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Further reasons to hate geekdom

I’ve been tricking out my Dell Axim and am quickly discovering how –thanks to no documentation –seemingly straightforward tasks seem impossibly hard (and end up wasting lots of time).

A primary reason I allowed myself to buy another PDA is being able to use it for skype. I did some googling around and found that generally you could use skype on your pda with bluetooth headphones. But then it turns out that bluetooth headphones don’t work adequately with Dell AXIMs. They switched bluetooth stacks in the latest ROM release–much to the consternation of Axim users. (that’s a further reason why Dell is stupid; they have by far the best pocketpc pda for the price range, and yet they abandoned the product in mid-2005, not updating hardware or software, only providing ROM updates every 6 months or so.

In the meantime WM5 Smart Phones are taking off up to the point where 2007 models are improving to the point where they have acheived about 80% of the power Dell PDAs already had in 2005. The main exception is bluetooth profiles which smartphones have significantly better support for. Apparently bluetooth stacks (roughly analagous to windows drivers) support different standards for telephones and headsets and keyboards, but the version installed by default on Axim PDA doesn’t include this..which means you need to install the Widcomm bluetooth stack. Which is fine, except that the thread for how to do it runs 74 web pages long!

I didn’t read all 74 pages, but I gathered that the new stack is fairly mature and well-tested, plus it has an uninstall feature, so I could take the risk. So I ask a few preliminary questions, make my backup and then find another roadblock. I’m supposed to add a registry hack. But editing the registry requires care and caution. The user forum just assumes that editing the registry is common knowledge. But in fact it isn’t. I definitely got started, but I am reluctant to take chances on something I don’t know much about.

So where does that leave me? I spent 2-3 hours preparing for a hack only to get stuck. Instead of doing this, I could have been exercising or writing or cleaning my apartment. This is a timesink. Although I don’t have a problem devoting time and concentration on certain important tasks, in fact this PDA thing is of relatively minor importance to me in the grand scheme of things.

It just so happens I had today off, so I had time to waste on this. But what if I had a normal working schedule? Where would I have found the time? I’m left at the point of having to wait for someone on a forum to handhold me on a task I’m unsure will actually work.

Update: Well, the hack turned out to be a lot easier than I thought. I was able to get bluetooth to work even though I haven’t quite figured it out. It looks like Skype is not functioning well with my bluetooth headset profile. Also, the new driver doesn’t seem to worth with my keyboard. Still testing.

In other news, it looks as though Dell will stop selling Axims as of tomorrow.

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