We've had a tragedy at my school! A fifth grader chose to perform a soft reset on his Zire 31 using a mechanical pencil. The pencil lead broke off inside of the reset hole. Unfortunately, we were not able remove the piece of lead. The student's handheld would reset and then immediately reset again in a continuous cycle until the battery completely drained. The handheld is now useless.
This tragedy could have easily been avoided by using a paperclip to reset the handheld, not a pencil tip. And even though students at my school are told to only use paperclips in the reset hole, this tragedy still occurred.
It's nice that most Pocket PCs and newer Palm handhelds feature a reset button that can be activated using the tip of a stylus. This means no more hunting for a paperclip and less of a temptation to use a pencil for resetting. Plus, there is no little hole for the lead to become lodged into. Why they didn't think of this sooner, I don't know.
A handheld can be reset without giving it a poke with a stylus tip or with a paperclip. The freeware applications SoftReset for Palm and SoftReset for PocketPC (no relation to my podcast) are simple tools to soft reset a handheld through software. Just launch the program and tap the button on the screen and your handheld will restart. Soft resets are sometimes necessary because of a bug in an application, memory is getting low, or a number of other reasons. Don't worry, a soft reset won't erase any of your data. Sadly, if the handheld is completely frozen, you won't be able to launch SoftReset, so a paperclip or stylus tip may still be required. Just don't use the tip of a pencil, otherwise, tragedy may strike.