What a great time to own a 200LX.  Can you imagine, 32MB of internal memory on the palmtop?  Just incredible.  At this rate, it won't be long before the modified palmtops surpass the latest Pentium II desktops.  (Well, maybe that's still a few months off... :-)  The palmtop.com service for cc:Mail access is now being offered free, although it's a long distance call if you're not in the Silicon Valley area.  There are several other intriguing palmtop projects going on as you read this, including:

And that's just a tiny sample of the projects that are going on worldwide to add more functionality to our favorite handheld tool.  Compare this to the Windows CE machines that we've probably all seen by now.  Have you seen any hardware upgrades for them? I think not.  Got any vendors dedicated to providing quality third-party additions?  Not a chance.  As one member of the HPLX-L mailing list recently posted, his 320LX is performing its new job as an alarm clock very nicely now that he has returned to the 200LX.

Well, in any case, that's enough anti-CE raving.  I've got some more interesting news: the 200LX is about the most friendly palmtop you can buy for tinkering.  I say this because I have now completely disassembled every aspect of the machine.  The last holdout previously was the keyboard, but recently (due to my bizarre method of touch-typing) my space bar broke.  Now, I had some options: live with it (a bad idea), try to superglue the key back on (which I did, and it seems to hold up, but the nervousness wasn't worth it) or try to swap the keyboard out.  Well, fortunately, I had a friend (thanks, Quinton!) who had a spare 100LX keyboard that he let me have.  So, I decided to give the "replacement" option a shot.  And boy, was I pleasantly surprised!

Anyone who's opened up the 200LX to upgrade the memory, or speed, or anything, has seen the vast multitude of white circles that dot the bottom of the keyboard unit.  "What on earth could THOSE be?" they think.  Well, those are the pegs the hold the keyboard into the case.  It's a fairly simple (though time-consuming) procedure to remove the keyboard, once you understand that.

So I painstakingly removed the keyboard from my backup unit, and then from my main unit, and then installed the good keyboard in the new unit.  And it worked!  Sure, I had some trouble at first getting all the keys to sit flat, because those pegs have to be pushed in really hard.  But I got it all worked in there and it works great!

This naturally leads me to wonder about the practicality of having "swappable" keyboards.  What it somebody wrote an HP 48G calculator emulator for the palmtop?  We could duplicate the genuine 48 keyboard and swap it out!  That would be pretty slick.

If anybody out there knows how to make things out of plastic, such as, hypothetically, keyboards, send me a message.

Sorry for the lack of exciting dialogue in this editorial, but I'm in a hurry.  If I think of any, I'll be sure to add it.

Copyright 1999, David Sargeant.
Last Updated 1-2-1999

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