Needed: hardware and software advice

Stephen Baker looks for the right laptop, smart phone, software and recorder for a book project. Should he spring for a MacBook Pro?

Thanks for your comments on the blogging conundrum I posed last week. For now I'm planning to stay on Blogspotting indefinitely, and to postpone the book blog. No doubt my posts will wander into the world of math. But the whole point of the book is that math is crashing into all sorts of industries, including media. So it's not necessarily irrelevant.

Now I'm looking for more help. For this year-long project, I need the following technologies: a smart-phone that can handle e-mail, a laptop computer that can withstand the travel (and, ideally, provide some toy-like thrills); software to store loads of interviews and documents (They key here is great search, easy organization and cross referencing); and a digital recorder with enough capacity for hours of interviews, and quality good enough for podcasting.

My initial thoughts: Treo over Blackberry, largely because Blackberry's legal woes scare me. I'm sorely tempted to spring for the MacBook Pro. Any reason I shouldn't? I have no idea about the software, but will go to great lengths to avoid Word and its maze of folders. I'm clueless about recorders. Thanks in advance for your counsel.

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