By: Chris Wilkerson, D.C
Dr. Wilkerson graduated from the University of Arizona
in 1973, with a B.S. degree in Neurobiology. While in graduate
school, he met a Chiropractor on a ski lift in the White
Mountains of Arizona. They talked, and Chris saw an opportunity
to help others, as well as continue his academics. He ended
up leaving graduate school in Arizona and going to California.
He attended Cleveland Chiropractic College for four more
years of education, graduating Magna Cum Laude. He maintains
a practice in Carson California since 1981. He cycles
4 times a week . His personal website is www.digital-doc.com.
He and his wife Mitzy have 4 children.
This is a review of the iPAQ 3800 series PocketPC by Compaq
from a medical perspective. In fact, if you are under 21, you might
not want to continue reading, because you are not going to hear
about games, music, movies or Brittany Spears. I am writing this
on my iPAQ in Pocketword, using Calligraphy the original father
of MS Transcriber. Therefore, if there are grammatical errors, it
is because Pocketword does not have a grammar checker, it does have
a spell checker though ;-)
Hardware reviews have always bored me for the most part, they have
been done repeatedly. I think the genesis of my boredom is because
a good reviewer (not me) goes into intricate detail unrelated to
my needs. For example, how the hardware controls on a device emulate
a game controller, or how to play and watch a 2 hour movie on your
device or listen to Brittany Spears in stereo, or how the pen stylus
feels and the sync cradle rocks or does not rock. I know many people
buy PocketPCs for all the Whoopee Do features of movies,
music and games but I have no desire to go in to those "nitty
gritty" details on what I consider to be the"fluff".
All this information is good to know and without it, a review would
not be thorough but you are not going to get that here.
I never considered myself a gadget junky, but maybe I am. In 1989
or 1990 I flew to China to pick up a 64K Casio Boss which was not
available in the US yet. I was hoping to some how chart on it. I
have also owned a bevy of pen devices from the Gridpad to IBM 360P,
Dauphin Orasis, Fujitsu and others. Presently, I own four Palm devices
and four different Ce devices. I have four children, which was the
original genesis of my rationale that I could give the
unused device to my kids. Ok, my math was off but the common denominator
of four is still correct ;)
I like to think of my self as a Platform Agnostic,
at least in principle, but the fact is that I am committed to the
PocketPC. My commitment stems from the fact that the PocketPC has
the potential to offer sophisticated applications because
of the ARM's processing power. The Palm OS and Dragonball processor
does not multitask, multithread, nor arguably, is it capable of
running robust EMR software. Palm is aware of this and has recently
committed to the BeOS and the 206-MHz StrongARM processor to be
supplied by Texas Instruments (TI), so all this will likely change
in the future.
Ok, enough introspective rambling, on with the review.
What do I want in a Handheld? I want color and sound, and I want
the option of being able to have the unit fit in a dress shirt pocket.
Most of all, I want software that takes advantage of these features.
The Compaq iPAQ can do all of this -- today.
Last year's Compaq iPAQ Pocket PC was a great device, but it was
not exactly perfect. For starters, it lacked a built-in expansion
slot, forcing users to slip on bulky Expansion Packs simply to add
storage for files. Battery life was also limited, requiring recharging
more frequently than a cell phone. The iPAQ is certainly no Palm
V here! Battery life may be critical to you. Palms and certainly
non color Palms have a longer battery life than the color Ce devices.
With my iPAQ I can go 12 hours at best and this depends on what
exactly a user is doing. If you are using a PDA to chart one patient
after another, propagating text files, IR printing, doing queries
and reports on your handheld, it is going to eat the battery life
as compared to a simple occasional to frequent look up of information.
Perhaps the most publicized of the iPAQs shortcomings had to do
with the infamous "dust" problem that raised questions
about the quality of the iPAQ's design and construction. Personally,
I have owned three iPAQs to date and have yet to see a speck of
dust. Perhaps ignorance is bliss in my case, since I need reading
glasses to read the text on a 3.5.x 2.5 screen! Rather than euthanasia,
Compaq wisely chose some minor surgery to correct the problems,
as well as add a few prosthetic enhancements of its own. The result
is something, more evolutionary than revolutionary, and perhaps
that is sufficient.
Here is a list of the iPAQ 3800's specifications, taken directly
from the Compaq website:
Operating System: Microsoft Pocket PC 2002
Processor: 206 MHz Intel Strong ARM 32-bit RISC Processor
Display Type: Color reflective thin film transistor (TFT) LCD, 64K
Touch Screen: Yes
Resolution: 240 x 320
Pixel Pitch: .24 mm
Viewable Image Size: 2.26 x 3.02 inches
RAM: 64 MB
ROM: 32 MB
Input Method: Handwriting recognition, soft keyboard, voice record,
Communications Port: Interface with USB / Serial connectivity that
connects via serial or USB cable
Card Slot: SD Memory Slot, Optional expansion packs
Wireless Connectivity: Infrared port (115 Kbps)
Speaker and Microphone: Yes
Audio Out Jack: Yes (3.5 mm Stereo)
Battery: 1400 mAh Lithium Polymer
Dimensions: 5.3" x 3.3" x .62"
Weight: 6.7 oz.
Warranty: 1-year limited
And here is a list of the different iPAQ models www.digital-doc.com/ipaqspecs.htm
currently offered by Compq.
CNS Brain and Spinal Cord
The iPAQ 3800 series, which is powered by Intel's Strong ARM SA-1110
processor running at 206 MHz, contains 64MB of random access memory
(RAM) and 32MB of read-only memory (ROM), of which 6MB is reserved
for storing your important applications and data in an area called
the iPAQ File Store (and there's an app that allows you to select
what you'd like to store there). Since the File Store is part of
ROM, it's retained even in the case of a loss of power to the unit.
So now you have multiple places to store your programs and files:
Main Memory (RAM), File Store (a section of ROM), and Expansion
The Split Brain and the Corpus Collosum: ROM
ROM: ROM stands for Read Only Memory. Inside the PocketPC, ROM
is used to store and run code that makes up the main operating functions,
such as the operating system, of the unit. ROM contains all the
software that's "factory installed" on your Pocket PC.
That includes the operating system, the routines for setting your
machine up when you first turn it on, and any applications that
you haven't loaded yourself. ROM stays intact, even when your battery
is completely drained. It stays even when you perform the dreaded
"hard reset" which reverts your Pocket PC to how it was
when you first took it out of the box. ROM contains all the software
that's "factory installed" on your Pocket PC.
The first generation iPAQs and all second generation Pocket PCs
have "flash ROM." That means the ROM can actually be changed
using the right software. This is primarily of use in upgrading
the operating system or pre-installed applications to fix bugs or
even to add features but each of the second generation Pocket PCs
has also implemented a small portion of ROM (about 6 MB) which acts
like a storage device. The important thing to remember about this
ROM Storage is that it doesn't disappear even with a hard reset.
RAM: RAM stands for Random Access Memory. Unlike ROM, which is
static, RAM is memory, which can be written to and read from. RAM
is divided between storing the applications you have installed and
files you have created in Main Memory and the memory, which programs
use when they're running (called Storage Memory and Program Memory
respectively). The contents of RAM are kept when you shut the power
off. If you perform a "soft-reset," the contents of Storage
Memory are intact, but the contents of Program Memory are cleared.
If you do a hard-reset, both are gone.
Storage Memory not only contains the software you've installed
and the files you've created in main memory, it also contains some
very important system files and folders:
The Registry is Windows' all-purpose program information store.
It keeps information on where software has been installed, which
options you've currently selected, and a number of other bits of
information which applications and the operating system itself use.
The Database Folder is where all the information in your Calendar,
Contacts, and Task List is stored. It also has some information
which is used by Inbox.
The Windows Folder is where a number of important operating system
files can be found. This folder is where many applications install
their DLL (Dynamic Link Library) files. It's also where help files
for applications and driver files for some hardware are stored.
The My Documents Folder is where applications store the files they
create, either in the My Documents Folder proper, or in a sub-folder
The Peripheral Nervous System
Storage Cards: I use to think that 32 Megs was enough. My Casio
had 64k. My first Palm had two Megs. Well, lets face it, there
are some things in life that you can never get enough of, and memory
is certainly one of them!
I never cared for the iPAQs bulky sleeves. They were tolerable
in a lab coat, but that is about it. Fortunately, that is no longer
a problem with the new iPAQs. However, if you will be using a wireless
PCMCIA card, you will still need to use the sleeve.
Pocket PCs all have some means of adding additional memory cards,
which act somewhat like floppy disk, zip drives (or other removable
media) drives on your desktop. Applications can generally be installed
onto Storage Cards and applications are also able to save files
on Storage Cards. As with RAM Storage Memory, applications will
save files to the Storage Card. (for example, I have 6 applications,
developed by Skyscape, on my 64 Meg SD card with 47.89 Megs free).
Storage Cards not only add to the amount of storage you have in
your RAM Storage area, they also don't require power to keep that
information, nor are they erased even with a hard reset. I keep
all my Skyscape products on storage cards, whenever the application
allows for it.
In regards to the lack of a built-in expansion slot, Compaq decided
to gamble on the future. While CompactFlash still dominates the
"small storage" arena, Compaq chose instead to add a Secure
Digital (SD) slot to the so-called "Naked iPAQ," an excellent
strategy given that iPAQ owners can still use a CompactFlash Expansion
Pack to enable their CF cards and accessories until the Secure Digital
cards enjoy a wider acceptance in the market place.
Compaq's decision to add an SD rather than a CF slot is something
that the other Pocket PC licensees struggled with as well, since
we're nearing a transition period--from CF to SD--for small storage
formats. Hewlett Packard considered SD but chose CompactFlash for
its new Jornada, and instead will release an SD add-on "sled."
Newcomer Toshiba, meanwhile, decided to hedge all bets and incorporated
both an SD and a CF slot into its new Pocket PC.
The iPAQ 3800 series' cradle comes with a unique Y-connector that
terminates in both a serial and a USB connector, making it easy
to connect to either a USB port on a Windows 2000 desktop computer
or a serial port on a Windows NT 4.0 desktop computer without having
to have two cradles. I have a cradle for work and bought an extra
sync cable for home for $25.00
Temporal Lobes of Speech and Audition
The iPAQ produces the highest quality sound of all the Pocket PCs
that I have tested or owned, from both its monophonic external speaker
and its stereo headphone jack. It's easily the loudest and thanks
to a built-in equalizer, which allows bass and treble to be controlled
through the Compaq Audio settings panel, the iPAQ produces excellent
stereo sound through a set of headphones with minimal distortion,
popping or hissing. The speaker now moves from behind the five-way
navigation pad to the top of the device. The new location opens
the door for cellular phone attachments to be added to the iPAQ.
Though the microphone is still located on the top, adding a small
microphone versus a speaker to an expansion module is much easier.
It is very convenient and easy to dictate a note about a patient
for retrieval later by clicking on the record button. (see picture
below). These notes are stored as wave files and you can direct
their storage destination on the iPAQ. I designate my waves to the
chart subdirectory of my iPAQ. Since they automatically synchronized
with the PC they can be reviewed on the iPAQ or the PC.
Speech to Text: I yearn for this! The fact is that it is here now,
sort of. While experimenting with a beta program from MS, I can
use my iPAQ with speech to text but the catch is that I need a wireless
card in my iPAQ and I must communicate and utilize my XP desktop
machine with Office XP to make it work. On the upside, I have been
talking with companies that have beta SDK available and speech to
text dictation on the iPAQ alone looks very incipient.
The record button is a great tool for recording a quick note on
a patient that can be incorporated in text at a later time. Speech
to text is what I am anxious about. The ability to dictate a history
would be a great benefit that would surely compliment the use of
pop up list boxes and quickly create comprehensive documentation
on the go.
Cardio Vascular Battery
Compaq addressed the battery life concerns by replacing last year's
950 mAh Lithium polymer battery with a 1400 mAh battery, which theoretically
should add a couple of hours of additional power. My experience
demonstrates that this is true. Compaq has managed to increase the
capacity of the battery without increasing its dimensions. Instead
of 8 hours of battery life, Compaq says you should now be able to
get up to 10 hours. With the larger 1400mAh Lithium ion battery,
Compaq claims a 20 percent increase in battery life over the 10
hours of its predecessor.
Compaq did not see fit to make the iPAQ's Lithium polymer battery
user replaceable, which definitely gives the Hewlett Packard Jornada
560 series an advantage in this area. Depending on where you are
this could be critical factor. In my private practice, I can just
recharge during lunch. I can do a full recharge in less than a few
hours. With an extra battery, this would a non sequitur.
The iPAQ 3800 series Pocket PC also comes with a protective cover
(see picture below) that slips on like an Expansion Pack. It's extremely
lightweight (so don't expect it to protect your iPAQ during a fall)
and can be adjusted for use by right or left-handed users. The portion
that covers the screen is made of hard transparent black plastic.
It's a wonderful extra whose only downside is that it easily picks
up fingerprints and scratches. By sticking with essentially the
same design as that of the H3600 series, the H3800 has the advantage
of being compatible with existing iPAQ sleeves, allowing users to
add CompactFlash memory cards and PC Card modems, among other accessories.
Personally, I don't even use it. I don't want the extra bulk.
There are plenty of cases available to hold PDAs. They come in
all types and can be quite expensive. I use a $15 camera case by
The case is extremely light and can clip on a belt or smock. Best
yet, it is made of a very cushy neoprene foam material that has
some cushion. You wont find cushion in an expensive hard leather
case. I prefer to use my dress shirt pocket, (iPAQ fits quite well)
but inevitably it eventually slips out and falls to the ground,
hence the convenient and economical holder. Actually, I still use
my shirt pocket to hold my Palm m505. For excitement, I sometimes
Occipital Lobes of Visual Color
The iPAQ 3800 arguably has the best screen of any current PDA,
despite the fact that all of the new Pocket PCs have gone to similar
reflective TFTs. Not only does it provide a larger viewable area
(2.26" x 3.02"), it also produces noticeably richer, deeper
colors than competing units. The iPAQ's switch from 12-bit to 16-bit
color is most noticeable when viewing pictures, which now have less
color banding and appear more natural than on last year's 3600 series.
Also, the iPAQ's sidelight provides even light distribution across
the LCD panel, unlike the unevenness of other Pocket PCs. The intensity
of the sidelight can be adjusted in two ways. One way is to let
the iPAQs ambient light sensor handle it for you. The other
way is to use the Backlight Brightness setting panel to adjust it
And best of all, Compaq seems to have resolved the annoying dust
problem that plagued earlier models, while some Jornada owners are
beginning to report the problem with their new 560s.
System Software Organs
Compaq has included a number of software programs. I must admit
I have not used a number of them. I will only touch on the applications
that I find useful from a medical perspective. I am not implying
that the software is not useful, however, I have found no compelling
use for them in my practice. This list includes pre-installed software
and additional software found on the Compaq iPAQ CD-ROM. The text
in read includes the application that carry more medical consideration.
- Windows CE version 3.0 Microsoft Pocket PC 2002 Calendar, Contacts,
Tasks, Voice Recorder, Notes, Pocket Word, Pocket Excel, Pocket
Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, Calculator, Solitaire,
Inbox, Microsoft Reader
- Picture Viewer Used to look at X-Rays, MRI, patients, anatomy,
exercises, and all sorts of other educational material.
- iPAQ Task Manager This applet can be used to see what is curently
open and to close what you want to close.
- Microsoft Outlook 2002, I absolutely love it. How else am I
going to remember my wifes birthday or my anniversary unless
it rings on my iPAQ and my desktop!
- Microsoft ActiveSync 3.5 An absolute must. Active sync can transfer
any file you want from your desktop to your PocketPC. When a user
Opens AS (ActiveSync) and clicks the Tools, Options and Files
all files that the user has saved in the custom folder on their
desktop synchronizes with the PocketPC. This can be pictures,
documents, PDF files or whatever you want. While not quite a zip
disk, the iPAQ can act like one.
- Connection Wizard (requires a download)
- Microsoft Money for Pocket PC (requires a download)
- Microsoft Reader with ClearType for Pocket PC (download)
- Microsoft Reader Activation Pack (requires a download)
- Microsoft Reader Books
- Microsoft Reader with ClearType for the PC (requires a download)
- IBM Embedded ViaVoice Mobility Suite
- iPresentation Mobile Converter LE
- WordLogic Keyboard
- Asset Viewer
- Quick View Plus for Windows CE
- Compaq Dashboard
- Microsoft Pocket Streets (requires a download)
- Callex PocketPC with ETPlayer - Voicemail
- Microsoft Pocket PC Games (requires a download)
- Microsoft Windows Media Player 7.1 for Windows (requires a download)
- Synovial's Virtual Game Gear Sega emulator
- Audible Player by Audible, Inc. (requires a download)
- JeodeRuntime Java environment Allows you to run Java applets
(they mention games in particular) from within a Pocket Internet
- Ilium Software eWallet (Professional Edition)
- Ilium Software ListPro (Professional Edition)
- Enhance iTask: Download StarTap! (Trial Version)
- Conduit Peacemaker Professional This program can beam to a Palm
when needed. Peacemaker enables Pocket PC users to beam information
to and from a wide range of PDA devices or IR-equipped desktop
and notebook computers! Just point and beam -- Peacemaker will
add contacts to your address book, seamlessly and automatically.
- Compaq WL110 Wireless LAN PC Card drivers needed to use your
iPAQ to connect to another desktop computer.
- Microsoft Windows Media Player 8 for Pocket PC Used to listen
to wave files which may be notes on patients
- Microsoft Transcriber: I cant imagine not using Handwriting
recognition. Transcriber analyzes pen strokes written in any application
window, converts the pen strokes into text and sends the recognized
text to a target application. I like Graffiti, but this makes
Graffiti obsolete. This program not only recognizes print but
perhaps even more accurately ones handwriting with about
96% accuracy. A user can write anywhere on the screen, and the
text will fill in the appropriate text box in a software program.
Tip: Write with a size 12 font for greater accuracy.
- Calligraphy is not included with this unit and is third party
but is a program worth looking at because of Pen Commander. CalliGrapher
6.0 with PenCommanderlets you create your own custom
scripts (macros) to add personalized text and customized edit
functions. You can start programs or produce memorized text by
simply drawing a circle around a command word you have created.
This feature is great for standard medical procedures often used
or any repeated procedure, signature, opening another medical
program from within any program or a quick way to write templated
answers. For example, when I want to request authorization for
an MRI, for a work related injury, I simply Transcribe MRI and
draw a circle around the word itself and the following custom
text is written: I am respectfully requesting that this
patient receive authorization for the following test/procedure:
Likewise the word epidural with a circle around it
could result in the following macro text of: Risks and benefits
of epidural steroid injections were discussed in detail with the
patient. These included but were not limited to dural puncture
with headache, epidural hemorrhage, hematoma formation requiring
evacuation/decompression surgery, interneural injection with neuropathy,
spinal anesthesia requiring ventilatory and circulatory support,
hypotension, tingling/numbness dysthesia, seizure from intravascular
injection of local anesthetic and lack of clinical benefit following
procedure. The patient has a good understanding of these risks
and benefits as well as alternative methods of treatment and wishes
to proceed. Bottom line is the users can custom any text
they want and reproduce it at will. Who needs a keyboard or dictation?
It can be better than dictation in some cases.
- Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 (requires a download) Access
the internet via your cradle or wirelessly.
- F-Secure File Crypto for Pocket PC Personal Edition (requires
a download) Helps with HIPAA requirements of security issues.
Microsoft is supposed to release its speech dictation application,
the MSR Power Toy. The application, which allows users to literally
talk to their pocket PCs, will be provided free with the iPAQ. I
took this off the MS website but have yet to see it. Anyway, in
order to facilitate the speech-to-text processing of this new application,
iPAQ users will be required to install an 802.11b wireless modem.
The end user would also need to install a similar modem on the desktop
PC, which would carry out the bulk of the translation work. The
iPAQ itself will be unable to perform this task. Microsoft's new
Office XP and Speech API would come in handy, as these are pre-loaded
with a speech engine.
I am using a beta of speech software now that allows me to use
my iPAQ while in the USB cradle or with a wireless NIC card, while
exploiting the speech engine capabilities of my Office 2002 XP and
IBM Voice Command And Control, comes on the CD and lets
you dictate commands to your Calendar, Contacts, and In-box. I fail
to find this useful because it only works with the native applets.
If it would work with other software it could be extremely useful,
for example to call up a patients name in a list box or the results
of lab tests etc. There is also a special data-encryption package,
the Insignia Java Virtual Machine, and other useful software included
on the CD-ROM.
Although there may be miniscule differences between the all the
new Pocket PCs when it comes to benchmark results, in real world
usage there is little difference--all of the new Pocket PCs are
fast and nice.
Medical Software: The software that I use daily on my iPAQ
is my own charting EMR software www.digital-doc.com
complemented by Skyscape DrDrugs, 5MCC, 5MOrtho and 5MSports (www.skyscape.com).
I use VisualCe (www.syware.com)
and sometimes Handango as well. I use Allscripts Touchworks (www.allscripts.com)
for exercises and anatomical educational pictures as well I frequently
download pictures from the internet and drag and drop them into
my iPAQ when I think they will benefit my patients education.
Patients seem to love to see pictures and are fascinated by gadgets.
I really think the PDA benefits patient compliance if no other reason
they just remember the little colorful handheld computer!
I programmed one of my navigation control buttons to open the software
that I use most frequently, Digital-Doc. The navigation button in
the middle of the unit that I read Gamers talk about,
is really quite useful. I use it to scroll through various medical
applications both vertically and horizontally. Depending on the
application, it can really speed up navigation without ever having
to use the stylus. It took me months before I even touched this
PocketPC Vs the Palm
No discussion on the iPAQ or PocketPC would be complete without
a paragraph or two on software and the Palm Handheld. I love the
Palm and still keep my Palm m505 synched right next to my iPAQ.
I always felt that in the vertical field of medicine, that color
and sound would make any application better. Palm did not seem to
care, at least for years. Consequently, I migrated to the Ce camp
only to find that there was no software! After a couple of years
of frustration, I tried programming myself, starting with MS Access,
FoxPro, Visual Basic and some Delphi. Code Warrior for the Palm
OS was never a choice since code only had hooks for color but the
hardware was not there at the time. When MS released their free
SDK kit, I downloaded it. As I discovered in the past, running a
full time practice and programming does not make for a symbiotic
relationship and in fact a parasitic one! Consequently, I convinced
a colleague and friend, Dr. Don Lewis, that handheld computing was
the future and with his programming skills and vast seasoned experience,
together we developed Digital-Doc EMR SOAaP Documentation Software
for the PocketPC.
Today, Palm remains the undisputed leader with respect to the plethargy
of software available. However, there is no paucity of medical programs
for the PocketPC as of this writing. Perhaps the real question is:
Why choose a PocketPC over a Palm device? Here is my two cents.
Briefly, it is because the PocketPC is more robust than the Palm
OS. The PocketPC can offer more sophisticated applications in part,
because of the ARM's power. The PocketPC is much more than a medical
reference tool. The PocketPC, with its Strong Arm Processor, is
more capable of running a full fledged multitasking, multithreading
EMR program than the Palm OS. The Palm can not multi-task or multithread
at all! Color (16-bit) is now essentially standard, superior sound,
a faster Processor, more RAM, and a better symbiotic relationship
with Windows desktop machine applications like Word, Excel, Access,
and Outlook. Arguably, corporate enterprise users (including hospitals
and private offices) find a closer affinity to the Microsoft-dominated
PC world. Palm has acknowledged for more than a year that it needs
to move its operating system to ARM to give its handhelds the megahertz
kick necessary to create applications, which can compete with Microsoft-based
devices using the same chip.
Palm applications in general are still faster to execute. PocketPC
applications are infamous for being slower and larger. On the surface,
you might wonder how can a 33MHz Dragonball be faster than a 206
MHz StrongArm Processor. I believe there are number of reasons for
this seemingly paradox. I really do not know the answer.
- I believe some PocketPC apps load slower because of the runtime
engine overhead. Once the engine is loaded, subsequent accesses
is faster. I know this is true with the software I use, Digital-Doc.
- Bloated code used by MS, designed to appeal to multiple multiprocessors
is not as tight a code used for Palm applications. Taking advantage
of color and sound is taken into consideration. Remember, applications
written are still using code that was designed for different processors
such as Hitachi, NEC, Motorola, and StrongArm. Now MS has designated
Strong Arm and only StrongArm.
- Multitasking and multithreading is are part of the overhead.
We live in a world where doctors need and want to do more than
one thing at the same time. Multitasking makes this possible.
With my Palm software, I would have to close down one application
to open another. This is not the case with the PocketPC OS. Who
wants to terminate great Palm applications like Shots, Med
Rules, and StatCoder any way? With my PocketPC, I can have
LexiDrugs open as well as my own software Digital-Doc, educational
pictures, 5mCC, 5mSports Consult, 5mOrtho Consult and others.
I can jump from one to the other with just a tap. There is no
need to close and restart the application as with Palm. I know
Skyscape has links but you get the idea.
With the Palm moving to StrongArm in the near future, this will
result in an emulation layer needed for backward compatibility for
some applications. This has to slow down the Palm by adding to its
overhead. Never the less, all in all this is good news, in my opinion,
for Palm applications of the future! This is important, as the Palm
is a great machine with a great philosophy of making technology
simple. If it werent for the deserved success of Palm, I seriously
doubt that there would be an iPAQ today.
OS Learning Curve: It has been said that the PocketPC OS
is more complicated to learn compared to the Palm OS. I agree. It
is about 10 minutes more complicated ;-)
Desktop Folder for Synchrony: When Active Sync is installed, the
user has the option of synchronizing files as well as Contacts,
Calendar, Notes, Tasks etc. When Files is checked, a
special shortcut is made on the Windows Desktop of the PC. This
shortcut leads to a folder in My Documents of the PC. This folder
is extremely convenient for dragging and dropping any file that
you want to synchronize with your iPAQ. Just put the file in the
folder and it will automatically sync next time your put your iPAQ
in the cradle. You can of course customize this folder with subfolders
with medical pictures or documents etc. All will be neatly synchronized
and organized on the PocketPC in the my documents folder.
In essence, the folder on the desktop pc and the iPAQ simply mirror
802.11 Wireless: I wish I could tell you more about this
from personal experience but I just have not had time to use this
on my iPAQ. I do use it on my Fujitsu
notebook. The number is based on a wireless Lan Standard. IEEE
802.11b compliant products use RF technology operating in the 2.4-GHz
frequency band to wirelessly connect PCs, laptops, and other portables
to a larger network, providing all of the benefits of mobile data
The primary difficulty is RF interference. The 2.4-GHz frequency
band is rife with potential interferences, including other networking
solutions such as Bluetooth and HomeRF; other methods of communications
like cordless phones; and other devices like microwave ovens.
Alternatively, the new IEEE 802.11a standard is making its entry
into this rapidly evolving market. IEEE 802.11a uses the unlicensed
5-GHz spectrum, "avoiding the crowds" by minimizing interference
due to competing emitters in the same frequency range. The intrinsic
benefits of wireless networking in the 5-GHz band lie in its five-fold
increase in data rates, large-scale deployment capabilities, greatly
enhanced network capacity, and comparable coverage range. Broadband
wireless networking, implemented in the 5-GHz spectrum, offers a
five-fold data-rate increase over current 2.4-GHz standards. www.digital-doc.com/wireless.html
The IEEE 802.11 working group has tentatively set a new 802.11
wireless networking standard: 802.11g, which will allow theoretical
data transfer rates of up to 54Mbps in the 2.4GHz spectrum. 802.11g
is backwardly compatible with existing 802.11b-based networking
kit, a major advantage for the standard. The (other) next generation
standard, 802.11a, is not.
Bluetooth: 3850 model iPAQs, have Bluetooth built in. Look
for Bluetooth to serve as a low-cost replacement for wireless networks
based on the IrDA standards. Expect Bluetooth to serve as a link
for data transfers between PDAs to PCs and laptop computers. Bluetooth
is a Radio Frequency (RF) specification operating in the 2.45 GHz
frequency band. It is designed to provide communication between
devices at up to a 10m radius through solid, non-metal objects for
both voice and data transfer. It is based on a low-cost, short-range
radio link and the objective is to enable dozens of different types
of devices with a Bluetooth radio. Bluetooth wireless technology
is a de facto standard, as well as a specification for small-form
factor, low-cost, short-range radio links between mobile PCs, mobile
phones and other portable devices. The Bluetooth Special Interest
Group is an industry group that is driving development of the technology
and bringing it to market. Bluetooth will enable such technologies
as dial-up networking, file transfer, object push, synchronization,
and LAN connection as well as wireless communication with cellular
phones, laptops, printers and other devices. Bluetooth.com
Compaq also provides wireless LAN drivers, something noticeably
missing in the operating system.
The idea of a Terminal Server is like the terminal bud of a plant.
Combine the word terminal with server and what you have is a mirror
of the server at the termination or end point. It is the concept
of workstation and server, client and host. I was hoping to experiment
with these drivers but have not done so yet. My motivation is lacking
because I really dont have see a viable need to access another
desktop or machine from my iPAQ. At one time, I had visions of running
my PC desktop server software program via Terminal Server on my
iPAQ. At the time, I figured that if I could not find Ce applications
that I liked, I would bring the desktop applications to the CE device!
While this is still possible with both Citrix and TS, I no longer
have this desire. The lateral scrolling involved with trying to
make an application designed for a PC monitor fit on a small handheld
screen is just not viable for me, at least with running medical
X-Scale or 3rd Generation PocketPC: I cant wait for
this technology. Devices using Microsoft's Pocket PC operating system
could get a speed and power boost as Intel starts shipping the first
chips using its XScale architecture, the successor to the StrongARM
chips used in nearly all Pocket PC-based devices. Sources say manufacturers
should be able to introduce products using XScale later this quarter
2002! Users of this new generation of highly scalable, integrated
microprocessors will enjoy high-performance processing functions,
such as voice and secure data on enterprise infrastructure equipment.
High performance for handheld devices is in the 300 to 400-MHz range
for processing hungry applications such as streaming audio and video.
The Intel XScale microarchitecture pushes RISC performance to new
heights, allowing complex data to be processed over both the wired
and wireless Internet. The microarchitecture's low power consumption
enables long battery life for wireless and handheld multimedia devices,
and allows for increased device density in Internet infrastructure
applications through reduced thermal constraints. The Intel XScale
microarchitecture delivers key advantages for a wide range of market
segments from battery-powered, wireless and handheld applications
such as digital phones and personal digital assistants to such Internet
infrastructure applications as network processors and intelligent
I/O processors. Fully compliant with the ARM*
v.5TE instruction set, this new microarchitecture provides a full-featured,
cost-effective, low-power solution with support for both 16-bit
Thumb* instructions and integrated digital signal processor (DSP)
instructions. The Intel XScale microarchitecture will break new
ground in the devices that expand the future of the Internet. Building
on Intel StrongARM technology, the Intel XScale microarchitecture
core is manufactured on Intels advanced 0.18 micron process
technology. It offers low power features ranging from one ten-thousandth
of a watt to 1.6 watts, and performance capabilities that allow
it to operate at clock speeds spanning from zero (standby mode)
up to 1 GHz.
Beaming: I have not tried this feature on my new iPAQ, but
I will have to. The obvious feature here is to share patient information
via beaming. Next month is my wife's birthday and I need to have
a beaming relationship, as I bought her an iPAQ. I don't know if
synchronizing calendars is the right thing to do, contacts beaming
might work. She despises me being on the computer so much. Maybe
if I beam her something nice. This could really backfire, perhaps
the equivalent of buying her a vacuum ; - )
IR Printing: MS did not include any printing drivers with
the OS. This is good for news for third party companies like PrinterCe.
Generally I print from my Desktop after active sync has done its
job. On occasion I will print to an HP 2100 IR LaserJet, just to
impress a recipient. I had a case manager in my office a few months
back to consult on a work related injury patient. Typically reports
are due by law every 45 days. To make a long story short, 45 days
became 30 seconds!
If you havent felt the adrenaline rush of loosing or thinking
you have lost all your data, you have not lived a full life ; -)
I would like to suggest a fix that work flawlessly for me (after
one crying session). Use the SD card with the 3800 series or get
an add-on sleeve (PC Card or Compactflash) and a CF card as big
as the memory in your iPAQ--bigger still if possible--and use the
CF Backup utility included with your iPAQ to do a full backup. If
you crash, you just restore and off you go. Not perfect, but it
works. Don't forget to back up often to keep the blood pressure
and stroke risk in check ;-)
- Multitasking Arm processor
- Plenty of medical software available
- Transcriber for Handwriting recognition
Built in SD expansion slot
- Screen is better sealed - dust issue appears to be resolved
- Beautiful 65,000+ color screen ideal for medical pictures and
- Sound is fine for dictation
- Redesigned stylus won't allow improper insertion
- New hard cover case allows for sleek screen protection
- Excellent batch of 3rd party software included on CD
- OS much like popular Windows desktop
- OS much like popular Windows desktop (see above) ;-)
- No speech to text software
- New sync/power port, which means old accessories won't work
- Lacking native printer drivers for Ir printing
- Arguably not economical for a device with a medically usable
life span of 24 months
The Compaq combines looks, performance and expandability. By retaining
the finer points of previous iPAQ models while addressing the nagging
problems that plagued them, Compaq has evolutionized rather than
revolutionized its iPAQ line, and that's all that was needed to
be done until ubiquitous high-speed wireless networks, X-Scale and
speech to text technology become a reality.
The iPAQ PocketPC is a great little device that can serve the vertical
field of medicine very well. Software is abundant and OS stability
is not an issue. The learning curve is fast, especially if you are
familiar with the Windows Desktop operating system and the prices
are in "sync" with color Palm OS devices. You wont
find a more robust handheld multitasking unit than the PocketPC,
and the iPAQ is a good choice.
Disclosure: I have a financial interest in Digital-Doc Software.
is my personal web site.
Chris can be reached via email
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