H/PC File Transfers and Printing when stuck on the road
There are few things in the Handheld World more aggravating than finding yourself on the road with your H/PC, without your proprietary cables, and thus unable to print or exchange files. In these virus-ridden days, one cannot count on the willingness of a systems administrator to install additional software on an office's machines solely so you can enjoy your H/PC for the afternoon.
This article offers up some tips and workarounds, and it assumes only two things:
If a user had FileGram 1.0 installed and a proprietary serial cable, that user wouldn't need this section. Or if an office was agreeable to receiving your attachments, you could conceivably e-mail your files to their server, and vice-versa, but with so many lurking viruses, these are not particularly generous times.
This shows how to transfer files for exchange or printing without H/PC cables or e-mail attachments.
First, the terminal program. There are several good terminal programs available for H/PC users (see Henri Spagnolo's j7xx site for HPC2000 listings).
As for a non-56K PC Card modem, they're essentially free with a full tank of gas at any participating service station. I ended up getting a Megahertz XJ4288 28.8/14.4 PC Card Modem. It was a piece of hardware that retailed for $220 in 1996, but in 2004, it set me back $5 on e-bay. It came new-in-the-box with manuals and even had the "The Latest AOL 2.5 Floppy Diskette."
Why do we need a non-56K modem? Why can't we just use the H/PC's internal modem? Because 56K modems are hardwired to prevent direct hook-up with another 56K, and a direct hook-up is our operating premise for all transfers. Any modem with a speed lower than 56K will work.
Store the modem in your wallet, in the H/PC's PCMCIA slot, or Velcro it to the bottom of the machine.
For this article's purpose, a Jornada 720 and a PC operating on Windows ME will be the examples. But any two terminal programs should work, even a Mac's.
Connect the H/PC and the PC's modems with a standard r-jack phone cable.
TIP: the connection can be noisy, and to silence the modems, on both screens, you can type atm0 and hit ENTER. But give this command BEFORE the ata/atd commands.
If an office or another user doesn't want your attachments, they may not want your files via an in-house terminal program either. There is little evidence that viruses can infect a CE OS, but .doc can transmit viruses via macros created in Visual Basic.
To reassure others, you could convert your .doc to a .rtf file. There is no conclusive proof-yet-that .rtf files can carry anything other than rich text.
Let's hypothesize that your files are not wanted on someone else's machine in any form. You can still generate a hard copy with only your non-56K PC modem-assuming you have a fax program on your H/PC, you can employ the old fax-to-print trick.
Connect the J to the machine with a phone line. Start printing your document through the fax program. Pick a faux phone number (e.g. 1-2-3) and in Transmission Quality, choose Fine Mode for best printing results.
On the fax machine, enable "Manual Receive."
The two machines will handshake and the fax machine will generate your document.
This procedure will also work with a PC's fax program. Connect the H/PC to a PC, start up the PC's fax program, and choose "Manual Receive," which has been a standard command for years.
I hope this helps people who find themselves in a pinch. Sometimes we forget the old standbys-terminal programs and fax machines-even though they have rescued many users in the past.