Sunday, May 21, 2006

Vintage Palm Pilot + Project Gutenberg = Happy Kid?

I know next to nothing about portable computers devices. I don't even own a cordless phone. But it seems to me that I could buy one of the older PDAs that doesn't do anything except hold about a book's worth of text, download a classic children's chapter book from Project Gutenberg, and keep a young book-lover happy for a day or so. I've been told one of the early Palm Pilots would be perfect for this job (and is fairly cheap off ebay), but I don't know what sort make/model/qualities to look for. Could you folks give me some advice?

3 comments:

samuel said...

That sounds like a really cool idea. I don't have one little bit of advice, but I'm hoping that someone does, because this sounds really cool.

COD said...

A Palm III with 8 MB would be perfect.

Robert Carnegie said...

I think, see http://www.gutenberg.org/howto/pda-howto

Older PDAs may struggle. Also, the display may be very unsatisfactory. How about an obsolete laptop computer instead, with a clear monochrome screen, perhaps colour, and anyway compatible with a colour monitor? If you only want to read text - and maybe some pictures... play a few older games...

I'm a fan of the Opera Web browser, and there have been versions running on Windows 3.1 and Linux amongst others. It scores by being largely driveable from the keyboard alone, and good at managing multiple documents simultaneously without creaking. As far as I recall, fully commercial editions - the earliest - "expire" from the free evaluation term into a state of only showing files on the hard disk or local disks, which is what you want anyway. You could also buy a USB floppy disk drive (remember them?) to copy files if there isn't a CD.