Personal Digital Assistant

Abbreviated "PDA". Synonym for HandHeld. See also PersonalAnalogDevice.

PDA security

PDAs can be a nasty backdoor to all sorts of Malware that can cause various degrees of harm to network and people. One reference to risks and countermeasures can be found at

see also WebApplicationSecurity

WhatHappened to the PDA revolution? Preditions of explosive growth checked by lackluster economy and lack of killer applications?

They gained telephones and became SmartPhones?

I am seeing people buy more laptops, but PDAs appear to be still to be decorative than really useful for people on the move?

I know a couple of people for whom their PDAs are indispensable, myself included. There's not necessarily a lot of overlap between the functions of a laptop and a PDA; PDAs excel for small snippets of information that need to be with you constantly, such as appointments, deadlines, and phone numbers ... If anything, I think PDA manufacturers are finding their markets cannibalized by makers of other portable electronics, such as digital cameras, cell phones, and MP3 players. -- francis

When I had a PalmOs PDA, I found it indispensable. Then I switched to a PocketPc handheld, and now I don't find it to be as necessary. I can't figure out whether the change is due to the different platform, or a change in my needs. -- KrisJohnson

''I can hardly live without my Palm. It's killing me to be stuck with a PersonalAnalogDevice while I wait for the insurance company to replace my Palm. It seems to me that a little PalmOs device is really a useful tool, it's a great, small way to carry around a lot of information, but if you're going to spend all of the money on a PocketPc, you might as well spend a few more bucks and buy a laptop.

At the computer store I used to work at we set up a Sony Clié with a bunch of references libraries for a nurse. After her associates saw how convenient it was, we made additional sales based on her purchase.

Can't really do without mine. I have found, though, that to the degree that other people run your life, you don't need one, and to the degree that you are responsible for what you do next and with whom you do it, you do need one.

I remember using a FranklinPlanner?, and trying to explain to a coworker why I needed it. He didn't have any aspirations outside the workplace and allowed himself to be externally driven. I, on the other hand, had after-hours engagements of various kinds (personal clients, seminars, classes to teach, and so on), and I had to manage my own time and tasks.

I go through periods where I use the gadget less than other times, but I'm pretty thoroughly hooked. -- GarryHamilton

I just bought a Sony Clié and love it... I use it for everything. It has WIFI and bluetooth and I bought a digital video recorder. Also use it for MP3s. Just need longer battery life!! -- djb

I use my index card based PersonalAnalogueDevice?, which I call my "Pattern Repository", for informational stuff relating to specific matters and for general notes. For appointments, and other similar atomic data which is best kept in a sorted list, I use my 1987-vintage Psion Organiser II (which, ironically, is actually older than I am!) - I use this somewhat archaic machine because it is, well, simply brilliant. Although it only has two lines of sixteen character display (!) it has a marvellously simple user interface, consisting of nothing more than lists of text items, has a brilliant flat-file database functionality which you can use to enter anything and an unintrusive diary with a clever list-based design. You can even write your own programs for it, via its built-in scripting language called OrganiserProgrammingLanguage? (OPL). That, and it has never failed me to date; it has a disposable 9V PP3 battery to keep it going, which lasts over seven months of regular usage (and probably years if never switched on). It even has a serial port which you can hook up to a computer or printer, and software for saving files on PC - as a GnuLinux user I use a DosEmulator? to run the connection software, which works perfectly. One can, if you look around, get these machines very cheaply indeed second-hand or as old stock. -- NicholasTurnbull

Ah, the Grey Brick. A beautiful device. I used one for a while in the nineties and was very happy with it - the LZ64 with a 20x4 display and a whopping 64k of RAM. Best features had to include the chunky cuboid design with sliding case (the memory packs were lovely lumpy little things too) and OrganiserProgrammingLanguage?, even if I managed to bugger the thing up (to the point of having to remove the battery) more than once by POKEing the wrong bit of memory somewhere. The alphabetic (i.e., A-Z) keyboard in a narrow-and-tall grid took a little getting used to, though. I do recommend upgrading to an LZ for the four lines of screen space if you can. -- EarleMartin

The A-Z keyboard, I agree, is rather strange, and is rather inconvenient at first; however, the actual key action is nice and tactile to compensate, and after a bit of practice you do start to get used to the strange layout. Equally odd is a lack of a question mark key, a pound symbol (£) and an at-symbol (@); I suppose it was representative of its time. You're right, I suppose, about the screen, because for one writing OrganiserProgrammingLanguage? applications with a usable interface is extremely hard with only two lines. There is, in some way, something marvellously antediluvian about using a two-line display though. :) -- NicholasTurnbull

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