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Bring Me The Head of Bill Gates

So yesterday my new Dell Axim x50v PDA arrived. For those of my readers interested in tech, I'll give a more detailed review, but for those who don't need the details: great piece of kit, pity about the operating system.

The Device Itself: The Axim's come a long way since the clunky, clumsy days of the X5. It's a bit larger than some of its competitors, but the ability to take both SD cards and CF cards means I'm not out a couple Jacksons in accessories. I've got a few complaints about the button-placement, which seem optimized for women with spidery fingers. I think I've opened the Rhinoskin case about three times without accidentally pressing the wireless button.

Which brings me to one other question. Dell is marketing the x50v, with its VGA screen, as a "gamer's PDA." What in heaven's name are they thinking? OK, I'm sure that if I installed a game on this thing it would look great, but what am I going to play it with? The directional button would look small as a cracker topping. Unless you're going to buy some bluetooth D-pad (and by the way, the bluetooth on this thing works great), just go buy a Gameboy.

Which brings us to the best of the best: the screen. You just can't describe the difference between this and the earlier Axim models. It's bright, it's crisp, and it probably does to battery life what Nader fears Bush is doing to the environment. But what the heck, it's a thing of beauty, and I can't recommend it more highly.

The Operating System: On the other hand, that screen is supported by the new Microsoft Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition. For that, I can give you a two-word evaluation:

Windows ME

Seriously, it's that bad. I've had this thing less than twenty-four hours, and already I'm best friends with the soft-reset button. Hell, I'm on passing aquaintance with the hard reset function, and I'm keeping multiple backups to make certain that if there's a crash I can get back to a stable position without too much trouble.

Admittedly, I'm doing some fairly rough things. I've tried to install a task manager, because despite persistent user complaints, Microsoft still hasn't provided a way to do one of the most basic OS tasks: shut down a goddamn program. I've installed a Japanese screen font (and did I mention that on a VGA screen those fonts look bloody fantastic?). And I added one of the agenda management programs that comes bundled from Dell. Anything else that I tried to add from my old PDA resulted in this error message: "This application may not function because it was designed for a previous version of Windows CE."

(Incidentally, Microsoft, can you make up your fucking mind? I'm either running a Windows CE device, a Windows Pocket PC device, or a Windows Mobile device. Could someone please go back through your OS and make sure the operating system gives me consistent error messages as to the nature of the device I've got in my hands?)

The lack of stability, the freezes, the lockups--these are inexcusable. Indeed, at one point the operating system was so screwed up that the screen was showing nothing but pin-striped lines.

But worst of all is the lack of backwards compatibility. Some of you might remember that I recommended Decuma's Japanese handwriting recognition software a few months back. Well, guess what? It doesn't work on the new version of.... whatever this OS is called. Once you install it, it disables every input system and keeps all applications from launching. And you can't remove it. Hard-reset, anyone?

So now I'm stuck. I've got a piece of kit I really like, but the primary function I hoped to use it for--a Japanese/English dictionary--can't be managed until I find a replacement for Decuma. If anyone has any suggestions, I'd greatly appreciate it.


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Spare a thought for me, if you would: I have to *work* with Windows Mobile devices. It's no fun at all. Incidentally, there is a way to kill programs. (Wait for it - this is quite silly !) It's under "Memory Management" on the 'System' page of the 'Settings' mode.
Bateleur: I'm sorry, I should have been clear. I know of that way to kill programs. I meant a simple, sensible way to close a program.
Well, i'm from russia and had some problems with decuma, but after some efforts (hard res, new fonts, such as msmincho) it's fine now, except one problem - input works in any windows application, but in decuma interface itself fonts do not work. Can anyone help me out with this problem ? Wich fonts do i need ? P.S. BTW, i have iPaq rx3715
Well, i'm from russia and had some problems with decuma, but after some efforts (hard res, new fonts, such as msmincho) it's fine now, except one problem - input works in any windows application, but in decuma interface itself fonts do not work. Can anyone help me out with this problem ? Wich fonts do i need ? P.S. BTW, i have iPaq rx3715
I'm running into the same problem with Decuma Japanese on my new HP hx4700. I'm only using the demo version at the moment, and after installation it will work fine *until* I do a soft-reset, and then it goes into the state you describe ("not enough program memory...")—but constantly reinstalling isn't much of a work-around. Over on the never-ending Brighthand Japanese-on-English-Pocket-PC thread: http://discussion.brighthand.com/showthread.php?s=fe6fad4f8a854dab5990aec215d85893&threadid=74282&perpage=10&pagenumber=26 ...NYCKiwi claims that Decuma is coming out with a new version soon for 2003SE and VGA, and so we can hope it plays better with the OS. What J-E/E-J dictionary are you using? So far I've been making do with Mike Johnson's edict-based dictionary, but it's not as slick as it could be. (BTW, I'm a graduate student in linguistics studying Japanese, and I'm particularly interested in kanji handwriting recognition solutions, because I'm woefully illiterate in Japanese.)
Have you tried ATOK as your handwriting input editor? It works for me--even on a second edition hx2750.
Just so you know, you can now switch your x50v ROM into Japanese...then get the wonderful native Windows Japanese IME programs.
This problem has finally be solved. :) I highly recommend you read this thread to see how to get MS Japanese Handwriting IME installed on English WM2003SE (and FE too). Serious business this. Please help get the word out! This freeware fix is exactly what I've been looking for for the last three years. All the input apps work perfectly on my Tosh e800 - they should be fine on the Axim.
Quite seriously cool. I'll write an updated post on this today.

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