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A > AMSTRAD  > PenPad


This mini forum is intended to provide a simple means of discussion about the Amstrad  PenPad computer. If you want to share your own experience or memories, or add relevant information about this system: post a message!

  Click Here to add a message in the forum


Friday 23rd April 2021
Nick (UK)

I wrote the spreadsheet for this piece of junk, so I spent a lot of time using it. It was innovative at the time, but the handwriting recognition was really poor which let it down. My spreadsheet was good though $-)

Monday 29th April 2013
Roger the Dodger (UK)

Hi. my (ex) wife bought me one of these when they were reduced to £50. It was great in theory but the processor wasn''t fast enough to keep up with handwriting, and the handwriting reader never managed my handwriting. The main problem was unit was driven by three AA cells if I remember right, and the memory wasn''t backed up with a lithium cell so I had a battery failure and lost all the data. As I was using the thing as my diary and contacts list, I lost all my work (needless to say I didn''t have a backup, so it was as much my fault).
Losing all my diary entries caused so many problems and so much work to put right I have never since used an electronic diary - only a paper one.
After the loss of all my data I never trusted the unit to work and I can''t remember what became of it after that (I probably sold it or smashed it up)

Wednesday 30th June 2010
Tom Geller (USA)
Tom Geller''s site

Hi, Diego. I doubt you''ll get this (or care if you do), but I just unpacked an old PDA600 that had been in storage and found that it, too, had that melting problem $ it was like it was covered in honey. Disgusting! I was able to clean it off with rubbing alcohol, a rag, and lots of elbow grease.

I suspect the sticky stuff was the rubberized coating it used to have. Once it''s removed, it''s covered with a sort of plain, slick plastic. Good luck!

Wednesday 27th August 2008
Silas Denyer

Like many, I bought one of these from Tandy. It was a great idea in theory, but too flawed in practice. The main problem was that it was just too bulky to carry around!

I gave mine to a friend who used it in an industrial setting. There it was great - he hooked it up via serial link for interrogating water treatment plant controllers on-site.

If Amstrad had produced a rugged version with some decent comms software and an SDK (and $ped the bundled software, to be honest) they could have shifted thousands of them!

Tuesday 17th October 2006
Newbieold (UK)

Hi Diego, ive just aquired a PDA600 and it has the same sticky problem as you, I read elsewhere to rub the unit with alcohol (for an hour or so) and it wont remove the logos - not tried it myself yet but will have to, its so damn sticky!

Monday 18th September 2006
Diego (NJ, USA)

My Penpad seems to be melting....
I guess that at some point it was cleaned with some product that should not have been used, and now it's sticky, just as if the plastic material was melting very slowly.
Anyone has any sugestions about how to solve this problem?

Thursday 14th September 2006
S-Denmark (Dreamland)

From the page: "However, Amstrad's approach with the PDA600 was very much more primitive with users only able to input one letter at a time in a box at the bottom of the screen."

This is actually incorrect -- that description sounds more like Palm machines. The PDA600's screen was divided into a grid of small boxes, into which you wrote individual characters. So you couldn't write freehand, but you could write separate letters and see them. There was no box at the bottom of the screen, or anything like that,

Wednesday 26th October 2005
Rezty Felty (UK)

I was given one of these as a gift by my boss in 1994. I loved it and thought it worked quite well, but it was too fragile for me - 6 months after I started using it, i was looking up a number in it while in an airport phone kiosk, and it slid to the floor, shattering the glass screen. I think i still have it laying around somewhere if anyone is interested in the parts.

Thursday 28th October 2004
David (Cambridge UK)

My Amstrad PDA600 was a completely unexpected christmas gift. I had spotted them for sale in Tandy for 50quid and said how cool thay looked. I received the PDA, 2meg PCMCIA card and leather cover.

The text recognition was basic, but did the job once you learnt to write in the style it wanted. My PDA served me well through college and I still have very fond memories of it.

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