Disposable PDAs

This week we look at the Top 11 reasons disposable paper (printed) PDAs and cell phones will never catch on.

April 9, 2004

6 Min Read
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SPECIAL THANKS TO STEVE BRUHN, JEANNE CRISTIANO, ERIK DAUPLAISE, RAY GAUTHIER, GARY HOKE, JOE JACKSON, BRYAN LOVELESS, GREGORY MAMAYEK, JEAN POOLE AND PATRICK TRUDEAU FOR THEIR SUBMISSIONS. DON'T FORGET TO CHECK OUT OUR UNCUT SET OF READER SUBMISSIONS.Meet Kevin Gilbertson, a clever young Web developer from Minnesota. Kevin created a site called TinyURL.com two years ago. The free service takes those annoyingly long URLs (the kind you might find in newsgroups or on Web-generated map sites) and converts them into cute little links that fit in your browser's address bar with enough space to write a sonata.

We decided to test it on the very worst URL we could imagine ... one of our own:


We ran it through TinyURL.com, and lo and behold, the URL became http://tinyurl.com/2ncv6. Ah, the simplicity! Still, what did you say your business model was again, Kevin?

(A tip o' the hat to our own Tom LaSusa for this Teenie-Weenie Thingy.)How many times has this happened to you? You want to give a presentation in the bathtub, but oh, no! Your laptop is short on memory! That rubber duckie is no help--or is it?TikiMac last month introduced the Devil Duckie flash drive, a personal data-storage device that works with both Macintoshes and PCs. Complete with hypnotic blinking eyes, the Devil Duckie can give you up to 512 MB of extra memory when you're on the go (or in the Jacuzzi). The company didn't say if the duckie squeaks when you squeeze it. TikiMac also sells matching Devil Duckie shower curtains and shot glasses (really).

  • Duke Walls: There's no way a printed PDA or cellphone is going to incite primal gadget lust or geek envy!

  • Herb Riede: Short-lived fad: Temporary iPaq tatoos make carrying paper obsolete.


    1. Not cool

    2. Can't break them

    3. Blew away in wind

    4. Spontaneous combustion from battery

    5. Too little profit

    6. Paper not made in Taiwan

    7. Tape holder will leave marks on belt & pants

    8. Imagine the bulk pack looking like a roll of TP

    9. No joystick

    10. Students will be able to cheat 24x7 since so thin.

  • Steve Bruhn: During a freakish thunderstorm discarded paper PDA's at a local recycling center form a BORG like hive mind and begin taking over the world. Unfortunately a leaky roof destroys it's plans for world domination.....

  • Vince Diligent: Too easy for Arthur Anderson Enron, and Martha Stewart to shred evidence.

  • Dave Baldwin: Wouldn't you feel stupid talking to a piece of paper?

  • Cheryl Welsch: A whole new method of identity theft. They'll be dumpster diving for discarded but unshredded PDA's containing personal information.

  • Nick Nielsen: Stylus leaks leave indelible stains on your clothes

  • Andre Baca:

    1. Opps I shredded the phone

    2. Paper file retention is 7 years. Paper phone retention is ?? Another government dilema

  • Johnnie Ray:

    1. Isn't a disposable paper PDA, a notepad? And isn't a disposable paper cell phone, a letter?

    2. Just what I need, a paper cut on my ear!

  • Jean Poole: Rain

  • Joe Jackson:

    1. Walking down the hall with a paper PDA in your pocket does NOT send the message "Hey - this is the sports section! Leave me alone for 7 minutes."

    2. Not nearly as absorbent as good old-fashioned pre-printed word-of-the-day toilet paper.

    3. Not enough battery power to play the them from "The Simpsons" right in the middle of the next "Matrix" sequel.

  • Steven Prihoda: The first PDA : A notepad and at a fraction for the cost.

  • Pete Manville

    1. Rain

    2. Pants pockets

    3. Wadded up

    4. Tears easily

    5. Smears easily

    6. Cloth is better

  • Jeanne Cristiano: Oops, that wasn't my handkerchief!

  • Erik Dauplaise

    1. Papercuts

    2. Scotch taping a expansion pack to your device would be silly

  • Dan Kwitchen: With all the paperless offices, there won't be anything to make them out of. "Yeah, Right!"

  • Rick Merrill

    1. nothing to line the bird cage

    2. nothing to swat the dog

    3. nothing to hide from the wife at the breakfast table!

  • Jean Poole: Scissors

  • Bryan Loveless:

    1. Who wipes with a PDA?

    2. Paper cuts on the ears really hurt.

  • Suresh Nair

    1. Oh Boy, I got wet in the darned rain and there goes my knowledge base and communicator :(

    2. A conversation at a neighbourhood Kinko's - Can I borrow your pda/phone for a second to make a copy :>)

  • Jeff Meadows: No walkie-talkie feature there good buddy, 10-4 over and out.

  • Kevin Barrer: High cost of firewalls to prevent unwanted IMs

  • Jay Musembi: Think of litigations from those paper cuts especially those severed ear lobes.

  • Patrick Trudeau: Honey, I swear I was going to call, but the dog ate my cell phone. Or, Boss, I had that job completed and ready for download when the dog...

  • Adam Laney: Please tell me you didn't wash my pants.

  • Ray Gauthier

    1. My dog was trained to "go" on paper....

    2. The recharger for the paper batteries costs $2 million.

  • Jon Parsons: Paper Trained Puppies

  • Gary Hoke

    1. Because you would have to buy a special paper cable in order to connect it to your PC.

    2. Because you can't turn it on and off for airport security.

    3. Instead of instant messages you have to shoot spitwads at each other.

    4. Enviromentalist wackos would protest because of the extra trees slaughter to make the devices.

    5. Additional memory would have to come in the form of a PostIt note.

    6. Handsfree model would look like a "Do Not Disturb" sign that you hang over your ear.

    7. Microsoft would still figure out a way to create an overpriced OS for it.

    8. Only two font choices Print or Cursive

    9. You couldn't leave it lying around or your son would turn it into a paper football by mistake.

    10. Manufacturer would keep getting sued because people turned them into paper airplanes that poked other people's eyes out.

    11. Software update would consist of handwriting about 200,000 1's and 0's on it.

    12. The special oragami edition poked my eye out when I tried to answer it.

    13. Paint application would have no 'Undo' feature.

    14. Four words We're out of TP!

    15. FTC would rule that PostIt Notes had an unfair monopoly on the market.

    16. Ouch!!! Papercuts would not be covered under the warranty.

    17. It would always end up getting washed in the pocket of your jeans in the laundry.

    18. Wireless version = Paper Airplane

    19. "Recycled" symbol would take up over half of UI.

    20. Your new email software Microsoft Paper

    21. For the networkable version you would have a new definition for IP

    22. It's Paper!!!

    23. Stuck with only three ringtone Rip, Tear & Wad

    24. Similar to the issues with camera phones, accountants wouldn't be able to take them to work because the SEC fears that they might get shredded.

    25. The Hammermill 8100 just doesn't sound like a good product.

    26. No RAM, just ROM.

  • Dan Hudson

    1. Would need the PDA to be spiral bound so you have a place for your stylus.

    2. Without a paper phone cam you could not take pictures of yourself in the bathroom mirror.

  • Duke Walls: There's no way a printed PDA or cellphone is going to incite primal gadget lust or geek envy!

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