Wednesday, March 22

Life without Active Sync Sucks

Greetings. While talking with a colleague tonight, it occurred to me just how much we depend upon Active Sync. For those that don't know, Active Sync is a programs that bridges the gap between your computer and your PDA device, whether it be a Palm Pilot, other mainstream PDA, or adaptive device such as a Pac Mate, BrailleNote, or Maestro. The following is a short list of what you cannot do if you don't have access to Active Sync. (In these examples, I'm using the Pac Mate, since that's the device I have).

Synchronize whatever you want: Yes, you can synchronize any number of items from your Pac Mate (PM) to your PC and vice versa, including: files, calendar appointments, contacts, notes, tasks, Internet Explorer favorites (though they're berried within the PM and can be hard to find if you haven't looked before), AvantGo stories (a free service that you can get daily stories or pages from a wide variety of sourses), and more.

Install and remove programs: Though I have heard of a select few programs that you can install without Active Sync, 99% of the programs out there for Pocket PC compatible devices require Active Sync to be installed. Programs that fall into this category might include: AvantGo, some free utilities from Freedom Scientific like FS Commander (to use the PM as a wireless remote control for any IR device) and the Book Share unpack utility; Internet Explorer Power Toys (which improves your surfing experience), plug-ins to enhance your PM, such as a calendar program that display more than the standard 1 appointment on your Today screen; and many others. Even drivers for specific compact flash cards or ethernet cards must be installed through Active Sync.

Backing up your device: Here's a little known fact, you can backup or restore a backup of your device from within Active Sync. You can even customize it so that a backup is done each time you synchronize, which is pretty cool. Granted, the people that sware by Sprite Backup can perform their backups from anywhere on their CF cards, they are still limited since they need Active Sync in order to install Sprite on their PM.

Wirelessly sync/control your PC: In the most recent version upgrade to the PM, of 3.0, FS has made the ability to wirelessly connect to your PC with the PM, provided that you have the necessary equipment. In doing this, you have the ability to wirelessly syncrhonize your data, or you can setup the ability to remotely control your PC wirelessly. This can be quite handy, since you can read your email or surf the web, over your PM, through your PC, all while sitting in your easy chair. I know people that have done this.

All of this, and more I'm probably missing, can be done if you have Active Sync to do it with. Of course, if you don't, then your stuck. Thus, life without Active Sync sucks!


  1. Anonymous2:39 PM

    Most of this article is wrong, except the last three words.