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06/17/2003 Archived Entry: "Krinny Kommentary 1"

So yeah...

As you might have figured out by now...my day didn't really start on that much of an upbeat note. At least I wasn't alone though...both of the other Dell Axims were acting oddly and my co-worker's laptop froze in the middle of a service pack install, which caused the system to not work while we repaired the OS.

Outside of these hiccups though, we DID manage to get a lab of computers kind of pulled out and one of the four high school servers upgraded, so that's good. Of course, trying to call a certain dorkass I know didn't pan out as her phone went straight to voicemail...so that was not so good. I'm sure I'll hear some story about it when she returns...just sucks for the time being.

I shall have to console myself with my new Misty Mate...a little personal air cooler dealie...pretty cool really. Go get one for yourself! Off HSN.com just look for "Misty Mate". If you're really bored...there's a Krinny Kommnetary....

I've decided that if I try a new product/service/restaurant...I should write down my thoughts about said thing. Mainly so I don't forget, but maybe someone out there will find it useful (haha, I think people actually read this, isn't that cute?) Anyway, the first Krinny Kommentary is about...dunh dunh dunh...

MR. ULANTI!

Seems only fitting. I've had him for about a month now so I can now be fairly certain about this review. Just for the record, he is a Dell Axim X5 Advanced with a TrueMobile 1180 Wireless card and a 256MB secure digital card. I also have the cradle/travel cable and an extra battery, for those who care. Oh yes! I also got the leather swing case and car charger.

Now, on the surface, it seems like a lot of money for something that's very silly. I mean, nothing it does is terribly original. For instance, the programs that come with it can be handled by a $5 dollar address/appointment book...and mp3s can be done better with a dedicated mp3 player...and sound recording is definately better done with a tape recorder for the most part. Indeed, nothing it does is any different than any of hundreds of products out there.

Now, reading that you might get the idea that I don't like it very much, that's not at all what I'm saying. I'm pointing out that really, it does nothing unique to set it apart. If you want some new wonderous service to come out of this, you'll be sorely disappointed. However, this is beyond a doubt the most versatile device I've ever seen. I don't think there's a thing that it can't do in some manner shape or form...well, in the subset of things that computers can do...don't expect this thing to cook you dinner....well, until someone makes the card for that...

So yes, your checkbook can hold your account info...your appointment book can carry your schedule, your address book can carry addresses....post-its can have what you need to do and so forth and so on, but all that information is scattered about. What this thing does is consolidate it all down into one easy-to-manage package. How cool is it to flip through your schedule while emailing someone that you're going to be late because of some such silly thing. I mean, you can sit in a class and take notes (in normal hand-writing for that mode, not typing...it has a text recognizer to change what you write into computer words...no guarantees on accuracy for messy writers like me though) WHILE you record the lecture into a sound clip. Sure, that will chew up memory very quickly, but that brings me to the next point.

The expandibility of this model is quite nice. It includes a CompactFlash slot AND a secure digital slot (some models only include one or the other). In theory, if you had some serious bucks to blow, you can add in an extra 2GBs of memory. However, that CompactFlash slot for me has far too many neat toys you can put in to waste it on extra memory. You can get wireless network cards, as well as their more mundane cabled cousins. If you really feel like parting with some cash (about $300 plus $35+ a month) you can actually get a celluar card that will dial up to a computer or some such using the same technology as a cell phone. In short, you can take your handheld anywhere and dial-in to some ISP and get email. Very useful feature for a company that sends its people hither thither and yon...not so much for the ho-hum user though. There's a quickie digital camera I'll probably end up getting before long just for those random times we want to snap a quick picture of some bizarreness. My co-worker has a Global Positioning System for his, and he says that works quite well. He actually got turned around coming from one of our obscure elementary schools, and his GPS got him right back where he needed to be in no time flat. I've seen a lot of goodies for that slot besides all that...like you can take a compactflash card from a camera and just copy the pictures straight to the handheld and email them to someone...how do I know you can do that? Because we've done it...worked flawlessly. Just too cool the amount of stuff you can make it do with those slots...I mean, hookers have less talent with their slots!

The screen is lovely, touch screen and all that. The colors are fairly rich for such a tiny thing, you're not likely to notice a whole lot of quality drop off. As I mentioned earlier, it does a good job of writing things on the screen as you write them, which makes it INSANELY useful for lectures and meetings. It's almost worth the money for that alone. The screen is also bright enough that you can see it in the dark with no trouble at all.

This, combined with the handy scroll button on the left side and Microsoft Reader, makes it the ideal platform for reading books! I love reading when I get the chance, but my laziness kicks in that I don't want to read to go to sleep. As I read, I get tired...and being tired makes me want to sleep. If I get up to do something...like turn off a light...then I'll wake up and need to read to go back to sleep...which means I'll need the light on and I'm sure you see the cycle forming. With eBooks on the Dell, the format is presented pleasantly enough and when I shut off the handheld (the same as closing the book) that's all the more I need to do. No lights, no moving...just sleeping. Ahhh, and the convenience of literally having an entire library at your fingertips is just too, too cool. I finished one book and immediately picked up the next without having to bother with storing the finished book or finding the next one. Great fun. The only downside is that you don't get a price break on eBooks...and not many titles are in eBook format yet. Newer titles are, but as of yet many of the great old classics remain only in print. Well, not the old-old classics...I do have all 6 volumes of the History of Rome...why? Because it was FREE and I COULD.

The device seems a little bulky at first, but it's actually an illusion. After carrying it around for a few weeks, the size is comforting as I don't have to worry about it not being in my pocket, I KNOW it's there. Any bigger would certainly be too big, but Dell seems to have found that happy compromise between small enough to forget about and too big to carry. If it gets too cramped in my pocket, there's a belt clip that will accomodate it quite nicely.

As if all this wasn't great enough, those who are truly inspired can create their own program to do things...the tools are a free download from Microsoft (big, but free). I tied it to a database on my computer so I can now keep track of all my Games Workshop stuff. Truly, incredible things are possible to those who so choose.

In short, this is a great product. The ability to make it do whatever you really want it to do is amazing. When my friend told me that they got a similar product at work and it was worth every penny, I doubted him. I mean, $500 (with shipping and all the doodads) is a LOT of money...how can something really be worth that? I'm happy to say Mr. Ulanti has not disappointed me...if anything, I think I might have made off with a steal...since I can run the entire network of the school from the palm of my hand now..... *evil grin*

I believe I've talked about Mr. Ulanti for long enough now...thanks for reading!

Replies: 1 Unclean Mutant

Firstly, if I wanted it to quite badly, my computer *could* cook me dinner. http://www.thinkgeek.com/stuff/looflirpa/igrill.shtml

And, if you had been in the condition I was Monday night, you would've turned off your phone too. :( I wasn't in a pleasant mood.

Posted by Ally @ 06/18/2003 01:11 PM EST

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