Hooked on Technology

Subtitle: My PocketPC Died!

Many years ago, close to 10, I met a great guy at Packard Bell in Sacramento. In all the visits to the plant out there I never saw him without his DayRunner calendar / notebook / address book, and I asked him once if he ever put it down. His response was, "No. When I was in college studying project management, my mentor told me to never let it out of my reach." Months later, based on his response, which I considered a valuable piece of advice, I started carrying a DayRunner. A couple years later my wife presented me with my first Palm Pilot V, the electronic improvement over the DayRunner.

Over the years I went through three Palm Vs (one the buttons fell out, one I lost, and one the digitizer went nuts), and two years ago I converted to a PocketPC. The major benefit of the PPC over the Palm was obvious: I could program PPC apps through Visual Studio! (See my other blog entries for descriptions of my creations.) But over the years, my students have nearly unanimously refered to the device in my chest pocket as "my other brain."

My other brain suffered a stroke last Thursday: When I didn’t hear the normal "This is your last chance to leave the house and be at school on time" alarm bell in the morning, I noticed that it wasn’t waking up with the power button. Okay, thought I, it needed a significant reboot, so I pressed the recessed reset button. Still nothing. Grumble, that means I’ll lose the changes since the last backup (Monday? Tuesday?), and I flicked the emergency battery disconnect switch. After displaying the normal "Please wait about 30 seconds" power-on message, I got a very frightening text message of "IMAGE CHECKSUM ERROR      PLEASE COLDBOOT AGAIN!!"

This obviously was a new flavor of "dead" that I was not prepared for. Fortunately, I had an extra unit within reach, and was able to restore my back-up to that one with very little loss. (Perhaps I’ll outline the things that I "lost" in the disaster; some of them are quite funny.) But it became quite obvious that I have become totally connected to these little buggers, and therefore I should spend some time and consider a fall-back plan.

By the way, ViewSonic (makers of the PPC in question) told me through EMail that the unit is "serviceable" for only $230 (+ $30 S&H). Trouble is, eBay has several units in the <$100 range, so repair is not a likely option.



re: Hooked on Technology @ Tuesday, October 18, 2005 9:19 PM

I see a glimpse of a good thing in this post. Your students who call the PocketPC your second brain are at least giving you credit for having one in your head. 🙂




About Mr. I

After 17 years as a PC Software Engineer I gave it all up in 2000 to become a High School Computer Teacher
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