At the low end, Palms have become cheap enough to become impulse purchases. As we write this, you can get an M105 for $89.95, and who knows -- they could be cheaper by the time you read this. At the high end, Palms have sprouted color, wireless connections, and all sorts of enterprise functionality, so they're showing up in all kinds of new business applications, from sales to on-site repair and maintenance. In short, lots of new folks have new Palms -- and new expectations for them. Where are they going to learn how to make the most of their Palms? In Palm For Dummies®, Second Edition.
Bill Dyszel's written every previous For Dummies book on Palm OS devices, even Handspring Visor For Dummies®. He knows this platform backwards and forwards -- and he's updated this new edition from start to finish, reflecting the Palm 4 desktop and all the latest Palm models, from the M105 on up.
You should know, though, that this book will still be plenty useful if you're using an older Palm. Through Palm 4, the changes in Palm's applications and desktop have been only incremental, so Dyszel's coverage will make sense even if you're still using, say, a Palm III or VII.
In fact, even though Palm's planning to thoroughly overhaul its OS with help from the old BeOS operating system crew, "Palm OS 5 [will be] a faster, smarter Palm device with the same friendly face and features that everybody loved in earlier Palms...all the basic functions that I describe also work on a Palm OS5 device, so if you buy one you'll be totally comfortable from the get-go."
Of course, this book covers all the basics for newbies: using "hard" and "soft" buttons; working with the calculator; finding text; adjusting contrast; and changing batteries (or using the built-in rechargeables found in many current Palms).
There's a full chapter on entering text with the Stylus and using the Palm's Graffiti handwriting recognition. You'll learn how to get comfortable with Graffiti's tweaked alphabet in a hurry (there's even a list of eight letters and four numbers Graffiti has the most trouble with; unfortunately, you'll need every one of them!) Dyszel shows you how to move the Graffiti cursor; capitalize without a shift key; use Graffiti's oddball punctuation system; and make the most of Graffiti's built-in shortcuts.
In this edition, he adds coverage of all your "keyboard" options, virtual and real, offering practical comparisons of the Silkyboard, Stowaway, GoType!, FX100, Wireless Link, and oddities like the Fitaly keyboard, a tiny keypad with the letters rearranged to help you type faster -- once you've taught your fingers its extremely non-QWERTY arrangement.
Dyszel shows you how to customize your Palm to your own personality and work style; then offers a whole chapter of his best timesaving tips. Increasingly, users have run up against the limits of the Palm's built-in applications, and sought third-party alternatives. A huge marketplace of creative developers has arisen to support them. In this edition, Dyszel covers these new choices alongside Palm's built-in tools for managing addresses, to do lists, memos, and calendars.
Then, in the second half of the book, Dyszel takes you "beyond the box" to cover everything you need to know to connect your Palm to the outside world. After detailed new coverage of beaming data via IR Hotsync, Dyszel introduces Documents-To-Go, the remarkable DataViz tool that lets you use your Word and Excel files on your Palm. (And, in its higher-end incarnations, also your PowerPoint presentations, email attachments, PDF files, pictures, and Excel-generated charts. All without Windows CE!)
There's thoroughly updated coverage of Palm Mail, an entirely new chapter on the hot i705 wireless Palm; a comprehensive chapter on Palm software oriented towards professionals; even coverage of the latest postage-stamp size Palm SD add-on cards.
As Dyszel observes, "Asking 'What can I do with a Palm device?' is like asking, 'Where can I go on a bicycle?'" Whether you want to take a ride in the park or cross the Rocky Mountains, Palm For Dummies®, Second Edition will get you there. Bill Camarda
Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks For Dummies®, Second Edition.