So, I’ve started a new gig, and I’m going to be a rebel and commute via public transit.
Yes, I know, I know, I live in Los Angeles, there’s no such thing as public transit, it’s going to take forever, I’m a fool, I’m a moron, I’m a hippy freak, why don’t I just get a car like everyone else…blah, blah, blah. Hey, man, cars are for the weak. Only the mighty take the bus.
This first week, I’ve borrowed a friend’s car (she’s just gotten a new one and is in the process of selling this beastie. I can attest that it runs nicely and only smells slightly of cigarettes) just to make sure I get there on time. It’s going away, and I’ll be damned if we become a two-car family. I’d rather we spend our hard-earned money on saving for a house or having the gang down at Sushi King lay some really nice toro on us. We’re gonna dump Anne’s rig, get her something more fuel-efficient, and I’m gonna take the bus. And the train. And the bus.
That’s the most efficient idea, so far. I take the Big Blue 3 to the Green Line to the 550 to a block away from the office. It’s going to take an hour and fifteen, maybe an hour and a half. While driving has so far been 45 minutes each way (avoided the cursed 405 as much as possible), it’s still wasted time: I can only listen. Yes, there are books on tape, but with the storyload I’ve got from Fictionados, and with my morning writing time now gone, I’ve got to do something else with my transit time.
So, I need to change my setup. I’ve tried writing by pen on the bus, and it doesn’t work. All I get is a page full of chicken tracks and an upset tum. I’d rather not use my laptop as a) it makes me an obvious target for mugging/harassment/”Hey, you got any pr0n on that?” and b) it’ll fry my gonads. The fact that it’s cumbersome and takes time to close and put in my bag as I’m running after a bus or a train puts that right out.
So, I’m thinking this: a new PDA, one with a fastish processor and (more importantly) a fast hardware bus and a fold-out keyboard. Or, better yet, a Bluetooth keyboard so the PDA can just sit in my pocket and not be out for some grabbing jackhole. Granted, I’ve never been bothered in all my time taking the bus, but my White Boy Paranoia is jumping up a little bit at the thought of standing down at the busway or the Green Line stations. I’d be upset if someone horked the keyboard off my lap, but I’d be downright homicidal if they got my PDA with a morning’s writing locked in its memory.
So the question is this: which one? Which set up do I get?
I’ve always used a Palm, but the reviews on Amazon and C|NET for the BT-equipped units all complained of digitizer problems. I’d rather not blow my cash on the Tungsten T5, especially when I can get a Pocket PC for less that comes with built-in wifi. Still, having Documents To Go bundled in would rock.
PPCs seem like they were built to my needs: they play music, they take pictures, they expand and hold data and connect and stuff. Most of the BT keyboards I’ve looked at are built for PPCs. The sticking point for me is their software. It’s made by The Man, and that doesn’t make me feel very confident. I’d rather not have to worry about my work going up in smoke when I suddenly get the Blue Screen O’ Death.
A third option would be to get a smartphone, one with built-in BT and an expansion slot for a disk full of music. It might be nice to have one appliance rather than juggle a bunch. Of course, I’m now locked into a two-year contract with AT&T/Cingular with my pisashit Sony Ericsson, so I can’t go and score a new phone for free or rebate (though I could just factor in the cost of breaking the contract and treat it like the cost of the phone).
So, I don’t really need WiFi, as I don’t travel often enough to warrant checking email and surfing the web is a distraction. I’d like a full-size keyboard (thumbing in my text is note option), the ability to play music, an easy way to transfer data to my laptop/desktop. Taking pictures would be nice, though my present phone already does that.