Treos were too thick for me, I didn't like to carry them around, but the blackjack is really small (noticeably smaller than the Motorola Q), and easy to carry around.
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 [#permalink] New post 26 May 2007, 23:26
Call me an old-fashioned guy because I just can't seem to keep my entire life organized on a digital device. A simple cell phone with e-mail fuction should satisfy the communication demands. Any other important correspondance will be done via my laptop, which will probably open and on 95% of the time anyway.

For organization, I like to keep a simple bound Sagesse business scheduler. It's just as handy as a palmpilot and the batteries never die :wink:
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 [#permalink] New post 29 May 2007, 04:54
I'm with GMATT73, I'm sure I'll have my laptop surgically attached to my lap, so any time I need to check my schedule I can just use Outlook on my laptop. A PDA seems like it would be redundant (for me at least).
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 [#permalink] New post 29 May 2007, 06:52
yes, me too. I've used smart-phone before, and honestly I didn't find a lot of use into it. It was too big to put into the pocket, and I got tired with carrying it around, so finally I gave it up.
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 [#permalink] New post 29 May 2007, 07:00
johnnyx9 wrote:
I'm with GMATT73, I'm sure I'll have my laptop surgically attached to my lap, so any time I need to check my schedule I can just use Outlook on my laptop. A PDA seems like it would be redundant (for me at least).


I agree with this. I know people who had PDAs before grad school, then only used their laptops for calendars and scheduling things while in grad school, and now have gone back to their PDAs.
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 [#permalink] New post 29 May 2007, 07:25
I've thought about using a PDA, but like some others on here I will probably just use a scheduling function on my laptop and make sure to carry it around with me at all times.
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 [#permalink] New post 29 May 2007, 07:31
This is a different topic.

but how about a tablet PC instead of a laptop?

I have always been fascinated with the ability to write on the screen.

anyone has experience w/ this device ?
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 [#permalink] New post 29 May 2007, 12:32
died4me wrote:
This is a different topic.

but how about a tablet PC instead of a laptop?

I have always been fascinated with the ability to write on the screen.

anyone has experience w/ this device ?


Tablet PCs are ok - I used to use the tablet function all the time, now I just type my notes out and occasionally doodle on the screen or draw a graph in OneNote.

I'm surprised no one here has mentioned a blackberry - I've got mine hooked into a bunch of email accounts (work, personal and consulting), my calendar and contacts sync wirelessly (so I can make appointments either via outlook, the web, or on the device).

I even have my work extension here forward to my blackberry after 3 rings and also have it so that when I call any extension here at the office it 'impersonates' my actual work extension (perfect for working from home!)
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 [#permalink] New post 29 May 2007, 14:01
xion wrote:
I'm surprised no one here has mentioned a blackberry - I've got mine hooked into a bunch of email accounts (work, personal and consulting), my calendar and contacts sync wirelessly (so I can make appointments either via outlook, the web, or on the device).

I even have my work extension here forward to my blackberry after 3 rings and also have it so that when I call any extension here at the office it 'impersonates' my actual work extension (perfect for working from home!)


One issue with blackberries is that you don't get that kind of functionality at school. At least at the school I'll attend, blackberries don't synchronize so well with other systems (or so I've read). For eg, with a blackberry if you read and delete an e-mail, you'll still have to log on into your Outlook and delete the same e-mail again. Whereas with Windows mobile, you would sync automatically. I guess the problem is that there's no blackberry-specific support in place.

Probably other schools offer more support for them.

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 [#permalink] New post 30 May 2007, 05:43
ya - I'm attending a school that I work for and also have a Blackberry Enterprise Server account at (so it sync's email action and calendar etc...)

I've been trying to convince them to let students on the system as well - I've been using RIM devices since they were large brick-sized pagers so I'm a bit biased :)

There's a site that lets you rent an enterprise account, I've heard it's great: mailstreet (dot) com/wireless/
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 [#permalink] New post 23 Jul 2007, 14:31
If the school uses a MS Exchange server (and mine does), shouldn't emails be automatically synced not matter what device you use? It should be similar to using "IMAP" protocal instead of POP, etc.
Do Blackberries support Exchange server?

I am seriously considering a PDA, smart phone or BB because 1) many classes do not allow laptop use 2) if you just want to check your email or schedule, a PDA would be the ideal tool (no need to bust out the laptop)

My campus will have WiFi, so if I get a PDA/BB with wifi, I can surf and email for free. What do you guys think?
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 [#permalink] New post 24 Jul 2007, 10:22
Stay away from the Windows Mobile. I got a Treo 700w with Mobile on it and it was a nightmare. Ended up taking it back for a 700p (Palm OS) and love it. I also had a 600 for years, so that is part of it as well. I can't live without mine. Contacts, schedules, web, it has it all. I access my hotmail via my web connection, which I think is ideal.
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 [#permalink] New post 24 Jul 2007, 13:07
zakk wrote:
Stay away from the Windows Mobile. I got a Treo 700w with Mobile on it and it was a nightmare. Ended up taking it back for a 700p (Palm OS) and love it. I also had a 600 for years, so that is part of it as well. I can't live without mine. Contacts, schedules, web, it has it all. I access my hotmail via my web connection, which I think is ideal.


Well, each person has their own preference for this type of thing, but saying "stay away from Windows Mobile" is pretty silly at this point. Palm hasn't had an update in their OS for 5 years or something (actually they had a new version but device makers refused to adopt it because it was terrible). Palm OS is much closer to dead than to its glory days and very few (none that I can think of actually) new devices offer Palm OS. There are a few alternatives out there, but the market is clearly heading towards Windows Mobile. In fact, when you hear about a new handheld device, it's almost assumed that the OS will be Windows Mobile (Motorola Q, Blackjack, Tmobilt Dash/Wing, all the HTC devices, all the Ipaqs, etc.), with Blackberry holding strong in their specific area.

Here's an article on this subject published today:
http://www.brighthand.com/default.asp?newsID=13203
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 [#permalink] New post 24 Jul 2007, 13:20
pelihu wrote:
zakk wrote:
Stay away from the Windows Mobile. I got a Treo 700w with Mobile on it and it was a nightmare. Ended up taking it back for a 700p (Palm OS) and love it. I also had a 600 for years, so that is part of it as well. I can't live without mine. Contacts, schedules, web, it has it all. I access my hotmail via my web connection, which I think is ideal.


Well, each person has their own preference for this type of thing, but saying "stay away from Windows Mobile" is pretty silly at this point. Palm hasn't had an update in their OS for 5 years or something (actually they had a new version but device makers refused to adopt it because it was terrible). Palm OS is much closer to dead than to its glory days and very few (none that I can think of actually) new devices offer Palm OS. There are a few alternatives out there, but the market is clearly heading towards Windows Mobile. In fact, when you hear about a new handheld device, it's almost assumed that the OS will be Windows Mobile (Motorola Q, Blackjack, Tmobilt Dash/Wing, all the HTC devices, all the Ipaqs, etc.), with Blackberry holding strong in their specific area.

Here's an article on this subject published today:


Trying using it, try debugging it, then let me know. From my first hand experience, the expereince of others, and the expereince of those on the palm boards, it is highly unstable, and in my opinion as a PDA user for years, not reliable compared to others on the market.
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 [#permalink] New post 24 Jul 2007, 14:05
zakk wrote:

Trying using it, try debugging it, then let me know. From my first hand experience, the expereince of others, and the expereince of those on the palm boards, it is highly unstable, and in my opinion as a PDA user for years, not reliable compared to others on the market.


Well, I have used Windows mobile devices since the early Ipaqs (before they integrated cellular service), including the Philips Nino, original HP handheld, Samsung i700 & i730, Audiovox Maestro, Sprint PPC 6600, HP 6135 (I think, can't remember the number), Cingular 2125 and others I can't think of off the top of my head. I have also owned Palm devices including the original palm pilot, Palm V, Handspring Edge & Treo 270, 300 & 600, Sony UX50 and Samsung I330. I also used the original blackberry.

I currently just the Blackjack and for me it's just about perfect. I don't know what you mean by "debugging it" but it sounds like you are just talking out your crack on that. These devices work just fine out of the box (both windows mobile and palm). I have done some "hacks" such as unlocking and enabling DUN and things like that, but I don't see debugging the OS as part of using a device. Trust me, I know what I'm talking about. Palm OS is dead as it stands. Maybe they can make a comeback with their new Linux based version (if it is ever released), or maybe device makers will refuse to adopt it again.

But if we're talking about buying a new device right now (which is what this thread is about), then Palm does not currently offer a competitive device. Palm OS might have been competitive when it was released in 2002 (actually it was already behind at that point), but at this point it's just old (no support for multi-tasking, no support for 3G, etc.). The simple fact is that its successor Palm OS 6 is considered dead. Certainly there are fans of the old OS, just like there are fans of the old Amiga, but the bottom line is that it's the same OS that was already behind 5 years ago.
  [#permalink] 24 Jul 2007, 14:05
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