New Toy

I found a perfectly functional Palm Pilot with a bunch of peripherals and documentation at a garage sale for $20 this weekend. I didn't ask, but I think the previous owner upgraded to something with greater connectivity, so this was surplus. I have been having much fun learning my way around my new toy at odd moments in the last couple of days. You perform most tasks on a PDA, as my mother puts it, by poking it with a stick.

I have been lusting after a Palm for several years now, but not because I want an electronic personal organizing device. It's only been in the past few months that I've gotten even remotely consistent with using pen-and-paper organizers.

No, the draw of the Palm for me was its function as a compact data transport device. The reason I'm happy about my new toy is that I can use it as a prosthetic brain.

Palms caught my attention when I learned you can download the Book of Common Prayer and the Bible (in English and in the original languages) in Palm format for your handheld device. It struck me as pretty cool to have those complete texts in such a compact format, and fully searchable, to boot. I was already always carrying around a Bible and a BCP in the old fashioned ink-on-paper versions, and sometimes had trouble fitting everything in my handbag. I could see why my seminary friends were getting PDAs as ordination gifts.

Then I witnessed colleagues in the classroom whipping out those cool little fold-away keyboards and taking notes on their Palm, making my laptop seem clunky and burdensome in comparison. A 6-pound computer becomes a onerous thing to schlep around campus all day for the sake of ease of note-taking (and you must keep your laptop on your person at all times, given their propensity to walk off the moment you turn your back), but a Palm and a folding keyboard accomplish the same function with near weightlessness.

But then I priced the darn things, and realized that my budget was not going to accommodate such luxury any time soon.

This is why I love garage sales.

I ordered the little folding keyboard on eBay. It should get here next week, driving me to further distraction.

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