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Q: Syncing PDA's on a Terminal Server ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: Syncing PDA's on a Terminal Server
Category: Computers > Wireless and Mobile
Asked by: marketweb-ga
List Price: $200.00
Posted: 09 Feb 2005 15:16 PST
Expires: 11 Mar 2005 15:16 PST
Question ID: 471973
Normally, when you want to sync your PDA to your Outlook you would
simply connect the PDA via USB or some other method directly to the
computer and sync your contents from your Outlook to the PDA.  Now
with the advent of centralized computing, if I am using Hosted Office
on a remote Terminal Server using Remote Desktop Protocol, how would I
be able to connect my PDA to my local computer and still sync my
contents with Outlook that is now on the Terminal Server?  This is a
Windows environment
Subject: Re: Syncing PDA's on a Terminal Server
Answered By: guillermo-ga on 13 Feb 2005 15:07 PST
Hello Marketweb-ga,

This has been a challenging question, because its answer seems
conceptually at hand, but the supporting information is not so. It
implies an understandable concern about how the ongoing changes in
technological paradigms could affect our every day activity. After all
these years, we?ve got attached to those tiny and helpful devices, and
wouldn?t like to lose their useful functionalities.

The good news is that we won?t have to, at least in the foreseeable
future, for logical rather than technological reasons. To put it
simple, because you, me, virtually everybody have already taken so
much benefit in using them, that society itself has adapted to their
existence, especially in business activities. Thus, those developing
solutions for centralized computing that aim to make it in the
marketplace, do include PDA syncing among the applications they
support. Moreover, the expansion of mobile computing in all its forms
(from laptops trough PDA?s to smart cell-phones) has been one of the
factors that led to the development of IT solutions that would allow
user terminals to be as rid as possible of processing burden.

To illustrate this, let?s see different documents such as commercial
brochures, product manuals or white papers from IT developers or

At Citrix?s website, Citrix MetaFrame Presentation Server, which ?is
certified to run on Microsoft Windows 2000 Server and Windows Server
2003? is introduced as ?the easiest way to manage enterprise
applications from a central location and access them from anywhere?
). In its ?Getting Started? manual
( ), on page 17,
it reads:

?The PDA Synchronization feature allows the synchronization of a
client-connected USB PDA device using application software running in
a groupware on MetaFrame Presentation Server, rather than only with
applications on the client device. This feature supports USB-tethered
and Microsoft Windows powered PDAs that use ActiveSync as a
synchronization agent.?

Oracle9i Application Server Unified Messaging 9.0.2, according to its
?Feature Overview? webpage
), ?uses the Oracle9i database as a single message store for email,
voice mail, and fax messages, taking advantage of Oracle's core
competencies in providing access to, storing and managing all types of
information (...) provides message delivery, standards based client
access,  telephone applications, wireless notification, browser-based
clients (both web and wireless), and administration utilities?.

One of its features, the Web Based Calendar ?provides users with full
calendar functionality from any web browser and a single source of
information for PDA synchronization. Organizations and individuals
gain additional peace of mind knowing that their schedule and other
personal information is stored in a secure, reliable Oracle 9i

A ?thin client? ?in case you were not familiar with this concept- is
the user terminal of a ?network-dependent computing model in which all
computing is performed on a server? (Sun Ray Overview - White Paper:
; pg. 4). In its plainest versions, it has no other hardware than a
DTU (data terminal unit) containing the simplest operative system
necessary to interact with the server?s applications, and connectors
for peripherals such as monitor, keyboard, mouse, PDA?s, smart cards,
etc. There are flat monitor?s built-in thin clients, and others
include the keyboard and the mouse. In a strictly logical sense, even
a full operating PC may work as a thin client but, as much as the
network architecture needs user terminal?s functionality to perform
part of the computing, the thin client model may not become not that
much so, but a ?fat? client structure, i.e., a more traditional
client-server model. The gain with a think client network lies in
avoiding, for each workstation, complex hardware and local copies of
proprietary software, periodical upgrades, administrative overheads,
consistency of application versions, etc.

Now, while we?re talking about a completely centralized computing
concept, it may include PDA synchronization, which relies on the
server based software as all the other applications. For example, Sun
Microsystems? thin client ?Sun Ray implementations also provide (...)
PDA synchronization? (Sun Ray Overview - White Paper:
; pg. 6). Since in your question you specify that you?re in a Windows
environment, you may want to know whether this solution is compatible;
in this regard in the same page of the mentioned paper it reads: ?when
Windows servers are already configured at a customer site, the
addition of a Sun Opteron-based server allows the Sun Ray Server
Software to communicate with the Windows servers and, if necessary, be
deployed to run Microsoft Windows?.

Acute Network Technologies, Inc (ANT) is a manufacturer of thin client
terminals: ?Based on the Windows CE, CE.Net and XP embedded operating
system, our terminals support both RDP and ICA protocols, and they
will run any Windows application from the NT Server using Windows NT
Terminal Server Edition 4.0, Windows 2000 Server, or Citrix
WinFrame/MetaFrame?, as claims its products? webpage . From there you can link to
each of their products, all of which provide ?PDA synchronization for
network docking?, except for the TC-9010 Flair which is a mobile
device itself ?besides a thin client terminal- of the tablet type and
that, obviously, synchronizes with the server while docking.

At Emerging Technologies Best Practices
) you can read this paragraph: ?Synchronize Information with
workstations and networks. While PDAs are a must for mobile workers
who need to take important information on the road with them, office
workers can benefit as well (...) Products, like those from Puma
Technologies,, supports synchronization between
desktops and networks of several hundred contacts to include multiple
phone numbers, address, and web information. The latest version of the
Puma product allows you to sync multiple mail and contact folders for
Outlook users.  The Puma Intellisync product,,  is
the top rated product for synchronization on the market and supports
Outlook, Act!, Exchange, Lotus Organizer and Notes, GroupWise,
SalesLogix and other interfaces (check the web site for exact versions
of these products supported.) There are also a number of Internet web
options, such as Fusion One,, to synchronize your
data between your PDA, Desktop, Laptop, and Phone with one web-based
service.  These new web-based services allow users to store
information on a web site and then update all your technology from one
location, keeping everything in sync all the time.?

Now, getting back to the core of your question: ?how would I be able
to connect my PDA to my local computer and still sync my contents with
Outlook that is now on the Terminal Server??, the plain answer is: by
having a network solution that provides PDA synchronization. Through
all the case examples quoted above, I meant to let you know that such
solutions are available in the marketplace, from different developers
and vendors, and can be deployed in a Windows environment. Thus the
critical factor that will determine whether you?ll have PDA syncing in
a centralized network lies on corporate policy rather than
technological feasibility. If you?re talking about a migration to
come, I wouldn?t consider the likeliest that it would not include a
PDA sync feature, given how useful it is for whatever kind of
activity, but this is just a personal opinion.

To search the supporting information for this answer, I googled the
following combinations of keywords/phrases:
- pda-synchronization ?centralized computing?
- thin-client ?pda synchronization?
- pda-synchronization ?windows based terminals?
- pda ?network docking?
- terminal-server ?pda synchronization?

I hope this information met your expectations. If it didn?t, or
there?s something unclear in the answer, please do not hesitate to ask
for a clarification. Thanks for your question.



Clarification of Answer by guillermo-ga on 13 Feb 2005 17:23 PST
Sorry for the typos in 8th paragraph:

- "may not become not" must read: "may become not"
- "the gain with a think client network" must read: "the gain with a
thin client network"
- (avoiding...) "consistency of application versions" must read:
"inconsistency of application versions"
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