March 2001

Palm Pilot Carry-All
Palm Pilot Carry-All

Years ago, when I traveled I would take my laptop with me. Many years ago. It weighed a ton, I could only fit two programs on it, and the screen was black and white. Not even good for solitaire. After I threw my back out, I decided I wasnít wanting to do that much work on the road anyway.
       Last year I got a Palm Pilot. Color. Great for solitaire. I have my entire calendar, pictures of the dog, 16 games I donít even know how to play, and Microsoft Word for Teeny Tiny Electronic Devices inside. Plus it doubles as an alarm clock. It only weights 7Ĺ ounces, or 6ľ when you take off the lid and lose the built-in pen.
       Then I learned you could get other stuff for it.

       Like a collapsible keyboard. So I did.

       See how cute it looks all set up? It was so cute I couldnít manage to live without the camera, modem, and AC power cord either. While the nice people at Palm make all these fun accessories (and more), they have neglected to invent something to carry it all around in, probably because it would weigh more than my old laptop.
       So, I decided to make my own carrying case, with Ultra suede, part of an old Olfa mat, a really long zipper, and Velcro. Lots of Velcro. It took me two whole days and 12 Tylenol. (Iím not kidding.) I had to rip it apart 3 times, but boy is it slick.

       On the right hand side of the carrying case are the modem and the camera. (The camera is in a little soft pocket to protect it. Also it camouflages it nicely so Iíll forget I have it.) Under the modem and camera is the collapsible keyboard. Itís in its own little zippered pouch, which thankfully it came with so I didnít have to make that too! Then on the left hand side is the phone cord (with the white circle) that winds up on a spring-loaded something. The rest of the stuff on the left hand side is the power cord that always got tangled no matter how carefully I stored it.

       Making something to hold the power cord just about drove me nuts. I loved the way the phone cord wound up, but I couldnít take it apart to see how it worked without taking a hammer to it. (And then buying another one!) I did buy a $10 pair of headphones in the airport that came in a case that wound them up, so I took THAT apart (AND put it back together) to see how wind-up things work.
      To make my own version I used the lid from a peanut butter jar, the top to a vitamin bottle, the lid from a single serving blender, some elastic, four antique shoe buttons, and a chunk of Velcro. Rube Goldberg would be proud!
       I wonít go into the details, but I am now proficient with a hand-held router and learned that you can make holes in plastic lids with a shish kabob skewer heated on the stove when your re-chargeable drill loses its charge.

       Here it is all set and ready to go. Youíll notice immediately that while my cell phone fits on the outside, even though I canít use it outside a 3 mile radius of my house without incurring excruciating roaming charges, there is no place for my Palm. Minor detail.