Travels with a Treo 650
Have smartphone, will travel....
Feature by Mike Slocombe for Digital-Lifestyles, 14th June 2007
With the unexpected offer of a weekend away at the coast suddenly popping up, I quickly packed my bag with my gadget essentials - Palm Treo 650, GPS unit, Ricoh GX100, Nikon D80 and various chargers - and headed to the station.
On the train to the seaside, I started reading websites automatically downloaded to my Treo 650 via the superb Sunrise desktop converter and Plucker Palm offline Web and e-book viewer.
Together, these freeware apps let me download RSS feeds off websites to my desktop at specified times (or manually, if I want) and then hotsync them over to my handheld. Plucker comes with Unix, Linux Windows and Mac OSX tools, scripts, and conduits and is also an excellent e-book reader (I'm currently enjoying the superb 'Diary of a Nobody' by Grossmith, downloaded for free from Project Gutenberg ).
To drown out the howling of someone's obstreperous offspring on the train, I fired up the powerful Pocket Tunes audio player to play some songs and listen to a few podcasts on my headphones.
Being something of an email addict, I was regularly checking my inboxes with the fully featured ChatterEmail application (recently bought up by Palm).
With full card support (message and attachments), multiple accounts and a handy 'summary' view of all mail activity, it's the best Palm email app I've used to date, but I hope to be testing SnapperMail, another acclaimed mail program, in the near future.
I checked a few websites on the go using the built-in Blazer browser, which does the job but could certainly be improved upon (the new, still-in-beta Universe 3 open source browser with tab support looks to be a huge improvement).
To keep me topped up with the latest news, I also fired up QuickNews to speedily download some RSS feeds as our train hurtled through the East Sussex countryside.
Miraculously, apart from a few phone calls and texts, I managed to leave my phone well alone for most of the evening, but after my girlfriend had retired to bed, weary of my Adnams Ale-fuelled waffling, the Treo was on hand to provide some entertainment.
I fired up the basic upIRC app so I could carry on talking drunken rubbish on my fave chat rooms until I finally hit the sack.
Hard core Instant Messaging fans should take a look at fully featured Palm chat apps like Chatopus and Mundu which cover AIM, Yahoo, MSN, Google Talk, ICQ and Jabber between them and allow background operation, audible, vibration and visual alerts and all manner of customisation options.
The next day we went out walking, and Google Maps for the Treo and Tom Tom 6 both came in handy in our quest for the nearest pub.
It may have been the weekend, but I was still getting pestered by clients and found myself having to rummage through my work notes in the truly excellent Note Studio wiki application. If you've never used this program, it really is worth a look.
It turned out that it was a good job that I'd starting trialling the DragonEdit HTML/CSS editor, as a client had screwed up a page on their site and was desperate for a fix.
Instead of wasting valuable drinking time trying to talk them through web coding, I was able to download the dodgy page, fix the code and FTP the edited page back to their server. Sweet.
Of course, it's not all work and no play on the phone, and I managed to kill a few hours on the journey home playing Scrabble, Wordpop and my current favourite, the free daily Guardian Crossword.
Oh, and naturally I wrote this article on the phone too, using the Word-compatible Documents To Go suite.
Also: Glastonbury gadgets - surviving a week in the mud with a Palm Treo 650, Nikon D80 and Ricoh GX100
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