It's hard to believe but this issue begins our fourth year publishing The HP Palmtop Paper. Almost four years ago HP introduced its "computer in your pocket," the 512K HP 95LX, as a Lotus 1-2-3 machine with some DOS compatibility and a useful suite of built-in applications. At the time, for an additional $400 you could buy a 512K memory card to store more data. Throughout the months and years the HP Palmtop and accessories evolved. Today for about the same total purchase price you can buy a true DOS compatible 2 Megabyte 200LX with a richer suite of applications and a 10 Megabyte card (20 compressed) for extra storage space.
The cover story unveils more of how the usefulness of the HP Palmtop has evolved. First of all, both Smart Modular Technologies and EXP Computer have introduced fax/modem & Flash memory storage cards. This means you can use your Palmtop and the card as a communicator without external accessories. The storage space on the card means there is room both for fax and modem software and for the data you want to send and receive across phone lines without having to borrow space from the built-in Palmtop C drive.
Secondly, Citizen and Pentax have introduced the first portable printers well-suited for the HP Palmtops. (When I show off my Palmtop, the most common question I hear is, "Can you print from it?"). Because of size, easy cable connection, and capabilities, these are the first printers I would take in my travels as an HP Palmtop companion.
But what about fun when you are on the move, you may ask. Turns out that there are lots of game possibilities for the HP Palmtop as you will read in Capers Jones' article. One game that didn't get mentioned is the ancient Chinese/Japanese game of Go. This is an elegant game, with simple rules, where two players take turns placing stones on a 19 x 19 board. The object is to surround the other without getting surrounded yourself. Philosophies of life and even popular novels have been written about this game of complexities and intricacies greater than chess. I recently discovered a version that works quite nicely on the HP Palmtop, "Many Faces of Go" by Ishi Press (see Product Index, page 55). The program lets you play on different sized boards and has tutorials and commented games for both beginners and experienced players. I have spent hours in airports locked in battle with the computer totally absorbed.
I'll let you page through this issue to discover the rest of the goodies. (Hint: 200LX users check out Ed Keefe's Looking Glass column where a useful undocumented HP 200LX feature is revealed and extended.)
After supporting the HP Palmtop these past three and a half years, people ask us, "Don't you run out of material," and "Don't you get tired of writing about the HP Palmtop?". Frankly. I am more excited and impressed today about the HP Palmtop and what it can do for me than I was when we began this publication. The possibilities of a DOS computer in my pocket seem endless. As we (HP Palmtop users) continue to discover and invent more uses for our pocket computer, we will continue to report the findings in these pages.