1.      PC compatible

Here the story is simple.  It would be impossible to have not seen the great drop in PC prices over the last few years and the incredible leaps in performance.  Here the choice of computers is one of personal taste and usually leads to immense confusion from overchoice.  I have had friends who have for several years not purchased a computer because they simply could not make up their mind, which to buy.  For me personally though the choice is always simple, buy the top of the line Dell Computer especially when they have a very good sale on if you can time it that way.

My reasoning is simple: their service consistently wins every industry review hands down, their performance is usually the best in their class, they only use the top equipment, they have the best value in reality when you factor in quality and service of any brand, and finally if you buy the top of the line it will have a lifetime of minimum three years without any type of upgrade.  If you buy anything less than top of the line (i.e. latest, fastest processor, fully loaded system), then its lifetime can be even reduced sometimes to less than a year if you are buying a really outdated system.

Then again I use my computer heavily and for massive graphics applications and other high RAM, fast processor tasks.  Maybe you will be only using your computer for word processing and then well my advice is to get the best value package system that is currently being offered by Dell, you will be sure you have the best.  Make sure now if buying a desktop that you buy one with PCI express it makes a huge difference trust me.

There is one caveat to this, you may want to get a Sony Vaio Digital Studio Desktop system for uniformity if you have or are also going to get a Vaio notebook.  The reason for this has to do with the Sony Vaio i-Link/1394/Firewire port.  The Vaio line can all be linked through this connection allowing high speed synchronization and transfer of files.

Another favorite choice of mine especially if you live in the USA is EndPCNoise they make custom or prepackaged PCs some of which are absolutely silent. I hate the noise PC Fans and Hard Drives make, and I cannot recommend this site more highly.

 

2.      Mac based

 

Speed differences and performance between PCs and Macs have basically disappeared.  Macs now have G5 chips which are great but not much different than P4 3.4 GHz chips in performance.  Even with the comeback of the Mac, largely propelled by the iPod unless you have been a longtime user then stick to the PC.  Even though without a doubt Macs are far superior, simpler and less prone to crashes, they have nowhere near the customer base.  As a result, you may have compatibility problems, there are not as many 3rd party applications available, and it is unlikely you will have a nearby expert neighbor to question should something go wrong. 

 

If you are a very heavy duty graphics designer or digital photographer then that is one possible exception, although basically PCs are pretty close to being sufficient for all but the most advanced users.

 

 

2.      Mac based

 

Here the notebooks are just wonderful already and again with the advent of the G4 processor blow away most  PC systems.  The same argument as above applies especially if you are a graphics professional or digital photographer.  The largest screen available on a notebook currently comes on the Apple PowerBook Notebook 17" (1.67-GHz PowerPC G4, 512 MB RAM, 100 GB Hard Drive, DVD-RW/CD-RW Drive $2699 US .  Quoting Amazon below.

Faster and far more capable than any other Apple notebook to date, the freshly unveiled 17-inch PowerBook G4 may be the most sophisticated portable computer ever released. Featuring an enormous display, an unrivalled feature set and virtually no performance bottlenecks, the stunning yet undeniably pricey 17-inch PowerBook G4 is ready to satisfy even the most discriminating professional or personal user.

Don't let the clock speed fool you. The system's PowerPC G4 processor is a real step up running at 1.67 GHz and featuring 512 KB Level 2 cache for rapid retrieval of recently accessed data. Apple has added 512 MB of ultra-fast PC2700 (333MHz) DDR SDRAM memory (upgradeable to 2 full GB) and an ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 graphics processor with 64 MB dedicated video memory, thus ensuring smooth operation during high-demand tasks such as 3-D games, 3-D drawing and multitasking.

This high-speed architecture continues throughout the unit, where you'll find connectivity options such a standard FireWire interface, an ultra-fast Apple-designed FireWire 800 port, two 480 Mbps USB 2.0 ports, integrated 10/100/1000BASE-T Ethernet, 54-Mbps AirPort Extreme wireless, and built-in Bluetooth for the new breed of cordless digital peripherals. Storage facilities include a spacious ATA/100 1-0 GB hard disk and a versatile DVD-R/CD-RW SuperDrive through which you can burn audio CDs, backup critical and write DVD-R discs at 2X speed.

Visually, the aluminum alloy-clad 17-inch PowerBook G4 is as dramatic as it is functional. Sporting the largest widescreen display of any notebook and the same screen dimensions as a 19-inch CRT monitor, the unit is nevertheless surprisingly thin and lightweight at 15.4 by 10.2 by 1 inches and 6.8 pounds. Other unique perks include a tap/double tap/drag trackpad, a convenient backlit keyboard for low-light situations, and a DVI output for the efficient digital connection of LCD monitors. Battery life is estimated at an admirable 4.5 hours under ideal conditions.

For a more portable smaller Powerbook the Apple PowerBook Notebook 12.1" (1.5 GHz PowerPC G4, 512 MB RAM, 60 GB Hard Drive, DVD-RW/CD-RW Drive) $1499 US  is a good bet. 

 

 

 

 

 

The features of the Archos 700 with 100GB and its 7" color screen are listed below, its a portable TIVO and more!.

Record directly from TV
After installing the TV docking pod in a one-time set-up operation, record directly television programs, movies and home videos directly from your TV, VCR, DVD player2, cable box or satellite receiver (PAL & NTSC) ... and watch on the go! With the integrated scheduler you can program your recording schedule for the week or even the month and watch your recordings.
Play Video
Play back your favourite program on the the 7" widescreen or on any external screen with a near DVD quality. Play Windows Media®, protected Windows Media®4 and MPEG-4 video files. The AV 700 offers many functionalities such as slow motion, adjustable screen size, video editing or enven a video bookmarking function.
Photo wallet
The AV 700 acts as a great digital photo companion accessory. Transfer up to one million photos1 directly from your digital camera, from another mass storage device using the built-in USB host connection, or from a computer using the high-speed USB 2.0 interface. Organize photos and watch them in slideshows on the AV 700 screen or any external display.
Connectivity
The AV 700 has a USB Host Port enabling you to copy, share, connect and transfer files directly from other powered mass storage devices. Additionally, the AV 700 is recognized as a mass storage drive on your PC or Mac giving you the possibility to store any computer file using the high-speed USB 2.0 interface (backward USB 1.1 compatible at a lower speed).
Music Player
The AV 700 features a newly-designed music player. Easily organize songs with the enhanced ARCLibrary and customize your view by artist, album, type of music, title, year, and play lists without having to use a computer. The AV 700 also offers an audio recording application to record (encoding in real time) in WAV (PCM or ADPCM), from almost all analog stereo sources. You can also use the stereo microphone if you want to record notes to yourself for easy access later.
PC autosync
With the AV 700 you may purchase, download, subscribe to or rent protected video and music content from the Microsoft PlaysForSure™ websites. Using the high-speed USB 2.0 interface, the AV 700 will easily auto-synchronize this content with Windows Media® Player 10 each time you connect it to your PC, or convert your Windows Media® Player 10 library content to one of the many compatible formats (MP3, WMA, WAV, protected WMA, MPEG-47, WMV and protected Windows Media Video4).
 
Download and play games
The AV 700 features the popular Mophun™ gaming engine for purchasing and downloading games from the ARCHOS Website5.

 

The PDAs that still have the largest market share today are the various Palm models by Palm, previously 3Com and previously USRobotics.   Palms obviously use the Palm OS, but so do PDAs by Sony.   PALM bought out Handspring in 2003 and acquired as a result the TREO Smartphone line (see below).  The Palm OS this operating system has by far the largest and most devoted following, it has good support, it has an almost infinite number of third-party applications available, and it is simple, small and light.

Of note is that the Pilot, PalmPilot, III series, V series, VII series & m series handhelds are no longer produced, but they were the original devices that  set the standard for mobile computing and a sort of museum page for them can be found here.
 

The current line includes the ZIRE, TUNGSTEN and TREO Series:

The 3 products out of the 7 of the line which should be of interest to an Ophthalmologist are:

ZIRE 72:  $299 A personal favorite of mine is the Palm Zire 72.  I think this is a great handheld with everything you could want in a small graffiti handheld for a reasonable price.  Good screen, MP3 player, built in camera, SD/MMC slot, 32 MB, Palm OS 5.21 it has everything but a phone and if you like your cell phone and handheld to be separate this is a good way to go.

 

 

 

Zire Handheld

ZIRE:  ($99) Zire handheld. Sold in clear plastic packaging at mainstream retailers such as Target and Wallmart, is a thin, bare-bones PDA is designed to appeal to newbies who don't need the functionality of a Pocket PC and would normally shy away from spending Pocket PC-level prices for a handheld.Palm this October 2002 introduced a new line of PDAs called the Zire, which they hope will be a popular choice with technophobes.  It is essentially identical (including price $99) to the below Palm 105, with 3 exceptions, it has only 2MB of RAM as opposed to 8 MB, it is rechargeable (an advantage over the m105), and is prettier.  Palm hopes to market this almost as a useful but casual buy/gift for under $100 right of the hook hanging in its plastic package.  I think they might make great office gifts for your staff this Christmas.

 

 

 

coverThe Palm m130($179) is the next step up in line.  The significant difference between it and the m515 below is this is not as thin 0.9" vs 0.4".   The m130 is Palm OS 4.1.  It  does not have flash upgradeable ROM unlike the m515.

 

 

 

 

coverThe Palm m515 $249 formerly the color flagship of the Palm line before the introduction of the Tungsten series below.  It has 16MB of RAM and runs Palm OS 4.1.  The original m505 left many buyers disappointed with its color screen, the screens on the Visor Prism and Sony Clie were significantly better but the updated m515 improved the screen to the standard of its competitors.

 

 

 

coverThe Tungsten C which offers built in Wi-Fi (802.11b) $499 US is useful if you have an office with WiFi and will become more useful as wireless hotspots become ubiquitous as they are beginning to do so.  It is meant to directly compete with the Pocket PC line and offers 64MB and an Intel 400 MHz processor and voice memo like the Tungsten T2 as well as an inbuilt keyboard.

 

 

 

The Tungsten W has an in-built GSM/GPRS cell phone $419 US, but is first a PDA then a cell phone, as you have to use the headset to make and receive your calls and you know my opinions on that (see below).  Also it uses only Palm OS 4.1.1 and has 16MB memory.

 

 

 

 

coverThe Tungsten T2 $329 US is the upgrade of the buggy Tungsten T (discontinued-do not buy), and was the flagship for the basic graffiti handheld with 32MB and a good 144MHz processor until the recent introduction of the T3 below (October 2003).  My advice buy the T3 its awesome.

 

 

 

 

coverThe Palm i705 $179 US replaces the old VII series.  It provides wireless access to email and the web. The i705 handheld activated with Palm.Net® wireless service provides a secure Internet connection that's always on ($34.99/month unlimited service). Email continuously downloads throughout the day, and your i705 handheld alerts you when you have a new message. Choose sounds alarms or a flashing light for notification, even if the handheld is turned off.   Plus, it has all the classic functions and the expansion options of other Palm handhelds.  Its problems are it is only 8MB not 16MB and monochrome not color.   The web access is to 600 wireless-ready web sites which include CBS MarketWatch, ESPN.com, and eBAY. But you can browse almost any website you choose. However, it must remembered that this device is basically for people who live on email, mostly individuals who work for corporations, and is not really meant for MDs

The new Tungsten line by Palm offers 4 options, only 3 of which are worth considering.

 

The Palm m105 ($99) is 8MB and extremely cheap and has modifiable face plates.  Of note is that the screen is 1/2" smaller than the other Palms, it only synchronizes using serial and not USB, it uses AAA batteries, and finally it has no expansion slot.   This in my opinion is good for your kids and younger teenagers.  But for an Ophthalmologist no thank you.
 

 

 

The Palm m125 ($169) and m130($249) are the next step up in line.  These are both 8MB with the m130 being color.   The significant difference between these and the m500 series below is these are not as thin 0.9" vs 0.4" for the m500s.  They are USB unlike the m105 and offer an MMC/SD card slot.  The m125 is Palm OS 4.0 and the m130 Palm OS 4.1.  They do not have flash upgradeable ROM unlike the m500s.  Also note the m125 uses AAA batteries, while the newer m130 has a Lithium rechargable battery.

 

 

 

The Palm m500 is now $199 and is also USB and maintains the slim form factor of the Vx adding a slot for SD (Secure Digital) and Multimedia cards these are 2 industry standard add on cards, which like the Sony Memory Stick unfortunately are pretty much only useful currently for memory and software, unlike the Visor Springboard modules which have huge functionality.  It is 8MB and Palm OS 4.0 and like the m515 has upgradeable Flash ROM.

The Palm m515 $399 is the color flagship of the Palm line.  It has 16MB of RAM and runs Palm OS 4.1, but as you can see below the Sony PGC-N610 is $50 cheaper and equivalent and some say better even.  The original m505 left many buyers disappointed with its color screen, the screens on the Visor Prism and Sony Clie were significantly better but the updated m515 improved the screen to the standard of its competitors.

 

 

The Visor Neo ($149) is basically in direct competition with the Palm m125 it is also monochrome, comes with 8MB and runs on AAA batteries.  It comes in 3 colors red, blue or smoke.  The significant difference between these and the m125 is that instead of the MMC/SD dual card slot they offer the Handspring Springboard expansion slot which in my opinion is far more versatile and far better value for your money.  This great feature allows for unbelievable add-ons for example an MP3 player, a GPS system, a mobile phone -- the possibilities are endless and already exist (go to http://www.handspring.com/products/sbmodules/ online).

 

 

 

 

 

The Visor Platinum ($149) is essentially identical to the Neo just metallic instead of plastic but otherwise the same.

 

 

 

 

The Visor Pro ($199) is 16MB (8MB more than the Palm m500) and there is no monochrome equivalent in the Palm line which is 16MB.  It also runs on Lithium rechargeable batteries.  Like the Neo and Platinum it has the Springboard expansion slot.

 

 

 

 

Strangely enough the color 8MB Visor Prism last sold for $299 and originally $499 (what I paid for the two of these I had) is now not being sold by Handspring leaving a hole in their line for a color Visor, perhaps a 16MB version is in the wings?

Hanspring this year introduced the wildly popular Treo devices.  The current line up of these includes:

Treo 90 ($299) -- This competes directly against the m515 and in my opinion destroys it.  It is 16MB, Palm OS 4.1, includes dual MMC/SD slot.  In fact it is identical to the Palm 515 except for two key features it is $100 cheaper and has a small keyboard in built so you don't have to learn to use the pen for text entry! All built-in applications have been optimized for thumb keyboard navigation.  It also includes a special key lock feature to avoid you accidentally turning on the organizer when it's in your pocket, bag, or briefcase.

 

 

 

 

 

The final blow to Palm and everyone else in my opinion comes from the Treo Communicator series.  Which includes the Treo 180 ($399), 270 ($499) (my current PDA and mobile phone), and 300 ($499).  The 180 is monochrome, and the 270 and 300 are color.  Essentially they are identical to the Treo 90, except that instead of the MMC/SD slot they are a phone as well!  The 180 and 270 are dual-band GSM world phones that lets you make calls from around the globe. They have speed dial, three way calling and call history. Then include a ton of extra features, like full integration with the built-in PhoneBook, a dramatically improved battery life, a personal speakerphone and free headset for hands-free operations, a backlit keyboard for evening calling, and so much more.  To compete with the Palm i705 a new Treo Mail™ service (sold separately) seamlessly integrates your personal or corporate email account with your Treo communicator—even from behind a firewall. Read, write and send email —just like you would on your desktop PC— from virtually anywhere. And if your message is short, you can send an SMS (short messaging service) text message to other mobile phone users around the world or even to an email address.  Web access in full color is available using the inbuilt with Blazer™  wireless web browser which allows so you can surf virtually any web site, not just those sites optimized for mobile access.  In the USA, Cingular, VoiceStream and now AT&T offer GSM service, and in Canada Fido and Rogers/AT&T offer GSM service.

If you are with Sprint in the USA then buy the Treo 300 which is a CDMA 1900 PCS phone instead of a GSM 900/1900 phone as are the others.  The great thing about this is that Sprint has just finished becoming the first 3G (3rd Generation) provider, so you can have super high speed access to the web on your phone!

Deluxe Only $199 free case and shipping!_468x60

 

3.  Sony CLIÉ by Sony  

The style-meisters at Sony have put their own slick spin on the Palm OS, yielding a PDA called the CLIÉ (pronounced "clee-ay"). Like the Treos it has the added features of a Jog Dial navigator that enables one-handed maneuverability, and the addition of Sony's Memory Stick media.

When it first came out I did not give the Clie a great review, Sony moved quickly, however, and the improvements and varieties in their new models are fantastic but the prices are still more expensive than the other manufacturers of Palm OS products.  Like other Palm OS devices, the CLIÉs deliver easy, versatile management of contacts, appointments, tasks, and memos. Its USB docking cradle makes it a snap to synchronize data with the Palm Desktop PIM or Microsoft Outlook; it also recharges the CLIÉ's lithium ion battery. You can even recharge without the cradle, a definite plus for travelers.
Its Jog Dial navigator, a side-mounted wheel/button that lets you launch applications and view records using one hand, is a great idea. But in actual use, it's somewhat impractical, often requiring too much scrolling to find desired items.
Sony includes software-based apps for viewing pictures and video clips.  The one unequivocal perk is the tweaked address book, which lets you attach a thumbnail photo to any record, although add on programs will allow that with for example the Visor Prism.
The CLIÉ's Memory Stick expansion slot accommodates cards ranging from an included 8MB stick to 196MB. The Memory Stick now controls 25% world market share of add on cards. Unfortunately, you must transfer files and data stored on a Memory Stick to the CLIÉ's main 8MB of RAM to access them, thereby considerably limiting the technology's value.
The current models include:

PEG-SL10 ($150) competes against the Visor Neo and Palm m125.   It is virtually identical to the Neo in specs.  The only difference being Memory Stick vs Springboard expansion slot, go for the Neo is my advice.  Also I have heard that some 3rd party Palm OS software does not run well on this particular model.

 

 

 

 

PEG-SJ20 ($200) competes against the Visor Pro.   It is virtually identical to the Pro in specs (also 16MB) again the only difference being Memory Stick vs. Springboard expansion slot, go for the Pro is my advice again. 

 

 

 

 

PEG-SJ30 Color CLIÉ™ HandheldThe PEG-SJ30 ($300) 16 MB competes against the Palm 515 and Treo 90. It’s a better value for the money than the m515, but if you don't want to use Graffiti (some people prefer to type even if on a dimunitive keyboard than to write on a screen), then go for the Treo 90 .

 

 

 

 

PEG-T665C.  ($350) This awesome handheld is for music/MP3 fans.  It is only one of two Palm OS handheld which allows you to play MP3s and with a large Memory Stick you can have a lot of music with you always as well as your organizer.  For many teenagers this is a dream machine and having come down in price is currently affordable.

 

 

 

 

NR70 Color CLIÉ™ w/ MP3 Audio PlaybackThe NR 70 ($420) is a beautiful color model which sports a larger screen than any other Palm OS device — 320 x 480 pixels  instead of the usual 320 x 320 pixels. It also runs on Palm OS 4.1 and has a built-in MP3 player.  Finally, like the Treo 90, it has a built-in keyboard for faster data entry. The swivel LCD design allows the screen to flip and rotate (180 degrees) to allow optimum use of the keyboard.

 

 

 

 

NR70V Color CLIÉ™ w/ MP3 Audio Playback and Digital CameraThe NR70V ($520) is identical to the NR70 above with the exception of adding a built-in camera allowing you to take pictures. The swivel LCD design allows the screen to flip and rotate (180 degrees) to allow optimum use of the camera and keyboard.

       

 

 

 

NX70V Color CLIÉ™ Handheld w/ digital camera & MP3 player (silver)The NX70V ($600) is a premium dream machine topping even the NR70V above. It uses the brand new Palm OS 5.0, and a much faster 200MHz processor, it also has an improved camera which takes higher resolution pictures as well as video, it also has an inbuilt voice recorder for taking voice memos, and finally you can buy an additional wireless card to connect to your office network if you have one for $149.  Currently, the Sony Clie NX70V wins my vote for best overall Palm OS handheld for the gadget guru or the dermatologist. However, if you want a built-in phone, and I myself went this way (easier to carry one device than two), the cheaper Treo 270 or 300 is the way to go.

CURRENTLY THE NX70V WINS MY VOTE FOR BEST OVERALL PALM OS HANDHELD FOR THE GADGET GURU.  BUT IF YOU WANT A PHONE IN BUILT THEN THE TREO 270 OR 300 IS THE WAY TO GO.
 

 

The style-meisters at Sony have put their own slick spin on the Palm OS, yielding a PDA called the CLIÉ (pronounced "clee-ay"). Like the Treos it has the added features of a Jog Dial navigator that enables one-handed maneuverability, and the addition of Sony's Memory Stick media.

When it first came out I did not give the Clie a great review, Sony moved quickly, however, and the improvements and varieties in their new models are fantastic but the prices are still more expensive than the other manufacturers of Palm OS products.  Like other Palm OS devices, the CLIÉs deliver easy, versatile management of contacts, appointments, tasks, and memos. Its USB docking cradle makes it a snap to synchronize data with the Palm Desktop PIM or Microsoft Outlook; it also recharges the CLIÉ's lithium ion battery. You can even recharge without the cradle, a definite plus for travelers.
Its Jog Dial navigator, a side-mounted wheel/button that lets you launch applications and view records using one hand, is a great idea. But in actual use, it's somewhat impractical, often requiring too much scrolling to find desired items.
Sony includes software-based apps for viewing pictures and video clips.  The one unequivocal perk is the tweaked address book, which lets you attach a thumbnail photo to any record, although the Treo 600 also offers this.
The CLIÉ's Memory Stick expansion slot accommodates cards ranging from an included 8MB stick to 1GB. The Memory Stick now controls 25% world market share of add on cards. Unfortunately, you must transfer files and data stored on a Memory Stick to the CLIÉ's main RAM to access them, thereby considerably limiting the technology's value.
The current models include: 1. SJ Series; 2. TJ Series; 3. TG50; 4. NX Series; 5. NZ90; 6. UX Series.  In the interests of time and space I will review only the models that an Ophthalmologist should purchase and for a general comparison and to view the other models I would recommend checking out the Sony website.  As such the models which are worthwhile are the NX and UX series and the NZ90.

The NX73V ($600) is a premium dream machine. It uses the Palm OS 5.2.1, and a much faster 200MHz processor, it also has an improved camera which takes higher resolution pictures as well as video, it also has an inbuilt voice recorder for taking voice memos, and finally you can buy an additional wireless card to connect to your office network if you have one for $149.  

CURRENTLY THE PEG-UX50 WINS MY VOTE FOR BEST OVERALL PALM OS HANDHELD FOR THE GADGET GURU.  BUT IF YOU WANT A PHONE BUILT-IN THEN THE TREO 600 IS THE WAY TO GO.

The UX series are the first handhelds to have everything integrated on one chip which allows for the smaller lighter size of the UX series.  The UX50 has built in bluetooth and 802.11b, the screen is width rather than height wise, which I personally like.

Another cool accessory for the Clie models mentioned is the Sony Pega-VR100K which allows you to record movies, vidoes and TV onto your Sony Memory Stick Pro which you can alter watch on your Sony Clie handheld, pretty cool.


 

 

Here is a comparison chart of the new crop of Pocket Windows Handhelds

The PocketPC environment may take a little longer to learn than the Palm OS, but average Windows users should find the PocketPC surprisingly familiar. In part, the PocketPC's short learning curve owes most of its improvements and enhancements to Microsoft's previous PDA OS failure, Windows CE. Gone are Windows CE's complex interfaces, multistepped procedures to access simple tasks, short battery life, and slower-than-molasses response times. If you're interested in finding Windows CE machines, you can still find them for sale in online auctions sites such as EBay, but we don't recommend them. The new PocketPC OS is a mature yet simple and powerful operating system that bears little resemblance to Windows CE. It is now positioned to be a more competitive player in the PDA market.

PocketPCs come with the same standard address book, calendar, and to-do lists as Palms, but they also include some very powerful, albeit pocket-sized, versions of Word, Excel, Outlook, Money, and Internet Explorer. The size of the screen may not allow you to view Word documents in their entirety, or see a complete yearly budget in Excel, but with PocketPCs, you do have the option to view any of these file types. Microsoft didn't stop with these standards either; Microsoft Reader and Microsoft Media Player are designed to bring the latest technologies to PDAs.
Reader is Microsoft's attempt at building an electronic alternative to the paper novel. Rather than carrying several books with you, you download books from online bookstores and read them on your PocketPC. Later this year, Microsoft will also release a PC version of Reader that will let you read the latest eBooks on your PC as well. Palms also allow you to read specially formatted eBooks, but you can't read eBooks in the Reader format.

For audiophiles, MediaPlayer is similar to the PC application of the same name. Like with the currently popular digital audio players, you can either download music or encode music from your CD collection into a digital file format. You can then transfer those files to the PocketPC, where you can easily play them through headphones or the PocketPC's minispeaker.

While some PocketPCs can have modems and wireless connection added, none of the current machines come with this capability built in. So if you need Internet connectivity, you're going to have to pay a little more to buy an add-on modem.

 
Compare the Devices Side-by-Side

 

Model Memory Processor Display Built-in Expansion Synchronization Options Battery Life Size Weight Geographic Availability


Audiovox Maestro PDA-1032
U.S. $549*

 
ROM 32MB
RAM 32MB
206 MHz, Intel StrongARM 32-bit processor Type: Reflective TFT LCD
Number of Colors: 65,536
Resolution: 240 x 320
CF II and SD card slots
Add-on expansions: 3rd party
USB cradle, infrared, wireless phone connector cable, AC adapter, soft case, stylus (3), CD-ROM Up to 8 hours 4.92"L x 3.05"W x .69"D 6.35 oz. United States


Compaq iPAQ Pocket PC H3760/H3765
U.S. $499*

 
ROM 32MB
RAM 64MB
206 MHz, Intel StrongARM 32-bit processor Type: Reflective TFT LCD
Number of Colors: 4,096
Resolution: 240 x 320
  USB cradle, infrared, wireless phone connector cable, AC adapter, soft case, stylus (3), CD-ROM Up to 9 hours 5.1"L x 3.3"W x .62"D / 130L x 84W x 16D mm 6.3 oz. / 178 grams North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America


NEC MobilePro P300
U.S. $599*

 
32MB flash ROM
32 MB DRAM, 32 MB SD Card included
206 MHz, Intel® StrongARM 32-bit processor Type: Reflective 3.8" QVGA TFT LCD
Number of Colors: 65,536
Resolution: 240 x 320
CF type II,SD,USB (Host, Slave(function)) USB cradle, infrared Up to 10 hours (estimated) 4.72"L x 3.07"W x 0.73"D / 126L x 78W x 18.5D mm 190 gram/6.7 oz US, Europe, Japan


Compaq iPAQ Pocket PC H3870/H3835
U.S. $599*

 
ROM 32MB
RAM 64MB
206 MHz, Intel StrongARM 32-bit processor Type: Reflective TFT LCD
Number of Colors: 65,536
Resolution: 240 x 320
SD card slot for memory expansion USB cradle, infrared, wireless phone connector cable, AC adapter, soft case, stylus (3), CD-ROM Up to 12 hours 5.3"L x 3.3"W x .62"D/135L x 84W x 16D mm 6.7 oz./190 grams North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America


Toshiba e570
U.S. $569*

 
ROM 32MB
RAM 64MB
206 MHz, Intel StrongARM 32-bit processor Type: A-Si reflective TFT LCD.
Number of Colors: 65,536.
Resolution: 240 x 320
CF Type II and SD USB cradle, infrared Up to 8 hours 4.9"L x 3.0"W x 0.7"D / 125L x 77.5W x 17.5D mm 6.3 oz. / 180 grams United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France


Casio E-200
U.S. $599*

 
ROM 32MB
RAM 64MB
206 MHz, Intel StrongARM processor Type: Reflective TFT LCD.
Number of Colors: 65,536.
Resolution: 240 x 320
CF Type II /SD/infrared/USB/ serial port USB host available in Cradle, PC Card Sled, and Adapter (Cradle ships with unit, PC Card Sled and Adapter are optional). Infrared. Up to 10 hours 5.1"L x 3.2"W x 0.69"D / 130L x 82W x 17.5D mm 190 gram / 6.7 oz Worldwide


HP Jornada 560 Series
U.S. $499

 
ROM 32MB
RAM 32/64MB
206 MHz, Intel StrongARM 32-bit processor Type: Reflective TFT LCD.
Number of Colors: 65,536.
Resolution: 240 x 320
CF Type 1 extended USB cradle, infrared Up to 14 hours 5.20"L x 3.01"W x 0.68"D 6.1 oz. / 173 grams Worldwide


Toshiba e310
U.S.$399 / 499 EUROS

 
ROM 32MB
RAM 32MB
206 MHz Type: A-Si reflective TFT LCD.
Number of Colors: 65,536.
Resolution: 240 x 320
Built-in Expansions: 1 Secure Digital Slot Included in Box: USB cradle, infrared
Available Separately: Serial and USB cable, serial cradle,
Hours: Up to 8 hours 4.9"L x 3.1"W x 0.4"D 4.9 oz. United States, United Kingdom


Audiovox Thera
U.S.$729.99

 
ROM 32MB
RAM 64MB
206 MHz, Intel StrongARM processor Type: Reflective TFT LCD.
Number of Colors: 65,000.
Resolution: 240 x 320
SD card slot (SD card or SDIO card)Infrared Port (max 115.2kbps) USB cradle, infrared Standby Time - Up to 8 hours
Usage Time - Up to 90 minutes (Digital)
3.05"L x 5.02"W x 0.77"D 7.00 oz. United States


Toshiba e740
U.S.$599

 
ROM 32MB
RAM 64MB
400 MHz, Intel XScale Type: A-Si reflective TFT LCD.
Number of Colors: 65,000.
Resolution: 240 x 320
CF Type II and SD USB cradle, infrared Varies depending on applications, power management settings and features utilized 4.9"L x 3.1"W x 0.6"D / 125L x 78.7W x 15.2D mm 6.1 oz. / 173 grams United States


Compaq H3970
U.S.$599

 
ROM 48MB
RAM 64MB
400 MHz, Intel XScale Type: Transflective display.
Number of Colors: 65,536.
Resolution: 240 x 320
SD card slot for memory expansion USB cradle, infrared Up to 9 hours 5.3"L x 3.3"W x .63"D / 135L x 84W x 16D mm 6.3 oz / 190 grams North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America


Mexmal Alaska Cove
U.S.$399

 
ROM 32MB
RAM 32MB
206 MHz, Intel StrongARM 32-bit processor Type: LCD TFT Display
Number of Colors: 65,000
Resolution: 240 x 320
CF card slot for memory expansion USB dock Up to 10 hours 5.3" L x 2.9" W x 0.7" D / 130L x 75W x 18D mm 7.0 oz / 199 grams Mexico


T-Mobile Pocket PC Phone Edition
U.S. $549.99

 
ROM 32MB
RAM 32MB
206 MHz, Intel StrongARM 32-bit processor Type: Reflective TFT Display
Number of Colors: 4,096
Resolution: 240 x 320
SD slot for memory exapansion USB cradle, infrared up to 3.5 hrs Talk Time, 150 hrs Standby Time, up to 15 hrs PDA Constant Usage 5"H x 2.8"W x 0.7"D Less than 6.8 oz United States


Toshiba e550G
U.S. $599.99

 
ROM 32MB
RAM 64MB
400 MHz, Intel XScale Type: TFT LCD display
Number of Colors: 65,536
Resolution: 240 x 320
CF Type II and SD USB cradle, AC adapter and power cord, leather case Varies depending on applications, power management settings and features utilized 4.92"H x 3.01"W x 0.63"D / 125.0 L x 76.5 W x 16.0 D mm 6.00 oz. / 186.6 grams United States


Toshiba 2032
U.S. $799.99

 
ROM 32MB
RAM 32MB
207 MHz, Intel StrongARM Processor Type: Large, vibrant TFT display
Number of Colors: 65,536
Resolution: 240 x 320
Built-in SD expansion slot USB cradle, infrared Approximately 1.5 hours talk time or 4 days of standby time in digital 5.02"H x 3.05"W x 0.77"D / 127.5 H x 77.5 W x 19.6 D mm 7.00 oz. / 217.7 grams United States
*Prices may vary

 Toshiba e740 ($599) which is the only PDA currently to come with integrated Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11b) wireless connectivity.  It comes with the new Intel XScale 400 MHz Processor and 64MB ROM  and 64MB RAM and built-in Secure Digital™ and CompactFlash™ II expansion slots, Bluetooth™ connectivity and GPS capabilities, and an optional high capacity battery for working on multimedia applications or listening to your favorite MP3 files while on a long flight.  Also an optional expansion pack allows you to plug in a regular monitor (this truly is a small PC).  IF YOU WANT A POCKETPC DEVICE THIS IS THE ONE TO BUY, MAINLY BECAUSE IT IS $200 CHEAPER THAN THE COMPAQ BELOW AND I THINK BETTER AS WELL.

 

Compaq iPaqH3970 ($799) more expensive than the Toshiba and offering no built in WiFi (although you can buy a card to fit into the fast 4 bit SD slot or to the CompactFlash type II slot) but does offer built in BlueTooth.  The screen is amazing on this device as good as that on the Sony SR70V.

 

 

To compete against the Treo 270 you can buy the T-Mobile (VoiceStream) Pocket Phone PC edition ($599).  Note this uses a modified operating system, slightly trimmed down and designed for telephony capability.    Is it better than the Treo 270, again the Treo is Palm OS and intrinsicaly simpler as well as cheaper I would still consider it before this, however, this is a very temting device with a better screen than the Treo 270 and the same world GSM capability (dual 900/1900 band capabilty).  If it were 64MB rather than 32MB RAM I personally might consider switching over, but not this year.



There will be a group of people that these devices will cater too, but I think it is a narrow band, most people do not need all the complexity in a palm device, and those that do probably would sacrifice the size to be able to have a keyboard (HPC).  I will say this though Microsoft has come a long way with Pocket PC 2002 from Windows CE 1.0 much as they have now with their new desktop OS Windows XP -- one wishes they got it right first time, but with both new operating systems, I can say I am very impressed.

The main point to remember is there exists a utility and philosophy difference between the Palm OS and the Pocket PC.  The Pocket PC is just that, a PC, a small one I grant you, but with the new crop it could almost be a notebook PC capable of running almost all your PC programs with a tiny screen and no keyboard, the Palm OS is more like a simple organizer capable of running some nice programs and allowing you to take all your information with you, but not seriously manipulate it.   I still maintain the Pocket PC fills a big niche, but that is all it is, a niche, for people (usually business men) who need the extra capability but don't feel like carrying a laptop and for gadget-guru's who love the cutting edge technology, the rest of the world can get by quite well on the much simpler and cheaper Palm OS devices.

 

 

 HP iPAQ h4150 and h4355 handhelds which have both Bluetooth  and 802.11b, the h4350 also has a great keyboard which to me is a huge asset.

The new Dell Axim X3 line as usual of Dell is great value the best of the current line is the Axim X3i with wireless 802.11b.

Toshiba e805 ($599) is the successor to the e740 also comes with  integrated Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11b) wireless connectivity, and uniquely the capability to do voice over IP (VoIP), which means you can make cheap phone calls as long as you are near a wireless access point.  It comes with the new Intel XScale 400 MHz Processor and 32MB ROM  32MB Flash Rom for backup and a massive 128MB RAM and built-in Secure Digital™ and CompactFlash™ II expansion slots, Bluetooth™ connectivity and GPS capabilities, and an optional high capacity battery for working on multimedia applications or listening to your favorite MP3 files while on a long flight.  Also an optional expansion pack allows you to plug in a regular monitor (this truly is a small PC).  IF YOU WANT A POCKETPC DEVICE THE CHOCE IS BETWEEN THESE 3 DEVICES, FOR A IN-BUILT KEYBOARD GO FOR THE HP iPAQ H4355, FOR VALUE THE AXIM X3i, AND FOR THE BEST MINUS AN INBUILT KEYBOARD THE TOSHIBA e805.

 

The T-Mobile (VoiceStream) Pocket Phone PC edition smart phone is one of the Pocket PC smartphones available($599).  Note this uses a modified operating system, slightly trimmed down and designed for telephony capability.    Is it not as good as the Treo 600 it has the same world GSM capability (dual 900/1900 band capabilty). 


 

 

The best Pocket PC smartphone currently available is the PCS Phone Hitachi G1000 ($650) available as a CDMA phone on the Sprint network it has a built-in keyboard and good camera (640x480) and a 400Mhz Xscale processor with 32MB RAM and a built in SD/MMC slot for more memory storage.

 

 



There will be a group of people that these devices will cater too, but I think it is a narrow band, most people do not need all the complexity in a palm device, and those that do probably would sacrifice the size to be able to have a keyboard (HPC).  I will say this though Microsoft has come a long way with Pocket PC 2002 from Windows CE 1.0 much as they have now with their new desktop OS Windows XP -- one wishes they got it right first time, but with both new operating systems, I can say I am very impressed.

 

ASUS A730 - please see the thorough and excellent review here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

DELL AXIM 30 Advanced 624MhZ -- an amazing $314 - wow - review here and here.

or even better but more expensive but brand new

DELL AXIM 50V 624MhZ -- $499 (early reviews show this may have a poor batter life)

 

 

 

 

HP iPAQ 6315 Pocket PC Phone - a very thorough review may be found here.  This phone with its reasonable battery life for a Pocket PC is the first Pocket PC phone I have given serious consideration to, and I believe it will become very popular, maybe even as popular as the TREO 600.  It offers so much at a great price $499 with a service plan from T-Mobile and $599 without.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The main point to remember is there exists a utility and philosophy difference between the Palm OS and the Pocket PC.  The Pocket PC is just that, a PC, a small one I grant you, but with the new crop it could almost be a notebook PC capable of running almost all your PC programs with a tiny screen and no keyboard, the Palm OS is more like a simple organizer capable of running some nice programs and allowing you to take all your information with you, but not seriously manipulate it.   I still maintain the Pocket PC fills a big niche, but that is all it is, a niche, for people (usually business men) who need the extra capability but don't feel like carrying a laptop and for gadget-guru's who love the cutting edge technology, the rest of the world can get by quite well on the much simpler and cheaper Palm OS devices.

 

The only available flavors so far are the:

Dell Axim X51 and X51v $499

From what I have read so far on this, it is a retooling of the old X50 from Dell to accommodate Windows Mobile 5.0.  However it does not fully take advantage of the many advantages of the new OS, and I would wait to buy a newer version either from Dell or another supplier in the future - in fact possibly the Sprint PPC 6700 below...

 

 

 

 

 

HP iPAQ hx2190 - $349

The hx2190 is the low end of the hx2000 family. The hx2190 provides 64MB more memory than the hx2110 that it replaces. The specs are as follows:

bulletIntel 312 MHz PXA270 CPU
bulletWindows Mobile 5.0
bullet64MB SDRAM, 128MB ROM (80MB available)
bulletNon-volatile memory
bulletWiFi
bullet3.5" Transflective TFT QVGA display
bulletCompactFlash and Secure Digital expansion slots
bulletUSB sync cable
bulletLithium-Ion 920 mAh removable/rechargeable
bullet4.71" x 3.01" x .65"
bullet5.8 Ounces

HP iPAQ hx2490 - $449

The hx2490 is the medium level model in the hx220 family. Like the hx2190, the hx2490 offers 64MB more memory than the model it replaces. The specs are as follows:

bulletIntel 520 MHz PXA270 CPU
bulletWindows Mobile 5.0
bullet64MB SDRAM, 128MB ROM (80MB available)
bulletNon-volatile memory
bulletBluetooth v1.2
bulletWiFi
bullet3.5" Transflective TFT QVGA display
bulletCompactFlash and Secure Digital expansion slots
bulletUSB sync cradle
bulletLithium-Ion 1440 mAh removable / rechargeable
bullet4.71" x 3.01" x .65"
bullet5.8 Ounces

HP iPAQ hx2790 - $549

The hx2790 is the high end unit in the hx200 series. The total memory of the unit has not changed, though it has been re-allocated so there is more available in the non-volatile area. The specs are as follows:

bulletIntel 624 MHz PXA270 CPU
bulletWindows Mobile 5.0
bullet64MB SDRAM, 192MB ROM (144MB available)
bulletNon-volatile memory
bulletBluetooth v1.2
bulletWiFi
bullet3.5" Transflective TFT QVGA display
bulletCompactFlash and Secure Digital expansion slots
bulletUSB sync cradle
bulletLithium-Ion 1440 mAh removable / rechargeable
bullet4.71" x 3.01" x .65"
bullet5.8 Ounces

and the

Sprint PPC 6700 - currently $479.99

The most interesting feature of the PPC 6700 is the slide-out QWERTY keyboard. The keyboard slides to the side, which leaves the device feeling more balanced than a device with a keyboard that slides out the bottom. Also when you slide out the keyboard, the screen automatically displays in landscape mode. The keyboard keys are also as a result larger than those on other devices.  It may be a better buy than the TREO 700 because of the better screen, and included Wi-Fi.
Some of the nice features include:

bullet

A built-in PowerPoint viewer

bullet

Charts in Mobile Excel

bullet

Pictures with your contacts

bullet

Customized ringtones for contacts

bullet

Persistent storage (no lost data)

bullet

Bluetooth

bullet

Wi-fi

bullet

MiniSD card storage

bullet

1.3 megapixel camera

bullet

Can be used as a modem

bullet

Pocket MSN

bullet

EVDO

The camera allows you to zoom, take a picture to add to your contacts, and add a theme. It also has panorama, video, and MMS Video modes. The camcorder supports MPEG4, H.263, WMV, and ASF formats

Though you can already purchase Pocket MSN to access your Hotmail, as well as maps, weather, news, and other MSN content services on any Windows Mobile-based device, the Sprint PPC 6700 comes loaded with Pocket MSN.

This device uses mini SD storage cards. Some people prefer the SD cards, but I slip the mini SD card into an adapter and I've never had a problem. That way I can move my music library between the different devices. I change devices frequently, so being able to use the same storage card is a plus for me.

Another stellar feature—Windows Mobile 5.0 supports persistent storage. This means that your personal data and the third-party software you install are stored in non-volatile flash ROM memory. The big advantage is that you don't lose your data if your battery runs out of power.

Here are the official specs:

bullet
Operating System: Windows Mobile 5.0 for Pocket PC Phone Edition
bullet
Form Factor: Candy bar with sliding QWERTY keyboard
bullet
Dimensions: 4.25" x 2.3" x 1.0"
bullet
Weight: 6.07 ounces
bullet
Power: Intel PXA 270 416 MHz Processor
bullet
Memory: 64 MB RAM; 128 MB Flash ROM
bullet
Digital Dual-band CDMA (800/1900 MHz) and 1x-EVDO
bullet
Screen: 240x320 Pixel TFT Touch Screen supporting over 65K colors

 

B.     Mobile Phones

Did you know that
the U.S. is divided into 734 cellular markets and 493 PCS markets?
and that there are more than 300 cellular phone and PCS phone companies in the U.S.?

5.       Rex Devices by Xircom

A very sad story here Xircom got bought by Intel and they decided to discontinue the Rex line.  This was a great device and still has a cult following which has a strong online presence, if any of you bought this card the best start point is Greg Searle's site, which is a great jump point, my old discussion on the device is left below for posterity.

Credit-card-size handhelds, currently represented by Xircom Rex 5001 ($71) and the newer Rex 6000 ($155), are the smallest devices on the market today. If all you need are basic PIM functions that you can take anywhere, the Rex cards can hold thousands of appointments, tasks, and contacts in little memory. The thickness of three credit cards, the Rex models run for six months on internal batteries. To synchronize data with PCs, these devices can be inserted into a PC Card slot in your notebook or even your primary handheld.  They also come with a serial docking station for your desktop.

The Rex 5001 with its 1MB provides 6000 entries and the Rex 6000 with its 2MB 12000 entries so you can update schedules, revise contact information or add to-do list items easily with the data entry feature. It has a simple 6-button interface similar to the Palm’s 4 buttons.

It is especially great if you use a notebook, as it is essentially a Type II PC card that can interface with your notebook computer's Type II PCMCIA slot; if not its docking cradle allows it to synchronize to desktop computers through a either a USB or serial port.  The batteries also last for 6 months.

To be honest since I got one I barely carry my Visor on most occasions.  You can go jogging with this or anything you want and you will not even know you are carrying it, the case also is a great business card holder, so you will never forget your business cards either.  For data entry the 5001 is pretty useless, but if pushed you can do it if slowly, the 6000 however is reasonable with its touch screen.  A great resource web page for this device is here.   The 6000 model has a very nice touch screen with higher resolution and a Hot Key bar at the bottom for easy navigation. Data can be entered directly into the unit via a virtual pop-up keyboard which works quite well. There is also an edit function which allows you to cut, copy, paste, delete and undo text. Memory is 2 megs, you can have more than 4 folders for your Contacts, Memos can be organized by catagories, games and extra features can be downloaded and web clipping has been added. 

 5. Cybiko

This $99 device will make you wish you were a teenager.  It is a must give present if you have a teenager or younger at home, I highly recommend it.  

 

With Cybiko ALL SOFTWARE and SERVICES are FREE!  
No airtime fees for local wireless communications. No monthly service fees. No more game cartridges. That's right.  No more shelling out $29.99 each time you want new game. All of Cybiko's games are downloadable for free from Cybiko.com.  

Cybiko is a GAMING MACHINE!
200+ single player games and wireless multi-player games are available at Cybiko.com FREE. And every single day 1 new game is also free!

Cybiko is a PERSONAL ORGANIZER!
Time Planner, Address Book, Alarm Clock, Calendar, Notebook, Journal, Photo Viewer and more.

Cybiko is EDUCATION!
Scientific Calculator, Spell Checker, Spanish-English Dictionary, Multilingual Phrasebook, and a lot of other helpful applications.

Cybiko is EVERY DAY 1 NEW GAME FREE!
YES. E v e r y s i n g l e d a y One new game : free! (Don't believe us?
Check it out on our site every day! :)

Cybiko is TOTALLY UPGRADABLE and GROWS WITH YOUR NEEDS!
Cybiko never becomes old. New upgraded operating systems come out every month and they are FREE. New applications and games come EVERY DAY. FREE. Need more memory? Need a wireless modem? Need a FM Radio and a Voice Recorder? Check out the coming add-on cartridges for your Cybiko.

Cybiko is a PC and INTERNET CONNECTIVITY SYSTEM!
Cybiko comes with Serial Port connection Cable. It allows you to connect it to your PC and through your local ISP you can send/receive emails, games, applications, update your system and pull down data from the Internet.

Cybiko is an MP3 PLAYER!!!!!
UNBELIEVABLE!!!

5.       Rex Devices by Xircom

A very sad story here Xircom got bought by Intel and they decided to discontinue the Rex line.  This was a great device and still has a cult following which has a strong online presence, if any of you bought this card the best start point is Greg Searle's site, which is a great jump point.

 

 

 

6.      Win CE HPC (Hand Held PC)

 

hp jornada 700 SeriesWindows CE-based handheld PCs (HPCs) are not readily available and can basically only be found second hand presently they are not being supplied by the latest OSes and are behind the times with companies focusing clearly on the non-clamshell smartphone design.  The OS is stuck  in third and fourth generation running Handheld PC Pro and Handheld PC 2000 repectively. They are intended primarily as portable devices that serve as PC companions, supplementing a primary desktop or notebook.  Currenlt unless your work specifically requires something like this I would not recommend any of the selling models now, but would suggest rather that you get a portable keyboard and your choice of either POcket PC or Palm OS PDA.

HPCs come most often in a clamshell design; touch screens or touch pads; real keyboards rather than the onscreen virtual keyboards used by some other handhelds; and screen resolutions of 640x240 (half VGA), 640x480 (VGA), or 800x600 (SVGA). Most HPCs have color screens, few monochrome models still exist. All HPCs have voice recorders with an internal microphone and speaker, CompactFlash and PC Card slots to add storage, and infrared transceivers. Many come with built-in modems. Most also use rechargeable batteries, with battery life ranging from 8 to 20 hours.

Software included on HPCs comprises limited versions of word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software; personal-information-management applications to organize notes, schedules, tasks, and contacts; communication utilities; and a clock and a calculator. The HPC Pro models also have limited database capabilities and better ability to communicate with e-mail servers than the earlier models. Many of these are much larger as well, serving as notebook alternatives for executives who don't need access to full-fledged productivity applications.

There are major brand-name handhelds that don't run Windows Handheld or the 3Com Palm OS these include models from Psion (particularly popular in Europe), Casio, Hewlett-Packard, and Sharp. Some of these manufacturers also make CE devices. These devices all have small but functional screens, real keyboards, and serial ports and often infrared ports for data transmission. They can all synchronize data with PCs.

 

C.    Pagers

 Blackberry Rim icon

As physician’s we are all too aware how pager’s function.  But are you aware of the new types of Smart Pagers out there.  The best of the lot are the RIM (Research in Motion) Wireless Handhelds, see reviews for the currently available  RIM 957 and RIM 950 and RIM 5810, these expensive beauties can eliminate your PDA and if you have to have a pager anyway that is the way to go (the price is about $500 and requires $39.99 monthly wireless service through Aether Systems in the USA) about the price of a PDA and pager.  

The RIM 957 Blackberry Internet Edition Wireless Handheld offers a complete wireless e-mail and personal organizer solution for the mobile professional. Compose e-mail messages using the built-in keyboard, then send and receive e-mail via the embedded wireless modem. Integrate e-mail sent from the RIM handheld device with your primary desktop e-mail account. The RIM %*!) is identical but adds GSM cell phone capability to the RIM, although not super convenient (you have to go through several screens to be able to dial and can only talk if you have the headset). The RIM 950 also comes with a full-featured organizer, allowing you to keep track of your contacts, schedule, and to-do lists. You can then synchronize this data with such desktop PIMs as Microsoft Outlook, Lotus Organizer and Notes, Symantec ACT!, and GroupWise.

About the size of a Palm device, the RIM 5810 and 957's screen has a sharp LCD screen with 15 to 19 lines of viewable text. The main menu features intuitive icons and menus that are accessed with a thumb-operated trackwheel. The device has 5 MB of flash memory (plus 512 KB SRAM) and operates on a 32-bit Intel386 processor. It runs on an internal lithium-ion battery that recharges through the docking cradle.

Motorola Smart Pagers now headed by the Motorola Timeport P930 a fold-up two-way pager. The P930 is available with service from Skytel, but another version, the Motorola Timeport P935 supposedly will soon be available from a variety of two-way paging and messaging service providers. At first glance the P930, like the PageWriter 2000 and 2000X models it replaces, may seem too big and clunky. But an included holster lets you wear the unit on your belt so you can conveniently flip the 1.5- by 2.3-inch (HW) screen down to read messages. The display can accommodate nine 28-character lines of text and has a reasonably useful if not overly intuitive interface.  Skytel uses ReFLEX two-way paging technology, which has noticeable latency when you're using one of the Internet query services; but for messaging, the delay is less noticeable. The number and variety of third-party applications for this platform are encouraging, but don't forget the latency factor when selecting extra software. As long as you don't mind waiting 30 to 45 seconds for the average response, you should find this device acceptable. Network coverage is good in most metropolitan U.S. areas, although in-building reception can be spotty.

This dynamic device is smart enough to let you send and receive pages, e-mails, and faxes. In addition, you can synchronize important data with your PIM on your PC, your PDA or cell phone using TrueSync software and either iRDA or included cable as well as send "text-to-voice" messages and browse the web. 

It supports Microsoft Outlook®, ACT!®, Microsoft Schedule+®, Lotus Organizer®, SideKick®, Lotus Notes®, Yahoo!® Calendar, Yahoo!® Address Book and General Magic's Portico Virtual Assistant®.

 Motorola T900 icon

A slimmed down cheaper version is available for your kids called the Motorola Talkabout T900, in a variety of colors this will I believe become a popular item in high schools across the USA.

AlsoPalm is inching closer to releasing its long-promised, next-generation integrated wireless PDA, the Palm i705. An image of the device appears to show four buttons that link to the Address Book, Date Book, MyPalm portal, and MultiMail Deluxe e-mail program, as well an e-mail indicator light. The release date, pricing for both the unit and the wireless service, and basic specifications are still unknown. Stay tuned for more details.

 

 

D   Communication and Email Services

 

We all know how important it is for us to be reachable (especially when traveling or working) and most of us carry a pager, a cell phone, and have an answering service as well, not to mention several phone and fax numbers.  Would it not be great if things could be simpler.  Well believe it or not that is not so easy to achieve, entropy after all is at work.  The best advice I can give is try to minimize your personal communication to your cell phone and only give that to people who absolutely need to know it.  Use call forwarding a lot, either to your message service on your cell phone or other lines to your cell phone.    Some services which are available try and be an all in one communication center for your e-mail, phone calls etc.  Many of these services have gone bankrupt with the Dot.com crash and others now charge.  Some examples of these Unified Messageing Services include: My TalkOrchestrate, Planetary Motion CoolMail, and many others listed here.  For opinions on free email services only, such as Hotmail, and Mail.com look here.  For instant messaging services and chat services go with the one most of your friends are on (likely MSN Messenger, Yahoo, ICQ, or AOL) but if they are on several services think about downloading Trillian which allows you to use all of them simultaneoulsy!

 

E.    Desktop Computers

1.      PC compatible

 

Here the story is simple.  It would be impossible to have not seen the great drop in PC prices over the last few years and the incredible leaps in performance.  Here the choice of computers is one of personal taste and usually leads to immense confusion from overchoice.  I have had friends who have for several years not purchased a computer because they simply could not make up their mind, which to buy.  For me personally though the choice is always simple, buy the top of the line Dell Computer.  

My reasoning is simple: their service consistently wins every industry review hands down, their performance is usually the best in their class, they only use the top equipment, they have the best value in reality when you factor in quality and service of any brand, and finally if you buy the top of the line it will have a lifetime of minimum three years without any type of upgrade.  If you buy anything less than top of the line (i.e. latest, fastest processor, fully loaded system), then its lifetime can be even reduced sometimes to less than a year if you are buying a really outdated system.

             Then again I use my computer heavily and for massive graphics applications and other high RAM, fast processor tasks.  Maybe you will be only using your computer for word processing and then well my advice is to get the best value package system that is currently being offered by Dell, you will be sure you have the best.

There is one caveat to this, you may want to get a Sony Vaio Desktop system for uniformity if you have or are also going to get a Vaio notebook.  The reason for this has to do with the Sony Vaio i-Link/1394/Firewire port.  The Vaio line can all be linked through this connection allowing high speed synchronization and transfer of files.

The is offers something extraordinary a Gigapocket personal television recorder that lets you watch TV on your PC and record your favorite show on the hard drive! You can also import your home movies and then, with the DVD-RW drive, you can transfer the video to a DVD. Think of the possibilities. You could watch a DVD of your own on a Notebook computer on the go, Or you could pop the DVD into your DVD player and watch it on your TV*. Or send the DVD to your friends and family. And, are you ready for this? The Giga Pocket™ Personal Video Recorder can record up to 100 hours of programs (long play mode or MPEG1) and this top of the line P4 1.7 Ghz computer is only $2800 with everything.  CURRENTLY THIS WOULD BE MY NUMBER ONE COMPUTER PICK FOR HOME.

 

2.      Mac based

 

Right now nothing on the market even comes close to the new G4s they are simply outstanding -- capable of going at 5 gigaflops/second they are "supercomputers on a chip" .  However, even with the comeback of the Mac, unless you have been a longtime user then stick to the PC.  Even though without a doubt Macs are far superior, simpler and less prone to crashes, they have nowhere near the customer base.  As a result, you may have compatibility problems, there are not as many 3rd party applications available, and it is unlikely you will have a nearby expert neighbor to question should something go wrong.  Then again very few things ever go wrong with a Mac.

 

If you are a very heavy duty graphics designer or digital photographer then that is one possible exception, although basically PCs are pretty close to being sufficient for all but the most advanced users.

 

F.     Notebook Computers

For those of you who want to splurge and have a super notebook computer that hardly anybody else in the country has the one and only site I can recommend is www.dynamism.com which imports and translates the latest Japan-only notebooks for sale in the USA.

1.      PC compatible

 

The same argument applies here, although Dell is not the best in this area.  You will not go wrong with a Dell or a Micron, but my personal favorite in this field is the Sony Vaio.

The FX all in one series now only available as the FXA63 with AMD 1600+ Ghz chip, 256MB RAM, 14.1" XGA screen, 20GB Drive, combination CDRW/DVD drive with Windows XP  at $1400 is very decently priced for what you get.  If you are not buying a desktop and want one and only one computer and don't mind extra weight when traveling then get this.

 

 

 

The GR series has been replaced by the old XG series with the GRX 500 and 600 series P4 1.6 to 1.8 GHZ, 256 MB RAM, 16.0" XGA, 40 GB drive, CDRW /DVD drives and Win XP the 600 series comes withy a DVD-RW drive in-built also costs from $1270 to $2800 depending on specs.  The two amazing things here are the huge screen size 16" is massive as big as a 19" desktop monitor and with resolutions of 1600x1200 (my father to top me bought one of these they are amazing things).  Also on the new 600 series having an built in DVRW is absolutely amazing, you can burn movies on the road and give them to your relatives if you want!.

 

 

 

 

 

The SR series with the SRX99 is super thin and light (about 1" thin, 2.98 lbs. light) coming with a P3 850 Mhz chip with 256MB at $1599 -- bear in mind the CDRW/DVD etc. are external with this as they are with the Picturebook. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The R505 Super Slim Pro is a beauty, configured at P3 1.2 GHZ, 256MB RAM is $1699 when you add the docking station with combination CDRW/DVD it is more, the docking station is not strictly necessary however, with a USB and 1394/Firewire port you can get external peripherals and connections to your hearts content for cheaper.  For a male Ophthalmologist who has a desktop computer already this would be my pick for best notebook, and  if you do not own a desktop and don't mind a small screen then with the docking station it would make a great single computer for those who do not want to by a desktop.

 

 

 

Sony VAIO® VX89 Series Notebook

The new VX Series with the VX89 is a slow P3-900 MhZ at $1799 (256MB 30GB Drive external CDRW/DVD) but has the incredible beauty of having a 14.1" screen and only weighing 4.4lbs and having built-in wireless connectivity. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally the Picturebook with Cruseo 867 Mhz chip and 256 or 384 MB RAM is $2099.  What you are paying for here is simply size, but for some people that is worth the significant price tag.  This computer is in a lot of movies including Charlie's Angels and that is because it is super cool.  I bought this for a female Ophthalmologist friend of mine and the convenience of being able to put it in her purse wherever she goes is huge.  It also has an inbuilt digital camera/video internet conferencing camera which is super cool.  This is my pick for a female Ophthalmologist willing to carry around a big purse.

 

 

 

 

 

Sony VAIO PCG-Z1VAP2 Notebook PC (1.70-GHz Pentium-M (Centrino), 1 GB RAM, *0 GB Hard Drive, DVD/CD-RW Drive) $2999 US
This is currently the fastest and best 14.1" screen Centrino notebook with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi in built as well as all the other great specs and weighs only 5.24lbs.

 

 

Sony VAIO PCG-TR2AP Notebook PC (1.0-GHz Pentium-M (Centrino), 512 MB RAM, 40 GB Hard Drive, DVD/CD-RW Drive) $2300 US
This is the nicest super-light computer (3.11lb) with an in-built DVD-CDRW drive available today.

 

 

 

 

Sony VAIO PCG-GRT270G Notebook PC (2.8-GHz Pentium 4, 1 GB RAM, 80 GB Hard Drive, DVD+RW/CD-RW Drive) $2799 US

This is the ultimate desktop replacement with a 16.1" screen even has Giga Pocket® Personal Video Recorder allowing you to watch your recorded TV shows or Videos on the road...

 

 

 

 

 

2.      Mac based

 

Here the notebooks are just wonderful already and again with the advent of the G4 processor blow away most  PC systems.  The same argument as above applies especially if you are a graphics professional or digital photographer.  The only other choice for the digital photographer is the Sony Vaio above with a FireWire port.  The iBook's are fantastic value, but lack a FireWire port for the high end digital people reading, but still definitely worth considering if you want a self-contained sub-notebook with wireless networking in built!  The PowerBooks are not as great value but are unbelievable machines and are finally available with a G4 processor, for the multimedia professional other than the Sony Vaio this is the only and probably better choice.

 

III.           The Connections

A.    Modems

 

Nowadays, you should only go for a ADSL or cable modem for high-speed access.  I cannot emphasize how this will change the Internet for you enough.   It will turn it from just a basic e-mail tool, with occasional impatient browsing, to a massively powerful fast resource for anything you could ever think off, 24 hours a day, and always on.  You will be able to download 10 MB files in less than a minute!  Pages appear instantly when you press links, it really comes into its own, and it is worth every penny if it is available in your area, and for most it is.  You can get ADSL from your local phone company as it is carried over your normal copper telephone lines.  Cable modem is available from your local TV cable provider.  Most major areas and many smaller sites in the USA have or soon will have these services.

To aid you in this try and make sure your computer comes with a preinstalled 10/100 Ethernet/LAN card.   If you have a notebook get a Combo PCMCIA 10/100 Ethernet/56K Modem Card with global and cellular capability.  The best on the market right now is the Xircom RealPort Ethernet 10/100+Modem 56

A competitor to this card is the Megahertz 10/100 LAN+56K Global Modem CardBus PC Card .  It not only enables 10Mbps and 100Mbps LAN connections and 56K modem dial-ups, but also features a new XJACK Connector that automatically reconfigures itself for LAN or modem connections. It glows in different hues to alert the user to different network connections: green for 10Mbps, yellow for 100Mbps, and amber for 56K. The card comes bundled with software for making wireless (GSM) connections, and is priced at $269. 

Almost all new computers desktops and notebooks comes with preinstalled 10/100 Ethernet/LAN connector the newest with 10/100/1000 (GigaEthernet).   If you have an old notebook which does not have a Ethernet connection  get either a Combo PCMCIA 10/100 Ethernet/56K Modem Card with global and cellular capability 3Com 56K 10/100Mbps Dual Xjack Ethernet Global Modem Card
or if you have a USB connection get a USB to ethernet adapter such as Compex UE202-B 10/100Mbps USB to Ethernet Adapter or D-Link USB DSB-650TX 10/100MB Dual Speed Ethernet Adapter.

 

 

 

B.     USB Ports

 

These are  the de facto standard connection units replacing serial ports.  Make sure all your external peripherals, scanners, Zip drives, printers and so on connect by USB, it is faster and better and lets you hot connect.  Other than the links listed also see here.

C.    Fire Wire Ports

 

This is the new standard for high bandwidth multimedia devices, for example digital cameras and videos.  If possible try and get your computer with this inbuilt, but it is still not widely used.  Apples and Sony Vaios and now HP computers come with this built-in.  Otherwise you can buy cheap Firewire adapters for either your desktop or your notebooks.

 

D.    Ethernet/LAN

 

An Ethernet card is necessary if you want to have a ADSL connection, but an Ethernet or LAN card also is good if you plan to plug your notebook to your office network every day.  Wireless LAN is coming our way and has arrived for some people already, the new iBook  from Macintosh comes equipped for wireless computing using the new bluetooth standard.

E.   Bluetooth

 

"Bluetooth" is a new standard launched in May 1998 which utilises a short-range radio link to exchange information, enabling effortless wireless connectivity between mobile phones, mobile PCs, handheld computers and other peripherals. The first Bluetooth Products will be launched in 4Q2000. It aims to replace the IrDA spec of InfraRed in mobile and computing devices. 
Enabling seamless voice and data transmission via wireless, short-range radio, this new technology will allow users to connect a wide range of devices easily and quickly, without the need for cables, expanding communications capabilities for mobile computers, mobile phones and other mobile devices, both in and out of the office.
The radio will operate on the globally available 2.45 GHz ISM 'free band', allowing international travelers to use "Bluetooth"-enabled equipment worldwide.
Sony will launch the Info Stick, a device that will fit in any Memory Stick slot and transfer data via a wireless connection to another device using Bluetooth. The Info Stick is expected to hit the market in 2002.

Bluetooth in my opinion will be other than WAP the biggest single consumer hot item in the next 2 years.  To prove it here are some links on some now available products, and soon to be available products, again Europe and Asia are leading the way here:

·Ericsson R520 Bluetooth/WAP/GPRS/Triband
·Ericsson T36 Bluetooth/WAP/HSCSD/Triband
·Alcatel OneTouch 700 GPRS, WAP, Bluetooth
·TDK Bluetooth Product Range
·Bluetooth Cellphone Silencer
·Bluetooth-enabled Nokia 9110 linked to a FujiFilm digital camera
·Ericsson Bluetooth GSM Headset
·Ericsson Communicator

 

F.  IrDA

Since 1994, IrDA DATA defines a standard for an interoperable universal two way cordless infrared light transmission data port. IrDA technology is already in over 100 million electronic devices including desktop, notebook, palm PCs, printers, digital cameras, public phones/kiosks, cellular phones, pagers, PDAs, electronic books, electronic wallets, and other mobile devices.  It requires line of sight in order to be able to communicate, but is pretty high speed.  Most devices you buy these days from Palms to cell phones will come with an IrDA port.  For cell phones this is an invaluable way to quickly manage your phone book if you don't have a cable hookup or don't want to pay the price of one (expensive $100), whereas the IrDA is already there.  Use Fusion One's Phone software (see below).  IrDA is availble standard on most notebook computers, but except for HP computers it is not usually standard on desktops and you may want to add either a USB or Serial adapter.

 

G. Wireless Home and Office Connections / Wireless LAN

This is possibly the fastest changing scene in a world that is itself moving at the speed of thought.  I finally succumbed this October 2002 and installed myself a wireless home system to satisfy my visiting father, aunt and other notebook users in the house.  I did my research closely into this field and I believe it is a now mature field and that also with the advent of Windows XP it has become a simple thing to set up and configure a wireless network.

As I wrote in previous years ("My gut feeling is that Wi-Fi or 802.11B will be win out over HomeRF, so that is what I would advise you to buy.") Wi-Fi, or 802.11b has won the battle to dominate the home market as it did the business market before it, don't even think of getting a HomeRF system (which as well as being slower 1.6Mbps vs 11Mbps has lost its price advantage with the huge drop in price of WiFi systems).

Wi-Fi  can now also support speeds up to 22 mbps on newer models.  Also Wi-Fi has this one distinct advantage: People are already using the technology in the office. When they take their laptops home, they want the wireless PC card in their computers to work at home as well. Hotels and airports are also installing Wi-Fi. 

Note Bluetooth, HomeRF and Wi-Fi all share the 2.4 GHz band.  Because competing technologies share the same spectrum, Bluetooth, Home RF and 802.11b products can interfere with each other. A study by Mobilian demonstrated that throughput dropped dramatically in 802.11b stations over 10 meters from an AP when a Bluetooth piconet was present. The IEEE 802.15 Coexistence Task Group is currently working on measures to avoid this type of interference

Both Apple notebooks and now Toshiba notebooks and many other notebook brands come with optional in-built Wi-Fi solutions.  This is great if you want to walk around your house with your notebook and be connected to the net and your other computers, you can even work while in bed.

If your notebook does not come with Wi-Fi inbuilt you can buy a solution for approximately $300.  Many are available and you should do your own research (links above) into which to buy as this field is probably the fastest evolving field in the computer industry at present.  However as off October 2002 my advice is go for the D-Link Air Plus DWL 900AP+ or the D-Link AirPlus DI-614+ (pictured above) which is what I currently am using.

If your notebook does not come with Wi-Fi inbuilt you can buy a solution for approximately $300.  Many are available and you should do your own research (links above) into which to buy as this field is probably the fastest evolving field in the computer industry at present.  However as off October 2003 my advice is go for the Linksys WRT54G Wireless-G Router or the D-Link DI-624 AirPlus Xtreme G Wireless Router (pictured above) which is what I currently am using, the one I think is the best but do not have access to readily in Canada is the Buffalo AirStation 54Mbps Wireless Broadband Router ( WBR-G54 ).

 

 

C.    Web Synchronization Services/Online PIMs

More and more people are using multiple devices, but keeping them all organized can be tricky. An online personal information manager can help you collaborate with colleagues, and keep all your far-flung data in sync -- and accessible, no matter which device you're using.   

1.    Excite Planner                            (Rating: 9.0/10)

This service has been discontinued.

 Excite decided that an online contact manager would make a nice complement to its search engine and customizable home page.  Excite planner utilizes the ubiquitous TrueSync Plus -- to synchronize data with applications and handheld devices.

Excite now allows you to share calendar information making it suited to single-user environments and potentially groups. The service lacks canned information on events like sports, television shows, and movies. Reminders can be set to e-mail or page you.

The included personal notepad lets you keep notes that can be exchanged with other users on the Excite Message Board. You can set priority levels when creating to-do lists, but items can't appear on your calendar. We like that the address book displays a contact's basic information, including phone number and address, without requiring you to select the record and then switch screens.

The strongest feature in this manger putting it above the rest is its ability to search your whole database for keywords not even Outlook does that for you.

Excite Planner offers some decent features and sync capabilities. 

 

2.    Visto                                    (Rating: 8/10)

This service has been discontinued.

  myVisto.com offers a variety of handy features, including an e-mail account, 25MB of personal storage, private and group calendars, collaboration tools, and a to-do list. Unfortunately, it falls short in some areas, syncing with only a few desktop applications, and it offers no direct PDA syncing at all.

Synchronization, which is far from one of Visto's best features, feels as if it were added as an afterthought. Instant Import lets you import your calendars and address books from Microsoft Outlook and your Palm Desktop. The Visto Assistant lets you sync with ACT! and Lotus Organizer, as well as Outlook. You can't sync directly to your PDA. Furthermore, filter options are limited to e-mail filters.

All of Visto's features work from common menus. Unfortunately, selecting an item causes the entire page to reload, so expect the service to be slow over dial-up connections. Group collaboration features are where Visto really distinguishes itself from the competition. In our testing, we were able to share a group calendar, publish files that the entire group could access, and use a message board for group discussions. For convenience, Visto lets you access data with WAP devices, as well as by voice from any phone.

Contact management is particularly limited, with no search capabilities for the address book. 

4.    Fusion One and eDock                        (Rating: 9.5/10)

You can't get this directly or free anymore, however, this is my most highly recommended service.  This is the service that I personally use paying $9.95/month but it gives me peace of mind about my data.  Backed by the powerful fusionOne sync back end and repository it is an impressive online complement to almost any existing PIM solution. It offers a range of options for calendar, e-mail, contacts, tasks, notes, and files, and it syncs with a wide variety of devices.

The sync agent sets up easily, locating your system's PIM and offering to sync with it. The service, unfortunately, does not offer data filtering (say, by date or sender) or mapping to comparable fields with different names.

The extremely flexible address book lets you select a default view of up to 45 fields, from basic business information to personal home page and spouse's name. The task manager has similar customizable views, including all tasks or just active tasks and number of tasks per screen. It also has up to five fields where you can view such data as start date, date due, and percent completed. Tasks such as contacts and notes can be organized and viewed by category and also appear in a small window on your calendar page.

Surprisingly it lacks group capabilities. There is no way, for example, to share your address book or calendar.

FusionOne delivers thorough device support and some capabilities that truly impressed us. If FusionOne added organization and group capabilities, it could be an extremely powerful solution. Nonetheless, it may be right for you if your top priority is a PIM with support for a variety of devices.  Also Fusion One gives you in my opinion the best sync program available for cell phones FusionPhone and it's free!  

5.    MyPalm                                        (Rating: 7/10)

Again this service has been discontinued.  The AnyDay service was acquired by Palm, it includes an online address book, a calendar, and task lists but not the Notes/Memo field. It lets you share calendars and coordinate events. Also, MyPalm.com is capable of synchronizing with almost any device and application you own, and it should offer WAP support by the time you read this.

In a refreshing departure from most of the products here, MyPalm.com actually looks and feels like a desktop PIM, providing an easy way to choose the data you want to synchronize, set up conflict resolutions, and schedule times for automatic synchronization or data transfer. MyPalm.com's calendar, our favorite feature, lets you create both private and group calendars, publish calendars or just individual meetings to other users, and select from several formats to print your calendar. When you're creating an appointment or event, you can invite others -- choosing from a selection of invitation templates -- and request RSVPs.

MyPalm.com's to-do feature is impressive, capable of setting up reminders and placing events on the calendar. The contact database supports searches. And users can create groups and invite others to participate, using tools such as message boards to promote collaboration. MyPalm.com seems to have one of the best compromises of individual  and group features available.

Has its own sync engine.

7.    Swifttouch                                    (Rating: 7/10)

Swiftouch after being bought by Puma has been discontinued, the below is a posthumous review.
SwiftTouch (website) offers basic calendaring, contact, and to-do list functions and also the ability to synchronize data with most desktop applications as well as Palm OS devices.

In addition, the service includes SwiftCards, a neat feature unlike any we've seen in other online solutions. You can embed these virtual business cards in all of your e-mails. E-mail recipients can then click the mailto: link or URL listed on the SwiftCard to e-mail you or visit the page you've linked to. Make a change to your information and the SwiftCard is automatically updated.

We had no problems setting up the account and using the available features to synchronize and manage our data. The synchronization program does not keep you as well informed as Fusionone with how far along it is at synchronizing each individual section.  To start using SwiftTouch, we had to download two separate sync utilities (Swiftsync v2.41 and Swiftsync Palm at the time of writing) -- one for desktop applications and one for Palm devices.

The service does not yet offer group contact management, but this feature will be included in the next version, due later this year. Another drawback: The calendar and tasks features don't provide you with reminders or let you send invitations.  

WAP is already supported and you can expect to see improvements and added features, such as  and SwiftVoice, which will give you voice access to your contact database

Does not support bookmarks.  Has great resources section.  Does not support subfolders, or multiple folders.  Supports Notes.  Does not have search function.  

8. Readysyncgo!                                     (Rating: 9/10)

Again this service has been discontinued as of Sept 15, 2002. Not fully out last year this is an excellent sync program still not as good as fusionone's for syncing but better than it for sending you alerts to your cell phone or pager.  It does not sync your favorites folder, any other folders and does not do email, all of which fusion one does so... Fusion one still rules for now.

"One of the real challenges for the road warrior is keeping track and making sense of all the stuff flooding into a mobile device: enterprise data, calendar entries, airline schedules, etc. The trick is not only to pull it together into a single window, but also to keep it current and relevant to what you are doing at the time.  That is the goal of ReadySyncGo!, a Web-based personalized synchronization service from Synchrologic that targets the needs of business professionals and travelers. The service, free to individuals, keeps day-to-day information in sync between a user's handheld PDA, wireless Web phone, and PC. This includes calendar, address book, itinerary, to-do list, and other data. It's handy, but nothing that will stop traffic; many other products do this. 

Where ReadySyncGo! shines is in using personalization and agent technology to become a personal assistant. Make an entry in your calendar and the application will generate a map and driving directions based on the calendar 
entry. (Synchrologic has partnered with such content sources as MapQuest, Accuweather, and Worldspan for travel information.) Your full itinerary will also be available, complete with hotel, air, and car reservations with 
confirmation numbers. Personalized alerts, such as flight delays and meeting reminders, are also pushed to select devices. Suddenly, your Palm-based handheld or WAP phone becomes an active tool. 

Synchronization between devices is easy, and you can access the same data from a PC via a Web-based application. In its initial release, ReadySyncGo! will synchronize PIM information between Microsoft Outlook on multiple Windows-based PCs and laptops, and also with Palm OS handhelds including the Palm VII and Handspring Visor. 

A planned enterprise version of the product will tie in customer data and information with yours so you can see how changes in their schedules will affect your day-to-day travels. The service is also compatible with Synchrologic's iMobile Suite, which provides an infrastructure platform for deploying enterprise applications to mobile and wireless devices. The free service will be available in the fourth quarter; the enterprise edition by year's end. Get more information and sign up at www.readysyncgo.com."

 

VI.           The Future

The present in some respects id the future -- every day has fresh gear being brought to market.  

Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's renowned Laboratory for Computer Science, or LCS, are working to make computing and communication as vital, yet as second nature, as the air we breathe (hence the project name -- Oxygen). The project involves rethinking the connection between humans and machines so that technology adapts to society, and not the other way around.  

They are attempting to create a device that fits in the palm of your hand. Called the Handy21, as in 21st century, the prototype looks like an ordinary cell phone with an enlarged LCD screen. The Handy21 will help you navigate the new supernetwork that LCS has in mind with built-in advanced speech recognition--you'll need only your voice to make calls, send email, or host an impromptu video conference. If you need a GPS locator, a digital camera, or a TV, simply say the word and Handy21 will change its function.

As you can see from what I have written so far, wireless data is here. The market is young and poised to take off quickly. Already the lines between voice and data communication are blurring as the demand for 24-hour access to people and information increases dramatically. Wireless data, from simple data transmissions to sophisticated messaging applications, will drive the next generation of growth in wireless.  Another trend is incorporating into our clothing and fashion -- as wearable gear.

To keep current with wireless news as it blazes on follow regularly on  Refreq.com,  and Wired News.

A.    THE WIRELESS DATA MARKET

Data requires the digital network to be effective, so the market is just beginning in the U.S.  Currently, the wireless data market is comprised of mobile business professionals and workers in the field. Vertical markets across many industries -- health care, finance and field service, to name a few -- have a ready need for specialized wireless data applications. The real market potential, however, is the mass consumer.

Just as answering machines enhanced the traditional telephone as a method of communication, so too will wireless data enhance the cellular phone as a communication device. Soon it won't be enough to have a cellular phone just to make voice calls; users will want to choose amongst a variety of transmission modes. Wireless data will exist alongside voice as a standard set of communication options, each with its own distinct advantages.  Already companies like Phone.com are providing interfaces for today's cellular telephones with the internet.

B.     WIRELESS DATA APPLICATIONS

Naturally, consumers need to justify the cost of wireless data. On the desktop, the application that originally drove the PC market was the spreadsheet. So what is the wireless "killer app?" Perhaps the answer lies not so much in a single revolutionary application but rather in the natural evolution and integration of mobile technology into people's everyday lives. Wireless data is simply the next logical step to applications that already have a foothold in the consumer market. These include:

1.      Wireless Faxing

As an example of the natural integration of technology, fax machines, once perceived as a specialized form of business equipment, have become commonplace. The most popular application on the Nokia 9000 Communicator to date is the fax application due, no doubt, to the ubiquity of fax machines worldwide. The ability to send and receive faxes over a wireless network allows users to merge their technology with existing systems. Everyone may not have access to the Internet, but everyone does have access to a fax machine.

2.      Wireless Email

In recent years, email has become increasingly popular as both a business tool and personal means of communication. Corporations, students, small businesses, all use email to maintain contact, distribute information, conduct business, etc. Email is no longer restricted to a specific segment of the business or academic world. Email is everywhere and will eventually replace faxes as the easiest way to transmit documents.

3.      Wireless Internet

Like email, Internet usage has increased steadily over a short period of time. The World Wide Web has become a 24-hour marketplace that allows users to exchange and post information, purchase goods and services, sell and advertise products and businesses, and retrieve time-critical information, such as news and weather. Optimized for smaller screen devices, wireless Internet access allows users to access and retrieve information off the web and will replace the need to carry around bulky laptops and modems.

4.      SMS

Short Messaging Service brings the joys of single-packet data to the average user. Because it offers a convenient way to deliver data, SMS will become the logical option for simple, straightforward transactions such as banking and reservations. SMS will also become the digital version of paging since it provides a way to contact someone easily, quickly and unobtrusively any time of the day. No longer will users have to carry both a phone AND a pager. Some useful links to SMS services online include:

TextAmerica
Upoc
ICQ
SMS.AC

5.      Location-based Services

One of the early factors that drove the sales of cellular phones was the security it provided for travelers and commuters. With a cellular phone, a user did not have to worry about her car breaking down on the freeway or getting stuck in traffic on the way to an important meeting. The demand for this type of security has not abated; with wireless data, users have access to a broader range of location-based services, including navigation and traffic systems, roadside assistance, and interactive maps.  Witness the current development of the bluetooth protocol and compare it to irDA.

C.    CONCLUSION

Wireless operators can further differentiate their services and increase airtime revenues by expanding data-based value-added services for their subscribers. Research indicates that people need wireless data services and are willing to pay for them. The established popularity of fax, email and the Internet will continue to drive this demand, as well as the increased availability of handsets that feature integrated voice and data. Though the market is young, it's only a matter of time before wireless data becomes an integral part of people's daily lives.

RECOMMENDED PROGRAMS AND PRODUCTS

 

BEST SYSTEM UTILITIES PROGRAM

Many of you probably have Norton Utilities or Antivirus or McAfee Utilites or Antivirus preinstalled on your computer, if you do you have the option of staying with these if you are uncomfortable with getting rid of them.  A word of warning though is that usually they are licensed and at some point you will have to start paying for the antivirus updates.

The 2005 versions of Norton's Programs are actually quite good and I am currently using Norton Systemworks 2005 which includes the Antivirus and Utilities Programs among other bonuses.

A second choice and for some people a better choice (but only if you have a high speed connection) is to subscribe to McAffee's various ASP (Application Service Provider) programs such as:

  VirusScan Online
The #1 Anti-Virus Solution Online
The easiest way to protect your PC from computer viruses. VirusScan Online automatically checks for new versions and virus updates, so your protection stays up-to-date.
  Buy Now
  Personal Firewall Plus
Your Defense Against Hacker Attacks
See when someone is trying to hack your system. Then track and report hacker activity.
  Buy Now
  Privacy Service
Take Control Of Your Online Environment
Stop the exploitation of your personal information and protect your children from accessing inappropriate content on the Internet.
  Buy Now

 

BEST FIREWALL PROGRAM

Without a shadow of a doubt and with no debate this is ZoneAlarm either the basic freeware version or the Pro version.  Nothing else even comes close.  You can run with this alone, although having another firewall for added protection is never a bad idea.  For a second firewall I would use either BlackIce Defender ($39.95) or if you want to be cool and trace down the hackers geographically like in James Bond use HackTracer or Neowatch.  For reviews of firewalls go to www.firewallguide.com.

I would also have Spybot Search and Destroy installed as well as Microsoft Antispyware and WebRoot Window Washer 6.0

 

BEST INTERNET BROWSER

I currently use Mozilla Firefox and Opera both of which are free -- they are much safer to use than IE.

 

BEST CD/DVD BURNING PROGRAM

Without a doubt Nero

 

MP3 PROGRAMS

Napster was the ultimate in simplicity and scale for downloading mp3 music, dead for a long time to be reborn as a Paid Service.  However, the best current for Pay site is RealPalyer RealRaphsody followed by the famous iPod iTunes site and you now have Windows Media Player and MusicMatch Jukebox Pay sites as well as WallMart and others.

For free Mp3 downloads.  The current best is Kazaa.  Many other programs exist but most are a little more tricky to use, however, an excellent source which is kept updated for this information is here.  The best alternative engine for filesharing is Gnutella and its derivatives including  Morpheus, Bearshare and Limewire.  The program I would most recommend however is BitTorrent, I think it is incredible for downloading full albums and full DVD movies etc.

Best free software MP3 player would be Winamp

 

BEST PHOTO MANIPULATION PROGRAM

Photoshop CS 2.0

Paintshop Pro 10.0

ACDSee 8.0

 

BEST OFFICE SUITE

Microsoft Office is the standard, if you use anything else you may end up causing yourself some grief.

 

BEST VIDEO CONFERENCING PROGRAM

Yahoo and MSN Messenger do this quite well now all you have to do is invite someone on the service with you to a Voice or Video Chat.  Microsoft NetMeeting is available if you know how to use it. 

BEST INSTANT MESSAGING PROGRAMS

Trillian which combines all ICQ!, MSN Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger and AOL Instant Messenger.  I use all 3.

BEST MONEY MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS

Microsoft Money 2006

Quicken 2006

BEST PAPERLESS OFFICE PROGRAM

What I use is Paperport 10.0 it is I believe the all round best program in simplicity and everything else.