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Handheld Computer Overview

  1. Handheld Do's and Don'ts
  2. Desktop Computer versus Pocket PC Philosophy
  3. Getting Started
    1. Setting the Time and Date
    2. The Start Menu
    3. Opening Pocket Word
    4. Simple Task in Word
    5. Beaming Your Document
  4. Connecting to the HGSE WiFi Network
  5. Personal Digital Assistant Functionality
  6. Capturing Digital Images and Video
  7. Synching the Handheld to a Computer

Copyright © 2006 President and Fellows of Harvard College | Web-site Related Comments | This page was last updated 11/01/2006

Handheld Dos and Don'ts  



Store the handheld in its case

Leave the handheld out of its case when not in use

Use the stylus to write on the screen

Use a pen, pencil or sharp object to write on the screen

Keep the battery charged

Let the battery run down completely. If this happens, information stored locally on the handheld will be lost

Save important data to external memory card

Save important data on the handheld




Desktop Computer versus Pocket PC Philosophy  

Notebook/Desktop Computers

Handheld Computers

Require regular Operating System updates

The Operating System is hardwired into the handheld

Susceptible to viruses

Virus-free environment

Files are saved to the hard drive

Files are saved in ROM but can be saved to external memory cards

Designed to easily input and retrieve information

Designed to easily retrieve information


Getting Started - click here to visit Toshiba's Flash-driven Pocket PC e750 product tour


The Opening Screen  

After powering up the handheld, the default screen is “The Opening Screen.” This screen is analogous to the desktop of Windows XP, but functions somewhat differently than the MAC Operating System.

Things to notice:

  1. In the upper left-hand corner are the Microsoft icon and “Start.” Selecting this area is similar to the “Start” icon on a Window’s-based machine.  In both Operating Systems selecting this option shows common programs and links to other options (e.g., “Settings” on a handheld or “Control Panel” in Windows XP).
  2. The time and date, which are likely incorrect.



Setting the Time and Date  

To set the time and date on the handheld, begin by selecting the clock icon from the Opening Screen. 

Things to notice:

  1. The handheld recognizes time zones and adherence to day light savings time.
  2. You can adjust time either using the digital display or by moving the hands on the clock.
  3. Selecting "Visiting" automatically shifts all appointments and calendar events into the new time zone. However, new appointments are in the visiting time zone.
  4. "Alarms" is an alarm clock function.



The Start Menu  

The Start Menu is activated by selecting either "Start" or the Window's icon in the upper left-hand section of the screen.  This drop-down menu displays applications (e.g., Windows Media), folders (e.g., Programs and Settings), a searching tool, and a help application.

Things to notice:

  1. The Start Menu on a handheld is very similar to the Windows XP Start Menu.
  2. Recently opened applications will begin appearing across the top of the drop down menu.
  3. The applications listed in the menu can be altered. (Note to new user: if this is your first interaction with a handheld, I would recommend skipping this action until you feel comfortable with the basic operations of the device. To do this, however, first select the "Home" button on the handheld.  This button is in the shape of a house. Second, select the "Programs" tab at the bottom of the screen.  Next, select "File Explorer," then "Windows," and finally "Start Menu." In this menu you can cut and paste icons of application you wish to appear in the Start Menu.)


Opening Pocket Word  

There are multiple procedures for opening Pocket Word.  One method is selecting the Start Menu, selecting the Programs Folder, and selecting the Pocket Word icon.  A second method is selecting the Home button on the handheld, selecting the Main tab at the bottom of the screen, and selecting the Pocket Word icon.

Things to notice:

  1. If text or Word documents are present on the handheld, selecting Pocket Word will direct the user to a list of the various documents present on the device. If such documents are absent, Pocket Word opens a new document.
  2. Pocket Word removes intricate formatting contained in Word documents.
  3. Unlike Microsoft Word, Pocket Word does not have an auto-save or auto-recovery feature.  Therefore, it is very important to save work regularly.


Writing in Pocket Word  

Unless you have access to an external keyboard, inputting large amounts of text into Pocket Word can be frustrating.  Nevertheless, simple inputting and editing are reasonably accomplished.

 Things to notice:

  1. In the lower right-hand corner of the screen is a keyboard icon next to an upward pointing arrow.  By selecting the keyboard icon, the keyboard will either appear or disappear.  Hiding the keyboard increases viewing area.
  2. As you begin typing words, Pocket Word will begin suggesting word possibilities.  For example, if you are keying the word "feature," after inputting f and e, Pocket Word will make the suggestion "feature" whereby selecting "feature" prompts the application to finish typing out the word.


Various Keying Options  

Pocket Word offers four methods of text input with a stylus. As you become comfortable using the handheld device, you are likely to prefer one method to the others.  In general, "Keyboard" is the most accurate but requires dexterity, "Block Recognizer" and "Letter Recognizer" are similar to Palm's graffiti scripting, and "Transcriber" allows users to free-write but with varying degrees of accuracy.







First Task in Pocket Word  

The following exercise is intended to guide new users through the process of creating, saving and beaming a Pocket Word file.  In general, these are common operations are performed regularly by more experienced users.

Exercise: please type a greeting with your name and academic program.

Things to notice:

  1. To copy a word or phrase, highlight it using the cursor and stylus, then hold the stylus on top of the selected text.  Afterwards a drop-down menu will appear with various options, including copy.
  2. To paste copied material, move the cursor to the desired location, then hold the stylus on top of the selected text.  Afterwards a drop-down menu will appear with various options, including paste.


Tools and Saving Your Document  

During the document creation process, Pocket Word automatically saves the file and names it with the first words of the document.  For example, Pocket Word saved this particular file as "Hello my name is Ed D."

The Tools menu offers various features each of which is very similar to the features found in Microsoft Word.

Things to notice:

  1. Try selecting "Insert Date" and running the "Spell Check".
  1. If you have edited a document but do not wish to save your changes, select "Revert to Saved" and the document will go back to it last saved version.



Where to Save Your Document  

By selecting "Save As," you have the ability to alter a copy of the document while preserving the original file. 

Things to notice:

  1. By default, Pocket Words saves files in the My Documents folder of the handheld.  This can be changed by selecting Folder and selecting the document's new destination.






Opening Your Saved Document  

After initiating Pocket Word, a screen similar to the one on the left will appear displaying all of the readable files present on the handheld. 









Beaming Your File  


Beaming involves transferring data from one handheld device to another via infrared (IR) beams.  One method of beaming is as follows:

  1. Within the appropriate document, select Tools
  2. Select Beam Document...
  3. Align the IR ports of the sender and receiving handhelds approximately 5 to 10 inches apart.  (Note that for the Toshiba handhelds the IR port is located on the lower left-hand side of the device)
  4. The handheld devices will signal both users once the file has transferred.

Things to notice:

  1. Beaming between Pocket PCs and handhelds running Palm OS is possible. Nevertheless, the receiving handheld must be capable of reading the transferred file. 


Connecting to the HGSE Wireless Network  
Disclaimer - The first step in connecting to HGSE's wireless network is geographical rather than technical.  To access HGSE's wireless network, you must be on the third floor of Gutman Library.  While you will more than likely have access on the second and fourth floors, only the third is guaranteed for service. 

The second step is to activate the handheld's antenna, which is located on the bottom of the device.  To turn the antenna on, use the stylus tip and move the antenna switch from off to on.  In general, enabling the antenna places a heavy burden on the battery.  Therefore, if you are not accessing a wireless network be sure to deactivate the antenna.  

After establishing a connection to HGSE's wireless network, the handheld will automatically save its setting until a user performs a hard reset or if the battery is allowed to completely discharge.  In either case, the handheld returns to its out-of-the-box configuration and the following actions must be taken.  While these steps may seem unnecessary, they are the most reliable way we have found to establish a connection.

Begin by selecting "Start" and then selecting "Settings."









Selecting the Wireless Network  

Under Settings, select the System tab and select "Wireless Networks." Do not select Connections.










Deleting non-Harvard Networks  

Typically, the handheld will find linksys and other networks while failing to find HGSE's wireless network. Before creating a connection to the HGSE network, delete all other networks. To do this, tap and hold on the undesired network, then select Remove Settings. Afterwards, select "Add New Settings..."








Adding the Harvard University Network  

Under Network name, carefully type in Harvard University. Do not use the suggested text option if the handheld offers to finish spelling out University. Afterwards, select "Authentication."









Configuring the Network Authentication  

Under Authentication, deselect all of the checked boxes. Then select "ok", which is located in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.









Opening Internet Explorer  

After following these steps, the handheld should recognize the wireless network.

As with all wireless HGSE connections, users must PIN Authenticate before using the Internet. After selecting Internet Explorer, type in any URL into the address window (e.g., www.cnn.com). Next, select the appropriate authentication option, which is HUID for HGSE students. After typing in your HUID and password, you are automatically directed to http://www.gse.harvard.edu/.





Personal Digital Assistant Functionality  

Some of the first widely adopted handheld computing devices were used as personal digital assistances (PDA).  While the newer devices offer more powerful applications and are constructed for diverse peripheral extensions (e.g., digital cameras, scientific probeware, and GPS), newer handhelds continue to serve as PDAs.

Things to notice:

  1. Users can add Owner information
  2. By synchronizing the handheld with Microsoft's Outlook, users can mirror their calendar, email, tasks and contacts between the personal computer and the handheld.
  3. Various backgrounds and themes can be downloaded and installed on the handheld.  Many are freeware and help to personalize the device.


Capturing Digital Images and Videos  

The Veo Photo Traveler is an external digital camera that utilizes the Compact Flash (Type II) Memory Slot of the handheld.  The following pictures and screen captures will help you connect the camera and begin taking pictures and capturing video.  

Things to notice:

  1. While this peripheral device allows the handhelds to capture digital photos and video, the quality of the images pales in comparison to many digital cameras currently on the market.  The strength of the Veo is that it is small and saves the user from having to bring an additional item with them. 
  2. Be sure to return the camera to its case when it is not in use.  Otherwise the lens may get scratched or damaged.


Removing the Compact Flash Memory Slot Cover  

Inserting the Veo Photo Traveler Camera  

Using the Veo Photo Traveler Swivel Feature  

Capturing Pictures and Video with the Veo Camera

Synching the Handheld to a Computer  
  In general, synchronization software allows your handheld device to freely communicate with your PC desktop or laptop computer. Microsoft's ActiveSync 3.7.1 is the latest synchronization software for Windows Mobile-based Pocket PCs (as of April 27, 2004). While Microsoft's website suggests that this process is straight forward and that you will be able to install ActiveSync with as few as six mouse clicks, please contact Ed Dieterle if you are having problems.