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1001 Computer Words You Need to Know$
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Jerry Pournelle

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195167757

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195167757.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 17 October 2021

Do You Need a PDA?

Do You Need a PDA?

(p.224) Do You Need a PDA?
1001 Computer Words You Need to Know

Jerry Pournelle

Oxford University Press

You’ve seen them and they look seductive, those tiny electronic devices that are half appointment book and half Star Trek tricorder. But do you really need one? Do you already have an organizer that works? If you’re committed to your paper planner or to a calendar function on your desktop computer, it may be more trouble than it’s worth to switch to a PDA. Do you travel often? Travelers often find PDAs attractive for two reasons: their small size and the automatic backup of data to a computer at home or work. Losing a paper planner while traveling can be traumatic. Losing a PDA is a little less so, since at least you know that you haven’t lost the information, just the information container. Are you happy with gadgets? If your VCR is unprogrammed and you regularly swear at your desktop computer, a PDA might be more than you want to wrestle with. However, most PDAs have good interfaces and can be learned quickly, even by the most tech-averse of users. What kind of information do you need to access? If you only need a basic calendar, names and phone numbers, and a calculator, there are smaller, less expensive electronic devices that may meet your needs at any office supply store. Check them out before springing for a larger PDA. Will your desktop computer support a PDA? Many older computers may not have the USB (universal serial bus) connectors that modern PDAs require. Adapters are available but are an extra expense and may add to your setup and troubleshooting time.You don’t want to have to upgrade your entire system just to use a PDA. Will your desktop software support a PDA? One of the main advantages to using a PDA is being able to synchronize data from your desktop applications to the PDA. If your company mandates a particular e-mail, meeting coordination, or calendar software, make sure that it will ‘sync’ with your PDA. Otherwise, you’ll spend a lot of time manually entering information, or wishing you had.

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