Tuesday, October 1, 2002

Getting a charge out of Boston


By Stephen Vance

I'm planning to relocate to Boston, so in August I visited to interview. I flew out on a Friday for Monday and Tuesday meetings. As always, especially for business purposes, I had my Palm m505 with me for scheduling, contacts, documents, Internet access, and all the other functions I've written about in the past.

I haven't traveled much since I bought my Palm m505. I've purchased extra cradles for use at local client sites and a Palm USB HotSync cable for use with my laptop. The missing piece was a compact means of recharging my handheld. I've also found the USB HotSync cable to be somewhat awkward, as it doesn't grip the Universal Connector port on the handheld firmly, resulting in disconnections if you don't hold it right.

I spent Friday night and most of Saturday wandering around Boston visiting areas of interest. I called some friends to see if they wanted to get together. Since the trip had been arranged rather hastily, I had not given them any advance notice. Needless to say, all the phone numbers I required were stored in my PDA. After almost two days of using my Palm m505 without recharging, I realized I would need a solution before the weekend was out.

A Staples was located near where I was staying and seemed like a good place to try. I quickly ran across the Fellowes PDA Travel Kit for the m500 series (at http://www.fellowes.com/store/index.cfm?selectProductCategory=110,1,105). The kit consists of a USB HotSync cable and a separate charger. The cable is not officially Palm branded, so it omits the Palm-logo HotSync button; you have to initiate the HotSync from the software in the Palm handheld. The charger is a reasonably compact AC-to-DC transformer with a cable to attach to your device. Both devices use a connector design that grips your device very firmly and doesn't require any additional attention or manipulation for successful use.

Fellowes rounds out the package with a nylon carrying bag to keep everything in. The whole collection is shown in Figure A.


The Fellowes PDA Travel Kit comes with a HotSync cable, a charger, and a carrying pouch. (click for larger image)

At $29.99 (although it lists at $47.99), the price was right, as compared to $39.95 for the Palm Travel Charger plus $14.95 for the USB HotSync Cable. In the end, I recharged my Palm m505 twice before I flew home Tuesday afternoon. I still regularly carry the kit with me in my laptop backpack.

That's the story of my trip to Boston. If you're curious, I have an offer from the company I visited, although I have deferred a decision until some venture funding issues are resolved.