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Users flock to user group

Users flock to user group

I’ve only just discovered that New Zealand has a Windows Mobile User Group running regular meetings in Auckland and Wellington. It appears that this group was established by NZ.Net to provide a community resource around the use of mobile technology (based around Microsoft’s Windows Mobile platform) for individuals. The user group has a mailing list, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to participate.

Is the world is passing me by, or is it just that people think of me as being Mr. Palm? I’ve only just discovered that New Zealand has a Windows Mobile User Group running regular meetings in Auckland and Wellington. It appears that this group was established by NZ.Net to provide a community resource around the use of mobile technology (based around Microsoft’s Windows Mobile platform) for individuals. I have heard of user groups for Palm and the Pocket PC in the US and Europe but was caught totally unaware on this one. The first meeting was held in Wellington in July and 85 people – a huge number – attended. The user group also has a mailing list, so if you want to make sure you don’t miss out on the opportunity to participate, you should point your mouse at www.wmug.co.nz.

Personal firewall

Everywhere I turn I see articles about virus and security protection for handheld computers. Obviously the more people use handheld computers at a corporate level, particularly applications that access databases and other corporate information, the greater the risk of intrusion from outside.

Airscanner has developed something I haven’t seen before -- a personal full-strength mobile firewall. Now the mobile worker or mobile support person can operate out in the field with far greater control over data integrity. Just like the firewall on your network, this solution parses packets as they come in and go out and matches the data against a rule-set of ports and IP addresses, URLs, etc. It has lots of nice features, including the ability to get a realtime connection overview, listing all currently open ports and their states with connected IP addresses. You can allow connection to trusted computers based on their IP addresses, define custom filters, control full alerting and logging functions and much more.

Airscanner is free for home and personal use and business users can try it for 30 days before licensing. Check it out at www.airscanner.com, where you will also find other products such as Mobile Antivirus and Mobile Encrypter.

MobiMate WorldMate

I’ve been using WorldMate on my Kyocera Smartphone for a couple of years. While travelling overseas I used to have great difficulty trying to work out what time it was back home or in the next city I was going to visit. WorldMate is a wireless application that took all those problems away. I now have my time zones under control. The main screen gives me time and weather information for five world cities at a glance. I can even keep my Palm clock up to date by wirelessly synching with an atomic clock. Last time I checked, I found my Palm was out by 5 seconds. Shocking!

The software also allows me to access up-to-date currency rates and make conversions. I can even compare clothing sizes and other forms of measurement.

If you are a traveller you really would be advised to use this product, which is available for Palm and Pocket PC devices. WorldMate 2004 goes even further, providing information such as realtime flight status updates for more than 800 airlines. And it covers more than 38,000 locations, so should be more than capable of handling your next itinerary.

WorldMate can provide itinerary management -- including flights, hotels, cars, meetings and more -- with full integration into your date book. It even includes a tip and tax calculator that makes sure you don’t overpay the hotel concierge or cabbie. For Kiwis not used to tipping, this little feature alone could make your trip that much more pleasant. WorldMate is available from your favourite PDA download site and has won major awards from many of them. It’s definitely worth at least a free trial.

Help fight cancer

This is an American story, but a good example of how useful PDAs can be for providing mobile access to data. Maybe it will spark someone’s creativity to do something benevolent Down Under.

The American Cancer Society’s National Health Promotions Review Board and others have teamed up to create a solution for the PalmOne OS and Pocket PC PDAs to help doctors and their staff be better prepared to prevent, diagnose and treat this horrendous disease. C-Tools, due for release early next year, will include a guide to detecting cancer in children, a pain medication dictionary, a drug calculator, directions on how to communicate with patients about diagnosis, screening guidelines, prostate specific antigen information, a BMI (Body Mass Index) calculator for adults, screening tools for skin cancer and more.

It is a shame that many of the drugs have different names here and treatment regimes are often different. The application is free. It would be worth buying a PDA just to use this application. With cancer -- especially skin cancer -- being so common in New Zealand, a project like this could save many lives.

Luigi Cappel is managing director the NZ Smartphone and PDA Academy. He can be reached at Ph: 09-444 5136, Mob: 0274 801 998 or at luigi@smartphoneacademy.co.nz.

Join the CIO New Zealand group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.

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