A trip down memory lane…

There was a great article on Palm Addicts yesterday about the great Psion series of handheld computers.;

The Psion Series 7 brings back many fond memories for me. Ten years ago I chose to purchase a Psion Sienna instead of a Palm Pilot. The Sienna was a clamshell device with powerful software (PIM, Spreadsheet, and word processor) and a tiny, difficult to use keyboard. I didn’t pick the Palm Pilot because I was reluctant to learn Grafitti and the included software was not as sophisticated as what was offered in the Sienna. Later, after the Sienna broke, I again chose Psion over Palm, this time a Psion Series 5. This little computer was a marvel. Its operating system, EPOC, was the most stable I ever used. I could actually touch type on its keyboard. The included office software was even more sophisticated than what was on my Sienna. I still miss Agenda, Psion’s daily planner program. The Series 5 was too big to fit in my pants pocket, so I carried it everywhere in a waist pack. (Yes, this proves I have no sense of style). During this time I would see people pull out their Palms and talk about how wonderful these gadgets were. I couldn’t fathom why so many people were enamored over Palms. I thought the software was primitive and the beeping, chirping alarms were tacky. Psion’s EPOC operating system was so much more powerful and sophisticated than Palm’s. I still felt this way when I broke my Series 5, so I purchased a Series 5mx, an improved version of the Series 5.

Later, when my Series 5mx broke, I finally bought a Palm, mainly because I thought Palm’s slate form factor would be more durable than the clamshell design of Psion computers. As hard as I am on organizers, I should probably have acquired a device designed for the battlefield. I have to say I was disappointed with Palm’s software. The applications were more primitive than Psion’s and the operating system was not as stable. In all the years I used Psions, I don’t ever remember having them crash or having to hit the reset button. But it was nice being able to carry my organizer in my pants pocket rather than in a dorky waist pack.

psion3mx.jpg

I was fortunate enough to find a classic Psion Series 3a, on eBay a couple of weeks ago. Now with my obvious hoard of technology and especially mobile computer devices, I hardly needed another one…

This was one I c ould not pass up though, as the mint condition 3a cost me all of $20. The thing comes with a whopping 512K of memory, yea thats K, not Megabytes… Hehe, and a serial cable. Despite the fact that it has a built in voice recorder, I dont even have enough memory in the thing to record a 2 second voice memo.

To be honest, I did not buy the Psion to replace my Palm devices, rather as a nice conversation piece to place on my desk and show my Tech Cred!

I actually had several Psion devices during the day when they were the executives choice for handheld agenda’s, and I am still amazed at how well the technology holds up. Use any of the built in application, and you will be amazed at their robustness AND ease of use, a full 14 years after the 3a was introduced. The 3a is a bit large compared to the tech I carry today, and I cant imagine carrying one around in my pants pocket, but 15 minutes of using one of these will make you wonder… WHY arent these still being made?

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