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Contents Volume 4 • Issue 3 • March 2006

COVER STORY
Troubleshoot Buzz
Your PDA Mobile & Web News.............................8
Portable Gear..............................10
As manufacturers pack more and more features into PDAs and smart- Accessories That Go Anywhere
phones, opportunities for errors and crashes increase, as well. This
month’s cover story articles will help you solve some common and On The Road
not-so-common problems you might encounter Web Destinations...............................12
with Palm- and Windows Mobile-based devices. BootsnAll

OnCourse Navigator 5..........................15


Troubleshoot Your Software
36 Solve Palm OS & Windows Mobile Woes
Turn Your PDA Into A Navigation System

Room To Rummage.............................18
Troubleshoot Your Device Notebook Bags For Packrats
41 Don’t Let The Gremlins Get You Down International Traveler..........................20
Making Sense Of Your Dollars Overseas

One For The Road...............................22

Wireless Business Travel Accessories

EXPLAINED Office Space


Scot’s Take.......................................24
Windows Vista: A Better Build
All Things Wi-Fi
44 The Story Behind Wireless Technology Microsoft Office Tips & Tweaks...............28

WiMAX & Pre-WiMAX Microsoft Excel 2003...........................30


48 The Long Road To The “Next Big Thing” Get The Most Out Of Hyperlinks

Microsoft Word 2003...........................32


Cell Phone Terms Demystified
51 From Bluetooth To WAP
Find & Replace Options

Microsoft Outlook 2003........................34


Extract Items Using Filtering & Exporting

Copyright 2006 by Sandhills Publishing Company. PC Today is a registered trademark of Sandhills Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Reproduction of material appearing in PC Today is strictly prohibited without written permission. Printed in the U.S.A. GST #
123482788RT0001 (ISSN 1040-6484). PC Today USPS 022541 is published monthly for $29 per year by Sandhills Publishing Company, 131
West Grand Drive, P.O. Box 85380, Lincoln, NE 68501-5380. Subscriber Services: (800) 733-3809. Periodicals postage paid at Lincoln, NE.
POSTMASTER: Send address changes to PC Today, P.O. Box 85380, Lincoln, NE 68501-5380.
PC Today.com

24 WinXP
Save All Your Favorite Articles Life After
On PCToday.com................................54
Check Out Your Personal Library!

Undocked
Windows Mobile Tips.........................56
Palm OS Tips....................................58
BlackBerry Tips..................................60
Tablet PC Tips...................................62
Mobile Games...................................64
Fun For Road Warriors

Motorola SD4500...............................65
Merge Your Cell & Landline Phones

Roaming
Portable
15 Navigator
The Hot Spot.....................................66
Your Guide To Wi-Fi

Stay Connected..................................68
Bloglines

Hybrid Cell Phones.............................70


Telecoms Go Wireless

56 TALK
Push To Googletopia......................................72
Services For The Road

Home Base Packrat


The Well-Tuned PC.............................76
Good, Bad & Ugly Tweaks 18 BAGS
The Latest Software............................78
System Processes..............................80
What’s Going On Behind The Scenes

Go Light
The Delayed Traveler...........................92
Admit It, This Is The First Page You Turned To

Business
Travel 911
Wireless Internet Connection Problems.....84
Lost Credit Card..................................86
Rental Car Wreckage...........................88
Travel & Your Health............................90
EDITOR’S NOTE Customer Service
Toll Free: (800) 733-3809
Fax: (402) 479-2193
So you're on a business trip. You wake up, make a full, four-cup pot of coffee, www.pctoday.com
switch on the TV, and flip to CNN so you can soak up some news while you make For questions about your subscription, or
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to place a call to the real office 1,000 miles away using a pay phone and a company- Mon. - Fri.: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (CST)
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Online Customer Service & Subscription Center
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Authorization For Reprints
That's pretty much what life on the road was like for most business travelers five to REPRINT MANAGEMENT SERVICES
10 years ago. Things have obviously changed. The core essentials have changed, to Toll Free: 800-290-5460
be sure, so that now you probably enjoy access to fast, wire-free voice and email Phone: 717-399-1900 ext. 100
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corporate network, also from anywhere in the world. But more than just those core www.reprintbuyer.com
essentials have changed. There's now an entire life to be experienced online. And Editorial Staff
because professional and personal interests are both part of life on the road (as- Email: editor@pctoday.com
Fax: (402) 479-2104
suming you're lucky enough to have down-time not entirely dedicated to catching
131 W. Grand Drive
a few Zs), business travelers are far more interested in having such an online life. Lincoln, NE 68521
Subscription Renewals
Do you recall the magazine Yahoo! Internet Life, which had modest success but burst Toll Free: (800) 424-7900
along with the dot-com tech bubble? That publication would probably have been Fax: (402) 479-2193
www.pctoday.com
more successful today, now that the Internet offers vastly more information and
Advertising Staff
many more services geared to the ordinary average guy. That is, the Internet now
Toll Free: (800) 848-1478
has tons of stuff that we actually want and tons of stuff that's actually useful. (You Fax: (402) 479-2104
know as well as I do that what we want and what we can use sometimes don't 131 W. Grand Drive
overlap.) In fact, the Internet now has too much stuff. So much stuff that I'll bet there Lincoln, NE 68521
soon will be a psychiatric term for information overload. Editorial Staff: Ronald D. Kobler / Calvin Clinchard
/ Raejean Brooks / Nate Hoppe / Corey Russman /
But surely none of this is news to you. I imagine you're less interested in reading Rod Scher / Christopher Trumble / Katie Sommer /
Kimberly Fitzke / Katie Dolan / Blaine Flamig / Sally
about the state of the digital world and more interested in learning how you might
Curran / Michael Sweet / Trista Kunce / Sheila Allen
surf smoothly on its surface rather than slog knee-deep through mostly useless bits / Linné Ourada / Joy Martin / Brian Weed / Ashley
and bytes. Information about how to stay on top of the Web is one of the things Finter / Marty Sems / Chad Denton / Nathan
we’re after in PC Today. In this issue, for example, we examine Bloglines (page 68), Chandler / Kylee Dickey / Josh Gulick / Andrew
Leibman / Vince Cogley / Sam Evans / Jennifer
which includes Web logging features but is primarily a service for drawing from Johnson
the Internet the news and information you want most, and all things Google (page Web Staff: Dorene Krausnick / Laura Curry /
72). Today’s Web offers so much useless information (I love a good blog, but take Kristen Miller
blogs in general as an example here) and fee-based Customer Service: Lindsay Albers
Subscription Renewals: Connie Beatty / Matt
services that it’s easy to become lost and strapped Bolling / Patrick Kean / Charmaine Vondra / Miden
for disposable income. But stick with us and we’ll Ebert / Kathy DeCoito / Stephanie Contreras /
help you choose the handful of sites and services Nicole Buckendahl
Art & Design: Lesa Call / Ginger Falldorf / Carrie
that will keep you happy and in the know.
Benes / Aaron Weston / Fred Schneider / Sonja
Warner / Aaron D. Clark / Lori Garris / Jason Codr /
Until next month, Andria Schultz / Erin Rodriguez / Lindsay Anker
Newsstand: Garth Lienemann / Jeff Schnittker
Advertising Sales: Grant Ossenkop / Liz Kohout /
Cindy Pieper / Brooke Wolzen / Eric Cobb / Ryan
Donahue
Marketing: Mark Peery / Marcy Gunn / Kelly
Calvin Clinchard
Richardson / Travis Brock / Jen Clausen / Scot
Publication Editor Banks / Ashley Hannant / Luke Vavricek / Becky
cal-clinchard@pctoday.com Rezabek / Lana Matic / Jeff Ashelford
Buzz

Mobile News by Raejean Brooks

Mobile Entertainment
Slowly Catching On
New Phone Lets Users Connect To VoIP Network
y 2009 eMarketer predicts that U.S.
B subscriptions to TV program con-
tent on mobile phones will rise to nearly
Vonage is offering a mobile phone that lets subscribers use
its VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) network whenever you
are in a Wi-Fi network. Some analysists believe that with the
15 million. That is certainly a significant proliferation of free wireless networks in the United States, the
increase, as the usage of mobile enter- Vonage phone could prove to be a major challenge to “traditional”
tainment in the United States currently mobile phone providers. However, success of the Vonage phone may not
is very minimal; in 2005 there were ap- be immediate, as the technology has some drawbacks: Portability is limited as to the
proximately 1.2 million U.S. subscrip- area covered by the Wi-Fi network; users cannot roam freely from one area to an-
tions to TV program content on mobile other; and the phones are impractical for use in cars or trains, or moving around any
phones. A report released from large area by any means.
M:Metrics in October 2005 revealed that
less than 10% of U.S. mobile subscribers
used their phone’s browser to access
news and information or to purchase Top Mobile Phone Retailers: Wal-Mart & Radio Shack
ring tones; even fewer had purchased
wallpaper or screen savers. The chart In the last several months, more people purchased their mo-
below gives a breakdown of what people bile phone handsets at Wal-Mart and Radio Shack than any
are using their phones for. other retailer. Telephia (provider of performance measure-
ment information to the mobile industry) reports that of the
people who bought their phones in the last six months of 2005,
Mobile Content & Applications 32% made purchases at Wal-Mart. Approximately 28% bought their
Mobile Subscribers phones at Radio Shack, 12% at Best Buy, 8% at Target, and 7% at Circuit City. Telephia
In The United States Used data paints a different picture for prepaid handsets. Major retailers account for 40% of
(October 2005) prepaid handset sales, while provider retail stores and online stores account for an-
other 32%. Nonretail and nonservice provider outlets make up the remaining 28%.

Used text messaging 32%


Retrieved news &
information via browser 9.5% Experts Anticipate Increased Attacks
On Mobile Devices
Used photo messaging 8.6%
Security vendors predict a significant rise in malicious soft-
Purchased ring tones 8.7% ware and attacks on mobile phones and PDAs this year.
Used personal email 6.7% McAfee’s AVERT Antivirus lab recently announced that the rise
of threats will appear as the malware risk continues to increase.
Used mobile instant Craig Schmugar, virus research manager at AVERT, says much of this prediction by
messenger 5.7% McAfee relies on the notion that mobile threats develop in the same way as did those
Used work email 3.7% against PCs. “End users will be a contributing factor in giving malware threats
‘legs,’” says Schmugar. “Users are still unsuspecting when it comes to things like
Purchased wallpaper/ spam or threats.”
screen saver 3.5%
Downloaded mobile game 3%

8 March 2006 / www.pctoday.com


Buzz

Web News by Raejean Brooks

Web Portals:
What’s Hot & What’s Not
Email & Search Engine Use Among More Popular
n recent months Web portals have
Internet Activities
A study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project
I again become popular thanks to the
demand for online advertising, a
revealed that search engines are becoming an increasingly broadband audience hungry for multi-
important part of an average American Internet user’s day: media apps, and an increasingly confi-
On an average day, nearly 60 million people use search engines. dent population of online shoppers. A
However, using a search engine isn’t the most popular Internet ac- Nielsen//NetRatings study from
tivity. Email use remains the most popular. The study found that on any given day September 2005 found that Yahoo!
approximately 52% of U.S. Internet users send and receive email. continues to be the number one site
on the Web with approximately 101.3
million unique users, followed by
Microsoft, MSN, Google, and AOL.
Small-Business Travelers Rank Airline Web Sites Additional Nielsen//NetRatings data
The ASBTA (American Small Business Travelers Alliance) states that nearly half of all Internet
polled members and nonmembers on a number of travel- users logged on to Yahoo! in the week
related issues, including their use of airline Web sites. Results ending Sept. 4, 2005. And for that
of the survey found that Southwest Airlines and American same time period, all of the Big Four
Airlines sites received the highest ratings of Best and Very Good; portals had an active reach of more
both tied at 12% in the Best category, while Southwest received a than 30% of all Internet users.
slightly higher rating in the Very Good category. All other airlines included in the
survey received ratings of between 2% and 4% in the Best category and between 8%
and 17% in the Very Good category. “The Internet is an important new tool for the Top 5 Web Sites
airline industry,” says Chet Gray, ASBTA vice president. “While some airlines may Among U.S. Home &
have better sites than others, there’s definitely room for improvement.” Work Internet Users
(August 2005)

The Internet & Politics Unique Audience


(In Millions)
Politicians take note: A report from the USC Annenberg
School states the Internet can be used to gain political power. Yahoo! 101.3
Last year 39.8% of Internet users agreed that going online can
give people more political power. And almost 62% of all Microsoft 95.6
Internet users and nonusers surveyed said that going online is
important to political campaigns. In 2004 the study found that 41.1% MSN 92.1
of Internet users went online to learn more about the presidential campaign; 91.1%
of those online users searched for information about issues or candidates they sup- Google 80.4
ported, while 77.4% sought information on issues and candidates for which they
were undecided. AOL 75.7
SOURCE: NIELSEN//NETRATINGS, SEPTEMBER 2005

PC Today / March 2006 9


Buzz

Portable
Gear a c c e s s o r i e s t h a t g o a n y w h e r e
Compiled by Carmen Carmack

T his month’s roundup of portable accessories offers something for everyone. Notebook users can check out USB products for
security and wireless access. We also showcase some versatile accessories for cell phones, PDAs, and the iPod nano.

Kensington Personal Firewall For Notebooks


Make your Windows XP notebook more secure Marware
with the Kensington Personal Firewall for Notebooks Sportsuit
($49.99; www.kensington.com). Designed to work only Convertible For
when you plug it into a notebook computer, the USB iPod nano
device won’t interfere with corporate network secu- If you like to
rity. It does not require additional software or system take your tunes
reconfiguration, so it won’t negatively impact your in- and iPod nano
ternal corporate firewall. When you’re working out- with you when
side of your secure corporate environment, simply you work out, the
plug in the Kensington Personal Firewall for Note- Marware Sportsuit
books to activate its built-in firewall for protection. Convertible ($29.95;
The Personal Firewall for Notebooks is ideal for www.marware.com) gives you a variety of
protection when your notebook uses a public Wi-Fi ways to carry your player. The case includes
connection. The device is fully integrated with the an interchangeable clip system with a belt clip,
WinXP Security Center, and it offers one-click config- hand adapter, and armband. Designed to allow
uration and predefined security settings for access to the dock connector, the Sportsuit Con-
home, office, and remote access. You can vertible lets you sync your nano while it’s in
also customize security settings and the case.
define trusted applications and The Sportsuit Convertible is made of dura-
Web sites. In addition, the ble neoprene and comes in blue, silver, or black.
device comes with Additional features include a removable, side-
activity logging and opening lid, a clear protector for the display and
security reporting ca- click wheel, and access to the hold button and
pabilities for tracking headphone jack. Marware offers a one-year war-
unauthorized access. ranty for the case and its included accessories.

10 March 2006 / www.pctoday.com


Buzz

Think Outside Stowaway Universal


Bluetooth Keyboard
Think Outside’s Stowaway Universal
Bluetooth Keyboard ($149.99, www.thinkout
side.com) is compatible with just about any
Bluetooth-enabled device. Whether your gadget
is a smartphone, Tablet PC, or PDA, if it has
Bluetooth capabilities, you can compose emails,
update your phone book, or create documents
with this portable QWERTY keyboard.
Powered by two AAA batteries (included),
the keyboard measures 9.9 x 5.8 x 0.5 inches
(HxWxD) when open and 5.5 x 3.9 x 0.5 inches
when folded. Other features include program-
mable keys, no-slip pads on the bottom of the
keyboard, and a full-size layout resembling a
notebook computer. The keyboard comes with a
carrying case, a removable stand for a phone or
PDA, and a two-year warranty.

Parrot Easydrive
The Parrot Easydrive ($99; www Spark Technology CellStik
.parrot.biz) is a hands-free car kit for If you need an easy way to enter, back up, and transfer the phone book on your
Bluetooth-enabled cell phones. A two- cell phone, Spark Technology’s CellStik ($39.99; www.sparktech.com) can help.
part device, consisting of a speaker with For backups, the device attaches to your cell phone and downloads phone book
a tethered control pad and microphone, information at the push of a button. You can transfer the information to your PC
the Easydrive can pair with as many as and then add, delete, and edit information with the included software.
five Bluetooth-enabled phones. It also If you purchase a new cell phone, you can use the CellStik to transfer phone
comes with voice-recognition software book information from your old phone. Depending on the model, the
for automatically placing a call based on information transfers directly with the CellStik or through your PC.
the name you say. The device is currently
The speaker portion of the Easydrive available for LG and
plugs into a car lighter. The control pad, Samsung phones, with
which contains the microphone, affixes additional models forth-
to your dashboard. The device ships coming. The CellStik
with two speaker covers, fitting acces- requires a Windows
sories, and a users guide. Parrot also 98SE/Me/2000/XP system
offers a one-year warranty on the device. with a USB port.

PC Today / March 2006 11


On The Road

Web
Destinations
BootsnAll

ow many times have you said BootsnAll’s founders past and present at

H to yourself, “I feel like a yo-yo,


I’ve been here too long?”
Rock showman David Lee Roth
www.bootsnall.com/profiles.shtml.
Heidrich and Keener borrowed the
site’s name from an earlier trip to see
has long known how to convey a feel- the 1996 European Football Champi-
ing of wanderlust, from the tropical onships with a couple of friends, during
cover photography on his “Crazy From which the topic of the perfect boot (suit-
The Heat” EP to songs such as “Black able for hiking and soccer, yet not
Sand.” Throw in a little Jimmy “Coco- out of place at pubs and restaurants
nut Telegraph” Buffett, Tom “Even later in the day) became a recurring
Cowgirls Get The Blues” Robbins, and seed of discussion.
Douglas “The Hitchhiker’s Guide To BootsnAll isn’t really about foot-
The Galaxy” Adams, and you end up wear, of course, although the site’s crew
with the BootsnAll Travel Network still pays homage to good boots with
(www.bootsnall.com). varying levels of levity. If Adams’
A remarkable venture of a small circle galactic hitchhikers always know where
of friends, BootsnAll (pronounced “boots their towels are, BootsnAll’s founders
an’ all,” preferably with an Australian hope that their wandering community
accent) has grown into a respectable feels the same way about their boots
travel site. But it’s not a stodgy, travel (www.bootsnall.com/boots.shtml).
agency sort of place, nor is it the type of
site you use to book a minivan rental on Travel Info
your way to Disney World. Bootstrapping So what can you do at BootsnAll? You
BootsnAll is more for the bush- The site launched in March 1999, can plan a trip or post photos and stories
whacking crowd, the bohemian back- when the Silicon Rush was in full swing from trips you’ve already taken. You can
packers of all ages who feel the urge to and travel sites were actually starting to check out other wanderers’ accounts of
drop everything and go. It’s for individ- become useful resources. Australian their sojourns and ask their advice on
uals who wouldn’t mind giving notice Chris Heidrich and American Sean any topic. You can book a flight to Egypt
to their bosses over the phone—or Keener envisioned BootsnAll while or a hostel in Prague. You can blog.
taking early retirement—to stay a few hiking together; right down to a Code of You might even get an invitation to
more weeks in Tanzania or Thailand. If Conduct for its future members (www crash on somebody’s floor while you’re
your itinerary calls for more hostels .bootsnall.com/codeof.shtml). Others in Amsterdam or Guangzhou.
than Holiday Inns, you’ll feel right at joined in to help get BootsnAll.com A large part of the site is devoted to
home at BootsnAll. on the road. You can read profiles of links to information, ticket sales, and

12 March 2006 / www.pctoday.com


On The Road

room booking services. BootsnAll pro- you can make contact with someone who are mostly divided into region-specific
vides some services while third parties lives in an area before you travel there. categories, but there are other forums
provide others. Sponsored links are Ask about sights to see, places to stay, devoted to topics ranging from health on
labeled, although they’re generally pre- foods to try, and situations to avoid. the road (Health And Travel) to work
sented in the same font and style as Locals are especially good resources on woes (the Corporate Wasteland board).
regular material. how much things cost, although frequent The Travel Buddies forum is for
Links about travel destinations break visitors may know more about where to people looking for others to travel and
down by general region, such as the get the best currency exchange rates. split costs with. Other boards offer
islands in the Pacific (www.bootsnall Articles. Members who have been places to discuss books, movies, food,
.com/pacific-islands), and by a few spe- there and done that often have fascinating and GPS devices.
cific cities and areas such as Mt. Kili- tales to tell. You’ll find articles sprinkled Browse the Go, New, Find, Notify,
manjaro (www.mtkilimanjaro.org). and Tools menus just above the mes-
Look closely and you’ll even spy sage boards for things to do and set-
links to book reviews (www.boots tings to set. For example, click Go and
nall.com/reviews) and travel insur- My Space to access your member
ance providers (www.bootsnall.com Profile and Preferences. Click Karma
/travel-insurance). from the same menu to find out why
The Round-The-World Travel the heck newbies are called Thorn
Guide (www.bootsnall.com/rtw) is a Tree Refugees, anyway.
special section that addresses the Blogs. You can read others’ travel
entire process of an international trip, diaries, or Web logs, at blogs.boots
from the initial inspiration to the nall.com. Photos, quirky obser-
return home. Meanwhile, the World vations, and complex personali-
Adventures area (www.bootsnall ties make some of these blogs real
.com/adventures) is the meeting place Every journey starts with a single step. Let your first gems. The Top 10 Blogs list on the
for shark divers, mountain climbers, stride be to the BootsnAll Travel Network. right provides a good way to find
and other walkers on the wild side. the cream of the crop. And, should
One ingenious decision the found- you find yourself inspired, learn
ers made was to log member contribu- throughout various sections, usually cate- how to start your own at blogs.boots
tions into a database, which makes a gorized by region or city. If you’re open to nall.com/makeMyBlog.php.
traveler’s wisdom and road stories easier potluck, check out the newest arrivals at Another way to discover blogs you’ll
for others to browse. Searchable from a www.bootsnall.com/articles/recent.html. enjoy is to use the BootsnAll Tag Cloud
Google-powered field on the right side We found advice on how to travel solo (blogs.bootsnall.com/tags/, and don’t
of the BootsnAll’s home page, the data- without becoming a recluse at www leave off the forward slash at the end
base offers an easy way to find articles, .bootsnall.com/guides/05-07/beat of the URL). It offers quick links to pop-
booking services, and travel guides for ing-loneliness-on-the-road.html. There’s ular topics in blog entries. These are
cities and regions. Type the name of a city even an article on penguin encoun- mostly categorized by country, such as
or country into the field and see where ters in Antarctica (www.bootsnall.com Greece and New Zealand, but news and
the database takes you. Believe us, it’s /articles/03-07/black-tie-affair-antarc apparel are also represented. If you
easy to spend a few hours this way, so tica.html). Some stories are a little salty, want to read what the staff has to say,
wait until your boss goes off to a meeting. so be advised. check out their posts and news at
Speaking of travel articles, you can www.bootblog.org.
Nomadic Community find out how to get your
You can read almost anything on the own wanderings-cum-mus-
BootsnAll site, although if you want to ings published on the site
contribute or ask someone a question, at writers.bootsnall.com.
you’ll need to sign up for a free member- You might inspire someone
ship. See the “MembershipnAll” sidebar to make a particular jour-
in this article for details on why and how ney they’ve been putting
to enroll. There are plenty of materials off, or even help them avoid
available to nonmembers, too, including making the same mistakes
the BootsnAll newsletter (www.boot you did.
snall.com/memberfaq.shtml). Message Boards. The
After you’re a member, you can swap Travel Message Boards As you sign up for a free membership, read the notes
info and stories with others. Even better, (boards.bootsnall.com/eve) beside some of the fields.

PC Today / March 2006 13


On The Road

personalities click, you stuck in a cubicle, saving up for your


might even arrange to next adventure.
visit an Insider while you One recent addition to the site is a
are in the neighborhood. travel visa service at www.bootsnall.com
Insiders are happy to /passports-visas. Also new is a set of
help you to one degree links to so-called Park Sleep Fly hotels at
or another, but of course, www.bootsnall.com/park-sleep-fly.
you don’t want to im- These inns guarantee parking, room reser-
pose too much on their vations, and usually shuttle transporta-
good natures. Try to tion to airports and cruise ship docks, so
whittle down your list of you have less to worry about on the road.
questions with diligent With so much to discover at Boots-
The Travel Message Boards provide a great way to get acquainted
research first so you’re nAll.com, it won’t be long before you’ll be
with the rest of BootsnAll’s community.
not wasting an Insider’s itching to put its resources to good use
time asking things you with a trip of your own. And before you
Many blogs offer RSS (Really Sim- could easily find answers to elsewhere. embark, you’ll be sure that you’re as pre-
ple Syndication) feeds for XML (Exten- pared as can be—boots an’ all.
sible Markup Language) and My Yahoo! Undiscovered Country
readers. Check out the growing list Like an unfamiliar region, the more by Marty Sems
of feeds at www.bootblog.org/04-08 you delve into BootsnAll,
/bootsnall-travel-network-rss-files.html. the more you see. There’s
Insiders. These are members who an alternate overview of
will try to answer your questions about its features and links to
particular cities and countries. At www related sites at www.boots
.bootsnall.com/insiders, choose a region, nalltravelnetwork.com.
then read the profiles of individuals who There’s even a sideline
have lived or extensively traveled in music download business
those areas. selling 99-cent MP3s of
Like the fine folks on the Message songs from around the
Boards, Insiders can be phenomenally world. At www.bootsnall
helpful to you. They’re interested in the .com/music, you can feel
same regions you are and can help you like you’re rocking the A Google-powered search field lets you browse BootsnAll’s
make the most of a journey. If your Casbah even when you’re database of services, anecdotes, and posts.

MembershipnAll
ou could lurk for days your birthday (month, day, Tourist, Expat (expatriate), “Bouncers” welcoming us to
Y at BootsnAll.com, just
reading blogs and sighing
and four-digit year) and
click Continue again. On
Spiritual Seeker, or Cheapie.
We didn’t find explanations
the community.
After you are approved,
over all the places you’ve the following page, fill in the of these descriptions, but founder Sean Keener says,
never seen. Eventually, fields and pay attention to Cheapie sounded like a fit you’ll be able to create a
however, you’ll have a ques- the notes next to some of for us. Read www.bootsnall free blog, ask Insiders ques-
tion for a longtime forum these fields. For instance, .com/insiders before you tions, rate hostels, post
denizen or Insider, or maybe some of your answers will decide whether to declare travel reports, and submit
a travel saga of your own to be visible to BootsnAll yourself an Insider. articles. At this writing,
share. Before you can do so, Community members, so Click Submit when Keener says BootsnAll is also
you need to sign up for a you should take care in you’re done. BootsnAll will launching Google Maps for
free membership. what you write. email you a confirmation members to visually plot
At boards.bootsnall.com In the Type Of Member message in a day or so. Click out their travels. That beats
/groupee/login, select the field, choose the best de- the URL in the email to acti- an oft-misfolded map and a
I Am Not Registered On: scription for yourself: vate your account. We also highlighter pen any day. ❙
BootsnAll Travel Forums Backpacker, Flashpacker, received a personal email
and click Continue. Enter First Class, Small Group from one of BootsnAll’s

14 March 2006 / www.pctoday.com


On The Road

and use. Before using the Bluetooth re-


ceiver, you’ll need to charge it for a
couple of hours. In the meantime, install

OnCourse the OnCourse Navigator software on


your PC and PDA. Once you’re finished
charging, set up a Bluetooth connection

Navigator 5 between the receiver and your PDA.


Because every PDA is different, consult
your owner’s manual for more informa-
tion about enabling Bluetooth connec-
Turn Your PDA Into A Navigation System tivity and establishing a connection. In
my tests I had to manually reconnect the
receiver and my HP iPAQ rx3115 after
powering off either device because the
OnCourse Navigator 5 place without a lot of extra bulk. Easy devices don’t automatically reconnect.
Starts at $200 PocketNAV.com, the makers of the After a Bluetooth connection is set up,
Easy PocketNAV.com OnCourse Navigator, offers three GPS re- test the GPS receiver with the included
support@oncoursenavigator.com ceivers that are compatible with PDAs: a GPSinfo software installed on the PDA to
www.oncoursenavigator.com wired receiver, a CompactFlash receiver, make sure the GPS receiver is receiving a
and a Bluetooth receiver. In addition, satellite signal and sending it to the PDA.
lthough they don’t always like OnCourse Navigator offers a variety of After verifying the GPS receiver is op-

A to admit it, even the savviest


travelers will tell you they’ve
been lost at some point in their lives.
maps for North America, Mexico, Euro-
pean, and Persian Golf countries.
Pricing starts at $200 for the On-
erating correctly, click Close GPS in the
GPSinfo software to stop the GPS trans-
mission. Next, close GPSinfo and start
And while a map in hand can fail you, Course Navigator bundle with the the OnCourse Navigator program on
the real problem typically stems from your PDA. Each time you start On-
forgetting to get directions or a map in Course Navigator, you’ll need to accept
the first place. a Legal Notice before continuing to use
Because of technological advances in the program. Once you agree to use
recent years, today’s tech savvy traveler OnCourse Navigator responsibly, you’ll
doesn’t need traditional maps and hand- see the main screen for OnCourse Nav-
written directions thanks to GPS (global igator. Here, you can select which map
positioning system). to view, change program settings, use
voice commands, and find directions to
GPS Options a specific address or point of interest.
With a GPS unit, you can receive turn- The main screen also has an icon of a
by-turn driving directions in real time. If house that lets you easily get directions
you miss a turn, or take a wrong turn, to the location you’ve set as “home.”
the GPS system can find a new route that By selecting the Navigation option from
The OnCourse Navigator with Bluetooth
will get you to your destination. There the main screen, you’ll find turn-by-turn
GPS receiver is a great way to make your
are three primary types of GPS systems: voice instructions and other map options.
PDA even more useful.
in-car GPS navigation systems such as In the Navigation menu, you can choose
OnStar (with service starting at $199 per between a region or point of interest. If
year; www.onstar.com); standalone GPS Bluetooth GPS receiver. For this review I you choose a region, you’ll need to enter a
units such as the Magellan RoadMate tested the $350 Bluetooth GPS receiver specific address. For points of interest, you
300 ($523.95; www.magellangps.com); and OnCourse Navigator Seamless can choose a nearby GPS position or a
and PDA add-on GPS systems such North America (XXL) bundle. Visit the point of interest in a selected city. Regard-
as the subject of this review, OnCourse OnCourse Navigator Web site (www.on less if you choose a region or point of in-
Navigator 5. coursenavigator.com) for additional terest, OnCourse Navigator will give you
Add-on GPS systems such as the pricing information. the option to show your selected destina-
OnCourse Navigator let you use the dis- tion on a map, save it, or to start naviga-
play, audio, and processing capabilities Use OnCourse Navigator tion to that point. If you choose Start
of your PDA in combination with a GPS To get a better feel for how the On- Navigation, make sure to have your audio
receiver. In turn, you receive a GPS Course Navigator Bluetooth GPS receiver on your PDA set to an audible level, so
system that can be carried from place to works, I took a closer look at its setup you can hear the voice instructions.

PC Today / March 2006 15


On The Road

just adding instructions to get you back


on track with the old route. I also found
one instance in which OnCourse Nav-
igator didn’t know about a fairly new in-
terstate on-ramp and therefore attempted
to direct me through a much longer
route. The system recovered quickly after
it figured out I got on the interstate. As a
whole, I thought the routing was accurate
with well-chosen routes.
My favorite feature of the OnCourse
Navigator system is the house icon on
the main screen that lets you quickly find
a route home. The recent destination list
was helpful as well, as it saved time in-
putting locations that I frequently visit. I
also liked the fact that the OnCourse
Navigator system showed me where
The OnCourse Navigator windshield mount places your PDA local attractions—ATMs, schools, restau-
at a comfortable viewing angle while driving. rants, and grocery stores—were along
my route. This way, I could easily see a
restaurant that was a short distance from
Upon selecting Start Navigation, obstructing my view. Because the PDA my current location. If you’re trying to
OnCourse Navigator will calculate the mount has adjustable side brackets, it navigate through a new city, this feature
route to your selected destination. You’ll will fit almost any PDA. can help you learn new places.
see an animated map that shows the The directions OnCourse Navigator One feature the OnCourse Navigator
road you are currently on, along with provided were usually accurate. I did no- system lacks is the ability to interface with
any information, including names of tice, however, that the system frequently my PDA’s address book so that I don’t
nearby attractions, ATMs, schools, and asked me to turn around if I took an alter- have to toggle between screens to enter a
more. If you miss a voice instruction, native route. While it would always get destination address. Even so, there are
click on the Info button to hear it again. me to my destination, other GPS units many times I visit a location that doesn’t
I’ve seen have been faster to recalculate reside in my address book, so this feature
GPS Juice and find an entirely new route, instead of would only be helpful part of the time.
Because the Bluetooth connection and As a whole, I’m impressed with the
OnCourse Navigator can quickly di- OnCourse Navigator system. Instead of
minish the battery power on your PDA, adding an extra device to haul around,
it’s a good idea to plug in both the OnCourse Navigator has the right idea:
Bluetooth GPS receiver and the PDA Let me use something I already have
while using the OnCourse Navigator (PDA) with a small GPS receiver. In
system. The bundle I tested came with a doing so, they’ve made a very portable
Y-cable that helps you do this; all you’d system that doesn’t add a lot of extra
need is the proper power adapter from bulk or weight to my pockets or briefcase.
your PDA manufacturer to convert the
Y-cable to your specific PDA. Some A Map In Hand
PDAs come with this adapter. GPS units can save a lot of time and
hassle when you’re trying to find your
Get Around way to a new place. They can also provide
In using the OnCourse Navigator and helpful reassurance when you don’t know
Bluetooth GPS receiver with my HP the area around you. Although there are a
iPAQ rx3115, I was impressed by the variety of GPS products on the market,
ease-of-use and accuracy of the system. combining a GPS receiver with your PDA
The suction windshield and console is an affordable and lightweight way to
PDA mount held my PDA near the dash carry a map for your next trip.
so that I could easily see it while driving, See nearby attractions while using the
yet it was still out of the way and not OnCourse Navigator system. by Jennifer Johnson

16 March 2006 / www.pctoday.com


On The Road

Room To
Rummage
Notebook Bags For Packrats

otebooks free us. We take our The Brief’s laptop folio is removable,

N work and play wherever we go


without leaving much compu-
tational horsepower behind. A quality
with slick fabric and padded velour
within. Stretchy hook-and-loop tabs
and movable side impact protectors
notebook bag can help your laptop sur- ably kept our ThinkPad in place. Also,
vive en route. the padded strap is contoured to fit
The trick is to buy a bag with enough your shoulder, with a stretchy neoprene
room for the rest of your stuff. We tested midsection to offset the jouncing your
six roomy bags for laptops with 17-inch collarbone would normally receive with
or 15.4-inch screens, measured diago- every step.
nally. Every bag had loads of pockets for Lest you doubt you’re getting what
accessories, cell phones, water bottles, you pay for, the warranty states that if
and even bulky items such as projectors, your luggage is ever damaged (even if
portable printers, or a change of clothes. the arlines caused the damage), Briggs
& Riley Travelware will fix it, free. Talk
Briggs & Riley Travelware about a trouble-free, worry-free bag.
Expandable Overnighter
Computer Brief BB104X Duluth Trading Mobile Office
$199 • www.briggs-riley.com Backpack 37005
$59.99 • www.duluthtrading.com

It had us at “hello.” Even if we were


more inclined to take business trips than phone sheath. “Dog-door” flaps for
hit a mountain trail—heaven forfend— grabbing things off the top. On the other
we could still give off a backcountry hand, this pack isn’t waterproof (none
vibe in any setting with this beauty. we tested are), so pack a poncho.
A combination of stiff sidewalls,
moderate padding, and fleece lining LowePro Tropolis 1300
make this Duluth Trading backpack $99.99 • www.lowepro.com
trustworthy with your 15-inch-ish note-
book. Outside the laptop cradle is a Halfway between a backpack and a
roomy, segmented cargo hold. Pockets brief is the Tropolis 1300. Made for 17-
are everywhere, and the money-back inch laptops, the 1300 is nicely con-
This very nice 17-inch briefcase from guarantee seems generous. structed and appointed with leather.
Briggs & Riley Travelware is made like Of course, this notebook bag is also There’s padding where necessary, in-
soft luggage, with tough nylon over a backpack with the conveniences you’d cluding on the handle, and breathable
stout structural piping. Its quality and expect. Beefy hardware. Breathable mesh in the right spots, such as the ex-
thoughtful design earn it high marks, back padding. A nonslip shoulder har- ternal water bottle pocket.
although its $199 price puts it into the ness with chest and rib straps. A shock- Our favorite feature is that two un-
serious professional category. corded pouch for odd cargo. A cell zips make the 1300’s compartments

18 March 2006 / www.pctoday.com


On The Road

Edge is currently adding internal shock can keep your 15.4-inch laptop and pro-
absorbers to its bags to fix the strap jector safe, and look ab fab doing it with
issue, so watch for an improved version. its striped motif and complementary
burgundy lining.
Samsonite iMobile Z70 Thoughtful touches abound, such as
Notebook Case the removable notebook folio (WIB’s
$120 • us.samsonite.com Shuttle, actually), two-compartment

The iMobile Z70 isn’t as expandable


as the Briggs & Riley, although it’s much
stiffer and amply padded. One of its side
panels accordions out for documents,
but there’s a distinct aroma of industrial
fall open so you can find what you’re plastic throughout.
digging for. Buy the Tropolis 1250 if you The bag’s synthetic leather hand
have a 15.4-inch or smaller notebook, grips are flat and stiff, and they really
however, because there is no cradle get in the way when you try to put your
width adjustment. notebook into the cushy middle pocket.
There’s no width adjustment for a
Mobile Edge Ultra V-Load MEVLU1 smaller notebook, but Samsonite sells
$89.99 • www.mobileedge.com many other bags that may fit.

Fashioned of tough DuPont Cordura,


the 15.4-inch Ultra V-Load falls midway
between the Briggs & Riley and Sam-
sonite bags we reviewed in quality, even
though it costs much less than either. document file, and accessory/toiletry
Everything about this bag is rugged, bags. A hidden ticket holder, accessible
right down to its removable laptop folio when the bag is zipped shut, retracts
with its stiff foam cells. The folio has when you let go of it.
no width adjustment, but its stretchy We love the WIB’s shoulder strap,
Velcro strap held our ThinkPad firmly as its slip-proof, padded midsection
in the middle. stretches like the Briggs & Riley’s to
immensely reduce carry fatigue. But
at $149.99, the Notebook Travel Roller
could use some polish. A close look
The Z70’s long, rubber zipper pulls shows a wobbly stitch here, a stray
are easy to tug open when you’re reach- thread there, and adhesive fabric buttons
ing under an airplane seat. As for the covering up interior structural rivets.
shoulder strap, its curved gel pad is Also, the extensible tow handle could be
very comfortable and its fabric is some- stiffer, although it’s mounted externally
what grippy, but its 3.5-inch breadth is to conserve internal volume. You can
too wide. only return a WIB bag within 30 days,
Samsonite has a decent bag here, but but you’ll get 10% off the next one.
it’s more of a strong double than a home
run compared to the less-expensive Bag It, Please
LowePro. It’s warranted against defects This group’s best buy for most busi-
This bag could open a little wider for for three years. ness travelers is LowePro’s Tropolis
easier access, and we loathe the ironi- 1300, although Mobile Edge’s Ultra
cally named Contour Comfort shoul- Women In Business V-Load MEVLU1 may catch up once the
der strap—no padding, no give, and a Notebook Travel Roller strap improves. Still, we’d take Duluth
weird, unnecessary locking mechanism. $149.99 • www.wibbags.com Trading’s Mobile Office Backpack for
Still, it takes two seconds to clip on a sheer personality.
better strap, should one become avail- WIB means stylish function for busi-
able at the baggage carousel. Mobile nesswomen. This wheeled airport bag by Marty Sems

PC Today / March 2006 19


On The Road

You’ll get the best exchange rate at


ATMs, which give customers a pre-
ferred, wholesale rate. (Watch out for
fees, which we’ll discuss later.) The

International second best exchange rate you’ll get is


from a bank, followed by an American
Express store. Avoid exchanging money

Traveler at a local retailer, railroad station, hotel,


or other nonbanking entity, which will
give you less preferential rates.

Making Sense Of Your Dollars Overseas High Finance


If you are up for the challenge, you
may obliterate the exchange variance
and fees if the dollar is in flux. If the
dollar is rising in value, bring American
traveler’s checks or make credit or debit
card purchases (which can take a few
days to post). If the dollar is in one of its
periodic tailspins, purchase foreign cur-
rency or traveler’s checks early to avoid
losing money when the dollar drops.
To squeeze the most juice from this
strategy, track what each currency is
doing. When the dollar is high, exchange
a few of your U.S. traveler’s checks.
When the dollar is weak, use up your
foreign currency. Keep tabs on currency
f you have ever traveled overseas or occurs, someone usually charges a values here and abroad using the cur-

I know someone who has, you know


what a hassle dealing in foreign
currencies can be. The Euro has made
commission or fee. Finding the low-
est fee is one of the keys to financial
success abroad.
rency converter at PCToday.com or by
viewing rates at XE.com (www.xe.com).
At XE.com you can also sign up for a
this process easier for travelers heading Additionally, when you exchange daily currency exchange email blast that
to Europe because they no longer have to money, the rate you enjoy will differ will update you on rates to exchange any
exchange money at every border number of base currencies for 86
crossing. Even so, many hazards still common currencies.
lurk for American travelers spending
and exchanging money overseas. What Price Access?
Fortunately, a little advance plan- The conventional wisdom that
ning, paired with common sense, can warns against carrying large amounts
help your dollars stay where they of cash on your person, in any cur-
belong (in your bank account) for as rency, still holds true. Nevertheless,
long as possible. traveler’s checks, the old standby for
safety, are not necessarily the best
Basic Business option. When you purchase traveler’s
Whether you are dealing in cash, checks, you will likely be charged a
traveler’s checks, or credit/debit 1% to 2% commission. (If your bank
Use an independent financial company monitoring
cards, several rules of thumb apply. levies no commission, you’re off to a
site, such as Bankrate.com, to check and compare
First, you will lose money every- good start.) Few overseas stores,
fees charged by your various credit card firms.
where you go. You must convert hotels, or restaurants will accept U.S.
your American dollars to the local traveler’s checks, so you need to
currency, whether you are using cash depending on who makes the exchange. exchange them abroad.
or traveler’s checks, or just making a (In a few countries, notably Japan, the You can exchange American Express
POS (point of sale) purchase with a debit government sets the exchange rate, so traveler’s checks at any American
or credit card. Every time a conversion this rule does not apply.) Express office at no cost. The same may

20 March 2006 / www.pctoday.com


On The Road

be true if you have bank-issued travel- Some smaller banks and credit unions 424-7787 (4-CIRRUS) or (800) 843-7587
er’s checks and you can get to a branch do not charge this fee. Find out if your (THE-PLUS). Remember that a Cirrus or
of your bank or are banking within bank does, and if it levies it on cash ad- Plus ATM transaction may still be sub-
your own bank’s network. vances (credit cards) and withdrawals ject to out-of-network fees from your
Many major banks belong to a global (debit and ATM cards). Some, but not all, bank if the withdrawal does not occur at
alliance, making it easier for you to banks also charge cash advance fees (cash an authorized branch or reciprocal
stay in the network. For example, Bank of from a credit card) and/or larger-than- global alliance bank.
America partners with Barclays (United normal ATM fees (cash from a debit or
Kingdom), BNP Paribas (France), Deut- ATM card) if you use an out-of-network Keep Bankers’ Hours
sche Bank (Germany), Santander Serfin ATM. If your bank’s fees are excessive, Unlike ATMs in the United States,
(Mexico), Scotiabank (Canada), and find a better bank at Bankrate.com. not all overseas ATMs are open 24
Westpac (Australia and New Zealand). hours a day. In Japan, for example,
No Cloud Over Cirrus ATMs often close for the day between 5
Home Sweet Home Make sure your bank cards carry p.m. and 8 p.m. Making matters more
You can also purchase traveler’s either the Plus or Cirrus logo. Visa/Plus complicated, most Japanese ATMs do
checks in a few foreign currencies, such reports having more than 855,000 ATMs not accept foreign credit or debit cards,
as the Euro, before you leave home. in 149 countries, and MasterCard/Cirrus including those on the Plus or Cirrus
(You can, and should, also purchase a says it has more than 900,000 ATMs networks. To make a cash withdrawal,
small amount of foreign currency be- in more than 120 countries. American you need to go into the bank during
fore you leave.) Many shops and standard operating hours (Monday
restaurants accept traveler’s checks through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
denominated in the native currency, The exception to this rule is Citibank
saving you the bother and expense ATMs, which accept Plus and Cirrus
of exchanging them. and are open 24/7.)
Two reputable firms where you
can compare exchange rates and POS Purchases
purchase foreign cash and traveler’s POS purchases with your credit
checks online are American Express card will incur the same fees, and
(www.americanexpress.com) and preferential exchange rates, your
Wells Fargo (www.foreignexchange bank charges on ATM withdrawals
services.com). At the time of this but without the cash advance/ATM
writing, we found that Wells Fargo Use the ATM Locator link at the bottom of the fee. However, be cautious about
had a slightly better exchange rate Visa USA Web site to find a Plus-compatible ATM using your credit card in less-than-
for cash purchases, while American anywhere in the world. reputable stores. Identity theft is be-
Express was slightly better for trav- coming very common overseas, and
eler’s checks. damage mitigation can be difficult
Express Cash is also common, although after you return home.
Fees less so than Plus or Cirrus. A Master-
For years experts have recommended Card/Cirrus card is the most useful card Final Thoughts
travelers skip traveler’s checks and use because banks in most countries recog- Beyond being sensible, we suggest
ATM, credit, or debit cards to obtain cash nize MasterCard (the same as EuroCard) that you don’t spend a lot of time with
when necessary. That’s because banks as an international credit instrument. the currency exchange conundrum. Plan
extend credit card and debit card cus- ahead as much as possible and then
tomers the wholesale currency exchange Pinpoint Your Location relax. If you lose a few dollars here or
rate they obtain for multimillion-dollar If you have Internet access while there, it won’t be the end of the world.
transactions. However, fees now make abroad, you can locate the closest Plus One last bit of advice: If the government
this benefit less noticeable. or Cirrus ATM online. For the Plus of a country you enter requires you to
The 1% currency exchange conversion system, go to Visa’s Web site (www.visa declare how much money you bring in,
fee (commission) credit card associations .com). After you choose your country keep receipts for all currency conver-
(Visa, MasterCard) charge is the lowest (we selected United States—English) sions and cash purchases. You may be
you’ll find. However, many major banks and click Go, click the ATM Locator link required to prove that you exchanged
have decided they, too, should levy a con- at the bottom of the next page. For your money legally.
version fee (called a foreign transaction Cirrus visit MasterCard’s Web site at
fee) of between 1% and 3%. There is no www.mastercard.com/atm. You can by Jennifer Farwell
justification for this fee, other than greed. also search out an ATM by calling (800)

PC Today / March 2006 21


On The Road

One For
The Road
b u s i n e s s t r a v e l a c c e s s o r i e s
Compiled by Linda Bird

ome people are born to travel. With mobility in their

S genes, these road warriors can go for days foraging single-


serving bags of honey roasted peanuts and hotel room
French roast coffee. Others are not as blessed. If you prefer the
comfort of your corner office to the comfort of a Comfort Inn,
these handy accessories might make your next business trip a
little more bearable.
Chrome Key
Organizer
The Sharper
Image Chrome Key
Zelco BriskBrew Coffeemaker Organizer ($24.95;
If you’re a true coffeeaholic, you won’t want to leave home without www.sharper
the Zelco BriskBrew Coffeemaker ($48; www.zelco.com). This travel image.com) is
coffeemaker can brew up an 8-ounce cup in a flash and even includes a handy device
dual 120/240 voltage so you can take it with you virtually anywhere. for traveling. It
Additionally, it folds to a compact 6 x 2.5 x 5 inches (HxWxD) to fit combines a key or-
conveniently into your briefcase, purse, or luggage. ganizer with a high-
beam flashlight to
help you find your way (or at least the lock to your
house or car).
The key organizer includes a total of five key rings,
four of which are removable.
This design makes it easy to remove a single key for
valet parking or for when your car is being serviced.
The built-in dual LED (light-emitting diode) torch
illuminates up to 25 feet at night, so you can use it to
locate just about any dropped item. The beam is pow-
ered by two lithium batteries, which are included.
Finally, at a mere 1 ounce, the Chrome Key Organizer
is lightweight and easy to carry.

22 March 2006 / www.pctoday.com


On The Road

Flyweight Travel Book Light


Zojirushi Mr. Bento If you like to pass travel time by reading
Stainless Lunch Jar (or preparing for upcoming meetings), you’ll
Sure, you’d like to ditch appreciate REI’s Flyweight Travel Book Light
the fast food habit and eat ($11.95; www.rei.com). This device is com-
healthier meals for lunch. pact (5 x 2 inches) and lightweight (25
But sometimes it’s hard to ounces). It also has two settings for ad-
get inspired by that cold justing the brightness of the light. Additionally, the head
ham sandwich you and frame are adjustable so you can accurately focus the
packed in a paper sack beam, and the entire thing folds compactly for traveling.
several hours ago. The light is powered by two lithium cell batteries that last
Don’t sweat it. It is pos- approximately 20 hours.
sible to eat better while
saving both time and
money. The Zojirushi Mr.
Bento Stainless Lunch Jar (retails for $49 to $60; www.zo-
jirushi.com) includes an insulated, stainless steel-lined cylin- Rowenta Latitude Compact Travel Iron
drical container, along with four stackable, microwaveable No matter how well you pack your suitcase, it’s pretty
bowls. To use the Zojirushi, pack and stack the bowls into the much a given that your clothes will still be somewhat
stainless steel container, put the container into the cloth car- wrinkled when you reach your destination. If you’re not
rying bag, and you’re ready to go. certain that your hotel will have laundry services or an
The four-bowl design allows you to pack a complete meal. iron available, consider making some extra room in your
The bottom two bowls (15.2 and 10.1 ounces) are designed to suitcase for a travel iron.
keep hot foots piping hot; the top two bowls (9.5 and 6.8 One good option is the Rowenta Latitude Compact
ounces) keep cold foods cool. The larger bowls are designed Travel Iron (www.rowentausa.com). Even though this iron
for soup and rice, but you can use them for any hot food. is small and lightweight (1.75 pounds), it includes many
While the four bowls provide excellent flexibility in packing features usually available only on full-size models. For ex-
a variety of foods, you can also use the stainless steel lunch jar ample, like its full-size brethren, the Rowenta Latitude
by itself to keep any food hot or cold for hours. Even though Travel Iron includes a stainless steel soleplate and a full-
the price may appear a bit steep, the lunch jar can pay for itself range sliding temperature control.
from the money you’ll save by not eating out, not to mention In addition to standard features that you typically find on
the benefits of healthier eating habits. regular irons, the Rowenta Latitude Travel Iron includes fea-
You can purchase the Mr. Bento Stainless Lunch Jar via tures that make it easy to take it on the road.
online retailers such as Amazon.com, TechGiftIdeas.com, and For example, it works with both 120V and
iKitchen.com. 240V systems and comes with a nylon
carrying bag. To help it fit into
your luggage, the iron also has
a handle that folds flat for
storage but can hold 2.5
Thermos-Nissan Stainless Steel ounces of water when
Vacuum Insulated Briefcase Bottle opened. Nice.
If you’re looking for a quality thermos to The Latitude Compact
take on the road, look no further: The Thermos- Travel Iron is available
Nissan Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated from retailers such as
Briefcase Bottle ($25 to $30; www.thermos.com) Amazon.com and Circuit
gets high marks for keeping beverages hot or City (www.circuitcity.com),
cold for hours. To keep beverages hot (or cold) for about $30.
even longer, try pre-heating (or pre-cooling) the
thermos ahead of time.
The thermos bottle’s slender, ergonomic de-
sign makes it easy to pack it into a briefcase. Tell us about an accessory that you use to make
Additionally, you don’t have to completely re- your life easier or more enjoyable on the road.
move the stopper to pour. Instead, you can Write to us at ontheroad@pctoday.com
twist the stopper and then pour through a no-drip slot.

PC Today / March 2006 23


Office Space

Scot’s Take

Windows Vista:
A Better Build
ould Windows Vista it intends to deliver. And the widespread testing. Although

C be less trouble-prone
than previous re-
leases of Windows? There’s at
company might not be done
with pushing harder-to-im-
plement features off the side
Microsoft is under the gun to
implement all the new func-
tionality and features it has
least a possibility that will be of the boat. But Microsoft is promised, offering monthly,
so, even though it might not also taking another very im- widespread betas means it
be Microsoft’s main intent. portant tack. It’s shaking up will discover bugs promptly
The best thing about Micro- the development process. As I and be able to fix them and
Scot Finnie is editor of soft these days is a trait the write this, Windows Vista redesign features to avoid
TechWeb’s Pipelines sites software giant has possessed Beta 2 should be making its pitfalls much earlier in the
(www.techwebpipelines.com) from the beginning: A willing- way to me right now. But all process. This change effec-
and author of ness to reconsider its goals we’ve been told is that Beta 2 tively both lengthens the time
ScotsNewsletter.com. He and means of attaining them. will not be delivered at its Microsoft has to focus on bugs
has served as managing editor Sometimes the company’s at- usual time in the development and extends the time period
for Windows Magazine and tempts to do this are almost process. What’s more, the ar- for its developers to imple-
editor for several other laughable. But it’s hard to rival of Beta 2 doesn’t even ment new features.
computing publications. argue with Microsoft’s self- appear to be imminent. It’s possible that working
Catch up with Scot at his makeover successes. Pundits Instead of delivering Beta on bugs and implementation
newsletter Web site often point to decade-old re- 2 roughly a year before the in parallel could result in a
(www.scotsnewsletter.com) or versal on the software compa- product hits the streets (fol- wash when it comes to Win-
send him feedback at ny’s Internet strategy. But the lowed six months later by dows software quality. But
scot@pctoday.com truth is that Microsoft has two or three release candi- I’m betting that, if anything,
made scores of similar, if less dates only weeks before the we’ll see an overall reduction
dramatic, decisions since then. product is released to man- in the number of significant
When it comes to the Win- ufacturing), Microsoft is going bugs on the final product.
dows development process, out early and often with more That may sound like a luke-
Microsoft appears to be feel- widely distributed, roughly warm prediction, but when
ing its way through a make- monthly beta releases. Micro- it comes to Windows quality,
over right now. And the result soft calls them CTPs (Com- I’m actually going out on
could mean a better tested, munity Technology Previews). a limb.
less buggy Windows Vista. The company released CTPs
Ironically, producing a prod- in September and October, Internet Explorer 7
uct with fewer nasty bugs skipped November, and then Public Beta
probably isn’t Microsoft’s pri- released a December 2005 A couple of issues back, I
mary motivation. Instead, its CTP. At press time Microsoft wrote about the new fea-
main goal is to deliver Win- expected its next CTP to be tures expected to ship in IE7.
dows Vista on time, which feature-complete, but even One bit of news since then is
means by the end of this year. that release might not be that any day now, you will
called Beta 2. have the chance to look at
The New Here’s the important part: some of those new features for
Development Plan It doesn’t really matter what yourself. Microsoft’s Dean
One way Microsoft can ac- Microsoft calls its beta re- Hachamovitch, who heads
complish that goal is by par- leases. What matters is how IE’s development team, has
ing back some of the features many versions it’s offering for pledged in IEBlog to release a

24 March 2006 / www.pctoday.com


Office Space

public beta for the Windows So this tool, and the improve- will no longer turn it, ah . . .
XP version of IE7 sometime in ments that Microsoft has off. Instead, the procedure
the first quarter of 2006. The added to it, could be a good fit sends your computer into
WinXP version of IE7 lacks a for Windows Vista. Standby mode and then after
small handful of mostly secu- Another new feature that so much time your computer
rity oriented features found in appeared for the first time will automatically hibernate.
the Windows Vista version of in the December CTP was Most new desktop computers
IE7. And some of the features Windows Parental Controls. shipped in the last five years
look different, but all the im- The new security feature will (or more) will support this
portant stuff, such as tabbed let parents limit when and way of working. But what if
browsing and RSS (Really for how long their children you just want to turn your
Simple Syndi-cation) viewing, can use the PC; control what computer off? The main ad-
is in there. Web sites kids can visit and vantage of this isn’t saving
Important note: It’s prob- what programs they can use; power; it’s all about how
ably not a good idea to install restrict access to games based quickly your computer will
the IE7 public beta on your on title, content, or ESRB (En- come back on when you press
main PC unless you are pre- tertainment Software Rating its On button. Of course, it
pared to wipe and rebuild Board) rating; and run de- also speeds up the appearance
your Windows installation, a tailed reports about how their of turning the computer off.
process that may also require children are using the PC. Other new features making
you to reinstall all your apps. Microsoft has long prom- an appearance in the Decem-
Past IE betas, (from the IE5 ised that Vista’s built-in fire- ber CTP include an updated
and IE6 versions) have been wall software would add Windows Media Center with
problematic on some PCs. outbound filtering to its in- new features and function-
bound protection. If your ality, Windows Media Player
December CTP computer becomes infected, 11, a reworked Start button
Vista Gleanings blocking unauthorized out- and Start menu, new support
With the December CTP bound transmissions could and policies for USB and other
beta release of Windows Vista, prevent spreading of a virus portable memory devices,
Microsoft added some new or other malware. The De- and a new full-volume en-
features to the OS. Windows cember CTP Windows Vista cryption routine (to protect
Defender is the new name for firewall adds outbound pro- mobile hard drives in the
Windows AntiSpyware (aka tection and several tweaks event of theft) called BitLocker
Microsoft AntiSpyware). By that increase security. Drive Encryption.
either name, it’s designed to Even the way you turn It appears that Microsoft
thwart spyware and other Windows Vista on and off won’t be replacing the official
malware. Microsoft product changed in the December Beta 2 of Windows Vista until
marketing gurus say the Win- CTP. Microsoft is trying to some time early to mid spring.
dows Defender has a simpler, emulate consumer electronics But we should get a lot more
redesigned interface. It’s also devices by transforming the information about the last
based on a new antispyware on/off function into a single batch of new features with the
engine that offers improved button that offers one-click February CTP release of Win-
detection and removal. I’ve operation. That’s the good dows Vista. Check back here
been a fan of Windows Anti- news. The bad news may be for the details as soon as
Spyware, but its weakness has something Microsoft appears they’re available.
been removal. What it does to be proud of: the fact that
best is real-time monitoring. turning your computer off by Scot Finnie

PC Today / March 2006 25


Office Space

Microsoft Office
Tips & Tweaks
ne great thing about Microsoft Office 2003 is that it’s jam-packed with useful

O features. Of course, digging through Help to find out about these features can
take a lot of time—time you would probably rather spend doing other things.
To make it easy for you to become more efficient in using Office, we’ve compiled a few of
our favorite ways to use Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. So grab a cup of Java and settle in
at your computer. In 10 minutes’ time, we’ll show you some interesting features that can
boost your efficiency. We promise that it will be a painless way to learn Office. Honest.

by Linda Bird

Organize Your Stuff (Excel) Add & Subtract (Excel)


Like a well-organized set of file folders, each Microsoft Excel file (a work- If you feel limited by the three worksheets
book) includes a set of individual worksheets: Think of an Excel workbook included in each file, you can add (or delete)
as a notebook and the individual worksheets as pages in the notebook. This more sheets. In fact, to give you maximum
arrangement is great because you can use it to organize your data. For ex- flexibility, Excel allows you to create a work-
ample, you can track production or sales for a year by using a worksheet for book with one to 255 worksheets in it.
each month but keeping all the worksheets together within a workbook. To add a worksheet, right-click any visible
By default, each new workbook file includes three worksheets. You can worksheet tab and then choose Insert from the
switch between sheets by clicking the tabs at the bottom of Excels’ applica- tab’s shortcut menu. On the General page of the
tion window and then enter data and formulas in each worksheet. Insert dialog box, double-click the Worksheet
icon. The newly inserted sheet will be placed to
the left of the selected worksheet.
To remove a worksheet, display it and
choose Edit and then Delete Sheet. Alterna-
tively, you can right-click a worksheet tab and
then choose Delete from the shortcut menu.
This is NOT an undoable command, so if the
worksheet includes data, you’ll be prompted
to confirm your action.

Give Your Worksheets A New Identity


(Excel)
Face it. The generic names associated with
each worksheet (Sheet 1, Sheet 2, and so on) are
pretty dull. Luckily, you can assign descriptive
names that more clearly indicate what informa-
tion is contained in each sheet, such as First
Quarter or Eastern Region. To rename a work-
Excel includes a great organizational tool: the option to include multiple worksheets sheet, double-click the sheet’s tab. Type a new
“clipped” together in a single workbook file. name and then press ENTER.

28 March 2006 / www.pctoday.com


Office Space

Reorganize Your Worksheets (Excel) Use the Move Or Copy


If you don’t like the order in which your Excel worksheets are arranged, you can dialog box to reorder
change it. Right-click the tab for the worksheet you want to move and then choose your worksheets. As
Move Or Copy from the shortcut menu. In the displayed Move Or Copy dialog box, an alternative, you can
indicate where you want to place the selected sheet and then click OK. As an alterna- drag the sheet tab to a
tive, you can drag a worksheet tab to a new location. When the black triangle is where new location.
you want to place the sheet, release the mouse to drop the sheet in the new location.

Use Formulas In Word Jazz Up Your Presentation (PowerPoint)


OK, so Word isn’t known as a calculation powerhouse like You can add music, such as
Excel. But you can still run simple calculations within the pro- WMA (Windows Media Audio)
gram without pulling out your calculator. To do this, create a files, to a PowerPoint presentation.
table and enter your numerical data in a row or column. Place As a rule, the sound file is placed on
your insertion point in the last cell in the row or column for a specific slide. You can specify if
which you want to run your calculations and then choose the music should play automatically
Table and Formula. Word automatically assumes that you whenever you display the slide in
want to add up the data in the adjacent cells and enters a for- Slide Show view or if the user
mula in the Formula dialog box, such as =SUM(LEFT) or needs to click the Sound icon to
=SUM(ABOVE). Click OK to enter the formula in the cell. start the music.
Unlike Excel, Word doesn’t automatically recalculate a for- To add music to your presenta-
mula if you change data in the cells that feed into it. To recal- tion, display a slide in Normal view. Most sound files are linked—
culate the formula cell’s data, right-click the formula directly Choose Insert, Movies And Sounds, not saved—to a PowerPoint
and then choose Update Field from the shortcut menu. and then Sound From File to display presentation because they
the Insert Sound dialog box. Browse are so large. However, if
to the folder where your sound files you want to be sure that a
are stored and then double-click the sound file is saved within the
file you want. Confirm how you presentation, simply change
want the sound to play (Automati- the default settings in the
cally or When Clicked) in Power- Options dialog box.
Point’s message box. The sound file
will display as a selected object on your slide. You can drag the tiny
icon to an out-of-place location on the slide. Finally, to play the
sound, press F5 to launch the slide show. Click the icon if neces-
sary; otherwise, just let PowerPoint play it automatically.
By default, a sound clip in PowerPoint will play one time and
then stop. It also lets you advance to another slide or stop the
slide show. However, you can specify the number of times that
Although Word isn’t typically known for its ability to crunch the clip repeats. To do this, right-click the icon for the sound clip
numbers, you can use a built-in feature to create simple formulas. and then choose Edit Sound Object. In the Sound Options dialog
For example, you can add up the numbers in a table’s column or row. box, check the box for Loop Until Stopped and then click OK.

Color Code Your Work (Excel) Make ’em Come Along (PowerPoint)
Besides adding, deleting, and rearranging work- If your sound file is larger than 99K in size (and most are), it doesn’t get
sheets, you can color-code Excel’s worksheet tabs. embedded in your PowerPoint presentation. Instead, PowerPoint saves a
This can help you categorize your sheets and make link to the sound file. Because of this, you may find that even though your
it easier for you to find the information you need. presentation has been saved on a new computer, the sound file is only avail-
To change the color for a worksheet tab, right- able on the computer you used to develop the presentation.
click the tab and then choose Tab Color from the However, you can change the default setting so that larger sound files
shortcut menu. In the displayed Format Tab are saved within your presentation. To do this, choose Tools, Options, and
Color dialog box, click a color block, and then then click the General tab. In the box for Link Sounds With File Size
choose OK. Greater Than, enter a large file size (such as 50,000) and then click OK.

PC Today / March 2006 29


Office Space

Microsoft
Excel 2003
Get The Most Out Of Hyperlinks

f you have ever put your work in To Display, which is at the top of the file you need. If you want to link to a

I Excel on hold to find information


in another document or on the
Internet, hyperlinks in your Excel doc-
Insert Hyperlink dialog box. Any text
added or edited in this field will adjust
accordingly in your cell. You can also
recently visited Web page, click the
Browsed Pages button for a list or click
the Browse The Web button to surf the
ument could save you time. Inserting a add a ScreenTip to any hyperlinked cell. Web. If you know you have worked in
link to a file, Web page, or email ad- This is a short pop-up text message that your desired file recently, click Recent
dress is simple and gives you easy ac- provides information when you hover Files to view a list.
cess to other files and information. your mouse over the cell. The default To link to another cell in the same
Excel document, click the Place
Inserting Hyperlinks In This Document button in the
The simplest way to insert a Link To area. This displays a list
hyperlink is to type an Internet of worksheets in the current
address or network path into a workbook. On this list, you can
cell. Unless you have disabled select a specific worksheet and
the AutoCorrect feature, Excel cell to link to by selecting the
will automatically convert that worksheet and typing in the ref-
text into a hyperlink. (To erence cell (A2, for example). If
disable AutoCorrect, select you want to link to a particular
AutoCorrect Options from the worksheet or cell in a different
Tools menu and click the Excel document, select the file
AutoFormat As You Type tab. Excel makes it easy to link to an existing file or Web page you want from the Existing File
Uncheck the Internet And through the Insert Hyperlink dialog box. list and then click the Bookmark
Network Paths With Hyper- button on the right side of the
links Apply As You Work box.) You ScreenTip for hyperlinked cells is the hy- Insert Hyperlink dialog box. This will
can also copy a hyperlink from a Web perlink itself followed by the message open a similar window from which you
site and paste it into a cell. When a cell Click Once To Follow, Click And Hold can select a specific worksheet and cell.
is hyperlinked, its text formatting will To Select This Cell. You can change the Click Create New Document to link
change to underlined and blue (default message by clicking ScreenTip and en- to a new document. By default, it will
values for hyperlinks). tering your new message. As you be an Excel document and will appear
The Insert Hyperlink dialog box. If browse for links, the Text To Display in the currently open folder. You can
you don’t know the Internet address or and ScreenTip options remain available change the document type and location
path you need, you can browse for it at the top of the dialog box. by clicking the Change button and
through the Insert Hyperlink dialog box. Browsing for links. A Link To area making the appropriate adjustments. In
To open this box, first select your de- appears on the left side of the Insert the When To Edit section, choose to
sired cell. Then, on the Excel menu bar, Hyperlink dialog box. The top button, edit the new document now or later by
click Insert and choose Insert Hyperlink. Existing File Or Webpage, is selected selecting the appropriate radio button.
You can also open the dialog box by by default. When this option is se- If you choose Edit The New Document
pressing CTRL-K or right-clicking your lected, a list of the files in the Current Now, the new document will open as
cell and choosing Hyperlinkfrom the Folder appears in the center of the di- soon as you click OK. If you choose
pop-up menu. alog box. You can browse the drop- Edit The New Document Later, the
If you selected a cell with text in it, down directory tree at the top or click new document will open when you
that text appears in the field labeled Text the Browse For File button to find the click the hyperlink.

30 March 2006 / www.pctoday.com


Office Space

Click the E-mail Address button in Open Hyperlink, and Remove Hyper- Quick Tips For
the Link To area to use a hyperlink to link. The Edit Hyperlink option will
send an email. Type in an email ad- open the Edit Hyperlink dialog box. Excel Worksheets
dress and subject in the correct box Open Hyperlink follows the hyperlink,
(when you type in the email address it just as if you had clicked the cell. hen you open a new Excel spread-
will add the mailto: prefix, as this is the
HTML code for email address hyper-
Remove Hyperlink removes the hyper-
link from the cell you selected.
W sheet, there should be three work-
sheets available by default, labeled
links). You can also choose from a When you delete the contents of a cell, Sheet1, Sheet2, and Sheet3. As your
list of recently used email addresses. you also delete any hyperlink it con- Excel spreadsheets become more com-
When you click the hyperlink, it tained. (If you begin typing again without plicated, it’s probably helpful to rename
will open your default email program leaving the cell, the hyperlink remains.) each worksheet to appropriately reflect
with the email ad- its respective content. To rename a
dress and subject line worksheet, right-click on its tab and
already completed. If click Rename. Type in the new name of
you only want the the worksheet and press the Enter key.
address line com- When three worksheets aren’t
pleted automatical- enough for the job, you can add work-
ly, leave the subject sheets. To add a single worksheet, click
line blank. the Insert pull-down menu and click
When you have Worksheet. To add multiple work-
successfully browsed sheets, hold down Shift and select the
to the correct docu- number of worksheet tabs you want to
ment, Web page, or add from the existing tabs. For ex-
To place a link to another cell in the same document, use the
email address, click ample, if you want to add two new
Place In This Document button.
OK to insert your hy- worksheets, select two current work-
perlink. If you are sheet tabs. Finally, click Worksheet on
working with a cell that already had a You can remove a hyperlink without dis- the Insert pull-down menu.
hyperlink, you can remove it by rupting the text by using the right-click If you have a particular worksheet
clicking the Remove Link button. Remove Hyperlink option or the Remove you’d like to transfer or copy to a dif-
Link button in the Insert Hyperlink dialog ferent workbook, select the work-
Working With Hyperlinked Cells box. However, if you want to remove hy- sheet(s) you want to move, click the
The most common problem with hy- perlinks from multiple cells at once Edit pull-down menu, and Move Or
perlinked cells is following a link by without changing the text, your best bet Copy Sheet. In the Move Or Copy di-
accident. Once a cell has a hyperlink, may be Paste Special. Copy a blank cell alog box, select the workbook you
clicking that cell will open the hyper- and then select the cells you want to un- want from the To Book drop down
link. The default ScreenTip reminds link. Right click those cells and select menu and click OK. If you want to
you how to select the cell without fol- Paste Special from the drop-down menu. copy the sheet(s) instead of moving
lowing the link: Click and hold. Once Select Add from the Operation section of them, click the Create A Copy check
the cell is selected, you can freely edit the dialog box and click OK. Hyperlinks box before you click OK.
its contents, including cutting, pasting, are now removed and text remains. Keep To add page numbers to your work-
and deleting. in mind, however, that Paste Special also sheets, click the View pull-down menu,
To edit a hyperlink, you need to re- pastes the formatting (including fonts, Header And Footer, and Custom Header
open the Insert Hyperlink dialog box colors, and borders) of the cell you copied. or Custom Footer. Indicate where you
(this time it will be called the Edit want to place the page number and click
Hyperlink dialog box). Select your cell Link Up the Page Number button (it should look
and choose the Hyperlink option on If you often open multiple documents like a blank page with a # sign). Click OK
the Insert menu. In the dialog box, you at once to transfer information, consider twice to add the page numbers.
can change the file, web page, or email how much time you spend searching for If you have too many worksheets,
address attached to the hyperlink as your other files. By inserting hyperlinks you can delete them without much
described above. into your Excel documents, you can trouble. To delete unused worksheets,
The right-click menu also holds some open a file, browse a Web page, or send right-click on the worksheet’s tab and
quick hyperlink options. When you an email in just one click. click Delete. You can also delete work-
right-click a cell that contains a hyper- sheets by clicking the Edit pull-down
link, three options appear at the bottom by Liz Stefaniak and Van T. Huett menu and Delete Sheet. ❙
of the pop-up menu: Edit Hyperlink,

PC Today / March 2006 31


Office Space

Microsoft
Word 2003
Find & Replace Options

K, you know it’s out there

O somewhere: the section in that


50-page report that you need to
locate so that you can revise it. But you’ve
scrolled through the pages three times yet
still haven’t found what you need.
No problem; just use Word’s Find op-
tion to quickly zoom to the exact place
in the document for which you’re look-
ing. And while you’re at it, tap into the
Replace feature to substitute new text
for old.
Here’s a practical way that you can use
the Replace feature: Imagine that you
have a new supervisor. Unfortunately,
several documents include instances of
the old supervisor’s name. You can use
Replace to swiftly swap all occurrences of
your old boss’s name with the new one. Take a shortcut. If you get tired of searching blow-by-blow through your document for the
Or perhaps you’ve accidentally mis- search text, just have Word highlight all the occurrences at once.
spelled a client’s name several times in a
proposal. Instead of laboriously scrolling search for several words, an entire word Word conveniently leaves the Find And
through your document (and hoping that or just a series of characters: If you run a Replace dialog box open until you
you can spot all the mistakes) you can use search for “computer,” the program will choose to close it. This allows you to
the Replace feature to do the job for you. also locate words such as “computer- make revisions in the document but still
Convinced? If so, come along to see ized” and “computerization.” use the Find feature. Here’s how: With
how to use Find and Replace efficiently. With that in mind, let’s use Find to lo- the Find And Replace dialog box open
cate a word. Choose Edit and then Find and with the Find tab selected, click in-
Using Find from the menu or simply press CTRL-F. side the document to make it the activate
Let’s begin by using the Find feature. Either way, the Find And Replace dialog window and then make your revisions.
While the most straightforward way to box opens with the Find tab displayed. When you’re finished, click in the Find
use this feature is to locate text in a doc- Type the search text (such as computer) And Replace dialog box to activate it,
ument, you can also set various options in the Find What text box and then click and then continue use its commands. For
to change the scope of the search. As an the Find Next button. Word highlights example, you can click Find Next to
example, you can have the program the first occurrence of the search text in jump to the following occurrence of the
the document. Click search text.
The most Find Next to locate When you’re finished using Find, click
straightforward the subsequent oc- Cancel to clear the dialog box. (If Word is
way to use Find currence, and so on. finished searching through the document
is to locate text. To make it consid- or can’t find any instances of the text, a
erably easier to run dialog box will display announcing that
repeated searches, the “Search Item Was Not Found.”)

32 March 2006 / www.pctoday.com


Office Space

If you don’t want to locate the search fact, most of the same search options are
text sequentially through your docu- available for Replace as are for Find.
ment, you can instead highlight all oc- However, Replace takes things a step
currences at the same time. To do this, further in that it enables you to not only
open the Find And Replace dialog box locate the text, but also substitute new
and then check the Highlight All Items text for the original.
Found In checkbox. Click the Find All To use Replace, choose Edit and then
button to highlight all instances of the Replace or press CTRL-H to display the
search text simultaneously. Replace tab of the Find And Replace di-
alog box. Enter the text you want to lo-
Search Options You can expand the Find feature’s usefulness
cate in the Find What text box and then
by tapping into a number of search options.
Now that you know how to run a enter the replacement text in the Replace
basic Find operation, let’s take a look at With box.
some of the interesting and useful op- At this point you can click Find Next
tions associated with this feature. To ac- to view the first instance of the search
cess Find’s search options, click the text. After the program locates and
More button in the Find And Replace di- highlights the search text, choose Find
alog box to expand the dialog box. Next (to advance to the next instance of
One useful option is to choose the di- the text without replacing the high-
rection of the search. Using the default lighted text) or Replace (to replace the
All option in the Search drop-down highlighted text). If you’re feeling par-
menu under Search Options, Word ticularly brave, you can quickly replace
searches downward through the docu- The Replace feature enables you to locate all occurrences in the document by
ment, starting at the insertion point. and replace text throughout your document. clicking Replace All. (Note: This is an
When it reaches the end of the docu- You can pick and choose which instances of undoable action.)
ment, Word will continue the search the search text you want to replace. You can
from the beginning of the document up also replace all occurrences at once, if you Replace The Formatting
to the insertion point. feel comfortable with doing so. The Replace feature includes ad-
However, you can change the search vanced search and replace options,
direction in relation to the insertion including specifications for how re-
point’s location by selecting Up or Down placement text should be formatted.
from the Search drop-down menu. This For example, you may want to bold all
is especially useful if you’re searching instances of your company’s name
through a lengthy document. without changing the underlying text.
You can also check the Match Case To do this, you could enter the compa-
checkbox to force the program to only ny’s name in both the Find What and
find words that match the upper- and the Replace With fields. Click the More
lowercase sequence in the Find What text button to expand the dialog box and
box. As another alternative, you can Besides replacing text, view Search Options. Click the Format
check the checkbox for Find Whole you can also replace button and then choose Font. In the
Words Only. This narrows your search so the formatting of text Find Font dialog box, select Bold from
that Word won’t highlight variations of a throughout a the Font Style list, and then click OK.
word, such as “there” or “they” when document. In the still-open Find And Replace di-
you really wanted to find the word “the.” alog box, click Find Next to highlight
In contrast, you can check the Find All text. For example, if you enter cumputr in the next instance of the search text.
Word Forms checkbox to locate all tenses the Find What text box, Word will locate When the text is highlighted, click
and variations of a word (such as occurrences of “computer.” Replace to apply the new formatting to
“scrolls,” “scrolling,” and “scrolled”). When you’re finished using the ex- the text. Repeat this process to change
Finally, if you’re unsure of the spelling panded search options, click the Less the formatting of the search text step-
for a word, or if the word is entered in- button to shrink the dialog box back to by-step. As an alternative, you can
correctly in a document, check the its original dimensions. click Replace All to change the format-
Sounds Like (English) checkbox. This op- ting of the search text throughout the
tion is a poor speller’s dream because you Using Replace entire document.
can enter a phonetic spelling in the box Like the Find feature, Replace helps
and the program will locate any related you locate text in your document. In by Linda Bird

PC Today / March 2006 33


Office Space

Microsoft
Outlook 2003
Extract Items Using Filtering & Exporting

n last month’s “Microsoft Outlook When you use the Find feature to menu and select the types of items (in-

I 2003” article, we discussed the Flag


and Category features, which can
help you organize and identify your
filter items, Outlook searches for any or
all Outlook items (messages, contacts,
tasks, and so on) that meet your criteria.
cluding Any Type Of Outlook Item) you
want Outlook to evaluate based on your
criteria. Your selection will become the
Outlook items. This month we will detail Outlook will generate a new window title of the first tab. On this tab you can es-
the filtering and exporting functions, containing all matching items. The filter tablish criteria such as keyword, sender,
which provide an additional measure of Outlook creates using this method is not recipient, and time sent/received.
organizational control. permanent; when you close the window, On the More Choices tab, you can
Using the filtering feature, you can the filter and its results disappear. instruct Outlook to filter by category,
instruct Outlook to collect all items that Using the Advanced Find feature. read/unread status, importance, flag, at-
meet a particular set of criteria (including From within any view, look above the tachment, and size. To perform a more
those containing flag or category assign- Preview pane (the window that displays specialized sort, click the Advanced tab
ments) and present them in a single message headers, lists of contacts, and so and use the Field option to filter by one
view. This is handy when you want a on) for a single-line dialog interface that or more of Outlook’s hundreds of fields.
quick grouping of items bearing a certain begins with Look For. (If you don’t see For example, to filter by more than one
identifier for record-keeping purposes or this option, click the Find button on the category, you need to click the Advanced
for a meeting or other business event. Menu bar.) At the far right, click Options tab and click Field. Select Frequently-
With the Export feature, you can and select Advanced Find. Used Fields and click Categories. Enter
move Outlook items from the single, When the Advanced Find dialog box the name of the category for which you
bloated data (PST) file Outlook maintains appears, click the Look For drop-down are searching in the Value field and click
into a format other programs can use. Add To List. Repeat the process until
Most users employ this function for you have defined your filter.
exporting data to another data man- To create a filter, you can select as
agement program. However, it is also many fields from as many field group-
an excellent means to gain more con- ings as you wish. You need to provide
trol over your Outlook items. For ex- the corresponding value (name or
ample, after you export items, you can exact description) for each field you
import them into Microsoft Excel or select. Don’t choose fields from a
Access and perform complex sorting, grouping relating to a specific Outlook
filtering, and even calculation opera- item type, such as All Mail Fields, un-
tions on those items. less you want Outlook to restrict your
search to just that type of item. After
A Fistful Of Filters you establish the criteria for your
The more powerful of the two fea- filter, click Find Now, and Outlook
tures we’ll discuss here is filtering. will search for and display every item
You can filter items in two ways: by that matches your specifications.
employing the Advanced option The second way to filter Outlook
within the Find function or by using items is to use the Custom option
the Custom option within the View within the View menu. Unfortunately,
menu. These two methods use nearly Using the Advanced Find feature in Outlook, you using this method you can filter only
identical interfaces to produce dif- can produce a dedicated, if temporary, display of all one particular folder (a Contacts folder
ferent results. Outlook items that meet specific criteria. or a specific email message folder, for

34 March 2006 / www.pctoday.com


Office Space

example) at a time. Outlook will filter Now return to your filtered list and select
the contents of the folder, present the the items you want to export. Click the
matching items, and hide all the other Edit menu and select Copy To Folder.
items in that folder. A folder filtered Locate and select your new folder and
in this manner will remain in that view click OK. It will appear that the new
until you revert to another view, even if folder is empty. Return to the View menu
you close and reopen Outlook or restart and change to the same filtered view your
your computer. original folder was using.
You can also make any filter selec- Select Import And Export from the File
tion a permanent view option. Outlook menu. Under Choose An Action To Per-
still won’t be able to pull from multiple form, select Export A File and click Next.
folders into a single display as it does Under Create A File Of Type, select the
with the Advanced Find option. Never- file type. For this exercise your best op-
It’s easy to replicate your custom, filtered
theless, you will be able to apply the filter tions are comma- or tab-separated values
view as a permanent option using the
quickly to multiple folders to find the (which Microsoft Word and other pro-
Custom View Organizer dialog box.
items you need in each. grams can open and use to create a table)
Filter items using the Custom option. or Microsoft Excel (which creates a file
Select the folder you want to filter, open select the same criteria you chose in the that will open in standard spreadsheet
the View menu, select Arrange By, and previous paragraph. format). Click Next and select the folder
click Custom. (In Calendar view, open Your new view now ap-
the View menu, click Arrange By, click pears as an option on the
Current View, and then Customize Cur- Current View menu. To ac-
rent View.) When the Customize View cess it select Arrange By
dialog box opens, click Filter. from the View menu, click
The Filter dialog box that appears is Current View, and select the
similar to the one you see when you new view. To revert to a de-
access the Advanced Find feature, so you fault view or any other view,
will proceed in exactly the same manner. return to this menu and
The only differences are that there will be make a different selection.
no way to select which Outlook item type
you wish to search for, so the first tab will Export Business
already list the item type corresponding Outlook’s export (Import
to the current view. Additionally, the And Export) feature is
dialog box will contain an SQL tab that straightforward and some-
lets you write a custom query to filter what anemic. You can only
your results. Unless you are an SQL export the contents of entire
(Structured Query Language) pro, stay folders rather than groups of It’s easy to replicate your custom, filtered view as a permanent
away from this tab. items within them. However, option using the Custom View Organizer dialog box.
Create a permanent, filtered view. you can use the export fea-
Open the View menu ture in tandem with Outlook’s from which you are exporting data. Click
and select Arrange filtering feature to create cus- Next, specify a location for the new file
By, Current View, tomized lists of contacts, mes- (the default is My Documents), and click
and Define Views. sages, and so on. Next again. Outlook will export your file.
When the Custom Export filtered items.
View Organizer di- Create a new folder in Filter Finesse
alog box appears, the Outlook view that After experimenting with these fea-
click New and give corresponds with the tures, you’ll find there are unlimited uses
your filtered view a meaningful type of item you filtered. for them. Whether you need to view all
name. Choose a radio button (Right-click any item in the items that pertain to a particular client,
that determines if the view the appropriate folders event, attachment, or other criterion or are
will be available to this or The Filter option in the pane: [My Contacts, My simply trying to locate a single buried
all folders and to you or all Custom View dialog box Calendar, My Tasks, item, Outlook’s filtering and export tools
users. Click OK. When the lets you select advanced or All Mail Folders] can snoop out your information.
Customize View dialog box filtering criteria for a and select New Folder.
reappears, click Filter and particular Outlook folder. Name the new folder.) by Jennifer Farwell

PC Today / March 2006 35


Troubleshoot Your PDA

Troubl Solve Palm OS & Windows Mobile Woes

36 March 2006 / www.pctoday.com


Troubleshoot Your PDA

eshoot Your Software


ontacting tech sup- generally find the tips applicable, al-

C
port can be time though slight variations may exist.
consuming, whether
you’re stuck on hold Helpful Resources
and forced to listen Palm and Microsoft each have an on-
to elevator music or line knowledgebase, where you can enter
waiting hours or days for an email keywords or questions related to the
reply. If you choose not to endure it, problem you’re having and search for
however, you might find yourself possible solutions to try. A knowledge-
trapped in a meeting without your base is a good place to start when you’ve
notes, at an airport without contact in- run out of options. Also, check your de-
formation, or some other situation that vice manufacturer’s Web site for its
relies on your trusty PDA. knowledgebase, FAQs, technical support
Handheld users depend on those little section, or forums. Forums, also known
devices for information, reminders, and as discussion boards and message
applications. Thanks to their small size, boards, are excellent places to go for help
they’re more portable than most devices, because another user may have had the
including laptops. This saves us the aches same problem you’re having and the an-
and pains of needlessly lugging our note- swer could already be posted. Try
books with us everywhere we go. searching the rest of the Web with your
With the right knowledge and tools, a favorite search engine, too. If that doesn’t
person can solve the problems on his yield answers, then post a message in the
own without relying on tech support. forum. For Palm OS support, visit the
This troubleshooting guide will help you Palm Support And Knowledge Library
find the answers to the most common (www.palm.com/us/support). Windows
problems that afflict these devices so Mobile users should start at the Microsoft
that you can do the CPR yourself instead Windows Mobile Home Page (www.mi
of relying on someone else’s priorities to crosoft.com/windowsmobile).
get the problem fixed. Most of these tips
apply to the latest versions of both Palm Soft & Hard Resets
OS 5.x and Windows Mobile 2003 hand- First, let’s cover how to do a soft and
held devices unless otherwise indicated. hard reset. Before doing either reset,
However, most of the tips should work back up your device, if possible. A soft
with older devices and operating sys- reset is comparable to rebooting your
tems. Windows Mobile 5.0 users should computer; you won’t lose data when

PC Today / March 2006 37


Troubleshoot Your PDA

doing a soft reset. Most devices come adapter and plugged it in. An hour battery is most likely not the cause. In
with a small hole on the back. The tip later, the device woke up, and its this case, it is possible that the power
of your stylus might be able to press it. opening screen appeared just as a PDA button is broken. Most devices will
If not, a straightened paperclip usually does when activated for the first time. power on if you press the other but-
works just as well. Insert the paperclip A drained battery is the most com- tons. Try that. If all else fails, attempt a
or stylus into the hole until you see the mon cause of this problem. Just put the soft reset before contacting the manu-
welcome screen appear. On some de- device in its cradle, or plug it in the facturer. If the soft reset fails, you
vices, the reset button may not be im- wall socket with its adapter to charge could try a hard reset. However, if you
mediately visible. For example, the it. Give it an hour and then try it haven’t backed up your data in a
Tungsten T3 requires that you slide again. If it works, great. If not, then the while, you may want to skip this and
it open to access the but- go straight to the manu-
ton, and the Treo 650 has facturer in case it can fix
its reset button behind the your device without erasing
battery door. your data.
A hard reset erases all the
data and returns the device The Device Won’t Sync
to the way it was set up With The PC
when you first purchased it. Because the cradle (or cable)
Again, make sure you back and PC connect through a
up your data before doing a cable, start by ensuring the
hard reset. Put the paper cable is plugged in tightly on
clip or stylus into the hole both ends. Also ensure the de-
on the back of the device vice is properly sitting in its
and hold it down while you The Treo 650 requires pushing the Battery Door Release button to cradle as sometimes the con-
press the power button until access the reset button. nections don’t align properly.
you see the screen appear The next step is to verify
with either a message asking you have the latest version of
if you want to erase the data or the de- battery may need to be replaced. De- the desktop or sync software. It’s impor-
vice’s default welcome screen. Also, pending on the battery, you might be tant to have the latest updates because
check your device’s documentation able to find one at an electronics store. the upgrade could fix compatibility is-
because the hard reset process could If not, it’s time to contact the manufac- sues, add new features, and address
be different. turer or check its Web site for informa- bugs, so check often for available up-
After doing a hard reset, you’ll need tion on battery replacements. dates. Go to either the Palm or Microsoft
to sync your device with the computer Some devices come with an internal Web site for the software.
to restore the data. Before doing this, battery as extra protection. That way, if Palm also has PalmConnect USB
check the device’s documentation on the device isn’t charged in time before the Drivers for Windows, which have up-
restoring data. For instance, Palm OS battery drains, the internal backup takes dated drivers for USB support. Go to
users need to open HotSync and select over to keep the information intact. In this the Palm resource site and search for
Custom. Select the conduit and click case, charge it up as soon as possible and “USB” and your Windows operating
Change to change the action to Desk- look into replacing the internal battery so system as there are different solutions
top Overwrites Handheld. Windows that you won’t lose the backup power. based on the operating system version.
Mobile users open ActiveSync and If you try several new batteries and Sometimes the problem is as simple as
click Tools and then Backup/Restore. the device remains asleep, then the rebooting the PC; the syncing application
Select the Restore tab and click the
Restore Now button.

Nothing Happens When Pushing


The Power Button
Some devices come with an internal battery
We recently cleaned out the office as extra protection. That way, if the device
shelves and found a couple of old hand-
helds that had collected dust and hadn’t isn’t charged in time before the battery drains,
been used in several years. When we
tried to activate them, one device pow- the internal backup takes over to keep the
ered on, but the other remained dead.
Rather than giving up, we found the information intact.

38 March 2006 / www.pctoday.com


Troubleshoot Your PDA

may have been shut down and just that you don’t have to lose the data on the manufacturer’s Web site and search
needs to be reactivated. If nothing works your device. for information on alignment. You
to this point and you’ve searched the need to send it in for repair.
support resources, it could be an internal The Screen Doesn’t Properly
resource conflict. The process for veri- Respond To The Stylus Software Won’t Install
fying this problem varies by OS. A You should not only back up your de- Before installing any new third-party
search of the manufacturer’s knowledge- vice often but also run the digitizer to software, ensure that your operating
base may reveal a solution. system supports the soft-
ware. First check the soft-
Beaming Doesn’t Work ware’s system requirements
When you use a remote to determine which OSes
control, you make sure that support it. In Palm OS go
the remote can “see” its re- to the home page by tap-
lated device. In most cases, ping House, Menu, and Info
the remote won’t work if and then select Version. On
you’re in a different room. Windows Mobile devices,
Similarly, when beaming tap Start and Settings. Select
between two devices, they the System tab and then
should be close together tap About.
(think inches instead of Information, including the
feet) with their infrared amount of free space avail-
ports facing each other. Palm’s Customer Service And Support page provides information and
able on the device and any
You may simply need to help for Palm OS devices. installed storage cards will
turn on the beaming fea- display. If you have a stor-
ture; it’s generally deacti- age card, you can add files
vated by default due to potential keep the screen properly aligned. In to it. To find this information in
battery drain. Your device’s documen- Windows Mobile tap Start and Settings Palm OS, go to the Info screen and se-
tation should demonstrate how to and select the System tab. Tap Screen lect Size instead of Version from the
do this. If beaming continues to fail, try and then Align Screen. Follow the in- bottom menu.
a soft reset on one of the devices and structions and tap the moving target The Palm quick install application
try again. Should that not work, per- until finished. On the Palm OS, tap Prefs lets you install programs to the expan-
form a soft reset on the other device and Digitizer. sion card. However, some programs
and try again. If aligning the screen doesn’t do the may prevent this. Also, you can put
In some situations, a device may not trick, try a soft reset and run the digi- files on the card from within programs
beam unless you do a hard reset. If tizer again. If the tapping continues to such as the Photos application.
you don’t use the beam function be lopsided, try a hard reset (be sure to For Windows Mobile devices, you can
very often, you may want to email back up first) and try aligning again. It move memory between data storage and
the information you wish to beam so should work by this point. If not, go to program storage. Tap Start and then

Occasionally align
the screen to
keep the stylus
on target.

You may
have to turn
on the Beam In Windows
Receive Mobile devices,
option before allocate more
beaming with memory to storage
another or programs by
device. using the slider.

PC Today / March 2006 39


Troubleshoot Your PDA

Settings, select the System tab, and your device’s manufacturer or even
then tap Memory. Tap and hold on shop for something different, as
the slider and drag it left or right to styli come in various colors and
move it. with added features such as laser
If you don’t have much room pointers and pens. They come as
left to install a new application, low as $1.99 each or a three-pack
you’ll need to remove programs for $3.99. StylusCentral.com carries
and data files or move them to a a variety of styli. Be wary of the
storage card. pen/stylus combos because they
make it too easy to accidentally
Unable To Connect write on the screen with the pen.
To Wireless Network Although using your fingers on oc-
We can stay connected thanks to casion won’t hurt (unless you have
more handheld devices coming long fingernails), it’s better to use
out with built-in Wi-Fi capabili- Install or add files to the Expansion Card via the Quick a stylus, as fingernails can leave
ties, but many devices don’t have Install screen. scratches on the screen. Using a pen,
the capability. If you’ve even one with a clicker, could
confirmed yours has it, you leave ink on the screen.
may need to turn it
on. Wi-Fi is deactivated Warranties &
by default; otherwise, the Documentation
battery is needlessly drain- You should be able to find in-
ed. You can tell if it’s on formation regarding your de-
by looking for the wireless vice’s warranty by going to its
icon usually located at manufacturer’s Web site. Don’t
the top of the Windows worry if you can’t find the de-
Mobile screen. vice’s documentation; most
On the Palm OS device, go manufacturers make that avail-
into Prefs and tap Wi-Fi. An able on their Web sites, too. As
indicator will tell you for buying an extended war-
whether Wi-Fi is activated. ranty contract, the general rec-
The steps may differ de- ommendation is to save your
Whenever your Windows Mobile device needs attention, try
pending on the device, but it money—the need to replace a
Microsoft’s Windows Mobile home page.
should be outlined in the PDA is a rare occurrence.
documentation. Some de- If the device needs to go to the
vices have a light indicator that shows the check the Palm or Microsoft Web site manufacturer for repairs, back it up be-
wireless is on. Some devices use Wi-Fi for more information. fore you ship it. Also, it’s wise to do a
cards with an integrated light indicator. hard reset so that there isn’t a risk of
So first, confirm that the device has Lost Stylus anyone seeing your private data.
Wi-Fi capability and then verify that Because it’s too darn easy to lose a
it’s turned on, following the device’s stylus, some devices come with extra An Ounce Of Prevention . . .
instructions. If it still doesn’t work, styli. You can also buy extras from If you take just one message from this
article, it should be remembering to
back up often. Make it a habit to put the
device in its cradle and sync it when
you get home or leave the office, but
Although using your fingers on occasion don’t leave it in the cradle for a long
time once it’s charged. It’s best not to
charge it until the battery is below the
won’t hurt (unless you have long fingernails), 50% mark, but you can back it up
anytime—just take it off the cradle
it’s better to use a stylus, as fingernails can when it’s finished. Here’s to your de-
vice’s good health.

leave scratches on the screen. by Meryl K. Evans

40 March 2006 / www.pctoday.com


Troubleshoot Your PDA

Troubleshoot
Your Device
Don’t Let The Gremlins Get You Down

or many of us, PDAs and smart- If your PDA uses common alkaline

F phones have become a way of


life. They hold critical personal
and business information, in-
cluding email addresses, telephone num-
bers, to-do lists, calendars, and maps.
batteries, go ahead and try a fresh set.
But before you order an expensive
rechargeable battery pack replacement,
connect the PDA to an alternate power
source. The easiest thing to do is to pop
When one of these devices starts acting the PDA into its charging cradle and turn
erratically, or not at all, visions of im- it on. If it springs to life, then you can be
pending doom may flash before your eyes. pretty sure the batteries or the battery
But many problems are easier to trou- pack are history. Before you toss the bat-
bleshoot than you might think. tery pack, though, charge it one last time
to be sure.
General Troubleshooting Tips Rechargeable batteries won’t charge.
Your PDA is DOA. The fact that your All rechargeable batteries have a limited
PDA won’t turn on doesn’t necessarily lifespan. If a battery won’t recharge, it
mean it’s dead. In most cases you can trace may be time to replace it. But before you
the problem to a battery that has had its replace it, verify that your PDA’s charging
life force sucked out one too many times. system is working correctly.

PC Today / March 2006 41


Troubleshoot Your PDA

First, make sure the charger is plug- Li-Ion (Lithium Ion) and LiPo (Lith- Screen remains blank. A screen that
ged in. If you use a power strip or surge ium Polymer) batteries perform best remains blank after you turn the
protector, make sure it’s plugged in and when they are kept charged. Fully dis- BlackBerry on is usually a sign that you
turned on. Place the PDA in its cradle. charging these types of batteries will re- need to charge or replace the battery.
With the PDA turned off, check the con- duce the batteries’ lifetime. Unlike If you’re pretty sure that the battery
nection. It shouldn’t wobble or dislodge NiCad and NiMH batteries, you cannot is up to snuff, there are a couple of
easily. If it seems loose, try discon- rejuvenate Li-Ion and LiPo batteries other possibilities.
necting and then reconnecting. Check once they fail to hold a charge. Magnetic interference can prevent the
the PDA’s manual to determine wheth- display or the handheld from working.
er the connection should “click” in BlackBerry Devices If the handheld is near a strong magnetic
place. If so, you may need to seat the Your BlackBerry continually reini- source, such as a CRT (cathode-ray tube)
connection better. tializes. The problem is usually a battery display, computer or stereo speaker, or
Turn the PDA on. If it starts charging, that is too drained to power the Black- medical equipment, move the handheld
let the battery go through the charge Berry. Recharging the battery usually and try turning it on again.
cycle. If it doesn’t start charging, try a does the trick. A damaged OS, as well as missing or
soft reset. The soft reset procedure If a fresh charge doesn’t solve the damaged applications, can also cause a
varies by PDA type; refer to the manual problem, you may need to reinitialize blank screen. The OS or applications
for instructions. your handheld’s software. This requires can become damaged if some type of
After the soft reset, if you still don’t performing a hard reset, which may problem occurs when you’re using the
see any charging activity, check the cause a loss of data. Use the Appli- Application Loader. To correct the
cradle for a reset button or hole. Most cation Loader or Backup And Restore problem, use the Application Loader to
cradles have a reset control for the function to back up your data before at- erase and reload the data on the hand-
charging circuit. With the PDA out of tempting a hard reset. Refer to the held. This process will delete all ex-
the cradle, press the reset button. manual for instructions. isting data, so if possible, back up the
If the battery still won’t charge, try an- Routine tasks take longer than usual. data first.
other charging system, such as a car- Chances are your handheld is running
based charger or a colleague’s compatible low on available memory. To check Palm Devices
charging system. If the PDA starts charg- how much free memory is available, go Your PDA resets or turns off when
ing, you will know it’s time to repair or to the Home screen and select Options encrypting documents. A handheld
replace your charging system. and then Status. In the Status screen, that resets or shuts off while encrypt-
If all else fails, try a hard reset. check the File Free value and the File ing may be running out of available
Be warned, though, that a hard reset Total value. File Free is the current memory. There are two ways to correct
usually results in a loss of data. Refer amount of available file space; File this problem.
to the manual for instructions on Total is the amount of file space avail- Encrypting a smaller batch of records
backing up your data and performing a able after loading the operating system at a time will use a smaller area of
hard reset. and basic applications. memory for the process and may solve
Battery charge doesn’t last long. Ni- To ensure good performance, try to the problem without further ado. The
Cad (nickel cadmium) and NiMH (nickel- have 400KB to 500KB free. If you have other method is to free up available
metal hydride) batteries require routine less than this, use the Application Loader memory. An easy way to do this is to
deep discharges in order to hold a normal to back up your data and then perform a delete older calendar appointments,
charge. To restore the run time of a NiCad hard reset. The hard reset runs a garbage tasks, and email. If you use the Purge
or NiMH battery pack, drain the battery collection routine and recovers function, you can archive and delete
by using your PDA until it no longer fragmented space in flash older calendar entries in a single step.
turns on. Place the PDA in its charging memory. If you still have
cradle and recharge the battery. Repeat insufficient memory
the process, including draining the bat- space after performing A PDA that appears to be toast may merely
tery, a second time. After the second a hard reset, delete be the victim of a dead battery. Before you
recharge, the battery should run for a old items you spend money on a new battery pack, put
longer period of time. If you are not able don’t need or ap- the PDA in its charging cradle. If you can
to achieve a sufficiently long run time, it plications you turn the PDA on, you’ll know it’s time to
may be time to replace the battery. no longer use. replace the battery pack.

42 March 2006 / www.pctoday.com


Troubleshoot Your PDA

The purging process The first time you usually doesn’t present a problem, un-
varies by model; re- turned on your hand- less you go for long periods between
fer to the manual for held, you were prompt- using and charging your device. If you
specifics. For Treo 650, ed to calibrate the don’t use your Pocket PC often or you
Tungsten, and Zire de- touchscreen. The touch- anticipate an extended period of inac-
vices, launch the ap- screen requires recali- tivity, back up your data to ensure you
plication you want to bration from time to won’t lose it.
purge data from and time to ensure accu- Charge time is unusually long. Many
then access the Menu racy. You can perform USB cradles can charge a handheld via
Launcher. From the the calibration routine power supplied from a PC’s USB port,
Records menu, select whenever you notice in- eliminating the need to plug an AC
Purge. A confirmation accuracy creeping in, adapter into the cradle. The power
dialog box will display whether it’s tapping an available from a USB port is limited,
with the option to select icon and having nothing however. Most USB cradles use a trickle
the records to purge happen, tapping an icon charging system when powered by USB,
Some devices turn themselves
and the option to Save and having the wrong so charging a battery can take quite a
off when battery power gets too
An Archive Copy On application launch, or while. If you need faster charging, use
low. If you’re not sure whether
PC. Be sure to select the getting an off-kilter in- the AC adapter instead.
a device is actually recharging,
archive option; other- sertion bar when you ActiveSync connection erros. If you
look for a lightning bolt over the
wise, you will lose your tap to create an inser- connect a Pocket PC to your PC with a
battery icon. The lightning bolt
data when you purge tion point. serial cable and then use ActiveSync to
lets you know that the device is
the records. Click OK to To recalibrate the sync your files, you may see one or more
charging properly.
start the process. touchscreen, access the connection errors that prevent you from
Stuck in the network Application Launcher completing the sync.
selection screen. This problem is most and select the Prefs application. Choose One very common cause of these er-
often seen in the Tungsten line of Palm Touchscreen or Digitizer from the rors is a PDA modem speed that is set
devices. It crops up after you success- Preferences pick list (Treo), or scroll too high. Lowering the connection
fully connect to a wireless access point, through the pick list of preferences and speed may allow you to achieve a stable
which then is turned off, fails, or is af- choose Digitizer (Tungsten or Zire). and error-free connection. Try setting
fected by severe interference. Follow the on-screen instructions to your PDA’s modem connection to
When this happens, your wireless complete the calibration process. speeds of 19,200bps (bits per second) or
Palm device will display the No Net- 9,600bps. ActiveSync will automatically
work Connection Found dialog box. If Pocket PCs adjust to the new connection speed.
you attempt to reconnect or scan for Device drains batteries, even when
new networks, your handheld may not in use. This is actually normal for Did We Mention Backups?
continuously try to reconnect to the many Pocket PCs that use volatile RAM In case we forgot to mention it, be
original access point. If it fails to con- to store data. When you turn the Pocket sure to back up your data—often.
nect, you will be locked into the net- PC off, it maintains a small trickle cur- Carrying the only copy of your data
work configuration screen; selecting rent to preserve the data in RAM. This around with you in the hostile envi-
OK will not clear it. ronment of mobile computing is a
The best option is to get the ac- recipe for disaster. Back up your
cess point working again. Once the In order to hold a data to your computer and then
access point is working, the hand- full charge, NiMH save it to CD or DVD on a regular
held will make the connection, and (nickel-metal hydride) basis. If you have a recent back-
the screen will be available. and NiCad (nickel up, then a broken PDA or smart-
If you have no control over the cadmium) batteries phone is merely an annoyance, not
access point, you will need to per- require a routine deep a catastrophe.
form a soft reset on your handheld. discharge. Use your
Refer to the manual for instructions. PDA until it no longer by Tom Nelson
Tapping an icon launches an un- turns on and then and Mary O’Connor
expected application or function. recharge the batteries.

PC Today / March 2006 43


Wireless Explained

h, the wonderful world are no longer a proximity concern for To briefly explain: Radio is the mod-

A
of wireless technology. user comfort. ulated transmission of signals by elec-
Never before has one The thing is, for most users, there’s tromagnetic waves with frequencies
word become such an a mystique surrounding the ins and below those of light. In other words,
ubiquitous identifier outs of how exactly wireless networks radio waves travel in what is known as
for freedom. You can work. Almost every wireless access cycles. A radio wave literally travels up
easily find wireless phones, wireless point or network card available on the a slope to a point and then comes back
remote controls, wireless headsets, and market provides detailed instructions down to the equal distance on the neg-
wireless networking in both the mar- on how to set up and connect to a new ative side of the slope. Each cycle of a
ketplace and in the general lexicon, wireless network, but not many (if any) radio wave is measured in hertz; 1Hz
describing the ease with which you explain how the connection is made simply means one cycle per second.
can use your various technological mar- and what impact it may have on the You can apply the idea to any periodic
vels without all the nagging concerns that electronic devices already in use in event that occurs at regular intervals; a
wires bring. It’s become such a com- your house. clock could be said to tick at 1Hz (be-
mon phrase that people are taking for cause it counts off one second per
granted the actual technological aspects of The Roots Of Rootless second). With the use of proper equip-
being “wireless.” Networking ment, it is possible to place data (such
These days, more and more impor- Believe it or not, Wi-Fi has more in as audio, video, or in the case of Wi-Fi,
tance is being placed on making your common with your cordless phone or bits of information) on these waves and
computer network wireless. The idea transistor radio than it does with actual have them “ride” the wave as it is
that you can work and play from any- networking hardware. At its core, Wi-Fi broadcast outward. Provided you have
where, be it in the office or at home, is is nothing more than radio signals being a receiver set to receive information on
equally appealing to all users because it broadcast and received, just like televi- the frequency that the data is broadcast
means that CAT(category) 5 cable outlets sion or your favorite rock station. on, you can receive that data. So, when

44 March 2006 / www.pctoday.com


Wireless Explained

you turn on your radio and tune to is measured in hertz. So, to make use of atmospheric conditions on which the
your favorite station, you’re actually a band (a range of frequencies, divided wave typically rides.
using a receiver that is told to look for so that only one type of data travels on • Medium wave is 530KHz to 1,710KHz
information on a particular frequency that particular frequency), the channels in the Americas and 530KHz to
of radio signal. on your radio and television are divided 1,620KHz in other parts of the world.
Your radio has particular channels into ranges. This is the typical band you will find
you can tune into and hear various types AM radio is broadcast in on several on your AM radio dial.
of broadcasts in varying degrees of fi- frequency bands: • Short wave is 2,300KHz to 26,100KHz,
delity. This is because radio frequencies • Long wave is 153KHz (kilohertz or divided into 15 broadcast bands. Short
are actually differences in the speed at 1,000Hz) to 279KHz; it is not available wave broadcasts generally use a
which the radio wave modulates, which in the Western Hemisphere due to the narrow 5KHz channel spacing. Police
radios/scanners, CB and Ham Radio
operators, baby monitors, and other
unlicensed broadcasts all make use of

In most of the world, the FM the short wave band.

In most of the world, the FM broad-


broadcast band, used for broadcasting FM cast band, which is used for broad-
casting FM radio stations, spans from
87.5MHz to 108.0 MHz (1MHz is equal
radio stations, spans from 87.5MHz to 108.0 to 1 million hertz).
All of these bands mentioned are in
the VHF (very high frequency) band,
MHz (1MHz is equal to 1 million hertz). which is why some radios you purchase

PC Today / March 2006 45


Wireless Explained

the broadcaster (which explains why you multiple receivers in multiple locations
may have a little interference with your to connect. The 802.11b standard trans-
cordless phone if you are using a wireless mits roughly 11Mbps (megabits per
network and vice-versa. Sometimes, the second), making it much slower than a
transmission of data on one wave might wired network; this is why corporate
creep over into another). networks were slow to adopt the new
When wireless networking first came technology. (Not to mention security
about, data was transmitted on multiple concerns and the fact that they were al-
bands with various channels. There were ready invested in expensive CAT 5 net-
no real standards on how to broadcast work cable outlets placed at each desk).
and receive data, which meant that Around the same time, 802.11a was rat-
people on the forefront of wireless net- ified. It operates in the 5GHz spectrum,
working were running into all sorts of in- allowing a greater amount of data to
terference from other transmissions. In travel to the receiver at once due to the
addition, the lack of any standard for increased number of waves per second
wireless networking made it virtually (roughly 54Mbps). The downside: Due
impossible for one computer on one to the frequency, use of 802.11a hard-
radio-based connection to work with a ware was reduced to line-of-sight access
Because newer cordless phones operate in different connection elsewhere because because the broadcast is directional; it
the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, they may there was no “common tongue” for all only travels in one direction at once. This
interfere with your wireless network. Try the devices to speak. means that multiple access points are
changing channels on your phone or Enter the IEEE (Institute of Electrical needed so multiple people can connect to
relocating the base to reduce interference. and Electronics Engineers). The IEEE cre- the network at the same time. This, along
ated a standard in 1997 known as 802.11 with the higher regulatory standards in-
(standard number 802, revision 11), volved with the 5GHz spectrum and the
will actually pick up TV audio if you which unified all hardware involved in cost of components, meant that 802.11a
tune it to the right channel. radio-based networking. When it was never really got off of the ground in the
VHF is the radio frequency range from ratified, five or six different, completely commercial market.
30MHz to 300MHz. Frequencies immedi- non-interoperable commercial products
ately below VHF are HF (high frequency), appeared using the original standard.
and the next higher frequencies are The greatest weakness of this original
known as UHF (ultra high frequency), the specification was that it offered so many
channels above 13 on your standard TV choices that interoperability was really
set (not cable or satellite channels). Waves something of an impossibility.
whose frequency is above the UHF band
fall into the microwave or higher bands; Attack Of The Killer ‘B’s’
the bands on which Wi-Fi travels. Legacy 802.11 was rapidly supple-
Wi-Fi actually operates in two separate mented (and popularized) by 802.11b
radio bands. The standards known as because it locked down many of the
802.11b and 802.11g operate in the choices that vendors had when creating
2.4GHz (1GHz is equal to 5 billion hertz) radio broadcasts. Also, due to the fre- A wireless networking card is necessary to
band, while 802.11a operates in the 5GHz quency at which it modulates (2.4GHz), connect to an access point and access a
range. You may have heard of the 2.3GHz the signal is omnidirectional, meaning it wireless network. Make sure to check the
and 5GHz ranges before in regards to can broadcast in all directions at once, standard it operates in; 802.11b and
cordless phones. That’s because Wi-Fi and making it possible to place one access 802.11g are compatible with one another,
cordless share the same bands, which ex- point in a central location and enable while 802.11a stands alone.
plains why you might run into interfer-
ence when a cordless phone rings while
you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network. The
reason this occurs is that it has something When wireless networking first came
to do with the spacing between waves in
these bands. It is possible to broadcast
multiple data streams at once, each one
about, data was transmitted
being encrypted only to be deciphered by
a receiver with the same information as on multiple bands with various channels.
46 March 2006 / www.pctoday.com
Wireless Explained

In June 2003, IEEE ratified 802.11g. encountering interference and insta- broadcasting the same data on mul-
This standard works in the 2.4GHz band bility in their 802.11b and 802.11g net- tiple signals at once to increase band-
just like 802.11b. The difference is that it works: A new standard, known as width, which reduces interference
can put through a maximum data rate 802.11n, which builds upon previous because one signal can pick up the
of 54Mbps, the same as slack when another experi-
802.11a. With the increased ences interference.)
speed of data transmission Add to this the advent of
coupled with the fact that WiMAX (Worldwide Inter-
the 802.11g hardware and operability for Microwave
802.11b hardware are com- Access), aka 802.16 (working
pletely interoperable, the group number 16 of IEEE
802.11g standard spread 802, specializing in point-
like wildfire in consumer to-multipoint broadband
and corporate markets. wireless access). WiMAX is
Despite its major accep- significantly different from
tance, 802.11g suffers from that of Wi-Fi (and Ethernet
the same interference as from which Wi-Fi is de-
802.11b does from cordless rived). In Wi-Fi each broad-
phones, walkie-talkies, mi- caster attempting to pass
crowave ovens, and other data through an access point
consumer electronic de- Wi-Fi access allows for connectivity anywhere a network card can retrieve a competes for the access
vices that don’t require a transmission. Provided that you are near a powerful access point, you can point’s attention on a ran-
license to broadcast in the even surf the Internet from your local park. dom basis. This can cause
already crowded 2.4GHz distant nodes from the ac-
range. Although 802.11g cess point to be repeatedly
held the promise of higher interrupted by less sensi-
throughput, actual results tive, closer nodes, greatly
were degraded by a num- reducing throughput.
ber of factors: such as con- The 802.16 broadcaster,
flict with 802.11b-only however, only has to com-
devices (operating 802.11b pete once for initial entry
and 802.11g devices at the into the network. After that
same time actually reduces the base station allocates a
the speed of 802.11g be- time slot. The time slot can
cause data ride on the get larger or smaller based
same waves), exposure to on need, but it remains as-
the same interference signed to the subscriber
sources as 802.11b, limited station (the broadcaster),
channelization (only three meaning that other sub-
fully nonoverlapping chan- scribers are not supposed to
nels like 802.11b), and the Soon, entire cities will have the opportunity to become completely WiMAX use it but take their turn.
fact that the higher data enabled, allowing wireless Internet access and networking for all residents WiMAX was originally
rates of 802.11g are often with a compatible network card. scheduled to use bands in
more susceptible to inter- the 10GHz to 66GHz range.
ference than 802.11b be- Thanks to 802.16a, it has
cause of the range in which it operates. 802.11 standards by adding MIMO added support for the 2GHz to 11GHz
This causes 802.11g devices to auto-ad- (multiple input/multiple output) and range, giving WiMAX full range of both
just and broadcast at a slower, more OFDM (orthogonal frequency-divi- licensed and unlicensed microwave
stable rate, closer to the rate at which sion multiplexing). These terms are bands to operate on, which makes it
802.11b broadcasts. somewhat confusing and technical, but ideal for city or county-wide wireless
what it all boils down to is that MIMO networking access.
The ‘N’ Stands For “No uses several different receiver and
More Trouble” transmitter antennas to allow for in- by Joe Peacock
In January 2004, the IEEE made a creased data broadcast simultaneously.
very exciting announcement to those (This is also known as multiplexing,

PC Today / March 2006 47


Wireless Explained

I
n 2001 a group of companies are jumping on the precertification offers data transfer rates of up to
formed the nonprofit trade bandwagon, announcing products 75Mbps (megabits per second; just
organization known as the they assert will be compatible with over 9MBps [megabytes per second])
WiMAX Forum. Since that the upcoming Wi-Fi standard, 802.11n. over distances of up to 30 miles (4 to 6
time, those companies have To help you understand what these miles is typical). A second standard,
been touting WiMAX (World- precertifications mean and what their 802.16e, establishes specifications for
wide Interoperability for Microwave effects on you or your company might mobile WiMAX (such as for laptops or
Access) as the latest and greatest be, we’ll compare the two standards cell phones). Approved by the IEEE in
wireless broadband standard. Unfor- and discuss the reliability of precerti- December 2005, it offers similar speeds
tunately, formal testing and certi- fied solutions. over slightly shorter distances (typi-
fication was delayed several times, cally 1 to 3 miles).
beginning in earnest in mid-2005. In Common Denominators Wi-Fi, on the other hand, adheres to
the interim some vendors got tired of Other than being wireless technolo- the 802.11 standard, which provides
the wait and looked elsewhere for a gies, WiMAX and Wi-Fi share a few close-range, wireless broad-band ac-
wireless standard, while others devel- common bonds. Both operate under a cess in fixed and mobile environments.
oped early, noncertified technologies system of standards approved and This standard went through several
called pre-WiMAX solutions. documented by the IEEE (Institute of waves of development before arriving
Now that testing and certification Electrical and Electronics Engineers). at the current leader, 802.11g, which
is proceeding, companies that adopted The WiMAX standards group is col- supports speeds of as much as 54Mbps
pre-WiMAX systems are wonder- lectively called 802.16. The standard over distances of up to 300 feet.
ing how these products will perform for fixed WiMAX (wireless broadband In 2003 the IEEE responded to
in the certified market. At the same to stationary devices such as home growing demand for increased wire-
time, supporters of a different wireless or office PCs) is 802.16-2004. Ratified less performance by authorizing
technology, Wi-Fi (wireless fidelity), by the IEEE in July 2004, 802.16-2004 the creation of the IEEE 802.11 Task

48 March 2006 / www.pctoday.com


Wireless Explained

Group N (802.11TGn). IEEE charged WiMAX can operate on a number of the long delay may have encour-
the group with developing modi- spectrums, and its various specifica- aged more companies to release pre-
fications to the 802.11 specifica- tions support four targets: fixed, no- WiMAX products. By the time IEEE
tion to support a minimum speed of madic, portable, and mobile. The result held the first plugfest last Novem-
100Mbps. Developers assert the final is an array of profiles, many (if not ber at the Global WiMAX Summit in
specification may support transfer most) of which are not interoperable Beijing, China, companies and munici-
speeds exceeding 200Mbps over with each other. A product may be cer- palities had deployed more than 150
longer distances than 802.11 currently tified in a single profile, or its devel- pilot and commercial WiMAX net-
supports. IEEE also called for 802.11n oper can attempt certification in more works, according to Ron Resnick, pres-
to be backward-compatible with ear- than one profile if appropriate. ident of the WiMAX Forum.
lier standards: 802.11a, 802.11b, and Additionally, because WiMAX is The networks, either built or in
802,11g. (Currently, the three are not based on an open (nonproprietary) process, range from the highly tar-
interoperable, although some devices standard, IEEE had to create a set of geted, such as BellSouth’s commercial
support more than one protocol.) benchmarks, find a company that wireless Internet network (built pri-
could measure them, and then vali- marily to serve University of Georgia
Certification Solutions date the testing process and equip- students in the city of Athens, Ga.), to
It might seem that after a specifica- ment before certification could begin. the widespread, including a wireless
tion is approved, as is the case with These problems resulted in numerous broadband network that covers 8,000
WiMAX, vendors should be able to delays and postponements. square miles of southeastern Alberta
develop products and run with them. To reduce complexity and speed up and serves rural consumers and the
However, companies must undergo a the initial certification process, IEEE fi- Alberta government. An array of com-
strict approval process before they can nally divided certification into five panies and customers, from film festi-
mark their products certified. waves. Certification for the first wave vals to the Brighton Express commuter
Certification ensures that a product began in July 2005 at Cetecom Spain in train, are using WiMAX as a wireless
meets a set of criteria (that Malaga. Certification testing for the broadband solution.
it conforms to one or second and third waves should be com- Another factor that likely encour-
more profiles) and that pleted sometime this year. The five aged vendors to release pre-WiMAX
it will be interoperable waves of certification are as follows: solutions was the continuity of the
with equipment of at • Wave 1: Products are certified at the standard. From the release of the
least three other devices most basic level, enabling an air link final specification until its ratifica-
from that profile. Certification enables without demonstrating the ability to tion in 2004, the IEEE made only
companies at every level, from broad- deliver voice and data services over minor tweaks. Such consistency gave
band providers to end users, to create that link. vendors a high level of confidence
their own best package solution • Wave 2: Products are certified on that there would be few, if any, sub-
without regard to vendor. QoS (Quality of Service; the ability sequent changes, and such proved to
The IEEE engages independent, of a product to provide reliable ser- be the case.
unbiased firms to conduct certifica- vice and appropriately prioritize net- The delays also encouraged some
tion testing and sets up certification work flow), security, and advanced vendors to begin their own inter-
labs at locations around the world. It radio features for outdoor CPEs operability trials. In March 2005
also conducts “plugfests,” where (consumer premise equipment) such WiMAX developers Alvarion, Air-
companies come together and con- as transmitters and receivers span Networks, and Redline Com-
duct tests of their equipment with de- • Wave 3: Products become certified munications announced the start
vices from other companies to see if for indoor CPEs, such as modems of private interoperability testing
they are interoperable. and PC Cards, for fixed and no- between Alvarion’s BreezeMAX plat-
madic networks form, Airspan’s AS.MAX product line,
Restart A Stalled Train • Wave 4: Products will be partially and Redline’s AN-100U line of pre-
In the case of WiMAX, IEEE has certified for mobile WiMAX (802.16e) WiMax base stations.
had a difficult time preparing for the • Wave 5: Products can be certified for Since that time Alvarion announced
certification process. When initial full mobility it would skip the first wave of certi-
Wi-Fi certification began many years fication altogether; it’s not the only
ago, there was only one profile. (The All Aboard company to do so. “It’s a crawl, walk,
IEEE has expanded the number Although vendors were initially run process,” said Carlton O’Neal, vice
of profiles since then.) WiMAX, eager for WiMAX certification, and president of marketing at Alvarion,
on the other hand, is a much more Wall Street was (and still is) anxious in an interview with UK-based IT
complex animal. for certified products to be available, site Techworld.com. “If someone is

PC Today / March 2006 49


Wireless Explained

walking already, then they don’t need pain- and cost-free conversion or the road. (Remember the VHS/
to do a test to show they can crawl.” upgrade to certified WiMAX if nec- Betamax debacle?)
(Alvarion has committed to become essary,” he notes. “Companies who Proponents of MIMO, which sends
certified during the second wave.) exercised caution during develop- data out over multiple antennas and
Alvarion is a small but dominant ment should not experience any then recombines it at the receiving
player in the WiMAX market, and as problems becoming certified.” How- end, assert its superiority. It effec-
such probably has the credibility to ever, he warns that certification tively increases transmission speeds
skip a wave. Other companies are does not mean all WiMAX products without a resulting increase in spec-
skipping phase one because they will be interoperable with all others. trum usage. However, its critics say
cannot afford to go through every In particular, fixed and mobile the technology is more expensive to
WiMAX products may implement than the 40MHz band-
not interoperate. width, single-antenna system and has
In mid-2004 PCTEL launched a line of greater power requirements.
midpriced, commercial-grade WiMAX Wi-Fi Worries In late 2005 Intel helped engineer a
(802.16-2004) antennas. An even less-certain solution that marries aspects of the
future awaits the compa- two proposals and employs both
nies that opt for a Wi-Fi 20MHz and 40MHz spectrums. Many
802.11n precertification industry experts predict that Intel’s vi-
solution. Since the IEEE sion will guide the final 802.11n speci-
called for a specification fication, which representatives of the
in 2003, major players Wi-Fi Alliance say they expect in
have been unable to agree November 2006. (They also expect cer-
on a standard, and many tification to begin at that time.)
have formed indepen- In the meantime, Airgo and Atheros
dent development consor- Communications are producing pre-
tiums. At one point the certification 802.11n chips for use in
IEEE 802.11n task group routers and other networking equip-
was sorting through 61 ment. Technology mavens caution
proposals. The stakes for consumers against adopting tech-
a protocol useful for nologies based on emerging stan-
everything from stream- dards. According to the 802.11 Q&A
ing video to wireless on the Wi-Fi Alliance site, “There is a
switches are high, and range of potential interoperability is-
large technology firms sues with products built based on an
want to put their stamp early draft of the IEEE 802.11n stan-
on the specification. dard. Products produced by different
phase of testing. Nevertheless, the Generally, the proposals fall into vendors may not work together.” If
WiMAX train is gathering speed. one of two categories, conforming consumers choose to purchase precer-
“Analysts believe that once equip- either to the suggestions of the tification 802.11n products, they
ment is certified, service providers WWiSE (World Wide Spectrum should at least ensure they are com-
would begin to roll out nationwide Efficiency) group (Airgo, Broadcom, patible with current technologies such
WiMAX service in the licensed bands, Motorola, Texas Instruments, and as 802.11b and 802.11g. (The Wi-Fi
particularly in Asia and Europe,” others) or the TGn Sync group Alliance is a global trade organization
says Suzanne Yingling, principal of (Atheros Communications, Intel, that, among other things, oversees
business consulting firm WiMAXetc. Philips, Sony, and others). WWiSE Wi-Fi certification.)
Yingling predicts that even some of advocates use of a 20MHz band- In a nutshell, precertification equip-
the major Wi-Fi rollouts this year will width spectrum incorporating MIMO ment, such as the WiMAX solutions
convert to WiMAX eventually. (multiple input/multiple output) produced over the last two years, is
So what does this mean for com- technology to increase bandwidth, generally a fairly safe bet. However,
panies that adopted pre-WiMAX while the TGn Sync group asserts consumers should approach preratifi-
solutions? That depends on what sort that a 40MHz, double-wide chan- cation equipment, such as that cur-
of promises a company received nel would be more effective. If rently in development for 802.11n,
from its vendor, says Atlanta-based the IEEE standards process breaks with caution.
IT consultant Brad Pervis. “Many down, the result could be compet-
pre-WiMAX vendors guaranteed a ing, incompatible standards down by Jennifer Farwell

50 March 2006 / www.pctoday.com


Wireless Explained

CS, QoS, TDMA, WAP. Are you can use wireless Bluetooth key- Cells usually cover about 10 square

P you scratching your head


in confusion because you
don’t have a clue what any
of these abbreviations or acronyms
mean? You’re not alone. Cellular ter-
board with your either device.

BSC (Base Station Controller)


Together with the BTS (Base Trans-
ceiver Station), the BSC links traditional
miles, although to increase coverage
density, they can accommodate macro-
cells, microcells, and picocells. The cell
is composed of a base station that in-
cludes a tower and radio equipment
minology is rife with these terms. In wired telephone networks and wireless usually housed in a small structure.
this article we’ll explain some of the devices by managing frequency assign-
most prevalent acronyms and terms ment and carrying out radio signal CDMA (Code-Division
you’re likely to encounter in conversa- functions for the BTS. The BSC can con- Multiple Access)
tions about cell phones. nect with multiple BTSes at once. CDMA (a form of direct sequence
spread spectrum communication) is a
Bluetooth BTS (Base Transceiver Station) digital cellular, multiple-access tech-
Bluetooth technology uses short- Better known as the Base Station, the nique defined in IS-95 and IS-2000
range radio frequencies to wirelessly BTS communicates with cell and PCS by QUALCOMM. CDMA was origi-
connect devices such as PDAs, mobile (Personal Communication Service) nally used in WWII by the British allies
phones, and computers. Devices that phones, covering one wireless service to thwart transmission. By transmitting
are within range to receive the fre- cell location, and comprises the radio over several frequencies rather than just
quency can communicate as long as transmitter and receiver. More than one one, CDMA uses the full available spec-
they have Bluetooth technology built- BTS can connect with the BSC at once. trum of frequencies for its users. CDMA
in. For example, if your mobile phone boasts better voice and data communi-
has Bluetooth capabilities, you can use Cell cation capacity than other commercial
it with a wireless headset. And if your The cell is the physical geographic mobile technologies, permitting more
computer or laptop uses Bluetooth, coverage area of one network’s BTS. subscribers to connect simultaneously.

PC Today / March 2006 51


Wireless Explained

standing in mobile messaging because


Circuit Switching you can use it to not only send text, QoS (Quality Of Service)
Circuit switching guarantees a dedi- but also images (JPEG, GIF), audio QoS (as it relates to wireless termi-
cated line connection for transmission (MP3, MIDI [Musical Instrument nology) refers to the assessment of a
between two parties. It works best when Digital Interface]), and video (MPEG). network’s ability to provide service to
you need to quickly send data that must (Including from mobile phone to mo- network traffic over a variety of tech-
also arrive in the same order it was sent bile phone, as well as from mobile nologies. The aim of QoS is to establish
(for instance live audio and video). phone to email address.) An MMS priority, including dedicated band-
message has no size restrictions and width, controlled jitter and latency,
EDGE (Enhanced Data therefore requires a 3G (third genera- and to reduce exhibits of loss while
for GSM Evolution) tion) network to send larger messages. ensuring that providing priority
EDGE is a recent enhancement to to one flow does not result in
GSM (Global System for Mobile Com- Packet Switching other flows failing.
munications) giving it the ability to Packet switching is a method in

COPYRIGHT NOKIA, 2005


handle greater data rates than normally which a device divides data into indi-
offered to users of the GSM spectrum vidual packets before sending the data
allowing mobile providers to deliver to a final destination. Although packets
multimedia and broadband applica- travel different routes, the device
tions to cellular users. receiving the data reassembles the pack-
ets into the original transmission once
GSM (Global System for Mobile everything arrives. Most WANs (wide-
Communications) area networks) are packet-switched
The most widely used of the digital based because they are more efficient Using cell phones, such as this Nokia 9290
wireless technologies (TDMA [Time- for sending email and Web pages that Communicator, may be easier than
Division Multiple Access], GSM, don’t rely on real-time transmissions. understanding cellular technology and terms.
and CDMA), GSM also is the
digital mobile telephone PCS (Personal
system used predominantly Communications Service) Roaming
outside the United States (in PCS is a completely digital wireless Roaming refers to the ability of a
Europe and globally). Oper- telephone service that operates at the cell phone user to accept and make
ating at 900MHz or 1,800MHz fre- 1,900MHz frequency. Usable interna- telephone connections on a net-
quencies, GSM uses a variation of tionally, PCS service is part of the cur- work outside of his home network.
TDMA and digitizes and compresses rent trend toward digital technologies Roaming can only occur when the
data, sending it along a channel with that are expected to encompass digital user’s home network and the visited
two other streams of user data, each in wireless cable, digital video from network have previously established
its own time slot. broadcast satellites, digital television, an invoicing structure that lets them
and digital cameras. invoice the user.
iDEN (Integrated Digital
Enhanced Network)
Motorola’s iDEN is wireless commu- Anatomy Of A Cellular Call
nications technology that integrates (in
a single network) the capabilities of ell phones are essentially two-way communication devices, called transceivers.
two-way radios, alphanumeric pagers,
data/fax modems, and digital cellular
C The cell phones use high-frequency radio signals to communicate with a cell
tower (aka base station), which houses several antennas and special switches that
telephones. iDEN is based on the let you receive and transmit calls. When you make a call, the cell phone sends a
TDMA and GSM structures and oper- request to the cell tower to connect you to a standard telephone line (land line)
ates in the 800MHz, 900MHz, and on the PSTN (public switched telephone network). This is accomplished via a spe-
1.5GHz bands. cial switch in the cell tower that has the task of opening a radio channel to your
phone, as well as making a connection to the public telephone network. Cell
MMS (Multimedia towers are strategically placed in geographic areas (called cells) in such a way that
Messaging Service) when a radio signal becomes too weak, your phone automatically switches to the
MMS, like SMS (Short Messaging nearest cell tower in an attempt to maintain your call. If you’ve ever been talking
Service), is a means for sending mes- on your phone while traveling and had your call drop abruptly, you probably
sages form one mobile device to moved too far from a cell tower to maintain proper signal strength. ❙
another. It is considered the new

52 March 2006 / www.pctoday.com


Wireless Explained

COPYRIGHT NOKIA, 2005


RF (Radio Frequency) TDMA (Time-Division
A host of wireless applications and Multiple Access)
technologies rely on RF field prop- TDMA is a digital, wireless tech-
agation. Within the electromagnetic nology that divides cellular chan-
spectrum, radio frequency refers to nels into three time slots, thereby
any of the frequencies associated with increasing load capacity. The tech-
radio wave generation. Electromag- nology was developed to boost how
netic fields are created and propagate much data is conveyed over digital
through space when radio frequency cellular telephone communications.
current is sent to an antenna. D-AMPS (Digital-American Mobile
Phone Service), GSM, and PDC (Per-
SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) sonal Digital Cellular) all use a form
A SIM is a small smart card con- of TDMA.
taining programs and data, which
has the A3 and A8 algorithms imple- UMTS (Universal Mobile
mented in it. The SIM contains Telecommunications System)
This is an example of the Nokia Connect
important user data, including the UMTS aims to establish reliable,
GSM Solution. GSM is the most widely used
user’s International Mobile Sub- global networks that will support a
digital wireless technology.
scriber Identity, and can also store broad range of voice, data, and multi-
user-defined data such as address media wireless technologies. The state-
and phone book entries. An impor- internationally), the text is stored in the of-the-art 3G wireless telephone
tant factor for some GSM users is the central short message center, which is system implemented in Europe, UMTS
ability to move the SIM from one part of the SMS. The message is then carries out wireless transmission in the
mobile station to another, facilitat- forwarded to the destination mobile de- 2GHz frequency and permits roaming
ing upgrades. vice. If the recipient is unavailable when on a global scale along with person-
the message is sent, the message is alized features and will instantly
SMS (Short Message Service) stored until it is sent later. If the sender move data over numerous networks.
While the short message described chooses to do so, he may request a re- Depending upon location, UMTS
here cannot exceed 160 characters, the turn receipt, whereby the service noti- achieves multimedia data speed rates
short message service offers a conve- fies him if the message sent was indeed of 144Kbps (kilobits per second) for
nience delivery method for messages delivered to the intended recipient. SMS vehicular users, 384Kbps for pedes-
over mobile networks and can be uses signaling channels as opposed to trian users, and 2Mbps (megabits per
considered a global mobile data ser- dedicated channels, which means you second) for use in buildings.
vice. When you send a message from can send and receive messages simulta-
one mobile device (SMS even sup- neously with data, voice, and/or fax WAP (Wireless Application
ports roaming, both nationally and services using GSM. Protocol)
WAP is a secure specification that
supports most wireless networks in
The International Cell Phone use worldwide. WAP enables users to
instantly access data via many wire-
o doubt, cell phones are great business tools. But for many of us in North less handheld devices such as mobile
N America, using our cell phones outside or beyond this neck of the woods is
an exercise in futility. As you’ll quickly find out, your cell phone becomes an
phones, two-way radios, smartphones,
and pagers. Although all OSes support
expensive paperweight when you attempt to use it when you travel overseas. WAP, those engineered especially for
Although the rest of the world uses GSM (Global System for Mobile Commu- handheld devices include PalmOS,
nications), here in the United States we use CDMA (Code-Division Multiple Windows Mobile, and JavaOS. WAP
Access), TDMA (Time-Division Multiple Access), and iDEN (Integrated Digital makes minimal demands on memory
Enhanced Network). Some U.S. cellular providers use GSM, but they operate on a and CPU power because it doesn’t
different frequency band than is used in other countries. Therefore, if you’re contain many of the more complex
looking to buy a mobile phone that will operate worldwide, you’ll need a triple- functions typically found in other
or quad-band phone that covers the majority of cellular frequencies used here, as scripting languages.
well as abroad. Nokia, Sprint, Motorola, Palm, HP, and NEC all make multiband
phones for the world traveler. ❙ by Douglas Schweitzer, Sc.D.

PC Today / March 2006 53


Undocked

Windows
Mobile Tips by Meryl K. Evans

Switch Quickly Between


Portrait & Landscape Mode
Viewing a file in Excel using
landscape (horizontal) mode can
make it easier to review, but
sometimes you may prefer
portrait (vertical) mode. If you
switch between the two modes Instant News & Information Alerts
often, you can assign a button to Microsoft (net.msnbc.com/tools/alert
do exactly that in all of the pro- Reassign a button
/sub.aspx) and Yahoo! (alerts.yahoo.com)
grams loaded on your Pocket PC. to quickly toggle
offer news alerts to your mobile device.
Tap Start, Settings, Buttons and select the button you wish between landscape
You can specify how and when you re-
to set for toggling. Under Assign A Program, select <Rotate and portrait modes.
ceive the alerts and messages. Depending
Screen> and tap OK. Next time you push this reassigned on the services, alerts cover many things
button, your screen rotates. from news and auctions to stock informa-
tion and product sales. Both of these ser-
vices deliver the alerts to your mobile
device and instant messenger. You can
Get Help
also have the alerts emailed to your mo-
If you ever get stuck on bile device. The services are free, although
something, there’s always you may incur fees, depending on your
help. Because the device wireless carrier’s service plan.
doesn’t have an F1 key, in- What can you do with these services?
stead reach the Help index Get updates on competitors, find out
by tapping Start and then when your company is mentioned some-
Help. Tap a link to learn where, track sales and auctions, catch
more about it or tap Find to late-breaking news, and more. Microsoft
enter a keyword. After Use Find to search
Alerts notify you of appointments, the
you’ve looked at a few Help pages, use the arrow keys to go Help topics whenever
weather forecast, your daily horoscope,
back and forth between pages. you get stuck.
and even when you’ve exceeded your
credit limit. Use Microsoft Passport to
sign in, if you have it; otherwise, register
Turn Your Device Into A Talker for free. The alerts not only come from
For those with visual impairments, Mobile Speak Microsoft-affiliated services but also
Pocket from Code Factory (www.codefactory.es) is a providers such as eBay, MSN Money,
useful tool for taking advantage of some handheld Fox Sports, Match.com (a dating service),
functions that would be difficult to use otherwise. The MSN autos, MSN videos, and more.
application is a screen reader that is compatible with a All you need to use Yahoo! Alerts is a
variety of keyboards and Braille devices. It also comes in different Yahoo! account. Yahoo! has three alerts:
languages, and it works with PDAs and smartphones. Mobile Speak Pocket works breaking news, keyword news, and
with any device loaded with Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition and Windows daily news digest. With keywords, you
Mobile 5.0 (currently in beta testing as of press time). The application’s regular price is can specify the words you want to in-
$499, and you can try before you buy. clude or exclude in the search results.

56 March 2006 / www.pctoday.com


Undocked

Download Podcasts
Anyone can produce a show and make it available to the public for downloading and listening
whenever it’s convenient. Because your handheld device can play audio files, you can listen to pod-
casts with it. Podcasts topics include, well, anything and everything. When you see an RSS (Really
Simple Syndication) icon (typically an orange button) or a link to a feed, click it. The results looks like
gobbledygook, but what you want is the URL. Copy and paste the URL into your podcast reader. This
process varies based on the application you use. Some of the applications can also download content
from blogs, news sites, and other places that have an RSS feed.
Applications like FeederReader ($9; www.feederreader.com), SmartFeed (free; www.smartfeed.org), and BeetzStream SmartRSS
($14.99; www.beetzstream.com) bring podcasts to your Windows Mobile device or smartphone. Egress ($12; www.garishkernels
.net/egress.html) is another application, but it’s only available for the Pocket PC. All have documentation showing how to add a
podcast feed.

Move Photos Between Your Device & PC


Say you capture a great photo with your de-
vice's built-in camera and then want to move it
to your PC, so you can use it as a background
image or simply share it. Or maybe it's the
other way around, and you want the photo on
your device to show off everywhere you go. The
following steps explain how to transfer photos; you can
also use these steps to move video clips.
First, make sure your device is connected to your PC. Open ActiveSync, click Explore,
Read A Book and then open the My Pictures folder or wherever you store your photos and videos. If
When we travel for business, we try to necessary, you can navigate to any media on your storage card. On your PC navigate to
pack as lightly as possible, especially your pictures or
Transfer your
when it’s a short trip. Instead of adding a video folder (in
photos and
book to the pile, use your mobile device to most cases the My
video clips
catch up on your reading. Microsoft Pictures folder).
between the
Reader has a Pocket PC version, so you Transfer the files
desktop PC
can read books on the device. Most Pocket simply by clicking
and the
PCs come with the Reader preinstalled. If and dragging them
Windows
not, you can get it here: www.microsoft from one folder to
Mobile device.
.com/reader/downloads/default.asp. the other.
Click the Free eBooks link to search over
1,500 free titles. The reader also has a text-
to-speech component, so you can listen to
the books instead. Pocket PC Buying Tip
Another place to go is Audible.com,
which has a large ebook collection. First,
ome people love the walkie-
check to ensure your device is compat-
ible with Audible’s software (www.aud
S talkie feature on cell phones.
Now you can get one that also
Nextel i930 features
push-to-talk services.
ible.com/devices). Then register and It retails for $499.99
comes with Pocket PC software.
download the software. It has a tiny col- before discounts
The drawback is that it is using
lection of free downloads, but nothing and promotions.
Windows Smartphone 2003 oper-
worth mentioning. Other places that
ating system instead of the newest
have ebooks include Execubooks
5.0. But it might be worth the sacri-
(www.execubooks.com), MediaBay
fice to get the Nextel i930 (www.sprint.com), which fea-
(www.mediabay.com), Memoware
tures push-to-talk. You can send and receive email and
(www.memoware.com), and eReader
text messages, manage your contacts, and schedule your
(www.ereader.com). You may also want
appointments using Windows Mobile software. ❙
to try using your search engine to find
ebooks for your Pocket PC.

PC Today / March 2006 57


Undocked

Palm OS Tips by Meryl K. Evans

Password Security Shortcut


You want to protect your device by requiring a pass-
word whenever it’s turned on, but it’s a pain to enter the
password. By using a shortcut, you can shorten the
process for entering your password. Once you’ve chosen
a password, go to Home,
Prefs, and ShortCuts. Under
ShortCut Name, enter the shortcut
you want to use. For example, it could be “s” or “se”
for “security.” For ShortCut Text, enter the pass-
word you wish to use as your security password.
Tap OK and then Done to return to the Prefs screen.
On the Prefs screen, Security is listed in the Quickly Select Memo Categories
General category. Tap Security and then below When you start a new memo, it automat-
the word Password tap Unassigned. Enter the ically goes into the category that you
same text you entered in ShortCut Text. Enter a currently have open. If Business is the
Hint, which comes in handy in case you blank on Show, mask, or hide private current category and you create a new
the password (let’s hope that doesn’t happen), but records by changing the memo, it's filed under Business. This saves
avoid re-entering your password as a Hint. Tap option in Security. you a step, unless you don't mean for it to
OK, and re-enter your password to verify it. Tap be filed in that location. If the selected cate-
OK and you’re back on the main Security screen. Below the phrase Auto Lock gory is All when you create a new memo,
Handheld, tap Never. Enter your new password and tap OK. Select Never, On the memo appears in Unfiled.
Power Off, At A Preset Time, or After a Preset Delay for when you want to auto-
matically lock the handheld. Tap OK and Done. Next time your device asks for
your password, enter the shortcut symbol followed by the Shortcut name you en-
tered. The entire password appears; tap OK, and you’re in.

Add Contacts To Calendar, To Do, Or Memo


The next time you enter a meeting into your
Calendar, take advantage of the Lookup
shortcut to quickly add the contact’s name into
the event. Enter Meeting in the scheduled time
and add a space. Draw a slanted line from the
lower left of the Graffiti field to the upper- Never Select The Wrong Menu Item
right corner to bring up the shortcut list. Draw It happens to all of us. When we tap a
an L to go to the Lookup page. menu item, the item above or below the one
Find the contact with whom you’re meeting and tap his name and then tap you want gets selected instead. With this
Add. The contact’s name and phone number or email address appears right trick, you’ll hit the right item every time.
after Meeting. The contact information that appears depends on what you Hold the stylus down as soon as you select
have listed. If you have a phone number, then it appears. If no phone number the menu. Slide it up or down to the item you
is available, the contact’s email address appears. Lookup also works with To want until it’s highlighted and let go. Now
Do, Calendar, and Memo. just make it a habit to do this every time.

58 March 2006 / www.pctoday.com


Undocked

Copy & Paste With The Calculator The calculator


We know that we can copy and paste menu options
text between applications, but did you include copy
know that you can copy and paste with the and paste
calculator? Highlight a number in a Memo, functions.
Contact, Calendar, or To Do item and then
tap Menu, Edit, and Copy. (Or use the Copy
shortcut, draw a slant from the lower left to the
upper right, and then write a C.) After you copy the
number, go to Calculator and tap Menu, Edit, and then
Paste. (Or use the slant shortcut followed by P.)

MP3 Alarm Clock


The Palm OS device’s built-in sounds may not be
loud enough or last long enough to work as an alarm
clock. Besides, why go with chirps when you can use
music of your choice? 2PlayMe from MetaViewSoft
($9.95; www.palmgear.com) works with Real Player
and other media players to play any MP3 file. The
alarm comes with recurring options, adjustable snooze
time, a customizable background, up to 99 multiple alarms, and volume control.

Forgotten Password
What if your security password is
The Little Black Triangle
gone with the wind and can’t be re-
trieved? Unlock your handheld and try Have you noticed a tiny, black, upside down tri-
the Hint feature. If that doesn’t jog your angle in many applications on your handheld? It
memory, sync your device to the PC. typically appears next to a number, word, or phrase
Once done, you could use Security to and indicates that a pop-up list of user-defined op-
delete the password. However, if you tions is available for the associated item. Tap the tri-
delete the password, it also deletes all angle or the item next to it to access the options and
the entries marked as private. Good change them to suit your preferences.
news: Here’s a workaround to restore While this appears obvious to many users, there are still sneaky little triangles
the private entries. where people don’t expect to find them. For example, in the Details screen for ap-
You did a HotSync, right? Return to pointments, if you have an alarm turned on, you can change the alarm notification to
the Home screen. Open Security, which Minutes, Hours, or Days by tapping the triangle beside Minutes.
is typically accessed by tapping Prefs
and Security. Tap the Password box and
then tap Lost Password (or Forgotten Palm Buying Tip
Password). A warning message appears
asking if you wish to proceed. Tap Yes.
nytime you’re at a hotspot, you
Run HotSync to restore your private
records to the handheld. The HotSync A can access it with a handheld that
comes with Wi-Fi or has a Wi-Fi card.
operation will not restore the deleted
password. To show the private records, The Palm TX (www.palm.com) comes Palm TX
go back to Security, and below the with integrated Wi-Fi, so you won’t (www.palm.com)
Current Privacy heading, select Show need to make any additional pur- comes with Wi-Fi
Private Records. You can view all of the chases to take advantage of wireless built-in, and its
private records and so can anyone who Internet access. Note that some Wi-Fi estimated retail
accesses your device. You can create a hotspots charge a fee, so check before price is $299.
new password to mask or hide the pri- connecting. ❙
vate records.

PC Today / March 2006 59


Undocked

BlackBerry Tips by Joe Peacock

ICE Number
You’ve probably already heard this tip
many times, but it bears repeating: Add an
entry to your contacts named ICE (In Case
of Emergency). For this number, put the
Amazingly
contact number of a relative or friend that
Awesome
emergency crews can contact if there is an emer-
Attachment
gency. Feel free to enter your ICE contact’s name in the
Advice
“notes” area of the entry. Here are some tips for viewing, navigating,
and adjusting various attachments sent to
your BlackBerry:

Cohesive Calendar Coaching Spreadsheets


The calendar of the BlackBerry is • To switch between viewing the generated table
extremely useful, but it’s a bear to of contents and the full content for a document
navigate if you don’t know some of attachment, press V.
the shortcuts for quick access to var- • To switch to a different worksheet within a
ious aspects of your electronic sched- spreadsheet attachment, press V. Select a work-
uling application. Below are some sheet and press the ENTER key.
handy dandy tips for making your • To change the column size, press W.
way through each day. • To turn on or turn off column and row labels,
(NOTE: For these tips to work in Day press H.
view, in the calendar options, set the • To move to a specific cell, press G.
Enable Quick Entry field to No.) • To display the contents of a specific cell, press
• To create a new appointment, press C. the SPACE key.
• To change to Month view, press M.
• To change to Week view, press W. Images
• To change to Agenda view, press A. • To pan horizontally across an image, hold the
• To change to Day view, press D. ALT key and roll the track wheel.
• To jump to the current date, press T. • To zoom into an image, press I. To continue
• To jump to a specific date, press G. zooming into an image, hold the left SHIFT key
• To move to the next day, week, or month, press SPACE. and roll the track wheel.
• To move to the previous day, week, or month, press SHIFT-SPACE. • To zoom out of an image, press O. To continue
• To move cursor horizontally in Week view, hold ALT and roll the track zooming out of an image, hold the left SHIFT
wheel. key and roll the track wheel.
• To move the cursor vertically in Month view, hold ALT and roll the • To zoom to the original image size, press W.
track wheel. • To rotate an image, press R.

60 March 2006 / www.pctoday.com


Undocked

“MacGyver” Hints
“MacGyver” was an American adventure television se-
ries about a laid-back, extremely resourceful ex-special
forces secret agent named Angus “Mac” MacGyver, played
by Richard Dean Anderson. MacGyver can also be used as a
verb meaning to fix, repair, rig, solve, build, invent, or other-
wise save the day, as MacGyver did. Here, then, are some simple
ways to MacGyver your BlackBerry for ultimate usefulness:
MacGyver hint No. 1. Take a small, two-inch square piece of paper. On it, write your name,
email address, alternate phone number, and the words “reward if found.” Tape this paper to the
inside of your holster. This will ensure that, should you ever lose your BlackBerry, the person
who finds it will have all the information necessary to return it to you. Don’t rely on the owner
Calculating Calculator information screen; chances are, if you lose your device, whoever finds it will do so with the bat-
Concepts tery drained. This makes the Information screen absolutely useless to the finder, unless he hap-
It’s a terrible pain to try pens to carry spare USB charging cables with him everywhere he goes.
to use the calculator on the MacGyver hint No. 2. When you tape your information slip to the holster, only tape three
BlackBerry with just the sides—left, right, and bottom. This will leave the top untaped, which creates a small pocket in
scroll wheel. Here’s a which you can carry a paperclip or staple, making you prepared for an emergency reset. If you
quick navigation guide to can, carry a painted/rubber-coated paperclip to avoid accidental scratching or poking inside the
make the calculator do holster (provided the tip will fit in the hole).
your bidding: MacGyver hint No. 3. You’ve lost your holster, and now your battery dies after only a few
• To add, press I. hours of being left out because the device’s screen can’t be placed into Suspend mode. Or, let’s
• To subtract, press U. say you REALLY hate the plastic holder and need something softer but don’t want to spend up-
• To multiply, press A. wards of $50 for a BlackBerry-specific replacement holder. For a simple fix, you’ll need a tiny
• To divide, press G. magnet and a piece of Scotch tape. Any toy store, hardware store, or Radio Shack will carry a
• To display the result of small magnet (or a pack of them) for under a dollar. Tape the magnet to the unit just left of the
your calculation (=), mouthpiece (for most models; refer to your holster or a diagram of it to find the specific location
press ENTER. on your device). This will put the screen into Suspend mode but will still allow ringing and noti-
• To clear the screen, fications to come through.
press Y. MacGyver hint No. 4. Most users will clip their BlackBerry to the visor of their car while
• To clear the last entry driving to avoid having to reach to the waist or into a pocket to retrieve their device when
(not the entire equation), they need it. However, some folks need constant access to the device. Pricing for BlackBerry
press T. car kits begins at about $50 for a simple holder and can go up to $200 for more intricate solu-
• To find the square root, tions. The absolute simplest and cheapest solution: Velcro tape. Two strips of Velcro tape on
press V. the back of your BlackBerry, with the corresponding second side of the Velcro taped to the
• To use the percent func- center area of your car’s steering wheel, will place the device in your immediate view while
tion, press B. you drive. Furthermore, you won’t need to stretch out a wired earpiece or a car charger,
• To add a number to given the steering wheel’s proximity to both your ear and the cigarette lighter in your car. We
memory (M+ function on ask that you please try to refrain from sending or receiving emails/SMS (Short Message
most calculators), type Service) messages while you drive, or else the paramedics might need a MacGyver of their
the number and press L. own to get your body out of your wrecked and mangled car.
• To recall the memory
(MR function on most
calculators), press J.
• To replace the memory,
type a number and BlackBerry Buying Tip: Check Your Intel Before You Buy
press K.
• To clear the number from he new deal between RIM (Research In Motion) and Intel promises new BlackBerry
memory, press H.
• To scroll vertically,
T models with increased speed and more powerful functionality. The price isn’t cheap, but
the increase in power is well worth the additional cost. Don’t settle for a bargain device if
press ALT and roll the you can get your hands on an Intel-powered BlackBerry. You won’t be sorry. ❙
track wheel.

PC Today / March 2006 61


Undocked

Tablet PC Tips by Tom Nelson and


Mary O’Connor

Improve Speech Recognition


The first time you try your Tablet PC’s voice
recognition feature, you may be a little disappointed
by the result. You can dramatically improve your
tablet’s success at speech recognition by using a high-
quality, noise-canceling microphone. The best type of
mic to use for speech recognition purposes is a boom
mic, the type commonly found on headset systems. You can use almost
any headset system, as long as the mic and the headphones terminate in indi-
vidual plugs that you can connect to your tablet’s microphone jack and headphone jack.
When you change the type of microphone you use for voice recognition, you will need to If you change the type of microphone you
run the Microphone Wizard again to reset the recording levels. Tap the Input Panel icon in use with your Tablet PC, you will need to
the Taskbar. Tap the Speech Tools pop-up menu and select Microphone Adjustment. The readjust the microphone input volume.
Microphone Wizard will walk you through the process of making the necessary adjustments. The Microphone Wizard will walk you
After you set up your new microphone, run at least a couple of training sessions. Each through the process.
time your Tablet PC listens to you speak, it gets a better handle on your inflections and
speech patterns. To run a training session, tap the Input Panel and then tap the Speech Tools pop-up menu. Select Voice Training.
The Voice Training dialog box will appear with a list of text passages you can read aloud. You will usually get better results if you
use a passage that you are familiar with rather than using a new passage for each training session. Familiarity with the text will
help prevent you from hesitating or stumbling over words. Make your selection, tap Next, and follow the on-screen instructions.

Get A Calculator That Understands Pen Input


The standard calculator included with Windows XP for Tablet PC is the same basic calculator
found in other versions of WinXP. While certainly serviceable, it lacks a built-in writing area for
you to write numbers using the tablet’s pen. PowerToys for Windows XP Tablet PC Edition (free;
www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/powertoys/tabletpc.mspx) includes a calculator
designed specifically for use with Tablet PCs.
To download the Calculator, click the Calculator For Tablet PC link under the file description or
click the calculator.exe link in the right-hand navigation strip. When the download is complete,
double-tap the Calculatorfortabletpcsetup.exe icon and follow the on-screen instructions.
When installation is complete, Calculator For Tablet PC will appear in your Start menu and on your Desktop. To access the calcu-
lator, tap Start, All Programs, PowerToys For Tablet PC, Calculator For Tablet PC,
or double-tap the Calculator For Tablet PC icon on the Desktop.
Calculator For Tablet PC starts up as a standard calculator that is similar to the
WinXP calculator. The main difference is that this calculator has a large writing
input pad area that replaces the standard numeric keypad. Use the input pad to
write the numbers for your calculation and then tap the appropriate calculator
function key. The input pad understands basic gestures (backspace, space, enter,
and tab), as well as Scratch-out (erase content), Curlicue (cut), Double-Curlicue
(copy), and Check (clear). Calculator For Tablet PC, part of the free
If you need more advanced functions, tap View and Scientific. The calculator PowerToys For Tablet PC package, includes
will change to a scientific version that supports trig and bitwise logical operations. both standard and scientific versions.

62 March 2006 / www.pctoday.com


Undocked

Set Yourself Free With A Bluetooth Mouse


The pen may be mightier than the sword, but the mouse
is no slouch. Many Tablet PCs include support for
Bluetooth connectivity. If yours does, consider in-
vesting in a pocket-size Bluetooth mouse. A
mouse is especially handy if you use a con-
vertible tablet. It’s also usually a better choice
than a trackpad or pen for creating and
editing graphics or playing games. A small,
wireless Bluetooth mouse will easily fit into your pocket.
Expand Your Tablet’s Vocabulary
Your Tablet PC’s handwriting recognition fea-
Use Ink Comments & Annotations ture may have trouble with some words that are
In Word common jargon in your line of work but aren’t
Word 2003 supports many tablet ink otherwise part of everyday conversation. These
functions, including Ink Annotation unusual words can trip up the handwriting
and Ink Comments. By itself, Word recognition tool, so that you end up repeatedly
won’t convert your handwriting to text, correcting words that you use frequently, but
but it does let you use Ink to add your Tablet PC just doesn’t seem to “grok.”
sketches or written notes. Adding Ink Short of finding a more mainstream career,
Comments and Annotations to docu- the most obvious solution is to add these
ments can really make your comments words to the Tablet PC’s dictionary. Many
stand out or get a point across quickly. Tablet PCs don’t come with a dictionary ed-
To add Ink Comments to a Word docu- itor, but don’t let that stop you. PowerToys
ment, open the document in Word 2003. Select one or more words to anchor for Windows XP Tablet PC Edition (free;
your comments and then tap Insert and Ink Comment. If the document is in www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/down
Normal view, the view will change to Print Layout. A Comment balloon will loads/powertoys/tabletpc.mspx) includes a
appear in the margin with number of cool tools, one of which is a dictio-
a line connecting it to the nary editor.
selected word(s). Use the Just like the PowerToys available for the
pen to write your com- desktop version of WinXP, the Tablet PC
ments in the balloon. PowerToys are small applications designed to
When you finish entering add functionality. Microsoft doesn’t provide
your comments, tap out- any technical support for the tools, so if you
side the balloon. choose to use them, you’re on your own. For-
To add Ink Annotation, tunately, they’re easy to install and use.
tap Insert and then Ink To download the Dictionary Tool, click the
Annotation. If the docu- Dictionary Tool link under the Dictionary Tool
ment is in Normal view, For Tablet PC file description or click the dictio-
the view will change to narytool.exe link in the right-hand navigation
Print Layout, and an Ink strip. When the download is complete, double-
Annotation toolbar will tap the Dictionary Tool icon and follow the on-
display. You can use the screen instructions.
You can add attention-getting notes and
pen to write or draw any When installation is complete, the Dictionary
comments to a Word document with Ink
type of information; the Tool will appear in the Start menu. To access the
Comments and Ink Annotation.
entire page is your easel. Dictionary Tool, tap Start, All Programs,
You can draw directly PowerToys For Tablet PC, and then Dictionary
over text, scribble in the margins, or fill up any white space on the page. You Tool For Tablet PC. The Dictionary Tool will
can use the Ink Annotation toolbar to change pen type, color, or line thickness; open with a two-tab interface. Tap the Tablet PC
erase any mistakes; or move something you wrote or drew. When you are Dictionary tab. In the Enter Dictionary Entry
done, click the Stop Inking button on the toolbar. Here field, type the word you want to add to the
Ink Comments and Ink Annotation may leave your document in a different dictionary and then tap Add. Repeat for any
view than the one in which you started. To reset the view, tap View and select other words you want to add. Tap the Close
your preferred setting. Window icon (X) to exit the tool.

PC Today / March 2006 63


Undocked The availability and pricing of mobile games
is generally dependent upon your service
provider. Pricing typically starts around
$2.99, but may include additional connect-
time charges for downloading a game. In
addition, some providers may offer a lower
monthly subscription fee or a one-time

Mobile Games purchase price for unlimited play. Finally, not


all games are available from all providers for
all handsets, so check with your service
provider to learn exactly what games are
available for your particular handset.
Fun For Road Warriors by P. Bryan Edge-Salois

Zuma Skipping Stone


Sorrent • www.sorrent.com IPlay • www.iplay.com

ike so many colors, thereby making the balls disap- kipping Stone
Lof its puzzle-
game brethren
pear and slowing the advancing train.
Creating multiple chains of balls in
S may well be the
perfect mobile game.
initially released succession earns combo points. It’s simple to learn,
as free Internet Various power-ups appear in the train simple to play,
games on Popcap (www.popcap.com), of advancing balls and aid your progress charmingly cute, and
Zuma is another perfect title for the mo- when eliminated. Power-ups include ef- utterly addictive.
bile platform. You can learn the game in fects, such as slowing the advancing The object of the game is simple:
two minutes—and while away your train or eliminating extra balls. If a ball Skip a stone as far across the water
entire cell phone battery playing this reaches the skull, the game ends. as possible. Throwing with max-
addictive little gem. Eliminate all the balls to advance to the imum power is a matter of timing.
You control a stone frog sitting at the next level. A power meter rises and falls
center of a spiraling track. A series of col- Sorrent’s mobile version of Zuma rapidly, and you must hit the fire
ored balls slowly moves toward a “mag- doesn’t offer any multiplayer options but button when the meter is at its
netic” golden skull. The frog produces a is otherwise much like its kissin’ cousin apex to throw your stone with max-
single colored ball and must fire it to Bejeweled: simple and addictive. It’s a imal power. If your timing is off,
create a chain of three or more like good companion for idle time. your power depletes; miss enough
skips and your stone sinks, ending
the game.
The premise alone is remarkably
Bejeweled Multiplayer simple and addictive, but Skipping
Jamdat • www.jamdat.com Stone boasts some unique and inno-
vative twists to make the game more
figured it playing against a continually running interesting and more challenging.
Iwas just a
matter of time
timer, however, and you must continue
to create lines of three or more connected
For example, repeated, successful
skips are rewarded with various
before I had to gems to add seconds to the timer. power-ups, such as sneakers that in-
mention The multiplayer version of Bejeweled crease your dropping speed, a clock
Bejeweled or some variant thereof. After adds some new twists; namely, another that slows down time, and a spring
all, this veteran of the Internet/Web-based player with which to compete on the that increases your power. Other
gaming segment is addiction personified. same board. In addition to competing twists include a whale, which
The premise of Bejeweled Multiplayer with the same gems, each player can earn appears periodically and blasts a
is easy enough: arrange a bunch of adja- bombs by placing gems in special strings. shot of water up the screen, and a
cent, colored gems to create strings of Bejeweled has been a popular casual tornado, which activates your
three or more gems of the same color, game on the Internet for years, so it’s phone’s vibrate function and can
which removes the gems from play and only natural that it makes a successful throw off your timing.
causes the remaining gems to cascade leap to the mobile, casual gaming seg- Skipping Stone is gaming sim-
down and replace them. Gems are ment. Best of all, the ability to play plicity refined and sharpened to a fine
moved by switching two adjacent gems against someone virtually any time, any edge. It’s easy to learn, fun to play,
horizontally or vertically. You are place is an added treat. and marvelously addictive.

64 March 2006 / www.pctoday.com


Roaming

nationwide long distance calling plan


while still talking on a traditional handset.
As an additional bonus, the docking sta-
tion doubles as a charger. As of press

Motorola time, Motorola was preparing a VoIP


module, as well, to let users connect a
VoIP line to the system; the module is ex-

SD4500 pected to be available in March of 2006,


and is Vonage- and AOL-certified.
Some phones may work better with the
system than others; per Motorola’s re-
Merge Your Cell & Landline Phones quest, I tested the SD4500 system with the
provided Motorola V330 cell phone. The
setup of the SD4500 system was relatively
Prices listed in sidebar smooth. After spending a few minutes
Motorola scanning through the user’s guide, I had a
(866) 289-6686 good feel for how to use a variety of
www.motorola.com the features.
Because portions of my home re-
cell phone docking system ceive better cell phone reception

A lets you drop your cell phone


into the dock and answer or
place calls using a traditional cordless
than others, I liked the idea of being
able to drop my phone in a charging
dock and still talk on my phone from
phone. Not only are these handsets the more remote areas of my home.
more pleasant to use for extended In my tests, call quality was excel-
lengths of time, they can also com- lent, and the convenience of being
The Motorola SD4500 system lets you combine a
bine your cell line and traditional able to answer an incoming cell call
traditional landline telephone with your cell phone.
phone line into one handset. This from multiple handsets was a defi-
way, you can make the best use out of nite benefit.
your free night and weekend minutes between the devices. For further moni- As a whole, I’m impressed with the
while still using a comfortable handset. toring functionality, Motorola has de- Motorola SD4500 system. It lets you
The Motorola SD4500 advanced dig- signed each of the handsets with the combine the best of your landline with
ital cordless phone system does exactly ability to audio monitor a room. This your cell phone for convenience and
what I have described and more. It com- would be especially helpful for parents clarity. (Not to mention the fact that I’m
bines a traditional telephone line with who want to keep an eye (or ear) on no longer searching for a lost, and
wireless 2.4GHz cordless phone tech- their kids from another room. ringing, cell phone.)
nology that doesn’t interfere with other By placing your cell phone in the Cell
wireless devices, such as your wireless Phone Dock Module, you can use your by Jennifer Johnson
home network. The SD4500 system can
incorporate up to eight cordless devices
(all sold separately), so you are free to
purchase the components that best suit
Motorola SD4500 System Components
your lifestyle and place them in a variety
he following component prices are Wireless Camera/Intercom Module
of locations throughout the home. Best
of all, because the Motorola SD4500
T accurate as of press time:
Cordless Expansion Handset (SD4501)
(SD4504) $79.99
handsets don’t need phone jacks for op- Digital Cordless Phone with Answering
$49.99
eration, there are no limitations as to Machine and Keypad in Base (SD4581)
where you can put the handsets. Digital Cordless Phone (SD4551) $89.99
For greater functionality, the SD4500 $69.99
Digital Corded/Cordless Phone with
system has a Wireless Camera/Intercom
Digital Cordless Phone with Answering Answering Machine and Keypad in
Module that lets you monitor another
Machine (SD4561) $79.99 Base (SD4591) $99.99
location via the Cordless Video-Audio
Expansion Handset. The camera and Cordless Video-Audio Expansion Cell Phone Dock Module (SD4505)
video handset display the monitored Handset (SD4502) $79.99 $99.99
room in color, and can send audio

PC Today / March 2006 65


Roaming

The Hot Spot


Your Guide To Wi-Fi

probably didn’t sit well with Wi-Fi becomes integrated


Big Easy Gets Free Wi-Fi the telecom giant. Although into consumer electronics.”
In an effort to revitalize its the BellSouth network will The Wi-Fi Alliance has
hurricane-ravaged region, offer better speeds than the certified more than 2,200
New Orleans recently an- municipal network, sub- products since March 2000.
nounced plans for free mu- scribers will pay nearly $70 With the technology expand-
nicipal Wi-Fi, joining cities per month for it. ing at a rapid rate in cities,
like Philadelphia and San Although some critics are airports, and other areas, we
Christian Perry is a long-time Francisco in efforts to make complaining that Wi-Fi is the expect many more certified
contributor to Smart Internet access easier than last thing New Orleans needs products to come.
Computing magazine and ever. However, unlike those right now, it’s tough to argue
its sister publications, the other cities, New Orleans against the timing. The entire Orlando Airport Offers
Smart Computing Learning isn’t enlisting outside help to city is enduring a rebuilding Free Wi-Fi
Series (no longer in print), run the network. phase, so it’s a great time to You can’t beat free Wi-Fi
and the Smart Computing Using equipment mounted bring in the best and brightest access when waiting for a
Reference Series. Please on streetlights to deliver the technology along with old flight, and if you’re in Orlando
send your feedback to wireless signals, the network standards like telephone and International Airport, you’ll
christian@pctoday.com. will provide download speeds cable. Those participating in get just that. This airport has a
of 512Kbps (kilobits per sec- the rebuilding will certainly new wireless broadband net-
ond) and upload speeds of appreciate the ease and conve- work that services not only
384Kbps, but a Louisiana law nience afforded by wireless. airport and airline personnel,
that restricts the speed of but also airline passengers.
municipal networks will force Wi-Fi Chipsets Orlando International,
the city to ramp down to On The Rise which is the 14th largest air-
144kbps in the future when At the rate Wi-Fi is grow- port in the United States and
the state of emergency is lifted. ing, even your pets might handles more than 32 million
The network is using equip- have Wi-Fi devices by the end travelers per year, is using a
ment from Tropos and Intel. of the year. According to data mix of Alcatel’s wireless and
The news of the citywide released by In-Stat and the Wi- wired products to power the
network isn’t sitting well with Fi Alliance, more than 120 mil- network, including Omni-
everyone. Soon after New lion Wi-Fi chipsets shipped in Access WLAN switches and
Orleans officials announced 2005, representing a 64% aver- access points. The system also
the Wi-Fi plans, reports circu- age yearly growth rate. uses the Alcatel Quarantine
lated that BellSouth retracted “Wi-Fi has truly come of Manager to automate attack
the offer of a donated building age,” said Frank Hanzlik, and intrusion containment.
apparently intended to house Managing Director of the
new police headquarters. Wi-Fi Alliance, in a state- Wireless Vulnerability
Whether the retraction actual- ment. “Today more than Database Launches
ly happened is unknown 90% of notebook computers For years, we’ve had online
(New Orleans officials claim it are Wi-Fi enabled, and as we databases that track worms
happened, while BellSouth look ahead, there are seem- and other network-based
claims it didn’t), what is cer- ingly limited opportunities threats, and finally we have
tain is that BellSouth has its due to the insatiable con- one that’s solely focused on
own Wi-Fi-accessible broad- sumer and enterprise de- wireless security vulnerabili-
band network based on pre- mand for the technology. We ties. The WVE (wireless vul-
WiMAX equipment, and the expect the next milestones nerabilities and exploits) data-
city’s plans for a free network will come even faster as base (www.wirelessve.org)

66 March 2006 / www.pctoday.com


Roaming

catalogs security threats for further define the exploit, and must be certified for the spec-
products that use wireless the date of the threat’s release. ification to work as designed.
technologies such as 802.11,
Bluetooth, EVDO (evolution- Longer Battery Life Mobile WiMAX Standard
data optimized), EDGE (en- Ahead? Approved
hanced data rates for GSM The convenience of Wi-Fi The juggernaut that is
evolution), HSDPA (high goes only so far when the WiMAX keeps on rolling
speed downlink packet ac- device you’re using to access as a major standard for
cess), 802.16/WiMAX, Vo- a wireless connection drains the technology that was just
WLAN (voice over WLAN), batteries like crazy. However, recently ratified by the Insti-
RFID (radio frequency identi- a new software specifica- tute of Electrical and Elec-
fication), and others. tion should help devices tronics Engineers (IEEE). The
Three sponsors have asso- cope with Wi-Fi’s hefty pow- 802.16e standard, also known
ciated to create the data-base: er requirements. as mobile WiMAX, can be
wireless security firm Net- The Wi-Fi Alliance an- used in devices that will let
work Chemistry, wireless nounced that its new WMM people connect to the Internet
training and certification Power Save specifications, using a mobile wireless
provider CWNP, and the which are an extension of connection.
Center for Advanced Defense its Wi-Fi Multimedia (WMM) Although the fixed Wi-
Studies, a Washington, D.C.- program, will allow manu- MAX standard has yet to
based think tank. factures to improve Wi-Fi be certified, companies such
Anyone is allowed to con- efficiency in their devices as Nortel Networks are
tribute to the WVE database, through the use of improved already building networks
but all entries are first signaling capabilities and the based on the technology.
reviewed by the site’s editori- ability to fine-tune power Products using the mobile
al board to confirm that the consumption. According to a version aren’t expected until
threat falls within the parame- Wi-Fi Alliance white paper, the end of this year, and
ters of its definitions for vul- WMM Power Save lets de- they still will hinge on
nerabilities or exploits. Once vices spend increased time operators building networks
approved, entries become a in a “dozing” state to save that are compliant with
permanent part of the data- power and also allows indi- the products.
base, and by registering with vidual applications to con- As support for such net-
the site, you can track your trol capacity and latency works grows, mobile Wi-
own submissions. requirements, which will MAX devices could compete
Each vulnerability or ex- help with power manage- with traditional Wi-Fi devices
ploit includes a thorough ment and transmission. for those seeking Internet con-
description of what the threat Already, several products nections on the go. Because
is and what it does. For ex- are using the WMM Power WiMAX has a longer range
ample, the description for Save specifications, includ- than Wi-Fi, cities might also be
Aircrack reveals that this ing access points, PC cards, tempted to invest in WiMAX
exploit consists of several routers, and chipsets. Cer- instead of Wi-Fi, but price
tools used to perform dif- tain existing wireless devices remains a heavy factor, as Wi-
ferent tasks like cracking could receive software up- Fi is far less expensive than
WEP/WPA encryption, fak- dates to comply with the new pre-WiMAX equipment.
ing authentication, and join- specification, though the Wi-
ing cracked networks. You’ll Fi Alliance says that both by Christian Perry
also find references that clients and access points

PC Today / March 2006 67


Roaming

Stay Connected
Bloglines

on’t be deceived. Bloglines to index more than 80 million active

D (www.bloglines.com) might
sound like it’s all about Web
logs, but it’s primarily about Web news.
Web articles.

Registration Is Painless
If there is regularly updated informa- Don’t you just hate when you click
tion out there you want to keep up a link to access a site, and instead of
with, Bloglines does the legwork by giving you what you expected to see,
gathering newly posted items and orga- the site demands that you register
nizing them for your review. And the first? Even registering to simply view
service works the same whether the some newspaper articles requires that
news you want comes from a blog, a you supply your address and date of
formal news source, or any Web site birth. By comparison, registering with
that makes its content available as news Bloglines is painless.
feeds using standard RSS (Really Point your browser to the Bloglines
Simple Syndication) or Atom formats. home page and click the Register link.
For details about RSS, check out “Stay You need only enter three boxes’ worth
Connected: RSS Is Really Simple” in the of information: an existing email ad-
November 2005 issue of PC Today. That dress Bloglines can use to verify your
article is currently accessible online, as new account; your password; and your
well, by clicking the Technology Guides password again, just to make sure
link on the PCToday.com home page you’re typing it correctly. You can then
and then clicking the RSS (Really use drop-down boxes to select your
Simple Syndication) link. any computer with a browser and time zone and preferred language.
Internet access. Plus, Bloglines was There is also a checkbox that, if you
Bloglines Basics (and remains) free for anyone to use. click it, lets you subscribe to the Blog-
In 2003 RSS and Atom readers (for- Mark Fletcher, former CEO of ONE- lines Newsletter. Click the Register
mally known as news aggregators) list (which became Yahoo! Groups button, answer the verification email
such as NewsGator (www.news in 2000), founded Bloglines in 2003. Bloglines sends to the email address
ator.com) and RSS Bandit (www.rss Ask Jeeves (www.ask.com) acquired you provided, and you’re ready to log
in and start using your new account.

Although the future Feed Your Hunger, Part 1


There are three basic ways to begin
of Ask Jeeves is unclear, adding news feeds to your Bloglines
account: You can add news feeds
you already know exist; search for
the future looks bright for Bloglines . . . new sources of news feeds within
Bloglines; or, if you’re already using
bandit.org) were already dotting the Bloglines in February 2005, and IAC a different news reader, you can
Internet landscape. But in those early /InteractiveCorp (www.iac.com) in import news feeds from that reader
days, you had to install and use the turn purchased Ask Jeeves in July into Bloglines.
readers on a particular computer; 2005, but Fletcher continues to serve as Add the feeds you know. When you
that’s still true of most news aggrega- Bloglines’ vice president and general click the Add link on the My Feeds
tors. Bloglines, however, holds the dis- manager. Although the future of Ask tab, the Subscribe page appears. Here
tinction of being the first Web-based Jeeves (or at least its eponymous you can type or paste the URL associ-
reader, meaning that you can log in to butler) is unclear, the future looks ated with a particular news feed into
your Bloglines account and use it on bright for Bloglines, which claims the Blog Or Feed URL box and click

68 March 2006 / www.pctoday.com


Roaming

Subscribe. If you know, for ex- available for the public to see.
ample, that Reuters offers an Once your subscription is
RSS feed for its Business News up and running, Bloglines
channel, you can use your Web checks for new items every
browser to visit the Reuters hour. As you add new sub-
RSS page (today.reuters.com scriptions and folders, use the
/rss/newsrss.aspx), click the Edit button on the My Feeds
XML button next to Business tab to organize and reorganize
News, and copy the resulting to your heart’s content.
URL (feeds.feedburner.com
/reuters/businessNews) into Clipping & Blogging
the Blog Or Feed URL box and You can use Bloglines strictly
click Subscribe. as a place to gather your feeds,
Search for feeds. Click the or you can use the Clippings
My Feeds tab, the Direc- Click the My Feeds tab and the Directory tab, and you’ll find a and My Blog features to save
tory tab, and Feed Directory. current list of the most popular news feeds. Click Subscribe to and comment on articles either
Search for the feed you’re add a feed to your Blog Roll or click Preview first to check out publicly or privately. If you run
looking for by typing a key- the feed’s latest entries. across an article you’re particu-
word into the box and click- larly interested in and either
ing Search; type CNN, for don’t have time to read it or
instance, to find all the feeds want to save it for later, you can
CNN.com offers. Find the ap- click Clip/Blog This Link. You
propriate link, click Preview can then write a blog entry to
to make sure it’s the one accompany it and click the
you’re looking for, and, if it’s Publish To Blog button, or you
the right one, click the Sub- can jot down some notes (or
scribe link. not), select a location for storing
Additionally, Bloglines of- the article from the Clippings
fers a quick-and-dirty method Folder drop-down box, and
for selecting a few related click the Save To button.
subscriptions at once. To do To view your clippings,
this click the My Feeds tab, simply click the Clippings tab.
the Directory tab, and Quick To get further into blogging,
Pick Subscriptions. Scroll click the My Blog tab. Before
through the available options, Bloglines offers a Sub With Bloglines link or button that works you begin, click Options and
check the ones you like, and with most major Web browsers, including Internet Explorer and establish a username, identify
click the Subscribe To My Firefox, to let you quickly add a site to your account. Click the My whether you want the blog to
Selections button. Feeds tab and the Easy Subscribe Bookmarklet link and then be public or private, and give
Import feeds. As long as follow the instructions to add it. the blog a title and optional de-
you have a news aggregator scription. Click the View Blog
that can output existing feeds to an page displays. Here you can preview link to see what your blog will look
OPML (Outline Processor Markup the current feed and select whether you like to visitors and click New Post to
Language) file, you can import them want Bloglines to list the feed in a start writing your blog.
into your Bloglines account. Click the folder, how updated items should ap-
My Feeds tab, Edit, and Import Sub- pear, and what each item should in- Options Galore
scriptions. Type the path for to the clude (headline only, summary if Bloglines offers far more options
OPML file in the box or click Browse to available, or the entire item). You can and features than we could cover in
find the file, click Import, and follow also designate whether the Bloglines this space, so we highly recommend
the on-screen instructions. Notifier (a free program you can install you explore the service’s options and
separately; for details see www.blog settings. Also visit the About Bloglines
Feed Your Hunger, Part 2 lines.com/about/notifier) should alert page (www.bloglines.com/about) and
Regardless of which method you you when new items become available, click the links under Learn More
chose to add a feed to your account, the whether items should be formatted About Bloglines for useful details.
next few steps don’t vary. After you for viewing on a mobile device, and
click the Subscribe button an, Options whether the subscription should be by Cal Clinchard

PC Today / March 2006 69


Roaming

Hybrid Cell Phones


Telecoms Go Wireless

W-CDMA. The likely upgrade path


for systems that are currently running on
the GSM (Global System for Mobile
Communications) standard is UMTS
(Universal Mobile Telephone System), or
W-CDMA. To avoid confusion with
CDMA2000, W-CDMA is sometimes re-
ferred to as 3GSM. Japan’s NTT DoCoMo
3G service, regarded by many as the
world’s first commercial 3G service, is
based on W-CDMA. Europe and Japan
are the primary W-CDMA markets.
CDMA2000. The primary proponents
of CDMA2000 lie outside of the GSM
hink for a moment about all the go anywhere in the world while keeping zone in the Americas, Japan, and Korea.

T things that you’ve ever wished


you could do with your cell
phone. Perhaps you’d like to be able to
their same phone number and handset.
In order to support a wide range of file
transfers, 3G service is also faster than
One of the most successful CDMA-2000
3G networks is Japan’s KDDI, which has
more than 20 million 3G subscribers. Two
travel around the world without losing previous second-generation systems. new players in this market, Sprint and
cell service, surf the Internet at broad- Other important qualifications for 3G Verizon Wireless, have recently rolled out
band speeds, video conference with a that were set with IMT-2000 are flexi- CDMA2000 systems in the United States.
friend, download music, play online bility, affordability, compatibility with TD-SCDMA. Although TD-SCDMA
games, or send and receive large files. existing systems, and modular design. is the lesser-known 3G standard in com-
Regardless, 3G (third-generation mobile parison to those previously mentioned,
telephone technology) is suppose to be 3G Standards its full potential is yet to be seen. The
the answer to those dreams. Although Although the dream of 3G was to unify People’s Republic of China is devel-
the promise of 3G hasn’t quite material- the world’s mobile computing devices, re- oping TD-SCDMA. Because China has
ized as expected, the technology is still ality has proven otherwise. The process of more mobile phone users than any other
in the works, and the promise of this unifying the numerous standards around country in the world, its mobile phone
great system isn’t completely lost. the world has proven to be very difficult. standards cannot be ignored.
In fact, instead of representing a world- And the winner is . . . Time will tell
It’s All In The Past wide standard, IMT-2000 represents sev- which standard(s) will become the preva-
In 1999 the ITU (International Tele- eral incompatible standards lumped lent 3G standard worldwide. Consumers
communication Union) approved five together. Even though IMT-2000 includes will play a big part in deciding which
radio interfaces designed as the global five primary radio interfaces, there are re- standard offers the most value for the
standard for 3G wireless communications, ally three primary standards to consider: money, and therefore, which standard
called IMT-2000. The goal of IMT-2000 W-CDMA (Wideband Code Division becomes the ultimate winner.
was to provide guidelines for 3G systems Multiple Access), CDMA2000, and TD-
and thereby avoid the clash of multiple SCDMA (Time Division Synchronous 3G Today
incompatible standards that have charac- Code Division Multiple Access). The In the past, people expected video
terized the mobile market in the past. other two standards, DECT (Digital telephony to be the main application
The vision of 3G includes a platform Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications) used on 3G networks. However, this has
for distributing mobile, voice, data, and UWC-136 (Universal Wireless Com- not proven to be true in the market-
Internet, and multimedia services. One of munications 136), do not fully meet all of place. In Japan, where 40% of sub-
the key features worldwide travelers will the 3G requirements. DECT is considered scribers use 3G networks, the real-life
appreciate is the ability to provide seam- a short-range solution, and UWC-136 is usage of video telephony is relative-
less global roaming, thereby letting users largely regarded as a 2.5G solution. ly small compared to other services.

70 March 2006 / www.pctoday.com


Roaming

Instead, downloading of music is in chip embedded in a cell phone. In Japan


high demand by Japanese customers. customers are downloading music files
We’re beginning to get to a point in at high speeds. Vodafone customers in
the United States where we can taste Europe can watch TV on their phone
some of the benefits of 3G. With Sprint’s using Mobile TV channels.
PCS Vision service, customers can get In December Cingular Wireless
streaming audio and video content from launched its 3G network based on
popular sources, such as NBC Mobile, HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet
CNN, E! Entertainment, and The Wea- Access), part of the W-CDMA standard.
ther Channel. On Verizon Wireless’ 1X This high-speed network was launched
EV-DO service, customers can download in 16 cities and is the first deployed 3G
content from the V Cast video service network in the world based on HSDPA.
with videos ranging from news, wea- This network, called BroadbandConnect,
ther, and entertainment. lets customers access information at high
According to 3G Today (www.3g speeds over the Cingular wireless net-
today.com), there were five CDMA2000 work using their laptop. Cingular
1xEV-DO operators in the United States Wireless is expected to expand the
at press time. Some of the coolest phones BroadbandConnect service to more loca-
on the market today are 3G phones. tions throughout the next year.
Samsung’s SPH-V8200 8MP (megapixel) The Nokia 6282 3G phone that sup-
camera phone is currently available in ports the 1,900MHz UMTS networks is
Korea. And while we aren’t likely to see coming to the United States in the first
that phone stateside, other 3G phones, quarter of 2006. This is one of the indus-
such as the Samsung SCH-i730, are cur- try’s first mobile handsets for the
rently available for purchase. 1,900MHz UMTS network that will be
available in the United States. This
What’s Next phone brings the 3G abilities to listen to
Although it may seem that the 3G streaming audio and video content,
revolution in the United States is slow, rapidly upload and download large Nokia’s 6282 phone that supports the
the opportunities for 3G expansion are files, and synchronize your calendar, 1,900MHz UMTS network is coming to the
numerous. For example, in South Korea contact, and to-do list over the air. United States in the first quarter of 2006.
a large percentage of transactions, from
paying subway tolls to online banking Tomorrow’s Technology United States. While 3G offers a lot of
transactions, take place using bank ac- It’s hard to say what and when wire- promises, a new standard, called 4G
count data encrypted on a smartcard less changes will take place in the (fourth-generation) is already in the
works. NTT DoCoMo is testing 4G com-
munication in Japan. Still, NTT DoCoMo
isn’t planning to release the first com-
mercial network until 2010, so there’s
plenty of time for U.S. carriers to roll out
3G in the meantime.
The question remains: Will we take
steps toward upgrading our existing
networks to 3G, or will we make leaps
and bounds to 4G technologies? Only
time can tell. Either way, it’s exciting to
think about the possibilities available
with our cell phones that are only a rela-
tively short amount of time away. After
all, a lot has changed in the last 20 years,
and the pace of technological advance is
picking up. Just picture what the next 20
years will offer.
Verizon’s V Cast service offers a variety of videos, games, and ring tones for
downloading at high speeds on your mobile phone. by Jennifer Johnson

PC Today / March 2006 71


Roaming

easier to scroll through, often lack a lot of


the images and graphical features that
their full-size counterparts boast.
You also have the option to make sure
that your search is limited to Web sites

Googletopia that are already optimized for mobile


viewing. Just select the Mobile Web
(Beta) radio button before tapping
Google Search.
Services For The Road Searching images using Google
Mobile is a lot like using the regular
Google Images search. Enter your
search criteria, select the Images radio
button, and tap Google Search. Results
appear three per page; clicking an
image will take you to a mobile-opti-
mized version of the Web page on
which the image originates.
Need to find the nearest Italian
restaurant or auto repair shop? Select
the Local radio button, type in your
search criteria, and tap Google Search. A
map marked with several letters ap-
pears. Each letter corresponds to an ad-
dress listed in your search results. Click
the Zoom In, Zoom Out, North, South,
East, and West links below the map to
navigate it; or click one of the links in
the search results to zero in on its exact
map location. To explore the features of
the full version of this feature, see
“Google Local” in this article.
et’s face it: You’re a Google ad- this doesn’t mean you should have to

L dict. You can’t help but use it in


some capacity throughout your
day, whether to check your Web log at
do without all the Google features
you’ve come to rely on.
Enter Google Mobile. Through this
Gmail
We’d be remiss if we didn’t include
Google’s proprietary email service,
Blogger for feedback, peruse your valuable service, Google has provided Gmail (mail.google.com) in our list of
Gmail account for interesting emails, mobile users access a good many of must-use services. With a Gmail ac-
read up on the latest news clippings at their valuable search features. All count, you can take advantage of more
Google News, or employ any of its other you’ll need is a Web-enabled device, than 2.5GB of space, you have the ability
myriad features. such as a smartphone.
Now you have to hit the road, but To search the Web using
that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to Google Mobile, just open your
satisfy your cravings for Googly good- device’s browser and go to www
ness. Here’s a quick rundown of Google .google.com/xhtml. Enter your
services you can take advantage of on search criteria and tap Google
your next trip. Search. Google will run the results
through its proprietary WML
Google Mobile (Wireless Markup Language)
A big part of being on the road is proxy server, meaning that any
also being away from all the comforts Web page that you view will be
of home, such as your 20-inch LCD converted into a small, mobile- Gmail makes it easy to insert hyperlinks into your
monitor. As such, your use of the friendly format. There’s a trade- email messages. Just highlight the text you wish to
Internet is confined to what your mo- off, though: Web pages optimized convert into a hyperlink, click the Link button, enter
bile device enables you to do. However, for mobile viewing, while a lot the URL, and click OK.

72 March 2006 / www.pctoday.com


Roaming

Receiving emails at your Gmail account


is a little different than most email services in that it groups

your messages by conversation.

to search your messages, and you can importance, click the star to make mes- Gmail’s controls are also a lot like
utilize Google’s unique method of sage easier to find later on. those of other online email services.
grouping your messages by conversa- You should find sending messages to On the left side of the display, you’ll
tion (similar to the threading of related be quite similar to the same process in find links to the different folders of
messages on a message board). Best of other email services, but Gmail has also your account, including Inbox, Sent
all, Gmail accounts are free. incorporated some unique options. In Mail, Drafts, Spam, and Trash. Two
To get started you’ll need to start an its default Rich Text mode, Gmail pro- additional folders you might not be
account; and therein lies the rub. As of vides several special formatting options, familiar with are All Mail, which
press time, Gmail was still in beta enables you to view every single
testing and therefore only available message in your account (be it re-
by invitation. Fortunately, invitations ceived, sent, archived, or in the draft
are increasingly easy to come by; if phase), and Starred, which singles
you don’t have one already, chances out messages that you designate
are you know someone who does. especially important.
Check your network of online friends Perhaps more useful and unique
and acquaintances to see if they than any of Gmail’s other features is
might have an invitation that they’re the option to search your old mes-
willing to part with. On the outside sages for specific information. Type
chance that your friends can’t come your criteria in the field at the top of
through for you, just click the Sign Click the Settings link in the upper right of the the page and click Search Mail. Gmail
Up For Gmail Using Your Mobile page to adjust the basic personal settings of presents you with a list of your
Phone link on the Gmail home page. your Gmail account. emails containing the words specified
Secure that most treasured of invi- in your search.
tations (or click the link to sign up via Google Mobile lets you take A fun new feature you’ll want to
your mobile phone) and follow the advantage of many of Google’s take advantage of is Gmail Mobile.
instructions to set up your account. useful features through an Use your device’s Web browser to
When the setup process is complete, interface that is optimized for navigate to http://m.gmail.com.
log in to your account. mobile devices. To use Google You’ll have full access to your ac-
Receiving emails at your Gmail ac- Mobile, just navigate to count, except that it will be opti-
count is a little different than most www.google.com/xhtml using mized to fit your device’s display.
email services in that it groups your your device’s Web browser. Gmail Mobile will enable you to view
messages by conversation. For ex- Microsoft Word attachments, photos,
ample, suppose you emailed your and PDF files, as well as call Gmail
friends Robert and Jane regarding an including the ability to contacts for whom you have a phone
upcoming birthday party. Rather convert text into hyper- number listed.
than listing their responses to you sepa- links. However, if you’re emailing con-
rately, their messages will be threaded tacts who are unable to view rich text Google Local
together on top of your original mes- messages, you can send messages in After a day full of meetings on your
sage. Each subsequent message will be Plain Text. Keep in mind that your mes- business trip to Seattle, you finally have
added to the same thread. sage will lose any special formatting an evening to yourself. You’re eager to
You’ll notice that each separate mes- when you send messages in this mode. explore the city, especially its night life.
sage thread has the outline of a star next Also, Gmail enables you to send up to Unfortunately, you don’t have a clue
to it. If the conversation is of particular 10MB in attachments per message. where to begin. This is where the

PC Today / March 2006 73


Roaming

Google Local page (local unavailable. You’ll also want Reverse Directions link to get directions
.google.com) comes in handy. to note that these satellite for your return trip.
Use Google Local to track images do not label roads Currently in beta testing, a download-
down a list of destinations, or other points of interest. able version of the Google Local soft-
maps, and driving directions. To see the roads and street ware is available for mobile phones.
Start out by entering the names superimposed over Availability of Google Local For Mobile
type of establishment or loca- the terrain image, just click varies by carrier and by device. As of
tion you’re looking for in the the Hybrid link. Again, the press time, the software did not support
field at the top of the page, Searching for images availability of this feature Verizon, Nextel, T-Mobile, Alltel, or U.S.
and then clicking Search. It in Google Mobile varies by location. Cellular, nor was it available for Palm or
helps to be specific; in our is a lot like using You can also use Google BlackBerry devices.
case, we searched for “Seattle the regular Google Local to get directions to
night clubs.” Image search, except most locations. Just enter
Google Reader
A list of results containing that the results are your search for directions in If you’re like us, you have a lengthy
the name, address, and tele- limited to three this format: current location list of Web sites that you like to read
phone number of pertinent per page. to destination (for example, every day—possibly several times a
locations displays on the “lincoln, ne to omaha, ne”) day. As our list of favorites rapidly ex-
lower left of the page. And a and then click Search. Again, pands, it becomes hard to keep up with
map appears on the lower right. Each it helps to be as specific as possible. The each Web site’s updates. Sure, you
location in the search results is assigned more address information you can pro- could click through your list of book-
a letter that is also used to mark its vide, the more accurate the directions marked Web sites, one after the other, to
place on the map. You can click the ar- will be. Your results will display in the see if any sites have posted new infor-
rows on the map to navigate one loca- form of numbered directions. Click the mation. That can quickly become tire-
tion or another and click the plus some, though, especially if a site
(+) and minus (-) symbols to zoom doesn’t post any new information
in and out. Otherwise, just click a between your visits.
search result to navigate directly to Using Google Reader (www
its map location. .google.com/reader), you can let
A word balloon will display the search engine do that work
from the establishment’s map loca- for you. Google Reader (which was
tion. The Address tab will present in beta testing as of this writing)
you with the address, links for di- will feed you updates on every-
rections to and from the location, thing you specify, from breaking
and any other available informa- Run a search for Web sites that provide continuously news at The New York Times to the
tion, such as reviews, ratings on updated feeds about your favorite subjects. Click latest political rant on your best
a five-star scale, and a link to the Subscribe to add them to your Google Reader list. friend’s blog.
establishment’s Web site. To get started, go to the
Click the Details tab to find Google Reader home page
useful information such as and log in. If you already
business hours and ac- have a Gmail address or
cepted forms of payment. other existing Google ac-
Another feature of the count, you can use it to log
map (and a cool one, we in to Google Reader; other-
think) is the satellite photo wise, click the Create An
of a location. Just click the Account Now link and
Satellite link at the top of follow the instructions to
the map. Keep in mind that set up your account.
satellite images don’t nec- After you log in, you
essarily exist for every want to set up a list of sub-
location, particularly those scriptions to your favorite
in rural areas. In some Web sites. Enter the name
cases you may find that of one of your favorite
your ability to zoom in Google Local makes it incredibly easy to find directions. Here, we ran a Web sites in the field at the
on images of some loca- simple search to find directions from PC Today’s home office in Lincoln, top of the page and click
tions is limited or wholly Neb., to Eppley Airfield in Omaha, Neb. Search For New Content.

74 March 2006 / www.pctoday.com


Roaming

Click the Your Subscriptions link to bring up a list of the Web sites

you subscribed to, and click the Edit link for each item to assign it a

label. For example, type sports for subscriptions related to


sporting news.
A list of similar Web sites will dis- where assigning labels comes in handy. for each item to assign it a label. For
play, including the one you entered if a Click the Your Subscriptions link to example, type sports for subscrip-
feed for it exists. Scroll to your site, type bring up a list of the Web sites you tions related to sporting news. When
in a label in the Labels field (optional), subscribed to, and click the Edit link you click the label for a highlighted
and click the Subscribe item in your reading list,
button. Repeat this process Google Reader limits the
until you’re satisfied that list to items sharing the
you subscribed to as many same label.
of your favorite Web sites
as possible. Happy Trails To You
Next, click the Return To These features are only
Home link. On the left side scraping the tip of the ice-
of Google Reader’s home berg in terms of services
page, a list of recent updates you might find useful on
to your subscriptions ap- the road. Other notable fea-
pears in the viewing pane. tures you’ll want to check
Use the viewing pane’s con- out are Google SMS (www
trols or your mouse to scroll .google.com/sms), which
through the listed items. On lets you use your mobile
the right side of the page, an phone to received text-
excerpt from the high- based answers to questions
lighted article will appear, One really cool feature of Google Local is the option to switch the map to you send to Google via
along with the date, au- an aerial satellite view. In this case we checked out the view over Walt SMS (Short Message Ser-
thor’s name, a link to the Disney World in Orlando, Fla. Unfortunately, Google Local was unable to vice); Google Talk (www
full article, and any labels tell us whether Space Mountain was out-of-order. .google.com/talk), which
you assigned to that partic- lets you IM (instant mes-
ular subscription. sage) or call your friends
Of course, you may not for free using your com-
have time to read every puter, and specialized
item on the list. Just click search tools such Google
the star next to any items Blog Search (blogsearch
you wish to come back to .google.com) and Google
later. When you have time Book Search (books.google
to return to Google Reader, .com). For a more exhaus-
click the Starred link at the tive rundown of Google
top of the page. A list of features, check out the
your starred items appears, “Guide To Using Google”
making it easy for you to in the September 2005 issue
locate them. of Smart Computing Refer-
On other occasions you Instead of constantly checking your favorite Web sites for updates, ence Series, a sister publica-
may only want to scan your let Google Reader keep track of them for you. The viewing pane on the tion to PC Today.
list for certain items, such left side of the page contains a listing of the most recent updates to Web
as sporting news. This is sites you subscribed to. by Nate Hoppe

PC Today / March 2006 75


Home Base

The Well-Tuned PC

Good, Bad & Ugly Tweaks


veryone wants a faster of the simple way to do the menu displays; I suggest
Dave Methvin is chief
technology officer of PC
Pitstop, a free site that
E computer. Some peo-
ple just go out and
buy a faster one. If you’re a
something that changes a lot
of Registry settings. Right-
click the My Computer icon
a number around 200. Do not
set the value to zero, al-
though you can set it to 1 if
automatically diagnoses tweak freak, you probably and select Properties and you’d like.
and fixes common PC think that’s cheating. After then click the Advanced tab.
problems. Contact Dave at all, isn’t there always some In the Performance section of The Bad
dave@pctoday.com change or tweak that can the dialog, click the Settings You can get yourself into a
make your current system button. Normally, this will be lot of Class A trouble by care-
faster? Well, that’s half right; set to Let Windows Choose lessly deleting files or Registry
Utility Of The Month: there is always some tweak What’s Best For My Compu- keys in an attempt to speed
Group Policy you can make, considering ter, but who’s to say Win- up a system, but that’s not the
Editor that there are dozens of tweak dows knows what’s best? If kind of tweaking we’ll focus
sites on the Internet sug- you want to make your PC on here. Truly bad tweaks
icrosoft’s Group gesting hundreds of different fly, select Adjust For Best Per- have technical details that
M Policy Editor (GPE) is
a similar Swiss Army knife
changes to Windows settings.
A lot of them involve the
formance instead. That will
eliminate a lot of the car-
make them seem plausible
even when they’re not. Some-
of a utility that lets you Registry, which can be a toonish aspects of the WinXP times they are simply place-
change dozens of settings dangerous place to play if interface, though, and you bos and have no real effect on
without being proficient you don’t know what you’re may want to keep a few. If so, your system. Other times, the
at Registry editing. It is part doing. Plus, a lot of those choose Custom instead and Registry setting does some-
of WinXP Pro, and the tweaks don’t help or actually check as few of the boxes as thing—just not what it’s
quickest way to run it is by make things worse. So let’s you can—every one of those claimed to do. In a few cases,
clicking Start and Run and cover some of the good, bad, effects saps some perfor- the tweak even does the oppo-
then typing gpedit.msc. and ugly tweaks out there. mance. In particular, older site of what is claimed. Some-
Unfortunately, GPE is not systems get a lot faster if you how these bad tweaks take on
distributed with WinXP
The Good turn off animations and drop a life of their own, spreading
Home, only WinXP Pro. Many Registry-oriented shadows under menus. like bird flu across dozens of
Fortunately, though, tweaks are out there are just There’s one useful user “Windows tips” sites all over
there’s a Web site at the “hard way” to do some- interface setting that is not the Internet.
www.j79zlr.com/gphome thing that already has its covered by that dialog. Nor- Although there are many
.php that describes how to own user interface. When- mally, WinXP waits about critical values in the Win-
get to the same settings in ever possible, use the inter- half a second before showing dows Registry, you can create
WinXP Home. face that Windows gave you the Programs menu when additional values almost any-
The help text that to make the change. Al- you mouse over it on the where in the Registry. Like
comes with GPE alone is though you may be able to Start menu. Once you’re fa- the proverbial tree falling in
worth a look, it does a find a setting in the Registry miliar with the Windows in- the forest, those extra keys
great job of explaining how that seems to do the trick, terface, half a second seems and values don’t make a
most of the settings work. there are sometimes multiple like a long time. To get a difference if no software
Just find a setting you’re in- interrelated values. If you faster menu, use Regedit is around to read them. In
terested in, right-click it, change just one value in one to create a new string en- some cases, the tweaks used
and select Help. If you’re location, the tweak may ap- try named “MenuShow- to work in older versions
looking for a way to ex- pear to work correctly at first Delay” in HKEY_LOCAL_ of Windows but no long-
plore what can be changed, but will have some hidden MACHINE\CONTROL er apply in WinXP. The
then this is the safest way trouble down the road. PANEL\DESKTOP. The val- IOPageLockLimit Registry
to browse. ❙ Windows XP’s Visual Ef- ue should be the number of value, for example, used to
fects dialog is a good example milliseconds to wait before carry out a specific function

76 March 2006 / www.pctoday.com


Home Base

in Windows 2000 but When a system


does nothing in Win- crashes abruptly, files
XP. Then there are or Registry settings
tweaks such as En- can become corrupted.
ableSuperFetch that It’s a good thing you
may have been cre- have System Restore
ated as a prank; Win- to help you get back to
XP does not ever use an uncorrupted set
a Registry value by of data. That is, un-
that name. (The up- less you’ve disabled
coming Windows Vis- The Group Policy Editor lets you explore System Restore. That’s
ta, on the other hand, and change dozens of windows settings much another tweak-gone-
just might.) more safely and accurately than with the blunt amok that some Web
Perhaps the most instrument of RegEdit. sites advocate. The jus-
infamous tweak was tification is that it can
the one that spawned slow down the process
the “Microsoft steals 20% of out and clobber you when to checkpoint system settings,
your bandwidth” rumor. you least expect it. and it can take a lot of disk
Some misguided tweaker A few months back I space. That may have been
misunderstood the meaning called out the DisablePag- true when System Restore
of some Registry settings ingExecutive tweak that first appeared in Windows
and from that error decided forces Windows to keep cer- Me, but the WinXP version is
that by just tweaking a Reg- tain system code always in pretty unobtrusive. If you
istry key it was possible to memory. That tweak can want to adjust the disk space
“get that bandwidth back” cause an ugly crash if you it uses, it’s easy to change. Just
and improve performance. use it with a system that has right-click My Computer and
This nontweak was so wide- very little memory (say, less then click Properties and the
spread that Microsoft even than 384MB) or if you sleep System Restore tab. But don’t
wrote a support article to set and hibernate the computer turn it off.
the record straight (support as you typically might with One of the recurring
.microsoft.com/default.aspx a portable computer. themes in bad tweaks is that
?kbid=316666). Disabling the page file “to they seem a bit too good to
improve performance” is one be true. If there’s really a
The Ugly of those nightmare tweaks tweak that would increase
Some bad tweaks are so that won’t go away. If you performance by 50%, why
bad that they transfer from have lots of memory, the wouldn’t it be enabled by
the Bad Train and take the page file gets very little ac- default? Even when there’s
express line straight to Ugly- tion since Windows prefers a small performance bene-
ville. These are the terrible to keep everything in mem- fit, keep an eye out for the
tweaks that can cause system ory. But should you ever downside of the change.
instability or unexplained have a program that needs Sometimes the best thing to
failures. Most of the time, memory and Windows does do is leave things alone.
you’ll spend weeks trying to not have a page file, it has no Or, as mom used to say,
figure out what’s wrong but choice but to crash. Given a “Don’t pick at it—you’ll
usually can’t connect the choice between going slow make it bleed!”
tweak with the failure. Or and crashing, I’ll take slow
perhaps the tweak will reach any day. by Dave Methvin

PC Today / March 2006 77


Home Base

The
Latest Software
by Cyndy Bates Finnie

Adobe Photoshop Elements 4.0 Plus Adobe Premier Elements 2.0

$149.99 but you will quickly out- editing process but while
Adobe Systems grow most of those. With still including a wide and
www.adobe.com Photoshop Elements and deep selection of tools that
Premiere Elements, you even the experienced user
hen you ask a hard- have the tools you need to won’t outgrow.
W ware vendor for
help, they’ll tell you it’s a
get started editing today,
plus enough power to
The image organizer
downloads images from
software problem and vice give you room to grow. your camera or scanner
versa. To limit problems Adobe Photoshop Ele- and catalogues them on
and prevent headaches ments 4.0 has three mod- your hard drive. It’s some-
when it comes to digital ules: an image organizer, what distracting because it
images (still or video) and an image editor, and photo doesn’t display filenames
creating keepsakes to last a projects. You can see its by default but offers big
long time, it’s important thumbnails and the abil-
to have the right tools. ity to organize and sort
That means that if in a variety of ways. The
you’ve spent the money organizer has some in-
for a quality digital telligence; for example,
camera (SLR or point- it will automatically
and-shoot) and digital fix red eye and group
video camera, you’ll photos by subject.
want to spend the extra You can edit images
Adobe Photoshop Elements’
money for top-of-the in one of two ways:
Quick Fix lets you quickly make
line image- and video- Quick Fix or Standard
color and lighting corrections to
editing software. Adobe Edit. Quick Fix, which
still images.
Photoshop Elements 4.0 is also accessible from
Plus Adobe Premier the organizer, presents
Elements 2.0 is not only a professional roots; for one you with a menu pane of
mouthful but also a value thing, the box actually in- common edits, including
bundle that gives you the cludes printed manuals lighting, contrast, and col-
dual power of photo and and tutorials to get you or balancing. Those who
video editing at a discount started. But unlike many know what they want can
off the price of purchasing $50 imaging programs, use sliders to make fixes;
the two separately. Photoshop Elements is an others can opt to apply
At $149.99 the bundle is excellent balance of finely fixes automatically. For
certainly pricey. There are detailed tools and auto- more detailed edits, Stan-
many more affordable ed- matic fixes. It guides be- dard Editing includes a
iting programs available, ginners through the image wider variety of tools,

78 March 2006 / www.pctoday.com


Home Base

including smart selection, with one-button switching be- Eudora 7.0


cropping, and painting tools. tween capturing, editing, and
Photoshop Elements also in- burning. You capture video via $49.95 Eudora 7.0 makes search-
cludes a batch of common pro- FireWire or USB 2.0 ports, and QUALCOMM ing through email faster and
jects, including greeting cards, then Premiere Elements’ Scene www.qualcomm.com easier by using X1’s index-
scrapbooks, and slideshows Detector intelligently analyzes ing engine. X1 is one of the
(for either PC or TV display). video as it captures to break UALCOMM Eudora fastest engines for desktop

Taking On Video
down your video into several
smaller video clips. As five
Q has long been noted for
its fast, friendly interface and
search and brings that speed
to Eudora. This new version
The other half of the puzzle minutes of digital video re- customizability. Version 7.0 also includes a BossWatch
is Adobe Premiere Elements quires about 1GB of hard doesn’t overwhelm with a feature that warns you if you
2.0 video editing software. It drive space, this speeds up send or reply to a message
allows you to capture, edit, your PC’s performance while that is copied to a recipient
and burn-to-disc videos you’ve you’re editing. you’ve previously identified.
taken with your digital video Multiple tutorials help It also includes the ability
camera. And, like Photoshop bring users up to speed on to manage IMAP (Inter-
Elements, it strikes a good the powerful editing tools net Message Access Proto-
Premiere Elements has, as col) messages offline, as
well as educate new users on well as S/MIME (Secure
the video-editing process. Multipurpose Internet Mail
With your clips assembled, Eudora 7 includes a fast new
Extension) support.
you can trim out the boring indexing engine to make it faster
X1 Searching and BossWatch
parts and add a variety of than ever to find email messages.
are only available in the paid
effects, including lighting version of Eudora. You can
and sharpening corrections, long list of new features but download and try Eudora 7 for
warping, or moving text does include faster searching free by using Sponsored Mode.
and graphics. Next, you can and several fixes to known This displays an ad to the left of
You can edit and add special
fancy-up your video by ap- issues with the previous ver- your mailboxes. Paying the
effects to create your own movies
plying transitions and up to sion. There’s no rush for cur- $49.95 registration fee removes
with Adobe Premier Elements.
99 tracks of audio clips, as rent users of Eudora to move the ads from your workspace
well as adding movie titles, to version 7, unless you want and activates email indexing, as
balance between power, flexi- credits, and captions. After to take advantage of special well as the BossWatch func-
bility, and ease-of-use. that, you can burn a DVD upgrade pricing. If you tionality. An ad-free bare bones
Premiere Elements’ interface to share with your family bought Eudora in the last 12 freeware version of Eudora is
is improved in this version and friends. months, this upgrade is free. also available for downloading.

Opera 8.51

Free not only convenient but also subscribes you to the feed, The integration is helpful as
Opera Software free of charge. At its heart which you will view as a new you can search and create
www.operasoftware.com Opera is a tabbed browser with tab in the browser. folders across message types,
pop-up blocking and built-in But, wait, there’s more. including email, RSS news,
hy does it seem that searches (Google, Amazon, Opera is also an email pro- and newsgroup messages.
W for every new Internet
technology, we need to buy
etc.). Launching a new Web
page opens up a new tab, and
gram. You can also import ex-
isting accounts and mail from
and install a new program just it’s easy to switch between programs such as Outlook,
to deal with it? Between a pages. Toolbars, menus, and Outlook Express, Eudora, and
browser, email software, RSS buttons have been streamlined, more. Mail is displayed in a
newsreader, and IRC chat tool, so there’s more room for view- window pane and clicking an
it’s hard to remember to check ing Web pages. When brows- email message opens a new
all those programs. ing on Web pages that support tab. Opera also includes an
Say hello to Opera. It’s one- RSS (really simple syndication) IRC chat client, voice com- Opera makes reading email
stop shopping for all things on- feeds, a blue icon appears right mands, and is customizable and RSS feeds as easy as
line. The all-in-one service is in the URL bar. Clicking it through skins. browsing the Web.

PC Today / March 2006 79


Home Base

of the Windows Task Manager. Ending


unnecessary processes can be a quick
way to boost your PC’s performance,
but ending necessary processes can

System “break” certain applications, and even


make your computer unusable until
you restart the process or restart the

Processes
What’s Going On Behind The Scenes

s avid computer users, we tend

A to expect our systems to be able


to perform much like we per-
form. If we can listen to music, write
an email, and surf the Internet all at
once, then our computer should be able
keep up, right? Managing multiple
tasks at once is nothing new for com-
puters, but if your computer starts
struggling to run just a handful of ap- Even a computer with a new Windows
plications, then it may be swamped installation has more than a dozen
with too many system processes run- processes running at startup.
ning in the background.
System processes consist of a num-
ber of hidden applications that run in computer. Some necessary processes
the background without your imme- can’t be ended, and for good reason.
diate knowledge. More than a dozen The list on the following pages gives
valid system processes load and begin you an overview of some of the more
running every time you start your com- common system processes and appli-
puter. Even more start as they become cation processes, as well as some of the
necessary, like when you start brows- less common hardware-related back-
ing the Internet or launch a program ground processes.
such as Microsoft Word. You need these processes, but typically you’ll
some system processes for certain have to resort to an antivirus applica- Alg.exe
things on your computer to work prop- tion to get rid of the pesky CPU hogs The Alg.exe system process refers to
erly. For instance, the Explorer.exe once-and-for-all. Microsoft’s Application Layer Gate-
system process is responsible for the way Service, which is necessary if you
Windows visual interface items such as Take A Peek use Microsoft’s Windows Internet
the Start menu, Taskbar, Desktop, and To see a list of processes in Win- Connection Sharing or the Internet
File Manager. dows 2000/XP, press CTRL-ALT-DE- Connection Firewall. If the process
Not all system processes are cre- LETE, click Task Manager, and then is running, then you probably need
ated equal, however. Some are merely select the Processes tab. Windows lists it, as ending it may adversely affect
optional and consume valuable CPU the processes with the Image Name your computer.
cycles needlessly. Some of these pro- in the far-left column, followed by
cesses are utterly useless adware and the name of the initiating user, the Ati2evxx.exe
spyware, which can gather and broad- amount of CPU time the process is Ati2evxx.exe is a hardware-related
cast information about your Web view- using, and the amount of memory the background process that maintains the
ing habits. Other items have even more process is consuming. ATI Display Adapter Assistant. You
sinister purposes; crackers can use To stop a process, select the item may see this process in your Task
some system processes to hijack your from the list and click the End Pro- Manager if you have an ATI graphics
computer. You can attempt to turn off cess button in the bottom-right corner card. This process lets you configure

80 March 2006 / www.pctoday.com


Home Base

your display settings but is not a vital process, but doing so will remove the could be a virus. Perform an antivirus
Windows process. graphical interface. scan on your computer to eliminate
this possibility.
Csrss.exe GoogleDesktopCrawl.exe
This system process is part of the GoogleDesktopCrawl.exe is an appli- Internat.exe
Microsoft Client/Server Runtime cation process that corresponds to the This system process is a part of
Server Subsystem, which handles a ma- Google Desktop Search utility. The Microsoft Windows and supports Micr-
jority of Windows’ graphical com- process is necessary to use the utility osoft Input Locales and the Windows
mands. The genuine Csrss.exe process, but is not a vital part of Windows. multilingual operations. If you en-
which is necessary, runs from the counter this process, terminating it will
C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32 folder. If Hpzstatn.exe likely cause problems with regional
you see two versions of the process This hardware-related background and language settings. You can find
running simultaneously, then one of process refers to the HP Deskjet Task- this process in the C:\WINDOWS
them is likely a virus running from an- bar Utility, which corresponds to HP’s \SYSTEM32 folder. If you find the file
other location. You can address the somewhere else, it is an indication that
problem by scanning your computer your computer might be infected with
with an antivirus utility. a virus.

Ctfmon.exe Lsass.exe
The Ctfmon.exe system process is According to Microsoft, the Lsass.exe
part of Microsoft Office, and it enables system process handles local security
the Alternative User Input Services, authority domain authentication and
such as the Text Input Processor. For Active Directory management tasks,
Office XP users, Ctfmon.exe also man- otherwise known as Windows security
ages the Language Bar. Unless you use and login policies. A few associated
the Language Bar, speech recognition, components include the Net Logon ser-
handwriting recognition, the on-screen vice, SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), and
keyboard, translation applications, and the Security Accounts Manager service.
other accessibility and alternative user Click the Performance tab in Windows Task This system process is necessary and is
input programs, this system process Manager to see a graphical representation located in the C:\WINDOWS\SYS-
isn’t necessary and shouldn’t cause of your CPU load. TEM32 folder. A virus going by the
problems if you end it. same name also exists, but it typically
Deskjet line of printers. Although this runs from a different location, and you
Dllhost.exe process is not a vital part of Windows, can remove it with an antivirus utility.
This is a system process that runs you may find it is necessary to prop-
in the background and refers to the erly use your printer. Msiexec.exe
Microsoft DCOM (Distributed Com- This system process refers to the
ponent Object Model) DLL (Dynamic Iexplore.exe Windows Installer Component, which
Link Library) Host Process, which han- Various sources report that between handles the installation of Windows
dles DLL-based programs. Multiple 70% and 80% of all Internet users use Installer package files with the MSI
programs can use this process simul- Microsoft Internet Explorer to browse (Microsoft Installation) file extension. If
taneously, which can result in more the Web, and Iexplore.exe is the sys- you see this process running in your
than one instance of Dllhost.exe in tem process that launches when you Task Manager, you should not disable
your Task Manager’s processes list. run IE. Iexplore.exe also refers to the it because it is necessary.
Don’t terminate Dllhost.exe if you Avant Internet Browser, which is
encounter it. a plug-in for IE that adds features Msmsgs.exe
such as a Flash animation filter, pop- The application process that is
Explorer.exe up blocker, and search engine. This named Msmsgs.exe refers to the MSN
The Explorer.exe system process process is nonessential and typically Messenger online chat and instant
refers to the Windows Program Man- only appears when you’re browsing messaging application. Most Windows
ager and Windows Explorer. This the Web. Ending the process will installations include MSN Messenger
process handles items such as the Start close any open browser windows. by default, but allowing this process
menu, Taskbar, Desktop, and File If you find Iexplore.exe in any loca- to run in the background is only nec-
Manager, and it is vital to the operation tion other than C:\PROGRAM FILES\ essary if you actually use the appli-
of your computer. You can end this INTERNET EXPLORER, then the file cation. You can end the process by

PC Today / March 2006 81


Home Base

selecting Msmsgs.exe whenever needed. You can find this


in the Windows Task Nvsvc32.exe process in the C:\WINDOWS\SYS-
Manager and clicking If you happen to TEM32 folder. Your computer may be
End Process. own one of Nvidia’s infected with a virus if you find this
To prevent MSN graphics cards, you file in another location.
Messenger from load- You’ll see this warning whenever may encounter this
ing every time you start you attempt to end a process, even hardware-related Smss.exe
your computer, click if the process is unnecessary. background process. The Smss.exe system process runs
Start, Programs (All Itrefers to the Nvidia in the background to maintain the
Programs in WinXP), Driver Helper Ser- Session Manager Subsystem, which
and then click Windows Messenger. Click vice, which is required to make your is a required element of Microsoft
Tools, Options, and then click the graphics card work on your system. Windows. This process manages your
Preferences tab. Deselect the Run This user session and launches other impor-
Program When Windows Starts and tant processes such as Winlogon.exe
Allow This Program To Run In The and Csrss.exe. Normally, you can
Background checkboxes. find the Smss.exe file in the C:\WIN-
Msmsgs.exe exists in C:\PROGRAM DOWS\SYSTEM32 folder; if you find it
FILES\MESSENGER. This process has elsewhere, though, it may be a virus.
also been associated with a virus, so
make sure to scan your computer with Spoolsv.exe
an antivirus application if you suspect The Spoolsv.exe system process
someone or something has hijacked is designed to support your comput-
your MSN Messenger file. er’s connection to your local printer.
This background process refers to the
Msoobe.exe Microsoft Printer Spooler Service,
As you might guess from the first which is an important part of your sys-
two letters of this system process, To change the information that appears tem. The legitimate version of this
Msoobe.exe is a Microsoft product. in the Processes window, click View and file is located in the C:\WINDOWS\
This process pertains to the license key Select Columns. SYSTEM32 folder, but it may be a
and Windows Product Activation func- virus if you find the file elsewhere on
tions, and it appears when you go your system.
through the online activation process Outlook.exe
for various Microsoft products. This As its name suggests, this file refers Svchost.exe
process runs when it is required for the to Microsoft Outlook’s email client soft- This Microsoft Service Host process
proper operation of your system, so ware. You can disable this application is a critical system process, and it is
don’t end it. process without adversely affecting necessary for the proper operation of
Windows. If you’re running Outlook, your system. At any given point, you
Navapsvc.exe however, you’ll need this process.
This background process refers to
the Norton AntiVirus Auto-Protect Quicktimeplayer.exe
Service, which you’ll find in your Task This application process should only
Manager if you are running the an- appear in your Task Manager’s process
tivirus application. This process is nec- list if you have Apple’s QuickTime
essary to maintain Symantec’s service, player running. This application lets
but Windows runs fine without it. you play audio and video files, but the
process is not essential for the stable
Navapw32.exe operation of Windows.
Similar to the Navapsvc.exe pro-
cess, Navapw32.exe is a part of Norton Services.exe
AntiVirus. This background process This system process pertains to the
refers to the Norton Antivirus Agent, Windows Service Controller, which is a
which keeps your system protected vital part of the Microsoft Windows
from security threats. Navapw32.exe is OS. Services.exe enables and disables You can increase or reduce the refresh rate for
necessary for Symantec’s software to various Windows services during the your processes by clicking View, Update
run properly. startup and shut down process and Speed, and then selecting your desired setting.

82 March 2006 / www.pctoday.com


Home Base

may notice several copies of this if ended will simply close the Task Media Player) software. If you use
process in your Task Manager. Each Manager from view. WMP to play streamed or downloaded
one may handle multiple services audio and video files, then don’t termi-
and processes that your computer Wdfmgr.exe nate this process unless you think it’s
needs to keep handy throughout your The Wdfmgr.exe is an application causing your system problems. A
computing session. The Svchost.exe process that relates to the Windows known virus of the same name has
file is located in the C:\WINDOWS\ Driver Foundation Manager, which is been found previously, so make sure
SYSTEM32 folder. Any other occur- a vital aspect of Microsoft’s Windows this file is in the C:\PROGRAM FILES\
rence of this file may be a virus, so scan Media Player 10. If you’re running WINDOWS MEDIA PLAYER folder. Try
your system with an antivirus program Windows Media Player, you’ll want scanning your computer with an an-
if you think this process may be to maintain this process because it tivirus application to eliminate the possi-
causing your system problems. can help with device and software bility of infection.
compatibility issues.
System Zonealarm.exe
The System process refers Zonealarm.exe is an application
collectively to all of the fun- process that refers to ZoneAlarm’s
damental OS processes that antivirus software. Although not neces-
are necessary for running sary for Windows, this process may be
your computer. The Sys- necessary for the proper operation of
tem process is necessary, the Zone Labs product installed on
and you cannot terminate your computer.
it manually.
Process Heads Up
System Idle Process Despite the number of system pro-
This item appears at the cesses we discussed in this article, this
bottom of the list but isn’t is by no means a complete guide to
actually a system process. everything running in the background
Instead, it’s a counter that on your computer. Sometimes the
displays the total percentage difference between a legitimate pro-
of your CPU that is idle and cess and a harmful virus is a single
ready for use. It is common character. As stated previously, the
for the number in the CPU Iexplore.exe process refers to Micro-
The ProcessLibrary.com Web site lets you search for
column in System Idle Pro- soft’s IE, but Iexplorer.exe refers to the
and identify all of the processes running in the
cess to hover between 90 and RapidBlaster virus. For more infor-
background on your computer.
100. This process is neces- mation about the processes you’ll
sary, so if you try to end it, find in the Windows Task Manager,
you will receive an Invalid Operation Winlogon.exe consult Uniblue System’s Process-
error message. The Winlogon.exe system process is Library.com. Here you can search
called the Microsoft Windows Logon for system processes, as well as view
Systray.exe Process and refers to the Windows NT the Top 5 Processes, Top 5 Security
The Systray.exe system process man- login manager. This process manages Threats, and Top 5 New Processes.
ages the Microsoft System Tray Ser- the procedures involved in logging on There are several applications on the
vices, which in turn handles the date and logging off of your system. Don’t market that can help you gather more
and time display in your System Tray attempt to terminate this process be- information about some of the more
on your Desktop. This process is a cause it is important to the stable oper- problematic system processes. If you’re
normal part of Windows and should ation of your computer. The legitimate looking to dig a little deeper, check out
not be terminated. version of Winlogon.exe is located in Security Task Manager ($29; www
the C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32 folder. .neuber.com), WinTasks 5 ($29.95;
Taskmgr.exe If the file appears elsewhere, scan your www.liutilities.com/products/win
If you pressed CTRL-ALT-DELETE computer with an antivirus application tasksstd), or Process Explorer (free-
to bring up the list of system processes to minimize possible infection. ware; www.sysinternals.com).
in the Windows Task Manager, then
you’ll invariably see Taskmgr.exe Wmplayer.exe by Andrew Leibman
among them. This system process Wmplayer.exe is the application
refers to the Task Manager itself, and process for Microsoft’s WMP (Windows

PC Today / March 2006 83


Business Travel 911

Wireless Internet
Connection Problems
CONNECTION CHECKLIST
s the business traveler is inundated with

A airport terminals, coffee shops, and hotels


offering public wireless Internet, you may
find that locating a hotspot is the easy part. If you
Before trying to connect to a hotspot, make
sure you have the right hardware. Most
newer notebooks come with integrated
find yourself floundering while trying to connect, wireless adapters. If you have an Intel
try these troubleshooting tips. Centrino notebook, then you have an
802.11b or 802.11g wireless adapter and
by Andrew Leibman should have little trouble connecting to most

GO HOTSPOT HOPPING
If several hotspots exist in the same general vicinity, you may need to specify
the network to which you want to connect. To view the available wireless net-
works, right-click the Network Connections icon from the System Tray and then
click View Available Wireless Networks. Click Advanced to open the Wireless
Network Connection Properties dialog box and then select the wireless net-
work’s SSID (Service Set Identifier) from the list of available networks that
appear on the Wireless Networks tab.
Click the network you want to connect to and then click the checkbox in
front of Allow Me To Connect To The Selected Wireless Network, Even
Though It Is Not Secure. Click the Connect button at the bottom of the dialog
box to continue. If you aren’t sure which network you want to connect to or public hotspots. If you’re not sure, check
you don’t see the network you’re looking for, click the Advanced button. your device for an 802.11-compliant WLAN
From this screen you can rescan for the available wireless networks by (wireless local-area network) adapter.
clicking Refresh. Some wireless-capable devices state the
Windows 2000 users don’t have a utility designed to detect and con- 802.11-compliance on the bottom or back of
figure wireless networks. As a result you’ll need to use the software that the device itself. You can also check to see
came with your wireless adapter or a software application provided by the whether or not you have a wireless adapter
wireless IP. For example, if you have Intel’s PRO/Wireless network adapter by consulting the Device Manager. If you’re
and the PROSet profile management software, then you can double-click using Windows XP, click Start, right-click
the Intel PROSet icon and select your wireless adapter from the left pane of My Computer, and select Manage. Click
the General tab. Click the Networks tab and click Scan. A list of Available Device Manager from the left pane to see a
Networks appears and shows you the SSID names of the available net- list of the devices installed on your system.
works. Select the network you want from the list and click Connect. Windows 2000 users can right-click My
Computer, click Properties, and then select
the Device Manager tab. Look for the
DOES YOUR OS HAVE THE RIGHT SUPPORT? Network Adapters item. Click the plus sign
in front of the network adapters to expand a
Make sure your operating system is up-to-date. Most wireless IPs only list of your installed network devices. You
support a limited number of OSes or just specific versions of a particular should see a wireless adapter, but if you
OS. Depending on the wireless IP, some browsers are not supported and don’t and your notebook has a PC Card
may not properly display the splash page, the Web page that lets you sign slot, then you can add wireless Internet
in to the hotspot’s Internet service. Check with the wireless IP offering the capabilities with a PC Card or a mini-PCI
hotspot for details on which browsers are recommended for best viewing. WLAN card.

84 March 2006 / www.pctoday.com


Business Travel 911

!x
MAKE SURE YOUR ADAPTER CAN CHECK YOUR DRIVERS
“TALK” WITH THE HOTSPOT
From the Device Manager,
The next step in troubleshooting your connection you can check the status of
is to make sure your wireless adapter can “talk” your WLAN drivers to
to the hotspot. To use a particular wireless Inter- make sure the device is
net connection, your hardware must be com- working properly. If the
plaint with the hotspot’s hardware. For example, Device Manager shows a
if your notebook has an 802.11b wireless adapter, yellow circle and an exclama-
then you can connect to other 802.11b or back- tion point next to your wireless
ward compatible 802.11g hotspots. The same adapter, then your wireless adapter may not be properly installed.
notebook can’t connect to an 802.11a hotspot, Right-click the adapter in question, select Properties, and then look
however, as that specification isn’t backward at the Device Status box from the General tab to see that the adapter
compatible with 802.11b/g devices. is working properly. If necessary, select the Driver tab in the Proper-
To get your WLAN adapter to communicate ties dialog box to access controls that let you uninstall or update the
with the hotspot hardware, your adapter must driver. If you see a red “X” by your wireless adapter, then the device
be turned on. The Wireless Network Connec- is either disabled or your system can’t recognize it. Right-click the
tions icon in your System Tray will appear to adapter and select Enable. If this doesn’t eliminate the red “X,” then
be communicating if the adapter is working you may need to replace your wireless adapter.
properly. If an “X” appears over your wireless
adapter icon in the System Tray, then the
device isn’t enabled. Right-click the Network HOW TO ENSURE A PROPER CONFIGURATION
Connections System Tray icon, click Open
Network Connections, and then double-click Oftentimes, you can encounter connection problems simply because
Wireless Network Connection to enable your your laptop isn’t properly configured. You need to setup your notebook
device’s WLAN adapter. If there isn’t a Net- to automatically obtain an IP (Internet Protocol) address and DNS
work Connections icon in the System Tray,
WinXP users can access the Network Con-
nections by clicking Start, Control Panel, and
then double-clicking Network Connections.
If you’re using Win2000, click Start, select
Settings, and then click Control Panel. Double-
click the icon for Network And Dialup Con-
nections, right-click your wireless network
connection, and select Enable.
WinXP users may see a pop-up balloon stating
that no wireless networks are available. After (Domain Name System) address. These sets of numbers refer to
about a minute another pop-up should appear the address of a computer on a network and the system for
stating that one or more wireless networks are translating IP addresses into domain names. Your wireless device must
available. Click the balloon to see the Wireless be able to determine both addresses in order to connect to a hotspot.
Network Connection dialog box and a list of If you’re using Windows XP, you can configure your device by right-
available wireless networks, as SSIDs. The SSID clicking the Network Connections icon from the System Tray and then
is a name that identifies a specific network. clicking Open Network Connections. Right-click Local Area Connection
and select Properties. Scroll to and select Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) and
then click Properties. Select the General tab and then click the radio but-
JUST LAUNCH A BROWSER tons in front of Obtain An IP Address Automatically and Obtain DNS
If your wireless adapter is communicating Server Address Automatically. Click OK when you’re done.
with the hotspot, then often all you need to do Win2000 users can click Start, select Settings, and then click Network
is launch a Web browser. Sometimes you’ll And Dialup Connections. Next, right-click the wireless LAN connec-
need to sign in on the wireless IP’s login tion, click Properties, scroll to and select Internet Protocol (TCP/IP),
page. You may also need a valid credit card, and then click Properties. On the General tab, click the radio buttons in
depending on whether the wireless IP charges front of Obtain An IP Address Automatically and Obtain DNS Server
a fee for its service. Address Automatically. Click OK to close the dialog box.

PC Today / March 2006 85


Business Travel 911

Lost Credit Card


OSE A ROLL OF CASH while you’re traveling, and you can forget about ever seeing that money

L again. But credit cards, those beautiful, simple plastic rectangles with magnetic strips, offer you
convenience and protection matched by no other payment method You’ll appreciate these traits
if you have the misfortune of losing your cards while on an extended business trip.

by Nathan Chandler

AFTER YOU LOSE IT


Losing your credit card If you don’t have the toll- also call all three credit catch the thief. The primary
isn’t as disheartening as free number or your credit reporting organizations— purpose of completing the
finding out that a pick- card number, you have to Experian (www.experian report is so that the credit
pocket stole all of your cash, do some extra footwork. .com), Equifax (www.equi issuer knows you did every-
but for some it’s a situation Depending on your loca- fax.com), and TransUnion thing you could to stop
that inspires panic. If you tion, you might be able to (www.transunion.com)— any fraudulent transactions
prepare for the possibility call directory assistance to and have them place fraud from occurring and to pre-
that you might lose posses- obtain the card issuer’s hot- alerts on your name and vent you from coming un-
sion of your card, you’ll be line. If you have access to social security number. With der undue suspicion in the
in a much better mindset an Internet café, don’t over- this alert in place, busi- event the thief uses your
to deal with the aftermath. look the Web as a source of nesses that check your credit card to make some extrava-
Here are the steps you information because every will have to call you direct- gant purchases.
should take to protect your- card company has a site ly in order to authorize If catastrophe strikes
self in the event your card is complete with necessary card activity. while traveling abroad and
stolen or lost. phone numbers. If you’re not a seasoned you lose your credit cards
Cancel the account. When When you call the card overseas traveler, you might and identification papers
you’re sure your card is gone company and tell the cus- not know that toll-free num- and have no access to
for good, you’ll need to cancel tomer service representative bers don’t even exist in money, contact the U.S. em-
the card right away, so no one you don’t have your card’s some countries. In other bassy for assistance. Repre-
else can use it. To do so, you number, you’ll be asked to words, contacting the toll- sentatives there will assist
need to call the card issuer’s verify your identity. Be pre- free numbers for your you in contacting family or
toll-free customer service line pared to tell her your social calling cards and your friends at home for cash,
and provide them with your security number and a secu- credit card company sud- and if you need one, also
card number; these can prove rity word, such as your denly becomes a compli- help you obtain a replace-
to be difficult tasks if you mother’s maiden name, in cated chore. Make sure that ment passport.
don’t have the proper num- order to prove you are the you research the calling Meanwhile, the thief who
bers. To make things easier, card’s rightful owner. When process before you leave has your card might be out
photocopy the front and the call is over, remember home to save yourself a lot living it up. Don’t lose too
back of each of your credit that many credit pundits of frustration. much sleep over it because
cards and keep the copy recommend you follow up The aftermath. If you’re a federal law says that when
separate from your wallet. with a letter that includes victim of credit card theft, someone else rings up un-
While you’re at it, makes your card’s account num- you’ll want to file a police authorized charges, you’re
copies of your passport and ber, the date you noticed report in the jurisdiction liable for only $50 max-
driver’s license, too, because your card was missing, where the card was stolen. imum per card. If you re-
if someone steals your credit and the date you reported You don’t perform this step port your card missing
cards, it’s possible that the the problem. in the hopes that the police before the unauthorized
thief will also make off with Don’t put the phone will retrieve your card for transactions, you’re not li-
these items. down just yet. You should you or even so they can able for any amount.

86 March 2006 / www.pctoday.com


Business Travel 911

THE ADVANTAGES EXTENDED CREDIT LINE


Credit cards offer tremendous advantages over other Losing possession of your credit cards during a vital
payment methods when you’re traveling. Given the near- business trip is an awful experience, but it doesn’t have to
global acceptance of cards such as Visa (www.usa be a complete disaster. If you take just a few basic precau-
.visa.com) and MasterCard (www.mastercard.com), you tions to protect your cards and prepare for the possibility
can use plastic at any place of business that accepts credit that you might lose them in spite of your carefulness,
cards. Plus, you can use the card to get cash, obtain the you’ll be ready to stop fraudulent activity on your account
best exchange rates, and also to protect yourself before it starts.
from theft.
If that tiny Mexican restaurant accepts only cash, it’s no
problem—simply insert your card into an ATM and with- WHO YOU GONNA CALL?
draw enough money for dinner. Of course, to do so you
have to use a working PIN (personal identification If your credit card is lost or stolen, you should immedi-
number). If you’ve never used your card to withdraw cash, ately call the issuer to deactivate the account. You should
call the card company and ask for instructions on setting up also call all three credit bureaus and ask them to put a
the PIN number for your card. Just be sure you understand fraud alert on your name to foil would-be thieves. Below
how your card’s interest rate affects cash withdrawals, so are the primary toll-free numbers you’ll need. If you’re in a
you don’t end up paying outrageous fees when you return country where toll-free numbers don’t work, call collect on
home, and keep in mind that this is one task that’s often the direct line.
best-suited for your debit card.
In the days before credit cards, it was easy for locals
to work exchange rates in their favor, a ploy that cost
travelers a lot of extra money. Now when you pay with
a card, you automatically get the best exchange rate for
CREDIT CARD COMPANIES & ISSUERS:
that country.
If you can’t find a card issuer’s phone number that works American Express: (800) 992-3404; (336) 393-1111
overseas, try the company’s Web site. Visa, for example,
lists all of its hotline numbers to help its customers quickly Bank of America: (800) 848-6090; (757) 677-4701
find contact information.
And of course, if your credit card it lost or stolen and Bank One: (877) 999-3872; (302) 594-8200
someone else uses it to make purchases, the credit card is-
suer—not you—bears the brunt of those costs. This benefit Chase: (800) 242-7324; (813) 884-2997
is the primary reason you should carry a card instead of
cash while you’re on the road. Citibank: (800) 950-5114; (210) 677-0065
Even though plastic offers protections that other pay-
ment methods don’t, you still need to do your best to Diners Club International: (800) 234-6377; (303) 799-1504
keep it out of the hands of people who would be happy to
misuse it. Remember that pickpockets are common on the Discover Card: (800) 347-2683; (801) 902-3100
streets of many cities. If you put your wallet in your back
pocket or swing your purse carelessly, you may as well MasterCard: (800) 622-7747; (636) 722-7111
paint a bullseye on your credit card. Buy a travel belt that
you can wear beneath your clothes to conceal your cards MBNA: (800) 421-2110; (302) 457-2165
and other important documents.
In addition, there’s one important caveat to consider if Visa: (800) 847-2911; (410) 581-9994
you travel abroad without telling your credit card issuer:
The company might refuse to honor credit requests from
a far-flung location unless you give the issuer a heads up
CREDIT BUREAUS:
before you leave. It happens because every lender uses
computer systems to track your spending habits. So if you Equifax: (800) 525-6285
live in Iowa and suddenly you charge $200 for a meal in
London, there’s a chance your card will be declined. Experian: (888) 397-3742
Alerting your credit company before-hand should pre-
vent this from happening. TransUnion: (800) 680-7289

PC Today / March 2006 87


Business Travel 911

Rental Car Wreckage


ar accidents happen. That’s an unfortunate, unwritten rule of the highway, and it’s one that’s still

C in effect when you’re driving a rental car on business, thousands of miles away from home. If
you’re in a wreck while on the road conducting business, you’ll need to follow a few rules to
protect yourself and your company.

by Nathan Chandler

REPORT IT
There are a series of things evaluation from medical
you should—and should experts for insurance pur-
not—do when you’re poses in case you experience
involved in a car accident. pain in the weeks following
If you collide with another the accident.
vehicle, whatever you do, After you’ve made cer-
don’t leave the accident tain that everyone is physi-
scene. The police don’t look cally safe, check to see if
kindly upon hit-and-run mo- you’re blocking traffic flow
torists, and if they catch you, on a busy street. If your
you’ll face the possibility of accident was minor and the
criminal prosecution. vehicles are drivable, move
If you’re involved in a them to the shoulder of the
No matter which rental agency you use, be sure to read the
car wreck anywhere, at any road to protect yourselves
company’s policies before you drive. You can find many rules
time, on business or in your and to prevent further acci-
of the road posted on each company’s Web site.
own vehicle, first verify dents. If one of the cars in
that you and your compan- the accident is unmovable,
ions aren’t hurt. With a bit or if people are seriously to document the incident. In but most rental agencies
of luck, everyone in your car hurt, everyone should stay some states the police might require you to tell them
will be injury-free. Then, if in the vehicles, with seat- not show up for simple about mishaps within 24
you collided with another belts fastened, until emer- fender benders where there hours. Before you call, check
vehicle, you can check to gency personnel arrive. are no injuries. If the police your rental contract to see
make sure those people are Until then, turn on your don’t show, be sure to file a if there’s a number for the
OK, too. If anyone com- hazard lights. state vehicle accident report. office where you rented your
plains of pain, immediately If no one else has already You can find the forms for car. If your contract doesn’t
call for an ambulance and summoned them, call the these reports at a local po- list a number, call the compa-
perform basic first aid until police, even with very lice station, and in many ny’s emergency roadside as-
help arrives. minor accidents where cases, on a state’s depart- sistance number instead (see
If you are in serious negligible damage occurs. ment of motor vehicle’s our “Agency Contacts”
pain, don’t move. Wait for When you are driving your Web site. sidebar for a list of roadside
medical help to arrive to pre- own vehicle, this step is Don’t put your phone assistance phone numbers),
vent aggravating your condi- optional; when you’re away after you call the po- and the representative will
tion, and even if you aren’t driving a rental car, it’s lice. You also need to notify log your information and
shaken up, don’t refuse med- necessary. The rental com- the rental agency about the answer any questions that
ical treatment. At the very pany will want every detail accident. If it’s a serious you might have regarding
least, you’ll want an on-site about the accident, in order accident, this step can wait, post-accident procedure.

88 March 2006 / www.pctoday.com


Business Travel 911

INFO SWAP
After you call the police, exchange your information with the driver of Stay Alert
the other vehicle. If the other person is upset or angry, give her a few
f you’re bumped by another driver, don’t
minutes to cool off—car accidents are emotionally upsetting for many
people and it may be better to wait for a police officer’s presence if the I automatically pull over and hop out of your
car. Likewise, don’t immediately stop if another
other driver doesn’t calm down.
After the situation is under control, exchange the following informa- driver indicates that something is wrong with
tion: name, address, telephone number, driver’s license number, name of your vehicle. It’s not uncommon for aggressive
insurance company, and insurance policy number. This information is criminals to intentionally cause a minor acci-
critical for the accident report and insurance purposes. dent or point out a “problem” with your car,
While you’re collecting this information, be courteous and kind, but in order to catch you off guard. Take your time
don’t accept any blame for the accident, even if you think it’s obviously and assess such situations with a wary eye
your fault. Motor vehicle accidents, even those with seemingly clear before exiting your vehicle and making yourself
causes and results, often occur for reasons you can’t see. Let the police at more vulnerable to others. ❙
the scene piece together what happened; your job is only to be calm and
honest about your role in the incident.
BE WRECK-LESS
After the officer completes an accident report, you can continue your
trip, unless, of course, your car isn’t drivable. In that case you can call If you do have the misfortune of experiencing
the rental agency to discuss a replacement vehicle. (If you were on an accident in spite of your precautions, these
business but driving your personal vehicle, you have to make your procedures will help you navigate the chaos that
own arrangements for transportation.). inevitably follows accidents and give you some
peace of mind. Just remember that some rules
for business rentals are different for pleasure
BEFORE THERE’S AN ACCIDENT rentals, and to protect yourself, you should read
Don’t wait until after a rental car accident to think about insurance your contract and ask questions before you get
coverage. You should know what kind of coverage you need before behind the wheel.
you sign your rental contract.
When you pick up your car, the agency will offer you insurance cov-
erage in the form of a collision damage waiver, which is often called a
If you have a camera,
loss damage waiver, and liability insurance. Signing the collision
damage waiver means you won’t be financially responsible if your
take pictures of the accident
rental car is damaged or stolen. Liability insurance will come to your
rescue in the event someone sues you after the accident.
scene, as well as any visible
In some cases your personal insurance policy already protects you,
even if you’re driving a rental car. However, you should be aware that
damage to the car.
some companies make exceptions for drivers who are using a rental car
for business. Because your company should be footing the bill for your
rental car anyway, be sure to pay extra for collision and liability coverage.
Agency Contacts
The charges for this coverage shouldn’t top more than $40 or so per day. f you’re in an accident while driving a rental
If you work for a small company that is always looking to cut costs,
you can inquire about coverage through your credit card company.
I car, you should notify the rental agency as
soon as possible. Check your rental contract for
These companies often offer collision insurance that goes to work im- direct numbers to the office where you picked
mediately if you use the card to pay for the rental. However, coverage up your car. If you can’t find that number, we’ve
varies depending on the card issuer and often differs depending on listed the emergency roadside assistance phone
whether you carry a basic or premium version of the card, so be sure numbers you can call for help.
to call the card company for more details before you decide to rely on
Alamo: (800) 803-4444
this insurance.
Avis: (800) 354-2847
Of course, no matter what sort of coverage you use to protect your-
Budget: (800) 858-5377
self while you’re driving a rental car, the best way to avoid dealing with
the headaches of a rental car accident is to prevent wrecks before they Enterprise: (800) 307-6666
happen. Don’t drink and drive or operate the car when you’re under Hertz: (800) 654-5060
the influence of any drugs. Those behaviors violate the terms of your National: (800) 367-6767
rental agreement and they’re generally unsafe, anyway. Thrifty: (877) 283-0898

PC Today / March 2006 89


Business Travel 911

Travel & Your Health


AIRPLANES,
ealth problems are the last thing most of us want to experi-

H ence when traveling. Luckily, there are simple ways for


travelers to prevent most health problems and to handle
them if they do occur. To learn more let’s tackle some common
WATER BOTTLES
& BACTERIA
So what’s all the hullabaloo
health-related travel questions and concerns. about bacteria in water bot-
tles on airplanes? Actually,
by Carmen Carmack the water problems found in
airplanes were related to tap
water stored in onboard
water tanks. In 2004, the EPA
DESTINATION-BASED HEALTH WARNINGS randomly selected domestic
Go to CDC (Centers for To find health infor- and international passenger
Disease Control and Pre- mation for the places aircraft at 19 airports. A
vention) Web site (www.cdc you are traveling to, round of tests that summer
.gov/travel/destinat.htm) click the location on found that 13% of the air-
and click the mapped location the CDC (Centers for plane water samples failed to
of your destination. As with a Disease Control and meet water quality stan-
health check, you should do Prevention) online dards. Testing later that fall
this four to six weeks prior map. You’ll gain showed that 17% of the sam-
to your travel date. For each access to specific ples also failed to meet the
location the CDC identifies information for that standards. In October 2005,
important information such destination, including the EPA announced agree-
as diseases, health risks, and vaccine recommen- ments with 24 U.S. airlines to
items to bring with you to dations, diseases, and implement new water testing
stay healthy. health risks. and disinfection protocols.
You can find out more at the
U.S. EPA’s Airline Water
TRAVEL HEALTH KIT
Supplies Web page (www
When you travel, it’s wise to carry basic health care items with you. The supplies to .epa.gov/airlinewater).
include depend upon your destination, length of stay, and health concerns. At the least Today, most airlines serve
you should bring along a basic first-aid kit with pain relievers, decongestants, cough bottled or canned beverages,
medicine, throat lozenges, antacid, antibiotic ointment, bandages, and antidiarrheal med- including water. The EPA
icine. If you are traveling abroad, you may also need antimalarial advises travelers with sup-
medicine, hand sanitizer gel, a thermometer, insect repellent, oral pressed immune systems to
rehydration packets, and water purification tablets. If you are avoid airline tap water, ice,
interested in a preassembled kit, check the Adventure Medical coffee, or hot tea. Passengers
Kits (www.adventuremedicalkits.com) Web site. may also want to avoid
washing their hands or
The Savvy Traveler First Aid Kit ($59.95 from Adventure Medical brushing their teeth with the
Kits) is designed for trips of one to seven days to developing water in airplane bathrooms.
countries. Supplies in the kit include rehydration salts; bandages Instead, bring hand sanitizer
and sterile suture equipment; and medications for allergies, colds, gel with you and use bottled
flu, headache, diarrhea, and wound care. water for teeth brushing.

90 March 2006 / www.pctoday.com


Business Travel 911

HEALTH CHECKS & SHOTS FOR OVERSEAS TRAVEL


Several months in advance of your trip, schedule an appointment with your personal doctor or a doctor that specializes in travel
health for a checkup and consultation. Discuss with the doctor any medications or vaccinations that you may need, how to
manage prescription medications, and other health concerns. Some vaccinations require several weeks to build immunities, and
others require multiple doses, so your appointment should be from four to six weeks prior to your travel date.

AVOID “MONTEZUMA’S REVENGE” PRESCRIPTIONS & INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL


Diarrhea is the most common illness encountered To be safe, place supplies of prescription medications in your carry-on
by travelers. Although stress, jet lag, change and checked luggage. The medications should be in their original bot-
in diet, and lack of sleep can be causes, accord- tles with labels, and you should ask your doctor for a prescription form
ing to the Mayo Clinic (www.mayoclinic.com), in case you lose or use your supply while on your trip.
the most common cause of traveler’s diarrhea is
an infectious agent, such as E coli. The risk of in- OVER-THE-COUNTER COLD & FLU PREVENTION
fection is higher in developing countries. To
avoid getting sick, don’t eat street vendor foods, Although they are not endorsed by medical
uncooked foods, or unpasteurized dairy products associations or the FDA (Food and Drug
(even ice cream). Also eat fruits you can peel, Administration), there are many over-the-
such as bananas, oranges, or avocadoes, and counter supplements available for cold and
avoid salads and buffets. flu prevention. For example, makers of
For protection from contaminated water, Airborne (www.airbornehealth.com) claim it
drink beverages from cans or bottles only (with boosts the immune system with natural
seals that you break yourself), wipe any mois- herbal extracts. It’s up to consumers and
ture from the outside of beverage cans or bottles, their doctors to judge the effectiveness of Airborne claims to be a
brush your teeth with bottled water, and avoid prevention supplements. For flu prevention, supplement that builds
ice cubes and fruit juices made with tap water. most doctors recommend a flu shot. immunities and lessens
You can also bring hand sanitizer gel along to If you have a cold or upper respiratory in- the severity of colds and
keep hands clean, and many outdoor gear sup- fection, the Mayo Clinic site advises that you flu. Some travelers use
pliers sell water purification tablets that you can take an antihistamine several hours before this or similar products to
use if you must drink the water. your flight. You can also consult your doctor prevent becoming sick
to find out whether a nasal spray or decon- when traveling.
AVIAN (BIRD) FLU gestant will help. Using a nasal spray that
contains a vasoconstrictor 30 minutes before descent can help prevent
According to the CDC, most cases of avian flu blockages in your eustachian tube, which equalizes air pressure in the
are the result of close contact with infected middle ear. Also, drink plenty of fluids and avoid alcohol.
poultry or areas contaminated with secretions
and excretions from infected birds. The spread THE BEST & WORST IN MEDICAL CARE
of the virus from one person to another person
has been reported very rarely, and transmission No matter where you’re traveling, it’s wise to check for health care
has not continued beyond one person. providers before your departure and carry that information with you.
The CDC advises travelers to countries with You should also check your health insurance policy for travel coverage,
documented outbreaks to avoid poultry farms, and make sure that you carry your insurance information. If you think
contact with animals in live food markets, and your coverage is lacking, there are a number of travel insurance policies
any surfaces that appear to be contaminated available that cover such emergency costs as transportation to the United
with feces or fluids from poultry or other ani- States from foreign countries for medical treatment.
mals. For the latest information, see the U.S. To find health care providers before you depart, try Google Local at
government’s new Web site www.pandemic local.google.com. Enter the type of provider you want and the location,
flu.gov. Click the Travel & Transportation link for example, urgent care Miami Florida. Google Local returns a map of
for news, tips, and a fact sheet about the avian corresponding providers with directions and links to their Web sites. And
flu. You can also check the World Health if you are traveling internationally, consider joining the IAMAT
Organization’s Web (www.who.int) for infor- (International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers;
mation about specific countries affected by www.iamat.org). IAMAT maintains a worldwide network of physicians,
avian flu. and there is no cost to join.

PC Today / March 2006 91


Go Light

The Delayed
TravelerA d m i t I t , T h i s I s T h e F i r s t P a g e Yo u T u r n e d T o
by Marty Sems

They say that travel


broadens the mind,
‘til you can’t get your
head out of doors.
–Elvis Costello, “God’s Comic”

We DVD Pirates
peaking of
S DVDs, here’s
one about the very
notebook on your
lap. “Pirates of
Silicon Valley” is
the mostly true
story of Apple’s
I Can’t Watch Steve Jobs,
Microsoft’s Bill
aptops, PlayStation Portables, video iPods . . . it’s as if Holly- Gates, and why
L wood is in your pocket. Lots of business travelers bring DVDs
along or convert them to small-screen formats to play on personal
they hate each
other. It’s actually
video players. Movies can make a long trip fly by, but you really more fun to watch
don’t want to alarm the other passengers by playing the wrong one. than you’d think.
Although by no means exhaustive, here’s a list of movies you might “ER”’s Noah Wyle stars as the mercurial, impas-
not want to watch before you’re safely at your hotel. sioned Apple founder, but it’s “Sixteen Candles”’
Anthony Michael Hall who steals the show (among
“Air Force One” “Murder on the Orient Express” other things) as the poker player destined to become
“Airport” “A Perfect Storm” the richest man alive.
“Alive” “Planes, Trains and Automobiles”
“The Buddy Holly Story” “The Poseidon Adventure”
“Con Air” “Red Eye” Tune in to our full review at
“Die Hard 2” “Speed” www.pctoday.com/pctmar06/silicon.
“Executive Decision” “Titanic”

92 March 2006 / www.pctoday.com