Monday, July 13, 2009

Tech Info Please

We never got Emily a graduation gift for various reasons. (Humph, she has to graduate first, says Paul, who is trying to get her to finish up the Last Little Bit).

Recently Emily suggested we get her one of those cute little Netbooks so she can tuck it into her purse and walk to the park and work on her novel. I looked them up online and found them to be waaaay out of our price range. And they're new enough that not many show up on the used market. But oh my they are just plain cute. Maybe by the time I'm 50 I'll have a pink VW bug and a Netbook to match.

Yes, well. Digressing.

So, is there any other device that would do the same thing? I tried to look online and got lost in technical terms.

Then I had this sudden memory of being on a plane with Paul and using his Jornada PDA thingy (that died long ago) and a fold-up keyboard to work on an article. Maybe that would work for Emily.

I found a few used Jornadas online, and of course didn't really know what I was looking for, so I called Matt.

Maybe what she needs, he suggested, is a SmartPhone.

Paul discovered that he is due for a Verizon phone upgrade and he could get a $400 BlackBerry 8300 for $50. [A "BlackBerry 8300" sounds like a John Deere combine for fruit.]

(Oh, btw, the reason we still qualify for the upgrade is that the order for a new phone for me never registered on their end, and now my old one works again. Happy happy.)

So I am asking the experienced techie people: Would you recommend an old Jornada or a new Blackberry for Emily? Can you get a portable keyboard for a BlackBerry?

Here are the functions she needs: some kind of Word program, some way of typing comfortably and more than just a few lines, and Internet capabilities.

Quote of the Day:
(After she read the story in Ordinary Days of how my sister would tell me that our brother "Freddy" thought she was pretty and I was ugly, and then she found an old family photo. . .)
Molly the 11-year-old niece: I don't know why Freddy would say that! Look at Dorcas! She looks like she's pondering the wonders of the world. And Becky looks like she's thinking about potatoes!"

(This was sure good therapy for the old wounds--thanks for sharing this, Geneva)


  1. I would watch and, they've been selling some pretty cheap and nice-looking netbooks. A netbook would be a lot more of a machine than the other options, in my opinion.

  2. Not knowing your budget nor much of anything about PDAs and Blackberr*s, I'd be inclined toward a netbook.

    But I would want to be sure it had a full-size* keyboard.

    Or you could contact Miguel (my BIL) about a used notebook, I suppose.

    Although it appears that a netbook (much less a notebook) is not an option for you, here are two articles that might be helpful.

    Netbook or Notebook? 5 ways to decide

    Netbook vs. Notebook: Which one is right for you?

    If nothing else, having those articles in the comments section might eventually cause your blog to start showing up in searches for netbook and/or notebook, thus potentially increasing your readership (much as the Southwest thing did or might have).


    WV: emicalog

    PS: Now to see if this comment ends up in moderation due to its multiple links.

  3. I had to chuckle at the combine for fruit statement.. that was good!
    And yes, I am going to read the articles Mark linked because I have the same questions.

  4. Blackberries are great. Just make sure that you get insurance on the thing if you get one. Verizon will only replace it free once if you don't have insurance. And sad to say, they seem to give out fairly faithfully.

  5. I love my Blackberry, but a PDA is absolutely unsuited for writing or editing books. It's only meant for whacking out short emails and Facebook updates.

    Is $187 (including tax and shipping) out of your budget?

    (Please delete my previous malformed comment.)

  6. i don't know what your budget is, but here's a netbook for $200.

    i've got one of those, and i have to confess that battery life is fantastic, but you don't get a workhorse in such a small package. still, i'm computer programmer (who refuses to capitalize anything tonight). i use my laptop for e-mail, internet, writing (sorry, unpublished; i do it for fun), occasional photo-work (as little as possible), lightweight audio, and supporting my nighttime computer programming habits.

    again, the battery life and small size are killer features.

    i know how mennonites are on bargains, so i don't see how you can turn this down. ;-)

    -Anonymous Coward

  7. oh...forgot about the fact that the netbook is running linux instead windows. not sure it's any different for you than if you'd buy a pda, but should at least mention it.


  8. gah. i keep adding additional comments trying to clarify. my last comment about linux vs. windows was a comment about usability, not functionality, if that makes any sense. seems to me to be a *lot* nicer than a pda.

    anyway, enough rambling.