Protect your PDA!
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The guy in the suit can just slip a Palm into his suit jacket pocket.  YOU need to protect yours from the bumps, dings, dust and mud of the battlefield.  Here are two simple and inexpensive ways to do it.  They won't waterproof it, and they won't keep your Palm alive during squad patrols or deep insertions or helo casting.  

Notebook Mount
Rubber Palm Bumper
Notebooks for Palms are expensive, starting at about $30.  This is how to use the Visor's plastic cover to anchor it into just about any notebook.note-1.jpg (38373 bytes)  I started with a small, well used cammo colored zippered binder that used to be a Day Timer, and immediately jazzed it up with a spiffy MI Corps Embroidered Patch.  I pulled out the High Quality Day Timer Brand 3-ring binder and replaced it with a Salvation Army 3-ring binder from which I had torn out the 3 rings.  You don't want to cram a lot of stuff around your Palm, and small notebooks like this get really tight inside when you also have a 3-ring circus of paper.  Since the main purpose of the binder is rigidity, and since I use a Mead spiral notebook for notes, death to rings!   If you want to also carry a number of papers, get a larger 8.5 X 11 inch zippered binder by Five Star (Walmart, $9.95).  Whatever you use, however, should have a zipper!  

The next step is to carefully note-2.jpg (38189 bytes)cut parallel slots into the fabric or fake-leather lining.  Each cut should be 2 3/4 inches long, and the distance between the cuts is 4 3/8 inches.  You will be slipping your Visor's plastic cover through these slots, so they need to be large enoughnote-3.jpg (33254 bytes) to allow this, but not so large that they let the Visor flop around.   Once the cuts are made, slip the cover through and position it as shown.  If the fabric lining starts to unravel over time, you may need to touch it up with finger nail polish.  

note-4.jpg (32008 bytes)All done!  Just clip the Visor into place.  For those with Palm-Brand devices, you may have to use Velcro.   Just be careful that you don't stick it over the battery cover on the rear!

This is the Fellowes PDA Bumper, which costs $25 at Walmart or Staples, or $35 online.

bumper-1.jpg (64638 bytes)It is a neat alternative to the Notebook Mount, and lets will keep the Gizmo handy for immediate use.  Fellowes makes them for both Visors and Palms, and I STRONGLY recommend getting the right one for your model.  The Bumper is made out of rubber, with a plastic cover that folds out of the way on a hinge designed to let it fit snugly on the back. There is a place on the side to clip your stylus, and a hole on the side for the IR port.  The Visor model is scored on the top and back so that you can easily remove a chunk of rubber to make room for a Springboard Cartridge... and is likewise scored on the bottom so that you can remove a different rubber chunk to permit attachment of a Hot Sync cable.  

The only modification I'd recommend is the addition bumper-4.jpg (76828 bytes)of a lanyard.  Take a 46-inch piece of 550 parachute cord, remove the inner core so that it can lay flat, and melt the ends to keep it from unraveling.  Ensure you leave a small melted nylon bead on each end to keep the lanyard from pulling out of the Bumper.  On the bottom inside of the Bumper you will see a plastic clip.  If you are a Nomenclature Freak, you can call bumper-2.jpg (39226 bytes)it the Clip, Lanyard Retaining.  Push one end of the Lanyard IN the bottom right hole, and take it OUT the bottom left hole.  Take the other end and push it IN the bottom left hole, and OUT the bottom right hole.  Take up the slack so that those melted nylon beads are just outside their respective bumper holes, and replace the Lanyard Retaining Clip.  

bumper-3.jpg (45896 bytes)Slip you Visor into the bumper top-first, and you are good to go!  I am 5' 10'' and like to carry my Visor at navel-level.  Adjust the lanyard length to your size and preferences.

Pen Stylus Combo
Stylus.jpg (19261 bytes)
Mr Murphy will ensure that your stylus will not be lost until after you have deployed to where there are no Stylus Stores.  And you do NOT want to write on the screen with a pen or pencil.  My recommendation is to pick up a pen-stylus combo.  Twist the body one way you have a pen... twist it the other way you have a plastic stylus designed to write on Palm Screens.  Prices vary between the $1 paid for this one at a Staples Sale Rack, to $36 for Parker Designer models.  

Spare Stylus Collection
263-extra stylus.jpg (28738 bytes)
Can't find a good deal on the Pen-Stylus combo?  Then be sure to grab a pack of styluses to throw in your rucksack!  Any will do, but it's best to get the ones that fit YOUR brand of PDA.  A pack of 5 for the Visor (shown) costs between $9 and $15.  Other brands cost about the same, and can be found in your local Office Supply store or online.  Sometimes Walmart, KMart, Target, etc will have them.


We'd like to thank automation guru LTC James V. Fink for demonstrating the art of Visor Holding and allowing us to photograph him in action.  His appearance in no way indicates that the US Army endorses or even agrees with anything on this page.  In fact, in order to protect him from possible violations of the Hatch Act, I'll change his name to a pseudonym so that nobody will know who it is.  There!  He's safe... whoever he is!  All photons captured during the above photography were released unharmed after the pictures were converted to electrons.

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