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Operating Systems For The Personal Digital Assistant

Written by Stephen Canale on Tuesday, 11 February 2003 6:00 pm
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Q: Do you have any idea why the Personal Digital Assistants (PDA) running the PocketPC have not gained favor within the real estate industry?

Answer: The Palm OS dominates the real estate industry because of "first-mover" advantage, and also because of lower average costs than comparable Pocket PC devices.

Essentially, the Palm-based PDAs simply hit the market at the right time, and right price.

The reason this still affects the industry today is simply that software developers focus on whatever the dominant operating system happens to be. This becomes self-perpetuating as what the developers build, people will use.

While the Pocket PC is a good operating system, it has a much smaller market share. Because of this, developers continue to create their applications for the Palm OS devices first, and then develop for the Pocket PC much later.

As a result, when you want software and accessories that are real estate specific, you're best off buying a PDA that runs the Palm OS.

This advice may not apply to people who primarily use the MS Office suite for their business needs, as they are well served by both Palm and Pocket PC devices.

However, in real estate (and many other niche markets) the best software and selection is available for the Palm. And, the only reason to buy any computing device (PC, Notebook, PDA, or even game console) is to run software, after all.

Q: I want to create a property flyer with pictures from my digital camera along with a paragraph of text to describe the property, and then e-mail the flyer as an attachment. I would want the flyer to be universally readable.

I tried sending a Word doc with an inserted photo, but many recipients could not download it. Is there a way to get digital image and text into JPG format? Is Adobe the answer?

Answer: As you have already found, sending materials in computerized formats can be a tricky proposition.

Not everyone you may wish to send flyers to will be using the same software as you, and many email filters will strip out attachments that could "potentially" carry viruses.

While your idea of sending flyers as JPG files overcomes these issues, the size of the email attachments would likely be too large, and thus a big inconvenience to the recipients.

Finally, you're correct, Adobe Acrobat's PDF format is the best answer for sending electronic information. With Acrobat, you can create flyers, contracts, reports (or any other materials you need) using whatever software programs you prefer, and then convert them into the PDF format.

Once this conversion has taken place, you can send the PDF files by email and the recipients will be able to view them, and without needing the same software that you used to create them (Word, Publisher, etc.) as long as they have the free Acrobat Reader, which is available from www.adobe.com.

Best of all, PDF files do not raise the same virus concerns as most other file formats, so your recipients will likely be able to receive them.

Q: I have a personal website and I wanted to know if it would be beneficial to me to be listed on Realtor.com so that when potential clients search for an agent I would be listed.

Answer: I wouldn't suggest buying a site on Realtor.com simply to be listed in the Agent Directory. The fact is that consumers really don't search for agents too much, what they look for are homes.

If you carry any number of listings, then having a presence on Realtor.com makes sense. However, instead of choosing a "template" on the site, you should choose to link your listings to your existing site. This way, when a consumer finds one of your listings, they can easily link to your site and that's a profitable proposition.

If you don't have listings, then you probably won't receive much benefit from advertising on the site.

Editor's note: Realtor.com does indeed have other ways to bring consumers to Realtors besides listings and directories. For example, Realtor.com has an agreement with Realty Times to promote Realty Times' Market Conditions Reports on its front page. This premium positioning allows visitors to learn what is happening in their local markets via reports by participating agents. Consumers may not go to the Internet specifically to look for an agent, but they certainly want what agents have - local market information and listings. This has been substantiated by the California Association of Realtors in their study of Internet buyers in February 2002 which found that 79 percent of Internet buyers chose their agents from the Internet.

Q: How do I get rid of Temporary Internet (cached) files, and cookies?

Answer: With Internet Explorer you can use the Tools/Internet Options menus to delete either "Temporary" files (cached) or Cookies or both.

In making your choices, it's important to understand than generally "Temp" files are simply content from web pages that you have recently viewed. They are saved (cached) on a short term basis to speed up the re-loading of recent sites you've visited in case you return.

Cookies can be deleted, but many of them are great time savers. These stored bits of information can help web sites recognize you as a return visitor, which is particularly handy when you want to load Web sites in a personalized manner based on your previous preference selections.

Many users will choose to delete their Temp files regularly, but may want to retain Cookies to make their future surfing sessions faster.

However, if you're concerned about someone else being able to access your favorite sites, complete with your preferred settings, then deleting cookies makes great sense. A case in point would be when selling your computer or using a system that is easily accessible by others.

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Individual news stories are based upon the opinions of the writer and does not reflect the opinion of Realty Times.
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