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infra-red pda-floppy adaptor

use a dummy floppy-disk with ir to transfer files btwn a pda and any computer
(+2, -2)
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I sync files between my pda and my computer at home, but when I want to transfer files between my pda and computers at work (where we use windows nt and I can't install the sync software), a friend's computer, or a public computer, I can't. So if I download an e-book at work, I have to e-mail it to myself at home and then perform a sync. Or if I have addresses on my pda that I want to use in a mailmerge at work, I can't transfer them.

I would like to see an infra-red floppy-disk adaptor. Despite Apple's attempts to discard it, the 3.5" floppy drive is still standard equipment on 90% of the world's computers. If there was a device that acted as a simulated floppy drive, with an infra-red panel on top, files could be transferred freely between the pda and any computer the floppy was inserted into. The device would come with software for the palm, so that the palm could recognize it and transfer files into it. However, no special software would be required for the computer, which would just recognize the device as a floppy disk. There is already a product on the market that does something similar for some digital cameras (i.e. it hooks into the camera on one end, and mimics a floppy disk on the other), so the technology of a "fake" floppy disk is feasible.

At first I thought of doing the same thing, having a cable from the floppy to the pda, but each pda has a different connection. However, they all have infra-red (at least all palm os pda's do; I'm not familiar w/pocket pc's), so this device would work with any pda hardware.

My only concern would be whether a strip of infra-red sticking out of the floppy drive would have sufficient surface area to transmit data with the pda.

jlmink, Feb 05 2002


       Baked - at least the ir transfer from the pc. My thinkpad has this and I have transfered files between laptops where one is running Windows and the other Linux. I see no reason why a pda can't have the same ir port.
mcscotland, Feb 06 2002

       My idea is for computers that don't already have ir ports; I know ir synchronization is possible already. Ideally this would be a small accessory you could carry in your bag, confident that it would allow you to exchange data between your pda and most computers in the world, most of which do not have ir ports.
jlmink, Feb 06 2002

       Have you ever actually used one of those floppy adapters? They're not all that handy. It's necessary to install special software on the system that's supposed to use them, and even then they're not all that fast. I guess IRDA isn't all that fast either, but the floppy would add another "layer" of slowness. Also, those floppy disk adapters have to run off small button cells; I don't know if they'd provide enough juice for a useful IRDA session.
supercat, Feb 06 2002

       I agree with [supercat] that the fake floppies are crufty.   

       Perhaps, instead, a real portable floppy drive that the pda could write to (which may exist already, esp. for wince).
hello_c, Feb 06 2002

       I'd talk to my I.S. department. They can't all be BOFHs. And if you can make a convincing argument for using the PDA for work, I bet they'd hook you up. Just don't mention the ebook thing.
phoenix, Feb 06 2002

       Yeah, why can't you hotsync at work? Against policy?
waugsqueke, Feb 06 2002

       I share a similar problem - I'm often at a computer with my palm and have a small snippett of information that I would like to transfer. I don't like the proposed solution here. Floppy drives are ugly old things that have had their time.   

       Possible other solutions to halfbake:
• IR port on PC with program capable of sending/receiving files to and from PDAs.
• Common data cartridge that both devices can read/write from/to. E.g. :
-SD/Multimedia cards
-dataplay drives
• Common port (and data transfer standard) so that most people have a cable and can use it:
-Firewire (not common yet but probably will be)

       I'd look at all of these before resorting to an infra-red floppy disk adaptor.
st3f, Feb 06 2002

       You can build or buy an adapter infrared-serial port, wich operates with his own protocol. A serial port exists on most computers, so you don't need to install any software. I'm not shure if you can find this on market. I think I can build something like this, but I don't know if there are more interested persons, for rentability. Is not worthy to make just one. Did I properly understand that you want to disimulate an IR port into a floppydisk panel? I don't understand english very well. If so, why don't you assemble an IR port into an "out of order" floppy-drive?
leo14m3, Mar 29 2002

       Just give the organizers USB ports, so we can slap in a USB transfer cable, or, hey, even one of those 256MB keychain hard drives.   

       Might present a problem because USB is so versatile; what, for example, would happen if the user plugged in an Intellimouse or a USB scanner? USB can also use quite a bit of power, if I understand correctly.   

       Addendum: Oops-- st3f beat me to most of this comment by a good 2.5 months. Just saw that :)
jester, Apr 30 2002

       If one were going to incorporate USB functionality in a PDA, it might be best to have to connectors: one master, and one slave. The slave port would allow the PDA to be connected to a host computer for data transfer, while the master port would allow the PDA to be used to drive printers, scanners, cameras, etc.   

       To be sure, the circuitry required for the master port (especially the power supply!) might be too expensive to be worthwhile, but it would be nice to be able to use a PDA to exchange information with peripherals without having to go through a desktop machine.
supercat, May 02 2002

       [waugsqueke]: The reason why hotsync doesn't work at the office is that the office computers are running Windows NT. NT device drivers are completely different from drivers for Windows 95/98. Thus the sync software is incompatible with the OS. The problem is really the fault of the writers of the sync software's interface drivers, because they didn't bother to write drivers for NT. That is a major oversight on their part, because a big chunk of their target market is business professionals who run NT on their office computers.
BigBrother, May 02 2002


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