Thursday, June 24, 2004

Relying on digital electronics

I am going to have to be in Alaska on Saturday for a few days of non-profit business. I'll bring all three cell phones, my laptop and my blakcberry. Odds are that none will work very well. While they work pretty well in the urban areas, once you are out of the cities, communication becomes much harder.

I expect that I will be out of reach for a few days, except from my hotel room Internet access. Too many devices and still not enough. Sad, isn't it?

When I was in Singapore a few months ago I was interviewed by Computer Times as their first cyber-celebrity feature. The journalist looked at the assortment of devices spilling out of my purse and asked to photograph me with them. In addition to my US cell phones, I had my Palm, UK phone and my international blackberry device.

In addition to the devices, I had extra batteries for each, and plug-in chargers and adapters. Of course I also had my little Vaio, with its plugs and wires and wireless card. I was a mess.

Amy Harmon, from the New York Times, did a recent review of the Treo 600. She loved it, but thought it was a bit pricey. When Amy recommends something, I listen. So, I've been looking around for a Treo, and found some pretty good prices if I was willing to sign up for a new cell phone plan. (Verizon doesn't have the Treo yet, and that was the only plan I could renew.)

I was amazed at how few devoces there are out there. And how badly they seem to function. Most of my friends have complained about having to replace them several times in a few months when the headset or flip front breaks, or the device stops working. My son is on his fourth in as many months.

Yet, the newest hottest topic among us road warriors is how to combine cell phone, PDA and Blackberry functions into one manageable device, that doesn't break down, isn't the size of a breadbox and works. The device would have to be palm-compatible for all the software I already have and would want to use. But also have e-mail capability that is as easy as a Blackberry. It needs a keyboard function that works for those with big fingers and small fingers alike. And better web-surfing functions than Blackberry has, with attachment capability. I'd also like an expansion card.

All that and, maybe, look good too.

Am I asking for too much?

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