Palm sized computing

I must admit I’ve always been a fan of the full sized (notebook) computer.  Forget weight issues (I’m a strong lad)  the bigger and more powerful the computer the better: a decent hard drive, widescreen and especially a full-sized keyboard for those of us who learned to touch-type in the heady days when the Public Service typing pool seemed a job for life.

So, I’ve generally argued against netbooks, PDAs and mobile phones as replacements for ‘real’ 1-1 computing solutions except in cases when the $200-$300 price difference makes a critical difference in getting the program going.  And, while I stick to those guns, I must admit being pretty impressed so far with my new 64GB Ipod Touch with full wireless capacity and the ability to work with all the downloadable Iphone applications.

It’s not going to replace my computer, and I’m not going to write my thesis on it, but I can quite happily read emails, check my calendar,  work with Twitter and quickly move through my rss feeds via Google Reader. I can make Skype calls with the headphone microphone plugged in, read from my EverNote account and read the Age or the NY Times. I can record voice memos, or my cycling training and probably play a bizillion games I’m too nervous to download in case I get addicted.  When I was walking around lost in Salem recently I could stop for coffee at a wireless cafe and fire up the Google Map and figure out how to get back to the ferry.  And did I mention it’s got ALL my music on it?  With voice control so if I say ‘Play artist Neil Young’ it does! And I say that a lot!

It’s a powerful little hand-held computer and it’s got potential which I’ve been busily exploring as I download lots of little applications for it.   The big drawback remains that it’s hard to create on it; to write much, to draw, to brainstorm, to produce. But you can access information with ease and I can see, with this user interface, how hand-held mobile devices might have a bigger part to play than I thought.

Here’s how I’ve organised my Ipod so far; three screens. I’d love to hear how you’ve set yours up and whether you’ve found the perfect application to go with it.


The GMAIL App works seamlessly with Gmail accounts as does Evernote, Tweetdeck and Skype. Everyone needs a shopping list and To Do list right? The cycling log is a bit specialised but does the job nicely.


Screen 2 is less commonly used apps; a couple of Melbourne public transport specific apps and the ubiquitous ‘AppBox Pro’ and it’s bag of tricks (I would have loved to have had the ‘Tip Calculator’ when I was in NY recently) Urbanspoon is a restaurant finder and very cool. iTwitterPro I bought, but it isn’t as good as Tweetdeck.


Screen 3 are web slices; direct links to web pages I read a lot. Sort of visible bookmarks. The Google Reader is an application that makes reading your RSS feeds a breeze.


Screen 4 is apps I don’t use, but can’t delete. I haven’t got any stocks and the ‘Music’ button is much better than the iTunes one.

2 thoughts on “Palm sized computing

  1. Hey Warrick,

    I too am a new apple fan, recently buying an iphone to travel overseas with the intention of blogging. Years ago I ditched a hand held organiser after a few weeks, annoyed with the lack of visuals, miniscule buttons etc but the iphone is amazing. It became the most used item on our 6 week trip through the back blocks of S.E. Asia.

    Blogging was a breeze using the WordPress app, easily uploading photos and text. Initially the mini touch keyboard was a bit challenging, but after a few days and discovering that it is easier with the keyboard in portrait mode (as the buttons are closer) I mastered it. It even has cut and paste options! and the more I used it the more words it predicted. Only thing is you cannot directly upload video, but I am sure that willl come. (You can upload to youtube, and then put a link on the blog page if really keen)

    Note though that WordPress is blocked in China which was disappointing, but I admire wordpress for taking a stand for free speech.

    Accessing the net with free wifi was a breeze. I cannot imagine travelling without an iphone now.

    Skype was the absolute winner – free calls to family and friends who are online around the world. Incredible.

    Best travel app we used was XE currency exchange – its even better than the standard website version, and can calculate multiple currencies on the one screen for easy comparison.

    The Wifi Trak app was really handy as some wifi spots only seemed to load if found through this app, and not the iphone serttings wifi search.

    World Fact Book was a winner for those world details you wonder about when travelling.

    The camera was also fairly impressive. I initially only took shots to easily add to the blog, but was genuinly impressed by it’s abilities – really clear shots from within a moving bus! so it became the second camera as well.

    Not really into games…or so I thought. But Boggle caught my eye as an old favourite and according to the statistics I have now played it for seven hours…don’t really need to know that!

    I am into Geocaching and the caching app is excellent as well. Very precise GPS data, and easy access to cache info, directions, clues and compass. Also a breeze to log finds in the field and track routes to the next cache.

    Also handy is a little app called rhyme. I often make daggy poems for friend’s birthdays and special events and this lists all possible wds that rhyme with syllable options.

    Now trying to decide if I will link it to my work email…do I really want all that at my fingertips 24/7. Life balance?

    Chat soon!

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