Another Palmtop collector: reporting for duty

Everything about vintage DOS based Palmtops goes in here...
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Byrd
Regular user
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:50 am
Favorite Palmtop: PC110

Another Palmtop collector: reporting for duty

Post by Byrd » Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:03 am

Hi all,

I'm another Palmtop collector, based in Melbourne, Australia. I admire Palmtops for their portability, design and technology packed into such a small size (for the time). I'm primarily a Macintosh collector and restorer, with Palmtops being a secondary focus as they certainly don't take up much space :)

My prized Palmtop is an IBM PC110, which I found off a local classifieds ad this year - it was listed for months, and the seller was more than happy to sell it quite cheaply as he knew only a niche collector would want it. It came with several PCMCIA hard disks, manuals, and install discs. I've since upgraded it to 20MB RAM, overclocked to 40Mhz running off a 2GB CF card. It's a fantastic machine, and perfect for 386/486 gaming when plugged into an external monitor, keyboard and mouse.

Other notable DOS mentions:

- Libretto 70CT, overclocked to 166MMX 32MB RAM/16GB CF card - again a top machine for Pentium class gaming, standalone as the keyboard and screen are quite usable!
- HP 200LX - aim of getting Windows 3.0 on this soon
- Sony VAIO P series - my main x86 laptop, running Windows 7 and Opera browser seems to be the best for modern website access
- Sony VAIO VGN-U71P handheld - 1.1Ghz Pentium-M, 30GB SSD - good batteries!

Non-DOS Palmtops

- Apple Newtons - 2100, eMate, 100, 130
- Palm VX
- Atari Portfolio
- Psion 5MX

Regards,

JB

Kyodai
Site Admin
Posts: 192
Joined: Fri May 15, 2015 7:33 pm

Re: Another Palmtop collector: reporting for duty

Post by Kyodai » Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:14 am

Wow, nice! Welcome to the club.

I do love the IBM PC110. In 1995 it was breaking all records and made loads of jaws drop. And still today it is pretty useful - well OK the keyboard is a bit "difficult" to use with my gigantic hands - but definitely a fun machine.

I also have several Librettos. I always considered the 70 as the pinnacle of the librettos since the 100/110 are a bit larger. Plus the keyboard is indeed 10 times better than the PC110 one.

Getting Windows 3.0 on the 200LX is pretty easy. You just need a flash card or CF adaptor and copy the installed Windows 3.0 files onto the Flash/CF.


I always wanted a Sony P Series. If i can get one cheap I'll definitely buy it.


The U71P. Wow. "P" stands for "Pinnacle" - since this is by far the rarest and best version - i think it was only available online at the Japanese sony style website, never in stores. I had the slower and cheaper U50 - but i must admit as much as i loved the design of this thing i couldn't really live without a physical keyboard.


I also love the newtons - not much for usability (There probably is but not for me), but because they were such an iconic and early PDA model.

I also used to have a palm VX, but as much as i tried, i couldn't get myself to really use it. I have to admit i did get less love than the newton.

I do have so many Atari Portfolios. One even with a custom made hardware hack to replace the weird "Bee card" slot with a CF slot which really boosts the available storage (I think 16MB is the maximum though). Actually the Portfolio is somewhat a DOS palmtop since it runs a custom DOS version (DIP DOS) that is somewhat compatible with MS-DOS. Imho biggest drawback is the lack of any video standard, would have been a killer machine if it had CGA.

I must admit i never had a psion even though I'd call some models "Interesting".

Byrd
Regular user
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:50 am
Favorite Palmtop: PC110

Re: Another Palmtop collector: reporting for duty

Post by Byrd » Sun Jul 15, 2018 3:13 am

Thanks for the welcome Kyodai, nice to find this little part of the internet, and others into the same hobby.
Kyodai wrote:I do love the IBM PC110. In 1995 it was breaking all records and made loads of jaws drop. And still today it is pretty useful - well OK the keyboard is a bit "difficult" to use with my gigantic hands - but definitely a fun machine.

I also have several Librettos. I always considered the 70 as the pinnacle of the librettos since the 100/110 are a bit larger. Plus the keyboard is indeed 10 times better than the PC110 one.
The PC110 is the ultimate 90's piece of tech, in my mind. Imagine turning up to a meeting with that thing in the day, and then getting down to do all your work off it! Mine came from a ? deceased ? collector who obviously went all out with different OSes on PCMCIA drives, it was his ultimate road warrior setup in the day. The dock seems an afterthought - pretty chunky for what limited ports it gives you. Built-in speakers would have been nice, or more PCMCIA/CF slots.

From other PC110s I've seen sold, it seems part of the LCD panel layers are starting to delaminate causing a yellow or "halo" effect of the screen edges. LCD still works, but within time the picture quality will degrade. Apple Powerbook LCDs of the era can suffer the same effect.

As for Librettos - I've been through a couple of 50CTs, which do overheat if overclocked, however the 70CT - if overclocked - I've never had any issue with.
Kyodai wrote:I always wanted a Sony P Series. If i can get one cheap I'll definitely buy it.
There are several on eBay but always overpriced; search for just VAIO/used and a cheap unidentified P model will come up one day :) Worth finding, quite usable to this day.
Kyodai wrote:The U71P. Wow. "P" stands for "Pinnacle" - since this is by far the rarest and best version - i think it was only available online at the Japanese sony style website, never in stores. I had the slower and cheaper U50 - but i must admit as much as i loved the design of this thing i couldn't really live without a physical keyboard.
The U71P of mine comes with just 256MB RAM, like a past U50 I owned which is odd. It's an interesting thing and one day I'll remove all the Sony bloatware and see how I go running a stock install of XP on it. It came with a VAIO-branded foldable keyboard and little LCD remote thing (which I think can only be used in their DRM-based music playback software).
Kyodai wrote:I also love the newtons - not much for usability (There probably is but not for me), but because they were such an iconic and early PDA model.

I also used to have a palm VX, but as much as i tried, i couldn't get myself to really use it. I have to admit i did get less love than the newton.
Newtons < model 2000 are essentially useless, Apple finally got it right with the 2000/2100 but sadly the damage was done by then. Palm Pilots can be really cheap to find and much more usable than any Newton.

I'm currently setting up a 90's workstation using a Quadra 840AV, a PDA and having some palmtops nearby to complete the look.

Nice chatting!

JB

Kyodai
Site Admin
Posts: 192
Joined: Fri May 15, 2015 7:33 pm

Re: Another Palmtop collector: reporting for duty

Post by Kyodai » Sun Jul 15, 2018 7:48 pm

Yeah indeed, this is kinda rare hobby so after my "secret" list was indexed by google and had that many hits i thought these cute old machines deserve a forum, too. Kinda "rare" hobby if you compare to collecting old games or so.

The IBM PC110 docking station is indeed disappointing.I guess the only reasonable usage would be to have it at your work desk with a screen, mouse and keyboard attached to get that desktop feeling. Ironically - without a special patch it won't even charge while turned on. Maybe the release was a bit rushed, but the palmtop itself is mature besides that, so no hard feelings towards IBM Japan...

The "Halo effect" is very unfortunate. From my knowledge it is the "polarizer" layer - a thin sheet of plastic that is unfortunately vital to turning the otherwise invisible LCD pixels into visible pixels. That layer degrades with extreme heat -so if you leave your PC110 in a hot car or attic you have good chances of that happening after a long time. That the PC110 case is black does not really improve the situation. I believe most of the PC110 with this defect were stored in direct sunlight with very high environment temperatures. In Tokyo it often gets to like 40 Degree celsius in summer and you can imagine - if the PC110 is in a shelf where it catches direct sunlight it can heat up probably much higher inside.

I must admit i never overclocked a libretto - but for simple tasks like playing some old DOS games or doing some excel in Windows it is not really a must-have. Usually i value longer battery life more than a few MHz more. But it's a flavour thing and for sure it's pretty 1337 to have an overclocked libretto, so kudos to you.

I'll definitely get a P-Series one day. Always loved them. had them in my hand when they were brand new in Japan and always wanted one. One hell of a machine for the size.

I think the previous owner removed the RAM from your U71P - since I am pretty sure 256MB was the base RAM and it came with 512MB. Unfortunately it is a one-of-a-kind RAM module that was specifically made for the U71P, so impossible to get. Really. If you love a snappy XP experience then I'd recommend trying "MicroXP" or "TinyXP". These were custom made slimmed down versions with as much unnecessary stuff removed as possible to make XP very small (HDD wise), performant (loading time) and memory saving (I think with MicroXP and no custom drivers it hogs around 30 MB of RAM which s....incredible).

Ah yeah i always wanted a Newton 2100 but collector prices are beyond my line of curiosity (I doubt it would end up being an everyday companion).

I did have a Palm pilot but I ended up being a terrible PDA guy. Best "Killer app" i could find was Sim city which was quite a lot of fun. Well I am not that much of a gamer, but i do enjoy some old DOS games on my UMPCs and stuff. But for PalmOS i never really fell in love with any application or game. I guess I'll ever be a great "palm guy" - even though I did get a few cheap laughs out of programming silly stuff for PalmOS. I even dedicated it a blog post:

http://tankraider.com/blog/2017/08/21/h ... -mattered/

But after all is said and done PalmOS was not enough of a love to dedicate it space on my website. Let's call it a botched romance in my case. But i can understand why it was popular, the devices were durable, small, easy to use and had great battery life - can't tell that about most of my collectibles.


I always wanted to set up a vintage PC with loads of weird periphals and hardware choices. But yeah the wife and 2 kids keep me from doing anything stupid XD.

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