When Technology Is So Cheap You Just Throw It Away

My Palm Tungsten E has been repeatedly crashing, causing all my data to be lost several times over the past few months. The last straw was when I was visiting an Icode ERP reseller yesterday. I flipped open my PDA at the reception desk to give his full name, company and etc so I could go up to his office and to my horror NOTHING happened. The T E would not come on. Thankfully, I memorized his information (suspecting this would happen) and my visit was saved.
I see several people using Tungsten E’s with no problem, so my guess is that mine has been dropped too many times and it simply won’t work properly due to internal damage. But on the other hand, I’ve been through MANY PDAs over the years and more often than not the PDA has had a hardware failure but not due to my own negligence (like dropping it). The last time, in April 2004, the PDA (an M515) had a power drain problem and nothing Palm sent me or suggested would work.
I’m debating if I should simply switch to a Microsoft Pocket PC platform from Palm. But PPC’s are more expensive than Palm’s and have more than I need. I just need a digital address book, tasks, appointments and memos (maybe a few games, Documents To Go (Microsoft Office compatible tool for Palms), Avantgo (by the way you can get my news feeds on your PDA with Avantgo) and etc).

To repair my PDA the cost is $125 – I’m sure Palm will just send me a refurbished unit. A new Palm Tungsten E is $200. A new Zire 31 costs $131 according to what’s on Palm’s web site today.
So with reluctance, I’ll purchase one more Palm product, a Zire and hope that works.
What would you suggest – Palm? Microsoft?
When technology gets to be near $100, it’s often easier to throw the darn thing away and buy a new one than repair what you have.
MIT wants to mass produce $100 notebooks for developing countries. A Palm PDA with a foldable keyboard is not much more than an almost $100 notebook computer.
As you buy technology there’s two things you want to ensure for your critical applications a) support – when the technology fails how long will it take to get it up and running again with zero data loss b) durability – is the technology that runs your core (critical) business functions stable, will it run with minimal (zero would be nice) downtime.
There’s a Linux server in my office that has NEVER crashed or had any problem in about 2 years. There’s a clock radio I got for a Sunday School gift over 10 years ago – the thing is a bit dirty but it works like a charm. What about the technology that runs your business? Will it hum along just fine for years to come?

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Ramon Ray, Editor & Technology Evangelist, Smallbiztechnology.com . Editor and Founder, Smart Hustle Magazine Full bio at http://www.ramonray.com . Check him out on Google Plus, Twitter or Facebook