April 19, 2004

Journey to the dark side

Ok, so after reading my last entry, you're probably wondering just what is so evil about the 3650 that I made the reference to the dark side, and the short answer is, nothing. ;) It's a great phone, and a great platform, I sync it to my work system all the time to keep my contacts and schedule up to date, and it works great. So, what's all this about the dark side then? I'm glad you asked.

If you've been following along, you'll remember that something I really wanted was AvantGo. And for some reason, the AvantGo software just wasn't cooperating with the 3650. So I was back to replacing my Palm III. I figured I had two choices, a newer Palm running the Palm OS, or a PocketPC running (gasp) Windows CE. It was an incredibly hard decision, but eventually, I went with the PocketPC.

Those of you that know me know just how much I loath Windows. It's Bloated, Inelegant, full of Techno-babble, Cumbersome to use, and just plain Hell to use. I'm sure there's a fitting acronym that sums this all up somewhere...

So, what made me pick a Windoze system? The short answer is, Palm just wasn't impressing me as much as they used to. I had researched a number of models, and one thing I was interested in was upgradability of the OS. What I found was that there did not seem to be an upgrade path to upgrade the OS on older, or even some current Palms to the latest OS. To me, this just did not make any sense. In analyzing what I wanted, the two things topping my list were a color screen, and wireless (802.11) capability. Palm had only one model available with 802.11 built in, and though it seemed that others could have this as a separate upgrade, I found the driver and OS requirements to be conflicting, and often dependent on future upgrades from with the manufacturer or Palm. This didn't instill me with a lot of confidence.

On the PocketPC side, I found a number of offerings that included 802.11, and those that didn't include it could add it easily. Eventually, after much reading of reviews and comparing models, I settled on the Dell Axim, in particular, the X5. What I wanted was the X3i, which included 802.11 built in, but I got a great deal on the X5 second hand, and it included a compact flash 802.11 card, so I was all set.

The unit apparently shipped with the AvantGo software bundled, so it was a breeze to set up and get going. And the wireless networking worked fine with minimal fiddling both at the office and at home (AirPort network in both locations), and even have my email mostly working. I say mostly, because I still haven't quite figured out the trick to getting VPN working quite right at the office, but that isn't a big deal at this point.

In short, I'm relatively happy with the unit. I didn't expect it to be perfect (I've already mentioned it runs Windoze), but it's doing the bulk of what I want. Tomorrow, I'll go into some more detail on the software I'm using to sync with the Mac, and some other software gotchas I discovered.

Posted by Jim at April 19, 2004 3:20 PM | TrackBack