The Idiots Find Mac Web Sites On Their Palms
The Idiots Phone One In June 19th, 2001
Randy: Hey are you getting ready for your trip, Gary?
Gary: Why, yes, I am. How nice of you to ask.
Randy: I am only asking nicely because it appears that the way you are packing will set me up for a few jokes at your expense.
Gary: What are you talking about, bonehead?
Randy: Why are you taking all of those giant maps? Who do you think you are? Magellan?
Gary: Hey, I am not driving across the United States just to get lost.
Randy: Why not download your driving directions and your maps to your PDA?
Gary: Right! And while I'm at I'll shoot multi-colored flames out of my butt!
Randy: I told you to lay off the chili. Heyo! But, seriously, you can download maps to your PDA easily.
Gary: Please, tell me how!
Ladies and gentlemen, The Idiots have staged this little skit for your enjoyment, and to tell you about a great service for merging the Internet and your PDA.
Randy: Also, we are getting pretty lazy when it comes to these columns.
Gary: That's true too. We are currently negotiating with our editor to submit stick figure drawings instead of all of this writing.
Randy: How's that going?
Gary: We'll talk later.
Randy: Anyway, the service that we are referring to is called AvantGo. Basically, it acts as a go-between, connecting your PDA to the Internet.
Gary: We mentioned that already.
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Randy: Thanks. If you visit AvantGo's Web site, you will be able to download a free package that installs a control panel in your system folder and a conduit into your PDA's accessory folder.
Gary: That's right. You have to sign up for an account on AvantGo, but then every time you sync your PDA, AvantGo updates your channels. Channels are Web sites that you have chosen, and there are hundreds to choose from at AvantGo. I found out about AvantGo when I was preparing for a trip and began to print out driving directions from Mapquest. I noticed a button next to "Print" that read "Download to PDA".
Randy: Oooh, the excitement is building!
Gary: Because I am just that crazy, I clicked the button. The next thing I know, I was directed to AvantGo's site and I signed up. A quick install later and AvantGo prompted me to save my driving directions as a channel. I did, then I synced my Palm, er, I mean PDA, and voila! There were my directions!
Randy: That is pretty neat. But I have used AvantGo for a while now. It's great when I'm running around the mean streets of New York. I can take my favorite Web sites with me and catch up on my Mac news. When I first started using AvantGo I had to make my own channels for my favorite Mac news Web sites, but now there are all kinds of pre-made Mac specific channels to choose from.
Gary: Yeah I noticed. There are channels for Mac News Network, Mac Central and, of course, The Mac Observer.
Randy: In fact I'm on the road so often I do all most all of my news browsing through AvantGo. I even made a channel for my custom Excite page so that AvantGo grabs my updated stock prices and horoscope each time I sync.
Gary: You own stocks?
Randy: Sure, just some high yield,... lo cap, err...hum, momey market 401Ks...
Gary: You don't own any stock! Momey Market??!
Randy: Sure I do. My wife just won't let me have access to the accounts. Something about a competency test first and blah blah blah.
Gary: Man, are you are an Idiot! Thank goodness you married an intelligent woman. Anyhoo, we were talking about how handy AvantGo is to have on your PDA.
Randy: Besides connecting your PDA to the Internet without requiring you to buy anything and allowing you to download your favorite sites, the AvantGo program itself is a full-featured on-line Web browser too. If you are fortunate enough to have a modem or wireless Internet connection to your handheld computer, AvantGo can surf for live Web pages as well cached ones.
Gary: Awesome! I didn't even try that.
Randy: Sure! It supports grayscale graphics and you can even bookmark your favorites sites just like your desktop Web browser.
Gary: AvantGo rules! Did we mention it's completely free?
Randy: I think we just did.
Gary: Well, isn't that just special. Should we do a tag out joke here?
Randy: You know, we should.
Gary: Hmmm. How about...naw we did that last time. What if we...ahh, no...we don't have any chickens. Hey we should...oh no, I broke both my legs the last time we did that one.
Randy: Yeah, nothing's really coming to mind. In the old days we would have put some effort into this and come up with something great.
Gary: Let's just stare blankly at the readers until they feel uncomfortable and run away.
Randy: Okay, don't blink. Here goes.
Gary: All right.
Gary: I'm not blinking.
Randy: All right.
Gary: I gotta blink. Screw it.
Gary Randazzo and Randy Soare are the co-founders of IWS Interactive, a New York based game developer for Macintosh. The IWS in IWS Interactive stands for Idiots With Sticks. How that came about is a long and boring story, but suffice it to say that at four in the morning, it seemed like a good idea.
The demo for IWS Interactive's upcoming mystery-adventure game, Manhattan Apartment Hunter, has recently been released to rave reviews. The Idiots have been into gaming on Apple computers even before the Mac was around. Does anyone remember Choplifter on the Apple IIe? (Boy, we know we do.) Now, they are committed to help ensure that the Mac remains the premiere gaming platform on the planet.
You can email your comment and suggestions to Randy at , and Gary at .