The Shrinking Island of Psioneers await the WPU - Scion

This is a discussion on The Shrinking Island of Psioneers await the WPU - Scion ; [WPU = Worthy Psion Upgrade] I thought a couple of Psion 5mx's would keep me going until the Worthy Psion Upgrade arrived. It was a long wait and I grew impatient with the dim screen and the lack of modern ...

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Thread: The Shrinking Island of Psioneers await the WPU

  1. The Shrinking Island of Psioneers await the WPU

    [WPU = Worthy Psion Upgrade]

    I thought a couple of Psion 5mx's would keep me going until the Worthy
    Psion Upgrade arrived. It was a long wait and I grew impatient with
    the dim screen and the lack of modern comms facilities. In these days
    a modern general purpose computer requires easy web connectability.

    So I got a Nokia 9500. Loved the excellent connectability. Loved the
    bright clear screen. Loved the pocketability. Was annoyed by the
    dumbing down of the standard Psion applications. Got a bluetooth
    keyboard for more serious typing. Unfolded it was bigger than a 5mx
    keyboard, but not as good.

    So I ended up running the 9500 and 5mx in parallel. And sometimes
    carrying them both. And then, because I do like to do a lot of
    writing on the hoof, more often carrying them both.

    So the Nokia 9500 wasn't quite a Worthy Psion Upgrade, although
    definitely an interesting Psion accessory. And I really like using the
    9600 as a mobile phone. I prefer its size to the modern fashionable
    tart's handbag phones, and I really like using it open in its
    excellent speakerphone mode while being able to read and write
    notes. Carrying it around I was surprised to discover just how much
    fashion has a grip of the phone market. Lots of people I would never
    have suspected of being fashion victims were rather apalled that I was
    carrying around a mobile phone that was so obviously seriously old.

    Various half-completed contenders for the title of WPU have bobbed up
    in the marketplace and sunk again. It seems that the original Psion
    concept had simply become too unfashionable for it to be worth
    anyone's while making something for such a tiny eccentric niche
    market. Indeed, even Psion had shown signs of distrusting their
    original concept. The Psion5mx was in many ways a very good
    improvement on the 3a, but even its designers couldn't help being
    swayed for the seductive glamour of the fortune of the fat and ugly
    Micros**t bitch. They saw the 5 series as an accessory to a Micros**t
    home computer. Despite being more capable and powerful than the 3
    series, it was less independent of the Rich Micros**t Bitch than the 3
    series, when it should have been, and could have been, more
    independent.

    A lot of work by Psion enthusiasts managed to produce patches and
    program to remedy its lack of independence and generality, and the
    somewhat tattered and unfinished state of some of Psion's own
    software, which had clearly been rushed into the market before it had
    even finished its breakfast. But if even Psion had wavered in their
    faith, how realistic was it to expect some independent company to
    produce the Worthy Psion Upgrade?

    Despite the promising start of its Communicators, Nokia seemed to have
    drifted away from the idea of producing improved successors to the
    idea of a small portable general purpose clam-shell computer.

    So what about a somewhat bigger machine, a subnotebook, a small
    laptop? Memory and computer power are now cheap enough to fit a
    general purpose PC into a subnotebook, but even at the size of a
    laptop the batteries needed to run that kind of power are still a big
    problem. Forget AAs! Even using the latest high power density and
    expensive Lithium Ion rechargeables no laptop or subnotebook running
    Micros**t's elephantine OS could happily run for a long working day
    away from a mains plug. A few manufacturers realised that you need
    much less computer power if only you stop trying to power the
    Micros**t elephant.

    Some of them have managed to produce machines which look nearly as
    good as a Netbook.

    So to cheer me up while I wait for the WPU (Worthy Psion Upgrade) I've
    got myself a Netbook. So far so delightful! It'll take me a while to
    discover how many crutches and compromises it will need to get it up
    into modern webspace. With some luck and a following wind I might be
    able to make my next posting on this topic from the Netbook.

    In the meantime this is just a wave to any others who're still trying
    to survive on this shrinking island by renovating bits of old Psion
    and Symbian kit that get washed up on the shores :-)

    --
    Chris Malcolm cam@infirmatics.ed.ac.uk DoD #205
    IPAB, Informatics, JCMB, King's Buildings, Edinburgh, EH9 3JZ, UK
    [http://www.dai.ed.ac.uk/homes/cam/]


  2. Re: The Shrinking Island of Psioneers await the WPU

    Quoting Chris Malcolm's message of Yesterday:

    > In the meantime this is just a wave to any others who're still trying
    > to survive on this shrinking island by renovating bits of old Psion
    > and Symbian kit that get washed up on the shores :-)


    Indeed. My collection is part hobby and part backup! The 5mx is still
    the ideal machine for me, particularly with the Data application to
    handle casework details, along with the decent Word processor which is
    more than good enough for letter writing. I tried to use an XDA
    smartphone while the Psion was in for repair, but the instability of the
    OS, the lack of a simple flat file database, and the little thumb
    keyboard made it less easy to use.

    I have a Series 7 "to play with", but prefer the (jacket-) portability
    of the 5mx. The Revo would serve me well if I could find one with a
    working battery, but I think I'd still prefer the 5mx. One other thing
    about the Psion range that has gone out of fasion is programmability,
    Psion's commitment to which also started to disappear during its own
    zenith. I'd need some form of on-board programmability in any new
    device if it was to gain my interest. I don't think that's going to
    happen.

    --
    Damian - http://psion.snigfarp.karoo.net/
    For email replies, substitute "psion" for "damian" in my email address.

  3. Re: The Shrinking Island of Psioneers await the WPU

    Interesting piece! I was, until fairly recently, a happy Psion 5mx
    user, but finally gave up as it was getting so long in the tooth, and
    my latest mobile phone refused to speak with the IRDA port properly.

    What I have now is an HTC TyTN II, aka Kaiser, also aka T-Mobile MDA
    Vario III. It's a completely different kettle of fish really, being
    somewhat smaller, but I do like it a lot, almost as much as my old
    Psion. It has a slide out keyboard, but it's very small, so not as
    good as the 5mx keyboard - but usable. Battery life is godawful, and
    the Windows Mobile OS isn't great either. However, it comes with a
    fairly usable office suite, web browser and calendar, and with built-
    in 3G, Wifi and HSDPA, connecting up to things is a breeze. It even
    has GPS for Geocaching.

    It performs pretty nicely, but it's not really the same.

    I have, however, also got an Asus Eee, which I can't help but feel is
    the sort of thing Psion would be making if they were still in
    business, and this compact, Linux-powered beauty almost feels like
    there should be a Psion badge on it somewhere. I can't recommend these
    highly enough - Asus has spotted a gap in the market that they've
    admirably filled.

    Lee

  4. Re: The Shrinking Island of Psioneers await the WPU

    In article <69flglF31lj0kU1@mid.individual.net>, Chris Malcolm wrote:
    > tart's handbag phones,

    I know what you mean1

    > and I really like using it open in its
    > excellent speakerphone mode while being able to read and write
    >

    I didn't know that the Nokia could do that (because I haven't RTFM'd,
    because I'm not in the market for a new phone). Very good idea.

    > Lots of people I would never
    > have suspected of being fashion victims were rather apalled that I was
    > carrying around a mobile phone that was so obviously seriously old.
    >

    This is a use of the word "people" which is rather suspect.
    Probably they are anthropoid apes (as are real people), but they would
    appear to fail the intelligence test for being real people.

    > In the meantime this is just a wave to any others who're still trying
    > to survive on this shrinking island by renovating bits of old Psion
    > and Symbian kit that get washed up on the shores :-)
    >

    Do I have any photos of me using my Psion on that desert island
    off the coast of Tanzania? Alas not.

    --
    Aidan Karley,
    Aberdeen, Scotland
    Written at Tue, 20 May 2008 15:31 +0100, but posted later.
    09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0


  5. Re: The Shrinking Island of Psioneers await the WPU

    One of the things I really like is the fact that I can "hack together"
    my own little apps for my MC218 (aka 5MX):
    - keep score for Mah Jong
    - "treasure tables" for my AD&D sessions etc.

    I would *love* a WPU with a brighter screen, WiFi and USB...
    Instead PsionTeklogix takes a perfectly good Netbook and equipts it
    with WinCE
    - makes me wince indeed -

    --Roderik
    (rxbakker goes straight into the bin, try replacing the x with a dot)

  6. Re: The Shrinking Island of Psioneers await the WPU

    RxBakker@gmail.com wrote:
    > One of the things I really like is the fact that I can "hack together"
    > my own little apps for my MC218 (aka 5MX):
    > - keep score for Mah Jong
    > - "treasure tables" for my AD&D sessions etc.


    > I would *love* a WPU with a brighter screen, WiFi and USB...
    > Instead PsionTeklogix takes a perfectly good Netbook and equipts it
    > with WinCE
    > - makes me wince indeed -


    According to this rather good history of Psion in the Register

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/06/26/psion_special/

    the original intention was that the Netbook Pro (a faster Netbook with
    more memory, USB, etc.) would be a triple boot machine: EPOC, Linux,
    and WinCE.

    So near and yet so far...



    --
    Chris Malcolm cam@infirmatics.ed.ac.uk DoD #205
    IPAB, Informatics, JCMB, King's Buildings, Edinburgh, EH9 3JZ, UK
    [http://www.dai.ed.ac.uk/homes/cam/]


  7. Re: The Shrinking Island of Psioneers await the WPU

    Aidan Karley wrote:
    > In article <69flglF31lj0kU1@mid.individual.net>, Chris Malcolm wrote:


    >> and I really like using it [9500] open in its
    >> excellent speakerphone mode while being able to read and write
    >>

    > I didn't know that the Nokia could do that (because I haven't RTFM'd,
    > because I'm not in the market for a new phone). Very good idea.


    >> Lots of people I would never
    >> have suspected of being fashion victims were rather apalled that I was
    >> carrying around a mobile phone that was so obviously seriously old.
    >>

    > This is a use of the word "people" which is rather suspect.
    > Probably they are anthropoid apes (as are real people), but they would
    > appear to fail the intelligence test for being real people.


    Some of my friends take pity on my ancient brick of a phone (Nokia
    9500) and proudly show me their latest extremely
    does-everything-imaginable-and-more phone. Wnen I express an interest
    in all those wonderful advanced features it turns out they don't
    actually know how to use them, and further questioning often reveals
    that they probably won't ever use them. I suppose once you can start
    selling your high-tech gadgetry as jewellery and status symbolism it
    doesn't actually have to work particularly well. Worked for the Swiss
    clockwork watch industry, which is still selling exquisitely expensive
    laboratory certified chronometers which can't keep time as well as a
    Casio which costs less than a round of drinks and needs servicing more
    often than the Casio needs its battery replacing.

    >> In the meantime this is just a wave to any others who're still trying
    >> to survive on this shrinking island by renovating bits of old Psion
    >> and Symbian kit that get washed up on the shores :-)


    > Do I have any photos of me using my Psion on that desert island
    > off the coast of Tanzania? Alas not.


    Me neither. But I do recall many long train journeys and a few long
    flights which started out with lots of laptops open, but as the hours
    passed more and more of them had to give up with tired batteries. I
    also recall conferences when at inter session breaks there was a mad
    dash for the power points, and the more enterprising geeks had not
    only brought along their power supplies but a multi-plug as well, so
    they could talk someone into sharing a power point.

    --
    Chris Malcolm cam@infirmatics.ed.ac.uk DoD #205
    IPAB, Informatics, JCMB, King's Buildings, Edinburgh, EH9 3JZ, UK
    [http://www.dai.ed.ac.uk/homes/cam/]


  8. Re: The Shrinking Island of Psioneers await the WPU

    Damian Walker wrote:
    > I'd need some form of on-board
    > programmability in any new device if it was to gain my interest. I
    > don't think that's going to happen.


    I haven't entirely given up on my 3mx, but bought a Pocket Loox with WM5.0
    (GPS & WiFi, but the latter is mere bling so far). And have just discovered
    that there is a Basic environment (http://www.basic4ppc.com/Downloads.html)
    that runs on the PDA as well as desktop for $54 (not bad at current GBP
    exchange rate, I suppose!). Haven't really got anywhere with trial version
    yet, to justify actual expenditure...

    (There are a number of freeware programs built with it to give confidence,
    though.)

    Mike.
    --
    If reply address is invalid, remove spurious "@" and substitute "plus"
    where needed.



  9. Re: The Shrinking Island of Psioneers await the WPU

    > the original intention was that the Netbook Pro (a faster Netbook
    > with more memory, USB, etc.) would be a triple boot machine: EPOC,
    > Linux, and WinCE. So near and yet so far...


    The Netbook PRO is already working fine with Windows CE.net and Linux.
    Some few great EPOC application as Agenda has some very nice CE ports:
    http://www.hpcfactor.com/reviews/sof...genda-1-0-6-5/

    other EPOC applications like Opera browser are obsolete.

    My price for the PRO is 199 eur for nice english refurbsihed machines.

    So what more do you need ?


    Christoph
    (PSION shop pulster.eu)

  10. Re: The Shrinking Island of Psioneers await the WPU

    Quoting Mike Coon's message of Friday:

    > I haven't entirely given up on my 3mx, but bought a Pocket Loox with WM5.0
    > (GPS & WiFi, but the latter is mere bling so far). And have just discovered
    > that there is a Basic environment (http://www.basic4ppc.com/Downloads.html)
    > that runs on the PDA as well as desktop for $54 (not bad at current GBP
    > exchange rate, I suppose!). Haven't really got anywhere with trial version
    > yet, to justify actual expenditure...


    A lot of the newer machines have programmability available, but it's
    either at a price, or it's community-supported and sometimes in an
    unfinished state (like OPL on the S60, when I had one) with lots of
    limitations and problems reported. That doesn't come near having a
    powerful language like OPL built in.

    --
    Damian - http://psion.snigfarp.karoo.net/
    For email replies, substitute "psion" for "damian" in my email address.

  11. Re: The Shrinking Island of Psioneers await the WPU

    Chris Malcolm wrote:
    > Aidan Karley wrote:
    > > In article <69flglF31lj0kU1@mid.individual.net>, Chris Malcolm wrote:

    >
    > >> and I really like using it [9500] open in its
    > >> excellent speakerphone mode while being able to read and write
    > >>

    > > I didn't know that the Nokia could do that (because I haven't RTFM'd,
    > > because I'm not in the market for a new phone). Very good idea.

    >
    > >> Lots of people I would never
    > >> have suspected of being fashion victims were rather apalled that I was
    > >> carrying around a mobile phone that was so obviously seriously old.
    > >>

    > > This is a use of the word "people" which is rather suspect.
    > > Probably they are anthropoid apes (as are real people), but they would
    > > appear to fail the intelligence test for being real people.

    >
    > Some of my friends take pity on my ancient brick of a phone (Nokia
    > 9500) and proudly show me their latest extremely
    > does-everything-imaginable-and-more phone. Wnen I express an interest
    > in all those wonderful advanced features it turns out they don't
    > actually know how to use them, and further questioning often reveals
    > that they probably won't ever use them. I suppose once you can start


    Reminds me of a friend who used an MDA (organizer with inbuilt phone,
    windows pocket pc os) which is now mine, because she bathed it in a
    kettle of tea and half of the backlight vanished. So I got the MDA with
    manual and PSU from her and realized that one can only install most
    apps with the thingy connected to your Windows PC. When I asked for the
    missing cable it became obvious that she had never installed any new
    program, never imported any new document, never used the internal
    programs apart from the calender, never synced with her PC. And she
    owned it for several years and bought the successor for replacement...
    Just for completeness: The os is horrible (slow and buggy), the inbuild
    apps a joke and it misses lots of functions Psion had for years. And
    the Irda-port connects sloooooow to my 5mx Pro.

    --
    Oliver

  12. Re: The Shrinking Island of Psioneers await the WPU

    In article <69ni35F32q82sU1@mid.individual.net>, Chris Malcolm wrote:
    > and the more enterprising geeks had not
    > only brought along their power supplies but a multi-plug as well,
    >

    The 4-way power strip lives in my travel bag with a couple of
    wire-on plugs (UK, US and European), with battery-charger (carrying
    2xAA + 2xAAA) phone charger and laptop charger plugged into it.
    Screwdriver in the bag. Assorted gender-bender bits and bobs in the
    corner of the bag too.
    I've had that particular tee-shirt longer than I've had a Psion.

    --
    Aidan Karley,
    Aberdeen, Scotland
    Written at Fri, 23 May 2008 16:23 +0100, but posted later.
    09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0


  13. Re: The Shrinking Island of Psioneers await the WPU

    I'm on that island as well, using a Psion S5 then a 5mx going on
    eleven years now and not able to part with it. I miss connectability,
    I miss syncing to Google Calendar and Gmail, but I cannot let go of
    the excellent keyboard and hi-res screen -- and the unbeatable battery
    life! (Weeks!!)

    I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the much-hyped iPhone yet. Here in
    Austria it has not yet arrived officially but many have imported them
    privately. It seems to offer much but still with serious limits
    (nonreplaceable battery, no SD-card slot) and the "keyboard" remains
    an open question -- except for serious writers who need a real
    keyboard. However, the very smooth non-MS user interface is enchanting
    and the device contains a great many of those things that Windows
    never did, like a decent Alarm app to name one.

    The Asus Eee is a very good bet as a WPU, but I miss phone
    capabilities and it's too big to carry always. That's the absolute
    strength of the iPhone and may just be the factor that wins me over
    someday. I have found that a WPU for me is roughly a lightweight PDA
    with a decent keyboard and an integrated cell phone = one that I can
    always carry on my person and that has it all. Any Windows device
    would nearly do this, were it not for the poor OS.

  14. Re: The Shrinking Island of Psioneers await the WPU

    On May 28, 10:08*am, TorbenGB wrote:
    > I'm on that island as well, using a Psion S5 then a 5mx going on
    > eleven years now and not able to part with it. I miss connectability,
    > I miss syncing to Google Calendar and Gmail, but I cannot let go of
    > the excellent keyboard and hi-res screen -- and the unbeatable battery
    > life! (Weeks!!)
    >
    > I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the much-hyped iPhone yet. Here in
    > Austria it has not yet arrived officially but many have imported them
    > privately. It seems to offer much but still with serious limits
    > (nonreplaceable battery, no SD-card slot) and the "keyboard" remains
    > an open question -- except for serious writers who need a real
    > keyboard. However, the very smooth non-MS user interface is enchanting
    > and the device contains a great many of those things that Windows
    > never did, like a decent Alarm app to name one.
    >
    > The Asus Eee is a very good bet as a WPU, but I miss phone
    > capabilities and it's too big to carry always. That's the absolute
    > strength of the iPhone and may just be the factor that wins me over
    > someday. I have found that a WPU for me is roughly a lightweight PDA
    > with a decent keyboard and an integrated cell phone = one that I can
    > always carry on my person and that has it all. Any Windows device
    > would nearly do this, were it not for the poor OS.


    I've found, though I wouldn't call it quite 'worthy', my Psion has
    been replaced by a Palm treo 650.

    It happened gradually, I didn't know I was hooked until it happened.
    My Psion broke, so a borrowed a Palm 'until I found a screen flexi'.
    After about a month, I realised I couldn't really go back...

    After my initial horror at the fact it couln't multitask, that my
    ToDos couldn't appear at specific times of the day, it tried to
    pretend there wasn't a file system, and that the keyboard was tiny(!)
    I realised it had some big advantages. It would sync with my Mac, I
    could suck calendars from all over the internet onto my phone (iCal),
    it had an amazing PDF Reader (Picsel Browser) that was more intuitive
    than any app on any other platform performing the same task. Best of
    all, I could carry it all the time without a bag. I have a keyboard
    for it that combined takes me to about the size of the Psion, and the
    keyboard is nearly as good... It's fast, simple and I have a single
    contact list for everything... I can do email on the move properly
    with it...

    On reflection I think it comes down to something like this: Palm OS is
    very basic, but it has been basic for so long and is (was) so common
    that many freeware apps exist to bring it back to a really good level
    of functionality.

    So, it isn't worthy, I am still waiting, but I do have a replacement,
    of sorts...

  15. Re: The Shrinking Island of Psioneers ... plus family history

    Hi all

    I have succumbed to a basic 4gb Linux eee. I used a 5MX for many
    years, still got it and will be selling when I get around to it, (do
    get in touch if interested and in UK) and before then a Revo. Lovely
    little gizmos but gave up for 2 reasons. Firstly it became too
    expensive to use on dial up for emails let alone anything else
    (incoming emails with attachments cost a bomb!) and secondly because I
    really wanted something portable to take to Record Offices to do
    genealogical research. I looked into getting Gramps but too
    complicated for non-geeks, so I just convert my data into html and off
    to go! When away on research trips and staying in hotels or staying
    with friends with wireless, it's a piece of cake and v cheap (or free
    in the latter case!) to get online. Ok so the screen is small compared
    to a grown up PC, but it does just fine for on the move. The only
    thing that doesn't work as well as the Psion (because you can't
    synchronise) is the diary - you can download to google but quite
    frankly it's easier to print off a couple of pages from Outlook before
    leaving the house. Oh, and the battery life is a bit minimal so it
    helps if you are near a plug!
    It depends what you want it for, but the eee works just fine for me.
    Of course it's a crying shame that Psion didn't move with the times,
    but there you go!

    TTFN

    Joss

    On Mon, 4 Aug 2008 15:33:12 +0100, Mark Kent
    wrote:

    >David M espoused:
    >> Chris Malcolm wrote in comp.sys.psion.misc
    >> about: The Shrinking Island of Psioneers await the WPU
    >>



    >>
    >> The low-end eee is perhaps the most appropriate Psion successor at
    >> present, but I know that if I bought one, I'd soon end up cursing the
    >> 800px screen width - or, more specifically, all of the web designers who
    >> in recent months have decided that 1024px is the new minimum ,
    >> making it hard to display two browser windows side-by-side even on
    >> normal computer displays..
    >>

    >
    >Eee looks like an excellent machine, although they're being upgraded
    >every minute. There's also the Elonex machine, too, and several others
    >if you look around.
    >
    >Personally, if you /really/ want a tinkerer's machine, I'd suggest a
    >Freerunner phone and Pandora combination, although personally, I'll be
    >waiting for a 3G freerunner myself.
    >
    >In any case, have fun.



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