If you have a camera, you take pictures. If you have a device that can record voice memos, you record voice memos. If you have a Treo 700p, you do both, and more. That is exactly what I found myself doing while in the gym this morning. As you can see, the pictures where not as plausible as the voice memos (high quality pictures “in motion” are hard to get with most standard digital cameras, but one always gets interesting effects).
The voice memos capability is proving to be quite useful to me. One of the concepts I cover, in the Time Management class that we offer, is having effective “front-end capture tools” to help us quickly capture the to-do items and ideas that come through our mind throughout the day. This way we can release them from our mind, minimize the interruptions caused by them, and be able to come back to them later if and when needed. Voice memos is one of the ideal “front-end capture” tools when you are “in motion” like on an Stairmaster in the gym.
Back to where I left off yesterday, today I made a call to Verizon’s technical support, to resolve the outstanding issues (Outlook synchronization not working, and inability to use the Treo 700p as a modem for my laptop). I had an excellent technical support rep who diagnosed the Outlook synchronization problem right away (let us say her name was Sherry), and helped me through the steps quickly and easily. Sherry then proceeded to solve the modem problem, and in less than 20 minutes, things suddenly looked really good for the Treo 700p in terms of being fully ready for the rest of the experiment. Here are some details in case you run into such problems.
Apparently, Wireless Sync (one of the two e-mail applications that come with the Treo 700p from Verizon, and the one I decided to use) has a setting called “Enable other sync apps” (which you access by selecting the Wireless Sync application, then Settings, and then Connections, and then the Advanced button). This setting has to be enabled in order for the Outlook Synchronization to work; as simple as that.
Then for the modem, we had to update the driver (going to the Device Manager, and then finding the Palm Modem under modems, and right mouse clicking on it and selecting Update Driver). Then we ran the VZAccess Manager application on the laptop again, and went through the installation wizard, selecting “only WWAN devices” instead of “WIFI and WWAN”. Within minutes, my laptop was connected to the internet via the Treo 700p.
Connecting to the Internet using the Treo 700p is a significant accomplishment for someone who is on the go quite often. This means being connected from almost anywhere at high speed and cost effectively (reasonable high speed, 300K to 700K and could be more--felt as fast as the typical hotspot, and for a $15/month--from Verizon). This means being connected while waiting in a lobby, or in between meetings at clients sites, or in presentation rooms and training rooms that don’t have easy Internet access for guests (it happens more often than what you think), and not to mention, eliminating the need to find the closest Starbucks or Kinko’s, even though that is easy to do in most places.
Now with the essentials being taken care of, I can look into some of the “nice-to-have” tools that will make the next few days with the Treo 700p more efficient. So I downloaded KeyCaps650--which seem to work well on the Treo 700p. This is an add-on application that provides some nifty keyboard shortcuts such as allowing you to press a letter on the keyboard, and hold it down for an extra second or two, to capitalize it. It also allows you to “double-tap” a letter on the keyboard in order to type the symbol instead of the letter. So if you double-tap on the letter “A”, this will cause the “&” symbol to be typed instead of the letter “A”. While these seem to be minor improvements, when you are typing on a keyboard that is less than 2”x 3” or so, every little help is appreciated. By the way, these shortcuts are standard on the BlackBerry devices, so you can see how with these add-on’s the Treo 700p is again narrowing the gap. More about that later in the experiment.
Then I installed another add-on application for the Treo 700p and that is “Textras”. Yes, this is not a typo, it is called “Textras”. And Textras works like the AutoText in the BlackBerry and like AutoCorrect in Microsoft Word and other Microsoft Office applications. Basically, it allows you to create your own abbreviations, and then use them when you are composing e-mail, entering contacts and appointments, or editing documents. For instance, I could set TIA to be replaced by ”Thanks in advance”, and RP to be replaced by “Regards, Pierre
So what is coming up tomorrow and in the next few days?
In addition to continuing to use the Treo 700p as my only device, I will also be setting up some sample data (some additional sample contacts, calendar appointments, and so on) which I will use in the next few days to run through some more in-depth scenarios. This will allow me to experiment with more advanced features such as handling e-mail attachments, editing documents, setting up security, and using more of the multi-media capabilities among others.
Tomorrow may include some car travel outside the city, which might be a good time to use the car charger, maybe get some music going on the Treo 700p, and who knows, even take some videos.