Portable little friend

My Technology; Howard Marks explains why he takes his Psion everywhere
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The Independent Culture
I NEED THE Psion organiser all the time, which is probably something to do with not having a memory of my own anymore. I use it as an address book, to keep phone numbers and my calendar of appointments. And for calculating, as a kind of jotter and to key in important things.

I got it about 18 months ago. I was just looking around in an airport. But it was not an impulse buy. I would call it a carefully reasoned purchase. I did not know such useful things existed until I saw this. I had used a computer before, but only in the last three years, because I was in prison and they would not let them in. When I got out and first saw them I was amazed and intrigued but knew how to get to terms with them very quickly. I think it requires a certain mind to program them, but anyone can use computers.

The Psion enables you to change addresses and phone numbers quickly. People frequently change their numbers nowadays, especially those who have mobiles. I can connect it to my computer, so that even if I lose the Psion, I have nevertheless got all the information stored. You just plug the databank into the computer. It is very straightforward. As long as you have got a backup on the computer it is OK to rely on one source.

The Psion is similar in many respects to the computer and laptop but much smaller. Small and handy, it fits in the pocket of my trousers. It is about the size of a large glasses case, black, and it opens out in two, a bit like a calculator. And it has got a crystal screen. I take my Psion pretty much everywhere with me.

I have only had a problem with it once because I dropped it on the floor. The shortage of memory has never been a difficulty for me as it has far more than I ever use. Sometimes it is difficult to see the screen, but that is more the fault of my eyes.

I do not use anything else obsessively. I am definitely not into games technology. I would most like to learn how to use a push bike: I tried it once and fell off. I want to think of something more state of art, such as a spaceship. I do not consider myself to be technophobic. I am more willing than able to learn about new stuff.


`An Evening With Howard Marks', The Pleasance Theatre (Venue 33), Edinburgh, 5-31 August (except 11 and 25 August)