Solutions At Hand

Handhelds, smartphones, mobile technology and the digital lifestyle.

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    Michael is a trainer and consultant specializing in making mobility technology work in people's everyday lives.
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Archive for January 31st, 2005

The regularly scheduled blog has been preempted…

Posted by Michael Brown on January 31, 2005

This week’s regularly scheduled blog has been preempted by the need for me to migrate handhelds. I just picked up a new Treo 600 for myself, and I’m now having to migrate from a one-handheld system to a two-handheld system!

Why two handhelds????

After all, aren’t handhelds supposed to eliminate devices? Well, they are; my needs as a trainer and a consultant are kind of different. Before today, I had a regular cellular phone (like many people). It was a stand-alone type phone, in that it wasn’t synchronized with any contacts I had in either my Palm or in Outlook on my PC. If I needed phone numbers on the phone, I had to type them in manually. I have several hundred people in my Palm, but there’s no way I was going to type them all into a cell phone! So, when it came to contact management, I had two very separate, standalone devices. My Palm was with me all the time, so it wasn’t really a big deal, except for the need to look people up on the Palm with one hand, and dial the cell phone with the other.

As you might know from reading the Solutions At Hand training page, I deliver my PowerPoint training materials from my Palm Tungsten T. For larger presentations, I use Bluetooth (a short-range radio “cable-replacement” technology), where as for small board rooms, I’ll hook up directly to the Pitch. Bluetooth is handy, since it lets me walk around the room with my Palm in hand, controlling my presentation from the Palm while the presentation device (and it’s Bluetooth receiver) is attached to the projector. I can also use Bluetooth and appropriate software to remotely control my Windows PC while in the Office (but away from my desk), or check e-mail from my business’s IMAP mail server from anywhere within the house (within 30 feet of the server, due to the Bluetooth Class 2 radio). I can also get files wirelessly from the Samba file server or my Windows desktop using BT as well. So, for me, the Bluetooth radio on my Tungsten T is quite handy for my business.

The Treo 600 lacks Bluetooth, unfortunately, so I don’t have the luxury of using just the Treo to deliver my training materials as I would have to use a short cable and connect directly to my Pitch presentation device. I would also have to switch off the phone functions on the Treo, as an incoming call will interrupt the presentation if I deliver it from the Treo. Typically, I always leave my cell phone on so I can receive notifications of calls and voice mails. The Treo also has a smaller screen (160×160 pixels) compared to my Tungsten T (320×320 pixels, or 4 times larger than the Treo) which makes it easier to view it on the Tungsten than the Treo.

Now, with all that said, you’re probably thinking “Why did you get the Treo 600 then?”. Well, for several great reasons. The first is that I can still use the Treo to deliver presentations if I want, thus having a backup device in case something ever happens to my Tungsten. Secondly, I’ve moved to the Treo as my “daily driver” PDA, so it now has all my contacts, appointments, documents, etc. on it. That means that when I’m not working, I just have to carry the Treo with me, and not both a cell phone and the Tungsten like I did before (thus reducing the number of devices I have to carry when I’m not working). It also makes contact management and communication in general much easier, since it’s a “converged device” (cell phone and PDA in one). I can also now demonstrate a device I’ve been recommending to clients for a while now, because I know it’s a great smartphone, and demonstrate some of the 3rd party software options that are available to customize the Treo. I couldn’t really do that before with evaluation units, since I had to leave them “stock”. I’ve already added several new applications to my Treo, and I’m finding it much better than my “un-connected” Tungsten T, although I do miss the Tungsten’s higher resolution screen. It’s not a hard switch though, considering all the benefits the Treo brings to my personal and business lives.

I’ll be posting more information over the next little while as to how I’m now using my Treo, and how I use the Tungsten in my business. Using 2 PDA’s is not something my clients would have to ever do, since one device can “fit the bill” for the vast majority of people. My blog on “Is Palm OS on the way out?” is mostly done, and I’ll post it next week on Monday. See you later!


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