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Communications Connecting - internet cafes, laptops, Palm devices, cell phones - how to connect, use, which one, and Bike to Bike and passenger intercoms.
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Old 28 Nov 2001
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As these devices are getting more popular
I would like to start a small forum on the use of Palm Pilots for travel writing while on the road.

I recently purchases a Palm M500 with a folding keyboard and a backup chip. I hope to write on the road and send and check my Emails.

Does anyone have comments or experience with Palm Pilots or other PDA's on the road.

What other accessories (hardware) would make it more practical for travelling.

Is there any downloadable sites (or software) worthwhile to travellers. eg. Lonely Planet offers some city info.
I know that a GPS can be set up to work with the Palm, but are there any good free digital maps available?

IS there good wordprocessing software available for the Palms.

Would it be possible to use the Palm at an internet cafe to check personal email etc. Eg. would I have to download my software on their computers and then plug my palm into the back of their computer somewhere, or could I hook up a modem to my Palm and use something like an AOL international account?

Any information with regards to these questions would be appreciated

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Old 29 Nov 2001
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An interesting question - I can't help much, not being a Palm expert, (we do have a 111 and a Vx) but do know that you normally need your software loaded onto the host computer in order to communicate - and no internet cafe is going to allow that - yet.

You may be able to come up with a method of copying to a floppy from the palm, but I wouldn't bet on it. The Palm thinking is generally that you are a business person on the road for a few days then home and synching to your own computer.

I think it would be great to be able to do it, but haven't the time to research it - so let's see what everyone else can come up with.


We are considering a "Communicating on the Road" forum which would include Palms and Psions and laptops and cell phones and internet cafes etc. Sound like what you want? Anyone else? If there is enough positive comment we'll open it up.

Grant Johnson

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at: www.HorizonsUnlimited.com
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Old 29 Nov 2001
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You may want to look at http://www.blackberry.net as 'possibly' a better on the road comms device. However it depends on the infrastructure being built to service it. I believe these things are popular in the US but haven't quite hit Europe yet, and I doubt the rest of the world.

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Old 30 Nov 2001
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i recently purchased a good book from amazon about using laptops on the road.

it's called 'Travels with a Laptop' by Michael Hewitt.

Link: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...370602-3407053

Despite the fact much of it is quite out of date, it still has some great info about connecting in remote places. I'd recommend it. Pretty cheap too. worth a read.

matt oneill
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Old 30 Nov 2001
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Well, I don’t have experience with Palm Pilots but I did some traveling with Windows CE based PDA.

The most important thing is to make sure you have adequate power supply. By that I mean use a rechargeable battery and carry a spare charged rechargeable battery with you. Make sure you have a way to recharge the Palm from your bike as well as wall sockets in the countries you’ll be visiting (plug type / voltage). And still take along reserve batteries.

Hold the Palm in a hard case. A soft cased is useless, protection wise, when you squeeze that fragile peace of equipment in the pannier.

Check out my post “GPS Software” in the “Equipping the Bike” forum for info on GPS software. Let me know if you need more details.

Adding a modem to your Palm and using an international AOL account is best. Internet café will not let you load anything on their computers. It is also highly recommended to have a web email address to just use it at Internet café if everything else fails.

Hope this helps.
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Old 30 Nov 2001
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Palm devices are great on the road! I havent left home without my Palm for the last 3 years.

What others said, make sure it is well protected, a hard case is a must. Ensure proper power supply. In this respect, the older Palms were great because they worked on a couple of AAA batteries which were easy to find anywhere. The newer devices are rechargeable so you'll have to take with you a power supply. However one charge can easily last for a week or more.

I take my Palm with me for 3 reasons: read email, record expenses and check the weather where I'm going.

Email: this works out quite well but can be a bit expensive. What you need:

- Palm + keyboard: you dont want to be writing a dozen emails with te pen. If you get one of the newer Palms like the m50x, you can also get a backup cartridge - should you not be able to recharge on time, just restore your data later on.

- Good email software: I use MultiMail from Palm. It supports multiple POP3 accounts.

- GSM phone with IR and built-in data modem: You wont be able to go to an Internet cafe and plugin your Palm somewhere, however with a GSM phone you can establish an internet connection between your Palm and an ISP. Most countries use GSM.

- An international ISP: you'll need an ISP that has PoP's (points of presence) around the world. Maybe Compuserve or IBM global net - check with them. This will minimize your telephone bill.

- For tips on how to configure your Palm to dial your GSM phone see this setup page: http://tinystocks.com/gsm.html

This summer I did a 3-week bike trip around Ireland while continuing to run my business with this Palm-phone combo.

Record expenses and check the weather: being a programmer and a biker I have written a couple of programs that are useful on the road. Highway Manager allows you to keep track of all your expenses, not only gas but also hotels, campings, highway tolls, border crossings, etc. And Weather Manager allows you to download via a GSM phone the weather forecast for over 10,000 cities around the world.

Not wanting to be accused of promoting my own software, I wont post a link to them. But you can easily find them by searching for "Highway Manager" on Google.

If anyone has any questions regarding Palm+email, let me know, I've been doing this for a while.

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Old 3 Dec 2001
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Cool Update!!

I just found a great product for PDA and Palm Pilots. It’s a water proof, shock proof , everything proof slim box to store and protect the unit while still making it useable via a recessed clear screen. You can just throw that think in the pannier or even mount it to the handle bar and forget about it .

Check out www.armorbyotter.com/index2.html

I haven’t tried it myself (yet ) but it’s based on the Otter Box which I have 4 off, and they are simply great.

OasisPhoto.com – Images from the Magical Sahara.
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Old 31 Dec 2001
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We are considering a "Communicating on the Road" forum which would include Palms and Psions and laptops and cell phones and internet cafes etc. Sound like what you want? Anyone else? If there is enough positive comment we'll open it up.


I think this is a hot issue for a lot of travellers as access to internet is still a hard thing despite loads of internetshops.

Till now i didnt find an internetshop in the middle of the bush, and yes this is where i go, like many others.

despite being a backpacker, sharing your adventures is part of the fun isn´t.......

regards Derek-Jan

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