The Null Device

I recently got an Agenda VR3 through work. The VR3 is a PDA, a small device, physically not unlike a PalmPilot. The main difference is that it runs Linux; when you turn it on, you see the Linux boot messages scrolling past in a tiny font, and then the familiar X11 stippled background. There is also a Terminal application which gives you a UNIX shell (one of those tiny stripped-down rescue-disk shells, mind you; everything on the Agenda is done with economy in mind). How useful that is is another matter; the handwriting recognition system also seemed a bit slower and more erratic than the PalmPilot's (even than my aging Pilot 5000, whose digitiser seems to be going senile), making entering UNIX commands somewhat painful.

The software built into the Agenda is what you'd expect: notes, address book, scheduler, &c. However, much of it is somewhat rudimentary compared to the Palm. For example, there is no way to tell the scheduler to display days from 2pm to midnight, rather than the hegemonic 9 to 5 of the Morning People who rule the world, and adding events means going through dialogs.

The Agenda probably won't replace my aging Pilot; however, the fact that it's Linux-based and hackable raises some interesting possibilities.

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