Training For The Palm OS
Posted March 2004 by By Tanker Bob
Find that new Palm OS device a bit daunting?
New operating systems make your palms sweat (pun intended)?
Use your manuals to adjust your sitting height? Well, Power
By Hand rides to the rescue. They have captured key
parts of the handheld manual content, spiced it with a lively
and interesting presentation, and made it a piece of cake
Simply insert the CD into your PC and follow
the prompts. If the current version of QuickTime isn't installed,
Power Training asks to install it. That would be a wise thing
to do. After that, the screen resolution changes to 800x600
if not currently set at that value and Power Training starts.
Power by Hand owns PalmGear and PalmDigitalMedia,
and also has a strategic partnership with PalmSource.
This apparently results in numerous sales pitches for PalmGear
rolled into the presentations. On the other hand, by the
time you hear the end of your training, you'll feel great
about your Palm device purchase. The instructor refers to
the Palm device as a "powerful mobile computer" and
then shows the user the truth of that assertion.
The CD sports good video quality and an
excellent presenter - Danny Chambers. As a long-time power
user, I thought that I'd be bored going through the basic
presentations. Danny's style proved engaging and held my
interest throughout. Tanker Bob even learned something new!
The lessons use the PalmTungsten|T3 almost
exclusively throughout for examples. There are cameo appearances
by a Treo and a Zire 71 when discussing smart phones and
photos respectively. All OS discussions cover OS 5, though
are generally applicable to earlier OS versions. The presenter
does provide translations between the renamed Personal Information
Manager applications on the T3 and TE and the older versions.
Topics in this basic session include: Your
Handheld, Alerts & Sounds, Using the Launcher, Learning
Graffiti, Menus, Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, Memos, Notepad,
HotSync, Resetting Your Handheld, The Desktop, Installing
3rd Party Applications, Document Management, Reading eBooks,
Expansion Cards, Photos, MP3 & Music Players, and Video.
These lessons provide excellent coverage
of the basic Palm operation. The training takes the new user
through the device features that are most likely to be used
early in ownership. The step-by-step setup instructions would
walk even the most novice user through the process with confidence.
Again, although geared to Palm OS 5, the lessons are generally
applicable to OS version 4.x. The Graffiti instruction covers
Graffiti 2, the new version recently introduced. Everything
was demonstrated on-screen. Lessons include well-timed pauses
to practice—very important for new users.
Coverage of the PIM applications provides
a thorough overview interspersed with handy tips. What could
be dry lessons carry some spice with the inclusion of tasteful
humor. However, it also included some over-dramatization.
For example, I seriously doubt that anyone but the most sensitive
soul feels “devalued” by having their birthday
forgotten. The Palm emphasis showed again in the explanation
of World Clock, whereas Sony Cliés come with World
Alarm Clock, an entirely different application. Desktop discussions
included Mac considerations and examples, something you don't
The reset discussion included an explanation
of all three primary resets: soft, warm, and hard. One rarely
sees warm resets discussed in basic courses, but it provides
a critical recovery tool from software conflicts. The warnings
accompanying the discussion of hard resets amply prepare
even the most naïve user for the consequences. Advice
on the appropriate use of all three resets proved very sound
and should be well-heeded by all.
The material thinned considerably when
covering third-party applications and on to the end of Level
1. The video pushed selected software without mentioning
quality alternatives. At this point, it seemed that the user
had paid for advertisements in addition to lessons. For example,
document management briefly covered QuickOffice and the music
section covered only Pocket Tunes. This seemed odd since
many new Palms, including the T3 they used for the demos,
come with Documents to Go and Real Player, neither of which
apparently warranted mention. PalmDigitalMedia came across
as the vendor's preferred source of eBooks—big surprise,
eh? The video discussion of Kinoma Player was particularly
Topics in this more advanced session include:
Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, Memos, Notepad, Smartphones, Multimedia,
Voice Recorder, Bluetooth, Internet & Web Browser, eMail,
HotSync Manager, Changing Icons, StreamLync, and FAQs.
This section mainly covered the Palm Desktop
for PC and Mac for the Palm PIM apps. The discussion seemed
somewhat basic relative to the PIMs on the desktop and could
have been covered in Level 1. The Calendar section mentioned
DualDate, the excellent and free add-on from PalmSource that
allows users to keep two independent calendars on their device.
While one calendar is read-only, this utility can be quite
handy for busy families to stay synchronized. Again some
feel-good philosophy crept in here in the Contacts lesson,
with "life consists of relationships" seeping out.
The Notepad discussion taught me that the new version on
my T3 has an alarm feature! Don't laugh—the two Sony's
I had prior to my T3 didn't have any Notepad-like capability.
The Smartphone discussion proved brief
and consisted of a Treo sales pitch, but did cover the strengths
of a combination device. The excellent connectivity portion
showed step-by-step how to connect to a cell phone using
Bluetooth—very nicely done. However, in their networking
example, they talked about a BT connection but showed a connection
to an IR phone in the demonstration. Still, the procedure
got the process across. Connectivity covered VersaMail, but
didn't discuss or demonstrate attachments.
The lessons on conduits and Hotsync manager
were outstanding. Conduits furnish much of the extensible
third-party power for Palm handhelds, yet often receive short-shrift
in training and manuals. Not so here. Not only were conduits
explained, but they treated the user to a tour of a typical
conduit's settings. The lesson included pauses to encourage
the user to explore their conduits—nicely done.
The CD closed with an explanation of PalmGear's
StreamLync download system. The FAQs section merely consisted
of a mention of PalmGear's knowledge page.
The applications section amounted to a
discount offer on a bundle of selected software: DataShield,
HandyShopper, Jibe, Jumble, NoviiRemote trial, NoviiAnimator
trial, Palmreader, PDA Defense Standard, 2 ebooks, and StreamLync.
For $29.95, the user gained access to these applications
on the CD. Note that two are just demos and that HandyShopper,
Palmreader, and StreamLync are freeware. The value of the
rest exceeds $80, assuming that they are full versions.
Training For The Palm OS sells for $19.99 at PalmGear,
with Level II accessible for an additional $9.99. Danny
Chambers made the training flow easily with clear explanations,
copious on-screen demonstrations, and appropriate humor.
If your shelves hold an impressive collection of shrink-wrapped
manuals, this CD could be your ticket to getting more effective
use out of your Palm investment.