Sunday, September 18, 2005

New things learned - which comes first PDA or Wireless

It stems from a certain amount of gadget envy, not an uncommon for feeling for a geek I guess. I have been eyeing up the HP IPAQ 4700 of late, justifying it because of the wireless option that it gives. I have used the P910i to go online and do keep up with some blog postings and email with it but there are limits. The beauty of a wireless gadget would be that I could surf at much faster speeds without using up my limited GPRS bandwidth. This is good in theory and, if I spent time near to certain cafes and the like in London or the US, would work - as long as I had pots of money.

The first problem in Cornwall would be to locate the site for wireless connections. Near where I work and also closer to my home, public wireless access is available at selected garages, pubs, cyber caf├ęs and other odd places, for a fee.

The next problem is the relatively substantial fee charged. From the last occasion I looked the cost of surfing locally was around £6 ($10) per Hour! Fine as a one off in a location you might be passing through and, say, there were nowhere open with wired access but not on a regular basis. Why is it so much cheaper in the US?

I have been tuning in to Podcasts and blogs about PDAs to find sufficient "evidence" of why I need one now. For those people who do not know the P910i, I have been using it, with just the stylus, to:

take notes in meetings - emailing a copy to myself/others as a backup as I go along, updating my mobile blog (, keeping up to date with some blogs via RSS feeds, emailing during my journey to/from work, reading documents, taking photos/videos to provide people, such as conference attendees, with directions, making phone calls (almost forgot that) and a few other things that escape me for the moment. Basically my P910i is my PDA and, apart from wanting a bluetooth keyboard for it for those rare occasions when I don't want to use the handwriting recognition, I have been perfectly happy. I do not need another PDA at this point. What I do need is to be able to surf when I am in different parts of the cottage. There are times when it's just nice to spend time in the same room as Cathy, she might be reading or watching something g on the TV but it's still time together and we can chat; I'm sure she'd agree that it beats me disappearing down the other room for hours at a stretch. Also there are times when we have a lazy time and don't get up early or when we wake up early but don't want to stir out of bed. I could read but to read most of my blogs or grab the odd podcast, I'd have to go downstairs for a while. Going wireless on my broadband connection would enable me to work from different parts of the house, heck if we get any decent days through the Autumn/Winter I could work in the garden.

The question now is, do I make use of the equipment I now have or have access to or do I go the full-blown wireless modem/router route? I currently have two bluetooth dongles and the chance of a second hand Desktop computer. With these I am thinking I could try out a simple bluetooth network and use the dongles to surf the net with the laptop. Maybe I could run a Linux distro on the desktop and work through that? Decisions, decisions. I am fairly sure that the bluetooth option is the one to try first as it will be the cheapest. It's just a question of whether the two different Bluetooth stacks will cooperate with each other.

Handcrafted on a Sony Ericsson P910i

My mobile blog -

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Cornwall, United Kingdom
A married Cornishman who is getting an inkling of what he wants to be when he grows up. I currently work for the NHS. [See bottom of page for Blog Archive and Links.]