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WiFi on PDAs
Old 04-14-2008, 04:43 PM   #1
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WiFi on PDAs

I might get a Mobile Windows PDA with WiFi to help a friend debug his application.

My questions:

1. Can you walk into a coffee shop and use it for free, just as you can with a laptop?

2. Does it work well to use the Internet on a PDA, or is the screen just too small?

Thanks,
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Old 04-14-2008, 04:53 PM   #2
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Al,

I tried one of these for about a week and turned it in. The display, text entry and response time made it almost unusable for anything beyond txt msgs 4 me.

While free wifi hotspots are available in my area, the typical Starbucks ones charge a fee. You can check for free ones here.

The only PDA on which I am able to do meaningful browsing (other than a quick lookup on a PDA-friendly site) is the iPhone which I tried but do not own.
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Old 04-14-2008, 05:11 PM   #3
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Hey TAl - that sure sounds like work!!!! :- ;-)
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Old 04-14-2008, 05:22 PM   #4
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You should check to see who has free wi-fi in your area first as suggested above. In my little suburb, it's free at Panera Bread, the local libraries and the local university. Starbucks has talked about free, but not yet.

The screen is small, no getting around it, and you probably wouldn't want it as a primary internet device. If your viewing/reading things it can be OK, if you need to write/type a lot like reading/answering here, it's a PITA IMHO. My BlackBerry is great for short e:mails, but long ones or those with attachments - forget it. But the BlackBerry is pricey to buy, and pricey monthly charges.

Depending on what you want it for, the iPod Touch is an interesting alternative. It's not a PDA and it ain't cheap, but there are no monthly charges whatsoever in range of a free wi-fi spot. In addition to music (you are Trombone Al after all), the iPod Touch also does music videos, YouTube (free wi-fi), downloaded TV/Movies or even your own videos/DVDs with some inexpensive software. It also has full internet access. A nice feature you won't find on any PDA or phone I've seen, the iPod Touch has a slick feature, you can blow up the screen to see finer detail whenever needed. I have read this forum on my iPod and provided responses, but I woudn't want to "type" (strictly hunt-n-peck) out a long answer on it.

All in all, mostly they're novelty toys/gadgets in many senses...
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Old 04-14-2008, 05:45 PM   #5
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I don't know what you mean by debug for your friend but, psst Kindle. Over at the Kindle forums someone asked how to use it as a PDA. I posted my idea and then two days later went back to report how it went, the thread had been pulled.

The screen is big enough and the wireless connection is included with the device. Some might think it slow but it's fine for my purposes as I multitask as the screens come up. I use it at a coffee shop that doesn't have any internet connection and everywhere else. If I figure $60/mo. for wireless, it pays for itself in 6+ months. I use it all the time.
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Old 04-14-2008, 08:43 PM   #6
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I used my Palm for free Wifi email/internet a few years ago. The email was hit and miss, working about 50% of the time. Internet was slow and the screen was so small that the pages really werent readable. Free Wifi coverage was good in downtown Chicago, but sparse in the suburbs.
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Old 04-14-2008, 08:50 PM   #7
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Screens too small but theres a lot of free providers around. Most of the grocery stores in my area (Raleys/Bel-air/Safeway/Nugget) have free wi-fi. So do most of the car dealers, many of the coffee shops and sandwich shops.

Not sure why it took so long, but I used the free wifi at the car dealer for the first time this week when I had my wifes car in for service. Vista nicely popped up and said there was a public network available, turned all the firewall settings to full blast, shut off file and printer sharing and network discovery. Then when I got back home flipped it all back. Nice.

If you want something small but usable, wait until the next generation of little laptops starts shipping next month. The ones with the 8.9" screens oughta submarine the prices on the 7" models since the overall size and weight are about the same.
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Old 04-14-2008, 10:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronstar View Post
I used my Palm for free Wifi email/internet a few years ago. The email was hit and miss, working about 50% of the time. Internet was slow and the screen was so small that the pages really werent readable.
I had the same experience with the Palm......it was a nice idea, but in reality it was pretty much a royal PITA. Now I use either my Acer laptop or my Asus Eee. I can't even remember where I put the Palm......haven't seen or used it for at least a year!
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Old 04-15-2008, 05:43 AM   #9
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I had the same experience with the Palm......it was a nice idea, but in reality it was pretty much a royal PITA. Now I use either my Acer laptop or my Asus Eee. I can't even remember where I put the Palm......haven't seen or used it for at least a year!
I cant remember where my Palm is either. I'm using a Macbook - it works with Wifi without a glitch and the screen is big enough to read.
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Old 04-15-2008, 10:35 AM   #10
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I use the iPod Touch which is just like an iPhone without the phone. I use it frequently for web browsing at public hotspots and I find it quite handy.
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Old 04-15-2008, 08:58 PM   #11
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I had the same experience with the Palm......it was a nice idea, but in reality it was pretty much a royal PITA. Now I use either my Acer laptop or my Asus Eee. I can't even remember where I put the Palm......haven't seen or used it for at least a year!
I love my Eee. Teeny-tiny but decent screen space, keyboard isn't too tough to get used to and (best of all) cheap as all get out. Did you stick with Linux or switch to Windows?
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Old 04-16-2008, 12:31 AM   #12
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I love my Eee. Teeny-tiny but decent screen space, keyboard isn't too tough to get used to and (best of all) cheap as all get out. Did you stick with Linux or switch to Windows?
I'm sticking with Linux.....it does everything I need it to, and besides, I figure since it's working fine, why break it change it over to XP.

It's small size and light weight sure makes it great for traveling!
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