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Get Your Walking Papers

e-Briefing | Tip of the Week

March 08, 2001|JOSEPH MENN

Tired of looking over the shoulder of the nearest newspaper reader or grubbing through trash cans to catch a glimpse of the day's headlines? Life is so rough for the tech-impaired.

If you have a hand-held computing device, you can simply turn to AvantGo, a free program that provides news, movie listings, maps, stock quotes and weather information.

Here's how it works: Go to http://www.avantgo.com and pick the device being used (typically a Palm OS or Windows CE device). Download the software and then select the "channels" to be included.

The menu of channels isn't very well organized, but it includes the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and other mainstream media, along with top stories picked by Yahoo and other Web sites.

After that, whenever you sync your desktop computer and hand-held machine, the latest versions of those Web pages will go with you.

Unfortunately, AvantGo, like many software applications for browsing content or shopping via the Internet from a hand-held computer, is less than meets the eye.

The most useful on-the-go applications, such as finding a nearby restaurant or movie, don't make sense without a wireless connection because you'd have to make your request for information from your desk.

AvantGo has some advantages over the alternatives, the biggest of which is that it's free. And it enables users to catch up on the day's headlines while stuck in traffic without incurring cell phone charges or other wireless connection fees.

Its big drawback: This newspaper isn't available on the service.

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