Using what you’ve got

For a while I’d been trying to figure out how to connect my laptop to the internet when I’m away staying at places where there is no wi-fi nor available phoneline. I had started to come to the conclusion I’d need to buy a special data card available to me at no small cost from my mobile phone provider. But then I already have a Palm Treo smartphone/PDA which connects to the internet over the mobile network using a data-enabled SIM card with generous data download allowance.  This is fine for collecting emails but there are websites that don’t look so good on the small PDA screen. Could I use my Treo to link my laptop to the internet? Unfortunately my mobile provider company doesn’t carry Palm Treo accessories or software, so no joy there! At last it dawned on me I should search Google for the solution. (I have been using the web for 11 years but using a search engine to find solutions to practical problems, as distinct from answers to factual questions, still isn’t quite immediate and instinctive even now). Within seconds I found this page http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/palmtreohks/chapter/hack31.pdf which directed me to a little application called PDANet. Attached to the laptop using the sync cable supplied with it, the Palm Treo can now act as a  modem for the laptop, connecting to the internet over the mobile phone network and using the data download allowance I have with my mobile phone contract. It goes to show that you can sometimes find solutions using what you’ve already got!

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