Information Overload Syndrome

Monday December 27, 2004

I did get out for a quiet stroll during the morning and, as planned, I sat for a while on my new favourite bench. Bitterly cold, and there was a thick hoar frost on the planks of the bench, so the small piece of waterproof plastic I keep in my coat pocket was pressed into service as a sitting-mat.

It may have been the mince-pies. Or the Roquefort. Or the Port. Or all of them combined with an over-dose of techno-fear resulting from spending too much time learning to use my new PDA. Most likely the latter but, whatever, I found myself sitting blinking in the sun, in an uncomfortably confused state, suffering from what might be called Information Overload Syndrome.

And that’s a shame. Waste of a good sit, was that. I’ve always liked to sit outdoors, having a good think. Sometimes, for comedic effect, I make out it’s an old man thing but it’s something I’ve done all my life, as long as I can remember.

Craig y Nos, '78
 
A younger poet
having a good think

 

So, anyway, I came back into the warm, stripped rather a lot of winter weather clothing layers off, and settled down once more to learning how to use the PDA. I’m now quite reasonably fluent with handwriting recognition, creating Pocket Word documents, and, with a little help and encouragement from Graham, I installed the connection cable and the ActiveSync software so that my desktop PC and the Pocket PC can talk to one another, exchanging files, and keep them synchronised one with the other, providing a useful backup in the process.


First cartoon drawing on new PDA, Dec 27,'04
Beep! Boop!


I installed a copy of Pocket Painter, and learned very quickly how to create little sketches and transport them to and from the desktop machine. I haven’t made little computer-pad sketches for a long, long time, since I found that my Wacom tablet didn’t work under Windows ME, and that was in the last millennium.

I also copied the photograph of myself as a younger poet from yesterday, turned it 75% transparent, and installed it as the wallpaper on the PDA.

All of which means I now have text, scribbling, sketching and full graphics capabilities up and running on the PDA. Currently, there’s nothing more I can see me wanting to do with it, though I anticipate wanting to do all of that faster and better than is the case today.

So, yes, I admit it, I’m a convert. I seem already to be using my bingely-boop very differently from the way Graham uses his bingely-beep. For example, I rejected all use of MS Outlook (a drearily miserable, aggressive program that takes itself far too seriously) on my desktop machine and so cannot sensibly use the contacts and notes feature. Which is just as well, because I really, truly do not want to keep lists of contacts and associated notes. Graham does, and it is in fact the main justification for his PDA, along with email. Which I also do not wish to use. Email is something I prefer to keep strictly to my desk indoors. I most certainly do not wish to read and write email when I’m out and about, even if I thought my PDA could handle the load.

If you will, then, this has been a day filled to overflowing with computing. We did sit and watch Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Askeban on DVD but even then, my mind kept veering off course and back to thinking about computers, home and outdoors.

I shall stick with the PDA, for outdoors use and for note-keeping indoors, too. I understand there’s a rather fabulous hierarchical note program called, unattractively, Phat Notes and if it lives up to advance publicity then my note taking and keeping methods and practices may be about to undergo a revolution.

Like I said yesterday, it’s certainly fun. Except when my brain starts fizzing with Information Overload Syndrome.


Technical note: My apologies to those of a technical bent who are irritated by my free and interchangeable use of ‘PDA, ‘PPC’, ‘Pocket PC’, ‘bingely-beep’, and, worst of all, ‘bingely-boop’. It’s the way I am and it’s far too late to do anything about it now. As partial compensation, the technical information about my Christmas present is:

Model: Dell Axim X30
CPU: Intel® PXA270 312 MHz C0 Stepping
Flash: 32 MB
RAM: 32 MB
OS Version: 4.21.1088 (Build 14260.2.0.0)

 

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