PDA

View Full Version : PDA's / Ultra-mobile PC's



sspielbusch
06-27-2008, 03:27 PM
We've had several of our customers ask if they could put Campground Master on their handheld PDA, like a Palm computer or Windows Mobile handheld, so they can take it around the camp verifying campers or check people in outside.

Unfortunately, due to the limited memory on those devices, it would be a huge development task to write a version that would work with just current data and also be able to upload changes back into the main system. That's not including the OS / platform conversion task itself, and the cost of supporting different devices. If you're really determined, you can export the Rack or On Site to a .CSV fiel and upload that to your handheld, using a suitable Excel-type grid program to view it -- but that won't allow you to make changes.

However there is an alternative -- there are many "UMPC" devices (Ultra-Mobile PC's) on the market now, which are nearly as capable as a full laptop computer. These run Windows XP (or Vista), and can have the memory and hard drive space needed to be a full Campground Master workstation. Some are barely larger than a Palm type computer, and can be operated with a stylus just like a Palm.

The main limitation is the screen size. While Campground Master does run on their limited resolution (make sure it's at least 480 in height), some functions may require you to run it with a larger "virtual" screen size -- workable but slightly annoying to scroll around. Of course either way, you may need pretty good eyes to read the screen. Nevertheless, it's a workable solution.

Some of these are as low as $700, but the better ones, like the Sony, can be up in the $2500 range. You can also get a good Sony for about $1200 refurbished. The main thing is to make sure it has enough RAM. For small parks, 512MB may be enough. For busier parks, you should try to get 1GB. This is basically the same issue as you have on a full-size PC -- the more data you have, the more RAM you need. Don't worry about hard disk size -- 20GB or even 10GB should be plenty.

So far I've only tried a Sony model, which worked great and was really fun to use. Any others that run XP or Vista should be fine too, but they vary in size, weight, battery time, etc. It's not easy to find these in stores, which is a shame because you should really try it in your hands before deciding which one to buy. If you want to start checking them out, here are a couple good sites:

http://www.expansys-usa.com/c.aspx?f=24

http://www.dynamism.com/35/category.shtml
(Note: some of these come straight from Japan and may have Japanese keys or Japanese Windows)

Of course your park has WiFi and you plan to network it in real time to your main system, make sure it has good WiFi built in (I think they probably all do).

Maybe your next laptop can be a UMPC!

willranless
08-06-2008, 01:02 PM
Stan and everyone else,

I was one those who inquired about using Campground Master on a PDA. I recently discovered a way to do it and it's fairly simple if you are using a device that is running Windows Mobile. There is a program known as GoToMyPC. It allows you to access your Campground computer from anywhere in the world thru another computer connected to the internet.
For $19.95 per month, for one "host" computer you can have this service. The website is www.gotomypc.com for more info. They have a version for Pocket PC's. I have actually used it and it works great.

sspielbusch
08-06-2008, 02:19 PM
Thanks for the info. I've been wondering if that would work, my main concern being the size of the screen. Do you have to scroll the screen all over to work with it?

Of course the other issue is that you're actually "taking control" of the main computer, rather than being a client on the network, but that's not an issue unless someone else in the office is trying to use it at the same time.

willranless
08-06-2008, 03:56 PM
The Pocket PC version of GotoMyPC has a neat feature with a small toolbar at the top, that allows you to view your entire desktop, then zoom in to a particular spot, such as a site for a new reservation, when you zoom in, you can view that portion of the page at actual size, make entries, then zoom out, and move to a different tab or space on the page. For the best operation, you would want to have a PDA with screen-input. Data entry time is increased somewhat, but still pretty fast and user friendly.

beardenrv
12-26-2010, 08:57 PM
Just as an update, I use my android and logmein.com. Logmein is free for the computer running as the "server" side with Campground Master and a minimal, one time fee for my phone. Sounds like it works much the same as Go2MyPC. You use a pinch (2 fingers out or in) to zoom out or in, etc.