What's new in my pocket computers pages?
Friday, October 15th : Ricoh RDC i-700 received
Device securised this morning! No page for it yet; will be one some day.
Wednesday, September 15th : Sharp MI-10 added
Created a page for the Sharp MI-10 i've received.
Friday, July 23rd : new homepage, new machines listed
My collection reached 49 units yesterday as i've received 2 new watches. Added them to the list (no pages yet) and changed the homepage to a weblog format.
This feature will soon be available
Welcome to my pocket computers page
> > Wednesday, September 14th, 2011 - Not quite inactive!
Also published in : Robots and in the main page
Well well, what's happening here? Would that be an update, after over 1.5 year? Yes indeed, it is an update!
This would be a quick one, tho, but i wanted to tell about a few new purchases, some of which fall into my robots collection, and some others will join my pocket computers collection.
As for pocket computers, i've bought two recent machines that's i'm actually using and which match my interest in "historical" pieces of hardware. The first one is an Apple Ipad... For quite some time now, i am sorry to realize that it would be almost impossible for me now to get my hand on a first generation iPhone or first generation iPod.
It's clear today that these machines changed the handheld market *a lot*, but at the time, i couldn'nt afford one or, in the iPod's case, i was not that much excited about them.
Recently, with the iPad 2 coming to the market, i was lucky enough to catch a low-price iPad one... Seeing how the tablet market is shaping these days, no doubt this apple Device once again changed the rules. So i'm happy to have a version 1 in my collection!
Next neat purchase : i've bought an ASUS eee Note! This little machine is, litterally, a digital notebook. With it's grey-levels LCD display and his sensitive screen using a Wacom Stylus for input, this machine is very far from today's standards in tablets. But on the other hand, it's very good at what it does, that is note taking and accessory tasks (like doodling written notes over e-books...).
I've used several graphic capable senstive screen devices in the past, but this one is the closest to being my dream machine.
So these two devices will be listed in my collection starting today; and of course, i plan to create dedicated pages for each "some day"!
Then, about robots, here come two other new devices! I've hesitated before mentionning, but i think they belong to my robot collection.
The first one is, much like the eee note, a dream come true : it's a very affordable robot-arm. The second one is a toy, coming straight from the 70's in a downsized and slightly upgraded version : the Bigtrak "programmable" tank.
Although these machines are both very simple in design, they do qualify as robots, at least robot enough to feature in my collection! I hope i'll be able to update my pages soon and add these, along with a few pictures and text description.
So, if i do... then who knows? Maybe i'll post another update in less than 1,5 year!
> > Friday, Junuary 1st, 2010 - Happy new year everyone!
Also published in : Robots Computers and in the main page
2009 has passed without a post from me in my site. I didn't actually pay attention to that, but discovering this feels a little sad.
So what was i up to, one might wonder? Well, a lot, actually.
First off, i've been into digital photography a lot. Graphic design has always been one of my major interest, and i had left it apart for several years, so eventually the backfire hit me really strong and i'm actually putting all of my free time into developping this "not so new" activity of mine.
"Not so new" i say... back in the late 80's and early 90's, i used to work on this kind of pictures. Today, i'm putting these new tools that are digital photography and digital editing to the same kind of use. And i find myself spending dozens of hours working on each pictures, just like i used to back then.
I would like to create new sites dedicated to these images, but i also miss time to do so.
Along with developping this activity, i've also left apart many of my other hobbies. Also, when moving away from Paris, most of my collections were packed into boxes and never left them since then.
I have not been completely idle on the collecting side, tho... I only didn't take the time to take pictures and update my site (although i'm aware of many things that ought to be, not even mentionning news updates).
In 2009, several purchases came enhance my robots toys collection. I've also passed on some other planned purchases for it, like "real" robots (motorized toys for instance) mostly because i knew i would have missed time to use/test them and they would have ended up sleeping in boxes or on shelves.
So instead of buying functionnal items just for display, i've bought no more than simple toys to display on my shelves.
As for pocket computers, no acquisition at all in 2009 for my collection... There are still a few items that i'm after, but they're either rare, or expensive. Some of these items would be a first generation iPod and a first generation iPhone, both of which are absolutely impossible to find nowadays.
Other interesting items would be an original Psion Netbook, or in my wildest dreams a Palm Foleo.
Speaking of the iPhone, i've not fallen for it yet. For several reasons, i've long kept my now 6 years old phone and was perfectly happy with it. I thought i had lost my geek mojo...
But 2009 brought interesting new products to the smartphone market, and at the end of the year, i knew which one i'd go for!
Since yesterday, i'm the proud owner of a Linux smartphone from Nokia!
It will be my primary phone for the years to come, just like some older nokia models in my collection were before, and it has all it takes to also actually be a part of my collection. This will be official when i update my pages...
Anyway, I won't make any new year resolution. I only wish i will be able to share more news and information on this site than last year. We'll see that!
And I wish you a very good year, thank you for reading this, for visiting the site, and i'm looking forward to the contacts and exchanges my site will bring this new year.
All best everyone!
> > Monday, July 28th, 2008 - Those two new machines...
Also posted on the main page
As i mentionned in my previous entry, i was waiting for a "surprise device" to get to me. Absolutely uninspiring to most, i guess, here's the device revealed, on the right!
It is a Casio PA-100, a machine that i thought i'd never find. One of the last ones of that breed, too... Thanks to the internet, and to some precious help (Hey Niclas, still around?!), a few years ago i've identifying (and, for some, acquiring) a few machines that were absolute never-to-be-found graals to me. The PA-100 is one of these.
So, i've written a short presentation page for the machine, although i still don't know much about it.
In the same buying craze, i've also acquired an Asus eeePC. As i expected, i've started using it as some sort of PDA, mostly to surf the web for now, but i'm expecting more once i've played with the OS a bit, installed a few new tools, and, most likely, added a memory card.
I've also listed the eeePC in my collection, although i haven't created a page for it yet. For many reasons, it fully deserves it's place here. To name just a few : it pionneered the low-cost ultraportable trend (followed by many), it created a new market for simple to use, proprietary OSes devices, and simply revived the "pocket computers" world, although it's way larger than most machines in my collection.
I was also watching the evolution of both PDAs and ultraportables, still thinking that there were two worlds out there and wondering when the two would actually meet. In my mind it's now official with the eee's and alike. Same motherboard, same uses, your choice of a simple dedicated OS or a regular PC OS : again, despite it's large size, and maybe due to it's marketing positionning, i do feel that the eee does belong to both worlds.
I think i still need a little time to work on a decent presentation page (meaning both that i need to think of it AND find time to actually write it!). Still, i give a warm welcome to this new member in my collection!
> > Saturday, July 12th, 2008 - Collections still up and running... or rather quietly walking
Also published in : Robots and in the main page
Hey everyone... well it's been half a year since my latest post on this site.
I must confess that i've been posting on other sites, tho, but my collections have been sleeping for all this time.
Things change those days, as i will soon add a few new items to my pocket computers collection and to my robots collection!
To begin with the robots : i'm still hoping to buy a Tomy-Takara Omnibot robot this year, which would join my "real robots" group in my robots collection. However, i still haven't bought one, so the new acquisition i'll receive in the coming weeks are just toy robots. Three of them.
Nothing actually worth mentionning at the moment, but i hope i'll be able to update my robots collection page some day soon and add them.
Continuing with pocket computers!
The EEE PC 900, from Asus, was launched recently, so the previous models can now be found at even cheaper prices than usual.
When it was first announced, i saw the EEE PC more or less as the revival of a long extinct breed : full featured keyboard enabled pocket computers running proprietary OSes, like the Sharp Iq-9200, the Psion Series 5 or such machines that were, at the time, presented as PDAs.
The EEE-PC, running a special linux version, follows the same trend; even if it's significantly larger and borrows much more from the laptop world than from PDAs.
Just like i initially bought a Sharp IQ-9200 as a PDA i would use everyday; before i stopped using it and it became part of my collection, today i've just ordered a low-cost EEE PC 701, which -i think- will have about the same kind of life!
I'm expecting to actually use it, as a notebook and as a web browser mostly.
In any case, it will ultimately join my collection, as i think it had an interesting impact on the ultra portable world and thus deserves it's place aside some pionneering machines i own.
I'm also waiting for another machine to get to me! This is a pure collectible, obscure item, and, also said to be not working; i'm very excited about it.
I first heard about it in Eiji Kako's now defunct online museum, but there was no information provided about what it was, and what it was intended for.
Today, thanks to the internet and years of patience (or, to say it honestly, i just quit searching for one many years ago!!), i've bid on one and i'm now waiting for it to take of from Japan and safely land here!
So... If i don't turn back to other hobbies until then, new updates can be expected in the weeks to come!
> > Friday, January 18th, 2008 - Happy new year *m ^_^ m*
Also published in : Robots Computers Arcade games Video games and in the main page
Happy new year everyone!
The year 2008 will see will be many important events all around the world : elections in many countries, olympics in China, crucial economic evolution all over the planet, increasing technological progress reinforced with newcoming companies from emerging countries... But if i may, for today i'll just focus on two events at my own personal scale :)
First of all, i should leave Paris and move to the south of France. This is a significant change...
i still allow me a few days before i switch to "project management" mode and start getting involved in the moving. There will be a lot to do.
I also think this should not mean much of a change regarding my site. Maybe (i said *maybe*!) the change of life will leave me with enough free time to update the site more often, but i doubt it for now. Time will tell!
Now, second event : my site will "officially" turn 10 year old this year!!
It is actually a little older (since 1996 i would say), but i can't find any trace of it prior to 1998, that's why i consider it "officially" open in 1998. I may change my mind some day, tho :)
Since it was created, the site has been hosted at 3 different places, starting as a sub-section of a friend's personal site.
It had 4 different graphic designs, including a few years when every section had a completely different design each, while the current design and unified layout dates back 2003.
Wanna see what it was like since 2001? check this link Only the versions hosted at the current address are available there, and i can't find the ealier designs on any of my computers, so i think it is still somewhere on one of my old computers; i'll try and find it whenever i can.
The contents also evolved : while the first version was already a mix between my graphic work and other topics i was interested in, my collections only appeared in version 2, at first as pure HTML pages, next as PHP, yet i still don't use a database.
PHP allowed my to make the site management a little simpler, as i've also developped a few very simple tools for that purposer (like the very basic weblog function i'm using right now to type this update!).
Now there are still a lot of things i'd love to add/change/update. I have already begun working on new contents, mostly in french but i also have ideas for new contents or sections in english.
There has already been a lot of work involved since 1998 : contents management, web design, php development...
From the site, i also for a few commissionned works, as well as some new friends all around the world!
I cannot say right now what i will actually be able to work on this year...
Anyway, for this 10 year anniversary, my thanks go to everyone that visited the site, found information there, contacted me to discuss the topics i present. These are the very reason why this site exists! Thank you everyone, and a happy new year 2008!
> > Thursday, September 20th, 2007 - These two this year
Also posted on the main page
Today arrived my second new machine this year, and as i had time to snap a quick shot of it, i also seize the opportunity to talk about the previous machine i also received this year.
As i've mentionned earlier, i was not expecting any new acquisition this year, and it turned out i've bought those two machine. By order of appearance, let me introduce you :
The Sony PDF-5 (2 top images). With this "PDF" name, you might think the machine has something to do with digital documents, and you would be right!
This "PDF" here had nothing to with the Portable Documents Format, though, but instead means "Personal Data File". It is designed as a, well, personal data file :)
So, what would that be? According to Sony, it's a machine that one would carry all their useful and important document in digital form in. Have an important document printed on paper? Just use the PDF-5 included scanner (lower part of the machine) to put the document "in" the device.
Digital documents (either scanned or from external sources) are stored on MD-Data discs. It is a Sony device, so i guess it just had to use a proprietary format...
I have not tested the device yet, but i like the concept. Sony has been interested in e-books forever, and the machine almost seems to be some kind of R&D product brought to the market.
It is a rather big machine, i've put a smaller picture with a CD (please notice the machine has no CD drive) to see the size.
The other machine is a FX-801P from Casio. This machine is one of kind, as it's the only pocket computer Casio ever released with an integrated printer and tape recorder. There has been other Casio pocket computers with built-in printers, there has also been "cradles" providing printers and tape recorders extensions to simpler Casio pocket computers like the PB-700, but, apart from this one here, Casio never any other all-in-one machine.
The FX-801P is also particular in the Casio lineup due to it's design and color, different to any other. Many reasons why i had to grab this one when i found it!
These 2 new machine must now have their own pages created. I've already added them to the collection's list, yet it might be a little longer until i actually open their pages...
> > Monday, September 10th, 2007 - As if i was here
Also published in : Robots and in the main page
It's been over 3 months of lazyness since my latest entry... i've attempted maybe a dozen times to write something, only to cancel the attempts after just 2 or 3 lines.
Today i'll take a different approach : here's a quick unsorted list of topics and facts i wanted to talk about. Maybe i'll overcome lazyness some day, and take some time to write more later.
Here we go :
One can read a lot about "pocket computers" in the news lately... Be it about the OLPC, the ASUS EEE, Palm cancelling the Foleo, or the new PDA-Like Ipod-touch from Apple... In a few forums about these new lighweight, small-sized, and mostly *cheaper* devices, i've seen several people talk about the "good'ol days" when they had a Psion/Omnigo/(You name it...).
I must confess that those new, cheap devices, if not available yet, appear full of promises. I would definitely consider buying a -$200 device with the ability to boot quickly, run for at least a normal day of use over a battery charge, surf the web over Wifi.
This was actually some of the reasons why i've bought a Nintendo DS in the first place. Now, if the machine could also offer a keyboard and (but maybe i'm asking too much) an included programming language, then it would be very close to my dream machine.
I still have a machine to add to the list, and another one waiting to arrive from Japan. Two new acquisitions this year is not much, but it's way over what i had planned : i expected zero initially ^_^
I've also read about robots in the news. No spectacular new machines, but interesting news from all over the world : Nao, the small humanoid robot was chosen to replace Aibo in the Robocup, for instance! I've seen Nao in Paris, at Aldebaran Robotics', during a focus group, the machine is quite interesting and appealing. Now that it is a reference platform for the Robocup, i think that it's future is safer; and it could also accelerate the announced consumer release...
Much closer to something i could afford, the small humanoid robot from Tomy-Takara should be released next october. I don't know if i'm still as interested in it as before, but let's face it : it has entered the Guiness book of records as the smallest humanoid robot in the world, and it will cost less than EUR300, so i guess it *has to be* in my collection some day!
I think that will be all for now! Doesn't seem much, but it's already a huge progress compared to what i did *not* post in the previous 3 months ^_^
> > Wednesday, May 30th, 2007 - New this year! An actual update and a new acquisition!
Also posted on the main page
My site has been so quiet for the first half of this year...
Yesterday evenning, i felt like updating my site and adding a few missing pictures to my pocket computers collection page.
I was quite motivated, but when i wanted to start writting the missing pages, i realized i had no decent HTML editor installed on my new PC. I ended up installing and configuring for some time...
Should have been simple, but Vista made it a little trickier.
I still like Vista, though, it is actually the first version of Windows that i happen to actually appreciate since day one. Maybe it has to do with it being pre-installed on a new Dell, so it was up and running right out of the box, yet i find it nicely improved over XP on the UI side, not intrusive as i was afraid it would be, and, for once, it actually gives the impression that the user was now taken into account when designing the interface.
Anyway, once i had an editor running, i had less time to play with it and i was much more tired, so i've just added two incomplete pages : the Qualcomm PDQ and the Nokia 9000 communicator.
I had not much more planned, though, excepted that i was willing to write descriptions and search for tech specs for each; create one more page for another machine, and update yet another one with screenshots. All of this will come, some day.
A few more news about my collection : i'm waiting for a new machine to arrive! Yep, my first acquisition this year!
It is an unexpected device i was totally unaware of before finding it in a japanese auction.
Nothing spectacular, nothing actually ancient, but a weird japan-only (it seems) device that will be a nice addition to my Sony machines. Feature-wise, it should range somewhere between a PDA and an e-Book. More information soon, hopefully, when i get the parcel!
Now, yesterday i was in the mood for updating my site and sharing my collection on the web. Still lasts today, obviously, as i write this entry!
I hope the mood with last so that i'll be able to provide regular updates in the coming months!
> > Friday, February 23rd, 2007 - No novelties, just news
Also posted on the main page
Hi everyone! It's too late for the new year's whishes; but it's been over 3 months since i've last updated my site; and last time was last year.
Reasons for not updating the site were numerous... i've been quite busy at work, i've worked on other personnal projects in my scarse free time; and mostly, those last months were very quiet on the collecting front.
No new machine, no planned aquisition, and even no actual thrill when the soon-to-become-collectible Apple iPhone was announced.
Anyway, just yesterday i've had the opportunity of joining in during the (short) interview of a friend of mine for a french news radio. A journalist is hosting a small "show" (just a weekly 2.5 minutes sequence actually) about collecting; he has already invited over 150 collectors of all kind until now, yesterday was about collecting ancient computers. To record this sequence, he invited the president of MO5.COM, the president of the collector's association i've already mentionned in this page. The sequence was recorded yesterday and will be aired next sunday.
So why is the news related to my site? Because I might be next on the list, since "collecting pocket computers" was apparently considered interesting & different enough by the journalist to record a show about it. The journalist was also interested in the fact that there are just a few of us out there officially collecting "pocket" computers and -mostly- expanding their collection's focus to PDAs.
I should get back in touch with him next week, and maybe go on with the recording the week after.
Now, i'm still wondering... i've always been wanting to proove Andy Warhol wrong... You know the "everybody will have their fifteen minutes of fame" thing. Now, stricly speaking, it would not even be a 1/4 of an hour, it will not even actually be fame; but...
Totally unrelated news, just to testify i've not been completely away from the pocket computing world those last months :
- at the end of 2006, i've contributed 2 photographs for a book project about the evolution of the PDA market. It seems that the book is now close to finding an editor!
- a few months ago, i got an e-mail from a person in South America willing to use a vintage laptop to record data from a GPS module. We both searched for a short while which machine would suit his need better than the Amstrad NC-100 he was starting with at the time. After overcoming several technical problems, he finally announced me yesterday that he succeeded in recording over 3 hours of real time GPS data with the Amstrad! His very own technical skills and former TI engineer work methods are to be thanked for that! I always love it when good ol'vintage machines find a brand new use in our modern world.
> > Sunday, November 12th, 2006 - Happy update ^_^ !
Also posted on the main page
Today is my birthday! ^_^
As a present to my site's visitors, here are 6 new pages, mostly incomplete, as tech specs are missing; but you'll have pictures and short descriptions for 6 more machines :
The Toshiba IHC-8000 Pasopia Mini, the National JH-600, the Casio OH-7700G, the Sharp PC-1500, the Psion Organiser and the Casio PD-5000 (in no particular order as you can figure).
More pictures are waiting to have their pages created, i was expecting to do just that today, and, well, i'm running out of time.
I'll try and keep the pace, so maybe a new update will follow within next week? Time will tell...
> > Thursday, November 9th, 2006 - Not much, but in several languages
Also posted on the main page
I expect the end of the year, and even the first half of next year, as far as i can imagine, to be pretty quiet on the collecting front.
Hopefully, i should be able to put the time that i won't spend "collecting" to good use : update my site, for instance. It's been several weeks that i've taken a bunch of pictures from my most recent acquisitions; i still haven't put those online, and that's just the latest example of what should be done. More updates have been waiting for much longer!
Yet another update i'm planning would be to open a few pages dedicated to those other pocket devices i own, the ones that i do not list in my "official" collection for various reasons.
I call these "side collections" although i did not intend to grow such collections at first. I do not plan to actually expand these side collection either, but recently i've broken the rule and specifically bought two machines for my side-collection of electronic dictionnaries...
The story behind this side collection : i've received my first electronic dictionnary years ago as a gift from my family. It was a great credit-card sized device from Seiko, packing words in 4 european languages + 2 japanese sets (both in alphabetic and kana characters forms), and a good usability. This little wonder unfortunately got stolen, so when i could (years after), i've attempted to replace it, but this particular model was not available anymore.
My first candidate was a slightly larger, less featured Seiko device; unfortunately it had a weak screen and only lasted a few months before the LCD display became totally unreadable. Bought another one, same problem... so i had to turn to another model.
I grabbed a bigger, large screen Casio machine from the internet; great features, 3 languages, but the UI is entirely in Japanese, which makes it very tricky to operate, and i guess i only use at most 20% of it's features.
Searching the net for cheap second hand alternate machines, i thought that maybe a smaller, touch-screen device would be easier to operate. Bought one, found it was not.
Then i came accross an auction for a weird-looking Canon thingy : it was an electronic Kanji dictionnary (Kanjis are the Chinese characters used in Japanese). It was cheap, i thought it could be useful to me once i would be better in Japanese, so i bought it!
4 devices was enough to start thinking of the set as a side collection... That's when i've noticed two more auctions : one for a Talking electronic dictionnary, and another one for a vintage Sharp electronic dictionnary. The latter was said to be the first electronic dictionnary of japanese design, so, well, you know what happened next (I should also say that it's non working, but buying this one was just for the sake of having it as a "collectible").
As for the Talking dictionnary, i've just received it today, it is also entirely in japanese and i'm unable to make it talk yet... I did not even recognize any japanese writting on the the keyboard that could stand for the speech function!
I'll give it another shot, and if i really cannot figure out, then i'll have to ask someone with better japanese skills than mine (not that difficult to find!) if they can help!
Anyway, some day, maybe soon maybe not, there will be a page presenting all these machines.
> > Wednesday, October 11th, 2006 - The unexpected extra
Also posted on the main page
I use the US baseline from a well known (and one of my favorite) japanese pocket electronics manufacturers as the title, but today's entry is absolutely not Casio related.
I got an unexpected donation yesterday and realized i had to tell a little more about this donator. Here's the story : i am a member of a french computers collectors' association, and i try and give a little of my time to the association when i can. The association is growing more famous here, as, thanks to it's very active president, it is getting more and more present in various fairs and exhibitions.
Even if there's a reason why i have never mentionned the association in my pages before (reason is mainly that the association's website is entirely in French and it's activity is also mostly based in France), i just realized that it was absolutely unfair. So here it is! The association is MO5.com (site in french only), named after a famous french 8 bit computer from the 80's and many a child's dream at that time (...maybe more of a boy-ish dream, though... Anyway...)
So, well, last week i've learned from the mailing-list that a person was willing to donate a computer to the association, provided someone would come and pick it up; and I did so. Next, i called to see when i could stop at the association's place and bring the machine, but as the association already owns one of these machines, the president offered me to keep it, just making it available to the association's needs whenever necessary. And guess what? The machine turns out to fall right into my collection's focus!
So, i'm now the proud owner of an Epson PX-8! It's a little weird, actually, since i had received an HX-20 just a few weeks earlier as my first Epson computer, and next there's it's younger brother also getting to me. Two years separate the release of the HX-20 and of the PX-8, the PX-8 also being on the higher end side.
Anyway, the two machines look roughly similar both in shape and positionning, and they are both standing right on the frontier of my collection's interest. Bigger than most pocket computers, they are actually very early laptops, as in "as much power and comfort as possible in a package as small as possible". The PX-8 thus runs CP/M, a professional OS from that era, and offers a Z-80 processor (the 8 bit symbol of the 80's to me), a complete mechanical keyboard, built-in mass storage and a large 80 columns LCD display. Unlike most pockets, and unlike the HX-20, it also has a foldable screen, certainly pionneering what's today the common laptop's form factor when other machines just had one piece casings with integrated screen.
Initially, i was planning a small site update this week just to put a few pictures online. Also, I was not planning any new addition to my collection this year. Turns out that today's entry is about an unexpected new machine! It's sometimes better when things don't go the way they should!
> > Tuesday, September 26th, 2006 - 'forgotten title' is the title
Also posted on the main page
One more new parcel arrived this morning! I think it should be the last one this year, but who knows?!
This parcel came from this USA, brought to you (well, me) with help from Evan, thanks again!
So what do we find inside?! One Epson HX-20, one Texas Instrument Compact-Computer 40 (CC-40 for short), one Casio IF-8000 and two Toshiba LC-1038MN MemoNote II.
The Epson and TI are large machines. Comparable to the Casio FP-200 in terms of size, features, and market positionning, they represent the most "extreme" evolution of the pocket computers in my collection.
Approximately 20 years ago, there was a time when laptop computers did not exist. Pocket computers were best of the breed in computer portability, when the machines that would eventually evolve to our modern day laptops were still dinosaurs the size of a microwave oven (or so! :D ).
Aiming at providing more power and usability, some pocket computers have grown to adopt a more comfortable keyboard, seizing the opportunity to use the larger size factor to also embed a motherboard closer to the 8 bit desktops boards of the time.
This describes the Epson HX-20 and also roughly describes the TI CC-40, which is actually more on the regular pocket side. It is the first pocket computer from TI, as far as i know.
Now the Toshiba Memo Note II is interesting, although not the rarest piece. Much rarer is the Toshiba Memo Note I. That one was based on what's known as the very first patent for a "pocket electronic directory" (Interested in more information? The whole story is here, in the PDA History reference page!)
That patent initially covered the idea of storing more than just numeric data in a pocket electronic device (a calculator, at that time). It may seem crazy today, but it appears that the idea was disregarded at first, as most people thought it was just impossible. As we all know it turned out to be actually possible, and a patent was registered. Toshiba got interested in it, and released the MemoNote, the first "calculator" offering memory for alpha-numeric information.
Now, the MemoNote II is not the MemoNote I, and, as i said, it's not quite as rare. It's not even actually the first at anything, yet it still features the purest DNA from the world's first "digital directory" patent and it's thus valuable to me!
Would it not be for it's lineage, i may have also disregarded the device as well, since it is very dated and by many ways very limited as compared to most other items in my collection. The display, for instance, is LCD bars and not dotmatrix. But looking as a milestone in the PDA evolution, it is quite interesting.
Last item in the parcel, an extra IF-8000. I must confess that i already have one, and i'm aware it's against the Classic Computer Collector's Code of Conduct to acquire and store more than one example of an item, yet i'm very fond of the IF-8000 and i was quite scared mine could some day stop working or be damaged. I needed a spare one, i really did!
That will be all for today! Still no picture in this entry, and even more to take for the collection pages. I should however be able to work on that in the coming months!
> > Monday, September 11th, 2006 - I did not chose the date...
Also posted on the main page
I was going to put a title in line with my previous "war of the parcels" theme, then i realized what the date was, and i thought it was not such a good idea...
Anyway, here's an update, as i've just received a parcel from Japan. More new machines should next arrive from USA, then it should be a calm period for my collection until next year at least.
Today's parcel contained : a Toshiba Pasopia mini IHC-8000, and from Casio a PF-3000, a PD-5000E, and a "Dentaning".
The Toshiba IHC-8000 is the only Basic pocket computer from Toshiba. It was apparently only released in Japan, and from what i've read in a few internet pages, it might somehow be related to a hanheld/laptop family from Commodore. I'll search for more, and provide the information i can when i open a page for it.
PF-3000 is an early data-bank calculator from Casio. It was apparently released after the PF-8000, although it is technically less evolved. I found it at a very decent price, so i had to add it to the collection... If the PF-8000 now appears as an experiment (pionneering a character recognition system based on a tactile area), the PF-3000 is actually the starting point of the whole range of data banks & organisers to come from Casio.
Then there's the PD-5000E... this one is a bit mysterious, that's why i've bought it! First, it's not clear to me what "PD" exactly stands for in Casio's lineup. As far as i've understood, Casio has marketted such different devices as portable terminals, programmable systems and organisers/PDA under that brand. This particular machine has a large dotmatrix display, a stylus indicating a sensitive screen, a calculator-type keyboard doubled with a japanese/alphabetic keyboard and several function keys. I assume it is some sort of dedicated-use computer which would run custom programs (out of it's internal memory or cartridges or whatever) that the user cannot modify. I still have to test it, but from what i've understood in the auction, it's "buggy" and does not get passed a startup screen. Might just give credit to my theory : maybe there's no program stored in memory and the machine has nothing to do.
Finally, the "Dentaning" is a weird electronic dictionary (english->japanese as far as i understand) calculator, also from Casio. Got it both because it was a fun and weird addition to my small set of electronic dictionaries, and because i had to make sure it was from Casio. Strangely, the name "Casio" only appears on the back of the machine, and is nowhere to be seen either on the frontside of the casing or on the manual's covers. It's definitely my only machine (and maybe also the only one i've ever seen!) where "Casio" is not proudly written somewhere on the front side...
The manuals are in Japanese, so i don't know if i'll be able to understand anything (hopefully there will be useful drawings as in most japanese manuals!), but from my first tests, the user interface is... not that intuitive!
And that will be all for today!
> > Monday, September 4th, 2006 - Been there, done what?
Also posted on the main page
It was a three days wedding that we've attended last week-end. It was then a long week-end. Music was loud, so we all had to talk even louder. Now i'm back, very tired, and i miss my voice so bad... Anyway it seems that it's going better now than just this morning : i'd say my vocal cords are slowly being reconstructed. It should be around 65 to 70% and progressing.
Pocket computers collection news : i now own a Psion Organiser I!! Thanks to Evan for pointing the auction out. Also, thanks to everyone else for not overbidding too much! :)
The "Series 3" was clearly the first worldwide success from Psion, so true actually that people used to say "a Psion" back then, just like they use to say "a Palm" now.
If anybody ever wondered why that "first" machine was name "series THREE" then the answer is, as expected : just because it came after the number I and the number II.
Interesting to notice, tho : the I and II were named "Organiser(s)". There was the Psion Organiser; then the Psion Organiser II. At the time, people did not say "a Psion" yet, instead they said "an organiser". Technology evolved, and to release a new, improved machine, people at Psion's decided to drop the dated "organiser" name in favor of the classier "Series". There was indeed a technological leap between the Organiser II and the Series III, but in their time, the I and II were still very interesting devices.
So, i'm happy to welcome a "Psion Organiser" (thus it's majesty Psion the First), in my collection, where it will meet with it's younger brother, prince Psion the Third!
Just a quick note, until more news machines reach me by the end of september; and i've not updated my collection yet, nor corrected a few mistakes and broken links that i've been mentionned. Should be done someday!
> > Thursday, August 31st, 2006 - Time compression (over 2 notes a month for 4 months!)
Also posted on the main page
There's no such thing as a free lunch, as they say, but to keep the balance there's no such thing as a paid donation either. So, what just arrived today is a great donation from Greece (and, as expected, i'll have to pay for my lunch).
I leave it to you to identify from my previous notes who should be thanked for this donation, since in order not to put too much pressure on him, this time i won't tell it's Niclas (Oh, er, wait, i've just....Well, thank you *very much* once more!)
But let's talk machines! There were 4 of them in the parcel : the Nokia 9000 communicator which arrived in two flavors (plain old 9000 and upgraded 9000i), a working EO-440 and a non-working Fujitsu PocketPad.
As for the Nokia 9000s, i've been after these for a while but for some reason i only ever saw overpriced second hand models for sale. I will have to check more seriously what the mobile world was like when the 9000 was released, but it is definitely one of the earliest smart phones of the internet era (most likely also doubling as the first dual screen clam shell design phone, although it's not quite your regular clamshell...).
I already had an EO (non working) and a Pocket Pad (working, poor external condition). And now, i should be able to test a working EO, and also to build a good looking working Pocket Pad out of the two average condition ones. And, well, this will be something new to me, i have never done this kind of thing before.
Still some work ahead taking pictures and updating pages, and not many free week-ends in september (when i should get even more new machines...). Hopefully, i'll find time for serious updates before christmas ^_^
Still no picture in my blog notes. It seems that strong will and hope do not suffice. Photoshop work and/or a convenient PHP dev would definitely help, i'm forced to admit it... (ok now, it's admitted, so will *this* be enough??!)
> > Friday, August 25th, 2006 - It came from everywhere in the world...
Also posted on the main page
Today, a small parcel has arrived from Germany. Doesn't seem much yet, but the pace will rise in the coming weeks, as this little one is just the first one of a whole battalion of novelties coming to my collection!
Inside today's parcel was a Solar Little Professor, from TI. Is it a toy? Is it a calculator? No, it's Superman! Oh, no, wait, sorry, it's just a Toy Calculator.
Brought to you by TI came in the late 70's the "Speak & Spell", an educationnal electronic toy embedding TI's speak synthesis technology. The toy was a worldwide success and even made a noticeable appearance in another worldwide success from the 80's : the movie "E.T".
Much more obscure, the Little Professor was released approximately at the same time. Also an educationnal electronic toy, but without speach synthesis, it was a calculator with a friendly teacher's face printed on it, and a built-in program that would ask simple math questions and wait for a correct answer.
What i've received today is not the original Little Professor, but a solar version that seems to have been released quite recently. For several reasons, i've acquired the machine, then wondered for some time whether it should enter my collection or not. Still wondering, actually... The machine is not programmable, neither does it offer user-available memory. In many ways it's closer to my "other" machines that i plan to present in separate side-collections some day : electronic dictionnaries, for instance. It can also be thought of as a toy, or a game system. So, will it enter the "official" collection, the question remains open.
The Little professor is however the first shot of what will become a massive crossfire : after this little parcel, i should get much more from UK, Greece, USA and Japan (in no particular order!). From UK will be coming another small parcel, but the other ones will carry too many machines to count!
Although i will get some more "borderline" machines (hear : maybe not to be added to the main collection) from Japan, a total of over 10 machines should get to me within mid-september.
Again, this weblog entry misses a picture or two. I definitely have to develop a little something to handle pictures in my log pages. I have to, i have to. Maybe by saying it many many times, i could just have it done automagically? I REALLY have to. I must. (...nothing done yet?? I'll insist until i can prove it works. Then i'll do the same to update my site with the new machines...).
> > Thursday, August 3rd, 2006 - Back with no idea for a title!
Also posted on the main page
Back at work after a two weeks holiday, two new machines for my collection! Could have been three if had not missed an opportuny to get a Casio Calculator from a garage sale.
So, by order of appearance, a Casio OH-7700G calculator and a Qualcomm PDQ have joined my collection!
Starting with the latter, the PDQ reached me thanks to Evan. It's in great condition, comes boxed with all accessories and the machine itself might even be new and unused, if i judge by the pastic sheet still protecting the screen. It's been a long time since i wanted to find one for my collection someday, as it's the first smartphone running an industry-standard OS (Palm OS).
The OH-7700G is another story. Buying it had more to do with my compulsive collecting side! :D Not quite, though : although it does not represent and actual milestone in the evolution of pocket computing, the OH-7700G it is still an interesting piece due to it's design and intended use. On the electronics and features side, this calculator is exactly the same as the FX-7700G, which is just your regular graphing calculator from Casio.
"OH" stands for "OverHead", that's what makes the machine different : it's designed for teachers to present calculator graphics to a classroom using an overhead projector. The machine is thus equiped with a transparent display and a special casing to make it heat resistant. The OH-7700G is far from unique in the Casio OH family, it's not even the first one; but as those devices are rare to find due to their limited release to the educationnal market, i'm still happy i've been able to get this one.
Coming up next to my collection : another machine is currently being taken care of by Evan! After this one, no precise plans for now, but i'm vaguely considering buying a couple of other items : crossovers between the pocket computers and game consoles worlds, they would thus "link" those two collections of mine.
Also, it could be a good thing if I added more pictures to this very log page. More pictures are also necessary in the collection page of course. Hm well... more work after work? Not exactly what i expect right now as i still struggle to get holidays out of my head during my working day!
> > Monday, July 10th, 2006 - More or less one new machine!
Thanks to Evan, a Qualcomm PDQ was secured, waiting to officially enter my collection some time soon! The device is mint and comes with all documents, cables, bells and whistles. After the IBM Simon that was the first "smart phone" as we know them now, the PDQ was one of the earliest (if not *the* earliest) device to embed a standard PDA (running PalmOS) into a cellphone. The PDQ is also way smaller than the Simon, but as soon as it was released, did get the nickname "the Brick" nevertheless, as it still exceeded those day's size standards. It was also quite pricey when it was released, but it opened the way to our Treos and basically every regular sized "smart phone" around.
Just in time for holidays, i also received a new digital camera today. This is not computer or PDA related (although at least one digital camera deserves a place of choice in mine collection), but in the parcel was a nice little pocket device too!
The machine, a Canon CA-2000, will not be presented in my collection, but i might just open another "side collection" for digital dictionnaries, and it would be in it! Learning Japanese, i've acquired a few digital dictionnaries, and i now own 5 of them, all with different features.
The CA-2000 is quite uncommon : it's a "kanji dictionnary". Kanjis are chinese characters, lots of them are also used in Japanese. As the japanese writing also uses special "alphabets", most words in japanese have two "writings" : japanese or chinese. The CA-2000 will display the kanji(s) matching on a japanese (kana) writing. It includes a japanese "kana" keyboard and a graphic display for those nice chinese characters. Pretty neat machine, but as with most of my dictionnaries, it's a little awkward to use, given that all function keys are labelled in japanese. Some day, however, i'll master the use of it as i'll master the japanese language ^_^ Oh yes, some day i will!
> > Friday, June 30th, 2006 - Under completion
Filling the gap between my real life collection and it's online counterpart, i've just added 5 more pages : Casio PB-1000C, Fujitsu PoqetPad, Sony PTC-500 and the RIM Inter@ctive 2 way pager and RIM 950 Blackberry.
Granted, all pages in the site are not complete with tech details and description, but at least more and more machines are now available!
I've also updated the Fossil Wrist PDA page with information i've received from Oliver W. Leibenguth, from Compuseum. His online collection is worth visiting and should be updated soon (? ;) ) with many news, as far as i can judge from his blog.
As for my collection, i've just received a Sharp PC-1500! This BASIC pocket computer is the first Sharp pocket computer i get. I've been totally unfair to Sharp until today, as they've invented the first BASIC pocket computer and i did not have any of their earliest machines until now... Although the PC-1500 is not their first pocket computer, it was a huge hit and an interesting milestone in their lineup.
> > Thursday, June 8th, 2006 - More news, and some other news
The long waited parcel from Japan has arrived today! I say "long waited" but i have in fact requested shipping just last sunday; so it was quite fast to get here. But the items in there were available for quite some time until i finally decided to have them shipped to me. Anyway, so here's a family picture of the parcel's content!
What have we got here? On the left, a Panasonic JH-600, on the right in the nice filofax casing, a Sony PTC-500, and in the middle, presentiheng the other two, a Pino toy robot.
A few words about these items, before i (someday) write detailled page for each :
The Panasonic JH-600 is quite unique and, as a world premiere in my collection, it's not electrically autonomous. As i've discovered when opening the box, the AC cord is firmly attached to the body, and there's no battery space in the unit. All this means it has to be plugged to run; which is the only machine to run this way in the whole history of my collection!
Feature-wise, i did not exactly know what it was capable of before having it in my hands; would it be a BASIC computer, a more simple data bank, i couldn't say. The only thing i knew, and that's what makes it unique, is that is it based on voice recognition and speech synthesis!!
Opening the box, i've discovered it was a calculator, data bank and terminal, with voice control for all the features. I still have to test it, and i probably never will be able to as it certainly only "understands" japanese, but i'm still very happy i found this little guy!
The PTC-500 is not actual news to me, i already had the occasion of buying some on behalf of other persons. I just did not have my own one, so as i've come across an interesting sale, got mine as i had a chance! PTC stands for "PalmTop Computer", as written on the casing (i've read several references mentionned "PorTable Computer" instead, don't know which one is correct); the PTC-500 is apparently Sony's very first handheld device.
Then there's the Pino! As you can easily guess from the picture, this is definitely not a handheld computer! I consider it a toy until i've be able to test it's skills, but depending on what it is capable of, it might qualify to the "robot" status and join my robots collection. "Pino" was initially a japanese project aiming at developping an "open source" humanoid robot platform. Several toys were created, based on the Pino figure, and the one you see here is the latest and the most advanced of those derived product. It seems to do quite well as an autonomous humanoid machine, yet i still have to see it walk (if it is able to!) and see how it interacts with it's "users" to decide if i see it as a robot or not.
As for robots, i still miss time to update my robot pages. I'm planning an update about now discontinued Sony robots, a few entries about specific robot projects around the world... I'm not actually abandonning this section, but i'm aware it looks like it...
Now for the other news! First of all, i've updated the collection pages. The Sharp EL 9000 page, the Seiko Ruputer page and the Fossil PalmOS WristPDA page are now online with pictures.
I'm not quite done with updates, though, as there are still missing pages and i keep getting new items! Getting new items should not stop right now, too : there's still one more device i should receive from Japan; and i got word from a kind donator that some more machines should get to me before july ^ ^
Last but not least for today : a great resource for computer collectors has recently changed name, shape and everything! The Computer Collector Newsletter, formerly a monthly e-mail newsletter, is now available as a weblog by the cool name of Technology Rewind (i like the steampunk feel!).
Check it at http://www.technologyrewind.com.
> > Tuesday, May 30th, 2006 - Help yourself and Heaven will help you!
Collecting is a bit like waves on the shore : alternatively fading away, then rushing forward faster than expected...
What's fascinating (captain) is that, as i've said earlier, i have decided to buy "just a few more machines" a few weeks ago, and just as i've won a couple of auctions, i got the news of unexpected donations for my collection.
As a side-effect, as i had also decided to complete the missing pages and pictures in my site, i find myself with even more delay to catch up with! :)
Today's news : two new additions to my collection, courtesy of Research In Motion, and i'm very happy to have these. I must confess that, during what i call the "WindowsCE and Mobile phones" era, i was not as much interested in what was going on as before. Shame on me, as i've missed a few interesting things, like what was going on in America and more precisely in Canada.
"Blackberry" is today a well known product. The brand stands for "push mail", so that competition products either turn to RIM/Blackberry to licence the blackberry features or (and i only think of microsoft here) have to come up with a new wanabee standard.
Well, there had to be a starting point, and what i've received today is not one, but two starting points : the earliest two-way "pager" device from RIM (most likely the first of it's kind for western cellular networks, maybe even in the world?) and the very first product of the now popular blackberry line.
I still have to test these, and of course present them in their new pages, but i have already updated my collection page to add them to the list.
As i was at it, I have also updated a few pages with pictures and added new pages (Casio WQV-10, NEC PC-2001, Casio PF-8000, Casio FX-603p to name some i remember).
Now, i should get yet another parcel before July, with 2 new devices for the pocket computers collection, and a possible recruit for my robot collection. I'm looking forward to test it, see if it qualifies! If it does, then expect an update to my robots pages soon!
> > Monday, May 8th, 2006 - Rise from your grave!
Hehe, i really wanted to use this Sega video game quote as today's entry's title, and now i notice it's the second time in a row i mention death in my titles. Oh well...
Anyway, if one could have thought i'd have stopped all activity on the collection and site fronts, the past week proves them wrong.
A few weeks ago, i've won an auction for what seems to be a neat little computer from Japan. As i'm waiting for it to get to France (i still have to request shipment, yet i wait for a couple more things before i do), i've received a surprise donation from Niclas Nielsen (Thank you so much for this donation, and for your help!) with 3 new machines in the parcel!
In Niclas' parcel were a Fujitsu PoqetPad Plus, an Acorn Pocket Book II, and a Sharp IQ-7000.
The latter may never appear in my "official" collection list, but it quite appropriately comes to fit my "Organisers" sub-collection. Maybe i've already mentionned it : I've gathered a set of japanese PDAs from the "pre-palm" era, that i'm planning to display as here a side-collection some day. This small project, however, will only exist one i'll have completed my main collection site...
The two other machines in the parcel were totally unknown to me, and interesting too. Dedicated pages with more details will come. Yeah, some day, they definitely will!
Next, after receiving Niclas' parcel, i've found more interesting auctions i'm currently watching...
So this means more news in the coming weeks/months, depending on the time i'll have for updating.
As for today, just a few minor updates : added the Nec PC-2001, the Fujitsu PoqetPad Plus, and the Acorn Pocket Book II in the list (no dedicated pages yet), and added pictures for the Casio CQ-1 and Casio FX-190 (pictured above)
There are still a number of machines waiting for their page, pictures or descriptive contents. I'm in the process of progressively updating the missing parts.
> > Thursday, April 27th, 2006 - No, my site is not dead!
As promised in my previous entry (over 3 months ago...), i've engaged in photography, and this has been quite demanding in time, money, and maybe even health, running here and there...
Anyways... I'm still there! And my pocket devices collection is not abandonned. Today i've added a few contents to the site : short description for 4 machines, the Casio PF-8000, Casio CQ-1, Casio FX-603P, and FX-190. Yeah, just Casios!
I aim at creating all the missing pages soon; even without pictures; and hopefully i'll find time someday to take the missing pictures with my newly acquired photographic skills and equipment! :)
Another news on the pocket systems part is that i may receive new, interesting devices soon! I won't tell more right now, but i'm quite excited about some of them. Stay tuned for more news by May!
Last thing for today : i was in London for business last monday (sounds cool; huh? "i was in London for business", well it's the first time in my life i've travelled abroad for work, and chances are i won't again until a long time! Anyway, back to my story...), so, walking in the streets there, i saw a Sony Data Discman for sale in a shop. If you wonder what a Data Discman is, check this page from my collection. Data Discmans were early eBooks from Sony, based on small sized CD-ROMs. The machine was apparently new, it was sold with a set of electronic dictionnary discs for... 40 GBP! That's over USD70!! Sounds quite expensive to me...
I'm not quite sure whether it would sell for that price today on eBay, but even if i could have been interested by the set, the price was enough to stop me. Interesting, however, because, thinking of it in terms of feature, $70 for an electronic dictionnary is a decent price. The size and ergonomics of the DD, though, are just too dated to fit today's standards for electronic dictionnaries. Anyway i'll never know how long the device has been for sale there and if (or when!) it will find a buyer...
At second thought, i really wonder why i haven't entered the store to check if they had more oldies... I think it was because i was afraid they would all be overpriced if there were any...
> >Monday, January 9th 2006 : Happy new year!!
This is indeed my first post of the year! So it's the time to wish everyone reading this (i know you're there!) a great year!
As i wish all the best in other's lives, here's a forecast of my own year 2006. As for just now (January, and even last december for that matter), i'm turning "back" to photography. I just can't have anything else in mind since i've taken this decision, so i let it be, and i'll see where this will go. For the moment, it's quite exhausting (mentally mostly) not to be able to think of anything else. This will also mean i'll take a break from collecting; or at least, from hunting/buying new items for an undefined period of time...
Back to the forecast after the news!
Now on the news side :
On the robots front, the past weeks have seen the announcement of a new version of the Honda Asimo robot, and the delivery of the first commercially available "humanoid" robot to the few lucky ones that pre-ordered it. The Mitsubishi Wakamaru was announced for commercial release in Japan a few months ago, and was delivered as expected to the first bunch of 100 customers (i should check my sources but this should be accurate!). It's not actually humanoid, as it's running on wheels instead of legs, yet it's designed for home use, has a pair of arms, a head, and a "personnality" that make it the first 21st century domestic fantasy-come-true in robotics.
Er, i'm aware the news here is pretty much pointless as i provide no link... but i mostly wanted to mention, and i could enhance the contents soon.
On the pocket computers front, PC-World has put up a few pages dedicated to the "The 50 Greatest Gadgets of the Past 50 Years". This interesting study is available there. Apart from being very interesting in itself, i also mention this as they list the IBM Simon in the top 50 items of the past 50 years, and they link to my Simon page for details. Worth returning the gesture, as they've requested authorisation before linking. Great work they've done, too!
We're back to my 2006 forecast : among a whole lot of things i'd like to do in my site, i'd love to work on my "computers" part a little more. Maybe also open a larger part in french. I tend to think that the time i'd spend on my website would be working on a photography site, however... future will tell!
There's also my Japanese class i should work, and the question remains open whether i'd continue in level 4 class next year, double level 3, and/or continue engineering classes, that i had left apart this year. Anyway, i'll be interested in reading this in January 2007...
As of just now, i mostly have to financially recover from a photographic equipment buying craze, and wait (and work!) the time it will take to convince myself my pictures are worth presenting (or not!).
> > Thursday, November 24th, 2005 - So many things, so little time
Ok, well, this title is very cliché; and i don't even have "so many things" to talk about. However, talking about those few things happens late due to many *other* things keeping me busy until now.
Point is, i've received yet another parcel from Japan last monday; with stuff for everyone. For two of my collections, that is : robots (of the toy breed) and pocket computers.
On the computers front : secured a Nec PC-2001 pocket computer and a Casio CQ-1 calculator. The PC 2001 is nothing spectacular, i guess, but it's the first NEC machine in my collection. I do like NEC for having released a gaming system that was a huge hit in Japan in the 80's and early 90's (although nobody else wanted to release that product, that was initially developped by another company); and for having "pionneered" the color handheld gaming systems (Atari released a similar product at the approximate same time, but the NEC system was a handheld version of their already popular home system, which was both clever and technically brilliant).
I also like NEC for being a super-calculators manufacturer -can't get any geekier i guess-. So here it is, i like Nec the way i like Casio, but Nec just did not release lots of pocket stuff i could collect. The PC-2001 compares to the Canon's XO7 i'd say. It's approximately the same size, sports lots of interfaces, but the display only offers 2 lines instead of 4 on the XO7. I should test the machine, but then again, so little time...
The CQ-1 has a better place in handheld history, as being the first multi-featured calculator running off batteries (thus handheld, as opposed to earlier system that required a wall plug to run). This means it's a valuable step in the way to portable computers as we know them today. We're talking 1976, and the machine's casing has a very typical design that makes it worth having just for it! More information on the CQ-1 can be found on Evan's PDA History page.
Now, to the robots front! I've received in the parcel a Patlabor toy, quite big, quite cheap-looking, but cool nonetheless. As i was at it, i also got a few japanese books about the Patlabor series, where i've found lots of visual information on the series' mecha design.
There's actually more news on the robots front, as i've received a Robodog for my birthday two weeks ago! The robodog is, most obviously, Robosapien's robotic pet. Just before i've received the present, i had seen a roboraptor (a dinosaur-pet from the same family) for sale in a second-hand store, found it funny to actually see one there for the first time, and even wondered if i should get it.
A couple hours later, a brand new robodog was mine!
Pictures coming soon...
> >Monday, october 17th 2005 : 3 new calculators from the 20th century
At least once every year, i firmly decide that my pocket computers collection is now as complete as i could have expected, and i could stop getting new items. Most of the times, the decision lasts just a few months until i come across that very rare item i thought i'd never find, or i find any other reason to dive into collecting again. Last month, it seemed that coming back from holidays put me back in the collecting mood! At the exact same time, i came across a Sharp EL-9000 auction... I've mentionned earlier in my site that i had once missed an EL-9000 from a store in Paris, and that i blamed myself for that since then. Well now, it's corrected, i didn't miss the second one i had a chance to get!
The Sharp EL-9000 is apparently the first graphing calculator from Sharp. Contemporary to the Casio Fx-7000G, it features a smaller screen, and a foldable "wallet" casing. But my collecting mood didn't vanish bidding on that auction. As i was at it, i also bid on a Casio FX-603P auction! I already own a Fx-602P, which is the first alpha-numeric programmable from Casio, and was very ahead of it's time. It seems that Casio was aware that the 602 has it's fan even today, because they recently (think 90's, although i don't know the exact release year yet) released an updated version : the Fx-603p, which is quite different from other Casio models software wise, and feature a 602-like programming language instead. I'm very happy i found one, as it was apparenly not distributed outside Japan as far as i know.
I'll have to test the FX-603p to see how different it is from it's parent calculator, but what i can say for now is that, except for the black casing, one major difference stands in the 2 lines display (the 602 just had 1 line). There's also more memory, certainly.
So one could think my hunger would have calmed down at that point, but, waiting for the EL-9000 and FX-603P to get to my japanese auction deputy company's warehouse, i saw another interesting auction, this time for a Casio PF-8000! This little device is one of the earliest experiment from Casio in "handwritting" recognition. It might even be the first consumer system to include character recognition. The design is interesting, as there's no graphic screen in the machine, so the character recognition works by drawing characters on a sensitive area that doubles as the calculator keyboard. I'll make it clearer when i review the machine. Until then (and even after, for that matter), more information and a picture can be found in Evan Koblentz' History of the PDA as well as several other pages.
Sidenote : although pretty unknown, the PF-8000 is one of the few vintage machines for which Google finds a whole set of accurate images. Not all machines are treated that well... See the Kyocera Refalo, for instance : seems that my own site lures Google into thinking not only the Refalo is a Refalo.
Anyway, i've received a parcel this afternoon, and among several other thingies, the three machines, two CASIOs and a Sharp, were there! I should also receive another parcel, in november i think, with a few more stuff. Afterwards, i'm positive this will be all for this year ;)
> > Wednesday, september 28th 2005 : PalmOS on your wrist = WristOS?
This morning, I've received a Fossil Palm OS wrist-PDA. This little machine, that was once vapor-ware for over 2 years, has finally been discontinued by the manufacturer less than a year after it's official release. I've grabbed one as they are still quite common and sale at affordable prices on eBay and Amazon (although Amazon won't ship outside the USA).
Ever since i've first heard of that Palm-OS powered watch (which brings us back to 2002 or so), i've been thinking it would be a very nice addition to my collection. Now it is! Several models of the watch were available, with various cases and bracelet. The metal version was the most expensive when the watch was still available, and it is still the rarest. I got a resin version, which will do pretty fine for what it's intended!
Before the Palm-OS powered Fossil watch, there had been generations of "regular" data bank watches running dedicated firmwares (like the Casio VDB-1000 here -and also there-). Some even pionneered touch-screen on a watch (Epson RC-20). I would call this breed the "bottom up" line, where technological evolution was about adding more and more power to a watch.
The Fossil watch is from another breed i call "top down", where evolution leads to shrinking "standard" PDA power and software to the size of a watch. Another watch from that breed is the Seiko Ruputer, AKA OnHand PC outside Japan. Both are/were available on the market, but there's a third family of "top down" products that did not actually breed outside IBM research laboratories yet : the Linux watches, one of which is developped
with watch maker Citizen.
Now, I still have to test the Fossil watch, then build a dedicated presentation page for it. Reviews of the RC-20 and Ruputer are also to be written...
> > Tuesday, August 30th 2005 : weblog app ready!
It's been a long time since i've updated my site. One of the reasons was that i was building a small PHP tool to handle all HTML updating. There are many tools out there that i could have used to enable instant weblog features in my site, but i did want something very specific. Mostly, i didn't want to use a database, and i also wanted to keep my HTML pages and not spend time adapting my pages to a templating tool needs.
The first version of this small app is now ready, so hopefully i should be able to update my site more often. Using this application, i'll also gather all the updates from my different sections in my home page.
There's still lots to do on the PHP application, though. As of today, the main application is able to create new entries and edit existing entries. I've also developped basis for an online links manager, aiming both at gathering my bookmarks all in a single, online space, and at generating links pages automatically.
Then again, i'll have to improve HTML handling in the editing tool, add image management functions, work on an unified user interface...
Anyway, should this entry publish alright on the different topics i'll send it to, then it would be a great first step!
It will also be a good thing done before taking a week off on holiday! :)
[Edit] Well, turned out that there was some fixing needed. Work is done, beta testing is done, so now i think i have something stable enough! I'll focus on updating AND continue improving this application when i'm back from holidays.
>> Wednesday, July 13th 2005 update - Going back to my roots
Well, after an intense period of acquisition of PDA and various kinds of hybrid devices; things are getting back to normal : more quiet and more conservative. I've received two new BASIC pocket computers today, which is as conservative as can be, considering this is the kind of machine i've begun my collection with.
Even better, one of the 2 machines i've received today is a PB-1000C; that's another version of the PB-1000 which was actually my first pocket computer. So, well, getting a PB-1000C is a typical collector's move : as in i'll get any variation of the device i can find.
Thing is, of course i'm happy to get this new machine that proudly displays a yellow "C" on it, but there's more to it than just the "C". First, the PB-1000 was an unusual machine in Casio's lineup, in many ways. Think touch-screen & multi-languages, think foldable case & virtual disk memory...
As a matter of fact, the only PB machine to come after the PB-1000 was the PB-2000, which changed the case to a much more regular one-piece case, dropped the touch-screen. So only 2 machines had that foldable, touch-screen casing, the PB-1000 and the PB-1000C. The difference between the two (apart from the yellow "C" itself, that is!) is that the PB-1000C replaced the built-in Assembly language by a "CASM" compiler/interpreter. So, well, now i've gathered the only 2 representative of the PB-1000 family, along with their dedicated MD-100 disk-drive unit.
The other pocket computer i've secured today is a Sharp PC-G850V. To be fair to Sharp, i must say that i've never been interested in their machines as much as i should have been. They are pionneer in BASIC LCD pocket computers; yet i've always been a Casio fanboy; and i've thus ignored an important part of pocket computers history at the time. Well, i should also say that Sharp machines were not as widely available as Casio's in France back in the 80's; but still enough time has passed since then for me to have a chance to learn about those...
So well, maybe i'll open to ancient Sharp machines a little more in the future. In the meantime, the PC-G850V i've just received is most likely the most recent Sharp pocket computer ever produced. I should check for sure, but i think this one represents, along with the Casio Z1-GR, the end of a breed that lasted up until the late 90's in Japan, while significantly fading everywhere else in the world, replaced by graphing calculators.
The PC-G850V offers C programming. I'll have to check and see whether BASIC is still there; and which other features are present (like maybe a program library?), but i expect to find a graphing mode, as i may suspect from the "Graphic" mention just above the screen. This computer is also one of a kind, in the way that it offers a 6 lines display whereas just every other pocket computers have maximum 4. On such machines, 2 more lines means 50% more data onscreen, that's meaningful.
Apart from those 2 machines, i've also received a few more "Japan only organisers"! These are not machine i'll display in my "official" collection; but they'll be the masterpiece of an "off" collection of good old organisers. I'm also waiting for a rare Casio machine of the kind; as my 3 other are currently only Sharp.
Last thing for today, i've recently updated my collection pages, and most machines now have at least a presentation picture. I should be able to complete the descriptions more efficiently now that most pages are there, ready to have contents written.
>> Tuesday, June 28th 2005 update - Old news is good news
I'm very ashamed of myself : i've received word weeks ago from Evan Koblentz about his "Evolution of the PDA" treatise, and i mention it only now. The treatise is the result of a 4 years investigation on the origin of the PDA market and technologies; based on the simple question "which was the first PDA ever?".
Turns out that this simple question is not one, but many questions in one. What is a PDA in the first place? If the "PDA" concept is defined by several main ideas, which machines first introduced those ideas? Which one first gathered all of them?
Many surprising answers are given in Evan's great work, it is available here.
Definitely a must-read for everyone interested in portable/pocket computers and their modern (and future!) applications.
I've begun slowly updating my collection page, putting online a few pictures for a few machines that did not have one. Namely, i've created pages for the Casio FX-890P, Casio AI-1000, Data Rover 840, Epson RC-20 and Panasonic JT-S10.
As of now, i've only put images online in these pages, hoping to complete with descriptions and tech details soon.
While i was at it, i've just received another parcel with 4 machines insides. Details on the contents : a Casio Z1-GR pocket computer, two Sony DD devices and one Sharp organiser. The Casio Z1-GR is, as far as i know, the most advanced, and maybe even the last, of the Basic pocket computer breed. Offering C, assembly and CASM along with the usual BASIC language, the Z1-GR is an evolution of the FX-890P.
The Sharp organiser is a cute device, designed for the japanese market only; that will be presented in my "organisers" page to come. As i've mentionned earlier, i've discovered about this kind of machines just recently, and i just love the design.
The interesting news in this parcel is the two Sony devices! The "DD" lineup stands for "Data Discman"; and i've just received two of them, among which the DD-1, which is logically named as the first of it's kind. So what IS a Data Discman in the first place? As of 1991 when the DD-1 was launched, it was Sony's vision of an electronic book. I'm just too tired to say much more about those right now, but i'll try to test them soon and write a small update, if not a dedicated page.
>> Friday, June 10th 2005 update - Jingle bells, jingle bells!
Sometimes Christmas day comes in June, well at least it just happenned to me today! As i was expecting 4 parcels to get to me within the next days/weeks, turned out that two of them arrived just this morning!
So, well, along with a few other items for some of my other collections, i've received nothing less than 3 new excellent machines today :
- a Data Rover 840
- a Panasonic JT-S10
- an Epson RC-20!!
While i'm at it, i should also mention the donation i've received a few weeks ago from Hideki Adam, who donated a Casio PB-100 and an FP interface; and who is also willing to send me another machine. Many thanks for the donations, and for the friendly e-mails!
Now i also have to thank Niclas Nielsen, for sending me two great machines, and offering precious help and support! The Epson RC-20 was something i would have *NEVER* thought i'd ever find, until he told me that, well, he just found two of those, so he had an extra one to share! :) This excellent little machine is a touch-screen watch, Z-80 compatible, BASIC programmable watch! The icing on the cake is that it comes with an english manual; although the machine was apparently never distributed outside Japan! It's definitely one of the greatest addition to the watch sub-section of my collection!
Niclas also sent me a Data Rover 840; it's a japanese machine from an obscure (at least to me!) manufacturer. The device runs Magic-Cap 3.1, as i've learned from this page and includes an old fashion web browser, so it means i'll certainly have great fun surfing the net with this great piece of retro-futuristic technology!
The other machine i've received today is the Panasonic JT-S10. I really don't know much about it, like which OS it runs on, and if it's even working in the first place. It's still a very interesting set : it is a touch-screen PDA that comes in a leather casing with a bundled printer. I should put pictures of all these devices online soon; even better yet i should build their dedicated pages as well.
I've also received in the packages a couple of good old "electronic organisers". Thing is, i'm actually beginning to have a significant number of them! Furthermore, browsing japanese online auctions, i've discovered something totally new to me : the japan-market-only PDAs! They mostly differ from your average organisers because of their japanese-specific keyboards (and software, of course), but also seem to have widely adopted a vertical form-factor whichever the manufacturer.
On the design side, they often look much more japanese than the export models. So, well, i'm beginning to look at those with greedy eyes. Putting this together with the little collection of "classic data bank organisers" i now have, i'm considering openning a new section in my site. So many things to do, so few time...
Next news for this update : i've recently heard about the Casio FX-603p calculator! Judging by what Google has to say about it, it was maybe never distributed outside Japan. It's still pretty expensive on the second-hand market there, although it was released in 1990, so i assume it's already a "cult" machine, maybe also due to the success of it's FX-602p origin. From what i've been able to see, this newer model is an actual evolution of the 602, as i've noticed special command keys that have nothing to do with the modern Casio programming languages appeared with the Fx-4000p. I've downloaded a manual from Silrun Systems, i'll have to check that! I'll also keep an eye open for this machine...
>> Wednesday, April 27th 2005 update - Casio FP-200 secured!
Unwrapping an interesting chain of internet-born events, i've just received this morning a Casio FP-200 equiped with a Floppy drive and Three RAM modules!
As of writting this, i have only opened the box and taken the FP-200 out of it yet, so i do not know exactly what else is in the box (manuals, documentations...). Still it's a highly interesting piece, and i'm particularly happy to get a floppy drive with it.
On the right is the FP-200, above, next the Canon XO7, for size comparison.
Back when the machine was released, it was seen as a competitor to the Canon XO-7 (as stated in this page (in French), and that's also the way i saw it. As my newly-acquired FP-200 is the first one i see for real, my first impression was that it's really huge and certainly much bigger than the XO-7. This may seem unsignificant today, but at the time, the computer market was very different than what we know in the early 2000s.
At the time, there were basically 3 computers family : home computers, professionnal computers, and pocket computers. The machines that we know today as Laptops were still to invent, since portable professionnal computers were "transportable rather than portable" to quote many analysts. The world famous Osborne computers (the FP-200 and this one are from the same year) were then pioneering the market.
The Casio FP-200, the Canon X0-7, along with several similar machines from other manufacturers represented yet another trend in portable computing : they made use of elements from the 3 worlds to offer decent computing-power on the go :
- from the pocket world : LCD display to cut down on size and cost, protected battery-powered memory removing the need for additionnal data storage, and they also targetted a pocket-like size factor
- reliable and cost effective hardware from the domestic computer world (Z-80 processors or similar)
- from the professionnal world : pre-programmed ROM modules or built-in applications;
- several expansion such as floppy drives, printers... were available as options, thus also keeping initial cost and size factor low while providing advanced features for those who needed them.
So, well, now that i clearly compare these 2 machines, i think they are not actually as similar as i thought and as i've read here and there.
Clearly, size-wise, then XO7 is much closer to the pocket computers world. Feature-wise, the FP-200 offers an optional disk-drive and pre-programmed ROM module. I thus think of the FP-200 more like a very early laptop...
Anyway, even if this machine is not exactly a pocket computers, it deserves it's place in my collection, not only for being a Casio machine (yeah, i like Casio, as it shows by the number of Casio devices in my collection!). Call it early laptop, call it supersized pocket computer, it offers BASIC and computing power on
the go, which is more than enough to fit my collection!
Now i just have to update the collection list, then my wanted page; and finally, someday, add a FP-200 dedicated page.
>> Monday, April 18th 2005 update - No update, yet the longest update yet (...or whatever!)
No new page or new machine announced in today's update. However, i've received
great news from a fellow collector in Greece (among which one of the greatest
news is certainly that he was not affected by the fires that occured in Athens
last summer :)), and there were hints that i may get new items soon; maybe a
couple of rare ones too.
Anyway, there are still a few items in my collection that do not have their
dedicated pages on the site. One of these devices is the Ricoh i-700 digital
camera; which is, in many respects, an unusual piece among my collection.
The thing is, Kodak just recently released the "EasyShare one" 4 MPixel digital camera and this new devices
boasts quite a number of similarities to the earlier Ricoh camera.
The easyShare one has a two-axis swivel sensitive screen and offers wireless
network connectivity (although it's not clear to me whether WiFi is built-in or
requires an extension card).
Approximately 7 years earlier, the Ricoh i-700 introduced a two-axis swivel
sensitive screen and focused on data exchange, with a built-set of internet
connectivity software and a PC-Card port. The ricoh was then a 3 Mpix camera
and targetted the corporate market.
It seems that it's pretty much the exact same recipe (enhanced and spiced-up
21st century flavor) that Kodak is now serving to the consumer market.
That 2 way swivel screen idea apparently comes from the camcorder's world; and
i'm guessing Ricoh was the first manufacturer to introduce it in a device
closer to the pocket computer's world. Following manufacturers were Sony and
Sharp for their respective Clié and Zaurus products; in a move that resembles
HP's 1995 pioneer attempt of a dual mode
keyboard/tablet transformable PDA
There's logic in finding this feature back on imaging devices today (as in the
Casio P-505 that also come even closer to the camcorder
Discussing a bit with Evan Koblentz, from the Computer Collector
Newsletter, we agreed that the PDA market, as mature as it is (even so
mature that it's now declining, but that's another story), has never produced
anything that would stand appart as being close to perfect.
I personally think that the whole swivel screen thing (or one might consider it
swivel keyboard for that matter) is a good idea, and should definitely be a
starting point to define what a perfect device should be, combining a large
display and a comfortable keyboard as well as offering a way to get rid of the
keyboard when it's unnecessary. But it's a good clue as of which conceptual
oppositions PDAs have to face. The perfect machine should actually be two
machines in one : perfect in data input, and perfect in data browsing. In my
opinion, that's what the whole swivel screen is about.
One could say that if a perfect PDA seems like a holy Grail never to be reached,
it's because user's expectations keep evolving along with technologies. That's
just partially true.
When designing a computer user interface (UI) where a user needs to interact
with several elements, like files, there are basically only two different
approaches to how the interaction will be sequenced. Think of a Word file that
you want to open : you can either select the file and open it (by double
clicking it for instance); or you can run Word, then select the "file/open"
option, then select the file. I call the former sequence the "object to action"
method; whereas the latter is the "action to object" approach.
Now, i like to map these approaches to PDA design, as a PDA is basically a device
that is used to store data and interact with them.
I think of PDAs as either "Features to data" oriented or "Data to Features"
The "Features to data" breed gathers the machines that come loaded with lots of appealling useful features. They basically also come with the immediate need of feeding them something accurate to actually use all of the features. Despite this kind of device was a more pregnant reality in the 80's (when they were called "organisers"), i'll explain why i think winCE is still representative of this trend.
I date the origin of the "Data to features" family back to the first Palm Pilot release.
The Palm Pilot introduced the simple idea of PC-Synchronisation; which made all the difference. It was a PDA that was an extension of all the personal data that were already available on a PC. Data browsing was the key (and database was the software architecture key), and Graffiti made complementary data input simple, in a compact form (as opposed to a keyboard) and in a reliable way (as opposed to previous handwritting recognition systems that had a long way to go to reliability).
The PDA market is now declining, but a new handheld market is growing and reaching a much larger audience than traditionnal PDAs : this market is represented by smartphones, digital cameras and MP3 players. Personally, i've stopped using a PDA the minute when i was able to store my contact list in my mobile phone. Find a contact; make a phone call, as easy as it gets, all in a single device, data (contact) to feature (call).
I've recently read a page where a user explained the benefits of her new cellphone : "i can take pictures of an event and instantly send them by e-mails to my friends to share the moment; i can also read my e-mails, engage in MSN chats...".
Nowhere does she mention anything about the OS or the "advanced features"; she's just happy the device allows applying the right features to the right data : my friends contacts, my pictures, my e-mails...
I think this is what "convergence" is all about. This word now sounds pretty dated, and may remind us of such attempts as digital cameras with built-in MP3 players. Now, how silly is that? Why should my digital camera play MP3s?
Well, as Apple would say : think differently. Take the number one hard-disk based MP3-player in the world, and add it a color screen and a photo browser. Well i was not convinced at first... Now, bring an optionnal "digital camera connector" (basically a USB host extension), to make your player able to download pictures directly from just any digital camera, with up to 60GB of memory, litterally backup hundreds of memory cards that you'll be able to carry along.
What's the OS inside the iPod? No user can tell, and as far as most of them are concerned, no one actually cares.
As i said, i was not convinced by the iPod photo in the first place. Thinking of it also as an extension of my digital cameras makes plenty of sense, however, and i don't even have to think of the HD limitation...
The data is here (my music, my pictures...), Apple just offers the features to properly enjoy/manipulate them on the go. "Your life, to go", an advertising baseline made true from the iBook to the iPod.
Now i understand much better what Steve Jobs said when introducing the Apple Photo : "there's no market for video features; since there's no contents yet". What he meant was not *only* that the iTunes store does not offer paying video content yet. What he meant was also this : the market for Personal video players is a geeky market, and personal digital video contents are already portable in digicams, there is no need as of just now for a video playback feature that hardly a few ones will ever use.
The iPod also offers a few built-in PIM (Personal Information Management, features that were once the core of organisers and PDAs software. Need i say more?
My point is not that the iPod is actually Apple's re-entry in the world of PDAs. I do think, however, that there's a clever move going on from Apple to both create and fill the market of personal-use PDA that come undercover. It also makes it obvious that succeeding in the portable electronics consumer market does not require any reference to the existing computer world.
There is thus plenty of room left for other products, like business products and many more. There also; data must be the design goal to keep in mind. WinCE once over-ruled Palm OS mostly by announcing more CPU power, more colors, more features, and *also* PC compatibility. I think the lots of available features made it clear to a number of users (not to mention quite a number of corporate buyers) that there was no point to this. Ok, well, i have a 600MHz processor, a digital video player and a plentyful of software, i've paid extra money for it. Now what?
As things go on, the WinCE model now has to choose between fading away to let more and more compact full-featured portable/tablet PCs do the job; or offer a more humble face, based on user-friendliness, simplicity and existing data. Microsoft of course understands it, and now offers solutions to compete with such systems as data-oriented Blackberry and Sidekick. WinCE is also aimed at smaller, more integrated devices like cellphones, and also made it's way into a few gaming systems or digital cameras.
In the meantime, Palm-OS is (slowly) beginning to catch-up to the trend and offer more than new shinier devices to preserve it's marketshares. We hear about a hard-disk based Tungsten, wireless connectivity is now satisfying...
I've read quite a few pages on the web about the iPod camera connector after i've realized how interesting and meaningful this small option was. These readings encourages me thinking it actually *is* meaningful, and that's what i've been trying to explain in this column.
Now, back to my very own self, i definitely think this iPod USB host thing marks a change in how i see pocket computing devices. There has been a long period of time (that all winCE/Palm war) when i almost lost all interest in what was going on. I may have lost sight of what was *actually* going on, or most likely i got bored at how long the whole thing lasted. Thing is, with a few rare machines i'm still waiting to add to my collection, i'm feeling my collection is also taking a turn. What will be it's new direction, if any, is not clear to me yet.
Well maybe it's also the time for me to take a rest from searching and start working on a few other projects around my collection, like completing the missing pages or working on pocket-computer history.
>> Tuesday, March 17th 2005 update - A french PDA!!
I got news yesterday about a not-so-new project that started a buzz as early as july 2004 : the Jackito PDA (upper right). Why i've heard about it only now is beyond me, since the news was apparently widely conveyed in many sites i use to visit.
Pages like this one on Engadget present the device, while most readers comments doubt the machine is for real. Readers of this other page (in french) mention that the project was still vaporware in january 2005...
Anyway, the fun fact is that i've actually worked 10 years ago in the company that designed the device!! I thus think i can be positive about one thing : the machine exists. I actually own one of the early prototype, the Index (pictured above, 2nd machine below the Jackito) for which i've created this presentation page.
I sure would love to add a Jackito to my collection, if it was not for the price of the thing... At a $600 pricetag, there's no way i'd buy it just to get a new unusual piece. Why would this PDA be so unusual? Well, mostly because it's french! Next because it really stands apart most state-of-the-art PDAs. It's a totally different approach from the war for processing power and multimedia features. I leave it to you to find detailled information on the official Jackito website.
I must say i'm very surprised and quite pleased to discover that this machine is finally brought to the market, and it brings me back many memories! Now, what more could i say about the machine is not clear, as i've signed a non-disclosure agreement that maybe is not expired yet. I should check if i can!
Anyway, ladies and gentlemen, hail a (not so) humble french PDA with worldwide ambition! I'll definitely keep an eye on it :)
>> Friday, October 15th 2004 update - Ricoh i-700 received from Japan
The Ricoh RDC i-700 is a machine i've been interested in for years, since i've first seen an unreadable (in japanese, that is...) page about it years ago. Basically a 3 mega pixels digital camera, the i-700 include several features that make it very worth entering my collection.
First interesting feature : the i-700 offers a sensitive screen and a stylus controlled interface. Sensitive screen actually is a feature that would almost make a device eligible to my collection all by itself! Anyway, the i-700 has even more to offer than just a fancy user interface. On the hardware side, the i-700 also provides a PC-Card interface; and the last special hardware/casing feature i'll mention here is the swivel screen that offers 2 different configurations.
Now, add built-in software that makes good use of all this hardware and you'll have what Ricoh has named an "image capturing device". It is actually a very interesting effort on what an evolved digital camera can be : using the touch-screen, it is not only possible to navigate the menus, but also to directly draw on the screen, comment images, add notes, and store user-modified images in memory. Adding a communication card in the PC-Card port, built-in internet features include an e-mail client, FTP software as well as a web editing tool! Well, at the end, i think that the machine is actually really close to a PDA. Strictly speaking, most digital cameras hardware would be powerful enough to support PDA software (as a matter of fact, there has already been ports of various open-source projects such as games on earlier Kodak digital cameras). Adding a touch screen, internet abilities, a PC-Card port and a dual-modes swivel screen makes the RDC i-700 actually closer to the PDA world.
That's why i've always been interested in this machine ever since i first sw it. Thanks to a new internet miracle, i've been able to get one of these babies! It just arrived this morning, i've been able to switch it on once (only to get a japanese warning message i'm unable to understand!) but nothing more yet.
Here's one machine i have to take off my "wanted" page!
Here's one machine i'll have to build a dedicated page for, too...
>> Wednesday, September 15th 2004 update - Sharp Color Zaurus added!
Continuing my "buying in Japan" craze, i've recently received a Sharp Color Zaurus! This one is yet-another-machine-i-thought-i'd-never-get, so, again, Internet is the best thing!
On the right is a part of a Color Zaurus screenshot. As you may notice, it's in color. As the machine was released in 1996, it is very likely the *first* color screen PDA ever.
You can get more information about the device on the specific page i've created for it here.
This is the 51st device that enters my collection! My, the days seem very long ago when i just own 3 machines that i actually used almost everyday, and i did not even know they where the first ones of a collection!
As i have now gathered many of those machines that i thought i'd never have, i must say that i do not feel the same about collecting more machines. There are still a few additions i'd like to make (check my wishlist to know more!), but i'm not quite as excited about acquiring new machines as i was before.
Anyway, i continue browsing the japanese auction sites for low-cost second-hand weird machines. I've thus recently bought a Pentax Digibino, which is a binocular with a built-in 1024x768 digital camera! Quite remotely related to my pocket computers collection, actually, but still an interesting use of modern technology in a classic concept...
>> Friday, July 23rd 2004 update - New additions, and weblog-flavored homepage
I've started changing all my topic home pages to a weblog format months ago, yet this very part, despite being one of the most visited one in my site still did not get it's new look. This is now corrected!
This part is actually still missing a few more updates, as several machines i own in my pocket computers collection do not have their dedicated pages yet. However, the reason for updating the site today is that i recently got 2 more nice additions to my collection!
The Seiko Ruputer and the Casio WMP-1 MP3 reader watch have both joined the list today as i received them yesterday. The former is a "PC compatible" wristwatch, and the latter is quite obviously an MP3 reader disguised as a wristwatch.
These are interesting pieces i was looking for for quite some time, without actively chasing them, tho, as they are still common.
My collection is not dead, then, although i had somehow been thinking it would be, when i received a few machines i *never expected to get*! :)
As an example of this, i'm now waiting for an EO-440 PDA, one of the first communicator system of 90's fame, which has just been shipped to me yesterday from the USA. This machine was actually quite rare until there was a wave of them on sale in a 2 months period lately. I'm looking forward to get this toy, that i've listed in my pocket museum section as one of the most interesting PDA experiments of the 90's.
After all that, what else could i expect more? Well, surfing the web i realize there are still newer potential acquisitions i'll keep an eye on, after all :).
On the pocket computer part, i've also been asked twice this year to provide expertise about pocket computers for court cases. That's interesting, and a very interesting reward for my collecting and for this website.
Future projects for this part include building a complete-as-can-be history of pocket computers and PDA; which would be a more comprehensive version of the current museum.
However, i think i should complete the missing pages before working on this.