After a hideous amount of soul-searching, I buckled and got Palm’s Lifedrive. I needed a palmtop for when the laptop of doom couldn’t come, because my ability to keep written notes crumbles under my tremendously bad handwriting. After a few months of beating the tar out of it, I’m as pleased with it compared to a “standard” PDA as I am with my Mac laptop as opposed to a Windows laptop.
It’s stunning for work, in particular it’s voice recorder. The pic-up mic is clear and catches everything that gets dropped within a space up to a decent boardroom, and the storage capacity of the drive pays for itself in being able to keep just about every interview, voice memo, or bootleg I need both on my PC and on the Drive. Sometimes, I just have to remember what someone said when I’m on the bus — getting home is too late!
The video playback, predictably, isn’t worth a tick’s fart. It’s cute that I can move my Samurai Champloo grabs onto it, but there’s no real built-in tools to manage or view video the way I want to. Mp3 playback isn’t a problem, and playing the voice memo audio files in their native format is cake, but the machine puts them out as .wavs naturally — which means that if I take a voice mail from the palmtop to the desktop and back, I have to change it into an Mp3 midstep.
Media functions, so, blah. It’s nice there’s software built in to let me do something other than just put voice memos onto that 4 gig drive, but the media functions just aren’t up to snuff. Although ease of transfer is light-years ahead of the PSP, the PSP looks at least that much better.
But, for someone who needs all the basic Palm functions and would be carrying a voice recorder anyways, this is a fantastic machine. Essentially unlimited storage for voice, with plenty of space leftover to make it a decent back up disk for essential docs, and the default handiness of a Palm have come together better than I’d hoped for when I got it.
Other than my glee at a device not just being for fun, where I’m going is deliberate. The PSP and the Lifedrive are both hyper-designed; a ridiculous amount of money and research went into making each one a solid multi-media platform with a core functionality. PSP’s is games; Lifedrive’s is organization. But neither product actually benefits from the periphery abilities except for very specific users, such as myself. Isn’t the lesson here clear enough that Sony would realize that foisting blu-ray onto the console war is going to hurt them — that insuring a clean, core gameplay accesability is more important than what are essentially expensive widgets for everyone but a few teritiary market members?
On that note, I’m going to go borrow a DS for the trip into Berkeley. Sorry if the spellings off today; this was a quick one before ribs. And ribs, we can all agree, come before perfect spelling.