Personal Digital Assistants

Mike Bryant

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Are you a post-it note kind of person? I am. Every morning, my first three tasks are to get coffee, check email and write my daily prioritized to-do list. I try my best to spend the day completing my list, checking off each item as it is completed. Without this trusty companion telling me what to do, I would probably spend most days staring stupidly at the wall wondering what I should be doing with my time. And I do enough of that already… Of course, do-to lists are just the beginning of my ‘note-to-self’ addiction. I am constantly writing little reminders and notes to myself so I won’t forget something. Phone numbers and email addresses? Ha, after five years of having the same fax, I still have to look up my fax number every time I tell it to someone.

I could simply put all this information on my computer so I could easily pull it up anytime. Anytime I am in front of the computer, that is. But I never know when I might need some phone number or email address, so I need to carry my notes, tasks and contacts with me at all times. My solution? A PDA.

PDA’s, or Personal Digital Assistants, are extremely handy devices that store your address book, to do list, calendar, games, and much more in a device small enough to easily fit in a pocket or purse. While there are many types of PDA’s available, the most popular by far are the Windows CE and Palm devices. Prices range from just under $100 to around $700.

Some PDA devices can even surf the internet and send and receive email wirelessly. Others have a built-in cell phone or digital camera. Actually, the PDA’s on the market these days are so powerful that you can really consider many of them a mini-laptop computer. Playing games, viewing and editing Word documents and Excel spreadsheets, checking email, etc, all while sitting in the car or on the back porch can be a reality, if you want it to be. A very valid argument could be made that these devices make you never really leave work since you can have all your work files with you at all times. On the other hand, they do provide a very handy way to organize your life.

As always, if you have any questions or suggestions for future articles, please email me at

Mike Bryant has worked as a professional software developer for over ten years. A born entrepreneur, he currently owns Centrant, LLC, a software consulting firm specializing in custom software for small businesses. He currently resides in Jackson, Kentucky with his wife, two kids, and five computers. For more information, please visit


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