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Backpacking With A PDA
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Backpacking With A PDA

I realized how important a PDA can be on a journey abroad. In fact, the usefulness of such devices cannot be denied.

During my previous backpacking adventure to Europe, my Sony NX70V PDA kept me company with MP3s, allowed me to store critical information, take short video clips of interesting places as well as record voice messages and interesting sounds that I came across along the way. The integrated keyboard made it easy for me to enter large amounts of data although it still cannot replace a good PDA keyboard.

My NX70 has since been sold off and replaced with the Sony TH55 PDA. While this article is based on my experiences with the Sony TH55 PDA, it is geared towards providing information to ALL PDA users (regardless of device make and model). I want to show you how you can fully utilize PDAs on a trip like mine.

The Sony TH55

This time, I brought my TH55 on a backpack journey to Beijing, China. Before the journey, I equipped my TH55 with some accessories so that its full potential can be tapped.

First, I got myself a 512MB SanDisk Memory Stick PRO so that I can record video clips of beautiful sights and sounds. Of course, it doesn't replace a true video camera but then again, what can one expect from a PDA?

The huge capacity will also allow me to keep large amounts of reference material that will be critical for the trip, like PDF files, Word and Excel documents. I left for the trip with three very detailed PDF maps of Central Beijing, the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace that I can easily open in PicselViewer. The rendering, although a tad slow, was bearable and accurate. To date, I have yet to find another Palm software that can render PDF files as accurately as PicselViewer.

My brother has kindly loaned me his Sony DSC-F717 digital camera. It is a 5 megapixel prosumer digital camera. It also has a 512MB SanDisk Memory Stick PRO. I can capture high resolution pictures as well as 320x240 video at 16 fps with the F717.

What's beautiful about the F717, apart from it being a Sony!, is that pictures and videos captured by it can be viewed immediately on my TH55! I just have to remove the Memory Stick PRO from the camera, plug it in into the TH55 and voila! I can view the pictures in full resolution as well as adjust brightness and contrast and other settings using Resco Viewer. I can also view any recorded MPEG videos using the built-in Movie Player instantly.

I also realized that I'll need to pen down thoughts and notes about the journey there. As such, a good keyboard is vital. I, therefore, invested in the Sony KB100 CLIE slim keyboard.

Sony KB100 CLIE slim keyboard

The keyboard has its own charging port that allows the TH55 to be charged while connected to it. The keyboard is a real time saver when it comes to data entry.

My only gripe with it is that it does not support some functions that are available with standard keyboards. In addition, many of the important functions are not supported in specific applications like Wordsmith and Documents To Go.


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