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Using a Palm OS Device at Rutgers

These are notes on using my Palm Tungsten C with various services at Rutgers. There are slight differences in software version in various Palm models, so this information may not work exactly, but I think it will help others trying to use Palm devices.

Browser

The big challenge for a Palm is the small screen. Current Palm devices come with browsers, but the one that came with my Tungsten C wasn't very useful: things didn't fit on the screen.

I tried a variety of free and commercial browsers, and found one that was much more useful than the others: Palm Web Pro version 3.0.1c. This is probably included in some of the more recent devices. For the Tungsten C I had to purchase it as a separate product. It is much better than the thing called Palm Web that comes by default. It includes amazingly small but readable fonts, and it work really well with most web pages.

Using RUWireless

RUWireless is a wireless implementation supported by the Office of Information Technology. A number of buildings use it. Others use similar technology that isn't exactly RUWireless but probably works similarly.

The challenge with using RUWireless is that each time you start the network, you need to login. Most Palm devices turn off the network connection after a brief time when it isn't in use, to save battery lifetime. Thus you're typically starting and stopping the network a lot. Going through the login screen each time can be quite painful.

The trick is to save the URL, so you just have to click on it to authenticate. The trick works because you can include your username and password as part of the URL. Here's an example:

https://128.6.30.195/login.pl?which_form=reg&bs_name=NETID&bs_password=PASSWORD

This has worked for me in all RUWireless locations in New Brunswick. However it's possible that the IP address will need to be different for some locations. You should be able to find out the correct address by looking at the address bar of your browser when you login manually.

Using the RULink Calendar

With Palm Web Pro, the normal calender web interface is almost usable. However you're probably better off using the special small-screen interface, https://rulink.rutgers.edu/cal/login.php3. You can encode your username and password in the URL. (Normally I don't recommend doing this, but on a PDA it's hard enough to type passwords that it may be a good idea.) To do that use a format such as https://rulink.rutgers.edu/cal/login.php3?uname=NETID&pwd=PASSWORD

You can also synchronize the Palm calendar application with data on the calendar server. See the PDA synchronization web page for PC instructions. If you are using a Mac, you do one-way synchronization (from the server to your device). See Synchronization for the Mac.

Mail

Palm's mail application (Versamail) is pretty good when it works. Unfortunately I haven't been able to get it to work. It commonly hangs the system or gives odd error messages when I try to check my mail. I have some reason to think that more recent versions of Versamail will do better. But it doesn't seem to be possible to buy them: you're stuck with whatever come with your device.

If you have problems, I recommend using Snappermail. See the very end of the RULink mail web page for information about Snappermail and instructions on setting it up.

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For more information, contact hedrick@rutgers.edu.
Last updated: Wednesday, 16-Mar-2005 21:11:54 EST
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