I’m an horrific hoarder by nature. Not quite a “piles of newspapers and several dead pets” but we’re not quite a million miles from there. In an effort to streamline my existence, I’m tidying my spare room and uncovering a frightening wealth of old tech I’ve decided – in my infinite wisdom – to save for a rainy day.
One of the more surprising finds was my Hewlett Packard 300LX Palmtop PC. This was one of the first palmtop devices running Windows CE 1.0 – or Wince as it was in no way affectionately known to its users. The 300LX way a veritable beast amongst the palmtop set when it was released in 1996. A 44MHz CPU with 2MB of RAM and a grey-scale resistive touchscreen running at 640x240 (with a stylus) – all powered by two AA-batteries. Heck, this thing was so advanced it even had an IR port and a PCMCIA port, along with a serial link cable plug.
The circa 1997 Hewlett Packard 300LX Palmtop PC
This device came into my life in early 1997 (I think – it’s hazy). The Sydney Morning Herald at the time had a supplement called Icon which had had a competition involving a cutting-edge Flash website of a crime scene – one had to explore the clues the write a short story solving the crime. I could be wrong, but I believe the competition was judged by one Mr Tony Sarno, now the editor of our print magazine’s closest competition, somewhat ironically.
I won, and the 300LX became my constant companion. It travelled in my bag or – more often – weighing down my jacket pocket, as I tried desperately to prove to everyone how portable it was (it weighs 380g on the nose so anyone complaining about the size of the Samsung Galaxy Note might want to chill out).
And being me, I almost immediately lost the cable to hook it up to my PC, thus vastly reducing its usefulness, given that you needed a PCMCIA card modem if you wanted to connect it to the Internet. I assume that if I can ever get this running, there’s still 4000 or so words of the Great Lost Australian Novel on there. I should have finished that – I’m sure it would have been a true best seller…