Its Alive! Its Alive? (Uses for sad lonely PDA's of yore)
November 11, 2009 4:40 PM   Subscribe

What are some useful or cool apps for the sad lonely PDA's sitting at the bottom of my junk drawer to turn it into a interesting desktop display (ala chumby)

I have a handful (5) of older PDAs (Palms, Windows Mobiles), most of them are fairly fast (300mhz and faster) some of them have built in WIFI and or bluetooth. With all the cool technology packed into the devices, it seems it would make a cool desktop eye candy, RSS feeds, twitter, clock, digital picture frame, email notifications (everything that chumby can do). The only one I found was permaclock, which is a picture rotator with alarm clock functionality. Are there other such cool apps such as this? What are you using your old PDAs for?
posted by edman to Technology (8 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: If you've got a local HTML server, just set them up for a periodically refreshing page that puts up slideshows or whatever sort of data you'd like... You can either do networking through cradles or wirelessly.

If you have a Windows desktop, you probably want to look at SideShow. I believe you can set up a SideShow remote on a Windows PDA using this software.

Personally, what I've done is kept one backup and sold the rest on eBay. That way you're getting the hardware into the hands of the people where it'll do the most good - One man's trash is another's treasure.
posted by Orb2069 at 5:04 PM on November 11, 2009

Best answer: Check out Pocket Stars!! When I give up the PDA for every other use, the machine will live as a Pocket Stars appliance.

It's what I've wanted my whole life - the night vision view is awesome!

The trial version maintains permanent functionality for stargazing as you've never known it before. (The paid version has tools for navigators.)

I like ListPro, and they have downloadable lists (you can upload also). Dockware and NewsBreak, also from Ilium Software, look good, but I haven't tried them yet.

I still miss AvantGo. But I hope never to live without Pocket Stars.
posted by jgirl at 5:17 PM on November 11, 2009

Response by poster: Orb2069: Thats a great idea. I have a nslu2 that I could feed a custom 320x240 webpage that refreshes with all the content that I mentioned. Offload the processing to a server rather than find a software thats native on the pda. brilliant!

Thats funny you mention selling it off to ebay, Im like the anti-you, I actually been slowly purchasing them from ebay, trying to think of cool things to do with these cool gadgets. (and forever trying to convince my wife why I need all these awesome doo-dads :) )

jgirl: thanks for the pocketstars idea, never was a big star gazer, but this may tickle my fancy.
posted by edman at 5:25 PM on November 11, 2009

A friend of mine uses his old wifi enabled winmo device hooked up to his hifi to listen to streaming radio.
posted by dantekgeek at 6:32 PM on November 11, 2009

For a long time I used an original palm pilot (much older than what you're talking about) as an alarm clock. The thing actually knows the day of the week, so I enjoyed not having to futz with it on weekends.

(I got tired of putting AAAs in it and stopped using it - back to futzing with the clock radio and sometimes accidentally sleeping in on Mondays.)
posted by fritley at 7:31 PM on November 11, 2009

Alarm clock or universal/programmable remote control.

A macro button for "turn on the right video and audio source, adjust volume and put the TV on the right channel" is worth something.
posted by rokusan at 4:41 AM on November 12, 2009

Oh - On Rokusan's comment, I've found that OmniRemote is probably MORE flexable than the Harmony 350 I shelled out $60 or so for on eBay.
posted by Orb2069 at 7:48 PM on November 12, 2009

Response by poster: Just an update, spurred by orb2069's suggestion, i started puttering around with feeding custom php pages from my nslu, then migrated to godaddy. i created a twitter interface that feeds tweets, 4 at a time, with an autorefresh of 15 seconds.

It can feed public searches, public timelines, and your own twitter upon login.

Heres a screenshot:

Its a pretty nifty desktop eyecandy that just cycles and updates tweets.

Building the cache mechanism to comply with Twitter's 150 api calls per hour is taking the most time. I have to tweak that before opening the floodgate. (trickle?)

My dusty pda's are shaking with anticipation, even my aging psp's browser may want to play.
posted by edman at 12:36 AM on November 17, 2009

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