Selecting a Personal Digital Assistant

Selecting a Personal Digital Assistant

by: Deryck Richards

A Computer in Your Hand

Carrying around an address book and planner is becoming a thing of the past. With new PDA developments, you can manage your contacts and schedule, use email, and even listen to music. Personal Digital Assistants, originally called กPalm Pilots,ก previously were used just for retrieving basic information. Today, using some of the more advanced models could possibly replace the need to carry a laptop computer. Modern PDAs can play music, games, videos, write documents, and connect to networks and databases nothing short of a desktop computer.

Although newer PDAs have the processing power of a computer, they still have some limitations. Inputting information is done by handwriting recognition or by a miniature keyboard. Skilled users can input 20 30 words per minute, less than half the speed of a good typist on a fullsize keyboard. PDAs with a color screen tend to run through battery life faster. Finally, because the small screen size the number of prograqm options that can be displayed, the programs available aren’t as advanced because the user doesn’t have as much control over the program.

Despite these limitations, the market for PDAs is continuing to expand. Students, doctors, and business professionals are increasingly relying on PDAs for computing on the go. Common PDA applications include spreadsheet, word processing, database, financial management, and games. PDAs synchronize files with your computer so that you can take your important information with you and update it when needed.

What to Look For

The two basic types of PDAs are Palm and Windows Mobile devices. The Palm Pilot was the first PDA available and its operation is very intuitive; some compared it to the Macintosh. Windows Mobile devices run an operating system very similar to Windows on desktop computers. Although Windows Mobile offers advanced features, its interface is still somewhat difficult to navigate in comparison to the Palm.

When purchasing a PDA, make sure that the programs on the PDA are compatible with the programs on your computer. Test out different models, with keyboard and with handwriting recognition, to see which one fits your preferences best. Also consider which application you will be using most. If you plan on using your PDA primarily for email, get a PDA with a good keyboard and good battery life. If you plan on taking digital photos, your main concern should be the quality of the digital camera and the screen.

About The Author

Deryck Richards is the founder and managing partner of Desktronix. With an extensive educational background in computer information systems, Deryck currently manages hosting and data center operations for Desktronix. He also provides system administration and technical support directly to small businesses as he has since 2000. His areas of expertise include networking, Windows, Linux, and Macintosh systems and he is the author of The Guide to Technology for Small Business. For more information on Desktronix, visit www.desktronix.com.

This article was posted on September 13, 2004

by Deryck Richards

Learn the Lost Art of Touch Typing

Learn the Lost Art of Touch Typing

by: Dick James

Computers have replaced typewriters, but twofinger, huntandpeck typing can never replace the touch typing of a trained professional.

A recent report by Robert Johnson in the Boston Globe highlights the decline of typing skills. Human resource managers are finding it surprisingly difficult to recruit candidates with the most basic of all office skills. According to Johnson, ขthe rapidfire 100wordperminute applicant has virtually disappeared. Today, a mere 40 words per minute is enough to gain many administrative jobs.ข

Paradoxically, as computers are being used by more and more people, it has become apparent that typing is not just a skill required by typist anymore. Strong typing skills are vital when conducting a thorough web search, entering data into a spreadsheet or using any other computer program. Ubiquitous email means that merely doubling your typing speed could save hours each week! Yet many of us persist with the twofinger, huntandpeck typing method.

How did we end up in such a mess? When people first begin to use computers, many do not take the time to learn how to type correctly. Using keyboard may seem to be simple, when compared with learning complex business software. People do not realize that by learning how to type properly, their use of software will be more effective and their time spent on a computer will be more productive.

Attitudes in school teaching have also had an impact. Typing skills were once taught in most secondary schools. Johnson notes that these lowtech classes consisted of little more than a teacher with a windup clock and rows of typewriters. The textbook showed the keyboard and specified which fingers should strike various letters and numbers in order to quickly copy business documents such as invoices and memos. But most schools phasedout the typing class as the demand for broader computer instruction increased.

Of course, many people manage to get by with the twofinger, seekandtap method. But getting by is all it is. By learning to touchtype, you step into a new realm of computer experience. No longer do you need to fret over the physical process of keying in information, whether it is a quick response to an instant message or a 30page report. Instead, as a touchtypist you are free to concentrate on what you are writing, while your fingers do the ขthinkingข about which keys to hit.

How to Learn the Lost Art.

If you are unable to open email account without mistyping your password at least once or you’re stuck at 20 words per minute, there are a several ways to improve. First, check out your current performance by taking a typing test. You will find a free typing test on the UK Training News website. If you can manage 90100 words per minute then relax; otherwise read on.

Typing tutor software is a lowcost approach that can easily transform you from a huntandpecker to a 100wordaminute touchtypist. There are dozens of typing programs available, including freeware and shareware programs. You need to look for a program which won’t bore you to death with tedious drills, won’t frustrate you with poor design or US spelling and which provides enough scope to let you achieve your target typing speed.

ขMavis Beacon Teaches Typingข is the leading typing instruction program, and has been one of the top ten bestselling software titles for over 10 years. A far cry from the first version that came out on floppy disks and had just four colours to display, the latest version has a virtual classroom with the simple to understand icons. Mavis adjusts to the individual problem areas on the keyboard with unbelievable insight and watches for the typistกs frustration factor. It will suggest a different words per minute goal, throw in a typing game for a break, or even advise ขcalling it a day.ข

While selfinstructional software on typing has proliferated, some say they’re no replacement for supervised classes. Besides, for many programs other than ขMavis Beaconข, the entertainment value seems to outweigh their educational quality. Consider Segaกs ขTyping of the Deadข tutorial, for which an ad suggests, ขTrade in your video game controller for a keyboard and start typing for your life.ข The format is to ขtypeข zombies to death by completing words and phrases that appear over their bodies. Some employers say that typing training must be taken more seriously.

Several training companies offer short classroom based typing training in the UK. Examples are ขGO Trainingข in Glasgow and ขTraining Circleข in Northampton, where you will find instructorled courses for around £200. For longer courses leading to a professional qualification, many local colleges offer excellent value. Learndirect is a great place to look for courses, as well as the UK Training News website.

By increasing your typing speed, you really could get more done each day. Remember the mantra that training is an investment, not a cost. So put yourself on the path to blazing, machine gunlike typing by buying ขMavisข or enrolling on a touchtyping course.

About The Author

Dick James is the editor of UK Training News, a free website providing articles, resources and discussion for the UK business and industrial training community.

Article copyright UK Training News, 2004. May be reproduced on any website, provided that all links, the author byline and this copyright notice remain unedited.

This article was posted on March 18, 2004

by Dick James

Colorblind People, can they really read your web s

Colorblind People, can they really read your web site?

by: Per Strandberg

I once created a notepadlike editor. It is possible with this editor to write Russian text on a western Windows without using a Cyrillic keyboard in front of your computer.

This software is equipped with an on screen Russian keyboard which is situated under the text field of the notepad like editor. The keys on the screen based keyboard is displayed with both Latin and Cyrillic characters. The Cyrillic characters are displayed in red and the Latin are displayed in Black.

http://www.russianeditor.com

One day, I got an angry email from one users of the product.

He wrote

Don’t you know that ขso and soข many people have one form or another of colorblindness. I can’t read the Russian character in the keyboard. Could you change the color of the letters?

At that time I used a bright red color for the Russian characters and the keys were in gray.

I have since of course changed the color. Now I use a more darker red color to represent the Russian letters.

I myself don’t suffer from this problem, but I while ago I surfed around on the Internet and found a cool website that is all about colorblindness and remembered the email and the adjustment I had to made to the Russian editor.

On that site is a tool which you can use to see how your website would look if you were a colorblind person. The URL is http://www.vischeck.com/vischeck/vischeckURL.php

You just type on your URL and you can then see how your web page will look for a person with different forms of colorblindness.

I learned there that there are different forms of colorblindness.

In fact the term colorblindness is a little misleading, because most people with color blindness don’t see the world in black and white. They can see colors, but not all colors. Total colorblindness is very rare. Color deficiency is a much better term to use.

Different form of color deficiency affects large number of people.

Colorblindness is in a large extent a gender problem, because it is affecting males much more often than females.

Here are some facts, I’ve learned!

About 8 % of males have some sorts of color deficiency.

For females this figure is under 0.5%.

On the http://www.vischeck.com/vischeck/vischeckURL.php you can check for 3 forms of colorblindness:

Deuteranope (a form of red/green color deficit)

Protanope (another form of red/green color deficit)

Tritanope (a blue/yellow deficit very rare)

There are more types of colorblindness, but these tests will cover the most common types.

They also offer the same color blindness function with a plugin software for Photoshop.

Colorblindness is not a problem if the text on your web site is in blank on a white background.

But, if you mix text with color on a colored background, this can create a problem with your web site for many viewers.

It is more common to make mistakes if you mix the wrong colors on external images and banners that have text in one color and the background in another, than to mix the wrong color with raw text.

Copyright 2005 Per Strandberg

About The Author

Per Strandberg is a web marketer and software designer!

Explore Web Niches with The Niche Exploration Database!

at ==> http://www.nicheexploration.com

He also has a site on Russian language learning at http://www.homeworklang.com

This article was posted on April 20

by Per Strandberg

The Apple Mac mini It Fits Anywhere And It is Th

The Apple Mac mini It Fits Anywhere And It is The Most Affordable Mac Ever!

by: Bonnie Archer

Mac OS X, the worlds most advanced operating system! Just connect, plug, and your playing. The Apple Mac mini will work with either Mac or PCcompatible peripherals, this makes it easier than ever to upgrade from and older Mac or PC system. All you have to do is connect your USB mouse and keyboard, then hook up your DVI or VGA display (our adapter is included). Then just plug it in, turn it on and your ready to go.

Now this is power packed into a small package Apple has outdone themselves! Under the sleek anodized aluminum styling of the Mac mini is a G4 processor, room for up to 1GB PC2700 main memory, a Radeon 9200 graphics chip, and a large enough hard drive, up to 80 GB, to store todays digital media.

With the mini connections you can hookup your digital devices like cameras, iPod, printer, camcorder, and your keyboard. There is even a audio/headphone jack. You can customize this Mac with some great extra options after you select your Mac mini.

You have the choice to use your own keyboard and mouse or choose the Apple Wireless keyboard and mouse and free yourself from the clutter of cables. You will need the Bluetooth module and with it you will also be able to have wireless access to printers, cell phones, PDAs, input devices and other peripherals. Or add a AirPort Extreme Card and have the freedom of wireless networking from anywhere in your home. Although you must have these features added when ordering your Mac or they will have to be added by an authorized service provider because they are not userinstallable.

A slotloading SuperDrive added will let you play and burn both CDs and DVDs. So be sure to check out the most advanced, convenient, and affordable Mac in history!

Check It Out!!

http://www.a1computers.net/apple_mac_mini.html

About The Author

Bonnie Archer is a successful author and publisher of http://www.A1computers.net. A great source of information about computers and computer accessories.

support@a1computers.net

This article was posted on April 25

by Bonnie Archer

Colorblind People, can they really read your web s

Colorblind People, can they really read your web site?

by: Per Strandberg

I once created a notepadlike editor. It is possible with this editor to write Russian text on a western Windows without using a Cyrillic keyboard in front of your computer.

This software is equipped with an on screen Russian keyboard which is situated under the text field of the notepad like editor. The keys on the screen based keyboard is displayed with both Latin and Cyrillic characters. The Cyrillic characters are displayed in red and the Latin are displayed in Black.

http://www.russianeditor.com

One day, I got an angry email from one users of the product.

He wrote

Don’t you know that ขso and soข many people have one form or another of colorblindness. I can’t read the Russian character in the keyboard. Could you change the color of the letters?

At that time I used a bright red color for the Russian characters and the keys were in gray.

I have since of course changed the color. Now I use a more darker red color to represent the Russian letters.

I myself don’t suffer from this problem, but I while ago I surfed around on the Internet and found a cool website that is all about colorblindness and remembered the email and the adjustment I had to made to the Russian editor.

On that site is a tool which you can use to see how your website would look if you were a colorblind person. The URL is http://www.vischeck.com/vischeck/vischeckURL.php

You just type on your URL and you can then see how your web page will look for a person with different forms of colorblindness.

I learned there that there are different forms of colorblindness.

In fact the term colorblindness is a little misleading, because most people with color blindness don’t see the world in black and white. They can see colors, but not all colors. Total colorblindness is very rare. Color deficiency is a much better term to use.

Different form of color deficiency affects large number of people.

Colorblindness is in a large extent a gender problem, because it is affecting males much more often than females.

Here are some facts, I’ve learned!

About 8 % of males have some sorts of color deficiency.

For females this figure is under 0.5%.

On the http://www.vischeck.com/vischeck/vischeckURL.php you can check for 3 forms of colorblindness:

Deuteranope (a form of red/green color deficit)

Protanope (another form of red/green color deficit)

Tritanope (a blue/yellow deficit very rare)

There are more types of colorblindness, but these tests will cover the most common types.

They also offer the same color blindness function with a plugin software for Photoshop.

Colorblindness is not a problem if the text on your web site is in blank on a white background.

But, if you mix text with color on a colored background, this can create a problem with your web site for many viewers.

It is more common to make mistakes if you mix the wrong colors on external images and banners that have text in one color and the background in another, than to mix the wrong color with raw text.

Copyright 2004 Per Strandberg

About The Author

Per Strandberg is a web marketer and software designer!

Explore Web Niches with The Niche Market Database!

at ==> http://www.nicheexploration.com

He has a site on data storage and backup information at http://www.databackupandstorage.com

He also has a site on Russian language learning at http://www.homeworklang.com

This article was posted on April 20, 2004

by Per Strandberg

10 Time Saving Keyboard Shortcuts

10 Time Saving Keyboard Shortcuts

by: Steve Robson

Time is money. And when you constantly have to divide your time between your mouse and your keyboard, your workflow rate really slows down.
Thatกs particularly true when you’re working on a laptop, where the pointing device is even slower.
The answer short of growing another arm is to learn a few กhandyก keyboard shortcuts. Here are 10 of the best:
1. Make a quick exit:
ALT F4 will terminate any program immediately.
2. Flick don’t click:
ALT TAB to flick through open programs.
3. Make a quick selection:
CTRL SHIFT and move cursor with left / right / up / down arrows to quickly select areas of text.
4. Cut, copy and paste to the chase:
CTRL X / C / V to cut, copy and paste selected text.
5. Undo what youกve done:
CTRL Z will undo anything. (And to redo: CTRL Y although this varies between programs.)
6. Page don’t scroll:
In MSIE use Page Up & Page Down to save time fiddling with the scroll bar.
7. E for explorer:
WINDOWS KEY E to open windows explorer. Use up and down arrows to quickly navigate through folders.
8. Rapidly rename:
F2 rename a file or folder in Windows Explorer
9. Find it fast:
CTRL F to find text on a page (And CTRL H replace it).
10. Fly through forms:
Use TAB to move forward through forms and SHIFTTAB to move backwards
After a little practice, your fingers will be flying across the keyboard like a shortcut pro.
And youกll save a huge amount of time too.

About The Author

Steve Robson is a successful technical author and contributor to http://HowToBuyALaptop.com For more computer tips and advice, visit the following web page: http://howtobuyalaptop.com/laptopcomputertips.htm

This article was posted on May 23, 2004

by Steve Robson

Sending SMS in Foreign Languages For Example Arabi

Sending SMS in Foreign Languages For Example Arabic, Greek, Hebrew etc.

by: Marinda Stuiver

Mobile phone penetration is increasing globally. With the increase in handsets, being able to communicate with the handset owners in their own language is something that is becoming increasingly important.

The first question that comes to mind is how it works when foreign languages are sent to mobiles from a web site. Based on the fact that computers fundamentally just deal with numbers, letters and characters are stored using a unique number for each and in the past these unique numbers had to be assigned through the use of encoding systems. As a result hundreds of different encoding systems existed, none compatible with each other and none of them containing enough characters to deal with all languages. All this changed with the invention of Unicode. With Unicode one number for each letter has been assigned (a standard has been set) and it is network, platform and language independent. The emergence of Unicode standards and tools allowed web platform owners and developers to develop additional tools which enables end users to send sms in their own language.

These applications are especially important in the Middle East (Arabic), Far East (Chinese, Taiwanese, Hindi etc.) and European countries where normal English characters cannot be used to communicate in data format for example Greece, Finland, Norway just to name a few.

Prior to development of a userfriendly Java based application, users had to be familiar with Hex and the conversion of Unicode characters into Hex in order for the binary data to be sent to recipients via mobile phones from web sites.

This now all changed for end users. The java based application used for sending Unicode, available on www.smswarehouse.com, allows users to send sms from the web site in the language their keyboard is set to. Once logged in, users have the opportunity to choose whether they want to send their text message in Unicode or in English. After selecting Unicode, the user is presented with the opportunity to send their message in Hex or based on their keyboard settings (Keyboard input).

The process is extremely simple and user friendly if your keyboard is set (for example) to Greek, you simply type the message in and click on กsendก the text will be delivered to the recipient in Greek. Unicode is still limited to 70 Characters, which is a GSM restriction, but the use of 160 characters is currently under development.

Visit http://www.smswarehouse.com for more details and a free test account.

About The Author

Marinda Stuiver has been working in the marketing industry since 1996. She worked as International sales and marketing consultant for Station Africa Telecoms where one of her responsibilities was media liaison during sponsored events such as the Camel Trophy 4X4 events, Kathy O’Dowd’s firs ascent of Mt Everest, the 1999 BT sponsored Vasco da Gama Yacht race and many more. She started her own online consultancy in 2000 (ESPECTATIONS.COM) and launched a new division in January 2005 called SMSwarehouse. Her major area of interest is convergence of technologies and she works as a consultant in this specific arena. PR forms a big part of her daily duties and services to clients but she also enjoys writing about her outdoor experiences and adventures.

hq@smswarehouse.com

This article was posted on April 10

by Marinda Stuiver