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  1.    #1  
    I have recently found the need (more like desire) to remotely control my Treo from my PC. There currently seems to be 3 viable programs for doing this.

    PDAReach, Handshare, and mDesk all offer this function. My search hasn't found any others, but there might be more out there.

    I took a look at all three today, and have put together a Pluses and Minuses list for each, after briefly working with each of them. Here is my preliminary findings, for anyone interested, and if any users of these programs can help me with resolving the minuses I discovered.


    PDAReach
    -------------------
    Pluses
    + Stays loaded in tray waiting for connection and
    pops up when the connection occurs.
    + Allows operation while Treo screen is turned off.
    + Nice bidirectional clipboard cut and past operation.

    Minuses
    - Unreliable 5way Dpad operation, didn't work with
    2day or 4cast.
    - Slow screen updating, long lag times while typing.
    - I don't care for the text editing popup window, but
    it's needed because of the next minus.
    - No display scaling and is too small on my PC's hi rez
    1600 x 1200 screen.
    - Kills my USB mouse, which freezes when connected.
    This wasn't surprising as this also happens when I
    Hot Sync. It must have something to do with my
    IBM ThinkPad's USB controller, as it did the same
    thing with my Treo 300 and iPaq.
    - My PC plug and play sounds alarms when USB devices
    connect and disconnect, and often does so during
    a PDAReach session. Must be the same USB issue.
    - No long button press function, but none of the three
    applications support this function.


    Handshare
    -------------------
    Pluses
    + By far the fastest display updating of the three.
    + 5way Dpad works very well with all applications I tried.
    + Nice 2x display scaling option for my hi rez screen.
    + Nice presentation mode, but only at the smaller size.

    Minuses
    - No obvious way to use Treo Opt or Shift modes.
    - Kills USB mouse, when connected, just like PDAReach.
    - Plug and play USB alarms reporting connecting and
    disconnecting during session, just like PDAReach.
    - Doesn't seem to allow Treo screen to turn off during
    session.
    - Reverts to ugly generic skin before and after connection.
    - Doesn't load into tray like the others and must be
    started before the connection is attempted.
    - No long press function, again none of the three
    supports this.


    mDesk
    --------------
    Pluses
    + Doesn't kill my USB Mouse!!! This is the only one where
    I can use my mouse while connected woo hoo!!
    How did they deal with my problem USB controller?
    + Plug and play never reports USB connecting and
    disconnecting problems like the other two. mDesk
    has the most reliable USB connection.
    + Does allow use with Treo screen off.
    + 3 level scaling for nice display on my high rez screen.
    + Cntl right click brings up a complete Treo App list
    allowing quick launching of any Treo app.
    + Nice Palm to Windows clipboard operation.
    + Can hide in tray, waiting for connection, but it
    doesn't automatically pop open when connecting.
    + Nice PC keyboard to Treo function mapping

    Minuses
    - Very slow operation. Seems to be the slowest screen
    updating of the three, almost painful at times.
    - Unreliable 5way Dpad operation, similar to PDAReach.
    Doesn't work with 2day or 4cast.
    - I prefer a working Treo keyboard as part of skin, like the
    others. It would be nice to have both an on screen
    Treo keyboard, and the PC function key equivilents.
    - The print function could be a nice feature, but it only
    prints the visible screen. Therefore it's not very useful
    for memos and other non screen shot uses.
    - The PC "Enter" key sometimes acts incorrectly such as
    in psMemo, where instead of inserting a carriage
    return into the memo, it closes the memo.
    - PC to Treo clipboard operation isn't reliable for big clips,
    even when within the limits of the Palm clipboard.
    - No long press function, too bad none of these apps
    support this as I use it quite a bit on my Treo.

    All in all, each has it's good and bad, with none of them meeting what I had hoped for. mDesk is probably going to stay for the simply reason I can use my mouse during a session. But I wish the performance could get close to Handshare, and the 5way support and enter key problems were fixed. Handshare comes in second in my testing, and PDAReach has a way to go to reach either of the other two.

    Let me know what you folks think, and where I misunderstood a minus.

    Paul
  2. #2  
    Now is there a way to control girlfriends from the PC as well?
  3. #3  
    I work for the company that develops HandShare, so maybe I can provide you a little more information on HandShare. We just released a new version of HandShare that has clipboard support and allows you to emulate holding the stylus down and moving the stylus with your mouse. We also improved performance especially when typing, but I am not sure if you would be able to perceive the differrence.

    HandShare was designed to work with almost any Palm OS 4 or OS 5 device, the other two competing products only seem to support the Treo 600. Since we are trying to support all devices it sometimes takes us awhile to implement certain features that only work on a single device, such as turning the screen off. It is not too hard to get the Treo 600 screen to turn off and stay off, I wish I could say the same for other models of handhelds.

    I am not sure what you mean by "long press function". Do you mean holding the stylus down? If so the new HandShare release can do this. Or do you mean holding a key down on the keyboard? Unfortunately I do not know how to cause the keys to be held down, I only know how to simulate pressing them. PalmOne does not provide any documentation on how to do a lot of the low level things that HandShare and the other products need to do, developers must figure some of these things out on their own. We are always looking for ways to improve HandShare.

    I often use HandShare on a laptop that has a USB mouse and I do not have any of the problems that you describe. I suspect that the problems you are having are caused by the Palm USB DLLs or driver. The mDesk software may bypass some of the Palm DLLs and that may be the reason that it does not have these problems. We choose not to bypass the Palm DLLs because our goal was to work with as many Palm devices as possible and using the DLLs for our USB communication seemed like the safest thing to do.

    The main reason that HandShare does not go into the Windows system tray and run all the time is because of the Sony Clie. The Sony Clie did not follow the Palm API specification for USB communication and if we try to talk communicate with the handheld at the same time that HotSync is running the results are not pretty, it quite often results in a Windows blue screen of death. We may in the future allow HandShare to run in the system tray for non Sony devices, but that does not do you any good right now.

    "Reverts to ugly generic skin before and after connection."
    You got me there! Since we obviously know what device you are using we could default to the last device skin used instead of the generic skin. I will add this to our new feature suggestion list, I do not think it would be very hard to do.

    No obvious way to use Treo Opt or Shift modes.
    I thought that we had this working in HandShare for the Treo 600. I will have to look into this and see if we broke something. Doesn't most of the need for the Opt and Shift modes go away if you use the PCs keyboard?

    Nice presentation mode, but only at the smaller size.
    We may have fixed the 2x scaling in presentation mode in the new release, I do not remember.

    I would obviously like to have you as a HandShare customer, but I certainly understand that the USB problems that you are having on you configuration will heavily influence your decision. Even if you decide to go with one of the other products your post has provided me with some valuable feedback on HandShare.
  4.    #4  
    Quote Originally Posted by jheard
    I work for the company that develops HandShare, so maybe I can provide you a little more information on HandShare. We just released a new version of HandShare
    Hello John, I did see you came out with a new version today. I tried it out and see you added features that directly addressed a couple of my comments. It is great to see how you support the user community.

    Quote Originally Posted by jheard
    It is not too hard to get the Treo 600 screen to turn off and stay off, I wish I could say the same for other models of handhelds.
    Further testing of Handshare and mDesk led me to an interesting discovery. Handshare screen updating performance was easily the best of the three I tested. But in each instance the other programs had the screen turned off. I found that when the screen is on, mDesk performance is pretty close to Handshare, but when the screen is off, Handshare blows mDesk away. I wonder if you would have a similar problem if you turned the screen off. Maybe you did the right thing by leaving it on.

    Quote Originally Posted by jheard
    I am not sure what you mean by "long press function".
    I mean long press on the hard launch buttons. I have Hi-Launcher assigned to my Datebook hard button, and ClipPro assigned to my phone hard button. Both are initiated via a long press of the respective button. It would be great to have support for this, but Handshare is not alone in not supporting this function. So it must be tough, if not impossible to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by jheard
    I often use HandShare on a laptop that has a USB mouse and I do not have any of the problems that you describe. I suspect that the problems you are having are caused by the Palm USB DLLs or driver. The mDesk software may bypass some of the Palm DLLs and that may be the reason that it does not have these problems.
    I think it's the USB subsystem chosen by IBM for their ThinkPads. I have an A31p and had an A21p before that. I had the same problem with my Treo 300 and my Compaq iPaq, on both ThinkPads. So I believe it's a harward issue not Palm's or Handshare's. mDesk is the first time I ever been able to use my mouse when a handheld was actively using the USB connection. I'm not sure what the mDesk folks did, but I'm happy they did it.

    Quote Originally Posted by jheard
    The main reason that HandShare does not go into the Windows system tray....
    This wasn't a real issue for me. I was just pointing out a difference. I think I actually prefer it not to live in the tray. More important for me was the ability to simulate stylus dragging for scroll bars and drawing. mDesk allows this, even working with Graffiti, not that I would use Graffiti. But for scroll bars, drawing, and most importantly text selection, this would be desirable.

    Quote Originally Posted by jheard
    I thought that we had this working in HandShare for the Treo 600. I will have to look into this and see if we broke something. Doesn't most of the need for the Opt and Shift modes go away if you use the PCs keyboard?
    Opt isn't needed for the Treo keypad. I'm talking about opt access to the hard keys, much like the long press again. The Treo supports opt + hard key to launch secondary appplications assigned to the hard keys.

    Quote Originally Posted by jheard
    I would obviously like to have you as a HandShare customer, but I certainly understand that the USB problems that you are having on you configuration will heavily influence your decision. Even if you decide to go with one of the other products your post has provided me with some valuable feedback on HandShare.
    I always like to support developers like yourself, who listen and respond to their users. I do like your product, but as you pointed out, mDesk gets around my USB issue, so I had to go in that direction. I'm glad I could help with your product, and wish you all the best with Handshare.

    Paul

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