PdaNet for Windows Mobile is definitely one of the highlights of today. I remembered PdaNet from the Treo 600 and Treo 650 days, when PdaNet enabled Treo users to connect the laptop to the Internet using the Treo as a modem. As I was still struggling a bit with the fact that the Treo 700w won’t be able to connect my laptop to the Internet, and my mind searching for solutions, it occurred to me that “what if PdaNet has a solution”. What do you do in such a situation? Your “google” it.
A few minutes later, I had PdaNet for Windows Mobile running and connecting my laptop to the Internet using the Treo 700w. The connection speed was pretty good, maybe slightly slower but comparable to what you would get at a hotspot. PdaNet for Windows Mobile
Working with attachments
Working with Excel attachments was straight forward. The attachment was not downloaded to the device by default (good thing in order to preserve the precious storage space on the tiny device). So I had to scroll down to the bottom of the e-mail message, and click on the attachment to download it. Once the Excel attachment was downloaded, I could see its icon and the document name (just like an attachment in Outlook--picture on the left) and open it, edit it, and save it to the device. I also had the option of e-mailing it (by selecting the Menu first, then File, and then the Send Via E-mail item).
Once I saved the modified Excel attachment on the device, the next time I synchronized with my laptop, it was copied to the laptop and placed in a folder in the My Documents folder, together with all the other folders and files from the Treo 700w. So for instance, the pictures that I have taken using the Treo 700w, were also copied to the My Pictures subfolder in the My Documents folder on the laptop. So in other words, the files that are on the device, are mirrored on the laptop when you synchronize, which makes them easily accessible in either places.
The good news is that if you make changes to these files on the laptop, and then you synchronize, the changes are copied to the Treo 700w device. So this is a two way synchronization.
More on usability
Zooming in Excel was extremely helpful as you can imagine, and provided a zoom range from 50% to 150%. In addition, I could choose the “custom zoom” option and indicate the desired percentage (but it had to be between 50% to 200%).
When I chose the “custom zoom” option, I was prompted to enter the percentage. I started to enter a percentage, but had a typo, and then I decided to just exit that screen without saving my changes. Pressing the Ok button was the only option available to exit. But it kept prompting me to correct my typo and enter a valid percentage. So there was no way for me to exit that screen without entering a valid percentage. This is exactly what I described yesterday (Day #14) when I mentioned that it seems that there is a close or cancel button that is missing in this device. Maybe I will discover it in the next few days.
Installing PdaNet was easy and similar to installing programs on the Treo 700p. Basically once you install them on the laptop or desktop, the next time you synchronize with the Treo 700w, they are transferred over.
Another similarity with the Treo 700p and a nice usability feature is the fact that you can change the button assignment. In other words, you can change which button will invoke which application. You do so from the Start menu, by selecting Settings, and then Buttons.
I found myself using the Ok button (pressing it and holding it down for a couple of seconds) to get a list of all the open applications, and in some cases, closing some of them, or switching to the desired one. It seems to play the role of the Alt+Tab on Windows.
However, I also noticed later that in the Start menu, right below the “Start” menu item, you can see the open applications icons shown on the first row, and you can scroll through them using the arrow right and arrow left keys of the 5-way navigation button. This seems to be yet another shortcut to navigate through the open applications.
Having the File Explorer on the Treo 700w seems to be quite convenient. It makes it easier to view and manage the files stored on the device, whether they are pictures or documents or whatever else. It makes the device more tangible, and makes synchronization make more sense (because this same file structure is mirrored on your laptop or desktop as mentioned earlier).