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As a longtime Handspring Visor user, I've come to depend on the PDA for a large number of computing needs. Noding for E2 is no exception; my Visor is pretty much the exclusive device on which I write up things for E2.

This experience has taught me several things about how a PDA (these tips focus on a Handspring Visor, but the same holds true for many other PDAs) can be effectively utilized in terms of just noding for E2, although many of these tips have an overlap into general use for a PDA. So, without further ado, here are some tips for utilizing a Handspring Visor (or other Palm OS compatible PDA) for use with E2.

  1. Get a Targus Foldaway keyboard. They are pricey, yes, but the huge benefit of usefulness without much of an increase in space (it folds to a size approximately the same as the Visor) makes this an essential purpose. I don't have the patience or the time to use the stylus to enter writeups while on the go, but unfolding the keyboard and popping in my Handspring gets me ready to churn out 50 or so words per minute in a snap. It's almost like having a laptop PC, but without the space requirements and much lighter.
  2. Get the WordSmith word processing program. Blue Nomad Software makes it; you can download it from their website (http://www.bluenomad.com) for a very lengthy trial. It's the best PDA word processing software I've ever used; plus, it's compatible with the Targus keyboard. WordSmith is one of the few essential softwares I've come across for the Palm OS, and it makes preparing E2 writeups much simpler. My only complaint is that it may be too much of a word processor for E2; the big thing it has going for it is Targus compatibility.
  3. Get the peditPro program, regardless. For lighter text needs (and quite often, this is all that you need), peditPro (available for free at Palm Gear) is a must have. It replaces the heavily limited Memo Pad with a substantially improved version, with an on-screen mini-keyboard (for the characters you haven't memorized) and some nice scripting and vi-like shortcut capabilities. I often use it for quick notes when the keyboard is nearly overkill.
  4. Realize what nodes you can do on the go. Some nodes aren't meant to be typed out on the bus. Focus only on nodes that you know by heart. For instance, day logs and dream logs are pretty much ideal for doing on the go; you can rant about your day anywhere. Things that only need a little bit of related documentation are also good; I can drop a magazine in my backpack and refer to it anywhere. It's a bad idea to do a Korean War analysis or something else that requires a lot of reference while on the go; it just doesn't work. Stick to day logs, things you know very well, or things that have very portable references (documents on your Handspring or small paper documents).
  5. While at your workstation, make a list of nodes you can do while away from your workstation. If you come across something to write up that seems simple, don't do it immediately. Save it to do on your Handspring and tackle something more involving first. That way, you can do the simpler one while riding the bus or waiting for a meeting. I keep a running list of E2 ideas that can be done as I wait in various places; they are usually the simpler ones that I tackle. I keep this list on my Handspring for future reference.

The real key is to realize the limitations of processing on the go and then maximize what you are actually able to do. By using devices that allow you to write much faster and a clever scheme for deciding what to write, your PDA can be a very useful tool for E2 writeups.

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