Just 10 short years ago, PDA’s were just starting to come out. No one was calling them pocket PS’s at that point, but that was basically what they were. At the time, it seemed like a pointless novelty. A pocket pc was no more convenient than a pocket organizer, and it had many disadvantages. It was expensive, breakable, and less intuitive than using a personal organizer with paper. On top of that, the few people who were foolish enough to invest in a personal digital organizer were often the targets of theft.
When I compare now to then, it is like night and day. Almost everyone and their mother has a Bluetooth pocket pc. The funny thing is that, the younger people are, the more likely they are to have electronic organizers. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, if you think about it. After all, how much information does your average school kid really have to keep track of? Not that much, and yet all of them are spending upwards of $200 for a pocket pc slash cell phone slash portable game station.
On second thought, it looks like things have really not changed all that much. Now, as then, the pocket pc is more of a status symbol than a useful tool for organizing data. A lot of tech geeks rightly point out that digital technology allows us to more efficiently store and organize information, but they miss the fact that most of us do not have very much information to store and organize. Keeping track of a few dates and appointments, or even organizing files and planning projects, works perfectly well on paper. With paper, you have a more visceral, hands on approach. It can be taken anywhere, modified however you want, and easily and cheaply replaced.
Don’t get me wrong – computers do have their uses. Even the pocket pc is indispensable for some people. If you are the type of character who has to have every moment of his life planned out to the minute, a pocket pc is definitely the right choice for you. Still, I believe that if it is not broken, there is no reason to fix it. People have been getting by with paper and pen for quite a while now, and there is no reason to change. You can keep your shiny new pocket digital organizer. I’ll take my battered old notebook any day.