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Handhelds Hardware

Agenda Delayed Again 51

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the not-totally-surprising dept.
aqua writes: "Two days after the announced ship date, Agenda Computing has sent mail to customers who preordered a VR3 PDA: "In keeping with our commitment to deliver the highest quality PDA possible - one that provides you with many years of enjoyment - Agenda has revised the ship date to May 21, 2001." This was previously rumored on agenda-user, since the software wasn't looking ready to ship. recent discussion on the developer list, however, suggests that many of the problems cited are now much improved. By way of apology, they're throwing in a free VR3 carrying case." Agenda sent a review model to me which I played with for about 10 minutes. I turned it off to get stuff done, and the next day when I had time to actually put it to work, it refused to turn back on. I think it needs some work yet :) But it was cool running 'ps' on a handheld.
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Agenda Delayed Again

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    True, but keep in mind, Taco is an idiot. Please
    let's not let our lack of respect for him get in
    the way of the following sheep-like mindsets:

    Linux is kewl
    Linux r00lz
    Anime is kewl
    Handhelds are l33t
    Etc...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    aqua [mailto] writes "Two days after the announced ship date, Agenda Computing [agendacomputing.com] has sent mail to customers who preordered a VR3 PDA [agendacomputing.com]: "In keeping with our commitment to deliver the highest quality PDA possible - one that provides you with many years of enjoyment - Agenda has removed Linux and installed PalmOS3.5."
  • by Anonymous Coward
    You do know that the palm has processes. If you weren't trying to be a smart ass and used your brain you would realize that the palm os itself and any programs you run are seperate processes. But that wouldn't let you insult this peice of hardware as easily.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Isn't there something [rim.net] that does it already?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 28, 2001 @10:47AM (#259650)
    The thing about the Agenda is that it is just so easy to port stuff to it. The ASR (Agenda Software Repository) currently has 83 programs. This might seem like nothing, but when you consider the number of people that are working on the Agenda as compared to the Palm, it is actually pretty impressive. The investment and level of expertise required to write programs for the Agenda is much lower than that required for the Palm. P.S. Can your palm do this! http://www.newbreedsoftware.com/agenda-atari800/
  • by nickm (1468) on Saturday April 28, 2001 @10:02AM (#259651) Homepage
    Look, the point is that the agenda software is not ready to ship. It is a good thing that they're holding back on the release date, rather than pulling a death march.

    I, for one, am really excited about getting my agenda, because for once it's a system where not all of the problems have been solved before I got there. I have a chance to write some small elegant programs that provide some function for the agenda end-users.

    My impression is that Agenda should really have marketed their first push as a second-gen developer release. Most of the agenda users are linux freaks and mips hackers anyway.

    Yes, it's not going to be the PDA for J. Buttfuck Pinstripe and his army of polyester-clad sales weenies. It's not going to be the droolproof tamagotchi that the jet set are going to carry around to show how cool they are. Not yet, anyhow. Right now it's a free software platform that we can use to develop really kick-ass software on.

    Go on, kids. Order one, and start writing agenda equivalents to the best palmos programs. It's going to be FUN.

    --
    I noticed

  • Ugh...I wish people would do some research...

    Palm, is indeed dropping the 68k in about a year for the ARM, and what may or may not be called PalmOS 5. The kernel they'll be using is still to be determined and is not "almost certainly going to be a 32bit multitasking". It's possible, sure, but let's not overstate, just yet.
  • by Jethro73 (14686) on Saturday April 28, 2001 @09:04AM (#259653)
    I couldn't agree more. When I take my Palm Vx with me, it is not because I feel like kernel hacking or writing device drivers. Sometimes, I just want addresses, phone numbers, and appointments! I know that it is probably hard for Taco to grasp, but one should use the proper tool for the job. If it is a notebook, Palm, Newton, or whatever, if it suits the purpose that you need it for, fine.

    I, for one, will not give up my Palm in order to have a PDA with crontab and rc scripts. Besides, it turns on every time!

    Jethro
  • You're not a geek. Nothing we can do about it. You won't understand.

    Just notice those are news for geeks. We are the ones who don't explore computers for pure application purposes. We enjoy our little addictions. There are plenty of business-man directed reviews on CNET [cnet.com] -- here we strive to find others who appreciate the same things we appreciate as geeks. And part of our impression of a product is it's geek "coolness" factor.

  • Funnier than anything I've read here in quite a while.

    If I had some mod points, i'd be sending them all your way.
  • Hmm...Kessel Company...I think Han Solo did some contract work for them a long time ago.
  • by Moofie (22272) <lee&ringofsaturn,com> on Saturday April 28, 2001 @02:50PM (#259657) Homepage
    Spoken like a true luddite. The second time I tried to re-alphabetize my FiloFax, I snapped it shut and never opened it again.

    Don't like it? Don't buy it. Quit crying about tools other people use to be productive. You just look silly.
  • I've got a Newton MP2100U w/nylon case and keyboard. No PCMCIA cards. I do have boxes, some cd's with software, manuals, all that crap. I may put it on eBay, but email me at sessary@mail.com for details.. :P
  • 1) Accessory keyboards are available soon, if not now. 2) Why ruin a device that's better for maintaining lists of short textual data when programs that must have landscape orientation can do so trivially (see the marching-aliens game included in the latest software rev)? 3) You don't want a PIM, you want a handheld PC. They're used for different purposes and that's why they're different.

    -jhp

  • by marxmarv (30295) on Saturday April 28, 2001 @05:00PM (#259660) Homepage
    I personally believe that palm had the right idea. If it's going to be an organizer, make it as simple as possible. no command lines, no wacky software widgets.
    You might ask your friend to look at his Agenda and see if it says "Developer Edition". Ask him what he thinks that means.
    My Apple newton is still working fine, crash free since '96. It surfs the web, reads REAL handwriting, and stores personal info. Isn't that enough?
    Great! It also had an advanced operating environment based on a persistent object store. I'd buy one if some arrogant crank from Cupertino with tunnel vision hadn't buried the technology in his back yard.

    -jhp

  • Have you considered a Psion device [psion.com]? They've got a keyboard you can (pretty much) touch-type on, a powerful OS, and I think you can even get some Unix tools for them.

    --

  • Have you seen the Sony C1 series [sonystyle-europe.com]? Light, easily fit in a backpack, run Linux well.... The screens are 1024x480.
  • by Atomix8 (86584) <gte377z AT prism DOT gatech DOT edu> on Saturday April 28, 2001 @12:07PM (#259663)
    I bought the second version of the Royal DaVinci, because at the time Palm III's were still over $300....anyhow, that piece of crap hardly worked out of the box. After applying the flash upgrade, it worked alright....Until you stored 20 addresses, then it would promptly shut-down, and turn back on, triumphantly announcing that it had cleared its memory, fantastic. After dropping it, and cracking the cover, I returned it, ran away with my $99.99+tax. A year later I bought my good friend and confidant, Mr. IIIxe. It's like a m105....but with a readable screen, and without a cartoonish appearance.

    Finally, Newtons are great, but I'm still scared off by the fact that few people are still developing for them. I'll probably break down and buy a 120 w/ OS 2.0 just to play with, but I think my Palm will remain my primary device. The only way I can crash it is either by loading a primative version of Rand McNally's Streetfinder GPS software, or by dropping it off something >50 metres.

    Oh, and I'm using my palm to supplant a notebook, thanks to the $99 folding keyboard, which in itself is worth 10x as much as a DaVinci.

    Anyone have a Newton they want to sell? Ebay is being unhelpful at the moment
  • by Ukab the Great (87152) on Saturday April 28, 2001 @08:47PM (#259664)
    I ordered a developer edition agenda about a week ago. It has yet to arrive. Why is this bad for agenda? Because open source hackers like me can improve things that are not up to consumer snuff (and agenda doesn't have to a pay a red cent for it). I'm a GUI programmer/designer, and I want to help shape the next generation of PDA UI design. I think that it kicks ass the source code for the interface (which is pretty badly designed from what I've seen and heard) is there for the improving. In fact, I've come up with a way to make the agenda writing system less clunky and more reliable than the Palm's. But I cannot start doing this until I get my damned developer's edition agenda! So Agenda, you want bug fixes, start shipping to people like me, ASAP
  • by NewOrder (103784) on Saturday April 28, 2001 @09:02AM (#259665) Homepage Journal
    These PDA's need to be totaly wireless with REAL TCP/IP and connected 24/7. Have atleast 24 hours of non stop useage and about a month of stand by time. Still be in some sort of net communication also. Other wise it's not that usefull except a note pad that is very conservative on papper.
  • Absolutely...go to http://buyagenda.com [buyagenda.com] , then "Store" and the "Developers" and you can get a frost and sky-blue model for $179 plus S+H

    Matt Millard - alumina and proud Developer Model owner since December

  • by jcapell (144056) <jcapell@yahoo.com> on Saturday April 28, 2001 @08:51AM (#259667) Homepage
    ...holding company's stock tanking [bigcharts.com].

    (Agenda Computing is based in Irvine, California, but is a wholly owned subsidiary of Kessel International Holdings Limited)

    Kessel Company prosectus: "In view of the Euro currency fluctuation, shortage of certain electronic components and start up stage of new product lines, the Directors believes that there will not have any significant change in the overall performance of the Group in the 2nd half of the year. However, provided that the new businesses are operated as planned and all unfavorable factors graduated away from the Group, the Group look forward to the future with optimism."

  • 2001-04-26 17:24:54 Agenda (apparently) delays launch date (articles,news) (rejected)

    oh well.
  • I had one (don't ask). The handwriting sucks. I mean, _really_ sucks. Really, really, sucks. If they don't make huge (and I do mean huge) improvements before they ship, I would recommend going with PalmOS or WinCE.

    z
  • I'd beg to differ. The Palm platform is surprisingly robust, and 3Com has focused on what has mattered: battery life and weight. All of these other features you are proposing exacberate that.
  • by Fervent (178271) on Saturday April 28, 2001 @10:21AM (#259671)
    "Processes" and "storing a few elements of the state of a running program" are two completely different things. Read up on OS design, kid.
  • by Fervent (178271) on Saturday April 28, 2001 @08:55AM (#259672)
    I think it needs some work yet :) But it was cool running 'ps' on a handheld.

    Ah yes. And that's exactly why most businessmen will buy this PDA. Why go for simplicity and elegance in the Palm when you can run a process-check on something that shouldn't even have processes.

    Also, interesting that Taco lets a piece of non-functional hardware slide when it's a review copy, but if it's a review copy of some MS or RedHat software that fouls up, it's all over the front page with "from the I-told-you-so dept."

  • Sorry, richie123, I just dumped my leather-bound organizer for a Palm IIIxe. The organizer got too thick to deal with. The Palm is about 1/4 the size and I haven't even begun to fill its 8-MB memory. Plus, I synchronize the Palm with my laptop's PIM data on a regular basis so that I have the backup you imply is important.

    The case for the Palm has PostIts and a pad, because sometimes nothing beats a pen and paper for notes. I haven't found a good time-track software package for the Palm, so this function remains a paper one, with good results.

    It sounds like your life is too simple.

  • "Also, interesting that Taco lets a piece of non-functional hardware slide when it's a review copy, but if it's a review copy of some MS or RedHat software that fouls up, it's all over the front page with "from the I-told-you-so dept."" ...the difference perhaps being that first-gen tech is always buggy, so allowances are made, but version 7.4523623 of a previous release should be expected to be a bit more stable? sabine
  • by atrowe (209484)
    Sorry for being offtopic, but did anyone else see this story:

    http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=01/04/28/143225 4 [slashdot.org]

    on the front page a little while ago. Funny how the story about censorship suddenly disappears...

  • by aussersterne (212916) on Saturday April 28, 2001 @02:05PM (#259677) Homepage
    I couldn't agree more. When I take my Palm Vx with me, it is not because I feel like kernel hacking or writing device drivers. Sometimes, I just want addresses, phone numbers, and appointments! I know that it is probably hard for Taco to grasp, but one should use the proper tool for the job. If it is a notebook, Palm, Newton, or whatever, if it suits the purpose that you need it for, fine.

    Yes, but for some of us "the job" isn't addresses, names and appointments. I've struggled with a Windows CE-based HPC Pro for several years now, but I'm a writer and what I really need is a device that:

    • Can hold all of the plain text files n levels deep from my home directory on my Linux box.
    • Can work as a dedicated journal/note-taker, not just for the odd memo, but for heavy writing, day to day.
    • Lets me use all of the basic commands like cat, grep, sort, sed and will run most of the huge stack of shell scripts that I've come up with over the years to manage my life.

    Basically, I do want a full-fledged Linux machine that I can stick into a backpack that doesn't weigh as much as a notebook. I've been waiting with baited breath for LinuxCE and playing with the ported kernels to try and get a usable full-fledged Linux system running on my CE device with xscribbler, but it hasn't happened yet.

    Yes, I need it to be portable, too, so that I can carry it around, but not pocket-sized, because then the display is too small to work with large amounts of text. More like 480x340 or even a small 640x480 display. Something under 2 lbs. About half the size of a sheet of letter paper -- say 4'x8' or something in that range and an inch or less thick.

    I'm not trolling or trying to start an argument here; I just want to point out that there are different needs out there -- different strokes for different folks, you know? No need to bash a device if you think it's too bulky or complex or a person's use habits if you think they're counterproductive; just don't buy it and don't hire that person or work their way.

    I for one would be willing to spend hundreds to replace my CE device with a finished Agenda device if only it had a larger display.

  • I think CmdrTaco's statement says it all

    I turned it off to get stuff done

    A handheld that has/needs the ps command is not a very productive tool. 10 minutes with a Palm and you're setting up your weekly schedule in the calendar. 10 minutes with an Adenda and you're slaying processes? :)

  • by HiNote (238314) on Saturday April 28, 2001 @10:39AM (#259679)
    Ah-ha. He admits it. Taco _does_ have an agenda...
  • by squiggleslash (241428) on Saturday April 28, 2001 @12:20PM (#259680) Homepage Journal
    I really wish the other format (wide screen, small keyboard) of PDA wasn't disappearing. Linux on such a thing would work much better than I can imagine it in the vertical "palm top" form.

    I speak as someone who's tried both. Believe it or not, Windows CE in that format is actually a very nice operating system. I have an Ericsson MC12, which is a rebadged HP3xx unit, and just about the only disappointment is the lack of decent native development tools.

    Linux on such a device would be perfect. I don't want to lose the keyboard when using Linux - the shell is useful, apps like telnet fit in with what I'd want a Linux PDA to be doing - and the vertical format of screen has always struck me as being restrictive visually. It strikes me that there's also more room for the future, being able to watch movies on the PDA screen for instance when the memory to store them becomes available.

    I may possibly get an Agenda when I finally see them shipping. But it would be infinitely nicer to see someone, Agenda or anyone else, produce a keyboard/widescreen version. I'd pay double what Agenda are asking for for something like that.
    --

  • I agree with you on that and its even worse when its for production use with the "Five Nines" slogan.

    Also most software that is open comes with a disclamer about them not being held responsible.


    Are you on the Sfglj [sfgoth.com] (SF-Goth EMail Junkies List) ?
  • I'd have to say that any comment like your "No, it was lame" needs to be followed with "in my opinion".

    I'm looking forward to having a complete Linux system that I can carry in my shirt pocket. Why? Because I do LAN and WAN work for my company. If I can manage to do most of what I need with a half-pound computer instead of a 6 to 10 pound one, guess which one I'm going to use?

    Personally, I'm glad they're pushing release back to later in May. If it makes for a better machine.

  • If you need a lightweight computer that is able to interface seamlessly with your company's LAN/WAN, you are barking up the wrong tree. Get thee to a Sony or IBM laptop reseller! Everyone *wants* a small device that can do all the things that a big device can do. Unfortunately, you can't fit that kind of power onto a platform that fits in the palm of your hand. At least not yet.

    Dancin Santa
  • But it was cool running 'ps' on a handheld.

    No, it was lame. Running any kind of "command" on a handheld is lame. If you have to run a program like that, you aren't getting work done, you are fiddling with the thing. Waste of time and money, this Agenda.

    Dancin Santa
  • The Palm is simple and elegant if you don't have to program it, if you stick to its standard applications, and if you are happy with exactly the kind of screen and UI it gives you. If you go beyond its basic four functions, it become increasingly messy and limited.

    Umm...I don't own a Palm so I may be confused, but I remember reading and even seeing in several places LOTS of software (free and open-source no less) for the Palm...someone help me out with a url here...
  • by Migelikor1 (308578) on Saturday April 28, 2001 @09:06AM (#259686) Homepage
    A friend of mine got a preview model, which tanked. He nagged some tech guys at the company and they essentially told him that the software wasn't ready, and under no circumstances should he trust it to retain his information safely. Not much of a confidence builder, eh?
    I personally believe that palm had the right idea. If it's going to be an organizer, make it as simple as possible. no command lines, no wacky software widgets.
    My Apple newton is still working fine, crash free since '96. It surfs the web, reads REAL handwriting, and stores personal info. Isn't that enough?
  • hrm, musta been one of those had one things. Have you looked at it lately?
  • by gregfortune (313889) on Saturday April 28, 2001 @03:00PM (#259688)
    Yet another round of Agenda bashing...
    Let's get a couple of things straight.

    1. We (slashdotters in general) bashed the crap out of them for intending releasing a product that was not ready for consumption by the average Joe.
    2. We (yes, you know who you are) are now bashing the crap out of Agenda for not releasing an unfinished product.
    3. What did I miss here?

    Let's try some questions now...

    • Has any critic really looked at the application base and how quickly it is growing?
    • How about HWR? Several different solutions to the HWR problem have already been presented by the Agenda user community.
    • Aliens? (yep, the green squishy things from space...)
    • Did you know BlackBox is loading?
    • etc etc etc

    I, for one, am glad to see Agenda make the decision to hold off on the consumer release. If the parent company is not doing well, much of the pressure to get the product out the door is probably coming from above. Congrats to Agenda for holding out until an excellent product is deliverable.

    And now the trolls can go crawl under a rock. Crawl back out next time Microsoft "releases" on time and then you can gripe and complain about how they should have fixed the bugs....

    sigh... Maybe flashing the newest romdisk will make me feel better...

  • If only PalmOS could take advantage of a 32bit processor, protected mode, and a larger display. Unfortunately, PalmOS can't, which is why people are looking at alternatives in the first place.

    You can probably run PalmOS in emulation on various PDAs. In fact, I suspect that's what we are going to see in a year or two from Palm: an entirely new OS that runs the old stuff on an emulator.

  • I'm not proposing it, it's already happening. Even Palm is going to dump the 68k for the ARM, and they are almost certainly going to go with a multitasking 32bit kernel for that. It's what the market demands, and Palm is, if anything, late to the game.
  • by janpod66 (323734) on Saturday April 28, 2001 @10:30AM (#259691)
    I signed up for their developer program. I got back a message announcing the developer deal, so tried ordering at the developer price of $179. No luck: their site only offers retail pricing. Are these things still available at developer pricing?
  • by janpod66 (323734) on Saturday April 28, 2001 @10:52AM (#259692)
    Ah yes. And that's exactly why most businessmen will buy this PDA.

    If they want custom applications developed cheaply, that would be a reasonable choice.

    Why go for simplicity and elegance in the Palm

    The Palm is simple and elegant if you don't have to program it, if you stick to its standard applications, and if you are happy with exactly the kind of screen and UI it gives you. If you go beyond its basic four functions, it become increasingly messy and limited.

    when you can run a process-check on something that shouldn't even have processes.

    Multitasking makes a lot of sense to me on a device that may, in fact, have to interact with lots of different I/O channels (user, IR, network, modem, wireless, etc.).

    There isn't much money in four function PDAs anymore; Palm now needs to go for vertical applications and portable media. For that, they need something more powerful, with a much better screen, and something that has standard APIs. Java+Linux and Java+EPOC are both reasonable choices.

    PalmOS is pretty much obsolete; even Palm knows that. The next version may still be called "PalmOS", but it will be something entirely different.

  • by janpod66 (323734) on Saturday April 28, 2001 @10:24AM (#259693)
    The existence of "ps" on the Agenda is merely an indication that it runs standard software and standard utilities. That's a good thing. In day-to-day usage, of course, you shouldn't have to use it.

    In contrast, the Palm Pilot requires you to write applications to its own limited and proprietary APIs, memory model, and threading model. The Palm Pilot runs its applications reasonably well, but someone had to invest a lot of time and effort in that; doing anything more with it is an uphill struggle.

    The limitations of the PalmOS and the messy programming model are a consequence of trying to deliver a nice system on limited hardware. Those constraints don't apply anymore, and the Palm Pilot is now pretty much an anachronism.

    I have a Palm Pilot. It's a reliable workhorse for its very limited set of applications. I'll gladly toss it out when I get a decent, reliable UNIX-based PDA. The Agenda could be it.

  • I have one of the Developer Edition ones that has only been used for a few minutes. I got it, and then had an unexpected increase in workload that has yet to die down. Unfortunately, I havn't had any time to sit down and write anything for it. Drop me an email if you want it. (The price will be more than reasonable, and I'll be willing to trade for a few select items) webmaster@netmp.com [mailto]
    -------------------------
  • That hurts man, seriously. I like sales, its very gratifying I'll have you know.
  • Geez... If you really wanted one early... you could have reserved one from November to January and gotten a Developer Edition on January 1. Yeah, they didn't come in great condition, but that's why they sent them out when they did... So developers could work on them before their planned release date. You jumped on the bandwagon way too late, man. A lot of the bugs have been worked out. Most of the bugs are in HWR, IR communication, and windows networking... They ARE getting fixed.

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