LifeDrive

I've had my palmOne LifeDrive for a week now. It's palmOne's newest handheld (they prefer you can it a "Mobile Manager"). What's special about this handheld is that it has two types of wireless connectivity: Bluetooth and WiFi. Something else that is special is that is has a built-in 4 gigabyte hard drive. It doesn't seem long ago that I was amazed at the 16 megabyte storage capacity of my m515. Anyhow, the built in drive is really like having a 4 gig expansion card always inserted. The LifeDrive has a main memory, like other palmOne handhelds, that is separate from the hard drive memory. It's a little confusing knowing where your applications and documents are because of this partition.

The WiFi is great for using Quick News. My LifeDrive automatically checks for updated RSS feeds and downloads them using my home wireless network. Quick News also automatically checks for and downloads new podcasts. I can play these mp3 podcast files using the bundled Pocket Tunes software.

Something else that is great: video. I really like the LifeDrive's longer screen. I've converted many of my students' videos into the MPEG-4 video format and copied them onto my LifeDrive. I've also made copies of some of my favorite movies I have on DVD (using HandBrake for Mac OS X) and saved them in the MPEG-4 format on the LifeDrive. The included Media application won't play MPEG-4 (or other video formats that I like), so I installed the free The Core Pocket Media Player (TCPMP for short). TCPMP doesn't have a fancy interface, but it plays just about any video format I can throw at it. It really is as simple as connecting the LifeDrive to the computer and then copying the video file to the hard drive.

The bad news is that my LifeDrive crashes at least twice a day. I don't lose any information, but I find myself a Diet Coke while it takes at least three minutes to restart. Yes, three minutes! This would be no good in a classroom - a student with extra time on their hands waiting for a computer to reboot is a recipe for trouble. As I read reviews of the LifeDrive, I'm not the only one experiencing the frequent crashes and long restarts. I hope palmOne is able to correct this problem, as I plan to move out of my Tungsten C and into my shiny, new LifeDrive. I just don't know if I can handle that much caffeine...