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|Thu Jan 25, 2001 - 8:05 PM EST - By Scott Hanselman|
The Email program includes a "bandwidth-optimized" application. You setup the information for your POP/IMAP email servers, and these preferences are stored on the server-side. When you check your mail, it downloads just the first 1000 characters of each email. That's enough space for most emails, and you are given the opportunity to download the complete body of the email later. It's a fairly fast system. You are also able to attach Addresses, Todos, etc, as well as VCards. While composing a message, it also allows you to pick from contacts in your Address Book and automatically insert their email addresses.
One of the improvements that the YadaYada mail application adds over OmniSky is a LOT of status information while downloading email. When downloading mail over Wireless, there is a lot of "Is it on? Is it working?" Rather than obscuring our view with progress bars and graphics, YadaYada shows IP addresses and detailed info on what is happening each step of the way. This deluge of status information might freak out the novice, but it's truly nice to see exactly what is going on.
The only big problem with the included YadaYada email application, since it's basically the same application as the OmniSky app, is it's speed in handling *offline* manipulation of a large number of emails. I get easily a hundred emails a day, and this mail application scrolls incredibly SLOWLY, drawing the each email is visibly slow - even on an overclocked Visor Prism. My other complaint is that nearly 1/3 of the screen is used for addresses in the Compose Message screen. This is a blatant waste of space and makes writing longer email difficult.
YadaYada includes a very good Web Browser (by Palm standards) that uses a proxy server to do the brunt of the work. Since our little Palms don't have the power, memory or interest to chew up GIFs and JPGs, they have servers do the work for you. When you request a page from the browser, it doesn't actually reach out to the net and retrieve the page itself. Instead, your Visor asks YadaYada's servers to retrieve the page on your behalf, via proxy, and YadaYada's server returns small clear black-and-white "Palm Optimized" graphics. All of this happens transparently and doesn't affect you at all. This is the same principal that was used during the early days of Palm with a browser called TopGun Wingman, which started out as a Ph.D. thesis project, and became ProxiNet's ProxiWeb. Pumatech then bought ProxiNet. However, and the reigning champ of Proxy-based browsers is BlueLark's Blazer color web browser. This is a lovely history lesson, of course. But the point is, you have several choices available to you, and the YadaYada service includes a good one. YadaYada doesn't lock you down to their browser, you are free to pick and choose what's best for you. I would say that their browser would fill most typical users browsing needs.Optimized Content
YadaYada runs their custom Application Launcher when you press the only button on the modem. The include a lot of web optimized content. Even if you don't use the YadaYada wireless service, you can sign up for a free "My YadaYada" account at http://my.yadayada.com. It includes PDA-optimized content for all the standards: news, weather, sports & stocks, local dining, movies & events, maps & directions, horoscopes. MyYadaYada is a fine wireless portal. Some of the look and feel (i.e. Colors, DHTML menus) of the site may seem slightly cheesy from Internet Explorer, but the PDA-Optimized content works well and loads quickly on a Visor.Web Clipping
One important service that is lacking from the YadaYada service is the support for Palm VII PQA "Web Clipping" support. By not supporting this standard, YadaYada is shutting the down on literally thousands of Palm Query Applications (PQAs) that you can download from http://www.palm.net. But, by not supporting PQAs, YadaYada opens the door to wireless internet access to non-PalmOS 3.3 users like Visor Deluxe and Visor Solo users. So you can see that it's a tough choice they've appeared to have made.
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