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GoLinux
Hello fine ZUG folks,

I would be very interested in getting the qualified opinions of former Psion machine owners who have "migrated" to the Zaurus platform.

As the owner of a "crack in the flatcable" doomed 5mx, I'm finding quite difficult to make up my mind between the SL-6000L and the SL-C860 in preparation for the quickly approaching day when my beloved Psion will die.

Beside the obvious and well known differences, I'd just appreciate to hear the stories of those of you out there, now SL-6000 or SL-C806 users, coming from a past "relation" with a Psion.

Personally, I'd rather stick with a keyboard as large as possible. However, being both the SL-6000 and the SL-C860 keyboards not quite comparable to the amazing (IMHO) 5mx keyboard anyway, I wonder if I'm overrating the issue.

Is there life after a Psion..............???

Thanks in advance.
padishah_emperor
Well I would not recommend either unless you are comfortable with Linux, I know others will no doubt disagree, but at some point unless you are using it for basic PIM/PDA stuff (in which case another machine may be more appropriate, the Zaurus more handheld Linux workstation than it is a PDA), you will probably have to do some terminal work. You need to ask yourself what you want it for.

If it's a straight forward PDA you want then maybe the Sony UX50 would be more suitable, or one of the Microsoft machines, some have keyboards I believe.

Otherwise, if things like Bluetooth or WiFi are of any use to you, a 6000-type machine would be better, but you loose the keyboard. The 860 has the form-factor and can be used a la laptop or tablet, but no built-in communications. I chose the 860 and disagree with you about the 5mx keyboard as it felt too delicate for me, a good PDA though.

Hope this is of some help.
offroadgeek
I agree with some of padishah's points, and disagree with others... if you are not currently comfortable with linux, but are interested in learning (or are about to make the switch) then you will be plenty happy with any zaurus. I was relatively new to linux (~6 months) when I got my first zaurus. The zaurus is a great learning tool for that.

If you simply want a pda for the pim and other simple stuff, then go ahead, get a simple Sony or other MS pda where you can't experiment and play with it (unless of course you get in IPAQ which then you can put OE on it).

Now to answer your question... I think you would have a better transition from the 5mx to the 860. Especially if you like the clamshell style. The 860 definitely has a larger and more comfortable keyboard than the 6000 (I've typed on both). Also, I personally think working with the screen in landscape mode is much more natural when typing emails, browsing the web, etc. I like that you can switch it to portrait mode if you just want to read e-books, catch up on slashdot, listen to music, etc.

It's true, the 6000 has some great hardware attributes, especially the USB host, but I still prefer my 760 to the 6000.

Best of luck in your decision!
lardman
I have a Psion series 5 which served me faithfully for many years until the backlight failed. I then bought a 5500 because it looked like I could get the most fun from it (in terms of being able to program and have lots of cool apps which I couldn't have on the Psion), I've now got a C750 (same form factor as the C860, but cheaper -> less internal flash storage, no big deal).

I can say with no hesitation that although the 5500 was really cool, the form factor and small keyboard really annoyed me (though it does actually have a keyboard which is better than many of it's similarly sized brethren), I'd go for one of the clamshell machines if I were you. The keyboard is probably not as good (in terms of size, but in any case it works for me), but the entire unit is significantly smaller than the Psion so you are bound to end up with a smaller keyboard.

In general with Zaurii the PIM apps are no-where as good and the system's not quite as robust as EPOC (though it's not flaky and reboots are few and far between), but it is being actively developed (and you can upgrade) which I think is great, plus there are lots of apps available (for free) and basically with a little effort (sometimes a lot, often very little) you can port just about anything to run on it - just what I was after, I don't know about you.


Si
PsionX
After a S5, 5Mx and a Revo, now i use a C750 ... For software, there are some Epoc'like : Portabase (=Epoc database), KO/PI for PIM (Calendar is too basic), Opie-Reader for Ebook, etc.. with Cacko Rom 1.21 (Multimedia enhancement).
But, 2 critics : HancomWord is NOT Epoc Word (or use an X11 Rom with Abiword) and there isn't print implementation sad.gif
PS : I use JZip (java epoc software) on my Zaurus to zip files...
albertr
GoLinux,

If you don't mean alittle bit of soldering, psion LCD cable is easy to fix. As far Linux goes, if you fix your cable, you can try to install linux on your 5mx (I ran linux on my 5mx, but I'm using it as a mobile terminal, not a PDA), and see for yourself... But beware - If you get hooked up to Linux, there's no turning back!
-albertr
bluedevils
and what Z do you own and why? I may not have had a Psion, but these answers are very interesting to read and I once stayed at a Holiday Inn Express.

QUOTE
GoLinux, 

If you don't mean alittle bit of soldering, prison LCD cable is easy to fix. As far Linux goes, if you fix your cable, you can try to install linux on your 5mx (I ran linux on my 5mx, but I'm using it as a mobile terminal, not a PDA), and see for yourself... But beware - If you get hooked up to Linux, there's no turning back!
-albertr
albertr
Err, wasn;t that a typo about "prison LCD cable"... funny, thou. I have a 5000d and 5500. Would like to get a C-series machine someday when prices go down a bit. And I still like my old psion 5mx. A couple of reasons - battery last almost forever, excellent keyboard, screen is very good outdoors and good in dark with backlit on. The only reason I'm looking toward Zaurus CXXX is because ARM 7XXX CPU is quite slow by today;s standard. It can run ssh client just fine on slow link, but prerry much any windowing system is out of question. X feels slow, Qtopia (yes, it runs on Psion!) is dog-ass slow. There's PicoGUI, but it has limited application support.
-albertr
GoLinux
Hello all,

thanks to those of you that have taken the time to read my post and reply. While I'm certainly interested in fellow present or former "Psioneer", I appreciate everybody's advice.

Just to make a bit more clear my expectations and level of expertise as a user, let me address some of your comments:

TO LINUX OR NOT TO LINUX
Not really a major show stopper, actually quite the opposite. Several months ago I started to get really intrigued with Linux, got a book to start with the basics and I have been experimenting since with a couple of the many liveCD distributions, Knoppix and Slax. One of these days I'll get an additional HDD for my Windows XP machine and install a Linux distribution to get serious. My dealings with computer go back to the days of DOS and in the early years of with my company I had some experience with Unix as well. I'm one of those that thinks a command line on a black screen is cool rather than intimidating......

ADVANCED OR BASIC PDA
I use my Psion for both personal and work stuff. I certainly use all the PIM functions, but I like to tinker and push the thing to its limit just for the fun of it or exploring "advances" professional uses. Right now, the ultimate would be to have a tiny machine able to decently run an Access Database several hundreds meg big. I'm afraid even a Zaurus couldn't do that.... From what I have learned so far, a Zaurus would be much more "fun" than a PocketPC or Palm machine.
I have also programming experience, I think that's another aspect where a Zaurus would shine.

HARDWARE REPAIRS
Can do that too, no fear of soldering iron. I like to tinker with hardware as well. I think I could repair the Psion, but as Albertr wrote, is kind of an outdated hardware implementation. That's why I said I'm going to "drive to the ground" the 5mx before I get another handheld to satisfy the geek in me.... I see as very unlikely to move on to another platform until the Psion keeps working.

About the SL-6000 vs. SL-C860 part, something else that bothers me a little is the stubbornes of Sharp in not selling the SL-Cxxx outside Japan. Lack of support aside (one may say: what support, is Sharp....) it is a little disturbing to think of the price adder I would incur.

Oh, well, can't have the cake and eat it too...

Thanks again for the insigthful comments. If other former/current owner of Psion owning now a Zaurus want to share their thoughts, thanks in advance.
padishah_emperor
If you buy a Cxxx from a company that specialises in importing the Z, you may get support as well. I got mine here in the UK, the supplier will try and fix it free if I damage it or return it to Sharp if they can't fix it, I only pay towards shipping. Plus you get a 12 month warranty. It gives me some peice of mind, more than if I'd got it cheaper direct from Japan.

ShirtPocket are the company in the UK, in the States, it's The Kompany and Dynamism(?). Perhaps someone from the US can elaborate further.

As someone who has owned every Psion ever made, including the Acorn versions, except the NetBook, I would say the Zaurus is more of a computer than the 5mx is. (If you know what I mean) It feels like a tiny laptop. I was thinking about getting a Tadpole Solaris laptop until I got my 860. But the Psion has superior PIM software without doubt, Psion were very good at that kind of thing.
offroadgeek
I got my 760 from dynamism, and while they are a bit more pricey than the others, they do provide support. If you have a problem, you just ship your Z to them and they take care of getting it fixed thru Sharp Japan. I had a problem with my screen at first, but after I had them fix it, it's great.

True, it's not the same as if Sharp provided support directly in the US, but it's better than no support at all!
amrein
There's a enormous pit between Psion S5mx Device and a Zaurus: the software.

Zaurus hardware is exactly what all Psion users were asking for: 65535 colors on a 640*480 screen (instead of 640*240 16 gray scale), imaginative design (keyboard and swiveling screen), powerfull processor (400Mhz PXA255 on a 200Mhz bus instead of 27Mhz on a ARM7110), lot of memory (64Mo SDRAM instead of 16Mo of conventionnal RAM), big internal flash (128Mo of r/w flash instead of 16Mo of ROM on 5mx), CF and SD/MMC card support (full card compatibility instead of only memory CF on S5mx), usb/serial/irDa support (only serial and irDa on S5mx), Wifi/Bluetooth card... drivers (none on 5mx), Multi-media player, Sync with Mac, very tinny...
But the internal software can't be compared. In fact yes, the comparision can be made but you should inverse the device. To be short: Zaurus software are crap and unusable for most Psion users. The Psion 5mx application are still the best despite all this time. With its 16Mo RAM, 16Mo ROM and its old ARM7110 27Mhz processor, a Psion S5mx is more complete and faster than a Zaurus SL-C860 400Mhz 64Mo RAM 128Mo ROM and with an ATI accelerated video card. The 5mx with its 8 years old is a dinosaur. It's the 5mx that should have been called Zaurus and not the Sharp device. The Sharp hardware is very good. The Sharp software deserve the Zaurus name.

Note : Zaurus PDA QT/E libraries are 100 time easier and complete than Psion Epoc ones. In spite of everything, the software are worst. They are million of users on the market that are still waiting to be able to replace their old Psion by something. As padishah_emperor said in another thread, it's not the Sharp plan.

GoLinux, if you want to play with Linux a bit, flash and reflash a device every month, play with X11 or Qtopia on an ARM device, then Go Linux and Sharp PDA. If you want PIM and you are not a developer then... wait. Wait because Palm or Pocket PC are not better and because with some luck, Sharp will sell a SL-C8000 with 860 shape but with bluetooth and wifi inbuilt (and improved software? :cry: ).

Note : With pdaXrom you can run powerful applications like nedit, AbiWord 2.0 or Mozilla Firefox. Opening them is like opening a Qtopia applications but pdaXrom apps are more powerful. If you have already tested a Psion Series 5 (not 5mx), the software speed and screen updates are equivalent. (S5 is approximatively 1.5 time slower than a S5mx).
albertr
It's good to see so many Psion owners on this board. Amrein, just a few corrections: 5mx uses ARM720T cpu running at 38.64MHz, and while it can be of course overclocked, there's no way it can be faster than 400MHz PXA255. Not even close. I agree that EPOC is very code and memory-efficient, but still it's a different league. Memory - Psion 5mx/5mxPro and clones have used a great deal of different memory layouts. Different mask ROM/EEPROM combinations, too. For instance, my 5mx has a single 10MB EEPROM, and 16MB of RAM in two banks (8MB each). It could be possible to solder on two additional memory chips to add another 16MB of RAM. Series 5 classic runs CPU at 18.32MHz and it's ARM v3, not v4 as on 5mx. IMHO, in theory it could be more than two times slower than 5mx.
-albertr
amrein
Yes, you are true about the processor speed (38,64Mhz), name (ARM720T) and there's no 16 Mo of ROM but 10Mo. Here is what happen when I only try to use my memory.

The software run faster on 5mx and are really better. No comparision with Zaurus one. You can't deny this. I still have to use my Psion for everyday use.

If you want to undestand why it is still faster:

_ It's not a 640*480 65535 colors (2 bytes for one pixel) but a 640*240 16 gray scale (4 bit for one pixel) without accelerated video card.
_ all software in rom are in preloaded state (link already done). Equivalent of the Qtopia fastload option but without additionnal software: software and libraries are saved in ROM like if they were already loaded in RAM and are run directly there (so also for memory saving).
_ all data and programms are installed in an internal dynamic ramdisk (or on CF) and not on flash.

And the S5 with its ARM7110 18.32MHz is not two time slower than a 5mx because the 5mx ROM is not two time faster than the 5 one.

Happy to see that I'm not alone too. smile.gif
Hopping that someday, Sharp or another company will fill my needs (pdaXrom is a good beginning but not enough strutured and open. Would prefer Debian.).
amrein
I forgot: the theads management was designed like the new libnspr (introduced with the 2.6 kernel in Mandrake 10 for exemple) and not the old libpthread. Compare Mandrake 10 speed running the 2.4.25/2.6 kernel and the old Mandrake 9.2.
lardman
Have you ever tried to program in EPOC's rather interesting dialect of C++. A bit of a steep learning curve. That said OPL is and was very nice, easy to get started with but with enough functionality to keep it useful. I do like the idea of active objects which pervades the EPOC system and its programming programming, nice and efficient and easy to understand, and the fact that they stress strict error management and controlled failure.


Si
highfell
This may help you. I posted this to a Psion User Group. I am a convert to the Zaurus and from what you have said I think you will enjoy it and the tinkering around ......... On the subject of databases, I think that you would find Portabase very good. Although its free - its definitely of commercial quality (and updated regularly which is more than Powerbase). Here is my note.


Well after 10 years or so of owning Psions - Series 3, 3A, 5 and 5MX, writing software etc. I am about to go into the era of not owning one. Its not been an easy decision and to a certain extent, I am not 100% sure but I have now gone too far not to complete my journey.

I had previously thought hard about getting a Nokia communicator but their high price, bulky size and memory limitations stopped me. I tried it the emulator on a PC but it just didn't quite make the mark.

One of the reasons for staying with Psions is the amazing amount of software that I have got for it over the years, including the indispensable Notepad, which upto the end of December, I used everyday as a superb timemanager system.

Anyway, I have now taken the plunge and bought a Sharp Zaurus 5500. I am not sure whether there has been much discussion of them on this list but I thought you would be interested in learning about my initial thoughts.

Here is a link showing its key features.

http://www.sharp.co.uk/zaurus/spec/specifications.pdf

One of its hidden treasures is a built-in keyboard - its not that big :-(, but surprisingly easy to use and it almost takes me full circle to the series 3,3A when I used to use my thumbs to type. It is a pretty geeky sort of machine as it also runs Linux as its operating system.

Things that I like about it :

1. Colour Screen - no question it makes the Psion look very old fashioned.
2. More immediate response than the Psion when touching the screen
3. Operating System is Open Source, so various differing OS ROMs have been developed either commercially or by experts, all offering a different look/feel to the graphical user interface. Its a bit like owning three different PDAs
4. Word and Excel documents can be opened without conversions and edited/created on the Zaurus. Multiple Spreadsheets are allowed but no charting (not a big issue for me). Power point slides can be viewed but not edited. 5. Synchronisation of Outlook etc. With the abovementioned capabilities, this makes the viewing of emails with attachments on the Zaurus to be much more useable than with the Psion.
6. Mp3 and Video player (with stereo headphone output)
7. A good selection of free software. PDF, Money, Games (like Pacman, Asteroids), Car expense manager, Opera etc. but most importantly for me there is a program called Portabase which is a very customisable database programme into which I have managed to import a half megabyte Notepad (CSV exported file) and am currently working on customising it to suit my requirements. It looks a bit like Powerbase but it is much more user friendly and has intuitive filters, views and column selectors which make it really powerful to use. Its free by the way and regularly updated by the author.
8. Rotation of the Screen to show spreadsheets etc.
9. It can run Java applications


I now like holding the machine in one hand and poking it with a stylus with the other. Somehow with the Psion, you always had to have it on a table

Things I don't like (or like least)

1. I obviously miss the Psion keyboard
2. The screen is small (but the ability to rotate of the screen helps)
3. Can't appear to print from it, so you have to send a file to the PC and then print
4. Battery life. 10 hours promised but in reality less. Rechargeable battery used , so one has to keep it charged otherwise data may be lost !


Nigel Bamber
bluedevils
and how did the psion people react to your post? You should really give the 860 a try. The keyboard is better, the battery is better and you can see more with the VGA screen.

I agree portabase is very functional.
amrein
If there's no mistake, here is the replies:

<<
Mike Humberston wrote:

> "Paul Taylor" <no way> wrote:
>
>>"Mike Humberston" <oblivion@philomel.net> wrote in message
>>news:mhf47057gje566bo14kf8dr2stu4rv6nre@4ax.com...
>>> "Paul Taylor" <no way> wrote:
>>>
>>> >It wouldn't stretch the imagination to think of a netBook pro (or
>>> >successors)
>>> >running Linux, hopefully with built-in Psion applications like Data?
>>>
>>> Some people never do discover that Father Christmas doesn't
>>> really exist!
>>
>>Someone has to make the toys :-)
>
> That is true but it won't be Psion. They,ve been there before
> and in the end it almost cost them their company. The market has
> moved on. They would have very little chance of carving out a
> new niche within it.
>

There's still million of Psion 3a/3c/3mx/siena/5/5mx/5mx pro/revo/revo+/..
out there. All those users are waiting for something that could replace
their device. Ask for it in old Psion reseller shop and you will
understand. The same user base that has permitted Psion to born live and
thrive during more than a decade is still there... waiting. They are
Hi-tech curstomers, intelligent people, executive... and they trust their
intuition and not the mass market waves.

Yes, those users have certainly the hope to see something emerge on the
market. Not a Palm or a Pocket PC. Not a Psion or an Epoc device. Just a
PDA/Smartphone with very good hardware like the Sharp Zaurus SL-C860 and
with software like... old Psion software.
Sharp Zaurus software are... really crap.

There is NO pda on the market that can replace my Psion S5mx or my netBook.
Noone! I tried them all and stupidly buy a few of them. They are all
staying in their box today. Linux is the best operating system for a
manufacturer wanting to have a stable OS without giving royalties. Only big
problem: if you don't know how to manage the Open Source Community, they
won't help you and will try to fork your curstomised OS.

Zaurus hardware is exactly what all Psion users were asking for: 65535
colors on a 640*480 screen (instead of 640*240 16 gray scale), imaginative
design (keyboard and swiveling screen), powerfull processor (400Mhz PXA255
on a 200Mhz bus instead of 37Mhz on a ARM720T), lot of memory (64Mo SDRAM
instead of 16Mo of conventionnal RAM), big internal flash (128Mo of r/w
flash instead of 16Mo of ROM on 5mx), CF and SD/MMC card support (full card
compatibility instead of only memory CF on S5mx), usb/serial/irDa support
(only serial and irDa on S5mx), Wifi/Bluetooth card... drivers (none on
5mx), Multi-media player, Sync with Mac, very tinny...
But the internal software can't be compared. In fact yes, the comparision
can be made but you should inverse the device. To be short: Zaurus software
are crap and unusable for most Psion users. The Psion 5mx application are
still the best despite all this time. With its 16Mo RAM, 16Mo ROM and its
old ARM720T 37Mhz processor, a Psion S5mx is more complete and faster than
a Zaurus SL-C860 400Mhz 64Mo RAM 128Mo ROM and with an ATI accelerated
video card. The 5mx with its 8 years old is a dinosaur. It's the 5mx that
should have been called Zaurus and not the Sharp device. The Sharp hardware
is very good. The Sharp software deserve the Zaurus name.

Note : Zaurus PDA QT/E libraries are 100 time easier and complete than Psion
Epoc ones. In spite of everything, the software are worst. They are million
of users on the market that are still waiting to be able to replace their
old Psion by something. As padishah_emperor said in another thread, it's
not the Sharp plan.

Regards
Amrein-Marie Christophe
>>
----
The difference is that if Psion software were crap, you'd be stuck. If
you think Zaurus programs are crap, write better ones.
----
If Psion software were crap, it would be the same feeling than upgrading
Windows 3.11 by Windows 2000. At present, the impression is inverted.

And of course I could write/design better software but this answer is only
relevant for developers and not standard users. In the x millions of
Palm/Psion/Pocket PC users, how many would be able (would like and would
have the time) to build their own PIM software just for fun? It's not the
goal of a PDA.
----

http://www.openzaurus.org

and/or

http://opie.handhelds.org/

Enjoy.
------

wink.gif

I'm part of the http://opie.handhelds.org/ project. I know all projects
arround PDA and Linux on the net. I'm still have the same observation: no
software from those projects can replace the 8 years old Psion software
(and I'm very kind as I only talk about the 5mx and not the Psion Series 3a
released 12 years ago with a 7Mhz 80x86 NecV30 processor).

Really, I would like to be able to 'Enjoy'.

OZ and Opie guys are doing a great job thougth. Their software or
buildsystem are in some part better than Pocket PC. But the Psion software
level is too high.

----
When I say in some part, it's mainly because Pocket PC developer has RAD
tools and because you need to know Linux a little to be able to get
involved quickly in Opie or OE/OZ developpement. Every Opie applications
surpass the Pocket PC one and are more user friendly.
----
I agree that SIBO and EPOC software that is standard on Psion palmtops
is far superior to anything else on the market, and probably will
remain so for some time. But not forever, and that's the catch: Psion
development, like the Newton's, is dead, hence the rest can only get
better (well, some of it at least; there's no way in hell Wince
software will ever even become passable, let alone good).

(sidenote: considering the differences in philosophy and form factor,
Newton software still bloody marvelous, and the only platform that
compares favourably to the Psion)
.mau.
I went to Z from Psion too (first a 5, then a 5mx; here I started with a 5500 to get a C860).
Tke keyboard of the Psion is still more responsive than the one of the 860, but I managed to use even the smaller one of the 5500. It is much better than graffiti.
Software for EPOC is much more stable, but for me having linux as OS is a bonus.
As for battery life, I never managed to get much from the Psion using rechargeables :-(
highfell
QUOTE
and how did the psion people react to your post? You should really give the 860 a try. The keyboard is better, the battery is better and you can see more with the VGA screen.  



I actually posted it to a mailing list and got very little response, which surprised me but on reflection they were hardcore psion users and probably didn't want to see my comments !

I would love to try an 860 but the cost when I got my 5500 was too much for what I wanted to spend on an untested product (and also the lack of or difficulty in 'anglicising' it was an issue).

Having tried a 5500, I would be ready for a move at some point. But it is also true that I am enjoying the 5500 and customising it for my uses. I only hope that Sharp sticks with the Zaurus range (unlike Psion and their PDAs)


Nigel Bamber
amrein
What is really amazing is when I use KDE Koffice and PIM: The menu options structure and names are not always wonderfull but all ideas of Psion + Windows + MAc are there: easy communication between applications, componants that can be used by other, document that can be inclosed into other and with as many level as you want, easy conversion management, themes...

The only big problem so far: KDE doesn't fit in 10Mo ROM and is not designed for 400Mhz processor. But I still have the hope that someday... wink.gif
amrein
Larman, I agree about OPL. It's not so far from Python (even if Python is far behind).

For the Cpp framework and easiness, I disagree. Yes, it's good that they force you to always be prepared for a ressource clash (memory, cf, bad comms...). In my point of view, Epoc Release 1 2 3 4 5 api was a mess. It's only with Nokia that the API and its documentation begun to improve.

Note: There's nothing as easy as Qt nowaday for c++ developers. Nothing.

I'm sure that if I was an English people, I would have perhaps appreciate the Epoc API.
bluedevils
Yep and KOPI is the first PIM component to make it over.

QUOTE
What is really amazing is when I use KDE Koffice and PIM: The menu options structure and names are not always wonderfull but all ideas of Psion + Windows + MAc are there: easy communication between applications, componants that can be used by other, document that can be inclosed into other and with as many level as you want, easy conversion management, themes...

The only big problem so far: KDE doesn't fit in 10Mo ROM and is not designed for 400Mhz processor. But I still have the hope that someday... wink.gif
LadyBug
I used to have a Psion 3c and later Psion Revo as a calendar
replacement. The PIM apps were really awesome.

I also have been a Unix/Linux user >15 years, so when the
Revo battery (which can't be replaced) started dying, moving
on to Zaurus C760 was ideal.

Even if the Zaurus PIMs are wayyy behind the Revo apps
and I was disappointed in the software quality when I
got the unit, I'm nowadays very happy with my Zaurus.
While I lost some functionality, I also gained a lot, for example
networking and the ability to run some cool software.

Besides, Ko/PI has narrowed the gap between Zaurus calendaring
and Psion calendar a lot.
charlesa
QUOTE
... Multi-media player, Sync with Mac, very tinny...


Hi -

I am interested in your comments about syncing with a Mac. I am also looking at switching from a Psion5mx (well, Ericsson MC218 actually) to a Z SL-C860. I have a Linux desktop and a OS X Powerbook, and want something that runs Unix and I can fit in the pocket that will take doc/xls/ppt files from the PowerBook, and also can sync some of the address and calender data. What have you found that sync's with the Mac?

BTW, does anyone know if OpenOffice works on the Z?

Thanks in advance,

C.
cloud
Well, I don't have a sharp , but I do have a Psion Series 5 and am considering the switch to a C860. Early warning, I like to bable.

I have been using the Series 5 (8Mb version) since I got it in '95. I have one of the first 500 Series 5 ever produced and I have yet to find a "proper" replacement that makes me want to upgrade over the 5.
Back then, I spent $1200CDN on the series 5 and it was incredible. It definitely blew away my first 286 12MHz with 640K RAM cga and a 40MB HDD. Used it to take full-speed notes in classes, organizing many todo items, financial stuff in its spreadsheet and more.

Anywho, my 5 is slowly dyeing and I know one day it will be gone. I wish that it had better connectivity options like say a simple ethernet dongle when I'm close to a drop, but whatever, I don't use it for surfing anyway.
I also wish that it had a vga screen and higher contrast/brightness.

The reason I'm considering the C860, but haven't bought it yet is the keyboard is no psion keyboard, and the CF slot has to be used for network access instead of an sdio card.

I can live with the keyboard the way it is, and I love the bigger screen, I can even accept buying a CF network access card and an SD card for more space. Really, if the C860 had a usb host instead of a client connection, I would be set. I would need nothing else as I would be able to connect a portable keyboard and usb network adaptor, and all sorts of stuff.

For me, I'm going to use my 5 until it dies and hope that by then (maybe this holiday season) that sharp will have a successor to the C860 that is the C860 exactly as is but with a couple of small additions such as usb host, or bluetooth, or wifi, but preferably just usb host.
If someone works for sharp and reads this, as soon as the C860 has a usb host chip instead of a client, email me. I will buy the first commercial sample. biggrin.gif

Wait a sec, has anyone ever disected their 860? Anyone know if maybe the usb controller chip could be replaced with a usb host capable chip?
Well, I guess that's a topic for another thread wink.gif

L8R, Cloud.
PS, sorry for the rambling nature of my post.
cgrieves
Up until a few weeks ago I was the proud owner of a very nice 5mx. However mine succumbed to the inevitable screen cable problem. As spares/repair 5mx-es are worth very little, and mine had a proporta replacement body and a few other nicities, I deceded to get my screen cable repaired by www.psionflexi.co.uk (excellent service, only £45 including postage, and he uses custom made screen cables rather than Psion ones, which are almost guaranteed to break again). I sold it for £150 on ebay, which almost paid for my Sl5600 from the States.

While I was sorry to see the Psion go, I have to say I totally agree with Highfell- the Psion keyboard is great, but to actually use it as anything other than a two-thumb device it needs to be on a table. And for the vast majority of the time I spend at a desk I am either at work or home, and have a PC to use, which I will obviously use in preference. So after actually analysing my usage of the Psion and realising that 99% of the time it is as a thumb-device, I decided the 5600 would not be that big a step backwards. And so far I am very pleased. The only drawback is that the limited resolution (Psions are 640x240) means that ebook reading is somewhat more difficult on the Z, something I regularly used my 5mx for. However once prices begin to fall I may invest in a 6000, or perhaps a clamshell.

And one other point, Sharp are no saints when it comes to customer service, but they are light-years ahead of Psion, who have effectively been churning out an almost terminally defective product for years (the screen cable) and have never once admitted that there is a problem. I also owned an original Revo for a while and that is also a crippled product- battery overcharging problems, sudden total loss of memory, poor build quality. And again, they never admitted that there was a problem and simply released the Revo Plus with most of the problems fixed. The only reason the Psion has thrived is because the design and functionality is elegant, and above-all because of the user community. I can see shades of the Psion community emerging with the Zaurus so here's hoping it develops and thrives in the same way.

So my advice would be to take the plunge, sell the Psion while it still works and is worth something, and get a Z!
dahukanna
I am also a Psion 5mx convert to the Sharp SLC860(Jan 2004). This was forced by the crack in the cable "feature".
My needs are simple
1. A complete device. I don't want a shirtpocket base device and a rucksack for all the add-ons required to make it usefull. The only additional purchases have been a CF Wifi Card.
2. Multi-functional software. I want to be able to organised my life on it (PDA), program on it (Java, C++) and not be restricted by some corporate managers decision as to what I can run, place, do with my device.
3. In this day and age be able to leverage open source software and open standards.

Looking around the market there the only model that I felt would be right was the SLC 860. Even though it was a tad expensive, I had to get it imported, I don't read Japanese and I had to blow the dust of the Linux for Idiots guide, it has been the right choice.

I agree that the official Sharp software is an apology but there are alternatives and that's part of the fun.

From a hard ware perpective the SLC Zaurii are an improvement on the Psion apart from the keyboard and battery life.

Key features of Zaurus -
Tablet and landscape format
Colour VGA screen
64 MB RAM
128 BM Flash
SD and CF cards - add wifi, Bluetooth, storage, camera etc.
Data preserved even if no battery
Can run java natively
Office documents don't need conversion
MP3 and Vidoe player
Able to run most of the software in the SL class e.g. 5500, 5600, C750 and C860.

It has been a steep learning curve for Linux but I'm willing to make that investment.
GoLinux
I'm very pleased to see my original posting still generating such interesting comments. I truly appreciate all that has been shared so far. While I have come to the conclusion that nothing other than a Zaurus could replace my trusty Psion 5mx, I'm still flip-flopping between the SL-C860 and the SL-6000L.

I'm most likely going to wait for the 5mx to die of "the crak in flat cable" disease anyway, so I guess I'll have more time to ponder. Should that happened tomorrow I would probably get the SL-6000L. The built-in WiFi and the USB host capability are really attractive, not to mention the uneasiness I feel at the idea of buying a device not officially supported by Sharp outside Japan. On top of that, after almost 8 years of clamshell devices (Psion 3c first, then 5mx) I guess it is worth to give a try to the "tablet" format. After all, If I don't try it I'll never REALLY know if it does it or not for me.

Now, if by the time I'm ready to buy Sharp should come out with the successor to the SL-C860 with the same screeen as the SL-6000, built-in WiFI (and maybe even Bluetooth!) and USB host capability, well.... I guess that would bring me back to square one.

I would love to see more comments from former of current Psion owners now "migrated" to a Zaurus. I realize I can not expect others to decide for me, but learning about other user experience and motivation to choose one form factor over another would help me to put things in perspective.

How nice would it be to be able to check both the SL-6000L and SL-C860 in a store and see for myself....
dahukanna
"How nice would it be to be able to check both the SL-6000L and SL-C860 in a store and see for myself...."

I had exactly the same thought as I naively went the tottenham court road (a street that has a number of computer/electronics stores) expecting to haggle over a C860. biggrin.gif

You can use the C860 in "tablet" form. As for official support, your 5mx is no longer "officially supported" by Psion. So it's not a new think. As far as the hardware is running, sky's the limit.
fpp
QUOTE
Larman, I agree about OPL. It's not so far from Python (even if Python is far behind).


I do hope you're joking ! OPL was a total nightmare right from the start... Its only redeeming virtues were that it was embedded in ROM, thus letting you program on the Psion itself (good for looong meetings smile.gif ), and that it had crude but effective primitives for the EPOC user interface. So yes, people like me with no C++ knowledge could get going on the platform.

Apart from that, OPL code had all the appeal and long-term manageability of a 15-year-old BASIC dialect, and not a very advanced one at that : meaning, not much. And let's not talk (yet again) of Psion support for the OPL programmer community, the OPX mess, staying power, and whatnot.

I truly admire those few heroes who developed king-sized OPL apps in the S5's heyday. Having myself spent a lot of time on a small and utilitarian app (an expense recorder, which I still use smile.gif ) and seen it through a couple of revs, all I can say is that it takes a lot more dedication and tenacity than I'm ever likely to muster. Especially as sooner or later, when the darned screen ribbon fails, all that will be left of the effort will be memories of sweat and tears and a few thousand lines of legacy code that will never serve any other purpose.

Simply put, having Python on this midget machine, along with a choice of decent code editors (which EPOC never had), feels like a dream : now I can reuse my (admittedly amateurish) experience on Windows and Unix machines to program on the Z, instead of painfully learning yet another framework for code that will die with the platform.

The apple-to-oranges comparison of OPL and Python is so laughable on so many levels that I won't start yet another flame war about that. OTOH, I'm very aware that coding GUI apps with Python and the QTopia port of PyQT is probably harder initially than with OPL for simple things (although surely more productive for larger projects once you're on top of the learning curve). And with the somewhat proprietary nature of Sharp's version of QTopia, there is always the risk that code may be partly locked-in to the platform and need porting/refactoring down the line.

I don't know for sure, and I'm not likely to try (except out of curiosity), because I don't have to. For the sort of simple-minded apps I need or want to make (this time for fun smile.gif ), it is much simpler to run a custom web app server on the Z (very easy to do in Python) and use Opera or Netfront as the UI. This way I can code and test wherever convenient (on the Z or not). And if/when someday I need/want to run that on whichever next-generation Linux PDA, a Windows PC or even a Unix box, there'll be exactly nothing to do except copying some files... I've already done this for a couple of regular desktop apps, and to me the magic of the Z platform is that it works exactly the same..

Sorry for the (partly OT) rant people, Christophe -whom I agree with much of the time - just touched a raw nerve there somewhere smile.gif
TonyOlsen
QUOTE
ShirtPocket are the company in the UK, in the States, it's The Kompany and Dynamism(?). Perhaps someone from the US can elaborate further.  


Just curious... if you buy the Zaurus from "The Kompany", do they include some of their applications with it?
TonyOlsen
QUOTE
4. Battery life. 10 hours promised but in reality less. Rechargeable battery used , so one has to keep it charged otherwise data may be lost !


Data may be lost? The data is flash... I thought it doesn't need power to sustain the data. Am I wrong here?
TonyOlsen
QUOTE
and how did the psion people react to your post? You should really give the 860 a try. The keyboard is better, the battery is better and you can see more with the VGA screen.  


VGA is a MUST! Even with VGA, some applications have to "crunch" a little, but I can now VNC remote control a desktop in VGA mode without having to scroll to see the whole screen. And, with the 1/2 scale pixel resampling option which my VNC viewer supports, I can view desktops with a resolution up to 1280x960... WITHOUT HAVING TO SCROLL!! biggrin.gif

VGA is also needed for many of the games ported over to the Zaurus, such as WarCraft II. Some of these games still work in 320x240, but not very functionally (you miss half of the game... and you die easily.

QUOTE
KDE Koffice and PIM


KOffice... never heard of it. Does it support Microsoft formats? How does it compare to Hancom, StarOffice/OpenOffice, and others? How does the KDE environment compare to QTopia? Pro's / Con's? Is it pretty slow?

QUOTE
2. Multi-functional software. I want to be able to organised my life on it (PDA), program on it (Java, C++) and not be restricted by some corporate managers decision as to what I can run, place, do with my device.  


It sounds like you're talking about Windows' Group Policies. I hate having those group policies there... I don't have full control over my own development machine at work... so I flushed WinXP and upgraded to Win98SE biggrin.gif Now I have the controll back and I'm happy again. smile.gif All the while I'm slowly getting my SL-C860 laptop ready to replace everything else... smile.gif Someday day (mark my words) my C860 WILL BE MY MAIN COMPUTER!! Bwuhahaha!!

QUOTE
It has been a steep learning curve for Linux but I'm willing to make that investment.


Me too...
bluedevils
He's talking about a 5500. The 5500 would loose data if the internal battery went dead. All Z designed after the 5500 would not loose data (unless it is in memory ie an open spreadsheet) with the loss of power.

QUOTE
Data may be lost?  The data is flash... I thought it doesn't need power to sustain the data.  Am I wrong here?
bluedevils
You can no longer buy Zs from the Kompany (they took out the drop down menu to purchase it). TheKompany's policy was to transfer any of their software licenses from your 5x00 Z to the clamshell. This policy only applied to buying one of their devices.

QUOTE
QUOTE

ShirtPocket are the company in the UK, in the States, it's The Kompany and Dynamism(?). Perhaps someone from the US can elaborate further.  


Just curious... if you buy the Zaurus from "The Kompany", do they include some of their applications with it?
amrein
fpp what should I do? Answer to your post or just accept what you write? Did you give me the freedom to choose?
You are not the only one to use this kind of answer. Are you from the "Dark Side Group" too? Same scool?

So here is my point: OPL is an easy procedural basic language easy to learn by anyone. It is easy so it's like Python but it's not object driven and lack text features so it's far from Python. I like to compare chicken and pig. You should try too.
amrein
Boy, if you want to choose between a SL-6000 and a SL-C860 then test them both. Nothing is better than your own value judgment.

Everyone here have their opinion. Make your own decision with direct testing and if possible during more than a week.
fpp
QUOTE
fpp what should I do? Answer to your post or just accept what you write? Did you give me the freedom to choose?
You are not the only one to use this kind of answer. Are you from the "Dark Side Group" too? Same scool?


This is paranoid mumbo-jumbo pure and simple, without meaning nor relation to the topic at hand. Does it ever occur to you that even when following up on one of your posts, people may actually respond for the benefit and feedback of all readers ? That's what forums are for. Else we would use private mail.

QUOTE
So here is my point: OPL is an easy procedural basic language easy to learn by anyone. It is easy so it's like Python but it's not object driven and lack text features so it's far from Python. I like to compare chicken and pig. You should try too.


Thanks for your advice. Here's mine : instead of posing as a cryptic guru, you should try to make your point clear at first try once in a while. As in, proof-reading what you wrote before posting it and making sure that's really what you meant...

To me, your sentence quoted above means "OPL is far [behind] Python", which is such an evidence that I would never have blown my fuse on that. On the other hand, the (only) sentence in the original post I was answering reads :

"Larman, I agree about OPL. It's not so far from Python (even if Python is far behind)."

Not the same, uh ? So which is it ?

My contributions may not be as deeply philosophical as yours, but at least I try to respect potential readers by taking my time to word them, checking them over a couple of times, and trying to make it clear why I'm writing them. Also, it makes it harder to turn the tables a couple of pages down the thread by claiming you were misunderstood. That's for politicians.

And yes, I know such values are much outdated. But you can't learn old dogs like me new tricks, like con artistry or the dark side of Ze Force, Hrrr, Hrrr...
amrein
Please read your previous post again and find all sentenses matching this: "I think this, you are wrong and I would like to not talk about it".

QUOTE
Thanks for your advice. Here's mine : instead of posing as a cryptic guru, you should try to make your point clear at first try once in a while. As in, proof-reading what you wrote before posting it and making sure that's really what you meant...


Yes I agree. I need to think more so no troll can pick a sentense and begin a flame war. (this is not for you, see what follow).

QUOTE
To me, your sentence quoted above means "OPL is far [behind] Python", which is such an evidence that I would never have blown my fuse on that. On the other hand, the (only) sentence in the original post I was answering reads :

"Larman, I agree about OPL. It's not so far from Python (even if Python is far behind)."


My god. Oh my god!!!!! I used an english dictionary for "behind". It mean "derrière" in french and I wanted to say ahead ("devant", the opposite). I have to rewrite this post. I now understand your point. fpp I apologize. I completely appologize. :cry: Really.

I still remember the english book using the "behind" word and I have misunderstood it. As I say in another thread, I should go back to primary scool. Sorry again. I will shut up during 2 months to appologize (until august at least). Perhaps more because I'm not constructing anything when I contribute but distroy instead.

:?

Sorry again everyone too (those kind of post pollute threads).
fpp
QUOTE
My god. Oh my god!!!!! I used an english dictionary for "behind". It mean "derrière" in french and I wanted to say ahead ("devant", the opposite). I have to rewrite this post. I now understand your point. fpp I apologize. I completely appologize.  :cry: Really. I still remember the english book using the "behind" word and I have misunderstood it. As I say in another thread, I should go back to primary scool.  

Ah, so it's a 'bona fide' mistake then ? I wasn't sure, but so much the better - these things happen, and we're agreed after all. Unfortunately wars have been fought (actual ones, not flame wars) and people have died because of poor choices of words. Thus we must all be careful even in the small things, especially us bunch of foreigners conducting virtual discussions in various dialects of a 'lingua franca'. English is not my mother language either, so it requires extra effort (as you know I'm also French, born in France and living there).

QUOTE
Sorry again. I will shut up during 2 months to appologize (until august at least). Perhaps more because I'm not constructing anything when I contribute but distroy instead.

Oh come on, don't overdo it now ! I couldn't shut up for two months and I'm not sure if you could either, or why you should... and anyway, that's not what we want ! :-)
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