Infrared HotSyncing Your Palm to Your Laptop

If you take advantage of IR HotSync, you can HotSync your Palm device to a laptop computer without lugging around a cradle or cable. This feature uses the same infrared (IR) light that beams your business card to another Palm device, but in this case, it's connecting your Palm organizer to a laptop computer. (Desktop computers only rarely include an IR port, but you can almost always find an IR port on a laptop.)

Using IR to perform a HotSync is a lot less reliable than beaming a business card or other small piece of information because the HotSync process moves a large amount of information in both directions between your Palm device and the computer. The IR HotSync process fails fairly often, so if you're planning to rely on IR HotSync while on a crucial business trip, test everything out before you leave home.

You need to configure both your Palm organizer and your laptop for IR HotSync to make the process work.

Follow these steps to set up your Palm device for an IR HotSync:

1. Tap the Applications soft button at the lower-left corner of the screen.

Your list of applications appears.

2. Tap the HotSync icon.

The HotSync application appears.

3. Tap the word Local near the top of the screen, just above the HotSync icon.

Local is highlighted to show you've selected it.

4. Tap the triangle just below the HotSync icon in the center of the screen.

A drop-down list appears. One of the choices is IR to PC/Handheld. (If that choice isn't available, your Palm device can't use IR HotSync. Sorry.)

5. Tap IR to PC/Handheld.

The choice you tapped appears next to the triangle to show you've selected it.

Now you'll need to set up your laptop. Every laptop is different, so you may need to check with the manufacturer of your laptop for details. But here's the basic lowdown on setting up your Windows-based laptop for IR HotSync:

1. Right-click the HotSync Manager icon in the lower-right corner of the screen.

A shortcut menu appears above the HotSync Manager Icon.

2. Choose Setup.

The Setup dialog box appears.

3. Click the Local tab.

The local settings page appears.

4. Click the scroll-down button next to Serial Port.

A list appears.

5. Choose either COM3 or COM4.

The choice you make appears in the Serial Port box.

6. Click OK.

The Setup dialog box disappears.

How do you know you chose the right COM thingy? Well, okay, you don't. You have to try one and see whether it works. If it doesn't, repeat this process and try the other COM thingy. How do you test to see whether you did it right? By doing a HotSync, like this:

1. Tap the Applications soft button at the lower-left corner of the screen.

Your list of applications appears.

2. Tap the HotSync icon.

The HotSync application appears.

3. Tap the HotSync icon in the middle of the screen.

The words "Connecting with the desktop using IR to PC/Handheld" appear.

4. Place your Palm device within three feet of your laptop so that the tiny dark red window (normally found at the top of the Palm case) points directly at a similar-looking red window on the laptop.

Laptop manufacturers put those little windows at different places on the laptop; sometimes it's on the back, and sometimes it's right in front of the keyboard.

If the stars are aligned just right and you have good karma, your Palm device and your laptop makes cute little beeping and booping sounds, and in a few minutes, your Palm organizer and laptop are synchronized.

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