% fortune -ae paul murphy

The PDA of my desiring

I've been looking for a car phone to replace the antique I have because the phone companies claim that it won't work properly with their networks. As it happens that isn't true; what they're really concerned about is bringing all of their installed base to the same technology as a way of reducing their costs. Nevertheless, I'm stuck with their attitudes - remember, I'm in Canada: telecom is a regulated industry here and the only real competition is among the people who design the ads for their marketing programs.

In looking at what's available, however, I keep running into two kinds of problems: first the things are simply too small. I'm 6'4", 220 pounds, and I have fingers to match - meaning that the nail end of my typing finger ;-) covers about 50% of the keyboard on many of the more advanced models.

Second, most of these things don't do most of the things I want a combined PDA/Cell phone to do. Specifically there are none which:

  1. contain a high res projector capable of putting a web page or other image on a wall or other handy screen so I can actually see it in its entirity;

  2. have software to eliminate typing - i.e. something that does voice to text conversion and has a mechanism to distingish things intended as commands to the local device from things intended to be stored or sent as text.

  3. have software that effectively converts both ends of a conversation to text transferable to a workstation or other full size computer;

  4. have software to remotely look up phone numbers and other contact information;

  5. is either big enough so I can have a conversation without feeling that I'm talking to my pinky or small enough that it functionally consists only of a throat mike, an earpiece, and something that fits easily into a pocket.

  6. and, most oddly, I want one that contains a printer you can use to fill in other people's forms: like sign-in sheets or other nuisances where my horrible handwriting amounts to a handicap. Specifically, I'd like something that prints dictated text or programmable messages at the touch of a button -e.g. put the thing down on the sign-in form, tell it to sign, and it prints "Paul Murphy, EDMS, 7:23 AM oct 28 2006" with the name part done as a signature image.

I mean, really what's so hard about that? All of these technologies exist, more or less - so why isn't anybody packaging them?

Probably because no one's asking for it right? so lets start that ball rolling: what's wrong with my list? and how would you amend it?

Paul Murphy wrote and published The Unix Guide to Defenestration. Murphy is a 25-year veteran of the I.T. consulting industry, specializing in Unix and Unix-related management issues.