A brief word of explanation as to what’s been behind the radio silence on this end lately. I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to take advantage of the Family Medical Leave Act to take care of my mother, recently discharged from the hospital and subsequent rehabilitation institutions following her injury a few months back. That leave will run through at least July 4th, perhaps longer if the need dictates. Right now, I ancitipate being back in the office on the 5th, however – Mom’s doing fabulously well with her physical therapy and recuperation.

TAL is scheduled to host Blawg Review week after next! I’m still struggling to come up with a suitable theme. I had some ideas which seemed clever initially but now seem trite and predictable. We’ll see. Nothing like last minute pressure (and Ed.’s frowning virtual countenance) to stoke the creative fires.

In the meantime, I’m off to scour the Internet for interesting post fodder on George. Who is George, you may ask? Meet George.  He’s my new tablet PC (as in "I will love him and hold him and name him …"). I purchased George this week, and he arrived yesterday courtesy the nice man in the brown uniform. That’s what Brown did for me last week.

So far, my impressions are completely favorable of the Gateway CX2620. The digitizer and stylus are far more responsive than I’d feared, and the notebook itself is simply packed with useful software. OneNote came with the package, and I installed it immediately. There is a lot of overlap there with the new Microsoft Journal program, and I’m not sure what the ultimate breakdown in tasking will be there. Right now, I’m more impressed with OneNote for meeting note captures (especially in light of the audio recording feature) and book outlining/notetaking, and Journal for everyday writing. I used it for my morning pages this morning and it was pretty cool – just like writing by hand in a notebook.

My main purpose in buying a tablet as opposed to a laptop was to be able to write notes and capture them immediately for later searchability. Can’t really do that with a regular laptop or with paper and pen. After a full 24 hours of playing around with George, I do know one thing, however: tablets are no longer "faddish" tools that will pass like a trend, if they ever were. This tablet is a bona fide next-generation development that offers true strengths and functionality you just can’t get with a regular laptop.

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Palm For Sale – Cheap

March 15, 2006

Readers may remember my post earlier on the new T|X and my acquisition thereof in the eBay auction. After some consideration, my spouse, my kid, and I collaborated on a true "Schelin Family Production" and we now proudly present: "Broken Palm: An Auction Story."

The catalyst for this tale was my discovery, during my search for information about the T|X last week, that nonfunctional Palms and other brand PDAs are being sold on eBay for good money – for parts, for fixing-up and use or resale, or whatever.  I took a look at one of those auctions and told my husband about it. "Why don’t you sell yours, then?" he said.

"Well, Kayleigh put those stickers on the case… I’d have to clean those off…" I mused.

At the same time, which we often do (kind of freaky but we take it as a sign of validation from the universe of the rightness of our marriage), we said, "No we don’t!" – we both conceived of this approach simultaneously.

We pitched the idea to Kayleigh last night, who was only too happy to participate. She was a little indignant that the pictures I took didn’t show her pretty face, but Mom’s safety-consciousness and Internet-wariness won out.

I highly doubt this will achieve "Virgin Mary on Grilled Cheese" status, but it was fun, and as Chris commented, "Maybe you’ll make someone laugh and that’s always good karma."

I have been, in my time, the proud owner of three Palm handheld PDAs, in succession: the Palm IIIex (ah, black and white and green screen, how I miss thee – not so much), the Tungsten T (the original!), and most recently, the Tungsten E2. I was actually rocking and rolling with the E2 – I had this nice symbiotic relationship going between my work desktop and the E2, where documents and PDFs frequently sync’d up, and I even rehearsed my presentations at the AAAE conference on the E2’s mini-Power Point software en route to Tucson.

But then – alas – came the humiliating Fall Before Christmas. No, I’m not talking about the autumnal season. I’m talking about the day before Christmas vacation when I hobbled out on three-inch heels into the airport parking lot and promptly found the ONE 1/16" hole in the sidewalk in which my right heel would fit perfectly. Wedged in there tightly, it wasn’t moving. But I was. So – down I went. I landed on my right knee – yeah, ow, indeed – and somehow must have flung my purse on the ground at the same time. For when I next fired up the E2 (to check my last-minute shopping list – and let’s face it, last year, it was all last minute), there’s this ugly scar-like black smudge, shaped for all the world like a lightning bolt, running down the lower third of my screen, rendering the unit not quite so useful as before.

I’d been meaning to get it fixed. Really, I had. I just … hadn’t quite gotten around to it. So, there it sits on my desk at home, in its lovely faux-leather cover that came with it, decorated with sparkly autumn leaf stickers by my daughter, not doing much of anything, just hanging.

And here I am, occasionally browsing eBay and the Palm site, thinking – hmm – maybe I should go ahead and send that thing in for repair. But see, that’s when I discovered the T|X. This thing is essentially the LifeDrive but smaller in memory size, and not nearly so expensive. It also, I believe, lacks the voice memo capabilities of the LifeDrive, which I don’t need (my trusty digital minirecorder is always at the ready). I stumbled across the model sort of in a backwards fashion – auction first, then researched the reviews, then checked out the Palm page on it.

And…. I was hooked. So I selected several auctions to watch, and while I’m browsing through yesterday evening, I decided to play. I entered a price I was absolutely sure wouldn’t win – way too close to the previous one, but as much as I was willing to pay for a returned/refurbished model, and the auction was 28 minutes from closing. And – I waited. And – I watched. And – I refreshed.

And – I won.

I won?! Seriously?!?! No one was more surprised than I. So – I’ll post an update and a review when it arrives, and after a day for the initial shakedown tryout. But I’m really excited for one main reason – and don’t laugh, please:

This is my first WiFi experience.

Humiliating. But better late than never, right?