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Remote Possibilities
Sofa spuds and code jockeys, rejoice! Your time has come! Now your Pocket PC can also act as your TV/VCR/DVD remote.

No longer will you fumble between couch cushions and under TV listings. UltraMote, an application for your handheld, emulates your remote, so you have complete control over various entertainment devices.

We tested UltraMote on our Compaq iPAQ 3600; the clear set-up instructions led us through configuring the buttons by using the iPAQ's infrared port with that on the TV remote. The software captured individual button settings. Soon, we were able to confound our distaff sides with dueling remotes.

We needed to use the stylus for UltraMote, and often a single tap would result in double digits on the TV's channel selector. Our inflexible digits might have been the problem, so we can't blame UltraMote.

UltraMote can replace those hard-to-configure universal remotes we see sold in convenience stores. Also, two screens of options provide more than enough selections for building different locations--a remote for every TV, VCR, or DVD in the home--a total of 25 devices for up to 10 locations. In addition, you can select different skins to decorate your PDA screen--does your current remote allow you to do that?

Now that Pocket PCs are catching up to Palm handhelds in the marketplace, UltraMote provides one more use for a constantly useful device. We can see UltraMote in the board room as well as the den, perhaps handling slides for presentations. Ultimately, with UltraMote, the living room won't become the bored room.

Where to get it: http://www.ultramote.com/
Price: 14-day free trial; see Web site for pricing information.
Requirements: Compaq iPAQ H31xx/36xx/37xx/38xx, HP Jornada 56x, Audiovox Maestro, and Toshiba e570 Pocket PC(s). A PC running Windows and ActiveSync.

See Ya Later, Gator

It may shock you, but on rare occasions we goof. It happened once last year, when we reviewed Gator eWallet. Although it filled in forms and managed passwords as we said, it was spyware, collecting information about your web surfing and shopping habits for marketing purposes. When we found out, we said "see ya later, Gator."

We've reprogrammed our form-filling and password management needs with RoboForm V4.6.8 by Siber Systems. If you're a seasoned cyber- surfer, you know many web sites require visitors to log on to reach the real content. RoboForm lets you save login information for every web site that requires it, and to retrieve when needed. Moreover, you can store more than one set of accounts for each domain, something Gator doesn't do.

RoboForm's great for password management. View and edit your usernames, passwords, credit account information, or anything you can enter in web forms. Print a listing of your usernames and passwords for all your online accounts. Share your computer with others? Password-protect your account information or block RoboForm from filling in forms on a specific web site without your permission.

Shopping online with RoboForm is easy, too. Fill in shipping and billing information with one click. Choose a credit card from your list of accounts. Like Gator, RobotForm supports drag-n-drop, but unlike Gator, it doesn't use pop-up ads. Say goodbye to the Gator spy and say hello to RoboForm. In a little while, you'll smile like a crocodile knowing you can surf and shop unobserved.

Where to get it: http://roboform.com/
Price: FREE for individuals; $29.95 for businesses and government
System Requirements: Windows 95/98/NT/Me/2K/XP as an add-on to: IE4- 6, AOL5-7, MSN; NN6-7, Mozilla.

Having Fun? Me, Too!

Sometimes, toolbars can create as much clutter as they are convenient. At other times, they prove their worth a dozenfold, or in METoolBar's case, 27-fold. A toolbar with as many as 27 applications or links, METoolBar sits at the bottom of your screen, displaying a configurable set of icons. We appreciated the buttons for little-used or hidden apps like ping, finger, DNS lookup, and whois. And that's just the utilities.

METoolBar employs a meta-search engine that can scan 40 search engines. It also provides access to weather forecasts, language translators, and (our favorite) clipboard history. News listings included world news, U.S., and technical. It even included an SMS option and a password keeper.

We're usually wary of a utility that tries to be all things to all users. METoolBar isn't without its drawbacks: We'd like to be able to position the toolbar to the side instead of the bottom of the screen, where it can clash with Windows' taskbar. Also, the connection timed out on a few data requests, and we could open only one app at a time. Still, the agenda option, with its alarms, helped keep us on schedule, and the Quotes app kept us apprised of our vast holdings.

The biggest feature that METoolBar offers is that it gives an inconic face to obscure utilities, and many useful information tidbits are now just a click away.

Where to get it: http://www.metaeureka.com/download.shtml
Price: Freeware.
Requirements: Windows 95/98/ME/2000/NT/XP

EMAIL THIS!

It happens to you. You find a web page that's the greatest thing since sliced graphics, and you think, "Jane would like this." In many browsers, you fuss through menus, find the "Send File" button, and send either the whole web page, which many recipients either don't want in their email or can't view, or you can send the link.

That's fine, but this method requires that an email client on your PC, like Outlook Express or AOL. Since many of us use web mail these days, we'd prefer to click a button and send email with the web's link.

Many news-oriented sites today like WSJ.com and CCN.com have a Clickability.com EMAIL THIS and SAVE THIS at the bottom of every article. You save or send the article by clicking and filling in an email address. If you have an account on Clickability.com, you log in and retrieve email addresses from your online address book.

Not all web sites use Clickability.com's technology on their servers. Fortunately, the company has a client version of EMAIL THIS and SAVE THIS browser buttons for your browser. To install, just drag and drop the buttons to your customized toolbar, and sign up for a free account on which you can store your address book. The next time want to send a web link to Jane, get in the click: C lick the browser button, pop up a small Clickability.com window, and send email without a lot of fuss.

Where to find it: http://clickability.emailthis.clickability.com
Price: FREE
System Requirements: PC and Macintosh using Internet Explorer (version 4 and up) or Netscape (version 4 and up). Macintosh users running Netscape must follow special instructions available on the Clickability web site.

2002 © Bill Dubie and Dave Sciuto

About the Authors

Bill Dubie and Dave Sciuto co-host "The Computer Report" on 980 WCAP- AM in Lowell MA Saturdays at 4 p.m.
Subscribe to The Computer Report FREE monthly newsletter at theReport.com.
Contact Bill and Dave at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

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