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Handhelds Software Hardware

Uses and Software for a Modern PocketPC PDA? 75

Deviant asks: "I just bought a new Dell Axim X30 with 802.11b and Bluetooth. It was a bit of an impulse buy and now I find myself trying to find out what I can do with it and what software is 'must have' for the platform. I work in IT for a bank where I have wireless available in the office and I am also a part-time education student. I got it primarily for basic PDA things like a calendar, a To-do list, e-mail/IM, taking notes, and am looking forward to getting a few good games for it. I guess my question is to Slashdot readers with MS Windows Mobile based PDAs: What software do you use daily that makes your PDA worth while for you? What uses are there for this that I may not have thought of?"
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Uses and Software for a Modern PocketPC PDA?

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  • and load it up with scumm and spend the rest of your days playing maniac mansion..
  • You need to buy Pocket Informant. It should be mandatory for all PocketPC's. []
    • It should be mandatory for all PocketPC's

      I'll second that. Luckily it was bundled with my Pocket PC (a Fujitsu-Siemens Pocket LOOX 600) but if/when I buy another PPC, I will gladly shell out the money for a copy of PI.

  • Get a copy of Skype (Score:4, Informative)

    by 3waygeek ( 58990 ) on Thursday March 10, 2005 @09:38AM (#11898335)
    They have a PocketPC client; then you can use the Axim as a VOIP phone.
  • RemoteAmp (Score:2, Informative)

    by kunwon1 ( 795332 )
    RemoteAmp is a PocketPC program that allows you to control, remotely, WinAMP and iTunes for Windows, running on a desktop (or a laptop I suppose).

    This would be more of an 'at home' thing, but it's pretty nice if you, like me, have a PC as your primary music source. You can change playlists, volume, EQ settings, etc. All remotely.

    The downside is that it only works for Windows. There might be something similar available for Linux/Mac/others, but I haven't checked.

    To find out more or to download: htt []
  • Pocket Putty (Score:2, Informative)

    by bmeehan ( 128735 )
    Being able to ssh and kill a process that's died on your system at home, all from the comfort of a local tavern... that's priceless.
  • Aximsite (Score:5, Informative)

    by sigmoid_balance ( 777560 ) on Thursday March 10, 2005 @09:50AM (#11898398)
    First of all read what has to say about software, hardware and accessories. Also from my personal experience (software):
    • RealCalculator - greatest calculator ever
    • TomeRider - great reader for indexed data, wikipedia and wordnet for example
    • PocketInformant - two words: THE PIM
    • PIToday - you might want this if you got PocketInformant
    • PocketMusic - WinAMP like, do not use WinAMPaq it is buggy
    • TotalCommander - File manager, free
    • PocketRAR - I belive it is self explanatory, also free
    • Ministumbler - The wardriving and connectivity test you need for 802.11, free
    • iSilo - Best ebook reader
    • Wis Bar - if you don't like the microsoft interface
    • KeyStrokeCE - another input method, pretty cool but hard to learn
    • PHM Reg - registry editor, if you don't know what that is you definitedly don't need it.
    • Metro - public transportation auto route for all major cities on the planet
    • List Pro - Hierarchycal notes
    • easySMS - sending SMS with your PocketPC
    • ScummVM - for LucasArts old games, it's a must; free, but the games are not
    • by ebbe11 ( 121118 )
      Great list, a few of which are on my "A Pocket PC is useless without them"-list (Pocket Informant and WisBar Advance to be specific). I do have a couple of additions:
      • TimeTTracker [] - keeps track of how much time I use on my clients. This program pays not only for itself but also for the PDA, the GPS'es and all other software and hardware I've bought for use with my PDA.
      • nPOPw [] - freeware email-client that can delete mail from the POP3 server without going through ActiveSync. Essential for reading mail on t
  • for reading books in txt format.
  • I've heard you can play games on them. I'm not sure how true it is.
  • The Dutch Railway company equips every train conductor with a Pocket PC with a train timetable software for the whole country.

    It does not always work reliably though... I once overheard a conductor swearing because the thing kept freezing, so she has to reset it again and again. Well you know Pocket PC and MS thing...
  • Linux! (Score:3, Funny)

    by squant0 ( 553256 ) on Thursday March 10, 2005 @10:00AM (#11898470)
  • Odds are it has a headphone jack. Should play mp3 files without issue. Older versions of pocketpc had to hack back in media player to support mp3 format, but I doubt that is an issue anymore.
    • Odds are it has a headphone jack. Should play mp3 files without issue. Older versions of pocketpc had to hack back in media player to support mp3 format, but I doubt that is an issue anymore.

      It's generally accepted that [] is the best audio and video player for pocketpc. I use it on my windows smartphone, and can watch pretty much any avi I can find on it. Music support is superb too, it'll play back my favourite musepack codec, as well as the usual aac/mp3/wma files.

      It's fr

    • Odds are it has a headphone jack. Should play mp3 files without issue.

      That's what I thought when I bought my Axim X30 (the same model as the poster) - unfortunately, the audio contains so much static that an audio cassette being played sideways through a tube of antiseptic burn cream on a violin would sound better.

  • Skype has a pocketpc version of the Voip softphone. Works great on my Axim X5
  • That's what I have on my Palm (should I say sorry for not having MS Windows?):
    1. MP3 player!
    2. Readers for various formats. I've got applications for PDF, MS Office formats, e-books. Acrobat is especially useful since you can make PDF of anything.
    3. Language dictionaries when you're abroad (I permanently am).
    4. References like periodic table and physical constants, if you're in it.
  • Have a look at LogMeIn [] which allows you to log in to your desktop PC remotely. If nothing else, it's a great way of having a fully featured web browser running on your PDA!
    • or you could use VNC for free
      • Re:Try out LogMeIn (Score:3, Informative)

        by bhtooefr ( 649901 )
        Or, you could use LogMeIn for free, and not have to worry about getting through firewalls and fighting dynamic IPs (and dynamic DNS services), because it does all the hard work for you.

        Now, if you DON'T mind doing this (I was already working with that, because I was running a web server), Ultr@VNC is the way to go on Windows. TightVNC on everything else.
      • or you could use remote desktop/terminal services, free, and server software included on XP pro & server pcs- standard installation- just enable, client also included in pocketpc-- nothing to download...
  • by DarkClown ( 7673 ) on Thursday March 10, 2005 @10:34AM (#11898738) Homepage
    With 802.11 there is a pretty cool application called express that handmark software has out called express [] - if you've tried web browsing on a pda you know it's pretty painful. this app makes it a more friendly experience in the form factor, and provides news feeds, stocks, address lookups tied to a mapping feature, weather updates, etc.. cool thing is it caches client side so you don't have to maintain the connection - you can set it to auto update or whatever.
    i also have sms messages sent for service monitoring and have an ssh client that has saved my butt numerous times when away from my regular box.
  • e-books (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hcdejong ( 561314 ) <hobbes AT xmsnet DOT nl> on Thursday March 10, 2005 @10:42AM (#11898825)
    Load some e-books onto it to kill time when you're traveling, waiting in line, compiling, etc.
  • My experience (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hey! ( 33014 ) on Thursday March 10, 2005 @10:45AM (#11898849) Homepage Journal
    I'm a PocketPC develper. Our customers use PDAs for field data collection, not personal productivity.

    I do carry a (palm) PDA though, which I use for recording time spent on various projects and expenses. However, since I also carry a laptop, I find the PDA is not much of a personal productivity tool for me. A PDA is a basically a waste if you carry a laptop.

    That said, the one thing where I find the PDA functionality of my treo phone very convenient is reading ebooks. Since I basically use nearly all my free time reading, it's very convenient to be able to carry a small library on an SD card. I use the excellent open source weaselreader program, which is unfortunately, palm only. I don't know of any good OSS pocketpc readers, but Microsoft's Microsoft Reader is a very good ebook program IMO. You can find a lot of free .lit files on the internet, and there are some free-as-in-beer tools for converting HTML or RTF to .lit, so it shouldn't be hard to raid the Gutenberg library and with the help of a text to html tool and and html to lit tool be up and running on your pcketpc.
    • I agree with you. MS Reader is (sadly?) one of the very best e-book platforms out there. It is unfortunate that they haven't released a Mac version. It would be very well received, I think.
      On the other hand, the E-Book reader 'E-Reader' [] is also very nice, and supports palm, Pocket PC, Mac, and Windows. It's also quite a bit more customizable.
      The only "open" ebook stuff I know of is the Open EBook Forum, which is really more of a vendor co-ordination.
    • There is a free MS Word plugin for converting any Word supported file into .lit ebooks.

      Read in Microsoft Reader []

  • Passwords (Score:3, Informative)

    by gilgongo ( 57446 ) on Thursday March 10, 2005 @10:54AM (#11898935) Homepage Journal
    70% of the time I use my PDA it's to get passwords. I have ALL my passwords stored in DataViz Passwords Plus. There are currently over 50 of the buggers. I have an "uber password" I use to unlock them, which is a password I only use for that purpose.

    Gave up trying to remember passwords years ago - now I can have huge long cryptic ones as well and have no feare of forgetting them, and I've never had a single problem since. Well, until I forgot the uber password, that is...

    • Or your PDA is stolen, and you forgot to backup the last changed passwords.
    • I do something simmilar but not so dangerous, I have a set of 4 passwords that I rotate monthly, I label them primary high secruity, secondary high security, primary low security and secondary low security. The high security passwords are only used in trusted locations. Then in my pda, the list is just location, username, and which password I am using, but the acutal passwords are still memorized, 14 random characters only take about a day to memorize and I have a rather bad memory. Then if my pda and one p
      • We all have different ways of doing it, but if I tried that, I'd go insane.

        Sure - if I lose my PDA and I'd not backed it up (or the 256-bit Blowfish key is compromised by alien quantum computing intelligence), I'm a loser. But no plan is foolproof, and since I trust myself to follow a routine of adding/updating passwords on my PC, then synching them to my PDA immediately (which I do) before I go out sky-diving or whatever. I feel a lot more confident I can mitagate the risk that way rather than having to j
  • by warpSpeed ( 67927 ) <> on Thursday March 10, 2005 @10:55AM (#11898942) Homepage Journal
    Does anyone know of a calendaring app for the PocketPC that does not require Outlook on the back side of the sync? I have a PocketPC, and I want to sync my calendar to something ther then outlook, anything else would be prefereable.

    Something that would work over the net would be a real bonus too.

  • by Mycroft_514 ( 701676 ) on Thursday March 10, 2005 @11:10AM (#11899093) Journal
    1. Games
    2. Acrobat reader (many books from and then acrobat them) FREE Plus some manuals for work in IT, error code manuals and the like
    3. Dive log program
    4. Tide tool
    5. planetarium program
    6. Blood meter software (medical insurance paid for my PDA) / Blood meter module
    7. GPS / GPS module

    That sould get you started.
    • A couple other uses I have for my Palm (a much less powerful device than an Axim - but much better battery life :-> ):
      1. Diary. A searchable diary/journal is a wonderful thing. It's amazing how much of your life you forget if you don't write it down.
      2. Passwords. Store them in encrypted form and you only need to remember one. Just make it a good one.

      Don't underestimate the value of e-books. Reference material when you need it and entertainment when stuck waiting somewhere.

      • Acrobat reader can read e-books, but why not read FREE classics?

        As for reference material, I have error codes and messages (both volumes) and dive computer manual on mine.

        Diary is a good thought for those that like diaries. I personally don't

        On passwords, no. For one that would be a security violation around here. Plus we have unified password control. 1 password for all your accounts across machines. I've seen plenty of programs that offer that service, but they don't seem to get it.
  • Sure. I have a Palm (sorry), with 802.11b.

    What I use it for (beyond names/addresses and calendar):

    Lists and tracking
    Dive Logging
    Graphing Calculator
    Encrypted Password Storage and generation
    Drafting simple circuits
    Note taking, including simple illustrations
    Electronic books
    Project Management
    SSH access to servers
    "Simple programs" - LISP and C

    It has pretty much replaced a laptop. The only thing that I don't do is on-line web browsing. Instead, I use something called "Plucker" to retrieve and convert web
  • Except for contacts and calendar, my PocketPc is mostly used for GPS navigation. There are many programs available, of which TomTom ( is my favourite. Slap on a cheap GPS receiver, and you save time every day!

    Personally, GPS navigation is the killer app PocketPc's and Palm's have been searching for...
  • NX client (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Linuxathome ( 242573 ) on Thursday March 10, 2005 @11:50AM (#11899559) Homepage Journal
    If you do IT and have Linux machines, then you will need programs to access the machines remotely. As mentioned by many comments previously, you will need an ssh client. I would like to also suggest you install an NX client from []. You can remotely access the GUI desktop on your Linux desktop (you'll need to install Free NX in your Linux box). Or you can install a VNC client [] and just about control any OS remotely [].
  • by Anonymous Coward
    How about you give it to someone who could actually use it for something useful, but couldn't afford to drop half a mortgage payment on an impulse purchase?
  • ... when they are cheap enough for you, you can consider tossing (or not getting...) an MP3 player.

  • emulators (Score:2, Informative)

    PocketSNES, PocketNES, and PocketGnuboy. I do use them everyday on the subway. Good way to play all the games I missed as a kid.
  • I did the same thing, buying a Zaurus when the 5500's were cheap on HSN. For the most part I was simply using it for solitare and the occasional web surfing / chatting if I was out (or the wife had pilfered the laptop).

    Recently updated the PIM apps to Opie apps and lost the sync ability with my work machine (and never really got it to work with my OSX or Linux boxes correctly). I was pulling my hair out trying to update my contacts via the little keyboard when I decided to install a VNC server on it. It
  • I find that NMAP and Ethereal in concert with swappable 802.11 - 10/100 ethernet cards are indispensable on my (Linux) Zaurus. I would imagine that these, or similar, are available for the Axim.
  • Got to be the best purchase for my Pocket PC I've ever made. Hands down. Snapstream's Beyond TV is as good as TIVO- better in one way for me, it doesn't try to guess what I like to watch. I just enter the names of shows I like, give them a priority rating, and it gets them- it schedules itself a window where it can record that show, squeezes it to a VERY clear 200x120 WMV file, and lets me download it to my CF-sized Hitachi hard drive. I can then watch the video on the commute on the train. Brilliant!
  • heh - ok, given that you have wireless, you could just ssh into a server and run vim, emacs, whatever.

    OR you could just download vimce here [].

  • Games (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JofCoRe ( 315438 ) on Thursday March 10, 2005 @01:19PM (#11900587) Journal
    Well, the best use (or at least the one I enjoy most) I've found for my iPaq is to load it up w/a couple of emulators for games :)

    You definately want to grab pocketnester []. Then you can play any NES game that you want :)

    Also, check out MAME CE3 []. Unfortunately it was written w/an older version of MAME, so a lot of the ROMs I have tried didn't work :( But you can play Galaga all day to your heart's content :)
  • With over 50 comments, I can't believe no one mentioned Novii Remote!( []). The PPC version is behind the version for Palm, due to the sheer number of processors for PPCs, but it is a good universal remote if your pda is compatible with it. You can fit hundreds(if you wanted to) of codebases for various devices(TVs, VCRs, Stereos, cable boxes, etc) on the pda, assuming you have the space, making it easy to control devices. Care to drive your neighbor nuts when you visit? Hehe. :)
  • eWallet is pretty much essential if you have a PDA. Stores all your personal info on 'cards'.
  • I have an older Handspring Visor and without a doubt the most important thing it does is run PocketMoney. I don't know how I'd get by without it. Seriously. It's a simple way to manage your money and it exports to Quicken or MS Money. Every day or three I pull a wad of receipts out of my wallet and enter them into PocketMoney and I'm good to go. I know exactly how much money I have. You can even plan ahead by entering in future bills and stuff. I can't say enough good things about this app. I love it. They
  • Two great strategy games that Kept me busy for hours.
  • The only thing I need to make my life complete is pocket DOOM.
  • I wrote a small stopwatch app for it with programmable alerts that emit programmable wav sounds every few minutes or so. I use this app to display the elapsed time (more legible than that of a regular stopwatch) while the programmable alerts remind me of the start and end of an interval while I am riding my trainer (stationary bike). I also use it to play mp3s while it simultaneously reminds me of the intervals while riding my trainer.

    I have it taped to a camera tripod so it is within easy reach while I am

  • netfront omega battery pack pro gsplayer phatnotes adobe reader for pocket pc 2.0 skype

No problem is so large it can't be fit in somewhere.