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Email and The Palmtop

Email and The Palmtop

Email for the HP Palmtop comes from several sources. Here are two new ways to stay connected with The HP Palmtop Paper and with fellow Palmtop enthusiasts.

By David Sargeant and Ed Keefe

In the past, Palmtop users relied on CompuServe's HPHandheld forum and, to a lesser extent, the PDA forum on AOL as ways to stay connected to other Palmtop users.

Those who did not subscribe to these commercial databases exchanged ideas in electronic news groups such as comp.sys.palmtops and the HPLX-L mailing list.

As the World Wide Web grew, at least a dozen user-supported Web pages came on line. Soon www.PalmtopPaper.com and www.palmtop.net became the main repositories of software and documents for the HP Palmtop.

As one of the largest email servers www.hplx.net also provides a variety of services to the Palmtop community. At this Web site you can find product reviews, FAQs and how-to articles. There you'll also find a news server for discussion groups: news.hplx.net.

News.hplx.net

What makes news.hplx.net somewhat unique is that it requires a password to access the news group. This prevents the onslaught of junk email that has become prevalent on public news groups. Also, since the news site is mediated, abusers can be denied access.

Since news.hplx.net is a news server, the information on it is not broadcast to computers all over the world, as is the case with Usenet new groups. Thus Palmtop users get the advantages of a semi-private site like HPHAND along with advantages of a standard news server. Another advantage is that you can access it with almost any email program available for the Palmtop or a desktop machine. This is no longer true of the HPHand forum on CompuServe.

News.hplx.net currently contains a number of sections called newsgroups. Each newsgroup has a particular topic that is reflected in the title. For example, hp200.software is a place to deal with software issues while hp200.fireside is a place to chat about almost anything. A complete list of newsgroups can be found on the news.hplx.net Web page at news.hplx.net (or www.hplx.net/ news/ for WWW/LX users).

To access the news.hplx.net server you must have a newsreader that supports authentication. Windows newsreaders include Netscape Messenger (www.netscape.com), Outlook Express (included with Windows 98), and WinVN (www.ksc.nasa.gov/soft ware/winvn/winvn.html). For Unix users or those who telnet to Unix machines, tin and pine are popular programs for reading news.

Palmtop users can use News/LX that is part of the WWW/LX software suite. News/LX provides sophisticated filtering of messages and many other options such as downloading headers-only for a quick overview of the newsgroups. News/LX can download full messages with the Post/LX program. A recent update to WWW/LX lets you use an Ethernet connection to download news messages quickly.

A demo version of the WWW/LX suite can be downloaded from D&A Software, www.dasoft.com.

Another newsreader program that works on the 200LX is Rod Whitby's LXNNTP program. This program downloads messages which can then be read with PNR (Palmtop News Reader) a System Manager compliant program.

Articles in each newsgroup can be left unsorted or can be "threaded" to indicate an ongoing discussion or the development of a new idea. Like WWW/LX, LXNNTP works over a modem or an Ethernet connection. LXNNTP, a part of Rod Whitby's freeware LXTCP package can be found at lxtcp.hplx.net.

Other users have found that Robot/LX scripts work quite well for sending and receiving mail. Robot/LX is a tool that automates text-based Internet sessions and has an almost unlimited number of uses. Robot/LX is an add-on program for WWW/LX and can be found at the D&A Software site.

With all the advantages mentioned, it's no surprise that news.hplx.net has grown continually since being opened for public use. If you would like to sign up point your web browser to news.hplx.net (or www.hplx.net/news/ for WWW/LX users) and fill out the online form. You will then be given access to the newsgroup server and all the discussions going on inside.

In short, news.hplx.net is a good place to go for an orderly arrangement of messages. You can browse through the first few lines of messages and download those you want. You can skip messages in the fireside section if you're just looking for Palmtop related information. The choice is yours.

HPLX-L is the place to go if you want to pose a question to anyone who happens to connect with this site. Once you've posted a question or a message it is sent out to everyone else who has signed up for the service. Wait half an hour and you'll get replies from fellow Palmtoppers who seem to go out of their way to be helpful. You'll also get all the questions and replies that others have posted on this site. If you don't want 50 to 60 messages a day in your email box, you choose to receive only a "digest" version of the most recent postings and ask for selected messages from this email digest.

The Palmtop Paper Newsletter

Another way to stay informed about the HP Palmtop is through The Palmtop Paper Newsletter (PTPN).

On April 6, 1999, The HP Palmtop Paper sent out the first issue of PTPN to over 5,700 people who had requested this free electronic mail.

The plan is to have two mailings per week and also save a copy of the newsletters on our Web site at www.PalmtopPaper.com/articles.htm.

The purpose of the newsletter is to share one item of information about the Palmtop per issue. Another reason for the newsletter is to call your attention to the services provided by Thaddeus Computing Inc., the sponsor of the newsletter.

If you requested the newsletter and have not yet received an issue, please try requesting it again. The first mailing showed that 530 of the email addresses on our list were invalid. That could mean either that your address changed after you requested the newsletter or, perhaps, you hit the wrong key when you filled out the form at www.PalmtopPaper.com/free.htm

Please note that if you did receive PTPN, you are already subscribed. You don't need to subscribe again. If you no longer wish to be informed about the HP Palmtop, use the method at the bottom of any issue of PTPN to unsubscribe.

The PTP Newsletter is somewhat like the HPLX-L email service except that, if you reply to PTPN, your response will not be broadcast to all the other subscribers.

The first issue of PTPN unexpectedly drew more than 40 favorable comments about the newsletter. Some of the respondents even offered to pay for it. Apparently there is a need for this service and the best part about it is that it's free.

We also received almost 50 replies requesting help using the Palmtop.

We tried to answer as many of these as possible but quickly ran out of time and knowledge. If you have questions, we suggest that you sign up with HPLX-L and news.hplx.net. You'll get a wider range of answers and you can start a dialog with other users from around the world.

Name of the Game: Communication

All of these email services have one overriding purpose: communication--keeping users connected with users.

If they do nothing else these services will give you a feeling that you're not alone in your choice of a truly "personal computer," the HP Palmtop. n

iPhone Life magazine


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