For the Houston Palm Users Group meeting today I wanted to put together a comparison of currently available PalmOS PDAs for people shopping for the holidays. The idea from the beginning was to present the information as accessibly as possible, and after toying with doing a slide-based presentation, but talking about them all, or some sort of giant table I settled on the table, mostly because members could check it on the website when they got home and use it as a reference. Of course, giant tables are generally as unfriendly as you can get online, so I started thinking about ways I could boil down the information into just a few values, objective and subjective, and how to present in an effective manner.
The architecture of the table ended up being simpler than I anticipated with just 7 columns: model name, street price, weight, internal memory, total pixels, screen dimensions, and the completely subjective MattRating. I chose the values based on what people seem to care about most at meetings, and with a number of assumptions. Internal memory is important, but less so now that nearly every unit supports external memory (memory stick or SD) transparently. Total pixels was a compromise to present the screen dimensions as a sortable value. “MattRating” is a subjective rating of how I think each unit rates as a gift, taking into account all its features, expandability, the unit in comparison with what else is available, and price. It’s the secret sauce that balances out the values included with everything else about a PDA that couldn’t be usefully quantified or there wasn’t space for.
The result of these labors can be seen on the HPUG website, Holiday PDA Comparison.
Now what would be cool is a way to do it with alternating row background colors