It may be known by different names - handheld organizer, Palm Pilot, iPac, PDA, and handheld, to name but a few - but no matter what you call it, a personal digital assistant (PDA) is an invaluable tool to help manage student life.
PDA’s can help you with everything from writing a novel to storing a client database, capturing and showing photos or video, performing extremely complex calculations, maintaining an address book, storing recipes, prioritizing daily tasks, sending and receiving emails, surfing the Internet, playing games, reading a book, relaxing to some music, or tracking your extremely busy schedule, and so much more.
These super-powerful mini-computers that fit into a purse or a shirt pocket, and that transfer all their files to a home computer and vice-versa, are becoming more and more popular as people become more computer-connected and mobile.
Even cellular phones are being manufactured with PDA’s built right into them.
Once you’ve decided that you’ve just got to have a PDA, answering the following questions will help you purchase the model that’s just right for you.
- What will be the PDA’s primary function? Do you need to keep track of your schedule better, or be able to categorize and prioritize your daily tasks? Do you need to show clients some photographs or video? Do you listen to downloadable audio books or mp3 music, or do a lot of self-development reading?
- What will be the secondary use for the PDA? Re-answering some of the above questions, and some of your own, will help you decide where else your interests are.
- Does it need to have a built-in microphone and sound?
What physical size should it be? Does it need to be small enough to fit into a shirt pocket or small purse, or do you plan to use a book-style cover that can also hold other items?
- What kind of specialized software do you plan to run on it? This will determine a number of factors, including the processing power and memory you will need, and the type of operating system – Windows CE, Palm OS etc.
- What kind of expansion card do you like to use or maybe already have in your digital camera etc.? If you have a digital camera that uses a certain type of memory card, you may consider buying a PDA with a similar expansion card. This way, you can take pictures with your camera, then plug the camera’s card into your PDA and download the photos directly onto the unit. Some PDA’s, however, come with a built-in camera.
Does the PDA need a wireless connection to the Internet or to other equipment, even your computer?
Let’s face it, if we all had terrific memories we wouldn’t need day planners, notepads, to-do lists, and daily reminder alarms. But since we don’t and the technology is there, let’s use it to full advantage.
Happy PDA purchasing!