So last Friday, I drove over to the Verizon store to do my business. I was the first one through the door. Had it all figured out. I decided to get Kim the RAZR V3c. I was thinking of getting that phone for myself but I after playing with it, I was sure I wanted a smartphone. Let’s go for the Treo 700w!
While the Palm OS does do better in some reviews, I didn’t care. I think the Windows play is more for me. Seems like more apps, better integration, etc.
They ported Kim’s phone number in 30 seconds. Mine took longer for some reason. But when I left the store, I had 2 working phones. Time to work on e-mail setup!
I took an an old PC that was just sitting in the basement, dusted it off, and powered it up. I installed Windows 2003 Server fresh. Time for Exchange. I started reading the requirements and going through them. Installed IIS. Then it was time to create a primary domain controller and setup Active Directory. Although in the end, it was pretty simple to do, it seemed very confusing. For a bit, I was completely confused what domain to put in because this is sort of an internal mail server. Turns out the standard is to name the domain *.local, where * is whatever you want. So I chose fuller.local as the domain and finished the install. Then I installed Exchange. Not too hard. Added in SP2 for Exchange.
Now, its time to configure Exchange. This isn’t very obvious how to do. I found various articles online that describes lots of the steps I needed to perform for this local configuration. I did these and was able to create my own mailbox for firstname.lastname@example.org.
I decided to POP my mail off my ISP’s server into Exchange. Turns out Exchange doesn’t do this by default but several people sell plugins to make this happen. I am testing on from mapilabs.com right now. I followed their setup instructions to configure my POP accounts. This allowed me to get mail from my POP accounts and put it into my Exchange account.
I reconfigured my Outlook 2003 client to stop downloading my POP mail (so I wasn’t fighting with Exchange). I added the Exchange server account to Outlook and then I was back running with my mail again.
Time to configure the Treo! The Treo can do POP and IMAP but it also can do Exchange (which is better). All you do is put in the Exchange server hostname and your user info. I wanted to use the secure/SSL option to protect my info. So I went to IIS 6 and created a self-signed certificate so I could use SSL. There is a tool in the IIS 6.0 Resource Toolkit that will do this for you. Note here that when you create the certificate, you need to give it the same CN as the IP address or hostname that you will put into your Treo to access the server. Also, be sure to increase the certificate expiration date from the default of 7 to something like 365.
Now, since this certificate does have a trusted certificate authority backing it, you need to tell the Treo to trust it. In the Treo’s settings page, there is a certificate module that shows all the installed/trusted certificates. We need to get our new certificate in there. Here is how I did it. I took my desktop PC’s IE browser and went to the Exchange web site. This popped up a security warning. You can choose the view option to view the certificate. From there, you choose Install. This puts the certificate in IE. Then go into the IE settings and export this certificate as a .cer file. Next, you need to copy that .cer file onto your Treo via your method of choice. I moved it using Bluetooth. When you get it one the Treo, the file has to go into the root directory of your storage card. If you haven’t bought a storage card yet, go get one. They don’t come with the Treo. At this point, I ran to Best Buy and bought a 1 GB card. Then you need to download a utility for your phone to install the certificate. Here is the KB article that has links. I use the special Verizon version near the bottom. You will have to soft reset your phone for the certificate to show up.
Now, you can finish the ActiveSync configuration on the phone and you can check the SSL option. My phone connected immediately and started downloading my inbox. Sweet! There are a variety of options for the sync. You can choose an interval for peak and non-peak times. You also define when peak is. You can also have it sync when new mail arrives. It does this through a text message ping but I am not using that. Right now, I sync every 15 min during the day and once every 2 hours through the middle of the night.
So on Sunday night, I left for Seattle. I was able to work on email while on the shuttle bus, while waiting in the United line, while waiting in the TSA line, while waiting for the train, while waiting to takeoff, while wating for the bags, etc. When I got to the hotel, I went to bed. Normally, I am waiting for my laptop to boot, then logging in, then answering mail. An hour plus later I go to bed. I saved probably an hour of my life today with that phone. It definitely changes things. Now, I agree its nice to NOT be connected all the time — but when you want to, this is the next best thing to sitting at your desk. I am getting pretty quick with the keyboard also. The word completion helps a lot too.
Still playing with the 3rd party apps. I was able to install and use an IM client today. Pretty cool when you want to do some quick communications. Its a phone so I guess you can just talk but IM’ing from the gas station parking lot was cooler.
While driving around Seattle tonight, I wanted to go to the REI store. I heard its cool and huge. I typed “REI Seattle WA” on the home page search box. It brought up a WAP version of Google Local’s entry for the store. Oh I am nearby! Sweet. Now I gotta get me some type of external Bluetooth GPS for this bad boy and I am made.
The contact list works well. Like it better than my old Nokia. With the ActiveSync, you can update your contacts and such and its all back on your home PC auto-magically.
The voice command app is cool too! You can say so many things. “What time is it?” Phone tells you. You can say “Call (name)” where you just say the name and it will match with your address book. No pre-recording of the contact names. It just figures it out on the fly.
Spending time configuring the rest of the items and making it more personalized. Oh, and the screen size is fine. I don’t have any issue with it like some of the reviews do. However, I am not doing a side by side with another larger screen so maybe I don’t know what I am missing.
Anyway, I am digging this phone. My goal in life is not to have buyer’s envy when the next great phone comes out. But this phone is definitely meeting my needs so far. Its fun to have this mobile office!