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Pavlov managed to control when his dogs salivated by merely ringing a bell. Now you can turn your friends and family into salivating beasts. No need for reflex conditioning and bells, all you need is the Toshiba e310 Pocket PC and an audience. So writes SEAN BACHER.

Once the batteries are charged it is ready for you to carry the power around in your pocket. Initially you have to calibrate the screen and go through a crash course on how to perform functions like copying and pasting, you then have to enter you user details. This should take you no longer than a minute and once done you are ready to enter contact details, schedule appointments and if you have a couple of hours to spare, you can even start composing your first Pocket Word Document. Before you are able to synchronise the PDA with your computer you need to plug the docking station into your USB port and connect the power cord to the docking station. You then need to install the drivers and the included software. While installing the software you will be asked various questions like which mail client you use, if you want to synchronise your contacts, e-mail inbox and calendar. You will also be asked if you want to create a relationship between your computer where every time you plug the PDA into the docking station all data is synchronised or if you just want to copy the data across once and never again.

Child’s play really. Microsoft’s Pocket PC operating system is dead easy to use, as with most other Microsoft operating systems. The display is easy to read and the bright light ensures you can read it ‚ even during the companies annual budget meeting. Synchronising data is as easy, all you need to do is plug the PDA into the docking station and wait a couple of seconds while it checks to see if anything needs to be updated. Microsoft Pocket PC gives you two options of entering data. The first way is via the handwriting recognition screen, however your handwriting has to be very neat and there is only one way you can write each letter. With practice, this could be quite useful ‚ however when in the car taking a quick note you may want to opt for the soft keyboard. This on-screen keyboard uses the QWERTY layout and you tap the buttons to compose your word. If you tap the shift button, you get all the capital letters plus the additional punctuation you would find on top of the numbers on a conventional keyboard.

Well it definitely gives you a lot more freedom when travelling, you no-longer have to phone your secretary in the office each time you want someone’s details or want to find out what time your next meeting is. Its ability to connect to the Internet is also a great help, especially when you are on the move. You can now check your Internet mail account as you would when sitting at your PC. You can even dial in and download your mail onto your PDA and should your company’s network support it, you can dial in and have a presence on the LAN, thus enabling you to communicate with co-workers or even have an online game of Hearts.

When PDAs first came out, they were slow, inadequate, unattractive and expensive devices. Now they are slim, attractive and fairly affordable. R6 099-00 is not that expensive considering what you are getting and that there are other brands out there that cost far more.

The Toshiba e-310 is available from Rectron: contact them on (011) 203-1000

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