Learning To Use Your Psion Computer

The best miniature computers on the planet

Learning about your Psion computer.

RTFM. This means Read The Manual (I'm sure you can work out what the F stands for). EPOC based computer systems are not toys, and you will not become good at using them by treating them like toys. They are a serious business and organisation tool. Their applications use the idea that 80% of the functions of a tool are performed by 20% of its commands. So EPOC applications will not do everything a desktop computer or a mainframe will do, but they will do a lot more than you might initially think. However, you have to work a little harder, because unlike desktop computers, you do need to use most of the functions the smaller applications supply.

Carry your Psion with you. This is the greatest advantage a small instantly available computer has over your desktop. Eighty percent of your functions or your data right this instant may beat having everything several hours or even a reboot away.

Start by reading the User Guide that came with the package. This is over 200 pages, and briefly introduces the system and over a dozen applications. It isn't complete, because you can't fully cover any halfway decent application in a dozen pages. There are applications in the Psion that are not even mentioned in the User Guide. Read it again every few months in the first year. You may be amazed at how many items have been added to it between readings!

There is a Help key on your Psion. Use it often. The electronic manual provided within your Psion is more extensive and more detailed than the printed User Manual. If some application is giving you problems, print out relevant parts of the electronic manual.

PsiWin (sometimes called Epoc Connect) will back-up your Psion onto a Windows PC for safety. It will convert Psion Word, Sheet and Data files into similar Windows application files. It will synchronise some parts of Psion Agenda calendar and schedule files into some Outlook, Schedule and Organiser files. Within the limits of not including full sized Windows programs in the Psion, it will convert some Windows application files into Psion files. It will use your Windows printer to print from Psion applications. PsiWin comes on a CD that includes additional Psion manuals, not just the 80 page Adobe Acrobat PDF format PsiWin manual.

Epoc Install (from PsiWin 2.0 and up CD) needs to be installed on the earlier Psion 5 models. This provides a much easier method of installing and removing any programs provided in .SIS format in your Psion, and appears as an Add/Remove component in Control Panel. The program also has a Windows component (installed along with the Psion components from a setup.exe file) so you can install .SIS files to your Psion direct from Windows by double clicking them. If you don't have a Windows PC, there are a number of files that can be manually installed on your Psion. If a .SIS program fails to install correctly from Windows, copy it to the Psion, and click on it (this is more reliable for some programs).

The Comm application is included with a Psion (except for the Revo), however the 40 page PDF format manual is on the PsiWin CD.

Message Suite is on the PsiWin CD and is a free download from the Psion site for Psion 5 (a more advance version is included in later Psion 5mx, and Message Suite must not be installed in later models). Message Suite provides an email and a web application, and will also send faxes. The email application will do standard SMTP send and POP3 receive, accepts attachments and can accept email from multiple remote mail sources. (Note that AOL and now CompuServe do not provide standard email access.) The web browser is HTML 3.2 compatible, and some web sites use more recent versions of HTML and thus can not be viewed. From Version 1.5, Message Suite also includes a viewer for MS Word 95 and 97 files sent to you as attachments. There is a 70 page manual provided in PDF format.

OPL is the programming language included in the Psion. Many users have written custom programs using this tool. The manuals (in both PDF and HTML) are on the PsiWin CD. If you get at all serious about OPL, you should also download the free Software Development Kit (SDK) from Symbian for Windows, and install the Psion Emulator and read the many additional documents available.

There are some DOS based tools on the PsiWin CD that can convert Windows BMP graphics files to Psion MBM and back. Handy for including Psion screen shots in manuals. There are also programs for converting sound files between Psion 3, Psion 5 and Windows.

Also on the PsiWin CD are a Psion screen saver, and a Psion demonstration (not all that interesting).

This site will look much better in a browser that supports W3C web standards but it is accessible to any browser or internet device, including Psion Web and similar PDA or limited browsers. Netscape 4.x users - turn Style Sheets off. Your style sheet support is too broken to use (sorry).


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