AvantGo

AvantGo could be the killer app that makes Palm devices indispensable. I know this may sound unbelievable, but it has changed the way I use my Visor: it’s no longer a novelty gadget that keeps my diary and telephone numbers – I now look at it daily to check information. The idea behind AvantGo is simple. It grabs pages from the Internet, makes them Palm OS-friendly, and updates the pages when the device is synced. This isn’t a new idea – programs like WebWhacker and the Adobe Acrobat Web Capture plug-in can download Web sites for offline reading – but AvantGo makes the information readable on a small screen. Setting up AvantGo is a breeze – just go to www.avantgo.com, and download the application. When the application is loaded, simply choose the information you’d like to receive. There are around a thousand sites that have been rejigged to be Palm-friendly – all are listed at AvantGo – and more are being added by the day. Currently supported sites include ITN, Fox News, Showbiz Scoop, and, best of all, www.macworld.co.uk – where you can get news, reviews and opinions from Macworld experts. If your favourite site isn’t listed, it can be manually added to your list – though it may look odd. Graphics can been downloaded if there’s enough spare memory. Also, the number of pages you want to download from a site can be set – anything from one to 255 pages. If you’re on the road, there are a number of helpful sites. For an upcoming trip to the New York Macworld Expo, I have loaded City NY Mag, CitySearch New York, and the indispensable DrinkBoy – for when the bartender forgets how to make a Manhattan.

OUR VERDICT

This service is free, so it won’t worry your wallet. AvantGo quickly becomes indispensable. The only drawback is that, because I spend twice as much time using my Visor, the batteries run out quicker. It’s worth signing up for, if only for the fantastic Macworld offline service.

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