Peel Technologies Mini Library of PDA Questions and Answers
With all the hullabaloo about the Windows CE units, I still enjoy my
Wizard 6500 with CEIR2 interface, and am seriously thinking of(lusting
to own) a 5800FX kit Zaurus before the end of the year. ( I can get a
pretty attractive price at Sharper Image Gadget Heaven with a
Mastercard promotion coupon, i.e. about 480.00 US dollars).And that
includes the Appliction Partner and cable. The modem will duplicate a
CEMF4 I already own but what the heck. My only holdback is a tingling
wonder if the Zaurus will integrate well with my current favorite
desktop programs, which right now are Corel Wordpefect 7 and Sidekick
95. I used the Rupplynx for downloading, but I dont think I'm smart
enough to learn multi-step file conversions. Anyway, your enthusiasm
for Zaurus matches mine. It is just a fun unit from what I see. I have
heard scurrilous rumors tht the backlight has a meager lifespan, but I
doubt that it would be a problem. Also- are we poised for another big
Zaurus roll-out in January? I originally sought to buy a 5700 model,
but Sharper Image will apparently not stock it. I think the ZR-3000 is
too stripped down for me. The PC card slot, I'm guessing, is the magic
door to a lot. Anyway, if you have any words of encouragement of even
caveats, let me know, Happy Holidays Gerry S., Mililani Town, HI.
PS: I think Sharp has been a little sleepy until this fall in terms of
marketing, but I like their design very much. I sneakily bought my wife
a 6500 Wizard and she is now convertd to electronic storage vs Daytimer
Thanks for the kind words about my December mobilis article. I was
afraid it might be a bit heavy going for some readers, with
explanations without graphics. For the next one I am planning to
include some Zaurus screen shots along with the streams of words.
I haven't had any hands-on experience with Windows CE. Regular Windows
is such a resource hog, that I wonder if anyone in Microsoft has
figured out that this won't go over very well yet in the PDA world. The
advantage that I see coming is that the PDA developers like Sharp will
be spurred on by the competitive aspect. I think Sharp is long overdue
on deciding to provide a software development environment that is
readily available to anyone skilled in Graphical User Interfaces &
programming and who has a PC. Perhaps Windows CE will push Sharp that
way soon, to the benefit of themselves and their loyal following.
Now for some encouragement for you about integrating WP 7 and Sidekick
with a Zaurus. I would advise you to spend the extra $ for a 5800, to
get the extra RAM. I chose to buy a 5700 before the 5800's were
released, because I wanted the spreadsheet and did not want to wait.
For me, the PCMCIA slot was a key buying factor even for my original
5000, which is still the way I feel today. If a PDA doesn't support
this, then to me it is more the class of an organizer. This is just
fine, if that serves one's requirements!
I haven't heard about any big roll out coming from Sharp. The word
about the colour unit is impressive. However, I don't like the idea of
a short battery life. It starts to get closer to a lap-top which croaks
just as the plane is reaching cruising altitude. (Some of us are NEVER
satisfied I suppose.....)
Regarding your wordprocessing, I regularily move text files between my
Z and my PC by using Rich Text Format (RTF). Zaurus supports that
directly and there is no extra conversion steps to do. All of the
formating stuff that I do in documents such as bold, centering etc. is
kept whichever direction I am migrating files. For PC based Personal
Information Management (PIM) tools, I have used Intellilink to go
between the Zaurus and PC applications. My experience with it is that
it is flexible, reliable and easy to use. You may find that with the
extra power that a Zaurus will give you, that you will give up your use
of Sidekick. However, you will know better about that than me! I do all
of my PIM on my Zaurus, because that is most convenient for me. I
always know what my schedule is, I enter the data once, no matter where
I am, and so it goes. If I am in a big-time hurry to capture something
short, then I go to the scrapbook and write with the pen, else if it is
longer I go to the Notes application and do the same with the pen. My
Zaurus is always with me: in my suit pocket, carrying case, brief case
I hope this helps you in your decision. I am interested to keep in
touch, answer more questions. Let me know what path you take. From my
point of view Zaurus is great.
P.S. Re your wife, your actions sound sneaky alright. My wife does not
particularily like my "computer things" as she calls them. However, she
is always trying to sneak up on me and get a glimpse of my online diary
(password protected of course) and so my Z still has a certain
attraction to her. I thinks she imagines someday to gain access to all
of those "juicy" things in my log. After 28 years of marriage, I think
she knows there really isn't much in there to worry about.
Thanks for the prompt and informative response. I will definitely be
buying a ZR-5800 next week- won't even mention it to wife . She has
never in 37 years kenned my enthusiasm for hi-fi stereo,- how can I
expect her to savvy this mobile PDAmania.? Of course she loves her
Solitaire on screen, and chat groups." But seriously, I am trying to
get her to accept the Sidekick PIM, which I have about done, because of
its familiar "face." We tried his and her" Rupplynx 3.01 links and it
didn't work. I am officially Navy retired, but have a full schedule,
and have to keep up with 10 yr old we are raising. So when " hair
appointment" collides with "school potluck- Boing!!! My 6500 is
marvelously compact yet too small keyboard for my fat fingers for
acceptable typing. I think the pen/ keyboard design of the Z will let
me achieve what I want, i.e. to do a family history and an ethical will
while I am in my musing places (coffehouses, naturally). And
yeah,Sharper Image store has a generous 60 day return policy. Also,I
wil get the application partner free from SharpCorp ,the laid back
corporation- and try it, and I called Intellilink/ Puma and will check
out theirr offerings. I dont use a spreadsheet, but have the urge to
learn , because it may open some new doors ,and just because I want to
keep up with what is clearly the magic of this silicon world. I got
Quattro Pro with the Corel Suite. ( Ah so much software, so little
time') I agree that from what I have read, Sharp has closely contained
their development partners- they prefer to call it "selectivity". But
it meant pricier items and slower progress as you say. Eveh Rupplyns
3.01 needed tweaking to work with WIN 95... I see no need for a mobile
Windows -half Windwos really device. If I wanted Windows, with its
acknowleded quirks, I will get Pentium laptop with a Lithium battery-
at a flea market in 2 years ;) Again thanks for your most useful
comments and encuragement. You will be hearing from undersigned, soon
to be Pen -enhanced(pun intended) Pal again, with more questions.( Sure
I want my mug on the screen,but don't yet own a scanner or digital
device, Photo-CD for now maybe?) Or how about my fax machine? Aloha,
Gerry S.l PS. Notice E.V., I resisted teasing about the weather back
there in mush -land ,But what is Christmas without the white stuff.
> > Hi Gerald
> > I am thinking about adding a question and answer section
about Zaurus to my
> newly established web page (http://www.ottawa.net/~peeltech). I
> organize the questions already asked from people such as you and
> answers that I gave along with them. Any references to names,
> addresses etc. would be removed. Please let me know if you have
> objection to this and I won't use any material relating to
> you have asked. I am hoping that this mini Zaurus library of Q
& A will
> help potential and new Zaurus users.
> > I wish you and your families a Merry Christmas and a Happy
> > Sincerely, Egbert Verbrugge
No problem at all, Egbert, here . I think a Q and A page would be super
useful to those who have adopted and remain loyal to the Z. Not of any
great consequence, but I bought my unit on 12/19 from Sharper Image,
one of Sharp's obviously major US retailers. Got it from a pleasant
salesperson who I know has been with the chain for at least two
years.Nice guy. When I noted that the box said "5800 "(vs 5800FX)
Dwight reassured me there was indeeda modem packaged inside. Not so, as
I found out this morning. Well, I was ready to negotiate a price
accomodation (since I already own the CE-FM4 which was packaged with
the discount store 6500FX kit I bought for Carole). However, the saga
is not over- when I put in fresh batteries, the screen said " Time to
replace the backup battery" and, as you know, none of the functions
were operational. ( Funny, the package and manuals look intact. )
Neverthelesss, this early demise of the little button cell backup
battery in a new unit, never initialized, waved a red flag to me and I
asked the salesperson to locate another complete 5800FX kit. It will
take a week t least cause their Oahu inventory is shot. I guess I
wonder if you agree that my tingling misgivings about the depleted
backup battery in an off the shelf Z is valid-? ( If there is premature
drain on the backup cell or I have got an early,or defective production
model, well, who needs the aggravation? Funny part is that Sharper
Image Co. does not even retail the 5800 solo unit and I dont know how
it wound up in their store. Anyway, I am disappointed -no toy for
Christmas-because a peek at the manuals confirms my decision that this
is one hell of an upgrade from my organizer. ( Wife's comment:(blank
pokerface) "Hmmmmmm!" We have sort of an understanding. She buys,with
her pay, such devices as a 600 buck knitting -machine (that is
primarily room sculpture) and I don't say "Harumph."( I think she
thinks its time to buy a sofa and of course she, as all spouses, is
right, nesting instinct you know.) No high- tech hormones, these gals.
Good grief, I wont be the first on the block to buy DVD (maybe the
third :) Aloha from your, (once this transaction is straightened out)
Keyboard Enhanced penpal, Mele Kelikimaka to You too, Gerry S.
Thanks for the green light on the Q & A pages.
Sorry to hear of your rocky start with Zaurus.
I have to agree with your approach to get a unit that works properly as
it is taken out of the box. Both my ZR-5000 and ZR-5700 worked
perfectly as I took them out of the box.
Regarding your wife's comments, maybe the sofa can still come, but just
delayed a little while. I think that part of the nesting instinct is to
cajole husbands when it looks like another object is becoming the
centre of attention.
Bye for now, Egbert
Just some brief feedback on my two week experience with the ZR5800. I
couldn't swap the wrong model and battery exhausted one sold to me for
two weeks, since Sharper Image outlet was out of stock. Decided to
replace the backup battery and give it a test run. I was impressed with
the applications and the documentation. ( Survivor of old Canon camera
instruction manuals from the 70's -( before your time I know :). But I
had to say that the unit I got (albeit, very likely a defective one)
a couple of nagging annoyances. Primary one was that the screen seemed
much dimmer than my Wizard 6500, and I was having trouble making out
menu icons, as in the Notebook application. Also,although the keyboard
is bigger, as you point out its still not" touch typing land." So I
somwhat reluctantly convinced myself I didnt want one and returned it
the dealer before they got their new shipment of the real 5800FX model
thought I was buying. Then, to my wonder, Sam's Club outlet store is
selling new 5700's for 300.00 US ( and coupon for APP Partner!) By now,
I knew enough abouut the Zaurus to appreciate its merits, and minor
shortcomings, and the price was irresistable. And so that is what
I plan to use. No 2 meg, and no backlight, but all the other features
you so well describe in your articles. Seems like the screen is
than the 5800 I had in my hands, and that the screen material is also
a different plastic material, similar to my Wizard. As a matter of
fact, as I learn the ins and outs, I marvel at how well
thought out and friendly, the unit is. I will keep the W 6500 as a
fannypack handy organizer and the 5700 as my "poor man's
laptop.' In any event, what else can buy so much fun for 300 bucks?
Printed out your well written January piece for mobilis. For some
reason, the December number is not accessible via my Browser- keeps
jumping back to Nov issue... Another mystery caused by those durn
UFO's,or the Windows CE cartel.? Aloha from Mililani Town, Gerry S.
I was reflecting on your Mobilis articles, and your comments about the
euphoric and intimate relationship with a Zaurus; You have hit on
something, you know. It reminds me of a comment by James Burke on the
BBC show " Connections." He was displaying an early- maybe 16th
egg sized watch/ chronometer, beautifully enameled, engraved,
handcrafted and, for that era, astonishingly accurate. " Imagine having
one of these in your hand at a time when there were still wolves
the forests of Germany."
I am not personally a techno capable person and have to force myself to
sit with a manual.( Almost flunked organic chemistry at Harvard College
and quickly switched to the liberal arts !( Class of 1958 by the way)).
Still pride myself on gadget enthusiasm, but no scientific discipline
Despite my more eclectic nature, I am a very enthusiastic member of the
Z family, thank you. Aloha Gerry
Your email was a pleasant surprise. Thanks for sharing your reflections
about the 16th century chronometer etc. I hadn't thought of my zeal for
PDA's that way before. However, I agree with your observation. I have
always prided myself in recognizing pratical & useful new
technology and then all that goes along with being an early adopter of
it. I suppose someone who was trained in psychology could write an
interesting article about the way that technical people like us are
/attracted to / dependant on / "victimized" by gadgets/technology. This
could be contrasted to others whose love is restricted to animate
Thanks again for the email. I must run along and start my day. Keep in
Bye for now, Egbert
Not an urgent question: I am curious about the nature and utility
the various types of RAM cards that can be used in the Zaurus 5700. I
graduated from a Wizard organizer,never used a laptop, and want to
eventually exploit the possibilities of that mysterious slot! Static
RAM, FLASH RAM, etc., still hunting for a definitive understanding I
Perhaps meat for one of your mobilis articles or the Q and A on your
site.? A regular ( and ardent) user of the Z by now. Aloha, Gerry S.,
Mililani Town, Hi.
Our clergyman was genuinely impressed by my unit last Sunday at adult
ed, but has "Pilot on the Brain," and I couldn't get him to consider
Zaurus. One has to be partially a keyboard person I guess.
Too bad about the clergyman having "Pilot on the brain". If his
environment is mainly entering data on his PC and using the Pilot for
carting that info with him, then I suppose it would be an ok
environment. However, if the Pilot is to be used most as a stand alone,
then I think he will find the lack of a keyboard a pain.
It is fun to show others what Z's can do. One of my colleagues at work
today was in my office when my Z beeped at me to do something. He said
"I suppose that is one of those things that has your life in it". I
took the cue and stopped our informal meeting, stepped around my desk,
sat down beside him and proceeded to show him a few of the Z's features
for 10 minutes. Then it was back to the work at hand. Now for an
explanation of RAM cards for the Zaurus as you asked in your email.
There are two types of RAM cards, SRAM and Flash RAM. They come in
various formats, but the Z & other PDA's want them to be in PCMCIA
Type 2 packaging. Let me describe each of them separately and how the
Zaurus can use them.
I have a 2 Megabyte Flash RAM (Manufacturer Maxtor, Model MobileMax)
that I use for archiving my Z's memory to it approximately once a week.
The Zaurus archive utility lets me keep as many of the previous
archives as there is space available. The card sits in my desk at home
all the time except when I am doing an archive. Then it is in the
PCMCIA slot in my Z. This gives me the peace of mind that if my Z
croaks / dies / gets lost or otherwise becomes unavailable to me, then
I have retained my data that I have built up over 20 months. Then I
just need to get to another Z and plug in the card and load the archive
back into memory. As a precaution, I also archive my Z data to my home
desktop PC using Sharp's ZR Link utility and CE-133T serial cable, but
Flash RAM cards do not require any power to retain their information.
When they are being actively used by the Z they use a moderate amount
of electricity. When they are just plugged into the Z and not being
accessed they use very little extra power.
Flash RAM cards are now available up to 40 Megabyte capacity. I don't
think the Z can access all of that. However, I am not sure. The HP
200LX Palmtop computer / PDA can use that amount of memory. It seems to
be a function of the specific PDA and its operating system rather than
the basic hardware. I think of a Flash RAM card as being a solid state
disk. They are very fast to read and write. On a Zaurus an archive of
500K of data takes about 1 minute. They are rugged and require no
special precautions when in storage or in use.
Another use of Flash RAM cards is to hold 3'rd party S/W application
programs. These programs can be executed from the Flash RAM card.
They cost less than SRAM cards but they do have one drawback. The Z can
not use them directly as an extension of the internal RAM for data
storage or direct access. For Z's, only SRAM can be used for this.
Only specific Flash RAM cards will work in a Zaurus. It is best to
check with a Z dealer to find out which ones are ok.
I do not have experience myself with an SRAM card in a Zaurus. The
information below is what I have been able to learn by reading the
Zaurus manual, PDA journals etc.
SRAM cards have a small battery inside them that is necessary to keep
the data that has been written to them. Provision is made for
periodically changing the battery. I don't know what the battery life
is. I don't know how you know when it is time to change the battery
When in a Zaurus, SRAM becomes an extension of the internal user
available RAM for data or programs. It can be used to store data or add
on programs. This is not transparent / automatic. The Zaurus has to be
told whether to use the internal RAM or the SRAM card. This is easy to
do from the utilities built into the Z. A logical way would be to put
the data that is not accessed very often into the SRAM card. For me
that would be the document files and the scrapbook data.
SRAM cards are more expensive that Flash RAM for the same capacity. The
largest SRAM card that I have heard about is 2 Meg. One more thing to
think about is that when a RAM card is in the PCMCIA slot, of course
you can not use another PCMCIA card, such as a fax/modem at the same
time. If you must connect to the outside world while a RAM card is
present, then Sharp's serial modem or a generic modem connected to the
serial port is necessary.
That is about all I can think to tell you about RAM cards for the
You also mentioned about using the PCMCIA slot in the Z.
I have two Fax/Modem cards for my Z. One (APEX 2400/9600) is slow &
miserly on battery power and the other(Megahertz, Model CC4144) is
14.4KB fast and a real hog on power. The fast one will only run with
the Sharp external power adapter plugged in or an external batter pack,
such as MOBILPAK connected(an economical product we designed and make).
As in the RAM cards above, Sharp provides a list of which cards work.
Others may work, but you need to try them out for yourself first. For
instance, I have a cheap Compaq fax/modem PCMCIA card that draws too
much power and won't run in the Zaurus at all. It works ok in a laptop,
but laptops seem to be able to dish out enough power even for the
hungriest of PCMCIA cards.
My ZR-5000 had trouble driving the fax properly at 14.4Kbaud. There
would be bands of data skipped in the fax sent, with no indication of
any send error. My ZR-5700 drives the fax at 14.4Kbaud perfectly.
I use the two fax/modems for both faxing and connecting to other
computers over normal telephone lines. They work fine. I have used my Z
in this way while I have been in far away places such as the middle
East and South America. Zaurus has the application S/W built in that
makes it quite easy to fax data out or connect in various ways to other
computer systems. The less than 80 character display on the Zaurus
ranges from a nuisance to a pracitical problem, depending on what
computer system you are connecting to. It works, but it can be a pain
to read the display when the line wraps around.
I hope this memo shed some light on that 'neat' slot in the Z. I am
glad to hear that you are getting along well with your Z.
Sincerely, Egbert Verbrugge
Thanks for the response, and for setting up such a useful page. Now
I have my Zaurus, I find myself carrying around a new softsided Lands
End briefbag, with Zaurus, the two manuals,- and perhaps a bagel or
two.You know, In Hawaii,a briefcase or coat is only for attorneys and
Amway distributors :) As a retiree, that is quite a tribute to the
utility and attraction of the Z. I reach for it instinctively to record
dates now in preference to the 6500. I save all my appointments to day
one from the 6500 (May 1995) at present, without memory problems. That
may well change if I get the diary habit, I know. I like to show people
the complete spell checked letter I just wrote to
Benjamin Netenyahu. Now if I read some piece and feel I want to sound
off by letter, I am ready to compose, anywhere anytime,complete and
spell checked. The feature where one highlights the time bar and up
the new entry screen is a tour de force.Love it. Same for the search
functions. If I get a page call, I often enter the phone number in the
Z to see who is trying to reach me.
I guess I dont have to sell you, so I will quit. Tnanks again, Gerry
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Last modified March 7, 1997