Just wanted to give a bit of background into my interest in handheld computers (and tell a little bit about myself as well). I have been quite obsessed with computers since I was about 9 years old when I got my first machine (TI-99/4A). (I must admit I did posess an Atari 2600 at the time, which was officially my first machine.) Anyway...through the years I've owned over 40 different machines. I'm currently 25 years old and working as the Computer Systems Engineer at the University of Virginia's School of Nursing. I graduated two years ago with a BSCS and have worked as a network administrator in the mean time.

I became interested in handheld PC's shortly after my best friend Arnold, of Nemesis Productions (codes Newton and Mac), purchased an Apple Newton MessagePad 2000. I liked the idea, took a look around, and decided to go with a USR PalmPilot Personal. I got one and was quite happy with it. I kept it for several months, taking advantage of the wealth of PD/shreware apps for it, but I began to want more of a machine out of my handheld. This prompted me to sell the Pilot and get a Philips Velo 1 Windows CE v1.0 device. This was easly the best HPC available at the time (I understand it's still faster than some other vendors' 2nd-generation HPC's). I quite enjoyed it, though I did miss the wealth of available PD/shareware apps that I had been enjoying. Quite a fine machine indeed. My only gripe was the form factor. I preferred the form factor of the PalmPilot and the MessagePad 2000, and finally I went ahead and bought one (and sold the Velo 1 to fund it).

I've had my MessagePad 2000 since June '97 (I've recently had it upgraded to a MessagePad 2100--4mb flash RAM/4mb DRAM + 12mb flash PCMCIA card), and find it quite useful. It is fast, has an excellent screen, the best handwriting recognition I've seen, has lots of software available for it--the list goes on and on. What it does not have to its advantage is size. While small, you simply cannot take it everywhere. It is much larger than the Pilot and the Velo 1, prohibiting it from placement in a pocket. Considering the "goal" of such a machine, I consider this to be a significant negative. (Also, the Newton has some connectivity issues that I find less than ideal.) It is in the midst of the realization of these negatives that I found a link to Philips' Nino web page. It had just been announced. I was impressed.

The Nino was the first actual Palm-size PC that I had seen advertised (from a manufacturer, unlike the generic reference Gryphon device on Microsoft's Palm-size PC site). Its combination of features have the greatest appeal to me of all the Palm-size PC's slated for release. This is partially due, I am sure, to my intense satisfaction with the Philips Velo 1 and Philips' success in adding little subtle nicities that really make their machines stand out. (I'm sure I'll revisit the HPC devices with a Velo 500 before too long.) It is the Nino's featureset, or perhaps the other Palm-size PC's lack thereof, which will keep me from considering offerings from other vendors. Between now and the estimated May release date, I plan to hone my C++ skills with Microsoft Visual C++ v5 in an attempt to master programming with MFC. By the time the Nino is actually released, at least one of the projects I've outlined for myself should be pretty much complete, ready for distribution on the Palm-size PC platform (of course, if I utilize many of the Nino's specific extras, the app might not run quite so nicely on lesser Palm-size PC's...).

That pretty much sums it up. Aside from that, the only other related tidbit that I can think might be worth mentioning is that I'm doing my coding on my latest machine, an AMD K6 225MHz-based PC with ASUS TX-97 motherboard (running @ 75MHz) w/ 512K cache, 32mb SDRAM, 7GB UltraSCSI storage (Diamond FirePort 40), 3Dfx Voodoo video (Diamond Monster 3D), SB AWE64 Value audio, Epson Stylus Color 600 printer, Toshiba 12x and 2x SCSI CDROM drives, and Bose RoomMate speakers all hooked to a Nokia 447Xi 17" screen. Also, have been recently busy w/ Christmas acquisition, Apple QuickTake 200 digital camera. I'm the gadget man.... :-)