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A RAM card expands the disk storage space on your 95LX. Is there a difference between the various cards available? Is there danger of losing files on a RAM card? Is it possible to use your RAM card like a floppy disk directly with your desktop PC?


By Hal Goldstein

What follow are articles on PC Cards and Memory Card Drives. A PC Card (also known as a Memory Card or a RAM Card) fits in the slot on the left side of your HP 95LX. You can add up to 2 Megabytes of storage space on the 95LX by using a PC Card. Since PC Card usage is so central to 95LX users and to the future of computing, you will see a more articles on PC Card usage in subsequent issues of The HP Palmtop Paper.

Soon we will see a variety of PC Cards for the HP 95LX: Flash Cards, One Time Programmable (OTP) ROM Cards, Masked ROM Cards, and RAM and ROM combination cards. Each of these cards has the capability to store programs and data and each has certain advantages and disadvantages in terms of price and flexibility.

For example, the RAM cards that are now available rank high in terms of flexibility (data and programs can be easily stored and erased) and high on price. On the other extreme a Masked ROM ranks low in terms of flexibility and low in terms of cost per unit: In terms of inflexibility, the minimum Masked ROM order is 2000 units, it may take four months to receive the order, whatever gets put on the masked ROM is permanent, that is, it can't be altered. The HP Dictionary / Thesaurus card is an example of a software program available on a masked ROM card. Look to future issues of The HP Palmtop Paper for further discussion on the different PC Cards and different capabilities in RAM Card Drives.

In the following article, contributing editor Mark Scardina talks about considerations when purchasing a RAM card and about protection of files on the RAM card once you start using one. Both issues deal with how the battery in the RAM card interacts with the batteries in the HP 95LX.

Once you get a RAM card, you will want to seriously consider a RAM Card Drive for your desktop computer. A Card Drive acts like an additional disk drive for your PC. With a Card Drive you can exchange data between the HP 95LX and your desktop PC by inserting your HP 95LX RAM Card into the Card Drive attached to the PC. Peter McClean, whose company manufactures PAMCO PC Card Drives, discusses in general terms the basic uses of a Card Drive. In subsequent issues we will look at a variety of Card Drives and discuss what they can do.

About two months ago, I took the plunge and purchased a 1 MB RAM Card. Subsequently, I obtained a Card Drive. The 1 MB RAM Card completely changed the way I used the HP 95LX -- it really made it a different machine for me. I stored more DOS software on my HP 95LX including Grandview, the powerful outline organizer I use on my PC. I also had room to store more of my Lotus 1-2-3 reference files. And, of course, I could store the whole suite of games discussed elsewhere in this issue. For security I have a copy of my phone book and appointment book on both my C and A drives. I still have room left (although I am ready for a 2 MB card).

A Card Drive makes transferring and backing up files a snap. I simply remove my 1 MB RAM Card from my 95LX and put it into my PC's Card Drive. I use simple DOS commands on my PC to copy files back and forth.



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