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Grease your Palm.

Our Tech Guy answers your questions

Dear Tech Guy,

Thanks for a great article on the Palm software in your March technology column. I am recently new to the Palm devices and was wondering if I could get your help. I would love to check my e-mail while away from the office. Would my first option be to get the modem for my Visor?

Matthew Carter, manager

The Yondotega Club, Detroit

Dear Matthew,

E-mail synchronization allows you to get the current contents of your in-box each time you hot sync. Then while you are away, you can check, read, respond, forward, delete, etc. The next time you hot sync, the changes you have made on the Visor will be transferred to your e-mail package, allowing you to work remotely, though not real-time.

There are restrictions to this imposed by the size of the Palm/Visor device -- attachments do not get transferred, and if a message is long enough (about 4K or 4,096 characters) it gets truncated. If you maintain correspondence folders in your e-mail application, it doesn't allow you to move e-mail to folders either, but for quite a bit of standard e-mail business, it more than fits the bill. The amount of memory your palm device has determines how many e-mails you can store on a hot sync. E-mail is one reason the 8-meg model is crucial for heavy e-mail users.

Here are some of the options available for e-mail:

* Standard desktop e-mail synchronization. Your Palm comes with the capability to do this already built in if you are a Microsoft, Eudora, CC:mail (Lotus) or standard MAPI e-mail user. When you select mail on the Palm desktop, or when you first load the desktop software, you will be prompted to set e-mail up. If you are using Lotus Notes, Novell Groupwise or another package that is not natively supported, you will have to go to Puma Technologies, Toffa Ltd. or another third-party provider for a synchronization package that will not only e-mail connect you, but integrate the calendar and other groupware functions (,,

* Wireless e-mail. This requires a wireless modem, either one specifically designed for your PDA (Palm or Visor) or a cell phone with Palm modem capabilities. I don't recommend the connectivity via cell phone unless you are really desperate for a couple of reasons. First, normal cell phone connectivity speeds are slow. Second, service providers charge by the character for this. If you have a laptop, you are better off updating your e-mail on the laptop using the highest speed connection you have available, then doing a local sync with your Palm.

If you are on the road and need to check e-mail, another option is to use your cell phone to do a modem sync with your desktop back at the office. This can be beneficial because you can streamline the sync to do only e-mail for instance, and that way the slow speed of the modem is a minimal deterrent.

The desktop PC has to be left running and connected to a phone line that can be dialed into. The software will then answer the phone and establish the hot sync when your palm and cell phone or modem initiates the call.

There are a few modems that are custom designed for use with the Visor or Palm V, and these are marginally useful. They suffer from the same speed and quality restrictions that the cell phones do, but have a cleaner, easier to use connection to the PDA. I have direct experience with the Omnisky modem for the Palm V (a minstrel modem actually marketed with the Omnisky service). It clips right on to the Palm V and allows constant connectivity if desired. The rechargeable battery is independent of the Palm rechargeable, so you have to charge them both and if you forget, the modem is useless.
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Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Author:Erickson, Hans
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Jun 1, 2001
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