In June of 2002, I finally got my hands on a PDA (Personal Data Assistant). For younger readers, these were devices that had a touch-screen (which you tapped with a stylus), ran the equivalent of apps (but they were very stripped down), and basically contained smartphone capabilities… without the phone part. Throughout the summer of 2002, I obtained the following:

  • HP Jornada 547 (540 Series)
    • A color-screen Pocket PC with 32 MB of memory
    • Cost in 2002: $280
  • Targus Stowaway Keyboard
    • A keyboard that folds up like an accordion (have to see to believe – pictures below)
    • Cost in 2002: $99
  • Minstrel 540
    • A wireless CDPD Modem that allowed me to get Internet anywhere (very slowly and expensively, so not used much)
    • PC Magazine says this: “At 19.2 Kbps, CDPD wireless service is currently the fastest wireless network you can access with a PDA (look for faster services midyear), but inconsistent coverage is a problem.”
    • Cost in 2002: $75
  • 128 MB CF Card
    • Back then, you were actually allowed to upgrade your own devices!
    • Cost in 2002: $50

We had just obtained our first high-res digital camera the same week, so my excitement was preserved below for posterity (pictures from 2002 – ignore the dancing hamster):


The folding keyboard was very nice, and felt like typical laptop keyboards of the time.
All pictures below were taken in February of 2016, but they are still of the original Jornada, Targus Keyboard, and Minstrel (all working as of 2015, but heavily dented by now!) The blue Nike pencil case is what I carried the Jornada and accessories in the whole time – and I’ve never seen another one like it in a store.


Finally, here are some pictures of the original manual:

jordmanual1 jordmanual2

I continued to use the Jornada for note-taking in school until summer of 2005. This was somewhat awkward; between 2002 and 2005, I think I saw maybe one other person with any device even resembling it. Most of my classmates continued to take class (and later, meeting) notes on paper well into the smartphone era. I tend to type faster than I write, so the Jornada made a lot of sense at the time.

Although I used the Jornada again briefly in 2010 and 2011 (and it still held a charge for a respectable 2+ hours on the original battery), I haven’t used it properly in over 10 years.

Category: HP

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