PDA (n.) pee•dee•ay: acronym for personal data (or digital) assistant. Portable computers designed to act as organizers, communication devices, and note takers. They are small and often possess the latest in compact user interfaces.

What do you mean, you don't have one?

Alliance LLC, Menomonee Falls, Wis., surveyed 100 meeting professionals and asked them what items were among their “must-have” resources. A PDA was near the top.

Virtual library

Among the hundreds of documents available to download for your PDA (most for free): The Meeting Prep Tool Database Template and The Completely Unofficial Star Wars Encyclopedia.

PDA 101

Don't think you're getting enough ‘A’ out of your PDA? Then check out Meeting U (www.meetingu.com). The company, which provides training for meeting professionals, offers PDA 101. It points out applications that can increase productivity and provide attendees with more value from your event.

A PDA for everyone

BrailleNote, designed for the visually impaired, uses Braille cell and speech technology to connect users to the world.

Ask the right questions

Before buying a PDA, consider:

  • Is its memory expandable?
  • Is add-on software available?
  • Will you need multi-language support?

Docking at PCMA

AppliedTheory Corp., a managed hosting services company based in Syracuse, N.Y., created the PDA Learning Center for the Professional Convention Management Association. Participants could download event-specific content, including agendas, daily announcements, sponsor info, and event highlights.

Resources, resources, resources

Need more info? Use your PDA's Web capability to visit some of these sites:

Just be careful, all right?

One unlucky soul had one of the best golf games of his life and wowed his buddies with his PDA's golf software. It kept score and ran stats on all the players. Too bad he left it on the bumper of his SUV when he closed the rear door. PDAs are incredibly useful, but not invincible.

SOURCES: Alliance LLC, Menomonee Falls, Wis.; AppliedTheory Corp.; Meeting U.; Humanware.com; MemoWare.com; Geek.com

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