The Deliverator – Wannabee

So open minded, my thoughts fell out…

New Jornada Software

Posted by Deliverator on September 18th, 2005

I spent some time today loading up my Jornada with software in anticipation of my upcoming trip.

I am trying out Textmaker, an excellent MS Word compatible word-processor that is available for a wide variety of portable and desktop operating systems. I have yet to try out Planmaker, their spreadsheet package, but it is supposedly just as good. Surprisingly, Microsoft own “Pocket” versions of Office application are pale shades of their desktop versions, missing all but the most basic of features and often horribly mangling documents in the conversion process between desktop and pocket versions of the same document. If these two applications fit my needs, with the addition of a small canon i nkjet printer, I should be able to keep a completely mobile office

I hacked away at PocketFeed, a fairly basic (for now, but it is in very active development) RSS feed reader for Pocket PC 2002/2003. I really didn’t have to do much to get it working, just had to find an appropriate AYGSHELL.DLL to drop in the application’s directory. Many Windows CE applications needlessly call dll’s only found on newer Windows CE devices. Often, the only thing needed to make these applications work is to include a little stub version of the dll, which implements the appropriate functions (or at least returns something when called). With just a few incredibly minor changes, developers could significantly increase the market for their software. I am now happily subscribed to half a dozen news feeds.

Another application I encountered while searching for a RSS reader is Qmail. I have been pretty happy with my current mail client, nPOP, but Qmail has some compelling features that may win me over. Chief among these is support for secure authentication and transfer of mail to/from pop/smtp mail servers. I have been using internet cafes and Linksys Community Network access points a great deal of late and establishing an SSH session every time you just want to quickly check mail gets old real quick. I would prefer to just establish a VPN connection when I am feeling paranoid, but unfortunately, VPN support was not included with the Jornada 720 (but was included in the 728, which is virtually the same beast, but with more ram).

I wish I could have purchased a 728, but they are very few and far between. It is at times like these that I wish the Jornada had a flash rom, as I could have just flashed my 720 with the 728’s code. There is even a company called PPC Techs that will upgrade the 720 ram to match the 728’s. They use all sorts of specialize surface mount equipment to rework the boards! Several other older Win CE devices have had significant functionality added due to their inclusion of a flash rom. For instance, the Simpad line can run HPC 2000, CE . Net 4.1, 4.2 and a well supported Linux distro called Simpad Linux.

More and more, my Jornada has changed the way I work (and has consequently given me more play time). I am definitely straining the limits of what this device can do. I have been looking at the Psion Netbook Pro as a possible replacement. It has a more modern version of Win CE, has more ram, faster proc, better connectivity options and a higher resolution (and daylight viewable!) screen. Unfortunately, it is also priced at the rather insane price of somewhere around $1500. At that price, I don’t know how this device is going to be a success, even in the more vertically priced executive business markets. I have a feeling that particular crowd is going to spend a few hundred more and get a OQO or one of the many other sub-sub-sub notebooks that have emerged and are capable of running full blown XP.