PDAs seem vastly over-rated
I have a Palm Pilot that I rarely use. I find it more convenient to use note cards to keep track of tasks. I don't understand how anyone could find a PDA of much assistance. Maybe I'm not using mine properly.
I can write faster on paper than on the PDA screen.
The screen shows only a small message.
If the batteries fail, you've lost data.
Where is the advantage of a PDA over a stack of cards?
Collecting and processing VERSUS reviewing
You've got a point there! I agree that I can handwrite something faster than I can write it on the small screen of the PDA. However, the collecting and processing are different steps, using different tools, than the review phase.
The major shift for me was when I started putting in the reference data that the Palm PDA can hold. Essay ideas, camping checklists, even grocery lists are held in the Palm system.
Personally, I'd say I review 90% of my "next actions" while I'm at the desktop version of the Palm. It's only when I'm out and about that I'd look at the @Calls list, or the @Errands list.
I regularly sync my PDA to my desktop. The few times the battery charge has failed, I simply add a new set of batteries/recharge the unit and sync again. As a matter of fact, in 5+ years of working with a Palm, I've not lost the data once!
The advantage FOR ME of the Palm over the cards is that the PDA is more universally available with ALL kinds of data I "might" use. The volume that I'm tracking now (about 80 projects, and over 100 next actions) may be unwieldly using note cards. This way, I can see it easily and appropriately, and I trust that it's all there.
PDA's overrated (misused)
I think you are right in a sense, but tell me a customers phone number real quick. Tell me what you're doing October 21st real quick. Odds are I can do it quicker than you, but as Jason explained, there are other advantages of PDA's.
Another: I can cut and paste a email into a todo and sort those todo's any way I choose. You'll be shuffling. Digital has its advantages in a digital world.
Having said all that, I thnk the trap of PDA's is that we can tend to fiddle with them (misuse them) and get more caught up in the process than the outcomes.
But who am I but a humble student of the process?