They Just Don't Build Them Like That Anymore
Tuesday I dropped my Handspring Visor Deluxe about six inches onto a carpeted floor and watched in horror as the touch screen cracked, rendering the unit inoperable. Fortunately, I was still able to hot-sync (for the PDA-deprived, that means downloading all the data stored on your handheld device to your main computer) and save the information, but the unit itself was toast. A quick web search indicated that it could be repaired, but I would have to send it back to the manufacturer, and because it was no longer under warranty, it would cost me about $150 to get the screen replaced.
Further searching indicated I could get a brand-new Palm PDA with a color screen for less than $200 at a nearby Staples store. The decision was pretty much a no-brainer, and despite the fact that I don't really have $200 burning a hole in my pocket right now, my desire for instant gratification, combined with a VISA card with an $8000 credit limit and a temporary 4.9% APR prompted me to walk down the street after work and pick one up.
$320 later, I walked out with a new Palm M-130 PDA, a 64 Mb expansion chip, a USB hot-sync cable (for syncing to my home laptop) and a three-year extended warranty. Normally, I would have skipped the later item, but since I'd only had the Visor for about 18 months, coughing up $40 for the extra warranty protection seemed justified under the circumstances. I now have something that fits in the palm of my hand and has more total computing power than all of the Apollo spacecraft that went to the moon - combined. And it's got a color screen. And I was able to restore all of my data from the Visor to it when I got back to the office. And I can download things like "Giraffes & Elephants" cartoons on it.
It was probably not an essential purchase, but I really do have most of my life organized into it, and so I just have to knuckle under and roll with it.
I also just got my beloved Bus back from The World's Greatest VW Mechanic. It had been acting up for some time, making a VERY loud noise (to which those of you who've heard it can attest), that turned out to be a cracked exhaust manifold. Not only did Ken fix the noise problem, but he also managed to seal a few valve leaks, get me a bit of heat up front (VW buses are notorious for not having good heating systems), AND get my turn signals working again!
Ironically, all this cost me -- yes, exactly $320, the same amount I just paid for a tiny little computer. The difference between the two items is that a.) the Bus is much, much bigger, b.) is 28 years old, and c.) considering all the restoration work I've had done on it, could easily last another 25 years, pending availability of spare parts, long after the new PDA is broken, discarded and leaching toxic chemicals into a landfill somewhere.
on 3:52 PM