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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.