Denver Bar Association
December 2001
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Handhelds: I finally got one— So, now what?

by Mel Reveles


By Mel Reveles
Director, CBA Internet Department

If you keep an address book or a list of important contacts, a daily calendar or lists of professional and personal to-dos, a "handheld" is the perfect device for you. A handheld manages these simple tasks, but it can do so much more. All of your data, such as your contacts, appointments, to-dos and notes are backed up in your computer and readily accessible.

Admittedly, the handheld is not for everyone. However, its usefulness has already been discovered by millions of consumers from different walks of life. If you get one, you must make the commitment to spend the time to set it up and actually use it. Like any other good habit you are trying to develop, it will take time.

Winston Howard,
94-year-old named partner of
Sherman & Howard, organizes
his appointments on his Palm Pilot.

Note: If your handheld is of anything other than the Palm OS flavor, read no further. Since my handhelds have all been of the Palm OS, this is where my experience lies. This article will be written for Palm OS users.

Here are some tips for your handheld that don’t require installing additional software.

1. Change your system font so you can read the screen better. Unfortunately, there isn’t a way (that I know of) to change the default font system-wide. You must launch one of the native applications such as the Address Book. With the Address Book open, tap on the "Menu" button (the icon in the lower left-hand corner of your screen) and select the "Options" menu. From the "Options" menu, select "Font." You will see three choices. Tap on one of your choices and select "OK" to see what the new font looks like.

2. Organize your Address Book. Launch the Address Book and from the upper right-hand corner, tap "All" to see the categories. Select the "Edit Categories" item, then "New" to create a custom category. Finish by tapping "OK." Open a contact and tap on "Edit." From the upper right hand corner, tap "All" and select the category the contact belongs in. Once you’ve assigned each contact a category, searching for your contact will become much easier. Now you will be able to view your contacts by category.

3. Lost an appointment? If you can’t find a piece of data, use the Find feature to search your entire Palm. It’s the icon in the lower right-hand corner of your screen.

4. Get some space back by deleting unwanted applications. From the main desktop view, tap on the "Menu" button (the icon in the lower left-hand corner of your screen), and select "Delete." You will see how much space is available on your handheld as well as a list of applications that you can delete. Select the application you want to delete and tap on "Delete." Tap "Yes" and the application will be removed from your handheld. Be careful when deleting applications. The Palm OS doesn’t have an undo or a recycle bin it sends deleted files to.

5. Not sure what to do when your handheld freezes up? Try a Soft "Reset." Turn your handheld over so it is facedown and find the hole labeled Reset. Stick the end of an unwound paper clip into that hole, and press gently. Flip the unit over. You should see the Palm welcome screen. The Soft Reset doesn’t erase your data. If this doesn’t work, you may need to do a Hard Reset. This will erase all of your data and any applications you installed. If you’ve been diligent about HotSyncing, (when you actually attach the handheld to it’s cradle which is connected to your computer) you can restore from the backup on your computer. The Hard Reset procedure is the same as the Soft Reset while holding the power button down.

6. Beam your business card (and applications) to another handheld. You need to create a business card for yourself before you can beam it to anyone. Launch Address Book and create a new contact with your information. While in the "Address Edit" mode, tap on the "Menu" button (the icon in the lower left-hand corner of your screen) and select "Select Business Card" from the drop-down menu. Respond "Yes" to the prompt to make this contact your default business card. To beam your card to another handheld, go back to the Address Book. Tap on the "Menu" button (the icon in the lower left-hand corner of your screen) and select "Beam Business Card" from the drop-down menu. Hint: If others can’t beam you, check your "Beam" preference setting. From the main desktop view, locate and tap on the "Prefs" icon. The view should open to the "General" settings. Find the "Beam Receive" options and set to "On."

Mel will cover third-party applications in January’s issue of The Docket, followed by a run-down for Pocket PC users in February.

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