Archive for February, 2005

Laptop replacement strategy

Tuesday, February 1st, 2005

I have been looking for a laptop replacement. My only laptop applicatons are Outlook email, good web browsing, and basic Word/Excel/Powerpoint. I really want instant-on, and a small form factor, but I can’t compromise too much on the screen or keyboard. Sounds fairly impossible.

Well, I’m testing the iPaq hx4700, and it comes pretty close. Small, instant on, built in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, and a VGA screen. Add a Bluetooth keyboard, fire up the built-in Pocket Outlook or IE, and I’m pretty close to what I want.

On the plus side, it was easy to install Betaplayer, and play some movies from a CF card – can you say portable media player? There are also lots of apps and games available for the PPC, although many of them don’t like the VGA screen resolution much.

On the minus side, MSFT makes it downright hard to use the device in any advanced way. You need extra apps to do standard file manipulation actions, or to open more than one web browser. And the worst part is the VGA resolution is not standard, and requires some kludgy free software to enable. And once enabled, many of the screen fonts are too small, and the on-screen keyboard is almost unusable.

A few things I still have to try are to get VNC or GotoMyPC running, so I can get to my home machine resources. I also haven’t found a good ebook reader that handles text files, I’d like to stop carrying books too. I need a portable Wi-Fi access point, to handle those backwards places that aren’t wireless yet.

I haven’t stopped carrying my laptop yet, but it is looking more and more possible. We’ll see.