Device History: HTC Kaiser | HTC Wizard | HTC Blue Angel | HP iPAQ 3970 | Sony Clie T615C | Philips Nino 320
updated 2/12/2004 - This page has been permanently archived and
will never be updated again.
to: Hardware | Software
| E-Books | Websites
Computing Page: HP iPAQ 3970
is my current handheld computer, an HP
iPAQ 3970, which I use in conjunction with a Sony
Ericcson T616 Mobile Phone with Bluetooth technology. Prior
to acquiring the T616 I was not fully utilizing the capabilities of the 3970.
The page describing the state of my device at that time is archived
have decided to devote this little section of my website to PDAs
because of the importance I place on "extensions" of the
human persona. Just as the home is an extension of the body and
soul, and the automobile is an extension of our mobility, the computer
(or the sketchbook, or the blank canvas, etc.) is an extension of
the mind. Because of its design, the hand-held is an extraordinarily
appropriate human-scaled manifestation of the computer.
Before getting into how I use my PDA, it's important to step back
and look at the big picture for a moment: I've found that PDAs and
other organizational tools don't really help you get long-term goals
done, and long-term goals are most important. PDAs are better for
short-term organization and tasks. No system/device/etc. can make
you stop putting things off and get to the substance of any matter.
It won't help you do the "important, but not urgent" things, if you
don't have the desire within you to do those things already.
If you spend all your time handling the urgent, and never
take the time to get to the important, you run the risk of
living a reactionary professional (and perhaps personal) life. I
believe that many "heavy" users of PDAs (or any other type of organizational
system for that matter), because of their fascination with the technology
or the system, run the risk of putting too much importance on tasks,
and not enough importance on goals.
said, I use the PDA-phone system to organize my life, keep track
of nearly everything, browse the internet, check email, read ebooks
and other documents, write, edit spreadsheets, read the news, keep
reference materials handy, view meaningful photographs and video
clips, play games, play music and more. I use it instead of a laptop.
I use it as a replacement for paper--most of the time.
is very important that the device adapt to me, rather than I to
it. A tool should serve and enhance your work/lifestyle. If it doesn't,
why bother? Rapid, efficient, easy use is what I demand. I don't
want to think too much or put out too much effort, on the spot,
when I need information. I want to be able to access the
device while walking down the street, with little effort,
and get the information I need within a few seconds. If I can't
do that, the device is of little value to me.
of Use Time
purpose of this page is to describe some of the applications, system
extensions, configurations and hardware that I find extremely useful,
with the hope that this information can be of some help to others.
I love to optimize (i.e., tweak) the tools I use heavily in my life.
So I figure that as long as I've put that effort into it, I might
as well share my experiences.
In December of 2002, I changed PDA platforms; indeed, I jumped ship
from the PalmOS over to PocketPC. You see, my current employer's
IT department only supports two brands of devices: Palm and HP.
Thus, my Clie became contraband. I had to choose between the Palm
Tungsten T and the HP iPAQ 3970--I picked the 3970 (aka
3975). It seems to have a great set of features, but it's a bit
bigger than I'd like. My wife is the recipient of my old Clie 615--she's
iPAQ 3970 (link)
- Tethered to SE T616 Bluetooth phone; see below. I'm generally very happy with the power and versatility of this
device. I wish the body (but not the screen) was just a bit smaller
always like to show how my hardware buttons are mapped, so here
Informant 4 (PI4) Calendar
are my comments on this device so far:
found the built-in calendar application unacceptable, prompting
me to almost immdiately download Pocket Informant. This is a great
program, and highly customizable. Only problem is, the input-response
feedback is a little slow. Funny how a 400MHz processor runs PIM
apps slower than my old 33MHz Sony Clie (although, I admit, they
are more feature-rich programs). I found the remainder of the
built-in PIM apps to be functionally quite sufficient, and fast,
too. Pocket Inbox in nice.
screen is amazing--the best backlighting and color rendition I've
ever seen. The resolution, 320x240, is lower than that of my Sony
(320x320), but I find the screen to be much more usable--largely
because of its size. The problem I always had with my Sony screen
(besides the less-than-ample backlight) was that the pixel density
was so high that small text was nearly unreadable. There is a
limit to how small any display can be before it becomes a strain
built-in voice recorder is VERY handy...
The speaker is high-quality, and LOUD, as it needs to be. No more
The PPC OS is a little clunky. I've found myself downloading a
number of "system extentions" to make it more usable.
Of course, I did this on my Palm OS device, too, so I can't be
Games for the PPC are amazing--much better than those on the Palm
OS. You can't even compare the two operating systems on this front.
My iPAQ 3970 is a bit large for my taste--I loved the form/size
of my Sony T615. However, the size does bring with it some strong
benefits (big screen); the ability to comfortably use a full-screen,
horizontally-oriented thumb-board (SPB Full-Screen Keyboard) for
Not having to worry about silly Palm OS4 limitations, such as
the 4k maximum for memos, has been nice.
File storage and transfer between the device and my PC is a no-brainer;
much easier than with a PalmOS device. I find myself using the
"Pocket PC My Documents" folder extensively to keep
certain files at all locations (mobile, home, work). However,
the fact that a richly-formatted MS Word document can't survive
a PC-PPC-PC round trip fully intact is reprehensible.
Battery life, while still not a long as I'd like, is better than
my Sony 615, and this is a more powerful device. Further, I have
a high level of trust in the battery level indicator. When the
device reads 63%, it's really at 63% (my Sony was not as reliable).
The device also has a standard 75 hours of standby time after
low-battery shutoff. I can probably make it to a charger within
Now that I access the internet from anywhere using GPRS, I *love* the
Pocket Inbox that came with PPC 2002. I was already happy with how well ActiveSync
synchronized my mail from home, but Inbox also works very well as a mobile
dial-up POP3 client. Very, very happy with this.
Ericsson T616 (link)
- Because I was locked in to a Verizon contract, I was unable to
migrate to a Bluetooth phone when I acquired my 3970. (I am still
amazed at Verizon's unwillingness to offer BT phones.) This was
quite unfortunate, because now that I have the T616 I'm amazed at
how well Bluetooth works. Bonding devices is easy, and checking
email/web-surfing is effortless and pretty fast. It's also extraordinarily
easy to share files, contacts, etc.--all without wires of course. I have
found that there is almost no learning curve with BT. Further, pairing
the 3970 with a BT phone at least doubles the utility of
the device--I cannot emphasize enough how important this type of wireless
connectivity is. It now becomes truly possible to leave the laptop at
the office/home when you're on the road. The biggest drawback so far:
I use battery power at least 1.5x faster than I did before. Gotta remember
to always bring those power cables with me...
Secure Digital Card - Even more essential on a PocketPC than
a PalmOS because the programs take up so much memory...
Foldable Keyboard (link)
- This is the same keyboard I bought for my Sony Clie. I like it
because it's small, simple and it does the job. Key size could be
bigger, but that would also make the entire unit bigger. Very thin,
light and sturdy.
Skin Leather Flip Case with Belt Clip (link)
- Yes it's geeky, but boy it sure does make using the PDA with a
Bluetooth phone easy... This is one case where function definitely
Screen Protector (link)
- This is the best screen protector ever made. It's a thick, sturdy,
non-disposable screen protector that reduces glare and has a nice,
semi-rough writing surface.
are the programs that make my 3970 work well for me ("F"
Pocket Informant ($20 - link)
- The first program I committed to buy for the PPC.
Launcher ($10 - link)
- The second program I committed to buy for the PPC. Absolutely
necessary for me--this little "system extension" greatly
increases the speed with which I can access frequently-used programs
Full-Screen Keyboard ($10 - link)
- Lets me pretend my iPAQ is a Treo. Actually, this is working quite
well, and serves my purposes well when I don't have my foldable keyboard.
- That's "MICRO-book" to you! This program has taken the
place of DeepReader, my favorite reader for the PalmOS. I use this
program for my free Project Gutenberg downloads.
little Today Screen add-in lets you know when you have audio notes!
It helps you get the most use out of your voice recorder by not
letting you forget about your voice notes. For example, I record
voice notes on the run, then transcribe them at the first available
opportunity. Then, I delete the old audio notes and start over.
It's a great system.
PHM PPC Power Toys (link)
- (Replaced Today's Info)
This is a great set of FREE tools that increases the functionality of the PPC. In addition to the
power/memory meter (which you shouldn't pay for!), I love the "External Keyboard" input panel that keeps the SIP from
popping up when using my foldable keyboard! Many other tools & shortcuts as well.
- Again, don't pay for this plug-in...several pay versions of it
exist, and they function no better. Launcher allows you to create
shortcuts on the Today screen to whatever apps you choose. Courtesy of Scott Seligman.
Clear Temp (link)
- Another great little free app from Scott Seligman. Clear Temp performs the simple but valuable task
of deleting all files in the windows/temp folder upon startup.
Magic Button (link)
- A task switcher, small, simple, quick, free. It does the trick,
and it does it well!
- Here's a handy little sketch program (free!) that let's you create
drawings that really look like they were drawn on a sketchpad in
pencil. Along with the Brando Screen Protector, you've got a "close-to-pencil"
experience! I must say, this is the best drawing program I've seen
so far for a mobile device.
- Updated web content every time you sync. I use it to read news
every morning. This has almost completely replaced the newspaper's
role in my life. Sometimes I still buy a Sunday New York Times or
a Friday Wall Street Journal, just to feel the rough, crinkly paper.
Incidentally, I've created a mobile
version of Opensewer.com that works great with AvantGo.
($20 - link)
- Secure digital wallet. Keep all your personal information
*securely* in one place. Syncs with a desktop computer interface.
I used "SplashID" on the PalmOS.
($25 - link)
- A simple reference database reader, valuable because of the large
library of free reference material available for it.
12C ($13 - link)
- Everyone's favorite Reverse Polish Notation financial calculator.
I use this one a lot--love the horizontal format!
Streets ($40 - link)
- Just a simple mapping program that works really well. I use it
with MS Streets & Trips.
Acrobat Reader 1.0 (link)
- Really extends the functionality of the PPC--just drag a .PDF
to the SD card and go! It's that simple! I could never get Reader
to work properly on my Sony. And while it's stil a bit slow on the
PPC, it works quite well. However, RepliGo
is really what I want. RepliGo blows Reader out of the water functionally...but...it's
expensive, and not universal...what to do?
- Pretty cool! Play MPEGs on your PPC, and it's free. Supplements
Microsoft's Media Player, which only plays MP3, WMV, WMA and ASF.
What doesn't Media Player play MPEG video? That's my question...
Anyway, download the Tsunami-MPEG-Encoder,
and you'll be all set.
- Find the shortest public transit route in cities all over the
world. I've used this app on the run and it works well! Accurate
and free. I was happy when I learned that this was available for
the PocketPC platform as well as the PalmOS.
(F) FTP View (link) - A simple, free FTP client and file explorer for PPC. Drag and drop functionality.
(F) IGT Editor (link) - A basic, free HTML editor for PPC.
(F) Team One Unzip (link) - A free program that handles .ZIP files on your PPC.
do a significant amount of reading on my PDA. I have used Microsoft
Reader (clunky), Palm Reader (good, but not the best), but when
it comes to reading seriously on a PDA there is only one way to
go: uBook uBook
uBook! This program remindes me of DeepReader on the PalmOS.
Also check out my Reading
page, and the old E-Book section on
my 615 page...
PC Thoughts - My favorite PPC news site. I'm user "onesix18".
On Your Palm - Good discussions of handheld computer usability.
One of the best mobile computing sites out there...
PDA - David Keener has put together a concise and excellent
site that discusses effective time-management using PDAs. His comments
were very useful to me--I encourage you to read the whole thing!
Corps - My second-favorite PPC news site.
PC Addict - Also my second-favorite PPC news site.
Coffing's Pocket PC Passion - He's a bit obsessed, but hey,
I guess he spends his time thinking about this stuff so I don't
have to. Great site.
Gadgeteer - My favorite source for reviews of mobile technology.
Brando Workshop, Hong Kong - Their screen protectors are
the best, and they offer a number of other great accessories for
several PDA models.
Mobile Portal - Where I keep my PDA-friendly links for mobile
browsing. I copied the script from this
guy (he told me I could!).
me with corrections, or to let me know that I'm full of hot
Back to top