How to go ultra portable. (Compute's Getting Started with Portable Computing) (Buyers Guide)
by David English
Some people think you should either use a palmtop or a notebook computer, but not both. I couldn't disagree more. With the right combination of hardware and software, you can have the best of both worlds.
Here's how it works for me. I use PackRat 4.0 (Polaris Software, 17150 Via DelCampo, Suite 307, San Diego, Escondido, California 92127; 800-722-5728; $395) on my notebook computer to track my to-do list, maintain my phone list, log my phone calls, and view my list of upcoming appointments and meetings. In addition, PackRat has a set of pull-down menus that lets me directly import, export, backup, and restore my data to a Sharp Wizard (Sharp Electronics, Sharp Plaza, Mahwah, New Jersey 07430-2135; 800-321-8877). Using a serial-port connecting cable, I can send as much as 128K of my PackRat data to my Wizard, indluding my phone list, to-do list, appointment calendar, memos, expense records, and timed accounts. I can have my electronic data with me in my coat pocket when I go to an industry show, make changes to the data during the show, and import the changes back into PackRat when I'm in my hotel room at night.
You say you don't use PackRat and none of your favorite programs can talk directly to a Wizard. Check out IntelliLink 2.2 (IntelliLink, 7 Parker Street, Acton, Massachusetts 01720;508-264-9943; $99.95 for Wizard and B.O.S.S. versions, $149.95 for HP 95LX version). It's a Windows-based program that can automatically translate and transfer data between a palmtop computer--Sharp Wizard, Cassio B.O.S.S., or Hewlett-Packard HP 95LX--and a standard PC running IBM Current, Borland Sidekick 2.0, Asymetrix DayBook, Microsoft Word for Windows, Ami Pro, Microsoft Excel, Lotus 1-2-3 for Windows, Q+E, PackRat, or a Paradox-compatible database. You tell IntelliLink which PC software you have, and it takes care of formatting and moving the data for you.
If you like to program and have both a PC and a Wizard, you'll also want to take a good look at Toolkit and Toolkit Professional (Nictrix, Leonia 80 Technical Center, 2 Christie Heights Street, Leonia, New Jersey 07605; 201-947-2220; $299 and $495). Both Toolkit packages include PC-based software and a Wizard-based software-card, and let you create customized database applications. With just a little bit of programming, you can turn your Wizard into a powerful dBase-compatible computer. Using Toolkit, I created a movie database for my Wizard in less than an hour.
Palmtops and PCs are a natural combination. A representative from Sharp told me that 25 percent of Wizard owners own a notebook computer and well over 50 percent own PCs. With some models of the Wizard selling for less than $200, you can easily have your electronic data with your whereever you go.