HP Mini 1000 Netbook, remember? Whole series of reviews by some really cool people (and me)? A major strong point was easy wireless connectivity? Remember all of that?
So, what about when you are not near a Wi-Fi source and don’t wanna pop for a cell modem and the related costs? My Palm Centro is Bluetooth enabled and can access the net, and my Mini is Bluetooth enabled- surely there is a way to connect the two?!?!
June Fabrics PdaNet has a series of programs designed for just this purpose! Better yet, it does it for free after you have paid for the program!
PdaNet is available for Windows Mobile, iPhone, Blackberry and Android, so should cover most ‘Smartphones’ available. I trialed the PalmOS version.
It downloads and installs smoothly and asks you if you wish to load a related application, PdaReach, at the same time. We will discuss PdaReach a little later.
Your first connection may be a bit tricky, but certainly nothing too difficult. You just choose USB or Bluetooth on the Palm, and if you choose Bluetooth, check the Bluetooth option in the desktop PdaNet application (it will be in the taskbar). You may need to play with the COM settings but it usually does it right the first time. Oh, and if you do go with Bluetooth, make sure your Hot Sync is set to Bluetooth as well. I actually had to work harder to connect with the USB cable than I usually do using Bluetooth!
(OK, so there are a couple tricky little bits sometimes. The on-line documentation is good, but it can be kind of spotty on questions like this. My experience so far has been that figuring out the problem and a solution was usually easy.)
Open it up and you’ll be surfing the net at a ‘blazing’ 56 to 144kbps- from about as fast as to almost 3 times the speed of a 56k modem. You remember 56k modems, right? According to Speakeasy.net, my wireless Cox connection is running at about 10,000kbps, so just a bit faster. The network determines your speed. Once launched, it is pretty stable. I occasionally lost the signal but it usually reacquired it quickly.
It is not perfect- in one trial I had a huge headache with the COM settings, but I was also trying to run several different Bluetooth applications and I think they were tripping over each other. I was never able to clear it up until I actually wiped my hard drive and restarted. In my other trials, however, things went smoothly. Speaking of trials, the free trial period for this is about 2 weeks and seems fully enabled.
According to the website, PdaNet for the Palm OS can run in the background on some Palms but it does not seem especially stable that way. Overall, this is a small (73k), inexpensive ($34.95) program that is a great addition to the mobile warriors bag of tricks- a nice, cheap way t contact the Internet anywhere you can get bars. In fact, keeping the .zip program handy to use for free in an emergency seems like a good idea.
PdaReach is a separate program that allows you to run your Palm device on a laptop, using your keyboard, mouse, etc. It is a great idea for training, easier access, etc. It runs $24.95 and takes 64k. It only runs on a USB cable, and for some reason I cannot seem to get it to load on the Centro.