I'm like most other Ham Radio ops - somewhat of a gadget freak. I like things with buttons, knobs, and controls. Problem is, I can't afford to keep up with the latest gizzmoes. So I tend to acquire the "last generation" of things to keep my gadget junkie fix going.
As mentioned in a previous post, I was looking for a "new" Palm Pilot, having outgrown the features of my venerable Palm M130. It would indeed be nice to own a Palm Zire or perhaps a new Palm Tungsten E2. I settled for a "pre-owned" Tungsten E that I found on eBay for a really good price. I've been having some fun playing with it lately.
I was successful in beaming over all my Ham Radio programs over to the Tungsten E. Ham Radio Reference, QSO Diary, HamPilot and Palm Globe all transferred over quite easily. Palm Globe didn't run well, though. It kept causing the Tungsten E to freeze up to the point where I had to do a hard reset of the device. Definitely a bummer, as it was a neat little program that always displayed the location of the terminator. Some of my best DX has been gotten by gray line propagation!
I shake my head in amazement of how attached I've grown to my various Palm PDA(s) over the years. I started out using them primarily for logging QSOs during various portable QRP operating sessions. Now I use the handy little device for a lot more. Important procedures and facts that I need for work are stored on there. I keep track of all the hardware at work that we prepare each day and keep a log of it; so I can provide my manager with daily and weekly work totals. Of course, I also have a bunch of important phone numbers, e-mail addresses and other sundry items on there that I constantly refer to throughout the day.
But this Palm, the Tungten E has fun capabilities that my earlier Palm(s) did not have. First off, I loaded a 2 Gigabyte SD memory card into it; so I have plenty of memory available to me. That being said, I searched the Internet and found a few fun freeware and shareware programs to load on. I've added a graphics program so I can store pictures of my wife, Marianne and my kids, Joey and Cara When a particularly rough day happens at work; it's so nice to be able to flip that little program on and look at pictures of the people who mean the most to me. Seeing the faces that I love definitely puts the work thing into it's proper perspective and reminds me just exactly why I put up with some of the hassles that come along.
I also loaded a music player called "AeroPlayer". It was only $14.99 and now I have a built in mp3 player, or iPod, if you will. Last week I burned in some of my favorite albums (that will give you a clue as to my generation!); or should I say CDs? I have Garth Brooks, the B52s, The Fratellis, Fleetwood Mac, Cyndi Lauper and all of my Mike Oldfield CDs on there. Who the heck is Mike Oldfield? Why, Mike Oldfield is the artist who wrote "Tubular Bells", which you might recall better as the theme music to "The Exorcist". He has a compilation of about a dozen works and I have most of them. I really like his stuff with my absolute favorites being "5 Miles Out" and "The Songs of Distant Earth". If you've never heard him before, then go look him up on iTunes. You're in for a real treat! The good thing is now I don't have to carry my iPod around anymore - only one device to tote around so I gave my barely used iPod Nano to Marianne.
Then the last little program that I loaded up was a SuDoKo program. I'm not good at figuring these things out, by any means. But when I have a few spare minutes, it's a fun program to play around with. It's especially just the ticket on days when it's raining outside and I can't go to the park during lunchtime to do a little QRPing.
I suppose that in a few years, when the NEXT generation of Palms come out, I'll upgrade to someone's current Tungsten E2 or E3 - their discard will become my treasure!
73 de Larry W2LJ
PS - August 16th was a very important personal milestone in my life. That date marked the 10th Anniversary of my first date with a woman named Marianne Dunmyer. Things sure do change in 10 years! Marianne agreed to become my lovely wife and now we have a house, two wonderful children and various pets - I am a blessed and happy guy!