Special Features

Field Trip
By: Dave

I often find my self taking my devices on field trips.  You might ask why, well, because field trips aren't always all fun, and often are a lot of bus riding.  I put my devices to the test every time I take them with me.  Of course if anyone has anything fun, like a PDA, everyone always wants to play with it.  My device will often change hands three or four times in an hour.  Since the device isn't theirs, many people don't understand that you don't have to press very hard on the screen.  I found it very necessary when using my device at school and out "in the world" to have screen protectors, so not to get my devices screen scratched.  I also soon found that screen protectors help make the screen more visible.  This was very surprising because you would think it would make the screen a little harder to read.

On the bus is one of the harder places to use a device.  First off, the most obvious.  You are always being bounced around, so writing on the screen becomes very different.  It does help to get a better stylus then the one included.  Many times these seem to work better in general conditions and a little better is the conditions of the bus.  The bus also presents another problem, light.  It was almost as bright in the bus as outside, so seeing the screen of the Nino was very difficult.  If you play around with a device in a store, you might note that devices with plastic on the screen (like the iPAQ, Nino, and some Casio devices) don't usually work as well in bright lights as screens like the Prism, Jornada or the Palm IIIc.

Another place I find myself trying to use my PDA is in my car.  The lighting, though usually dark in Oregon, makes the screen particularly hard to see.  The screen on my Nino often tends to be hard to read in the car, though a device with a black and white screen like a Palm or Visor often is much easier to see.  The only time the Visor or Palm is not as good is when it is dark, and then the Nino is much better.  It is really a trade off, which is why I often tend to carry two devices with me at all times (yeah, I am a nerd huh).

If you are a student, or someone that is going to want to use their device while on the road, you should really consider that when buying a device.  I have found from personal experiences that devices with a thicker plastic coating on the screen, often do not work well as the light increases.  The opposite is true for devices with gray scale screens.  These screens are not lit the same, so unless they have a backlight function, there will be now way to see them in the dark.  Students also should remember that everyone is going to use your device, believe me.  Think about that when you decide you need the top of the line device.

Feel free to email me about your own PDA, questions, comments, articles, rumors, and reviews.  I can be reached at dave@davespda.com.