The University of Virginia School of Medicine offered a PDA guide to its medical students. A very interesting part of the recommendations was found near the end with their thoughts on other Palm Devices:
"The Lifedrive has a lot of reported bugs and is large and expensive."
How's that for objective?
While I agree that the Lifedrive is buggy, there are some things that decrease the "bugginess" of the device.
First of all, the software that is being downloaded should be in physical ram and not running from the disc drive. That gives you essentially 32mb of "real" memory to work with before you drift into the neverlands of the additional 32mb of virtual ram afforded by the disc and which imparts the ubiquitous slowdown seen by all devices eventually.
However where I find the Lifedrive to be superior is in the memory of the Lifedrive itself. Although buggy, if you use the drive and an accessory SD card, you will find that the storage is superior to almost any device out there. Additionally, running programs from an SD-ULTRA card is almost akin to running it from the native 32mb memory. That is to say, it is like having 1 gigabyte of ram to play with.
Nevertheless, kudos to UV for at least having the courage to actually provide Palm Pilots (I noticed the Windows CE and Mobile systems were not on the requirements list). They even provide a subsidy for the "required" device.
A further foot note to those in the Windows camp......, well perhaps, it would be better to let the UV-ites tell it themselves:
"How about Pocket PCs?
In the fall of 2005 we purchased and evaluated side by side the current models from Palm and Dell. (Dell is seen as offering the best Pocket PCs at the moment.) The features and functions are almost identical on the two platforms, as Microsoft and Palm have copied each other's successes. But we found several shortcomings in the Pocket PC:
They are generally more expensive for the same features compared to Palms.
The battery life is shorter.
They require rebooting more frequently than Palms.
They are larger than equivalent Palms.
They don't work well with Macintosh computers.
While the Pocket PC platform is getting closer in parity to Palms than they were in the past, there was no advantage that we could find in buying a Pocket PC, especially given the higher cost. As a result, we no longer recommend the purchase of Pocket PCs for medical students. If you have a Pocket PC, staff members may not be able to assist you in installing or troubleshooting applications."
I cannot believe the openness that this recommendation implies. It is refreshingly bold. The U pulls absolutely no punches in its recommendations and pans. We will be keeping a lookout for more open discussions such as this one.
Feel free to click on the title to take you to the University of Virginia's website.
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