Do freelance writers need little handheld toys like Blackberries and PDAs or are those more fun accessories than necessary tools? I asked this question on Ask Metafilter. Here are some of the answers:
I don’t have one, and while I recognize the inconvenience, I also recognize the freedom it affords me. Because I like to be available via e-mail during regular business hours, I have to stay close to home during the day; I won’t leave for more than an hour because I want to make sure that I am responsive to written communication. On the other hand, everyone I know who has a Blackberry ends up answering e-mail all day and night. My laptop gets shut off promptly at 5:00pm and isn’t opened again until 8:00am the next morning, and that’s just how I like it. I don’t want to know if someone’s written me in the evening, because I’ll feel compelled to respond. I vote no on portable devices, but I’m also in the minority; most of my colleagues have them.
I find mine (hiptop3) useful in various indirect ways. For example, by responding to email or doing other necessary email or web-based tasks during odd bits of free time during the day, I have larger blocks of truly free time at home to work on projects. I also find using IM via the device is a good way to keep in casual contact with a network of people who someday might be able to help me out professionally. Again this is easily done in little bursts of minutes here and there. More directly, I often use the device to jot down notes/ideas, or take a picture of something I want to remember for some bit of future writing. Importantly, I don’t feel compelled to answer any email or IM I might get once I am writing something that requires my full attention.
Read a few more arguments for and against these toys here.