Thinking about buying a PDA (personal digital assistant)? Michael O'Doherty, a network engineer with Horizon Data Corp. of Reston, Va., suggests you ask yourself 10 questions:

1. Why do I want a PDA?

2. How will I use it?

3. What software will I use?

4. Do I want remote access to a network?

5. Do I want or need cell phone capability?

6. What programs that I use in the office or at home do I want to share data with the PDA?

7. What kind of battery life do I want?

8. Do I want a color screen?

9. What is my budget?

10. Do I need added memory or other features?

Rank the features and software into things you'd like to have; things that would be a bonus; and things that are irrelevant.

Ask the questions once before you start shopping, then again after you have collected more information. "I have found that folks using this system tend to step back after looking at several models and re-evaluate what's important," says O'Doherty. "After the second evaluation, they tend to be happier with their final choice."