Key it in

Q: While I love my Palm organizer, I don’t always like using the stylus. Are there any pocket-size keyboards I can use instead?
–D. Womack Flanders, New Jersey

A: You’re not alone. Many Palm lovers become irritated with stylus input and Graffiti (the handwriting recognition system for Palms). Using a stylus is a slow process when it comes to composing e-mail letters or anything longer than a memo in your personal organizer. No doubt one of the fastest ways to enter text, numbers or even to play games is to use a portable keyboard.

Probably the most popular keyboard is GoType!, which is available from LandWare Inc. (www.gotype.com). The GoType! keyboard operates with all 3Com organizers, IBM WorkPads, PalmPilot, the Palm series of organizers and any other pocket-size unit that supports Palm OS applications for inputting text.

The keyboard requires 21K of RAM to operate and connects directly via the docking port. In other words, you don’t need cables or batteries. You simply drop your organizer into the integrated cradle and start typing. What’s nice is that it doesn’t take up a lot of space, measuring 10 by 4 by 3/4s of an inch.

The keys are a bit smaller than the ones you will find on a notebook computer or desktop computer, but there’s not too much difference. If you want a full-size keyboard, try the Stowaway Portable Keyboard from Think Outside (www.targus.com), which folds away into a case that is no larger than a Palm organizer. It has the same functions as GoType!, minus the docking cradle and charger, and it has to reside on a flat surface in order to work. Stowaway retails for $99, while the GoType! keyboard has a retail list price of $69.95. Given the convenience of being able to do touch typing, this isn’t a huge strain on the old purse strings.

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