Palm Tipsheet 9.0 / August 2000
If you're a business traveler, this month's issue is especially for you! I'll be exploring ways your Palm handheld can make business travel easier, from using the stock applications to third party software specially designed for travel functions.
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Notable Palm Links
Using a Palm Handheld for Business Travel
**Could it Be... A New Palm Handheld?** -- In July, bits of information appeared on the Geek.com website and across the net regarding a rumored new handheld from Palm, code named 'Calvin'. Later in the month, a story with images appeared on ZDNet about an entry-level machine possibly to be named the M100. According to the story, this new handheld's retail pricing is estimated be around $150 with specifications very similar to the current Palm IIIe. However, the M100 is rumored to have a smaller, curved shape, snap-on color covers reminiscent of mobile phones, a 25% smaller screen and a cable rather than a cradle for HotSyncing. The story also suggests this new machine could be aimed at younger buyers.
**Palm Road Scholar CD with Palm Handheld Purchases** -- If you're in the market to buy a new Palm, and you're a student, now might be the time to act. Purchase a Palm branded handheld between July 15 and September 30, 2000 and you're eligible for the Road Scholar CD. The CD includes DDH Software's Thesaurus 1.6, Accounts and Loans 2.0.4S, Kaplan To Go 1.0 test prep software, Britannica Traveler 1.0 (for Palm VII), DiddleBug 2.15 notepad software, Zillionare 1.0 trivia game, powerOne 1.1 scientific calculator, DueYesterday 2.4 scheduling software, AvantGo 1.1, Yet Another Unit Converter 1.2.2 and BigClock 2.6. The offer must be redeemed by October 30, 2000 by completing the PDF form, downloadable from the website.
PDF Road Scholar CD Software listing (140K)
PDF Mail-In Rebate Form (156K)
Get the free Acrobat Reader from Adobe
**Geek.com's PDAGeek** -- This subsection of the Geek.com network of sites offers daily updates of news along with reviews, feature articles, tips and tricks, PDA horror stories, forums and the free weekly PDAGeek newsletter. The weekly newsletter provides links from around the web related to PDAs, along with a weekly featured website and commentary by Chief Geek Joel Evans. Check out this excellent resource!
**PDAlive** -- Here is another useful PDA oriented website, with daily news, reviews, forums, and the 'Live' from PDAlive.com newsletter. PDAlive also offers a separate specialized site for 'newbies' with all of the information a new Palm user needs to get up and running quickly.
**Pen Computing Magazine** -- Pen Computing magazine's focus tends to lean toward their Print version, though the site offers a good amount of information online. This PDA oriented magazine has been covering mobile computing & communications including Palm, WinCE, Newton, Psion and other mobile computing devices since before the first Palm handhelds were introduced. The site offers news, selected feature articles, columns, reviews and advertiser links.
Particularly interesting to Palm users is a recent cover story interview with Jeff Hawkins, the inventor of PalmOS handhelds:
**Reading on the Palm Gets Criminal** -- If you're an avid crime fiction reader, HandHeldCrime is the newsletter for you. Each free monthly issue of HandHeldCrime provides short crime stories, reviews and links to recently published crime fiction on the net, in Doc or AvantGo formats. Subscriptions work in one of three ways; join the announcement list to be notified when new editions are posted online for download, join the distribution list to receive a Doc formatted file via email, or subscribe to the AvantGo channel.
**Fictionwise** -- Aiming to be the short fiction eBook leader, Fictionwise offers science fiction, fantasy, horror and humor short stories perfect for reading on Palm handhelds while traveling or in-between meetings. Detailed story information includes genre, overview and estimated reading time in minutes. Prices start at 30 cents for single stories to a few dollars for multi-story bundles. Purchase stories by credit card, or setup a micropay account in $5 increments to eliminate the 50 cent credit card transaction fee. A bookshelf is maintained when you sign up and first buy a story, providing the option to rate or re-download stories you've read.
**Palm Open Source Portal** -- If you're interested in open source software for your Palm handheld, then this site is a great place to start. This portal site provides open source software 'top hits' and newly added links, along with software categories including Business, Calculators, Clocks, Database, Doc, Games, Graphics, Hacks, IR/Beaming utilities, Leisure, Programming, Serial utilities, System, and TCP/IP Network utilities.
** Sync a Visor and a Mac via Infrared** -- Mac-using Handspring Visor owners can indeed HotSync the via Infrared, using a tutorial posted by Michael Roels and by installing Infrared drivers on both machines. This page outlines the procedure and offers a downloadable package of the $20 shareware drivers for the Visor and Mac necessary for IR Sync.
**PalmOS 3.5.2 Update -- Palm, Inc. has released an update to PalmOS 3.5, bringing the current revision to 3.5.2. This update fixes some low-level system problems occurring under rare circumstances.
**Handspring Updater V1.0.0** -- Handspring has released an OS updater for both all Visor handhelds running PalmOS 3.1H or earlier. This update fixes unexpected calculator launches when clicking close to the calculator icon, possible problems with serial HotSyncs while a Springboard modem module is installed, Fixes the DRAM memory error (reported in issue 8.0) on a limited number of affected 8MB Visor Deluxe units. The update is specifically for US and International English Visor handhelds only. Be sure to carefully review the read me text file for important installation instructions.
**Tap, Tappity, Tap Goes TapPad** -- This ingenious translucent printed overlay and driver combo can simplify your Graffiti. TapPad provides single-tap access to undo, cut, copy, paste, delete, backspace and forward delete, but it doesn't stop there. It also sports a numeric keypad, horizontal and vertical cursor keys; pop-up menus with punctuation, special character and text clippings and tap-hold buttons for clipboard history, word and sentence capitalization and upper/lower case conversion. TapPad sells for $20 and comes with the Palm driver and 6 heavy-duty overlays to fit any Palm handheld.
**Track Your Time with Worklog** -- If you're a consultant or technician who records the details of each client visit, then Eike Francksen's Worklog might be worth a look. This application offers several data fields in the log entry screen allowing you to organize your logs with 16 categories. A Windows program is also included for exporting data into Excel. Worklog is shareware, priced at $10.
**Liberty Turns a Palm into a Gameboy** -- Gaming fanatics, Liberty has arrived! Liberty, a Gameboy emulator from Gambit Studios, can play hundreds of Gameboy games on your Palm handheld. Many free games are currently available for download on the internet. Liberty takes advantage of color on the Palm IIIc, or runs on grayscale Palms. Slow Palm processor speeds mean sound is unavailable and Gambit suggests an over-clocking utility such as Afterburner 3.0 to improve game speeds. PalmOS 2.0 or higher and 160k of RAM minimum is required for the application and one game; some games are more RAM hungry. Liberty is priced at $17 or $23 bundled with Afterburner 3.0.
**Mimic Your Mac with SilverScreen** -- If you've longed for a different look for your Palm handheld, then SilverScreen might just be the launcher for you. The $13 launcher application provides a Macintosh-like trash can and launcher bar and can change the Palm system icons to a variety of other looks with 'Themes', free for the downloading from their theme archive. If you'd like a test drive, SilverScreen provides 21 day demo for download.
**Mimic Your Windows PC with GoBar** -- The Aladdin Systems GoBar offers Palm handheld users a menu bar reminiscent of the standard Windows 'Start' bar. GoBar provides quick access to programs, documents, recent apps with customizable categories. GoBar also provides menu access to settings, find, help, run, backlight, lock and shutdown features. GoBar is $14, Aladdin offers a 30 day trial version.
**Your Palm Becomes a Necklace with MyCoolClip** -- Carry your Palm handheld around your neck, or on your belt loop along with your stylus with this amazingly simple add-on. The complete MyCoolClip package comes with a metal clip, neck-lanyard, belt loop clip, spiral stylus holder and a spare Palm plastic stylus for $14 including shipping & handling. MyCoolClip fits the Palm IIIe, IIIx, IIIxe, IIIc and VII, but won't work with the Palm V/Vx or Handspring Visor handhelds.
**Palm-Using Bicyclers Rejoice!** -- VeloTrend has created BikeBrain, a bicycling software and hardware package for Palm handhelds. BikeBrain acts as a powerful cyclometer, utilizing Palm and Desktop software (Mac or PC), a wheel sensor and a splash proof case with mounting strap. It provides route directions, speed, split and route recording, a configurable screen with large digits, real time graphing of speed vs. time or distance. Best of all the data can be uploaded to a Mac or PC after your ride. The package works specifically with Palm-branded devices from the Pilot 1000 and Palm III series to the V/Vx (but not the VII) and is priced between $90 to $100, depending upon the Palm handheld used.
**UPDATE: Beaming Categories** -- In the last month's issue I wrote about beaming whole contact categories from the address book to other Palm handhelds in the article 'Supercharging you Address Book'. It turns out that Palm devices actually _receiving_ whole categories of contacts cannot accept them in category form, and therefore file them under 'Untitled'. Even if category names are identical on the sending and receiving Palms, all beamed contacts are still filed in the 'Untitled' category. In both cases, no dialog either warning of this action or offering the receiver to choose a category is offered by the address application. It appears the programmers who added this handy feature to the address book never actually tested its functionality with another Palm handheld.
Using a Palm handheld for Business Travel
by Mike Rohde
Have you ever considered taking your Palm handheld on your next business trip? If you¹re a professional who travels for business and are interested in using your Palm handheld as a travel tool, then read on.
In this month's feature I'll explore uses for a stock Palm handheld, share links to several third party travel applications and offer maintenance tips for utilizing a Palm on your next business trip.
**Advantages of a Handheld for Business Travel** -- Information is many times the most important resource a business traveler can possess. The small size and storage capacity of a Palm handheld makes it an idea tool for carrying important itinerary and contact information virtually anywhere. Best of all, essential data can be retrieved instantly, making even the most basic Palm organizer a powerful business travel tool.
**Using a Stock Palm Handheld as a Business Travel Tool** -- While third party travel applications are available to enhance your handheld in very specific ways, Let's first look at a standard Palm organizer, its built-in software and techniques for using them effectively.
Travel itinerary information stored in the datebook, address book, to-do, memo applications can be especially handy, since modifications can be made on either the desktop application or directly on the handheld. Windows PC users can take advantage of the expense application's synchronization with Excel, while Mac users must look to third party expense software for Palm to Mac expense synchronization.
Below are some practical uses for each of the stock Palm applications:
* Store your Flight itinerary in an appointment, keyed to the exact departure and arrival times. For even more detail, attach a note to each appointment and store the detailed flight information such as the flight number, your seat assignment, airline phone number and your frequent flyer number for quick access.
* If you meet a business colleague or new prospect on a flight, combine a contact (see the address book area) with an appointment and an alarm reminding you to make a follow-up call when you're back at the office.
* Create an appointment for your hotel check-in and check-out times and attach a note to it with vital hotel information, such as your reservation confirmation number and directions to the hotel from the airport or freeway.
* To maintain a schedule of calling your spouse or significant other, create a timed appointment with an alarm in the datebook. Immediately include a phone number and calling card number within the appointment text to bypass trips to the address book and memo pad.
* If you're traveling to another time zone, be sure to adjust the time of your Palm handheld in the 'Prefs' application as soon as you arrive. This will keep you from missing any important appointments.
* Maintain a journal by creating new untimed appointments and attaching a note. Record daily events, business meeting thoughts or any other pertinent business information. Handspring Visor owners can use the specialized journal feature included in the Datebook+ application, standard on all Visor handhelds.
* Set an appointment with an alarm, reminding you of the deadline for check-out and allowing you time the evening beforehand to pack up your gear.
* Create a category in your address book for Travel in which to store contact information for your airline, hotel, rental car or any other travel-related contacts you might need on the road.
* In your airline contact, attach a note with your itinerary, flight confirmation number, frequent flyer number, seat assignments or other useful flight related information. When you've completed your flight, take a moment to record your impressions of the airline for future reference.
* In your hotel contact, attach a note to this record and enter important information such as directions to the hotel, your room number and telephone number, room service's extension and hotel check out times. When you've completed your stay, take a moment to record your impressions of the hotel for future reference.
* Keep your Palm handheld handy to jot down the contact information of business prospects you meet on the flight. Use the note field to record any specific topics of interest that might help you deepen the business relationship when you're back in the office. You can also create a reminder in the address book to call the new prospect when you're back in the office.
* Create a packing list which can be checked when initial packing is completed, unchecked at arrival and rechecked upon packing for departure.
* Create separate to-do lists for the contents of your baggage, to simplify packing them upon your return, or as a reference for insurance purposes (see the memo area for a related idea).
* Create a category in the memo application for travel in which to store memos containing important travel information. To make your memo creation especially painless, use the desktop memo application to enter text via the keyboard, or cut and paste itinerary information from other applications into new memos.
* Store your detailed itinerary information in a memo, including flight, car rental and hotel numbers and directions to the hotel or any business you intend to visit. These can be combined into a trip itinerary memo, or broken into individual memos for easier retrieval.
* Create a memo with a detailed description of your baggage and its contents. If your baggage is misplaced the description will aid in describing your luggage to airline personnel; if your luggage is lost, the description can help speed insurance claims.
* Use the expense application for tracking business expenses. Be sure to use the categories for locations or subsections of expenditures. PC users can directly access expense databases in Excel. Unfortunately, Mac users must resort to third party Palm and Mac applications for expense tracking.
**Third Party Travel Tools** -- Even though many useful stock capabilities are built into each Palm handheld, I'll also explore third party software and hardware capable of making your organizer an even more powerful tool.
Below are a selection of third party travel related Palm applications:
Expense tracking can be critical for business travel. If the built-in Expense application is too limited, or you're a Mac user, a third-party solution might better suit your needs. Below are a few selected expense applications to investigate:
ExpensePlus (Works with Mac)
How many Deutsch Marks to a Dollar? When traveling abroad, converting currencies is a fact of life. Not to worry though since a Palm handheld can help. Below are a few selected currency converters to investigate:
How many Liters to a Gallon? Measurement conversion may be very handy to have while traveling abroad. Below are a few selected measurement converters to investigate:
YAUC - Yet Another Unit Converter
Palm Converter Lite
Knowing your current time zone is important for arriving on time to business meetings, or when placing long-distance telephone calls to the home office. Handspring Visor owners already have CityTime included as a standard application. Below are a few selected clock and alarm applications to investigate:
CAUTION! Palm handheld alarms may be too quiet to replace an alarm clock or morning wakeup call, due to the weak speaker volume (except on the TRGPro).
For frequent travelers, a dedicated itinerary application might be more useful than using the memopad or datebook. Below are a few selected itinerary tracking applications to investigate:
If you'd like to carry along information about a city you're visiting for business, then a travel guide might be a useful addition to your business travel kit. Below are selected travel guide applications to investigate:
Aramis Int'l Traveler
Per Annum Guides
Dining Guides & Utilities
If you're looking for a place to have dinner after that business meeting in an unknown city, check out the TealMeal application and city databases from TealPoint software. Note that several travel guides (listed above) also provide dining information and recommendations. Also handy are tip calculators for dinner with colleagues.
Doc Readers & eBooks
When using a Palm handheld on a business trip, you may want to take advantage of carrying along Doc files for reading on the road. With a Doc reader, you can read e-books and other travel information larger than the 4k limit imposed by the memopad. Below are several selected Doc readers for the Palm to investigate:
iSilo and iSilo Free
For travel information and public domain e-books check out MemoWare:
Fictionwise offers sci-fi, fantasy, horror and humor stories in Doc format:
Having a map ready when you arrive in an unfamiliar city can be important, a map in your Palm Handheld can be even more useful. Some mapping applications even offer GPS functionality when used with a GPS unit. Below are a few selected Map applications to investigate:
HandMap, HandMap Deluxe & HandMap Pro (GPS)
Rand McNally TripMaker or StreetFinder Deluxe 2000 (GPS)
Quo Vadis (GPS)
Multi-Function Travel Tools
There are a few utilities which combine many travel functions into a single application. Multi-function applications may suit you if space is tight, or you prefer a single application over three or four focused applications. Below are a few selected all-in-one travel tools to investigate:
**Travel Maintenance Tips** -- Now that I've covered ways to use both stock and third party tools in business travel, I'll share a few tips to consider before and during your next business trip.
* Backup Your Palm -- The most important step to take before leaving for a business trip is syncing and backing up your Palm handheld. If you're leaving your sync computer in the office this might save you from complete loss of data if batteries die on the road.
* Carry Your Backup -- If you're going to be on your trip for an extended period of time (a weekend or longer) consider carrying your backup files on your trip. Within your Palm Desktop application, locate the 'User Data' folder and then the folder with your HotSync name. You can either copy the entire folder to one or more floppies or burn the files onto a CD-R disc for easy access on the road.
* Store Your Backup Online -- You might also consider storing your backup on a web server for easy access via the internet. Web sites like Driveway.com for Mac and PC users, or Apple's iTools for Mac users offer free drive space in which to store your backup data.
* Visor Backup Modules -- Handspring Visor owners might also consider picking up either the Backup or 8MB RAM module to back up data on the road. The $40 Backup module is designed to back up an entire Visor with a single click, while the $80 8MB RAM module offers 8MB of general purpose, battery failure-proof application and data storage.
* For more detailed backup ideas, have a look at 'The Importance of Backing up your Handheld ' feature story in issue 6.0 of the Palm Tipsheet:
* Carry The Palm Desktop CD -- In order to sync your Palm in the case of a hard reset on the road, it might make sense to carry along your Palm Desktop installer CD. This way you can install the Desktop Application on a branch or client's PC or Mac to perform a restore in an emergency situation.
* Carry Extra Batteries -- Protect yourself from the dreaded low battery hard reset by carrying along your own set of spare AAA batteries. It's a better idea to carry your own rather than buying them on the road; you might need batteries at odd times or won't know of a nearby store in which you can buy a fresh set.
* Palm V, Vx and IIIc users should consider travel chargers when on the road, since you have no options for replacing batteries on your units. If you have your notebook along, charging also takes place when these handhelds are in their cradles.
Palm V/Vx Travel Kit
Palm IIIc Recharger Kit
Palm IIIc Auto/Air Recharger Kit
**Conclusion** -- A Palm handheld can be a perfect tool for business travel. However you decide to use your Palm -- either with the stock applications or third party software -- I trust these tips will help you better utilize it on your next business trip.
Thanks once again for reading the Palm Tipsheet. I sincerely hope the tips and techniques presented in this issue will transform your handheld into a powerful business travel tool.
If you would like to read archived issues of the Palm Tipsheet, they're available on the Palm Tipsheet website for your reading pleasure in both HTML and Palm Doc format. To subscribe to the Palm Tipsheet, or to direct a Palm-using friend to subscribe, the website also has a subscription tool. Feel free to stop by and explore!
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