Friday, December 1, 2000

Wacky PQAs that make you wonder


By Kathy Burns

If you read my article "The Best Of The PQAs" in the November issue of PalmPower's Enterprise Edition at, you know I've been playing with PQAs (Palm Query Applications) recently. With so many hundreds of PQAs cropping up on the scene, it only stands to reason that some might be really strange. I thought it would be fun to list a few of the weirder ones I've encountered. These are PQAs that force you to ask yourself, "Who's this for?"


A PQA called Amazon is the first in our roll call of weird Palm Query Applications. No, this isn't Amazon the online bookstore, rather it's Amazon the endangered rainforest. This PQA allows you to view press releases, read fact sheets, and access rainforest reports and publications. Unfortunately, it took several tries before I could get information instead of errors, and in some cases pages didn't exist at all. If this PQA worked well, it could be appealing to hobbyists and activists, or it could be potentially useful for brief research materials. As a mobile application however, it appears quite useless, and I don't know of any professions in which immediate anywhere access to rainforest information would be needed. On the plus side, having this information brought to you electronically does conserve paper.


I'm putting a PQA called PlugnPay on this list because it's just so oddly realized. This tool is actually based on a great premise, but as you can see in Figure A, way too much input is expected for a Palm-based application.


PlugnPay requires quite a bit of manual input for use on a Palm device.

This product is designed to allow merchants to put order information into their online payment gateway. Unfortunately, it requires all information to be handwritten in, and while there are many blanks to fill, there isn't a place to include information about the actual product purchased. In addition, the Customer Service link at the bottom does absolutely nothing when tapped. A better implementation of this concept would be to allow merchants to log into their online gateway management area and process orders that are already waiting for them, or allow new order input from a pre-set selection list.

Cyphotilapia frontosa

Now Cyphotilapia frontosa is a truly weird one in my book. While very nicely designed, as you can see in Figures B, the application is dedicated to a fish I have never heard of.


There's something fishy about a PQA dedicated to Cyphtilapia frontosa.

Apparently there's a community of people in this world who breed, trade, and sell this fish, and the PQA was created for that community. The various options of this PQA are shown in Figure C.