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2. General Information

2.1 What is a Pilot?

The Pilot is a small pen-based Personal Digital Assistant (PDA). It is made by U. S. Robotics, now part of 3Com.

For those of you unfamiliar with the term, a Personal Digital Assistant is one of those small electronic devices which typically contain various types of personal information, such as addresses and telephone numbers, a calendar, checkbook registry, lists of reminders and/or memos and is designed to be conveniently carried so as to be handy when the information is needed.

The more adaptable PDAs, such as the Pilot, allow for the data stored on the PDA to be backed up to another computer and for data and new programs to be loaded onto the PDA from another computer.

2.2 Different types of Pilots

There are four versions of the Pilot. The earlier two, the 1000 and the 5000 have 128k and 512k of RAM, respectively.

The more recent two, the PalmPilot Personal and the PalmPilot Professional have 512k and 1 Meg of RAM, respectively. They also have a backlighting feature for the LCD panel and version 2.0 of the operating system. The Professional also comes with a TCP/IP stack and a few extra programs built-in.

It is possible to upgrade any Pilot by swapping out the memory card, which includes both RAM & ROM. Of course, this doesn't get you backlighting for the older pilots.

2.3 Hardware Installation

Pilots come with a ``cradle'' for exchanging data with the desktop computer. This device is actually a serial cable with a custom holder for the Pilot end and a `HotSync' button. Plug your cradle into a spare serial port on your computer. When you run each of the stand-alone programs, you will need to place your Pilot in the cradle and push the `HotSync' button so the Pilot knows that it has to communicate. If the Pilot happens to be off when the button is pushed, it will turn itself on.

For convenience, create a device, /dev/pilot which will be an alternate name for the serial port to which your Pilot cradle is connected. As the root user, enter the following at the shell prompt:

ln /dev/cua0 /dev/pilot
Replace cua0 with the name of the port to which you connected your Pilot's cradle.

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