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1.1. PalmPilot Basics

Before you fall in love with your little machine, spend a moment marveling that it's actually nothing more than a pile of plastic, silicon, and glass. Most PalmPilot models are 4.7 inches tall, 3.1 inches wide, and 0.6 inches thick (the Palm V is shorter and half as thick; the Palm VII is slightly taller). It weighs between 4 and 6 ounces and has a 160-pixel-square grayscale, touch-sensitive screen. A Motorola 68328 (Dragonball) processor chip inside runs a special operating system called the Palm OS that—talk about optimized!—uses only about 40K of memory. (If you're keeping score at home, that's about one-quarter of 1 percent of the memory required by Windows 9x.)

The PalmPilot has no moving parts and doesn't accept disks of any kind; everything it knows is stored in memory, which helps explain why this machine is so fast and so rugged. Many of the usual encumbrances and trouble spots of actual computers simply don't exist on the PalmPilot. For example, there's no startup delay when you press the power button. Nor is there a Save command; your work in progress is always kept up-to-date automatically. A "launching pad" screen lists all your programs and lets you choose which to work with—but programs load instantaneously, and there's no Quit command. You eventually come to feel as though all your programs are always running.


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