Spring Comdex Report

I'm traveling too much. As I write, I've just returned from a 2-day trip to Chicago for the Spring Comdex show, and tonight I'm leaving for a weekend medical mission trip to Mexico. The good news? This trip is the last for a month. I'm about traveled out!Spring Comdex seemed very slow. Only a dozen or so people attended each of my sessions, and other speakers remarked that most sessions hosted the same number or fewer. The show's only highlight for me was Agenda Computing's introduction of the Linux-based VR3 Personal Digital Assistant (PDA). The VR3 resembles Palm's m100, holds 8MB of RAM and 16MB of ROM, and offers basic personal information manager (PIM) features comparable to those that Palm and Microsoft's Pocket Outlook include. In operation, however, the VR3 sluggish. When I tapped on a display icon, an application popped up only after a few seconds. Perhaps the production units will offer higher speeds.I also got reacquainted with a Windows CE bug during my trip. I use a handheld PC and Pocket Powerpoint to give presentations, and I didn't terminate my show by selecting View/View Show or using the appropriate toolbar button before shutting down and packing the device. The VGA port continued to be powered—which flattened my batteries overnight. This bug has caught me twice, and this time it really annoyed me. I discovered the drained batteries when I pulled the unit out at the airport, and I couldn't use it during the flight home. And now, a correction to my previous Wireless & Mobile UPDATE commentary. Paulo Marinas, who owns a chain of cyber cafes in the Philippines, wrote to tell me that Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) users in the Philippines can't use the short message service (SMS) for free. He says the local providers are charging users "about one peso per message or $0.02 US." I stand corrected! Marinas also says that he uses state-of-the-art PCs from Compaq and Hewlett-Packard (HP) in his locations, so it pays to shop around for the most up-to-date cyber cafe when traveling. Thanks to Paolo Marinas (and everyone else) for writing!

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