Thread: The Zen Done Gone
03-19-2003, 08:21 AM #1
The Zen Done Gone
Contributing writer Trotter Hardy says Palm has lost its way on the Zen path it defined nearly ten years ago.
What do you think?
Read his editorial at http://www.brighthand.com/article/Zen_Done_Gone
03-19-2003, 09:09 AM #2
Interesting article. I think his comment below fairly summarizes the real problem:
Sure, I'll eventually start remembering to slide it open before writing
I sometimes long for the simplicity and speed of DOS. I ain't using it though, and I'm guessing Trotter won't go back to his old Palm either.-iPAQgeek (Dave)
"Don't find fault. Find a remedy" - Henry Ford
03-19-2003, 09:36 AM #3
- Join Date
- Nov 2002
Adding easy to use software such as Qlaunch, Okey, Newpen, and Graffiti Anywhere greatly improve the TT's functionality. I almost never open the slider. I disagree with everything the author wrote except that the screen cover is lacking. Also, the TT could be lighter, but that is a trade-off I am glad to make at the present time. Thanks for the article, it was an interesting read.
03-19-2003, 10:01 AM #4
- Join Date
- Nov 2002
I read the article but don't totally agree. I have been a PPC for years and never had any interest in Palms. As a very frustrated PPC user with all the problems that have accompanied my Ipaq I decided to have an open mind and look elsewhere. The Tungsten T is the only palm that has ever caught my eye.
I love the design of it and was amazed to find that for using a handheld in everyday life it actually worked as expected unlike my ipaq. It takes less screen taps on the palm to do the same things on my PPC. As a die hard PPC user I was pleasantly surprised at all the software options I now had that just aren't yet available in the PPC world. I happen to love the size and the sliding graffiti mechanism. The Tungsten is smaller & lighter than my ipaq. Coming from a PPC, I don't use graffiti, I use jot so I can write naturally & I never open the slider.
Probably for die hard Palm users the Tungsten T may be a disappointment, but I would venture to guess that the Tungsten T may have caught the attention of many non-palm users. It would appear that if you wanted a longer palm without the sliding mechanism that the Clie would meet that requirement. I still have my ipaq for multimedia needs but the Tungsten T is currently my everyday handheld.
03-19-2003, 10:07 AM #5
- Join Date
- Aug 2000
- Tucson, AZ
I agree with everything in the article except for the bit about fully-featured programs.
First off, I entered into the PDA scene with the belief that it is good to have as much full-featured functionality as possible in a handheld device. I have never lost that belief; in fact, it has been strengthened by Textmaker, whose fully customizeable interface proved to me that flexibility--not featureless-ness--is the key to having desktop functionality on a PDA.
That aside, I agree very much with the principles that PDA hardware should be designed with simplicity and function in mind. This means having a diverse line of models so that consumers can buy as much as they need and as little as they don't. The iPaq 1910 is a pretty good balance for people who don't want a 3900 or 5450, for example.
I also agree with the principles of ease in learning as well as carrying. Good article!
03-19-2003, 10:20 AM #6
- Join Date
- Nov 2000
- Tamworth, Staffs, UK
Just another Pocket PC bias rant
I have never owned a palm and have owned three different pocket PCs but I can't see what good it does having a blatently biased article in preference to objectivity. I played with the Tungsten T a while ago and was delighted with it. The reason I am staying with Pocket PC is because of cirtain software apps that I find essential and my investment in the technology. But if something arrives that would clearly suit my needs better I would switch. This is called progress!
I get the idea that if the tungsten could work on Excel, Word, Powerpoint, Access .... seamlessley, could play video at 30fps and whilst doing this could do a complete synch in under 30 seconds this guy would complain that it was too complicated.
Hey, it's about time microsoft put a fraction of the development time into PDAs that Palm does!
03-19-2003, 10:46 AM #7
- Join Date
- Nov 2002
After reading this article concerning the Tungsten, it gives one pause to wonder about the motivations of this site. All one has to do is look at the postings in the Palm forum to see where the interest is focused. Plastic cover- is it worth mentioning? I have disposed of many plastic covers given to me by companies manufactoring various devices. I and many others who have bought the Tungsten really love the device. I have gained lots of knowledge browsing the forum; this article seems to not FIT with the information I have been reading in the posts. I am cautiously puzzled over this "Zen" discussion.
03-19-2003, 10:58 AM #8
Basically, the author summed up the reasons I switched from the Palm camp to PPC.
Memory/Storage and File Management is a joke. Truly. Try explaining to a 14 yr old, even a computer proficient one (or a non-technophile of any age for that matter) about how to manage and store files on a Palm. Then count the number of blank stares you get. I won't even touch trying to launch applications from external memory.
It's pretty sad when the average user feels more comfortable on my e740 running PPC 2k2 than a Palm OS4 machine, much less the new, buggy, OS5.
What happened? IMO, Palm got scared of it's first real competition. And instead of concentrating on what made Palm great in the first place, they have been trying to beat PPC at it's own game ever since. I just have to laugh when someone wants to tell me how PPC is bloatware and too complicated, with not enough RAM to install all the apps you need, and then they pull out their Clie with 11 MB Ram, camera, ridiculous launcher that even a 4 year Palm OS vet can't figure out and impress me with how "easy" and "Zen-like" it is to use. LOL - Whatever.
Honestly, the last versions of Palm OS4.1 (both Mono and Color, especially the HiRes Sony's like the N760 and T665) were, and still are, the epitome of what Palm is all about. They truly have lost their way. They are not going to beat MS by trying to include all the things that people who buy PPC want in a PDA. Stick to what has worked for Palm!! Keep upgrading the hardware, keep the bloat down, and K.I.S.S.!!! That's what works - for anything else, people are going to buy a PPC anyway. All Palm has done is alienate their core base of followers, and Sony is the only one to take it to another level. And their "everything including the kitchen sink" has nothing whatsoever to do with Palm. Sony people are Sony people, and Palm folks are entirely different from the guy who wants a 2 MP digicam on his PDA. Palm needs to just let Sony worry about trying to woo the PPC folks with awesome screens and cameras, and stick to doing what they (used) to do best. And that's small, fast, easy to operate PIM based machines. There is still a HUGE market for that, and MS is obviously not interested in going there. The whole market for those types of devices is wide open. In the rush for the biggest, fastest, brightest, multimedia MONSTER of a PDA lately, no one even seems to think about the sales of the Zire (ugh - I know, it's dreadful but it totally makes my point!) and the fact that MOST people still prefer to watch movies on their TV's, play music on their stereo, and surf the Net on their computer! They are looking at an inexpensive PDA to replace that fat, disorganized DayRunner they haul around everywhere! And they certainly are not going to spend $6-800 on a PDA.
The answer for Palm? Make more handhelds like the Zire (although, you really COULD improve that toad a bit ) and look at the simplicity and style of the T665, and work on refining and marketing to the segment that wants that. I think MP3 players are a great addition to a device that you would generally carry with you all the time. And Palm has even managed to bungle that with the T|T. Otherwise, LEAVE IT ALONE! Oh well. As if this post will make any kind of difference.
I'm happy with my PPC. And I'll keep my S320 and T665 to remind me of how simple and cool Palm used to be before they got bought by Sony!peace out,
Current PDA - hp iPaq 2215, Sena Case, LinkSys WCF12 WiFi card, 256 MB CF Card, 256 MB SD card, 64 MB SD card -> SE T616 -> Belkin Class1 BT adapter for PC.
RIP - Palm IIIx, Sony S300, S320, T665, Toshiba e740 (good riddance!!)
03-19-2003, 11:17 AM #9
One Man's Trash Is Another Man's Treasure?
I must have had an extra cup of the kool-aid because I really like the Tungsten T.
For all the points that you've made, I don't really have a problem with them. I don't find the device awkward to hold, I like the collapsible graffiti area and it's my favorite Palm OS device to date. About the only thing I didn't care for too much was the plastic cover, but I used it until I bought a case for it. So one man's trash is another man's treasure?
I did like the fact that Mr. Hardy used "The Zen Of Palm" to compare the device. So, although I think the first two points don't necessarily apply, the last two do hold some merit.
Trying to fit a full desktop application in the palm of your hand is the worst mistake you can make. It will ultimately lead to failure.
Palm has simply followed suit in including a suite of products typically found in hi-end devices. All manufacturers include similar types of software for their high end products. IMHO I think this "Zen-ism" needs updating. It applied back in 1998, but I don't think it applies today. Technology has caught up and this is less of an issue.
[Handhelds should] be fast and easy to figure out.
The way in which Palm has handled expansion cards is very poor. Without a 3rd party solution such as FileMan (http://www.bitsnbolts.com/fileman.html), usage of the expansion card is minimal at best. So, I have to agree with you on this one. Hopefully, future devices will include a file browser application like the Kyocera 7135 does.
Overall though, I thought the article was thought provoking and although somewhat inflammatory, it does make you think - which isn't a bad thing.
03-19-2003, 12:03 PM #10
- Join Date
- Feb 2002
This article was a real disappointment. The thesis: that the Tungsten T doesn't follow the Zen of Palm is intriguing, but the article itself doesn't argue that thesis. It is, rather, one person's very biased review of the physical aspects of a particular device, with a couple of system usability issues thrown in at the end.
On almost every one of his first two arguments, the author makes what is ultimately a very subjective claim based on his own physical preferences. While I actually agree with some of them (in general, that is... personally I find the Tungsten T very physically appealing), his arguments are not on point.
His first argument is that the Tungsten T fails to fulfill the Zen requirement of "solving a user problem pragmatically" because its collapsing graffiti area is a "nuisance". I would argue that the problem of size is addressed by the collapsing design. There might be other ways to go about creating a "big when you need it/small when you don't" solution, but he can't argue that the collapsing feature doesn't address the issue somewhat. Just because he doesn't like the solution doesn't mean it doesn't fit the Zen principle in question.
His second argument is that the Tungsten T fails to fulfill the Zen requirement of "being small and light". I challenge him to find a smaller handheld with similar hardware specifications (Bluetooth, high-res colour screen, SDIO slot, voice recorder, ARM processor, etc.). And besides, what do "slipperiness", being difficult to hold (aren't those the same point?), and having a poor supplied cover have to do with being small and light?
This third and fourth arguments are the only ones that really hold any water.
The third point, trying to fit a desktop application onto a handheld is a bad idea. Although the argument is valid, his conclusion that this is a fault of the Tungsten T, or of Palm itself, is wrong: It's a mistake that users have demanded Palm should make on their behalf. Excepting the value-priced Zire, name a PalmOS handheld that doesn't ship with DocumentsToGo. Ultimately, the choice of what software goes on a handheld is the choice of the user and the development community, not the manufacturer.
As for the fourth point, I actually agree... the card interface doesn't meet the requirements of the Zen, except insofar that it is transparent. The problem is the transparency stems from the fact that it's hardly there.
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