This page is meant to be a resource to those with an interest in the Windows CE 2.0-based Nino 300 series Palm-size PC from Philips. (You can hear a little about me and my interest in this technology here!) Since this page came online back in mid-January, I've become aware, through e-mail, newsgroups, and chat forums, of the large degree of interest that this little unit has generated. Now that the Nino has been released and users have started to get them in their hands (I've got two!), I intend to continue reporting items of interest and relevance to those that care to hear about them. I am very pleased with what Philips has brought to market with the Nino and have no doubt that, down the road, the next incarnation of the Nino will again be the superior device in that arena--and I will be here to cover it. If anyone discovers any news of interest out there that might have a place on this page, please e-mail me, Blake Patterson, at bpatters@mindspring.com and let me know.



Put this page in your pocket!

Ok, the first review is on-line on my new Review Page, and more will soon follow. I'm taking a fairly informal and conversational tone in these reviews, and I hope that agrees with everyone. Please check the link every couple of days or so -- I'm going to try to get a lot of products on that page for everyone, so do take a look.


I just wanted to drop a quick note here to let everyone know that I've just added The Review Page (see icon above) where I'll be reviewing as many Nino-compatible products as I'm sent by developers out there. Keep any eye on it--there's a number of reviews that I'm currently working on and will be placing on-line over the next few days / weeks. I also wanted to let everyone know that my brief hiatus is not indicative of my having lost interest in the platform. I've been very busy unpacking into my new house and trying to find an attractive job in the DC area. Today, the latter concern was taken care of. So...I'll have WAY more time to put into the page, with updates coming at the frequency my long-time web-watchers are used to. I'm also going to be doing a few new things with the page to make it a bit more interesting as well, over the next few weeks (and getting back to regular attendance with the on-line chats every Sunday and Wednesday). Please stay tuned--there's a lot happening out there now, and it's only going to get more interesting!


Ok...I should have my Click-On Modem by Monday or Tuesday and will post a full report of its ease of use, performance, etc. soon thereafter. In fact, I'm about to put a Review page on-line that will hold this and all future software / hardware reviews (which I plan to spend much more time doing, starting this week). Judging from the e-mails I've been receiving, a large number of people have theirs (lots of people receiving the 320's they ordered way back when) and seem to be using them without incident. Also, Philips has informed me that one should allow 6-8 weeks for delivery of a Click-On Modem purchased using the Nino 312 Special Modem Offer ticket.

I'm also determined to get my Nino working with local PCS digital, wireless service. I've had notable difficulty in determining the exact level of interoperability between a WinCE device, IR-equipped digital wireless phones, and local service providers (largely due to providers' customer support reps not knowing anything about what protocols they are using and/or the fact that they usually make you buy one of a very small number of phones that they sell, which invariably have a featureset too basic for the needs of that which I'm attempting here). When I get it all worked out, I'll let everyone know how it was done. (Digital, wireless communication on the Nino would not require the Click-On Modem.)


I just saw a report that a Nino was being used on the Sci-Fi Channel's new show "Paradox." They were using it as some sort of high-tech PIM device. I suppose that's not far from the truth! Thanks to Jeremy Daughhetee for that report. (Perhaps I'll take witness to this show if ever I am able to coax my local cable company to actually begin the process of laying the cable from the street box to my house! ARGH!!)


I just got a report that a user has received a Nino 320 that was ordered a while back from a well-known mailorder house. If this report is true, then it looks like the 320's and click-on modems that we've all been waiting for are finally starting to hit the shelves. Time to whip out that $50-off coupon, all you 312 owners!


Well, we're moved (note I did not say unpacked). I've hooked up with a local ISP for dialup access while I wait for both ADSL and cable modem service to become available here (sometime this fall). So I'm cruisin' at a majestic 28.8Kbps until then. :-( At any rate, I am about to add a new section to the page and will soon be moving the site and getting my own domain name. Until then, the site stays where it has been all along but my e-mail address has changed to bpatters@mindspring.com. My old mail account will soon be forwarding into this one, but it might be a better idea to go ahead and start using that new address. I had hoped to keep using my old mailbox until the move to the new domain name but several mailserver issues have made this impossible. At any rate, I just thought I'd give everyone an update.


I'm afraid that since a friend has agreed to come take my current computer desk / shelf-system off my hands, I will be dismantling my PC system a day early in preparation for our big move to the DC area on Tuesday. It will be Thursday or Friday before I have my system back in one piece. It is likely that I will check my e-mail a few times with my Newton (hey, I'm waiting on that click-on modem too!), but I will not be updating my page, following nesgroups, or participating in on-line chats until the end of the week. The Palm-size PC Chats will still happen Sunday and Wednesday at 9pm EDT (6pm PDT), so please stop in and chat a while.

Soon after arriving in Alexandria, I will be relocating this page to a new webhosting service (which I've not yet chosen) and acquiring a domain name all my own (if you've got any especially clever ideas for a domain name--and I do mean clever, drop me a line!) which will make the URL of this page much easier to remember. Also, it appears that in October or thereabouts I will be able to choose between a full-duplex cable modem system and an ADSL modem system. Until that time I will need to setup with a local, dialup ISP in the Alexandria/Northern VA area. (It is going to be PAINFUL to leave my half-duplex cable modem behind for a 28.8Kbps dialup connection!!) If anyone knows of a decent ISP in the 703 or 202 area code, please let me know. Anyway, I'm assuming we'll survive the move, so talk to you in a week, everybody. Cheers!


I just realized, as I was updating my links page, that in all my travels here and there on the web and in the newsgroups in search of handheld / palmtop information, I've encountred a significant number of pages dealing with Palm-size PC's running WinCE 2.0. I'm quite confident I've got a bookmark for just about every one out there right now. Of all these page, there are more focusing on the Nino in particular than on any other Palm-size PC specifically. There are a number of pages that focus the Palm-size PC in general, but of those that do spotlight a single unit--the Nino definitely comes out on top. I think that makes an interesting statement about the machine, especially considering that of the current "big 3" devices (Philips, Casio, and Everex), the Nino was released, by a notable margin, latest.


I just confirmed that RhinoSkin, makers of several nice PDA cases including the unique Titanium Hardcase for the Pilot, are going to offer a similar Titanium case for Palm-size PC's. Just which Palm-size PC's are going to be supported is still a bit up in the air apparently. I am told that in a month's time the picture will be more clear. This could definitely be good news for those wanting to stop a bullet with their Palm-size PC's! I'll keep you posted.


I've decided that there is an application floating around in the great purgatory of as-yet-unwritten applications that needs to be brought into reality. While the START menu, a key component of all current versions of Microsoft's operating systems, is a very quick way to get apps loaded, even allowing for a menu folder heirarchy, sometimes it would be nice to work with an icon-based, file-management shell. I think the coding of such a "user inerface application" would be quite simplistic. First, the large and small icons for WinCE applications are already there, so it's not as though someone would have to strap generalized icons to each executeable, etc. And second, there's enough of a toolset there to the programmer that it would not necessarily be a behemoth task to undertake, and it could be small enough that it could always be loaded without any real memory hit. I don't think that it should be a clone of an HPC's desktop (or Windows 95/98/NT), as standard components such as a text-filled menu bar on each window would take an unreasonable amount of space on a Palm-size PC's 240x320 screen. I do feel, however, that the PPC's screen is large enough to allow moveable windows, unlike the "windowed" GUI of many other palmtops. A great deal of artistic license could be taken in the construction of such a shell. Ideally, most Windows Explorer / File Manager tasks could be performed under this interface, allowing the user a large deal of file management flexibility. This would, indeed, go against part of Microsoft's vision for the Palm-size PC, as it would expose the user to the file system, but I think this is what most "power users" want anyway.

Happily, it seems quite likely that such an applications would eventually be developed. Applian's QuickLaunch and EZOS' PalmExplorer are not worlds apart from this concept. I'd be interested to hear if anyone else would fancy such an application. With the degree of interaction I have with the directory structure on my Nino and its 30mb CF card, I would certainly, quickly, purchase such a program. Perhaps after posting this I'll hear from a developer that such an interface is already under development. I'll keep my fingers crossed.


I mentioned it was coming a long while back in my news archives, and XT-CE for the Palm-size PC is finally here. XT-CE is a program for HPC's and PPC's that allows DOS applications to be run under 80186 emulation. According to the author, a 75MHz WinCE device emulates an 8MHz 80186. Not too shabby. I've been playing with it for a little bit on my Nino and have not had any problems with it. My personal goal here is to be able to play Rogue/Moria/Hack on the Nino (I love that game), but I imagine that users coming from the HP 200LX palmtop, for example, would have more utilitarian uses for this emulator. Whatever your plans, do visit the XT-CE web page, and download the demo!


Thanks go to Shane Stec who, on the newsgroups, informed us of the web page at which Op/Tech USA can be reached. Click here for the page that describes the pouch mentioned below, with which I am rather pleased. I have the "Soft Pouch - Photo/Electronics," medium size. Thanks, Shane!


I've got lots of e-mail from people who are looking for a nice belt-clip case for their Nino. I do not believe that Philips is going to offer such a case (I don't think the Premier Travelling Case, the foldover case due at some point in the future--no date on that one, has a belt clip). With that in mind, I've kept my eyes open for a case that might work well in this capacity and a few days ago I found one. It was a Ritz Camera shop in a mall in Roanoke, VA that stocked a belt-clip case which I presume was intended for use with a cell phone or small camera. The case is made by Op/Tech USA (I found their phone number listed on a toll-free search engine to be (800) 251-7815) of Belgrade, Montana and set me back about $13. It is made of a thick material that seems to be neoprene and would likely offer a safe degree of padding were the case fall to the ground with a Nino inside. (I've dropped my rather weighty Newton 2100 several times onto concrete in a neoprene case that was much thinner with no damage whatsoever.) It's important to note that there are several sizes of this case available, the one that fits best appears to be just a wee bit too small for the Nino sitting there on the rack. When you actually go to put the Nino in the case, its elasticity proves it to be a perfect fit. At any rate, this looks like one good solution for those wanting to carry their Nino "Old West" style... :-) (Click the photo below for a larger collage.)



                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
Nino WebRing

This Philips Nino WebRing site owned by Blake Patterson.
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