Paul Golding's Weblog on Wireless
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Wednesday, March 12, 2003

:: Brain storming on the move ::

 I have found an interesting software application from Mindjet that may help me to organise my ideas for different projects, especially my current book. I was initially looking for an application to help me map my people network, but was reminded of mind maps by my old friend Chris Parker. He and I recently met up for breakfast and it was interesting to find him sitting at the table with his new tablet PC from Toshiba.

Forever jotting things down on paper napkins, it did not surprise me that Chris went for a pen-based PC. But his use of it is very interesting, namely that he finds it especially useful for mind-mapping during discussions. Chris uses the Windows Journal application to sketch the maps directly in digital ink, whereas the Mindjet software enables actual maps to be constructed that can be operated on and manipulated in many powerful ways (most of which I have yet to utilise except for the ability to transfer tasks to and from Outlook).

Is there a mobile connection to this story? Yes.

The interesting thing about Mindjet's software is that they have a Palm (and Pocket PC) version that can be synchonised to the desktop. I am hoping this will be useful. Until now I have become used to carrying around a pocket book and pen wherever I go in case I need to jot down some ideas. What I have been lacking is the ability to capture ideas effectively whilst on the move. The problem with being mobile is that time always seems compressed, so it becomes hard to pause and jot down ideas (you have to understand that a lot of my ideas pop into my head when shopping or otherwise out and about). It is even harder to capture my thoughts and the connectedness of several ideas that may come at once. Mind maps does seem to be a way out.

It is early days yet to see how the mobile version will perform, especially as the screen size is fairly small for drawing maps. But I can say that I have already found that using maps on the desktop seems to be very productive, but I shall see how it goes.....

11:05:43 PM    

 :: Getting connected using Bluetooth (BT) ::

The convenience of being connected using BT is better than expected. My Palm, mobile and PC are all talking to each other without wires. Using GPRS I can easily access the net to check my email from my Palm, although, unexpectedly, the email client on my T68i already turned out to be more useful than I anticipated and is a nifty way to check my email.

I can turn to my Palm if I need to manage longer messages, taking advantage of the bigger screen and the faster input. That being said, the implementation of T9 predictive text input on the T68i pleasantly surprised me with its intelligent and useable design. With its effective user interface (UI) and joy stick control I find I can write messages incredibly quickly. I have not yet looked to see if there is a predictive text input program for the Palm, but that would seem a useful offering for someone like me whose graffiti is lousy and never seems to improve.

I am using the Blue5 BT cradle from TDK (bought from Expansys). It is a nice piece of hardware, very light and slim enough that it does not add any burden to carrying the Palm in my shirt or jacket pocket. There is a fairly useful piece of bundled software for sending and receiving text messages (SMS). Frankly I don't have any problems with the texting UI on the T68i, but my thoughts are that the Palm interface will enable me to discretely send and receive text messages during meetings whilst my phone sits snugly in my shirt or jacket pocket. I have not yet had a chance to reap the expected benefits.

What I am looking for is a decent SMS program for my PC so that I can send and receive text messages via my phone. That will save me using my Redcoal networked application where I have to keep topping up my credit. I believe that such a program is bundled with the TDK USB Bluetooth dongle, though I am using Sitecom.

I managed to sychronise my Outlook PIM database with the T68i, mainly to ensure that I always have an up to date calendar in my pocket. I will always carry my phone, but usually leave my PDA behind during leisure hours (what are they?), and so I now have access to my schedule wherever I go.

Finally I succeeded in getting HotSync to work via BT so that my Palm doesn't have to be placed in the cradle except overnight for its charge cycle.

So far everything sounds nice and easy. But nothing is ever that easy, so what's the catch? The catch is that the process of getting the devices to talk to each other could not have been more obscure and inconvenient than it turned out to be. (Why was I not surprised?)

My GPRS account has three profiles - one each for WAP, MMS and Internet access. Of course the latter is what I need to check email as this profile uses an access point that allows Internet addresses to be accessed directly. Getting my Palm settings to access the correct profile was not documented. In the end I found a useful web page that gave me the clue I needed to get it all working.

I encountered similar problems getting my Palm to Hotsync on my PC via the Sitecom BT dongle (courtesy Barry King, Motorola digital design guru). The procedure was not properly documented in the main documentation and I found it lurking in some badly written document on the installation disk. But I have not been able to get my Palm to surf the net via the BT connection to my desktop.

I intend to fully document how I got my configuration working, especially as I imagine that there are a lot of Palm/Blue5 users wanting to connect to a GPRS phone and who will soon stumble across similar problems.

MMS on my phone doesn't work, but that's another story.......


10:31:45 PM    

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