by Ian Campbell
New Zealand farmers have made considerable use of computer technology over the years
but it is largely confined to desktop or laptop machines.Handheld computers now have sufficient power to be regarded as valuable tools for farmers of all types and dedicated farming software is now available.|
Consider these attributes of modern handhelds:
What can they be used for?The standard applications in most hanhelds include address books, todo lists, appointment calendars and notepads but because they are true computers they can be programmed for a wide variey of other tasks like:
Programs to do many of these tasks are available on the downloads page. I intend to add to and modify these programs as needed so if you have any needs for speficic tasks on Palm handhelds email me at email@example.com
Which one to buy?Most handhelds use one of two operating systems
All of them are capable of working with the standard Microsoft tools like Word and Excel
My preference is for the Palm OS devices.
There are many manufactures producing devices that use the Palm OS including some cellphones and GPS systems. The only attribute I consider essential for farm use is rechargeable batteries. Just place the handheld in its cradle now and again and it will always be ready for use.
New Zealand prices for Palm handhelds start at around $250 and go up to about $1500 for cellphone with built in Palm. It makes a lot of sense to buy at the low end unless you particularly need other features The Palm Zire 21 will get you started with minimal outlay and has the capacity to run dedicated software like my Palmfarm package. Do not get confused betwwen the the basic Zire 21 and a model called Zire 71 which has a built in camera and other features.
A newcomer on the market and an exception to the comments above is the Meazura RDA(Rugged Digital Assistant).
This is a New Zealand made device with very good specs and is built to withstand the rigours of outdoor use. It is available at a reasonable price of about NZ$700.00.
Where to buy?Many local computer retail stores will stock PDA's (Persnal Digital Assistants)
The most widespread chain selling them in NZ and via the internet is Dick Smiths
Warehouse stationery stores sell a limited range plus accessories like screen protectors
Rugged cases are not so easy to find in New Zealand but some outdoor sports suppliers now stock an Armor brand like this.
An alternative that I like is the aquapac.
The Aquapac is totally sealed against the environment and is flexible which means it can be easily be carried in a pocket, on your belt or on a neck cord.
Both these cases have flexible clear fronts which means you can operate the PDA without removing it I can help source both these products in New Zealand if you wish. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Internet linksOther internet sites of interest are: