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The First Annual Bear Mountain Palmtop Meeting

The First Annual Bear Mountain Palmtop Meeting

What happens when 29 enthusiasts gather for the weekend in a state park to share their love for the HP Palmtops?

By Linda Worthington

If you would find it strange to see a man standing on a boulder on the peak of a mountain holding a Cell phone, a modem, an HP 200LX, and trailing assorted wires (while attempting to send a message to a woman who is standing right in front of him), then perhaps you have never been to a palmtop gathering.

 If eating lunch amid a welter of wires and widgets, with 28 other folks, all enthusiastically talking at once about their newest, favorite electronic gadgets and goodies sounds like your kind of eccentricity, seek out a Palmtop Users Group.

 On the weekend of May 10th & 11th, 29 aficionados of the HP 95LX, 100LX and 200LX handheld computers, along with assorted spouses, children and friends, gathered at the Bear Mountain Inn, in Bear Mountain State Park, on the banks of the Hudson River in New York State.

 The meeting was arranged by Vic Roberts and Stan Dobrowski, representing the NY/NJ Users Group. This was an unusually large number, as most arranged get-togethers consist of perhaps six to ten people, more or less. The prospect of a Spring day in the woods of New York, meeting each other, in many cases for the first time, after months and years of "conversations" in the Handheld Forums of CompuServe, proved too much to resist.

 Everyone had items to contribute to Show and Tell

 Fred Kaufman, visiting his home state from Seattle, WA, brought with him the newest member of the Hewlett-Packard handheld family, a WinCE 320LX, whose green glowing backlit screen elicited Oooo's and awe. We might have been holding our palmtopping future...time will tell.

 I brought my HP OmniBook 800CT, whose beautiful bright screen and superb keyboard, speed, sound and light weight charmed Vic into making that final decision to buy one. I displayed a neat little portable light, too...but I could not remember where I got it, to the considerable dismay of others! One of my best finds is the Grip-It Strip, a rough self-sticking material which, when applied to the edges of a palmtop or a portable computer, efficiently keeps it from slipping from your hands.

 When the dining room closed, we adjourned to the grounds and reconvened the meeting on three picnic tables. Stan sent another message, this time to the Forum, while Larry Finch held the cell phone high to catch a stronger signal. Spouses hovered, children played beneath the trees and on every horizontal surface palmtoppers shared software via IR. ports, demonstrated more gadgets and traded tall tales and tech tips.

We all have favorite applications on our LXs, and individual ideas about how to use them. Many of the tools and toys that we add to our collections augment our palmtops wonderfully. A gathering is an ideal way to demonstrate to one another some of the innovations we have discovered or developed for ourselves.

Late in the afternoon some members drifted away to make the long drive home; others lingered, not wanting the day to end. Incidentally, Stan was the man on the mountain; he and Fred climbed it that morning. We Palmtoppers have many other interests, too, and we love to talk about those as well!

There are impromptu gatherings here and there, all over the world, usually arranged with little notice via the Fireside Section of the Handheld Forum on CompuServe, often when a member is coming to an area on business or for pleasure. Users Groups hold meetings that are more formally arranged, and members are notified via e-mail and the Forums.

Palmtoppers can, and do, get together with little reason and on very short notice, always happy to talk to another believer about the beautiful little computers that share and order our lives. I have even "joined" a tiny group via speaker phone on one occasion!

In the case of The First Annual Bear Mountain Meeting, judging by the enthusiastic reactions before, during and after, I think we can look forward to the Second Annual Bear Mountain Meeting. I, for one, certainly hope so! Stan and Vic: have you set the date yet?

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