22 February 2007

There's life in her yet

The PDA is dead. At least that's what Slashdot tells me. Again, and again, and again. Indeed, my second ever PDA, an iPAQ h2210 I bought 4 years ago when it came out, briefly suffered a case of neglect and was placed on ice for a while, supplanted by a newer and equally capable convergent mobile phone.

Yet it has recently come to life, and in fact, is much more useful now than it has ever been. I no longer use it for PIM and Office functions, but because you can install programs onto it, it has taken on a new role. Here is the software which resuscitated my PDA.

If there is a single piece of software which brought the Pocket PC back to life, it is PDAWin's TV Remote. I normally have four different remote controls, but with this program, I can transform my Pocket PC into a universal remote. Note that not all PDAs have a sufficiently powerful infrared transmitter to reach from your sofa to the TV set; thankfully the h2210 is one of them. This program is worth every cent I paid and has given the PDA a new lease of life.

The next program is OmegaOne's 1-calc Lite. Windows Pocket PC 2003 comes with a built-in calculator which is both ugly and rudimentary. Thankfully Microsoft provide this calculator from their website for free. It includes a unit converter and a tip calculator with large glossy buttons, making it really useful.

Another program which has given my PDA a new role is Pocket GBA. Are you someone who plays games on your Pocket PC? Well, I never used to either, the extent being the odd attempt at Jawbreaker or Solitaire. Part of the reason was the lack of good games. With Pocket GBA though, the entire universe of Game Boy Advance games is available. Now I can get my Mario, Zelda or Donkey Kong fix on the PDA. Where you get the ROMs though, is another question!

The last program which I find useful is JB Piano, another freeware utility which turns your PDA into a virtual piano. I'm in a choir, and while I am not tone deaf, I do find it hard to look at a note and pitch it perfectly off the top of my head. JB Piano solves this problem by producing the note I'm looking for pitch perfect from the PDA speaker. I use it all the time when rehearsing and find it really invaluable.

So there we have it - an outdated PDA which was briefly retired, but has been resurrected and is now more functional than ever!

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