Technically Speaking

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Technically Speaking
by Julie Strietelmeier

Not to brag, but I just got the latest and greatest PDA wonder. The Casio E-100. This little marvel
is super fast, can play music in stereo, and movies in color! So, what does that have to
do with being a Personal Digital Assistant
you might ask? Not much really… sure, the E-100 can keep track of your phone numbers and
dental appointments, but that is not what is going to make this the most popular PDA of
the summer. It is the fun stuff. It is the features. It is the ability to make your PDA do
something more than just manage addresses and expenses.

I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of the more unusual uses for PDAs.
Uses that you might not have thought about before.

Unusual PalmPilot Uses:

Bicycle Enthusiasts:
Are you into biking for fun and or fitness?  Then you might be interested in two
products that turn your PalmPilot into a bicycle computer that keeps track of your speed
and distance. The Bikini bicycle computer will display a graph of current speed and average speed while you’re
cycling. Another bike computer is the BikeBrain from VeloTrend. This is a nice kit that includes a handlebar mount and software. The
BikeBrain is more complex than the Bikini computer as it includes route directions and
other features.

Data Acquisition:
Want your very own tricorder? There are two data acquisition solutions for the PalmPilot
that look quite interesting. The Datastick Data Acquisition System by Datastick Systems is a small module that plugs into the
PalmPilot and turns it into a tricorder like device. The Datastick system can measure
temperature, pressure, light, acceleration and more. Another solution is the Versid from Tangent Systems. The Versid is also a module
that plugs into the PalmPilot. The Versid can only measure temperature though.

Diabetes Management:
Diabetics now have a tool to help them manage their glucose levels. GlucoPilot is a software and hardware solution that can
interface your glucose meter with your PalmPilot to help keep track of your blood sugar

Digital EQ:
Sound technicians will love the Handi System module
that turns their PalmPilot into a digital equalizer.


Unusual Windows CE Uses:

Ham Radio:
If you are an amateur radio operator (I’m a Technician Plus myself: N9MSN), you might be
interested in using your Windows CE device and a Handheld radio as a Packet Radio station. For those of
you that don’t know what Packet Radio is, think of it as wireless communications using a
handheld radio. You can send messages (like email) back and forth to people and read
messages on bulletin board like servers.

Emulating handheld video games:
Game players rejoice. You can actually play Gameboy, Sega GameGear games right on your
handheld. PalmGB allows you to play
Gameboy games on your Palm-size PC. This is alot of fun on a Casio E-100 with its joypad.
Then there is Jimmy Software’s Unicorn
emulator for the HPC which will let you play Sega GameGear and Master System games. Best
of all, these two emulators are just software, no special hardware addons required.


Unusual Newton Uses:

PowerPoint presentations:
Use PointPro with your Newton to
display PowerPoint presentations on a VGA monitor. The presentations can even be in color.
The software allows import and store color graphics and images from Windows and MacOS and
includes text, drawing, table, and charting tools.

So, as you can see a PDA can be used for all types of things. The PalmPilot seems to
have a big advantage over the other PDAs as far as hardware addons. I hope to see more
addons for the Palm-size PC in the future as they get more popular. There are already
pictures of clip on GPS and digital camera modules for the Casio E-100.

We’d like to hear from about what types of addons would you like to see for your PDA?
And let us know about other unusual uses that weren’t mentioned in this article.  Go
to the discussion area.


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