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> CURRENT PSION 5mx OWNER NEEDS ADVICE
lardman
post Apr 13 2004, 04:36 AM
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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
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highfell
post Apr 13 2004, 05:30 AM
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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
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bluedevils
post Apr 13 2004, 05:36 AM
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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.
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amrein
post Apr 13 2004, 06:18 AM
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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)
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.mau.
post Apr 13 2004, 06:46 AM
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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 :-(
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highfell
post Apr 13 2004, 06:58 AM
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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
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amrein
post Apr 13 2004, 07:11 AM
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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
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amrein
post Apr 13 2004, 07:19 AM
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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.
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bluedevils
post Apr 13 2004, 07:53 AM
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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
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LadyBug
post Apr 13 2004, 10:32 AM
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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.
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charlesa
post Apr 23 2004, 05:16 AM
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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.
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cloud
post May 27 2004, 07:39 AM
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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.
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cgrieves
post May 28 2004, 02:01 AM
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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!
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dahukanna
post May 28 2004, 03:11 AM
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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.
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GoLinux
post May 31 2004, 07:11 PM
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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....
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