PalmBeach Tips: Sync tips


Sync Tips

Tips voor synchronisatie van gegevens in je Palm met programma's op je PC. Heb je een goeie tip? Laat het even weten!

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Weg van huis? HotSync via modem!

Copie van David Pogue's artikel in MacReviewZone

Tip: Behalve via een gewone telefoonlijn werkt eea ook via een mobiele telefoon, met het softmodem GlobalPulse. Lees ook de informatie van Palm support over het opzetten van een HotSync Network Connection

You of course can plug your PalmPilot directly into your PC. But you can also HotSync from the road, dialing into your home PC via modem. This feature opens up some interesting possibilities. For example, an assistant at your home office can update your calendar software while you're traveling to a business meeting in a distant city; by performing a modem HotSync, you neatly update your Date Book so that you're ready for the week's events.

This method doesn't involve the HotSync cradle. It does, however, require two modems - one for your PalmPilot and one for your PC. Any modem will do for your PC; the PalmPilot requires either the PalmPilot snap-on modem or a Haye-compatible external modem with a PalmPilot modem cable. Moreover, your home PC must be attached to its own private phone line, because it's going to answer every call that comes in. You don't want Aunt Ethel getting the shriek of a 56K modem in her ear when she calls to see if you got her birthday card.

Warning: You can't do a modem HotSync on a computer with which you've never yet done a local HotSync. The initial HotSync must be performed via direct connection to your PC; it sets up the user-named folders on your PC hard drive, which the modem HotSync will require.

How to Prepare the Desktop PC

Before leaving on your trip, you must prepare your desktop PC for the excitement to come. As mentioned above, your preparations should included a local HotSync, equipping your PC with a modem, and hooking it up to a phone line that won't be answered by any other person or device. Then:

1. Windows: Launch Palm Desktop. From the HotSync menu, choose Setup. Macintosh: Open the HotSync control panel or HotSync Manager.

2. Click the Modem tab. You'll see the four options shown in the Figure below. Use the first control to specify the serial port your desktop PC's modem is attached to (a COM port for Windows, modem or printer for the Macintosh).

3. From the second pop-up menu, specify your modem's speed. (In general, leave this setting on "As fast as possible" - change it to lower speeds only if you have trouble connecting with your PalmPilot.)

4. Use the third pop-up menu to indicate your desktop PC's modem brand. If your model's name doesn't appear in the list, try Hayes Basic. If that doesn't work, call the modem company to find out your model's initialization string. You'll be given a seemingly nonsensical string of letters and numbers, such as AT&F1W1SO=OS95=44, to type into the Setup String blank in this dialog box.

5. Windows: Click OK. Now, from the HotSync menu, choose Modem. You're almost ready for the big moment; first though, you must make sure your PC is "listening" for the HotSync signal. Since your PC will presumably be otherwise unused while you're away, you may as well turn on the "always listen" option: from the HotSync menu, choose Setup. In the resulting dialog box, choose Always Available. Click Done.

Macintosh: Click General > Modem > Start. (On the new version, click Serial Port Setting . Modem Setup. Return to the HotSync Controls tab, and click Enabled.)

Your computer is now ready. Do some homework, however, to make sure that nothing will interfere with your setup while you're away. For example, it's OK to turn your monitor off to save electricity, but the compter itself must stay on. (Your modem must remain on, too.) All your modem-using software, such as fax software, auto-dialing email programs, and so on, should be turned off.

The Modem HotSync setup screen lets you teach the PC about the remote connections it'll be making.

Warning: Test your PC's call answering success - by running next door with the PalmPilot and dialing home, for example - before departing for that three-month trip to Afghanistan. It's a rare modem HotSync configuration indeed that works the very first time and requires no adjustments.

Setting Up the PalmPilot

When you're ready to make your PalmPilot dial, begin by tapping Applications > HotSync > Modem Setup. You should see the screen in the Figure below. These options should look distinctly familiar - they roughly match the settings you made on your desktop PC.

Here's how to set them up.

Modem pop-up menu

From this pop-up menu, specify what kind of modem is attached to the PalmPilot. This isn't quite as straightforward as it sounds, as the following guidelines indicate:

* If you're using the 3Com PalmPilot modem with an original Pilot 1000 or 5000 model, choose Megahertz from the pop-up menu (The PalmPilot modem didn't exit when the original Pilot models were designed; that's why you don't see an option for the PalmPilot modem in the list.)

* If you're using the PalmPilot modem with the Palm OS 2 or later (a PalmPilot or Palm III model, for example), choose "PalmPilot US/Canada." If you're in the United Kingdom, the phone system is different; choose "PalmPilot UK."

* If you've purchased a PalmPilot modem cable, you can also connect your PalmPilot to a standard external PC modem. "Hayes Basic" is a good setting to try if you don't see your brand listed in the pop-up menu.

Fill in these options before dialing out with your PalmPilot. Left: the original Pilot models. Right: PalmPilot, Workpad, and Palm III models.

Speed, String, Flow Control

The 3Com PalmPilot modem's speed is officially 14,400 bits per second. But 3Com urges you to choose "57,600 bps" from the pop-up menu, on the theory that the modem's built-in data compression features will speed up your transmission.

If you're using a modem not listed in the Modem pop-up menu, you can edit the String setting. As with your desktop modem, this stream of computer codes gets sent to the modem when the dialing process begins; if you know what you're doing (or if you've called your modem manufacturer, you may be able to fill in the correct initialization codes here to accommodate modems not officially endorsed by 3Com.

For HotSyncing, leave the Flow Control set to Automatic. (It's an option only on Palm OS 2 or later.)


This option (on Palm OS 2 or later) controls the volume of the modem's built-in speaker. The pop-up menu offers four settings - Off, Low, Medium, and High. Especially if you're using the PalmPilot modem, you may find a Medium or High setting useful when trying to troubleshoot a dialing sequence; otherwise, you may not be able to hear the dial tone, dialing sequence, calling-card confirmation beeps, and so on.

On the other hand, Off is the best setting if you're in a hotel room containing a sleeping spouse.

TouchTone or Rotary

Tap to select the kind of phone system you're using: Touchtone, used by 90% of the civilized world, or rotary, used in very old phone systems.

Specifying the phone number

Now that you've instructed the PalmPilot on topics pertaining to your modem, you must tell it what number to dial - and how to dial it. The procedure varies slightly depending on your model.

* Original Pilot models: If you're still looking at the Modem Setup box (see Figure above), tap where it says "Tap to enter phone#".

* Subsequent models: When you've finished setting up your modem, tap the Done button. You return to the main HotSync window (see Figure below). Tap the "Enter phone #" box.

From the main HotSync screen (on PalmPilot and Palm III models; shown at left), tap the Phone # box to view the phone-number setup screen (right).

Now you arrive at the Phone Setup box (see Figure above). Write the phone number - the phone number your desktop PC's modem is connected to - into the top blank. You can also control the PalmPilot's dialing process by turning on the checkboxes next to the following blanks:

Dial prefix

If the office or hotel you're in requires that you dial 8 or 9 to get an outside line, turn on this checkbox and see that it contains the proper number. In modem-dialing lingo, a comma means "pause for two seconds"; that's why there's a comma, by default, after the 9 in this blank.

Disable call waiting

Call waiting is the phone-company feature that interrupts your current call with a clicking sound to indicate that somebody else is trying to call you. Unfortunately, that clicking sound also promptly short-circuits modem-to-modem calls, such as your PalmPilot's. You can turn off call waiting on a call-by-call basis by turning on this checkbox and entering 1170 or *70. (Although the PalmPilot's blank, by default, has a comma after this code, the comma/pause isn't generally necessary.)

Use calling card

If you use a phone card, you may be baffled by this solitary blank. Most calling cards require that you dial three bunches of numbers: first, an access code (such as 1-800-950-1022 for MCI); then after a tone, zero and the phone number; and finally, after another tone, the actual card number.

The PalmPilot can accommodate you. Turn on the "Dial prefix" option and type the access phone number there. You'll quickly discover that there's not enough room on the blank to hold a full 800 number - but keep writing. Even if you can't see all the numbers, the blank stores the final digits invisibly. (If you have to dial 9 and then an 800 number just leave the 9 and comma in place, as shown in Figure above.) Add some commas after the 800 number to make the PalmPilot "wait for" the tone - each comma creates a two-second pause - and then, if your card requires a zero before the phone number, write it after the commas. A complete string in the "Dial prefix" blank, then might look like this (only the first part will appear on the screen): 9, 1-800-950-1022,,,0.

The actual phone number, area code first, should appear in the Phone # blank as usual.

Finally, write your calling-card number in the "Use calling card:" blank (and turn on the checkbox). You'll note that four commas appear at the beginning of this blank by default - they're there to make the PalmPilot wait for the beeps from the phone company. Actually, through, you don't have to wait for this second set of tones with most calling cards; you'll probably discover that you can do without some or all of these commas, plowing directly from the phone number to the card number.

When you're finished setting up the phone number, tap the OK button. On Palm OS 2 or later, you have one final OK button to tap. You should now be at the HotSync screen, ready to dial.

Warning: Despite the many possibilities for inclusion in your PalmPilot's dialing string - commas, calling card numbers, access numbers, and so on - the most the machine can dial is 36 digits. If the total number of numbers, commas, prefixes, country codes, and so on is more than 36, your call won't go through.

That's a definite disappointment for anyone who wants to call internationally using a calling card!

Specifying what data to HotSync

If you're using Windows 95 or NT, and your PalmPilot is running Palm OS 2 or later, your copy of Pilot Desktop is the enhanced version 2.0 or 3.0. Among its new features is the option to control which conduits (program data types) get updated when you HotSync via modem. If you never use the Memo Pad, for example, you shouldn't waste your long-distance phone time having the PalmPilot and your desktop computer consult each other on that topic.

To turn certain data groups on or off for modem HotSync purposes, tap Applications > HotSync > Menu > Conduit Setup. The resulting window is shown in the figure below. Simply tap the checkboxes to turn specific conduits on or off.

Recent models let you control which program's data gets backed up when dialing in from afar.

Alas, if you have an original Pilot, a Macintosh, or Windows before version 95, you have no such control; all PalmPilot modules get HotSynced when you connect by modem.

Actually Performing the Modem HotSync

Hook up a modem to your PalmPilot. Connect a phone wire from your PalmPilot's modem to the telephone jack on the wall or on the phone. Your apparatus should resemble the photo below.

With the PalmPilot modem attached and a phone-line connected you're ready to dial.

Warning: The phone systems in most hotels and offices are digital lines, which fry most modems and fax machines. The PalmPilot modem is kind enough to play three warning beeps instead of destroying itself - but either way, ask before you connect!

What you want is an analog line. Many modern hotels' bedside telephones have, on the side, a special jack labeled DATA or DATAPORT; this jack is the one you want for plugging in your PalmPilot modem (or laptop modem, for that matter). If there's no such jack on your bedside phone, use the jack being used by a fax machine, if you can find one; otherwise, ask the management.

You're ready to HotSync!

1. Turn on the PalmPilot. Tap Applications > HotSync. You arrive at the main HotSync screen, shown at left in Figure 3 above

2. Tap the Modem HotSync button.

The PalmPilot begins dialing. If all goes well, you'll see a connection message appear on its screen, and the HotSync will proceed. You'll hear the usual musical chirps to indicate success at the connecting and finishing.

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