Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs):
Software Tools for Personal and Professional Productivity
Part 2 of a 3 Part Series
by Anna C. McFadden, Ph.D.,
Professor, Educational Leadership
The first article in this series, Personal Digital Assistants
(PDAs): Always a Productivity Tool but Now an Instructional Support
Tool for Classroom Teachers, included information on the general
category called PDAs and their use as productivity tools. In addition,
information was included on how PDAs, Palms in particular, are used as
instructional support tools for classroom teachers. While the PDAs are
extremely useful straight out of the box, by adding a few inexpensive pieces
of software, they can become absolutely essential for educators. Most of
the software sites list
categories of Palm software, such as Productivity, Communications, Travel,
Utilities, and so forth. Listed below are personal and professional productivity
tools for the Palm, ranging in price from free to $59.95. These are the
ones that educators are most widely adopting to further extend the impact
of the Palm or other PDA.
View - The Datebook software that comes on the Palm only allows the
user to see a one-month view or a single day view. With WeekView,
it is possible to see one-week or two-weeks at a time. The current
day will 'flash' so the user can quickly see the day's appointments.
The software is free to try and costs $15.00 to purchase.
to Go Professional - This software package allows the user to sync
(take the file from the desktop computer or laptop to the PDA) a MicroSoft
Word file, MicroSoft Excel file, or other files to the Palm. Then,
the user can edit the document using graffiti (the symbols
used for writing on the Palm) or a portable keyboard. These files
can then be synched back to the desktop computer or laptop and printed.
This means the principal can work on documents or budgets anytime on the
Palm and sync or 'dump' them back into the desktop computer or laptop later.
Currently DataViz adds a BONUS Mail add-on so the user can view and edit
e-mail attachments on the Palm. Documents to Go Professional
sells for $39.95.
This software turns the whole Palm screen into a writing pad so that the
user can write or draw an electronic post-it note. Set the alarm function
and the note pops up as a reminder! This is a shareware
program so the program is FREE!
MultiMail Pro - This communications
software program allows the user to send and receive email with the aid
of a modem or using the wireless Palm VII. This software supports
NNTP, POP3, IMAP4, and SMTP, all different ways to access email based on
the user's email server. It also supports the following email packages:
MicroSoft Exchange, Novell GroupWise, and Lotus Domino. MultiMail
Pro sells for $39.95.
Conduit Windows or Mac Edition - This software package lets the user
synchronize email between Windows or Mac email client on the user's desktop
computer or laptop and the Palm. This program sells for $39.95, but,
if the user purchases the MultiMail PRO/Conduit Bundle, the cost is $59.95.
AvantGo - Through
the user's desktop computer or laptop, Web sites can be selected and downloaded
or updated on the Palm. The user can browse and interact with the
downloaded pages on the Palm. AvantGo will give the user news, stock
quotes, flight schedules, movie listings, restaurant reviews, maps, weather
and much more from brand-name content providers and e-businesses such as
The New York Times, TheStreet.com, TRIP.com, Hollywood.com, Restaurant
Row, MapQuest.com and The Weather Channel. Cost: Free, just
Part 3 of this series will be focused on classroom activities and examples
of the use of PDAs as instructional tools.
Quicken - This popular program works with the user's desktop computer
or laptop Quicken 99 or 2000 version. When the user is out and writes
a check or uses an ATM card, information can be entered into Pocket Quicken;
then when the user gets back home, the Palm is used to synch the information
to the user's desktop computer or laptop. This means the information is
correctly entered into the Quicken Bank Account. Cost: $39.95.
- Peanutpress has a free document viewer that lets the user read books
that are sold on their website. The user can search through text, add annotation,
and read hands-free with TelePrompter-like autoscrolling. Titles
include Robert Ludlum's latest book, the Hades Factor ($12.95) to classics
such as the Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain ($2.95).
- If the user has a compuserve email address, the user can download the
software for the Palm. Then the user can send and receive emails with a
modem or the wireless Palm V!!. CompuServe Palm Mail requires Palm
OS 3.0 or later, which ships in the Palm III, IIIe, IIIx, V. It will also
work with earlier Palm devices which have received a hardware upgrade to
Palm OS 3.0. The software download is free from Compuserve.
Internet Suite for the Palm - This software package comes with three
components: Eudora for the Palm, an email client, the EudoraWeb Browser;
and the Eudora Mail Conduit. With Eudora for the Palm, the user can send
and receive email directly from the Palm device. Eudora supports POP3 and
SMTP, or HotSync, for sending and receiving email. The user can visit any
Web site directly from the Palm device without any additional servers required.
The Eudora Mail Conduit allows the user to HotSync email between the
Palm device and Windows desktop email
clients. The Eudora Mail Conduit works with the Windows desktop version
of Eudora 4.3.2 or higher, as long as the desktop Eudora client is operating
in Paid or Sponsored mode. Cost: FREE!
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