The Immortal Royal Organizer

Gather round for this history lesson, youngsters, as I tell you about this bad boy – the Royal DM2070 Organizer

(That’s right, it had a flip cover)

As best as I can remember, I bought this thing sometime in 1999 for around $30. This was a time long before smartphones, when the best PDAs around were still quite expensive. I was a broke high school kid who had data to store, and this bad boy fit the bill.

What did I have to store? Funny you should ask. In 1999 Karey & I started dating, and we ran into a weird problem that also seems prehistoric today: the prohibitivly high cost of voice contact. While we could chat through our dialup internet connections, no good voice solution existed – especially at the speeds we both had. So I spent a lot of money on pre-paid phone cards to avoid the anger of my dad (upon reviewing the phone bill). I also found places online to get pre-paid cards via email, and at the end of the day had a list of PIN codes that would give me 10-30 minutes of talk time.

As you can probably guess, teenagers talk a lot more than 30 minutes at a time, so I had a lot of codes to keep track of – which ones I’d used, which ones I hadn’t. I printed them out briefly, but began to weary of all the paper I had lying around. So I bought this thing and used it’s “memo” feature to put in the lists of codes (which was easy given the numeric keypad). I did this for a few months until I found a flat-rate long distance service in 2000 that let me pay only $80 a month for unlimited long distance. Ah the expense of romance before Skype and Broadband!

I found the Royal organizer yesterday while cleaning, and decided to see if it still powered on. And yes, after 16 years, it not only powered on, but it had the correct date! Time was off a bit, but the date was spot on. Goes to show – just because you’re old, doesn’t mean you’re out of the game!

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