Fun with Treos
March 30, 2005 3:34 PM   Subscribe

What's the coolest use for a Palm device you've ever seen?

I've recently started using a used Treo 270 as my mobile device (only used normal cellphones before) and must say that it's a great experience, but I'm constantly looking for new things to do with it. I've already installed plucker, read a couple of books, VNCed to my desktop at home, SSHed into my colo'd box, IRCed constantly--but I feel like such a platform provides much more in functionality than even I use it for. What interesting uses do you get out of your palm device?
posted by angry modem to Technology (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
usenet. Get a newsreader and read comp.lang all day, everywhere.

(If you really are interested, I've got some private mods to a Palm newsreader that I never distributed, which I might be able to dig up.)
posted by orthogonality at 3:48 PM on March 30, 2005

Oh, and there are some great city maps for the Palm and some nice astronomy programs showing your current sky. And be sure to install the font hack. actually, take a look at all the hacks, some are pretty good.

(I'd be more precise, but I lost my Palm years ago, and got a Zaurus as a replacement.)
posted by orthogonality at 3:50 PM on March 30, 2005

The most useful application I found was NFP which will has menstrual cycle tracking for women. At the time I was trying to get my wife pregnant, the stats (sex, temperature, etc) logging and charting was useful and interesting. It also will output to excel so you can bring charts into the doc.

I know this sounds weird, but I found it really useful and interesting at the time. It was something that was useful and well suited to palmification.
posted by phatboy at 4:31 PM on March 30, 2005

Whoops, ignore the grammar problems there. Don't post while drunk!!
posted by phatboy at 4:32 PM on March 30, 2005

Back when the TV show The Screen Savers was still good, they would have this guy on sometimes, Steve Pope, who works for a company called Zilog. These segments would feature Mr. Pope using PDAs to control robots that would control a telescope and play robotic ping-pong, among other things. That's the coolest use for a PDA I've ever seen.
posted by matildaben at 5:50 PM on March 30, 2005

Portable spectroscopy analysis. Not that I've ever got my grubby paws on such a beast, since it's not just software (it involves slapping the PDA onto the output of a very expensive sensor) but the result is something that can not only detect x-ray and gamma radiation, but tell you what isotopes and daughter-isotopes of which element are creating the gamma.

If you know your stuff, there are various fun applications of that kind of thing too, such as using it to detect whether someone is a vegetarian (their body is slightly more radioactive from the extra k-40 in the diet), hopefully after placing a large wager with someone else that you couldn't correctly ascertain ten people's dietary preferences without asking them :-)
posted by -harlequin- at 5:53 PM on March 30, 2005

Check out Orb. It's free!
posted by nitsuj at 6:07 PM on March 30, 2005

There's this robot kit -- though that's probably not what you're asking for.
posted by krisjohn at 6:25 PM on March 30, 2005

Possibly blatant, but reading books (Project Gutenburg).

Honestly, so many classics read on my Palm that I cherish it more than I probably should.
posted by sled at 6:28 PM on March 30, 2005

second for Gutenberg: 10,000 books via the Plucker reader -- very easy to autoconvert from the excellent online library at Univ of Adelaide. I didn't like my palm until I went camping with a library in my back pocket (one that i could read at night without waking my wife)
posted by anadem at 8:43 PM on March 30, 2005

You don't really want to know what I use my palms for.
posted by randomstriker at 12:32 AM on March 31, 2005

Unlocking Jeeps.

They have an infrared transceiver. There is software that will make it act as a learning remote control for your telly / vcr / what have you. Record the owner unlocking it (say from across the road), then surprise and unsettle them later by locking / unlocking it without access to their keys.

(Works on my brother's 1995 Jeep Cherokee. Appalling, really.)
posted by yt at 1:45 AM on March 31, 2005

Pubmed on tap. All of the world's medical knowledge surrounding you in SKO diffuse cloud. The only reason I can see for someone wanting the otherwise awful Tungsten C.

Sorry about the crappy link, the software's actual page at the NIH is down.
posted by monocyte at 7:37 AM on March 31, 2005

By "Palm device," I assume you mean any device running the Palm OS. Given that, I really like the Magellan GPS unit that plugs into my Handspring Visor. I use Delorme Xmap Handheld maps that I download from my big computer, rather than the ones that came with the Magellan.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:06 PM on March 31, 2005

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