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How It All Began

How It All Began

If you ask a number of HP LX users how they got started using their palmtops, you'll get some interesting answers.

By Linda Worthington

Scratch a palmtopper and you will find a story, often a personal history of his or her introduction to the HP LX family of computers.

Somehow we all seem to remember, with amazing clarity, how it all began for us!

The following examples are excerpted from some memories submitted by some of the Palmtoppers in the Fireside Forum of HPHand on Compu-Serve.

 Stan Dobrowski, certainly one of the most advanced and enthusiastic users of the LX and a member of Team HP, loved the Hewlett-Packard line of calculators in college and moved on to the 95LX from there. He has owned every model and did one of the early crystal speed upgrades in this area, in 1995, using Japanese instructions (fortunately, as he says, the instructions had good pictures!).

Several medical professionals are Palmtoppers

 "Saw an article in some laptop magazine that Hewlett-Packard was going to come out with a small pocket-sized computer. With a busy anesthesiology practice, I needed something to solve equations and to keep databases and spreadsheets in, while on the go (i.e., in my pocket). So I ordered the 95LX from EduCALC two months before it was announced (got one of the first ones, I think) and have been moving up since. I now have a 2Mg 200 LX." Michael Melvin

 "A physician I worked with read about the 95LX and got a 512K model. I saw it and played with it. I particularly like the spreadsheet and Solver function of HP Calc. When my friend got a copy of a pharmaceutical reference program, I dashed out and got a 1Mg 95LX. I have since moved to a 1Mg 100LX, then had it upgraded to 2Mg. Now I have a 5Mg double speed 200LX. (EduCALC has made a lot of money off of my propensity to upgrade palmtops!)" Steve Carder, MD (Family Practice)

 Fortunately for all of us, some of those who love LXs have gone on to develop marvelous software that has made the basic unit even more useful.

Programming for the palmtop

 Avi Meshar, one of the founders of D&A Software, developers of such remarkable applications for the LX as the Web browser WWW.LX, recalls that he followed the evolution of the LX from the 95LX onward, primarily due to its ability to run Lotus 1-2-3, until, "...in 1992 or 1993 I saw an ad for CompUSA and they had the HP 100LX. Hmmmm.... I was there in five minutes. Sure enough, it was an 80-character PC-DOS unit, with my beloved Lotus 1-2-3, release 2.4. Needless to say, my work was different, but I was still a captive of the charm of having a PC in your palm. So that's how it began in August 1993 for me."

 His friend, " 'lexu" (Alexander Gutfeldt), remembers: "In 1994, when I got my first job at the University of Berne, I managed to sleep in (too) late very often, leading to some embarrassing situations. So I started looking around for an electronic agenda. At the Orbit computer fair in Basel I saw a couple of HP 200LXs on display... when I realized how useful the agenda applet was for me and that I could run other stuff I needed for the evening classes I still attend, I quickly bought one ."

Also in Europe, Daniel Legendre says that he started with other HP products and " .... subscribed to The HP Palmtop Paper one year before I bought a previously-owned HP100LX from EduCalc," by which time he knew that it was just what he needed.

 Using the telephone to find a lost palmtop

In Germany, Martin Breidenbacht, another member of TeamHP on CompuServe, says that although he has long collected HP products, some of the small ones can get lost on a "busy" desk, but "...that can't happen with the 700LX because, if it disappears in that room, I can call its Cell phone and hear where it is!"

Arturo Riera has a very long list of wonderful computers that he has owned over the years, between 1984 and today, including a particular old favorite of mine, the Toshiba 1000. He sums it all up with these somehow familiar words: "I keep telling my wife the equipment is good for my career! (Don't let on!)"

 Ole Latham, in the Mid-West, tells a fine tale of using an OmniBook but reading about the LX, and lurking in the HPHand Forums, amazed by the activity and the atmosphere there. Finally, in 1994, he bought a previously-owned 100LX and upgraded to a 200LX and now works happily on a RAM- and speed-upgraded 200LX, and has upgraded that OmniBook, too.

 From curiosity to love

 I backed into the family of Palmtoppers by way of The HP Palmtop Paper. I bought an issue in a local Barnes & Noble in the summer of 1994, curious about a publication dedicated exclusively to tiny computers. The transition from the HP 95LX to the 100LX had already taken place, and I went straight to the Office Depot next door and bought a 1Mg 100LX. I took it home, installed batteries, began to explore the features, and fell in love immediately. I returned it and bought the 2Mg model from ACE and upgraded to the 2Mg 200LX when it arrived on the market the following year.

I have loved and lived with this little wonder without a break since then! When I found the HPHand Forums I discovered an endless source of information, instruction and friendships. And I have subscribed to The HP Palmtop Paper since 1994 as well. I use an Hewlett-Packard OmniBook 800CT as my primary computer, with an HP OB530 as a backup, and I am totally pleased with my small family of small computers.

Ole was right: the HPHand Forums are lively and fun, and endlessly informative, too. And even as the LXs evolve to utilize the newer format of WinCE, some of us remain faithful and satisfied users of the original DOS computers we fell in love with some years ago.

 To second Avi's sentiments, I am still a captive of the charm of having a PC in my palm.

iPhone Life magazine

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