Geekspeak: January 29, 2001

You Can Take It With You-and It Will Know Where

It costs a bit too much, its battery doesnt last quite long enough, its a little too bulky to forget that you have it—but its tantalizingly close to being acceptable on all three counts. Does this sound familiar?

Ten years ago, we might have been talking about portable computers, but their rate of improvement has drastically slowed. This year, the fast-rising curves of technology improvement are in personal gear like Casios Pathfinder PAT2GP-1V, the companys second generation of wrist-worn GPS receivers.

Its almost beside the point to call the Casio product a wristwatch—after all, it can automatically check and correct its internal clock by reference to the GPS standard. But at under $500 and with roughly half the bulk of Casios previous GPS offering, Casios latest is small enough and tough enough (water resistant to 50 meters) that you dont have to think about whether or not to wear it. Anything that doesnt kill you wont bother it.

MIT Media Lab expert Nicholas Negroponte used to talk about pervasive connectivity in terms of one of your cufflinks talking to the other. Were not sure what their conversation would include. But with Casios various wrist wear already able to assimilate images, audio clips, position reports and other environmental data, your personal gear might soon be able to engage in small talk without needing any help from you.