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WinLab Reviews
Software
IntelliSync for Windows CE
Make CE Work with Any PIM!

-- by John D. Ruley

Want to synchronize your Windows CE device with a non-Microsoft PIM? Don't look to Microsoft's Handheld PC Explorer-it only supports Outlook and Schedule+ 7.0. But Puma Technology's IntelliSync can link your Windows CE pocket computer to a number of PC-based PIMs.

At press time, IntelliSync for Windows CE was able to synchronize with Day-Timer Organizer 2.0 and later; GoldMine 3.0 and 3.2; Lotus Organizer 2.1 and 97; NetManage ECCO 3.03 and 4.0; Starfish Sidekick 1.0, 2.0, 95 and Internet Sidekick; Schedule+ 7.0; and Outlook 97. Puma regularly adds translators for new applications, so the list may be longer by the time you read this.

To install IntelliSync on your CE unit, connect your hand-held to your PC and launch Windows 95's Add/Remove Programs. IntelliSync will place files on your PC and provide a small executable file (25KB to 27KB) that you must copy to your CE palmtop. During the installation process, select Auto Sync and synchronization will take place automatically whenever you connect your CE unit. You also have the option not to sync a particular database or to sync a different PIM to each of the CE databases (Calendar, Contacts, Tasks). This can be useful in situations where you might want to use one PIM for contacts and another for scheduling.

In the calendar and task list, you can choose whether to synchronize all items, pending items, or items within a particular date range. However, IntelliSync does not allow you to designate a particular group of contacts to be synchronized-a feature provided by Microsoft's Hand- held PC Explorer 1.1 for synchronization with Outlook 97.

IntelliSync does let you specify which fields should be linked between your PIM and the CE database. For instance, since the CE contacts database has no equivalent to Sidekick's Spouse field, you can map that field to a different field or leave it unsynchronized. Though you can't create custom fields on the CE PIM, you can map a custom field into the CE database's Notes Line 1 or some other field not being used. A nice option allows you to map each line of the multiline Notes field in the CE databases separately, or to map the whole thing to a single multiline field on PIMs that support this feature (the Notes/Comments field in Sidekick's business card file is a good example)

IntelliSync's most notable offering is its wide range of options for handling conflicting items, such as duplicate contacts or overlapping appointments. The program allows you to add all conflicting items (even if this results in duplicates), ignore all conflicting items (neither the CE nor the PC-based PIM is changed), or designate that either the CE or the PC always overrides the other. The default is to generate a notification message so you can decide how to handle each conflict on a case-by-case basis. You can designate different options for each of the CE databases.

We tested IntelliSync on two CE units: a Casio Cassiopeia A-10 and a Philips Velo 1, both with 4MB RAM. Each was connected to an AST Bravo MS-T Pro 6200 Pentium Pro desktop configured to dual-boot both Windows 95 and NT Workstation 4.0. We synchronized data with several PIMs, including GoldMine 3.2, Lotus Organizer 97, Microsoft Outlook 97 (all tested under NT 4.0), and Starfish Sidekick 95 (tested under Windows 95, as it wouldn't start under NT)

IntelliSync properly parsed names in GoldMine, which does not display names in typical first/middle/last format. It also handled multiday appointments in Sidekick seamlessly by mapping the start and end dates and times in the CE calendar. In fact, we encountered only one problem: When we attempted to start IntelliSync after setup on the Cassiopeia, we first had to disable the Remote Control program from Microsoft's CE PowerToys due to a conflict with IntelliSync's communications software. We also had minor trouble during synchronization with GoldMine, due to the fact that GoldMine was running (and displaying alarms) while synchronization was in progress.

Of course, IntelliSync is also affected by Windows CE's limitations. In particular, Windows CE's built-in calendar and contact applications cannot "link" an appointment with a contact, as GoldMine and Organizer do.

Nevertheless, IntelliSync is a flexible and full-featured product, which is why we're adding it to our WinList of recommended products. It offers the unique ability to link Windows CE and non-Microsoft PIMs and provides advanced capabilities, such as customized field mappings, that even Microsoft Outlook and Schedule+ users may want to investigate.

QUICK VIEW

IntelliSync for Windows CE

Bottom Line: The best (and only) way to use CE-based palmtops with non-Microsoft PIMs
Price: $69.95
Platforms: 95, NT, CE
Pros: Easy setup; outstanding configuration options; supports wide range of PC PIMs
Cons: Not necessary if you use Microsoft Office
Strongest Rival: None at this time

Puma Technology, 800-774-PUMA, 408-321-7650. Winfo #551

Windows Magazine, October 1997, page 156.

[ Go to October 1997 Table of Contents ]