MY sister will go to Sydney to complete her degree course later this year. She is trying to decide whether to buy a computer in Hong Kong and take it to Australia, or whether to buy it in Sydney. If she buys one in Hong Kong, is it a good idea to buy a portable computer? If so, which kind of portable computer is good enough? CHARLES MAN Hong Kong The prices of brandname computers do not differ that much between Australia and Hong Kong, or so my Australian colleagues inform me. If your sister is going to live in Australia for a couple of years, I would suggest she buy a desktop computer and buy it in Sydney. A notebook computer may be good for use on the go, and if she was insistent upon buying a machine in Hong Kong, it would make for easier transport. However, she's going Down Under to be a student, not a travelling executive, and would probably want some form of multimedia features in her PC, too. Multimedia notebooks tend to be at least 30 per cent more expensive than their desktop counterparts. Another thing ... Australia has strict restrictions on the import of telecommunications devices, under which category modems fall. So buying a machine in Hong Kong with a built-in modem, for example, will only make for problems when she gets there. FOLLOWING a question from an anonymous reader about personal digital assistants with accounting software built in, I thought the following piece of news that came off the Knight-Ridder wire service would be of interest. Apparently US company Franklin Electronic Publishers has come up with a new Pocket Quicken device that weighs only 4.5 ounces. According to Franklin Electronic Publisers, you can easily slip Pocket Quicken into a shirt pocket or purse and carry your financial records anywhere you go. It's a minicomputer, complete with a tiny keyboard and screen. Quicken, produced by Intuit, is the best-selling personal finances software in the world and has been in use on desktop computers around the world for years. So popular was it that software giant Microsoft even tried to buy Intuit out. If Pocket Quicken catches on, people could be balancing their chequebooks and scanning their credit card balances on buses, in the backs of taxies and, knowing Hong Kong's gadget-crazy populace, a host of other interesting places I could never dream of. The device, is expected to be available in computer stores in the US before the end of the year for US$89. It should be available in Hong Kong by early next year. You are going to see more of this. Intuit and other manufacturers are trying to develop more applications for their software, and they are all eyeing the public's growing interest in so-called personal digital assistants. They are tiny computing devices the size of calculators. They're too small to replace home computers, but there is a market for popular software that can be operated on portable devices. Pocket Quicken is an option for folks who may have some computing needs but don't need a full-size computer. Conceivably, you could manage your family's finances on Pocket Quicken, but that would definitely not be recommend by the experts. Because of its tiny size and limited storage capacity, it is better as an add-on for the Quicken on your home PC. Most of those electronic toys are fun to play with, but there is an added advantage to Pocket Quicken: It works. Send your questions to Tech Talk, Technology Post, G. P. O. Box 47, Hong Kong, or fax 2680-8167.