PdaNet Review

Discussion in 'Headline News' started by Ed Hardy, Sep 23, 2007.

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  1. Ed Hardy

    Ed Hardy TabletPCReview Editor Staff Member

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    <!-- Generated by XStandard version 1.7.1.0 on 2007-09-21T16:06:54 --> <p>If you have a smartphone with a high-speed data connection, wouldn't it be nice to be able to use that connection with your laptop? PdaNet from June Fabrics Technology is an application for the Palm OS and Windows Mobile that lets you do just that.</p> <p>Click and Go<br />When writing a software review, there are two types of applications that I dread. One is apps that are so complex that it takes hundreds, if not thousands, of words to properly describe them. The other is the type that's so simple that there's almost nothing to say. That's the type of application PdaNet is.</p> <p>Set up and use are as easy as you could hope for. After installing the app on your device and Windows desktop or laptop, you hook up your smartphone, click a button, and you're connected to the Net.</p> <p>It's that convenience you're buying with PdaNet. Anyone with a goodly amount of expertise using a smartphone, and who is willing to spend some time on the Web looking up obscure settings for their particular carrier and then entering them into their PC and mobile device can probably do exactly what this application does. Or you can pay your $34 and be up and running in less than 5 minutes. It's your call.</p> <p>Here's how simple this app is to use with a Windows Mobile smartphone. When you hook your device up to your PC, an ActiveSync session will start. At the same time, a windows will pop up asking if you want to connect to the wireless Internet. Tap on that window and PdaNet will connect you. That's it; you're done.</p> <p><img border="0" vspace="3" width="160" src="http://www.brighthand.com/assets/6688.gif" hspace="5" alt="PdaNet for Treo 755p" height="160" style="float: right;" class="right" /></p> <p>The process for connecting up a Palm OS-base Treo is almost as simple.</p> <p>If you have your smartphone set up to synchronize with your PC over Bluetooth, you won't need wires to use PdaNet either.</p> <p>TANSTAAFL<br />One thing you have to be aware of is that PdaNet is not going to give you free wireless access to the Internet. You have to have a data plan from your wireless carrier (Verizon, AT&amp;T, etc.).</p> <p>Having a voice plan is not the same thing as a data plan. You're going to need to pay extra for the ability to access the Net on your mobile device. Rates for this vary from carrier to carrier.</p> <p>If you don't have a data plan and you use PdaNet anyway, you're going to get a shockingly huge bill at the end of the month.</p> <p>When you talk to your carrier about a data plan, don't mention that you're going to be using your smartphone as a wireless modem for your laptop. Many carriers charge extra for this, which is, technically speaking, bogus.</p> <p>One of the nicest parts about PdaNet is you don't need to pay for one of the more expensive laptop plans. A standard "unlimited" smartphone plan will work fine. That can cover the cost of this application in a month or two.</p> <p>But there are limits. Carriers monitor how much wireless data their customers use, and when you buy an "unlimited" plan, you need to be aware that there definitely are limits. If you're a very heavy downloader, you're going to get cut off. You should be fine with web surfing and email, but if you start doing some file sharing, expect to get nasty emails from your service provider.</p> <p>Compatibility<br />Not surprisingly, there is one version for Windows Mobile and a set of others for Palm OS, and they aren't cross-compatible.</p> <p>The June Fabrics web site has the most current list of compatible devices, so I'll just say you need to be sure to buy the version for your specific device, whether its Windows Mobile 5 for Pocket PC or Windows Mobile 6 Professional, or one of Palm's Treo smartphones.</p> <p>The desktop or laptop can be running Windows XP, Vista, or 2000.</p> <p>Bottom Line<br />I wish there was a simple guide I could point you to that would tell you how to set up every smartphone that's ever been made so that it can be used with every wireless carrier as a modem for every PC operating system, but it just doesn't exist.</p> <p>But PdaNet takes care of that for most Windows Mobile and Palm OS users quickly and easily.</p> <p>There's no doubt that $34 is at the high end of the range for mobile software, but you have to think about what your time is worth.</p> <p>If you decide to try and do your tethering setup yourself and get frustrated, that $34 might soon seem like a bargain.</p> <p>PdaNet is available from the Brighthand Software Store:</p> <ul>

    &nbsp;

    PdaNet for Windows Mobile</li>

    &nbsp;

    PdaNet for Treo 650/680</li>

    &nbsp;

    PdaNet for Treo 700p/755p</li> </ul> <p>Versions for earlier Treo models can be found on the June Fabrics Technology web site.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
     
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  2. jigwashere

    jigwashere Life is a circus!

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    While I agree that it's bogus for wireless carriers to charge extra for tethering instead of simply charging for the amount of bandwidth used, I'm shocked that Brighthand would review and even promote a product that bypasses a business' right to have and protect a contract with its clients. The wireless contract that says users have to pay extra for tethering is bogus, but it isn't unfair. Aren't products like this used primarily for allowing users to illegally break their contract?
     
  3. Hook

    Hook Naked and Unbroken

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    So we shouldn't promote Fair Use and TCPMP? Strictly speaking, you might be right. Pragmatically, I don't buy it. :)

    DB will probably be by to rap my knuckles.... ;)
     
  4. Ed Hardy

    Ed Hardy TabletPCReview Editor Staff Member

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    I'm shocked that carriers will sell you an "unlimited" wireless plan that comes with a limit on the amount you can use it.

    In situations where we feel carriers are pushing their customers around, we're going to help push back.
     
  5. cktlcmd

    cktlcmd Mobile Deity

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    I agree. :newpalm:

    Plus, I don't think the software is illegal. I am pretty sure they already researched that part thoroughly before deciding to sell and developed the software. Otherwise they could get sued by the greedy carriers.
     
  6. Adama D. Brown

    Adama D. Brown Brighthand Reviewer

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    It's bogus, but not unfair? :confused:

    Anyway, there's nothing illegal about PdaNet. Using it to tether if the carrier forbids that may be a breach of the service contract, but that's not very illegal either, it's a civil matter, and one that is normally unenforcable anyway. The bottom line is that users are paying for their data plans.
     
  7. pixelator

    pixelator Glow in the Dark Version

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    No offense, but this exactly the sort of attitude cellular corporations are counting on to facilitate the reaming they dole out for service already you pay (lots of) hard earned money for.

    I've been tethering a phone to a PDA and then laptop since my Cassiopeia E-125 and my Samsung B&W flip phone circa 2000. I've seen plans that run the gamut from acceptable to ridiculous. If, as Ed succinctly puts it, I pay for an UNLIMITED PDA plan, I expect to be able to use it WITHOUT LIMIT, bandwidth wise.

    Over the past 6 or so years, cell companies have scrambled to try and restrict, heap on extra charges, penalize or outright cancel contracts for laptop or PDA connections. Right now, I feel AT&T has a fairly decent deal going with their $19.99 and $29.99 unlimited data connect plans - and I occasionally tether. There should be NO penalty for such fair use considering the advertising claims made for these packages. I also see through their attempts to upsell to more expensive $39.99 plans that offer no additional connectivity or data cap.

    In short, I think cell companies are obligated to provide service in keeping with their claims and the fees we pay and lengthy contracts we sign - fine print be damned.
     
  8. jigwashere

    jigwashere Life is a circus!

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    I think this is a different issue. TCPMP is simply freeware that lets you watch videos on your mobile device. What's wrong with that? And Fair Use allows you to encode videos you already own for mobile use. If you use the software for breaking copyright laws, well.... :rolleyes:

    It's bogus because the carriers are setting generic, inflexible rules based on how you use their product to connect to the internet. It's bogus because it's stupid and I completely disagree with the carriers. It's not unfair because they spell out those rules at the time you agree to follow them. Something can be both bogus and unfair.

    Illegal means it's against the rules. It doesn't matter if it's criminal, civil, or even sport related (e.g., "illegal forward pass"). It doesn't matter if it's enforceable or not. If you're breaking the rules, it's illegal.

    Please understand that my post wasn't against PDANet or even the usage of PDANet. I don't like my wireless carrier or their policies, and quite frankly, if I had need for a product like PDANet, I might use it. I was simply shocked that Brighthand would review and post links to a product that clearly is intended to allow people to bypass the terms of their contract. I can't find examples of it, but I'm sure I've seen posters warned for discussing and linking to similar instructions or products. Maybe I'm mistaken. In any case, thanks for clarifying Brighthand's position on this, Ed. I'm over my shock, now. :)
     
  9. Hook

    Hook Naked and Unbroken

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    No, I actually don't think it is different, though I don't have time to look up the legal stuff. I'm sure that when you buy a DVD you are agreeing, as far as the film studios are concerned, not to make copies. I bet there is nothing there about making good faith "back-up" copies, besides which we are not making backups, we are viewing them on another medium without paying for them. And, in the case of TCPMP, which you are using to view these illegal copies, you are also using propraiatory codecs without paying liscencing fees. :)

    Me, I'm happy being a Pirate, of course. ;) For better or worse we draw these lines all the time-- this was a review of legal software that happens to allow circumvention of the rules. Like Fair Use. The legality of doing so (in any example) is a test case for the courts, if it ever gets to that.
     
  10. jigwashere

    jigwashere Life is a circus!

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    I generally use TCPMP to watch over-the-air broadcast TV recordings. There are no restrictions for recording these and watching them on another medium. The codecs I use for this are not proprietary.

    On the other hand, I have re-encoded DVDs to watch on my mobile devices, and I have used TCPMP codecs (e.g., AAC) which I don't have a license to use. I guess I am a pirate. (In my defense, these are DVDs which I own).
     
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