Look Out! The Palm Pilot is here to stay!
by Laura Bray
After listening to the benefits of the Palm Pilot via Ken Cotton at the September TPC meeting, I finally broke down and bought one. I'm sure glad I did! I waited until I had to have something to access e-mail with while I was out of town. This machine is truly phenomenal as I qualify myself by saying I'm truly the computer "rookie" of the year!. It synchronizes my database, calendar and mailboxes with my desktop with one push from a button. I bought the 1 MB Pro version from the IKE shop in Akihabara for ¥50,000. Took the thing home and figured out that I needed some other accessories to go with it. That is if I wanted it to do what I bought it to do. So I go back to the IKE shop and buy a modem for under ¥20,000 and the miniature Apple Newton keyboard (comes with the driver). Next I had to order the cable (from the US) which allows me to travel without the HotSync cradle for about $30.00, and finally I had to purchase e-mail software from the Internet ($50.00).
Here's a couple of URL's to look at. The pilot lets you load new applications into it, and so anything goes... there are literally hundreds of applications out there, free, shareware, and commercial.
This company makes a direct and complete interface with Outlook, so that what's in Outlook is always in the Pilot and vice-versa...
This company makes two items of interest. The first, HandStamp, is a complete e-mail app, so you don't have to log into your home computer at all. This turns the pilot into a STAND-ALONE dialer for e-mail retrieval and management. The other is HandFax... yes, your Pilot can send faxes too... outstanding!
So now I'm connected to my e-mail from anywhere in the world even when I'm only on the other side of Tokyo. Now that's pretty damn convenient I think.
I love this machine, what more can I say? It's totally integrated with Outlook now and I always have my complete database with me. Plus my calendar, mailboxes and my always-dwindling wallet. Basically, the Pilot is the size of a "man's" wallet and you can carry it literally in your pocket. So if my apartment ever burns down, my database is safe!
Now for some of the problems I have encountered using the Pilot:
1) I let the batteries die (don't do this) and lost everything. Not too bad of an experience though. Just had to reinstall and do a HotSync. Everything was back in place.
2) I depleted my mail memory in another country and I couldn't hotsync with my desktop to regain it. This problem was fixed with a soft reset and I got it back (I don't know how or why this works but it does).
3) Several times on the road my memory became depleted so I had to truncate and filter out messages. This can be a problem especially when it's the holidays and everyone is sending out cards, what about those jokes, or when your ISP sends you several very long messages!
4) One time it wouldn't do a hotsync and I couldn't figure out why. The simple solution was to do another soft reset and it worked (don't even ask me why)!
5) Last of all, technical support doesn't know anything about software purchased from other companies. Guess I can't blame them but I think they should develop e-mail software. Go figure that one out for me!
Anyway, I highly recommend the Palm Pilot as a tool when you're away from your desktop. It hasn't met all my e-mail needs when I travel so I guess the next step for me is to buy a notebook or sub-notebook computer. This is a scary thought, as I'll have to learn how to operate the damn thing!
My last thoughts are I'm really thankful that Ken Cotton took the time to talk to me when I called the hotline! I went to one meeting as his guest and became a member the next month. Everyone in the club has been so patient and helpful. I've met some very interesting people and heard some great presentations at the meetings. I'm starting to catch on...
Finally, a very special thanks to Sigi for his Akihabara tours and for giving me the courage to go there on my own!
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