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HPLX Pages

Posted 2009.02.28 10.40 in Computers/Internet/Technology

Please Note: This blog entry was consolidated from a group of separate pages about the HPLX Palmtop. I no longer use the HP 200LX, but I still have very fond memories of it.

This is the HP 200LX Palmtop. It’s a PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) – and so much more! Yes, it has a suite of PIM (Personal Information Manager) applications, but it’s also a full-fledged PC-XT running MS-DOS 5.0. It was introduced by HP in 1994, and discontinued some time in the late 1990’s.

Its PIM applications made it a powerful and capable solution for many busy businesspeople, and it’s MS-DOS operating system and XT architecture enabled it to run most of the thousands upon thousands of programs available for DOS.

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Posted 2008.05.23 0.00 in Computers/Internet/Technology

I fixed it I fixed it I fixed it I fixed it!

I got some brass metal strip and cut it to size then made some holes in it to increase surface area, and used some epoxy to fix the metal over the crack on the back. I used more epoxy to build up material on the side as well, and then the face too where it had broken inside.

Epoxy is good and strong but you have to let it set for 24hours to really reach its full strength, so each step took a day of waiting for it to cure before I could turn it around and work on the next bit.

But it’s done now and I’m happy!! 😀

The imposter is back in storage and my HPLX is back in my purse where it belongs.

Its Fixed!
Doesn’t it look so happy?! That’s the HPLX I love!


Posted 2008.05.21 0.00 in Computers/Internet/Technology

This is the false HPLX.

It has the motherboard of *my* HPLX but the case is all wrong.

Just look at it! You can tell it’s mocking me. Taunting me. It tries to look correct, tries to fit in.

Late at night when I should be asleep, I just know that…thing…is in my purse or on my desk.. just…sitting there.

I *have* to fix the old case and make things right.

Its. All. Wrong.

Touchy-Feely Technology : Redux

Posted 2008.05.18 0.00 in Computers/Internet/Technology

Recently I wrote about anthropomorphising electronics, and the sadness I felt when erasing and boxing a laptop that I no longer needed. Little did I know that I’d be facing another little dilemma so soon, along the same line.

For over 3 years now, my HP 200LX PDA has been a near-constant companion. Although an antique, it does exactly what I need, everything I need, as far as organizing my schedule, reminding me of projects and appartments, keeping all my contacts’ phone and address info, and having a handy database application which I used to create several custom files for all manner of things, even wine-tasting notes.

The thing with antique technology — as I have written before — is that you have to be prepared to act as your own parts-depot and repair shop. HP is not likely to have a stock of parts handy for something they sold 12 years ago, nor are they likely to have any staff in the service dept. who know what it is, let alone how to fix it. To that end, I have a small supply of spare parts, even a couple spare units. A year or two ago, I sold one of my spare units. (Actually my best, almost-mint spare.) No problem, at the time there were a number of good-quality replacements still on ebay. However, as more time passes, there are fewer and fewer good quality replacements. Those who use and love the LX are undoubtedly doing like me – stockpiling parts and spares.

About six months ago, I realized that my beloved LX was starting to succumb to the infamous “Hinge Crack” problem — the right-hand screen hinge has the resistance that holds the screen up, and therefore all the stress of opening and closing against that resistance goes on the plastic surrounding the right-hand hinge. Eventually the stress is too great and the plastic starts to give. And ultimately, it breaks completely. It’s not like this is the first thing to go wrong with my LX, by the way. The lid clip broke, it’s not springy any more. I stuffed some rubber band bits into it to try and make it springy. And the plastic overlay that surrounds the screen, fell off years ago. I tried putting a new one on, but it feels ‘wrong’ now.

Anyhow, when I saw the hinge crack, I got on ebay and eventually found a replacement that had the same upgrades as my main unit — overclocked to 2x speed, and 8MB memory. It cost a pretty penny, but you do what you gotta do. Soon enough, I had the replacement. I ran a backup of my HPLX and then restored to the new one. But…

I just couldn’t bring myself to use it. The new one was not ‘new’ or pristine, it was used. Yeah it’s in better shape than mine. But mine is mine. It has the melted bits in the lid where I lasered it. It has the teeth marks on the case where I chewed on it. (Don’t ask.) I’ve gotten so used to the ‘face’ without the plastic overlay. The ‘new’ one was just too…unfamiliar.

So I kept the new one in a drawer and went right on using my old, beat up, well worn LX. I knew that every day the hinge crack got worse, every day it cracked a bit more. I kept telling myself that I could maybe fix it, maybe epoxy, metal, nuts and bolts, something would save it. I just needed to take it out of service for a week or so, while I worked on it. And still I couldn’t do it.

Finally, recently, the crack made it all the way around, back to front. It stopped being cracked and started being broken. Its time had come.

I got out the replacement, did the backup/restore again. And still! I can’t use it. I just can’t use the replacement. I went to my spare parts box and pulled out all my LX parts. I went through them all to find one that had a good screen and case. Then I opened up my old one and the spare one, and swapped motherboards. Now I’m using the same old motherboard in a relatively good case. For all intents and purposes, it *is* the old one, just in a fixed shell.

But damnit, it doesn’t feel right. I’ll put up with it for a little while — long enough to try and fix the crack on the ‘old’ case. Then I can put the motherboard back where it belongs, and hopefully I’ll be happy. And hopefully my LX will be happy too!

HPLX - Broke
My beloved HPLX with the dreaded Hinge Crack highlighted.

HP Palmtop 200LX Computer…

Posted 2007.02.06 1.00 in Computers/Internet/Technology

About 2 years ago I got all excited about the HP 200LX palmtop computer. I had one in storage for a year or two without using it, but the time had come. My venerable Newton Messagepad 2100 had seen a few years of hard heavy use and was starting to show signs of age. Plus, I was getting a bit bored with it. And finally, I was needing some customizations to the phonebook, and wanted other specialty databases that I couldn’t (easily) find or make on the Newton.

Anyhow, long story short, I blew the dust off the 200LX and had a closer look at it. Before long, my Newton was retired and the 200LX became my PDA of choice. The irony is the 200LX predates the Newton by a few years. Yeah, the 200LX is about 13 or 14 years old now. And know what? The damn thing still works like a charm, beats the pants off just about any modern PDA I’ve seen.

So, I’ve been using it 2 years, it’s great. So great, I don’t even think about it. It’s just always there, always ready. This past weekend though, I loaned one of my backup 200LXes to a friend. She needed a PDA, or wanted to find out if a PDA could replace her pen-and-paper scheduler book thingy. So rather than make a big financial committment, I loaned her a 200LX so she could try-before-buy as it were.

We spent a few hours in the tutorial phase, as I told her how it worked, helped her get started with her To-Do list, Appointments, Phonebook, and a few Notetaker databases. It’s funny, how teaching someone something makes it that much more clear to one’s self.

I was also struck by how great the 200LX looks brand-new. The unit I loaned her was in almost-new condition, a 9 out of 10. My own 200LX has seen 2 years of hard use, and was used when I got it… Still, I haven’t thought of trading in or up or whatever. I’ll be looking on the Bay though for another backup unit — if my friend falls in love with her 200LX like I have with mine, she’ll be keeping the loaner and I’ll need to put a replacement into my ‘stock’, just incase. The only drawback with obsolete technology, IMHO, is you have to be your own parts- and repair- shop.

So, after taking my 200LX for granted so long, I’m looking at it again with new appreciation and excitement. Maybe this time, I’ll finaly finish my 200LX website – under construction for the last 2 years… 🙂

Stephanie’s HP200LX Pages

My 200LX

The Stephanie Maks Office Adventure Kit

Posted 2006.07.25 0.00 in Computers/Internet/Technology

I was just getting ready to head out to work and had some of my ‘important gear’ sitting on my desk ready to, when I noticed that my bit of kit was arranged somewhat photogenically.

That’s right, it’s the Stephanie Maks Action Adventure Kit!

The kit consists of the following:
A Pentacle necklace, properly cleansed and blessed.
A mechanical, home-made wristwatch. Today it’s the one-handed model, accurate to within 5 or 10 minutes.
An antique PDA, circa 1996. Hey, just because stuff is new, does not mean it is better.

And now, I must be off! Duty calls!

Stephanie Maks Action Adventure Kit