funky software for your palmpilot
Portable consumer electronics have an annoying habit of making people seem important. Maybe it's because we think of them as business tools. What if you consider your business to be getting drunk or pondering scriptures? 3Com's PalmPilot, by far the leading "personal digital assistant" has quite a few useful programs for you (each of which can be downloaded from PalmGear.com, amongst other places):The Pilot is an essential tool for life on the road. With software called Imageviewer, you can carry a few pictures with you. while you might find that a picture of your lady will yield only so much stroking, the software does very well holding and displaying subway maps. New York city, San Francisco, Copenhagen, Paris - if you're stuck between Koenigbanstrasse and Tchitchen, you might find the stop you need on the route home in your pilot. there are lots of programs that will show you maps, but imageviewer can be downloaded for free, and the maps are free too. can't beat free, especially if you don't have money. another free program that's useful on the road - "Drinks" is a list of nearly every cocktail you've ever heard of and its constituent ingredients; if ever you've wondered how to have sex on a beach straight up with harvey wallbanger, you'll find it in your pocket with this baby loaded.
if you want to condense your consumer electronics on the road, and you're not a terribly heavy sleeper, leave your alarm clock at home anduse "Travel Clock" a freeware application that displays in big letters the impending wake up time and has a ringing sound that has never failed to get me up, even the morning after the last night in town!
there are of course lots of games: i recommend three. If you can control yourself, and afford the batteries, card games for the pilot can help while away the hours. I am partial to "Rally 1000", a rendering of the french card game Mille Bornes - you drive a car in a race by laying down cards to either boost your performance or monkey with your opponents. it's a spiteful little contest, and this program is free and well put together. Whether or not you are partial to role playing games (They tend to be involved) there are two that will show you that your PalmPilot is essentially a productivity programmed GameBoy. "Kyle's Quest" is an overhead view of a little character strolling about a map; most of the characters look like little japanese animations, and you will find most of the combat and interaction facile. the author has made a tool for anyone to create their own Kyle's Quest scenarios, so the range of playing options are quite wide and you'll be astonished at the stories people can tell with these little machines - one adventure takes you into the world of H.P. Lovecraft, another allows you to play through Gilligan's Isle. Similarly, "Dragon's Bane", another role playing game, is quite exciting, but for different reasons. Dragon's Bane is a 3D adventure where you stroll through dungeons facing traps and beasts - the graphics look like any game on the personal computer in the 80s and the depth of information in the game is immense. You can easily log dozens of hours trying to solve the problems of this enchanted kingdom - all in a three inch square screen.
You'll find this technology can also serve your personal spiritual ends. There's a small freeware application, "Yoda", where the little green guru from the Star Wars series shares his jedi wisdom to answer your questions. "Moon" gives you an overview of the month and the phases of the moon - good to see when a little full moon madness is impending, or when a menstrual cycle could evolve. The program "Doc" holds documents, and there are many of the world's religious screeds available online. The Tao Te Ching comes highly recommended as a portable text because each of the stanzas from this ancient Chinese religious poem is a small nugget of deep shit that can be pondered between stops on a quick bus ride, without having to throw yourself into a committed read.
You'll find the pilot is useful as a learning assistant - it's often available for short downtimes when the world around you isn't stimulating enough. If you are curious about how to play bridge, or studying the chart of the elements, you can work your brain against the information inside your little pocket friend. One quirky example of this is the program "Abacus" which takes about the most primitive complex accounting assistant and puts it in this most modern machine. "Abacus" isn't just a gag though, it acutally counts up like an abacus. Follow along with the program, and you'll finally see how people might have counted and kept track of their resources before they had palmpilots to distract them.