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This is better, and cheaper than a laptop. Its fairly old, and I picked it up for £15 on a bootfair, and you can get them for £30-£60 on a eBay. It isn't as fast as a laptop, and the screen isn't as big or as good quality, but its compact, and great for office work on the move. I have excel, word and powerpoint on it, and it does everything I need. Also the keyboard is so much better than the touch ones you get on other newer PDAs, its faster and easier to type on. [Unless you have fat fingers as the keys are quite small]
Despite this there are its bad points, it doesn't have all the functions you would have if you ran the aboive programs on a laptop, and if you are considering using it a lot, and don't have time to sync it with your computer, you will probably need to buy some new memory. The screen is hard to see in sunlight, but is still possible to read. Great value for money, brilliant size.
I have been using PDA's for many years and own a Psion 3c, Palm V and Jornada 720. The Jornada is by far the most powerful PDA i've ever owned and it's suite of applications which are so closely aligned with those of Microsoft's full Windows operating system make it very easy to complete work on the move. Whether the Jornada 720 is for you will depend on what you need a PDA for. If you are looking for a portable address book, calendar and note pad that will synch with Microsoft Outlook, Lotus Notes etc. I would recommend a Palm Pilot. The Jornada is quite bulky compared with the Palm and it's main let down is the colour screen outdoors, even with the contrast and brightness controls set correctly I find it very difficult to use to look up addresses/appointments etc outdoors in sunlight. The Palm screen is much higher contrast and suitable for such applications and considerably cheaper. If you want a computer to let you finish a Word report on the train or answer emails or even better web browse on a PDA via your cellular phone, then the Jornada beats the Palm hands down. The keyboard may not be perfect but my typing has adapted to the keys over time and I can now achieve a much higher degree of speed and accuracy than I can via the graffiti writing system on the Palm. The suite of software that comes with the Jornada 720 is excellent, which is just as well as there are not many commercial or shareware add on packages for the Jornada 720 at present. Not all Windows CE applications will run as they need to be compiled for the ARM processor used in the 720 which gives it's excellent performance. With the Jornada you get pocket versions of Word, Excel, Access, Powerpoint (displays and arranges pre-prepared presentations only), Contacts, Notes, Email, Calendar, Yahoo Messenger plus several other useful utilities. The Jornada seems quite robust, despite quite a lot of use no bits have broken off my pride and joy.
The battery life is very good. I charge mine nightly and despite being used quite heavily each day the rechargeable battery seems to go the distance....just. Expansion on the Jornada is unbelievable PC Card support, Compact Flash memory upgrades, Network and Video out via PC Card add-ons, built-in 56k modem, smart card slot and serial and USB support for connecting the Jornada to your PC. At £700 the Jornada is not cheap and you should look to justifying your investment within two years as the way PDA technology has progressed by 2003 the 720 will be yesterday's news. For not much more you could by a fully functional laptop, which the Jornada does not replace. It is ideal for business people who need a powerful portable computer which they need to use in locations that would be difficult to use a laptop. The main advantage of the PDA is it's size and the fact that it's ready to use as soon as you turn it on and as there are no moving parts, the battery life is excellent. Also consider the Compaq Ipaq or HP Pocket PC's, which are a sort of Palm / Jornada 720 Hybrid....and a bit cheaper too. PDAs are very personal items as the names suggest. As some people like large filofaxes and others like diddy ones you need to decide what you want from a PDA and make your decision accordingly. Good luck.
For the last year or so the company I work for has been trying to sort out its office administration systems and has been struggling badly to get meetings arranged, keep the directors in touch, etc, etc. We’re finally starting to make big inroads into this whole area of work now and are fully operational using Microsoft Outlook and Exchange Server products to link the whole organisation together with respect to e-mail, diaries and address books. That in itself has had major advantages in that now I can automate the booking of meetings, leave meaningful messages for people, find out what they’re doing on such and such a day and all sorts of other wonderful stuff. However, in itself that isn’t enough and we’ve identified the need to keep people in touch when they’re away from base, give them the tools to do the job on the road and we’ve got to the stage now when we’re ready to address the whole mobile working requirement. We’ve settled on Hewlett Packard’s 720 hand held mobile computing device as the machine of choice and are piloting it to make sure that it does the job properly before we rush wholesale into rolling it out across the organisation. I’m one of the lucky ones who is acting as a guinea pig for the pilot and I’ve had the Jornada long enough to give you an authoritative view. The Jornada 720 is a marvellous little beast and I’ve been taken aback as to exactly how good it actually is. It’s currently on offer at $999 via the hp.com website and you can get it quite freely in most electronic or computer showrooms at around the 700 quid mark. It’s a stylish little brute, about the same size as your average filofax and is usually black with silver trim, although I’ve also seen it in blue and purple shades, but I think they look naff. Size wise it’s about 8 inches long by 4 wide and about 1 deep. The spec says it’
s just over 1 pound or 500 grams in weight, quite light enough to pop into the inside jacket pocket, or your trousers (at a push). When you open it you find it’s got a nice sized full colour screen (supporting up to 65,536 the helpful spec again informs me) and you operate it by the dinky integral keyboard and/or the clip out stylus pointer, about the same sort of size as the pencils you get with a paper diary. You use the stylus by tapping on or dragging across the integral screen. I’m not sure how long the screen is going to last and I’ve got a morbid fear of jabbing the stylus right through it, although it seems robust enough. I’d like to see what shape it’s in after about a year before committing myself in this area, but you’d be well advised to keep the Jornada well away from the kids. In terms of visibility it’s quite good and clear, although in strong sunlight it is a bit indistinct unless you’ve got the brightness control whacked right up. You can have four standard display profiles set up which can be accessed via two clicks with the stylus, so it’s excellent in this respect. A word also about the keyboard. It’s small and compact, but my quite large fingers struggle at times with the keys. I’ve got a terrible habit of making ‘the’ into ‘tyhe’ or ‘t6he’ with the way I type and you need to keep an eye on things. The only way that HP could address this, however, is by making the machine bigger or allowing for a plug in keyboard, and neither of those are particularly attractive options as they’ll cut down the mobility which is the keynote of the Jornada. I’ll continue to put up with the odd typo in order to keep the dimensions and weight, thank you very much. When typing, I’ve also found that unless I’ve got the Jornada on a flat surface, like a desk or hard backed book, it has a tenden
cy to rock over on its back. Alternatively you can hold it with one hand and type the other, but it’s not ideal. Oh well, these are very small prices to pay, although it is sometimes an irritation. Finishing off the rest of the physical review, the front of the Jornada includes controls for the Windows media player which is an integral system, plus a microphone. Running round the rest of the case, it’s got a power jack, a telephone connector, slots for various PC cards, an earphone jack, a serial port and an infrared port. A slimline but lengthy battery clicks into the rear of the case to supply around 9 hours (we’re promised) of life away from power. I had the Jornada running on the battery quite comfortably last weekend for about 7 hours in three separate sessions without a problem, though I started to get a bit concerned I was going to run out and I hadn’t got a power lead with me, but this capacity is quite good enough even for the most passionate slave driver. The Jornada’s power comes from a 206 MHz processor and it’s got 32 Mb of RAM, which you can determine how you split between program memory and storage. The Jornada comes complete with a docking cradle which you can use to link to a PC and the power lead, although the cables for both of these functions also connect direct into the Jornada’s body. The cradle is a stylish luxury, but isn’t a necessity, unless you want to put the stylus in the ‘inkwell’. Regarding software, the Jornada comes equipped with a full range of stuff, using Windows’ proprietary Handheld PC 2000 CE compatible operating system. When it was delivered to me it had got Internet Explorer, Yahoo Messenger, ‘My Documents’ from Windows Explorer, Recycle Bin, HP Dialup, Windows Media Player, Inbox, Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, Pocket Word, Pocket Excel, Pocket Access, Pocket Powerpoint, HP viewer and OmniSolve (a scie
ntific calculator) all installed on the desktop with some other programs hidden away under the 'Start’ tab. I’ve not needed anything else to date apart from the ActiveSync function. This allows you to connect your Jornada to up to two different PC’s and synchronise calendars, files, tasks and contacts between them all. I have got my system set up such that I can synch from home machine to Jornada and then office machine, so I’ve got the same data on all three machines. Totally amazing and what I’ve found most useful with this set up. It’s a bit fiddly when you first set up the Active Sync facility and I’ve had a couple of occasions where it’s needed to be fixed, but this is an amazing facility. The Inbox, Calendar, Contacts and Tasks programs are all cut down versions of the Microsoft Outlook 2000 suite and is almost as powerful in the mobile version. As far the Microsoft Office modules, Excel and Word are nearly as good as their big brothers, but capacity constraints make PowerPoint and Access disappointing. You can display Powerpoint presentations from the Jornada but not create them, and Access cannot work with large or complicated databases. I have not used either of those two programs on the Jornada as yet, but then you do not generally need to. Again, I’m happy that it’s not too great a compromise to have to make because of all the other added attractions. The Jornada can also be used to provide an Internet connection via either a mobile phone (with a cable or via the infrared link) or the telephone socket. It has an integral 56k modem. A word of advice, however. Mobile phones using the Orange network provider are difficult to get up and running. The IT bods managed to get the Jornada connected up to the net via a Nokia 6210e using a Vodafone network, but when they tried the same thing with the same handset only using the Orange network, they drew a blank. W
e’re still trying to resolve that little glitch. Okay, that’s a very brief rundown of the main features of the Jornada, including some comment on how it was for me. Let’s now just spend a bit of time going through the ups and downs of the main functions which you’re likely to use. Calendar This is very much a cut down version of the full Microsoft Outlook program. It has less flexibility around views and when you’re in the ‘Day’ mode, has a nasty habit of blanking out the details of any appointment. There are ways around that and it’s only a minor gripe, but it’s another irritation. There is little else to complain about, however, and everything else is cool. You can view by day, by week (which gives you two days side by side), month and year and you can also bring up your tasks list. It’s extremely functional and user friendly with few real drawbacks. E-mail By default, only messages received in the previous 3 days are synchronised from your main PC and no attachments are copied. You can also only sync the e-mail with one other PC rather than the two for everything else, but you can write e-mails offline for sending when you synchronise, assuming that the Contacts section is up to date or you know what the e-mail address is. Now this is a brilliant facility, as long as you keep your contacts section up to date with the e-mail addresses you need. It’s a disadvantage not being able to add attachments, but a small price to pay for the luxury of being able to jot together a brief note to someone and then having it sent automatically as soon as you dock when you get into the office. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ UPDATE ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Using the e-mail all the time now - BRILLIANT!! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Tasks I’ve tried loads of ti
mes to organise my work using the Tasks function within Outlook and I stick at it for a couple of weeks and then slip back into the bad old ways. Suffice to say that if you use Tasks in your everyday life then it works just as well on the Jornada as it does on the desktop machines, although as ever it’s a cut down version which strips out some of the fancier stuff. Contacts The integrated address book and e-mail listing you get with the Contacts module is a wonderful things, especially when you sync it between machines. I now have a comprehensive and fully up to date address book in the office, on the move and at home. A great boon, if ever there was one. Highlight a contact and click the ‘New message’ button and you’re away with an e-mail, ready to send when you dock - bliss! Shows how sad I am, when something like this gives me a cheap thrill. It is all truly wonderful stuff, however. Word The Pocket Word program is extremely good and you only see the difference from the full blown application when you want to do things like Word Count, or you particularly want an obscure font. Most of the normal functions are present and correct, however, including the spell checker. I tend to draft up most of my Dooyoo ops now on the Jornada first and then tidy it up in the normal package before cutting and pasting onto the Dooyoo site. This means that I can jot down ideas and modify opinions while I'm floating about the place. This is great if you're on the train as you can just whip out your trusty J and get on with your artistic endeavours. I've not mentioned this previously, but the Jornada allows you to shut down without closing down applications and when you switch on again, the document you were previously working on is already open waiting for you. This prevents all that lengthy shutting down and powering up hassle you get with desktops and laptops and is particularly pleasing.
Excel Much as is the case with Word, Pocket Excel is a very strong substitute for the full thing. I use my Jornada to keep a record of my travelling expenses and all I need to do at the month end is print off the finished doc and submit it for authorisation. One drawback I have found here, however, is the lack of support for text boxes in a Pocket Excel worksheet and the fact that you can't really change the zoom level and this makes it problematic when switching between PC's. Powerpoint Pocket Powerpoint allows you to download presentations from your desktop PC and run a slide show while you're out and about, meaning you don't need to bother with all that heavy laptop stuff. You have to get a PC card in order to send the presentation to one of the LCD projectors, but this is still a wonderful opportunity. I'm less enthusiastic, however, about the fact that you can't create presentations in Pocket Powerpoint which is a bit of a drag. Access Similarly to Powerpoint, Pocket Access is sadly lacking and is virtually useless for a database of any real size or flexibility. It's okay for flat or small databases, but who wants them? I tried messing about with Access once on the Jornada, but soon got well teed off with it. Nice idea, but limited in practice. Windows Explorer Now this is the one. This I do rate extremely highly. Drag any file into the Synchronised Files folder that is installed on both Jornada and your desktop machine when you install Active Sync and the next time you dock they are synchronised between the machines. This is a great boon for me and has meant that I can dispense with all that messing about with floppy disks and I can work on my files wherever I am, at any time and know that as soon as I'm back to base, both machines will be sporting the latest version of every doc in there. Now that's brilliant! <br>There are other progs which can be downloaded from the net to install on your Jornada, but they need to be designed specifically for the job or they won't run properly. The manual advises you to visit www.hp.com/jornada for details and says that "typically you install software to your (Jornada) by first loading the installation files onto your desktop PC." Now, I've not tried any of this stuff as yet, but will do one day and judging by what I've seen so far, would imagine that this process should work pretty well. In terms of security, you can password protect your Jornada to deter the would be thief and you can add ownership details on the front screen to encourage a return to owner if lost. Again, these are neat, very helpful touches designed to enhance customer service. And there you have it. Those clever, clever people at HP have really come up with the goods with the Jornada 720. At the price it has to rival the laptop and I think it does for flexibility and its support for truly mobile computing power. Its synchronisation facility is simple and extremely effective and works like a dream once it is correctly set up. I cannot speak too highly of the Jornada. It has actually changed the way that I work on a day to day basis and I am still only scratching the surface of this smart little beauty.