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Putting Your Psion To Work - The Perfect Mobile Office! - Part 1

First Lets Get Your Psion Updated With Contacts / Calendar / Agenda / To-Do's, From MS Outlook

Psion 5, 3c and SienaSo you've just bought a lovely new Psion PDA / Pocket PC / Palmtop, and you're wondering what it can do!

Well, in this series of articles we'll be turning our new purchase into a fully operational mobile office that will Sync with your desktop pc, hold your agenda, to-do's / tasks, keep all your contacts in order, be a Word Processor, Spreadsheet, Jotter, Voice Recorder, handle email and surf the web. (I'll take a breath now.)

We'll be using a Psion Siena, 3c and a Psion 5 for demonstration purposes, but the issues raised apply just as well to a 5mx, Revo, 7, 7book and Netbook. As we go through the articles we'll see that not all the devices can do everything, but we'll have a damn good go!

Of course your new Psion is no good without your data on it, and you're not going to enter it manually - it would take forever - so we're going to transfer data from you desktop PC to your Psion (and as you'll see), back again.

What we're not going to be doing in these articles is to go in depth on using the Psion's, download and read their user manuals, and have a play (once we've filled them with info.)

In this first article we'll be showing you how to transfer your MS Outlook Data to your Psion, so lets get started!

Psion Battery Compartments

Ok, first up lets get new main and back-up batteries in our Psions.

You can see mine with the compartments open on the left.

From top to bottom, its the Siena, Five, then the 3c.

Psion Serial Lead

We won't get very far without one of these, a Psion Serial lead, which connects our little buddies to our desktop pc.

Get over to ebay if you haven't got one. (Make sure its the right one for your device.)

Plug it into the serial port on your pc, but don't connect your Psion Yet!

PsiWin 2.3.3

Next we need to make sure we've got the latest version of PsiWin installed - 2.3.3.

If you haven't, uninstall the old version first, then download 2.3.3 from this page.

(While you're there also download the PsiWin Getting Started Guide Too.)

There's also some good info there if you have trouble installing or uninstalling previous versions of PsiWin.

(If you use Windows to uninstall an old version of PsiWin, don't delete any "not used" files!)


PsiWin Installation Screen-shot

Once downloaded, run the file (double click) and just follow the on-screen instructions.

To start off with, I'm going to be using my 3c 2mb.

Setting Comms Baud Rate

If after plugging your Psion to the Serial lead, and PsiWin encounters a problem and cannot connect, go into the properties section of PsiWin (right click the little line near the time in the bottom right hand side of your pc screen). Change the baud rate to 57600, or 19200 for a Siena.

Now on your Psion 3c go to the main screen (system), press menu, special, communications, make sure "Use" says link cable, and set the Baud rate to 57600 too.

On a Sienna do the same, just make sure the Baud rate is 19200.

On a Psion 5, go to "System" (Orange button, bottom left of screen), press menu, tools, remote link, then make sure "link" says "cable, Baud Rate 57600.

Now disconnect the Serial lead from your Psion and try again. (Or right-click the little line in the bottom-right of your pc screen and select "connect".

If you still don't get a connection, check the serial lead is plugged in properly at both ends, then reduce the baud rates to the next lower setting (in PsiWin and on your Psion), and keep doing this until you get a connection, the little line should turn to a squiggle.


Now it's time to fire up Psion Synchroniser on your desktop pc: Start, all programs, PsiWin2.3, Psion Synchronizer.

Click on properties to check what's going to be transferred from Outlook, diary entries, etc, and make sure it's going to do what you want.

If we click the "Automatic" button, we can choose to sync our Psion every time its connected, every day, every week, or if we uncheck the top box we have to tell Psiwin to Sync.

"Each time the Psion is connected" is the best option for most users.

Once you've decided what to do, click "ok", and if it doesn't start away, click "synchronise".

This dialogue box now tells us which contact fields will be copied across from Outlook to the Psion, so we need to double check for mistakes.

Watch out for this warning box from Outlook - it's just asking you if it's ok for PsiWin to look at your email addresses.

Tick the "Allow Access" box, and 10 mins is more than long enough.

Psion 3c

So our first Psion, the 3c, is synced with Outlook, and now has all our contacts and Agenda on it. Remember to set the time and date on the Psion.

One thing to watch out for is the database with your contacts from Outlook is called "Contacts", not "Data".

Lets try the Siena next!

Psion Siena

Ok, problem to start off, the Siena wouldn't connect to the PC. Checking the Baud rate of the Siena (System, Menu, Special, Communications) I could see it was 19200, so I checked the properties of PsiWin (right click the little line in the bottom right of pc screen). Setting PsiWin to 19200 too, the sync went through fine.

It's worth noting though that I've already used 186k of my Siena's 512k memory... not much left!

Psion 5 next!

Psion 5
Same connection problem with 5. Changed baud rate back to 57600 and everything worked fine.

So now we've completed our first task, getting our Agenda and Contacts info from Outlook to each Psion, and as you can see it's very simple. What we want to do now is add a contact and a diary date on our Psion, sync again, so you can see Outlook being updated on your desktop PC. I'm going to be doing this on my Psion 5. (Consult your owners manual if you're not sure how to do this.)

Sync again, open up Outlook and find your new entries. Is that cool or what? So you can see, that despite being obsolete units, Psion PDA's are perfect for mobile Calendar / Contact management. Spend some time playing around with the different views in Agenda - it is an amazing application!

Next Up: Part 2: Transfering Documents Between Your Psion and Desktop PC

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