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Stylus Envy

by Kent Lewis


I’m not a geek, or at least I didn’t start out that way. I didn’t get my first computer until senior year in college. It didn’t take long to get hooked on IRC and Doom, however. That’s not to say I didn’t have my reservations about various technologies like cell phones. Only drug dealers, doctors and jackasses carried phones.

I resisted purchasing a cell phone until 1999, which is impressive, considering I’m in the technology industry. It took me a bit longer to make the big jump from Franklin day planner to a Palm Pilot. The largest hurdle, as I saw it, was the need to learn a new language called graffiti, which allowed you to write messages in your Palm. I never learned shorthand in school, so I figured I was behind the curve.

One day, I decided that coordinating my planner with my Outlook calendar was more work than learning graffiti, so I purchased a Palm V. It was small and sleek, and I was amazed at the level of integration and ease of use. My shorthand skills went through the roof as a result. I had several job offers as a court stenographer.

There were shortcomings, however. The first problem I encountered was the lack of ability to take notes efficiently. Although I picked up graffiti quickly enough, it just wasn’t making the cut for long meetings. I figured I could solve that problem by purchasing a carrying case with notepad. The postage stamp-sized pad would have been more useful if I’d had needlework training.

Before I could work out all the kinks with my Palm, I changed jobs and had to leave it behind. I took this as an omen and purchased a Handspring Visor Deluxe (Ice color for you Visorheads).

This time I did it right and purchased a fancy carrying case and folding keyboard. I was amazed at the level of efficiency I achieved with my keyboard in meetings. Sure, I looked like a grade A supernerd, but I was saving tons of time by taking complete notes, then synching them up with my Outlook and forwarding them via email to the team.

Not only was I scoring points with the boss, I was turning heads of even the mainstream geeks at work. I think even a few of the ladies wanted a piece of the mobile wonderboy.

Then it all went wrong.

My first problem hit like Ken Griffey Jr. I lost my stylus. If you don’t know what that is, then you need to get out of that cave. I can say, that without my stylus, I was nobody. I couldn’t navigate the Visor menu, so it became a mini-doorstop. I didn’t let that slow me down for long though. Instead of simply purchasing a replacement stylus, I opted for the 3-in-one stylus pen (pen, pencil and stylus).

Since the trials and tribulations of the early days, it’s been fairly smooth sailing for this geek. I was proficient enough to write this entire article on my Visor while on the plane. I even impressed the flight attendants with my tiny tool.

As an early adopter supergeek, I have an obligation to share my experiences with dedicated Anvil readers and empower them to make strategic, integrated, comprehensive purchases. A word of caution: don’t get too attached to your stylus.


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