Recently returned from the Bahamas, where I used Pocketmail for e-mail and ran up a huge bill with MCI. After being told by Verizon, my cell provider, that it had no roaming agreement with Batelco, the Bahamas phone company, I learned Verizon does have such an agreement. I was able to use Pocketmail directly from the cell phone on board and could have saved more than $1,000 in phone bills. Still kicking myself.
Dave Schaefer, author,
Sailing to Hemingway''s Cuba, Sheridan House Publishing.
Thanks for the info on Verizon, that is VERY good to know. As far as cellular service info, I have found it takes several calls and visits to the web site to get the real info. Generally, cell phones will be cheaper than land lines as most plans have no roaming charges now.
PocketMail is OK. Its slow and you cannot surf the net with it, but... you CAN use it with any phone pretty easily. I found the expense of the unit and service were not worth it when compared with other solutions.
There are numerous cables for connecting notebook computers and PDA''s to cell phones now. Some are sold by mainstream sites such as Supplynet and others are home brew (but just as good), check Cables4PDAs.com.
When connecting a PDA (such as a Palm Pilot, the best supported), the cell phone needs to be data enabled and thus have a built in modem. Most digital "web" phones are. One caution, the better supported phones are generally GSM system based, not as wide coverage in the US but the standard abroad. BUT.... there are THREE GSM standards around the world, so got to do your research if you plan to travel abroad and use the phone (and with some phones, you can change the SIM card and jump on another system).
When connecting a notebook PCMCIA modem to a cell phone, you need only the specific cable, usually from the manufacturer of the modem and the software to enable the cellular connection.
Of course, there are cellular modems for most PDA''s now. Omnisky.com is a good source. These are generally activated through a nationwide service such as ATT wireless or verizon. Cellular PDA modems are REALLY great. Handspring now has two types of cell phone/modems for its line of PalmOS PDA''s. One is GSM and the new one is CDPD (I think).
Hope this helps others. I am not an expert, just a science geek with a Palm Pilot (and cellular modem).
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