Plug2Net & Aileron for
to the web site
OS 3.5 or higher with minimum 30KB free; Plug2Net desktop
software operates on Windows 2000 Professional/Server
(Plug2Net), $9.95 (Aileron 1 year subscription)
a moderately overactive interest in the World Wide Web
wasn't enough, Corsoft decided to develop and release yet
another way of inducing me to stay online. Corsoft's solution
is a little Palm OS utility called Plug2Net which essentially
mates your wireless (or wired) PDA to your PC's Internet
connection. Nice. It works too (which is the main thing)
and I'll be darned if it isn't fast and capable as well.
access through your Windows PC is established by means
of a pass-through connection set up by the Plug2Net desktop
software. A small applet running in the Windows system
tray allows you to select your PDA connection preference
(Serial/Modem, Infrared, Bluetooth or USB). The applet
monitors the selected connection method for access by the
PDA and when it's detected essentially acts as a conduit
to the PC's Internet connection. Because the connection
to the Internet is provided by the PC, your existing firewall
and other security settings remain in place - Plug2Net
doesn't disable or circumvent anything, which means you'll
never compromise settings on any computer or network to
which you connect.
of regular PDAs (my Palm Zire 71 does not have built-in
WiFi or Bluetooth capabilities) can leverage the Internet
connectivity of their cell phones to connect using a serial
or infrared interface. This capability permits the user
to access the Internet when they are traveling or at times
when a PC is not available. Plug2Net provides preset one-tap
connections to most U.S. wireless telephone carriers and
also incorporates lots of custom configurations. The phone
interface provides users with simplified dial-up connectivity
(similar to a hardware modem on the desktop).
Installation of Plug2Net is a two part process: the PC
desktop application and the Palm OS program. Installation
is seamless and quick; Plug2Net and Aileron are both small.
We did not initially install Aileron because we already
had VersaMail on the PDA. After installing Aileron about
midway through the first week of using Plug2Net, we stuck
with it for a while because of its speed and simplicity.
Note that Aileron requires a minimum 1 year pre-paid subscription.
We used the free Eudora Web browser for all our browsing
because of its speed and stability. It worked flawlessly
with Plug2Net. We tested Plug2Net and Aileron on a Palm
Zire 71, a Palm Tungsten T3 and PCs running Windows XP
and Windows 2000.
Cons: The online
help system for Plug2Net is limited in scope. For example,
we couldn't find any information on
the errors thrown by the connection routine. The problem
went away after we browsed to the Palm Preferences applet
and simply clicked Connect, but a little explanation would
be nice. The only real drawback to web browsing on your
PDA is the fact that too many web sites aren't yet readable
on a PDA screen - too small, not enough resolution. PDA
browsers including AvantGo and Eudora Web don't handle
frames at all. We found a small bug in Aileron - e-mail
addresses longer than the first entry line in the "To:" field
don't wrap properly and as a result can't be resolved and
therefore the e-mail message can't be sent.
We used the PDA cradle as well as a Palm Zire 71 USB
by Styrite which
enabled us to plug into the Internet anywhere we could
find a connection, install the Plug2Net desktop applet
and grab our e-mail, check web mail, update news & information
and so on - all without leaving a trace of any kind on
the host PC. Very nice. Even easier, Plug2Net's Bluetooth
compatibility allowed us lots of flexibility around the
office and freed us from the need to have a HotSync cradle
or USB cable when using a Palm Tungsten T3 with built-in
Bluetooth (connecting to the PC via an Actiontec USB Bluetooth
adaptor). Very nice again. Aileron is a simple and effective
e-mail program with useful reading, sorting and storage
functions - more than adequate for the majority of users.
We also enjoyed using Eudora Web - it's fast, takes full
advantage of the speed of the Plug2Net interface, and does
a decent job with some difficult web pages. Plug2Net allowed
us to establish Internet access in situations where a laptop
either wasn't present or wasn't appropriate for the situation.
We love this stuff because it represents a new approach
to Internet access that's easy to install, configure and
use. If you've got a Palm OS PDA and the need (or desire)
to be connected everywhere, Plug2Net brings you one step
closer. Highly recommended.
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