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Electronic organisers

THE QUESTION: This week Psion - the UK's once-bright hope for global acclaim - has scrapped plans for a new personal digital assistant (PDA) at the cost of 250 jobs. Are the days of the electronic organiser numbered?

I have never understood why people will spend more than the cost of my first car on a gizmo that will be obsolete by this time next year. My little black book is getting a bit dog-eared but has served me well since my youth. It still works if you drop it in a puddle, its batteries never run low, it takes no time to 'boot up', and nobody would ever want to steal it. It contains my own private record of everybody I have ever met who was worth remembering.

Computers are useful tools but we should not be so dazzled by the technology that we cannot see when simple is best. More power to the pencil say I.

Alasdair Massie, 38, freelance engineer, London I am an advocate of useful technology and PDAs have been shown to be essential to effective personal and corporate organisation. I would go one step further and say that their versatility holds very few bounds. In addition to project management and organisation they can be programmed to hold essential design information and calculate key data at the tap of a screen.

Glenn Foster, 27, graduate engineer, Leicester Anyone can manage very well without these toys. I have never owned one and never will. They are simply innovation for the sake of it, pushed by marketing hype so you impress or bore your colleagues with them.

They all end up in landfill after a few years, whereas I have kept pocket diaries since 1975.

John Sreeves, 43, senior engineer, Swindon If mankind gave up with new technology as easily and as quickly as the pundits who are now panning IT, we would not have motor vehicles, electric lights or television. If so, perhaps we would be better off and would not be spoiling our planet. Mind you, we would be up to our necks in horse manure, candle wax and stone tablets. New technology is here to stay. We just must make sure that the benefits outweigh the disbenefits.

Andrew Worby, 52, solicitor, Bath In my opinion PDA's have a bright future ahead of them.

They will gradually integrate TV, PC and the telephone to eliminate the need for pockets full of gizmos. The successful companies will become huge and others will disappear, as happens in any industry. Psion probably just caught the wrong boat recently. There is always a tendency to wait for the next development with technology like this and put off buying the current range. I am waiting for one which can be implanted in the brain so I cannot lose it.

Brian Rousell, 29, site agent, Dartford As a recent convert to the pocket computer I would be very disappointed if they disappeared off the market - given the time it has taken to input all the information I need.

But my one big concern is losing the gizmo before a download onto the PC, as I would probably miss most meetings the following week.

Neil Henderson, 43, project manager

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