Writing on a Palm Pilot

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12 Responses

  1. Leisureguy says:

    For entering text on a Palm or similar device, I highly the Fitaly addon. As you see at the link, the Fitaly is a keyboard layout that’s optimized for single-digit or stylus input: commonly used letters are grouped, and a few techniques (like click-and-slide to capitalize a letter) makes for even faster input. You can almost reach typing speed on this thing once you’re used to it—and it takes a very little time to learn. I’ve used it on the Palm and the Pocket PC and consider it essential.

  2. Leisureguy says:

    Oops: “highly recommend”

  3. Dustin says:

    LeisureGuy: I tried out Fitaly years and years ago, on my then-new Handspring Visor. I never got the hang of it, but I know some people swear by it. The idea, for those unfamiliar, is that FItaly replaces the regular Palm popup keyboard with one optimized for typing using a stylus. The letter you use the most are in teh center, and the letters statistically most likely to be together are positioned near each other. Sort of a Dvorak keyboard for working on the Palm’s touchscreen.

  4. Leisureguy says:

    It took me about a week to work up speed, so there’s definitely a learning curve. I didn’t make any special effort to learn the position of the letters, just looked for the next letter and within a couple of days knew all the common letters. Z and X took longer. 🙂 It is definitely worth an experiment.

  5. Scott says:

    I used to enjoy writing on my Psion Series 5 — it had all the portability and functions of a PDA, and came with a decent word processor. The keyboard was nice, too.

    Could never get the hang of writing on a Palm PDA, even with the folding keyboard that I bought.

  6. Aneesa says:

    My Palm Treo has come in handy when a blog idea pops in my head while I’m riding on the bus. I either use the email function or Documents on the Go.

  7. Tom Colvin says:

    I once used my Palm M130 a lot, even got the external keyboard, but it was unfortunately hard-wired. I abandoned Palm when I was once travelling with no access to a power point to rejuice the battery — I lost LOTS of information and programs that I had paid for. I also learned that switching out an old battery is difficult on the earlier Palms. I guess the new ones do better.

    Along PDA lines, SoftOffice has just released an updated version for its very fine office suite for Pocket PC.

    Personally, I’m beginning to think about buying the $300 mini-laptop by Asus computers, which keeps its price down by installing Linux rather than Windows. I’m beginning to learn that a writer can do just fine on Linux.

  8. I’ve been using Palm and Windows Mobile devices for about as long as you, but writing 3-4 pages on a PDA almost seems Tolkienesque to me; with all those years of use I have reasonable speed, but because I get frustrated that I can’t reach my typing speed I give up and stick to writing nothing longer than an SMS 😉 Same reason I don’t write on paper anymore, other than my to-do list. Pathetically impatient mindset, eh?

  9. Dustin says:

    Tom: I’ve been salivating over those Asus EeeePCs since last fall when I first started hearing announcements. HP has an even nicer (but much more expensive) tiny notebook, and several other companies are coming out with them, too.

    Some advantages of a Palm are: long battery life, instant-on (no boot-up time), smaller (obviously), and made for quick reference. But one of those tiny laptops might be compelling enough to overcome some of those plusses.

    Joel: I rarely write more than a page or two on paper because I hate the double-work of typing it up, although that’s often a good chance to revise. A Palm is a terrible interface for editing, because you see so little of the document at a time, but I find it’s a pretty good interface for just writing, especially in the kinds of situations where taking out a laptop is pointless, like sitting 10 minutes before an appointment or between obligations.

  10. Dustin: re the Asus EeeePCs. I recently went up to visit my parents and it turned that my dad, mother, two of my sisters and one of my brothers had one. Weird, eh? Anyway, the first two broke within the first three weeks; not sure if they’re brittle or the kids are careless, probably the latter, but let’s just say these aren’t the laptops that will survive a small drop or being sat on 😉 Otherwise, they seem great.

  11. Chris says:

    I love my Palm. For wordprocessing, I use Word Smith which integrates with Word.

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