Thursday, April 13, 2006


I have trouble throwing away gizmos and gadgets that have ceased to function. On one level, there is a sense of waste, a feeling that if I could just figure out what was wrong, or obtain a missing part, all would be well again. On another level, there is the rememberance of the joy that I felt researching, buying, and learning to use the latest "miust have", and the feeling that somehow that could be recaptured if I had the time or knowledge to fix the thing.

My long time favourite PDA, the Psion 5MX, was notoriously fragile. I put up with the expense and the periodic need to service or replace the thring because it was just so brilliant, and I had built my working habits around its capabilities.

It was the final death of my last Psion, and the fact that the company no longer manufactured the model or provided service in Asia that finally persuaded me to transition to the Nokia 9500. Now I really like the 9500, but it doesn't have all the bells and whistles the 5MX did, and I am still reminded of that fact occasionally when I try and do something that is no longer possible on the Nokia.

Which brings me to an odd occurrence yesterday.

It is Spring, and I was doing some cleaning in the Haunt when I came across my drawer of Psion carcasses. Everything from the original Series 3 to a couple of dead LCD screens from various 5MX's. Sitting with pride of place was the last 5MX, which had died suddenly, without warning, and resisted all attempts at revival. I had backups, and managed to retrieve most of what had been on it, all except my agenda which had been a complete diary of appointments going back more than 10 years.

For old time's sake, I popped in a couple of double A batteries and pushed the reset button. Nothing happened, and a phone call came in, so I just left it sitting on my desk. About five minutes later, I picked up the 5MX and prepared to take out the batteries. I popped the screen one last time to check and there was the setup screen in all its glory.

I went through the familiar motions of completing the script, and was dropped to the main screen of a fully functional Psion Series 5MX. No data files because of the hard reset, but otherwise a ready to go PDA.

I won't go back to using it of course, the same problems with fragility and service would remain. But as a reminder of the basic value of optimisim, it sure felt good.

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