I’m selling my Psion PDAs

Update (15 August)

My Psion archive has now been sold. This is the first day in 21 years that I’ve not had a Psion computer or book in my possession.

Many thanks to everyone who got in touch regarding these sales, and especially to the lovely Psion enthusiasts who purchased these machines. They gave me a great deal of joy over the years, I hope they serve you equally as well.

Original post

Today, I put my four Psion PDAs up for auction on eBay UK:

  • Psion Series 7book – SOLD
  • Psion Series 5mx – SOLD
  • Psion Series 3mx – SOLD
  • Psion Siena 512k – SOLD
  • Programming Psion Computers book – SOLD

Psion Series 7book

Psion Series 7book (Series 7 with netBook personality module)
Psion Series 7book (Series 7 with netBook personality module)

This was the last Psion that I bought—it must have been early 2004. I bought it to take to the US with me on holiday, and for a couple of writing projects I was working on.

It was a Series 7, bought on eBay, and later upgraded to a 7book by fitting a Psion netBook personality module. This made it capable of accepting a wi-fi adapter card (I bought two, one each of the two main chipsets that work well with netBooks).

I’m selling the lot in one bundle:

  • Psion 7book (Series 7 with netBook module)
  • Leathette carry case
  • Psion Series 7 user guide
  • PsiWin 2.3 CD-ROM
  • RS232 serial cable
  • USB to serial adapter (D400)
  • 2 x UK power adapters
  • Psion Series 7 personality module
  • 2 x compact flash cards (one contains the EPOC R5 OS required for booting the first time)
  • 2 x Wi-fi cards (Lucent Orinoco Gold and Buffalo Air Station WLI-PCM-L11GP)
  • DVD containing all the Psion software I collected over the years; I used to sell this online.

See listing on eBay (offers over £80)

Psion Series 5mx

Psion 5mx 16MB and accessories
Psion 5mx 16MB and accessories

I bought the 5mx shortly after moving to Edinburgh, from Inverness in 2003. It was another eBay purchase and was to replace my Psion 3mx.

I just wanted a new piece of kit. It has a 32-bit operating system, a beautiful clam-shell case, where the keyboard slides out when you open it, and a backlit, touch screen. What more could you want from a PDA?

I’m selling:

  • Psion 5mx 16MB
  • RS232 serial cable
  • PsiWin 2.3 CD-ROM
  • Proporta.com hard case
  • 2 x UK power adapter (one with interchangable UK/Euro/USA pins)
  • Boxed Purple Software Chess software (3.5″ floppy) and manuals
  • Palmtop Street Planner 99 software on CD-ROMs and manuals

See listing on eBay (offers over £45)

Psion 3mx

Psion 3mx, with UK power adapter and solid state disks
Psion 3mx, with UK power adapter and solid state disks

This Psion was my workhorse for many years. It’s solid and dependable, and I don’t ever remember the screen cable breaking, which was the most common fault these machines suffered. I did have it fully refurbished a couple of times, though, from the dependable POS Ltd in London, run by Paul Pinnock.

Something I loved about the 3mx is how long the batteries lasted. I could usually get about one month’s use out of a pair of AA batteries.

Included I’ve got:

  • Psion Series 3mx 2MB palmtop computer
  • Series 3mx original user guide
  • Series 3a programming manual (OPL)
  • Programming manual (OVAL) and disk
  • PsiWin 1.1 disks and manual
  • Psion 56k infrared travel modem (with disks and manual)
  • 4 x solid state disks (3 x 1MB and AutoRoute Express software).
  • UK power adapter

See listing on eBay (offers over £65)

Psion Siena 512k

Psion Siena 512k
Psion Siena 512k

Ah! My first Psion.

I saw an advert for the Psion Siena in a copy of MicroMart, I think it was. And I immediately fell in love with it. I pondered buying one for weeks before getting up one sunny morning in my flat and travelling to London’s busy Oxford Street to purchase it at Debenham’s department store.

It immediately became my diary, contacts list, to do list, journal and programming machine. I bought a copy of PsiWin 1.1 (for £80) and connected it to my Windows 3.11 for Workgroups PC (a 386 SX-20).

I used it to write and edit my masters dissertation in 1999.

This includes only:

  • Psion Siena 512 KB palmtop computer
  • User guide
  • A letter from Psion

See listing on eBay (offers over £20)

Programming Psion Computers

Programming Psion Computers by Leigh Edwards (EMCC, 1999)
Programming Psion Computers by Leigh Edwards (EMCC, 1999)

This book was the bible of Psion computing about 18 years ago. I managed to grab myself a copy in Waterstones bookshop on Edinburgh’s Princes Street, for £29.99.

It soon became quite a rare book, and so the publisher, EMCC, made it available in PDF on their website, as well as a zip archive of the CD-ROM that accompanied it. Many years ago, I gave away the CD-ROM to someone who was desperate for a copy of the original.

See listing on eBay (offers over £12)

The end of an era

I’ve been meaning to list these for months, but only just got around to it now while I have my head in the selling-space as part of the divorce settlement.

I feel sorry to see these go, but they are just sitting in a box in my cupboard and I would much rather they went to someone who got some pleasure out of them.

Maybe there’s more that brings us together than we think

I love this advert by Danish television station TV 2. It makes me cry every time I watch it.

Maybe there’s more that brings us together than we think.

How true this is, not just for Danish people but for people across the Scotland, across the UK, Europe, the world.

The Admiral admiral is now an admiral

This post could equally be entitled, “Making the world a better place, one pedantic letter at a time.”

Last July I wrote the following letter to UK insurance company Admiral:

Saturday 30 July 2016

Dear Sir/Madam,

Incorrect rank for your TV advert admiral

I was watching ITV4 last week, catching up with footage of that day’s Tour de France action when an advert for Admiral car insurance came on. I was surprised when I saw the uniform of the woman portraying the character of the admiral.

I was not surprised by her gender: I am very much in favour of equal opportunities within the workplace, including the British armed forces. I was surprised simply by her uniform, and indeed by the rank depicted on her uniform.

Judging by the name of your company I can perhaps presume she was meant to be portraying an admiral (Nato code OF-9), it’s just that I cannot be entirely certain as she was wearing on her cuffs the insignia of a commander (Nato code OF-4).

An admiral wears a broad band with three narrower bands above; a commander wears simply three narrower bands. To illustrate this, I have corrected it very roughly using an image downloaded from your website, overleaf.

Commander vs Admiral
Commander vs Admiral

To anyone with a passing knowledge of British naval ranks this will appear entirely incongruous and I expect will somewhat undermine the trust that one might otherwise place in your company: if you cannot even get the admiral’s rank correct on a pretend costume for a television commercial then how might we be expected to trust you in the more important matter of covering our cars against fire, theft, accident and other such maladies?

I am simply curious why such a decision was made to portray your admiral character as a commander, five ranks beneath an admiral. And whether you have any plans to correct this faux pas.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely

Gareth J M Saunders

I posted the letter and then forgot about it.

About three weeks later, to my surprise, I received a reply from Admiral’s head of brand.

Letter from Admiral's head of brand
Letter from Admiral’s head of brand

Here’s what it said:

Dear Mr Saunders

Thank you for your letter regarding the Admiral’s uniform.

As you will have no doubt noticed the Admiral’s uniform is not an exact replica of an Admiral’s uniform, but was created to reflect the Admiral Brand Icon. That said, I do agree we made a mistake during the development and design on the jacket sleeve.

I’m also sorry to say that we produced all of our commercials for 2016 during one production shoot, so you will continue to see the current uniform until the end of the year.

However, I am pleased to tell you that we are in the planning stages of our next commercial, and I do intend to update the uniform to correct the number of stripes on the sleeve.

It’s good to get feedback from our customers, as this helps us evolve our campaigns for the future.

Yours sincerely,

Paula Lyons
Head of Brand

Fast forward eleven months and here is their new advert, which I first watched on ITV4 last week, while catching up with footage of that day’s Tour de France action.

And look! The Admiral admiral is now an admiral!

The Admiral admiral now has the correct sleeve lace of a broad band and three narrower bands
The Admiral admiral now has the correct sleeve lace of a broad band and three narrower bands
They have even included the executive curl (or Elliot's Eye) for authenticity.
They have even included the executive curl (or Elliot’s Eye) for authenticity.

You are welcome!

Obviously, I’m going to write to Admiral to thank them. It would be rude not to.