Over the last few years I have sold off almost all of the PDAs I once owned. Probably a good thing overall, I had way too many of them to do anything with, and, for the last few years most of them languished in a drawer or cupboard for most of the time. I like to think that the ones I have sold off have all gone to good homes. Who knows.
What I have left is a handful a what I like to think of as select and somewhat unique devices. More about those another time perhaps.
One of the devices I have kept is a Palm Treo 750. A device running the Windows Mobile Operating System. I originally bought this with the thought that it would replace a Palm Treo 650, which runs the original Palm Operating System. However, not too long after I bought it the iPhone emerged and the smartphone era arrived in earnest. I kept both Treos and I still have them today.
I have often thought about reviving the 750 to see what I could use it for. To see how I could put it to real use, something I actually need it to do.
The first step is to see if it actually boots up. After all, it is old. But sometimes old tech lasts a lot longer than new stuff. It booted up fine. Which was great. However, I remembered one of the issues with the Treo 750 was the casing. For some reason the outer casing had become tacky and sticky. Very unpleasant to handle. For that reason I have this white case for it.
It makes it usable anyway. As you can see, the device is up and running. The next step was to get a SIM in it and establish if it could even send texts. Well, after some messing around with SIM card holders, I got it working and sending texts.
So far this has all worked well. Next comes the more interesting part, but that will require another post.
This is a little journey back in time to before there were iPhones, and when PDAs were big. Ok, not big perhaps, but prevalent to a degree. Back then there were a few applications (we didn’t call them apps back then), that were for music, but, to be honest, they were few and far between. Also there was no standard architecture for things like plug ins on mobile. So it was an interesting time.
One of the most interesting and advanced was Griff. It was a Windows Mobile application, and it had a unique architecture, at least in terms of mobile applications. Griff was essentially a sequencer with a plug in architecture allowing it to be highly extensible.
There was also a reasonable number of these plug ins too. Mainly synths, but also samplers and drum machines. It was very cool in a world before iOS music making.
Whilst it’s not completely abandoned, the web site is still there. It isn’t what it quite was, but you can still find things, and you can still download things I think.
Whilst it’s understandable that Griff is no longer a going concern I still feel a little wistful about it. I remember first discovering it, although I was late to the party. It was a real revelation, and I actually bought a more powerful Windows Mobile PDA to be able to use it.
This is a good project for these times. Especially if you have an old Windows Mobile PDA hanging around. As I do!
I’ve been a fan of this music app for years now, and I found this photo that I’d taken of it running on three different devices simultaneously. I still use it a lot for making tracks on my iPhone, so I must get back to using it on Windows Mobile soon. It’ll be interesting to see how different it is or isn’t.
I don’t experiment with it so much anymore, but I used to quite a lot before. I think I always wanted to find that perfect device that could do everything, and often the only way was with an emulator of some kind.