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Getting Connected with a Psion

The following article was originally written by one of the FileSaveAs team for the handheld computing magazine Palmtop in 2000. We'd like to thank Palmtop User for allowing us to publish this on our site.

This article discusses setting up a Psion for connecting to the Internet, and is now slightly out-of-date. We're publishing as-is, in case it's of use to web users..

Before reading: See our page on Psion Connecting for a more up-to-date guide

Connecting to the Internet with your Palmtop probably seems like a daunting task, perhaps the most daunting task you'll ever try with your Psion. Since we last looked at getting online some years ago, things have moved on, and life is now a lot easier for the first time Psion surfer. Although it can all seem a little scary, it's easier than you may think, and it's actually very rewarding too. With an internet connection from your palmtop, you'll be able to log on when on the move, opening up a whole host of possibilities:

1 Collect your home and work email on the move.
2 Surf for snippets of information when you're far away from your desktop.
3 Email a file to a fellow Psion user.
4 Check in with the office during breaks between meetings.
5 Talk to other users with similar interests and exchange news and information.
6 Upload images to the web from your digital camera.
7 Impress your friends!

If you've already got access to the Internet, either at home or at work, you'll probably be itching to find out how to get your machine hooked up and online, but for those new to the world of surfing, let's take a moment to explain what the Internet actually is, and how it works.

A history lesson

The Internet started life as a network of computers set up by the US military as a method of communicating and exchanging data over wires in the event of a nationwide catastrophe. As time went on, educational establishments and research organisations linked into the network. Having grown considerably, the network was opened up to other organisations and finally the public in the 1980s. At first the network, although large, was fairly unimpressive... chunks of text with its own series of codes and commands to push small bits of data between large host computers. Now, the ‘net has evolved, and getting online is now cheaper (often free), easier, and a much better experience. Instead of plain text, you can now access huge databases, encyclopaedias and telephone directories, view images and video, listen to one of the hundreds of radio stations, use an Internet phone to talk to other users anywhere in the world at next to no cost, play online games and check your bank account.

Sound too good to be true? Whenever the media talk about the Internet, there are always horror stories... it's expensive, riddled with pornography, used by hackers and tracked by the Government. While there's an element of truth to all of these comments, in general, it's a safe and fun place to be, as long as you use it sensibly.

So, who controls the Internet? Well, technically no one and everyone. There isn't one company in charge of looking after the Internet, although there's lots of big players such as the Internet Service Providers, or ISPs. They own the large computers that make the connection onto the Internet, and provide access to the public. If you're going to get online, you need to get an account with an ISP, who will give you the details you need. Other companies that have a big stake in the Internet are the telephone companies, companies that make the equipment that forms the framework of the network, and the likes of Microsoft, Netscape and now Opera (who supply the browser software used to access the Internet). As for what's on the Internet, anyone can add their computer to the network, or add pages of text, sound, pictures and programs. Renting space online is often free, you can update your material whenever you want, and it can be accessed anywhere in the world in seconds. There are certain rules, such as infringement of copyright, and governments have the power to take action if illegal activities occur online, just as with other publishing media.

How does it work?

The Internet is an international network of computer servers connected to each other by high-speed data lines. You dial in from your home or work computer to an ISP's server, and using an Internet address, contact any other server. Servers are just large computers with a unique address, known as an IP address. As an example, the server that Palmtop use for email and web has an IP address of - It's not very catchy, so these addresses have an alias to a more friendly address, in our case, which is known as a domain address. This is made up of a name that your ISP helps you register, and some code abbreviations, in our case, a ‘' which indicates that Palmtop is a UK-based company. There are codes for other worldwide locations, such as:
au Australia
de Germany
fr France
jp Japan
nl Netherlands
no Norway
se Sweden

...and codes for types of users:
ac or edu - Academic, often a University
com or co - A company
gov - A government body
mil - Military
net - A part of the network such as an Internet host
org - A non-profit organisation

Let's look at the two main parts of the Internet that you will most commonly meet:

The World Wide Web (WWW)

The Web (and by the way, no-one calls it the Information Superhighway any more!) is the publishing side of the Internet. Companies and individuals publish content to storage space rented from ISPs in the form of web pages. Users can then access this content using a web browser that downloads the pages from the host server and shows them on your computer screen. Pages contain links to other pages and ‘surfing' these links to other sites and pages is how we navigate. Finding things online can be tricky, but we'll cover this in more detail as we go along. The letters ‘www' in front of our domain name indicate that ‘' is our web address. Computers put the catchy text ‘http://' at the beginning to tell the network what they want, which generates the full address, which if we're being formal is known as a URL (Uniform Resource Locator), in our case ‘'


Sending messages and files by email is so common these days that people look surprised if you don't have one. I have to admit to having approaching a dozen email addresses, which I've accumulated as I've gone on. Most of my friends and colleagues talk to me via email these days, as it's so quick and easy. I can write messages when I'm in the mood, pass on snippets of news, and keep in touch with old friends without having to worry about calling at an inappropriate moment. For me, emailing from a Psion has become so useful; I'd never switch to a handheld device that was mail-less.
Email addresses always have an ‘@' symbol (pronounced ‘at') in them, which again tells the Internet how to route that bit of traffic. An email address, therefore, will be written as ‘' (without the quotes).

You may also encounter other parts of the Web, such as:
FTP - File Transfer Protocol. This lets you upload and download data files to the Internet. FTP software is used to publish web page content to the WWW.
UseNet - A huge collection of online newsgroups with people discussing just about any subject under the sun.

Enough background! How do I connect?

You need four things to get online, which we'll tackle one at a time:
1 A computer.
2 A modem
3 A telephone line
4 An Internet account

1. A computer
While it's possible to connect with a Series 3a, 3c and 3mx, for the sake of this article, we'll concentrate solely on EPOC machines such as the Series 5, 5mx, Revo, Series 7, netBook and MC218. All of these machines come with the basic software that you'll need to dial up and make a connection to the big wide world, and this software is controlled via the System control panel. We'll cover getting set up in greater detail as we go along.

Click for larger 5mx

2. A modem
These are clever little boxes that sit between your computer and a telephone line and make it possible for you to connect and talk to other computers. Modem stands for MOdulator-DEModulator (which you're not expected to remember!) and they come in various shapes and sizes:
1. Internal modems. Like a monitor card or sound card, modem cards can be slotted inside into your PC and allow to you plug a telephone line into your computer in the same way that you would plug in a mouse or screen. These are not a lot of use if you want to get your Psion online, so we'll move on.
2. External modems. These boxes are also designed for desktop computer users, but are also useful to us. The boxes typically connect to your PC via a cable; connect to the phone socket with another cable and have a third cable to plug into the mains. They normally have an ‘on/off' switch and some flashing lights to tell you what they're up to. Pretty useful, but they do rely on mains power to work. Bear in mind that you might need a gadget called a null modem adapter... more on this later. Also, be aware that some modems are for use with Apple Mac computers, or have USB connectors. Unless the modem has a 25-pin serial connector on it, you might find it tricky getting the right lead to make the connection, so check before you buy.
3. Travel modems. These are designed specifically for use by handheld computers on the move. Essentially, these are small external modems that can run off batteries as well as mains. There are a few such modems available, but most Psion users will probably have opted opt for the Psion 56k Travel Modem manufactured by Psion Connect (formerly known as Psion Dacom). This just leaves the telephone lead and therefore makes for a much neater solution. The older, slower Travel modems have a Honda cable connection that connects into the Series 5 family's serial port (but not the Revo).
4. PC Card modems. Formerly known as PCMCIA cards, these small modems are thicker than a credit card, but roughly the same shape. If you have a Series 7 or netBook, then your machine has a socket suitable for one of these cards. If you are a Series 5 user, then you can use the Psion PC Card Modem Adapter, which plugs into your Psion's serial port, again with a Honda connection, and allows a PC card to be inserted. For Series 7/netBook users, the PC Card option is a good one, but due to cost and cabling, it may not be the best option for Series 5 users. Revo users can't use them at all.
5. Mobile phones. Mobile phones are getting very clever these days. Most of the high-end phones from the likes of Nokia, Ericsson and Motorola have built-in features such as infrared, a modem, and now WAP. The most elegant solution for keeping in touch on the move is to get a mobile phone with infrared and a modem, like the Ericsson R320, SH888 and i888, or the Nokia 8110. Other phones with modems built-in, such as the Bosch GSM 908 and the Sagem RD750 / M8300, don't have infrared and need a cable to connect.
There is also the option to use the 56k Travel Modem with some mobiles that lack a built-in modem. A special cable is needed, and this can be obtained from Psion after you have bought a Travel Modem.

Choosing the right modem

There are several factors to take into account when modem shopping. Take a look at the following list and consider which issues are important to you.
Speed. If you're connecting via a mobile phone, you won't be connecting at a very high speed. The GSM network has a limit of 9600bps (bits per second) for data. New technologies such as GPRS and 3G will go some way to speeding up the world of mobile communications in the near future, but for the moment, a mobile connection works out to around five times slower than a fixed-line connection. It also means that the cost of surfing or collecting emails is higher. If you're not concerned with being in touch on the move, steer away from the mobile phone option, and consider a Travel modem, external modem or, if you have a Series 7/netBook, a PC Card. Look for a modem with a speed of 56k (56000 bits per second)
Price. In the UK, a Travel modem retails at around £160. A Psion Gold PC Card plus PC Card adapter will work out at over £200. An external modem for a PC costs anywhere from around £50. By far the cheapest option is to avoid a mobile phone, and aim for a PC external modem. The compromise with this is that you're not too portable, and you need mains power.
Portability. Best options are the mobile phone or Travel modem solution. If you're likely to be near a telephone line, then go for a Travel modem. They run on two AA batteries, or mains if there's a nearby socket, the unit is pocketable and you can connect at up to a fast 56k. If you want to email from a train, field or at a client office's, a mobile is the way to go, although you'll be on a slow and possibly expensive call.
Style. You can't beat the wireless solution of a Psion and an infrared mobile phone. OK, so it's slow, but with no wires and no adapters to lose, it's the ultimate solution.

Connecting the modem.
Before we look at setting up the software, we'll look at physically connecting to a modem. As there are so many options available, it makes sense to break this section down into sections.

Connecting a Travel modem.
The new Psion 56k Travel Modem uses infrared as the link from the Psion to the modem. This makes setting up very easy. It's a case of plugging the modem into the telephone socket and pointing the Psion's infrared ‘eye' at the modem's eye. Note that the Travel modem has a socket that allows for connection to certain mobile phones, most commonly the Nokia and Ericsson range. After connecting to your phone line (and optionally the mains), all you do is turn on your Psion and modem. Once the software is configured, you're away.

Connecting to a mobile phone.
The first job is to ask your network operator (the people who send you your mobile bill), to allow you to use ‘data' as well as voice. You'll need to phone the Customer Services team and ask them to "data-enable" your SIM card. There's normally no charge for enabling this service, and it's something that they do at their end. Typically, you need to allow an hour-or-so for this to happen. They will normally tell you that you have a data and fax number. Unless you plan to receive data calls from another computer or want to receive faxes, you won't need them, but keep a note of them anyway.
Next, you have to make the physical connection. If you are connecting with a cable, you'll need the right connector, and as only some modems are supported, there may not be one. For connecting your mobile via the Travel Modem, contact Psion for the right lead, otherwise if it's a direct connection, then one of the companies advertising in this magazine, such as Clove, Exportech or Widget may be able to help. Once you have the right cable, the connection should be obvious. One end connects to your machine's serial port (excluding Revo) and the other to the base of your mobile.
Infrared modems with a built-in modem have no wires to worry about, but there is often one operation to carry out at this stage. Buried in your mobile phone's menus is an option to either turn on the Infrared port, or enable the phone to make a data call. You may need to refer to your phone's manual. Some common examples follow:
Nokia 8810: Press 'Menu' and then '9'. Don't close the cover until you see a flashing icon in the top left-hand corner.
Ericsson SH888: Use the two-left/right arrow keys on the phone keyboard to enter the menu system. Scroll to 'Activate IR port' and press YES.
Ericsson R320: Use the two-left/right arrow keys to enter the menu system. Scroll to option 5 and select 'Infrared Port', press YES, select 'On' and press YES again.

Connecting to a PC Card modem
Series 7/netBook users can push a PC Card directly into the socket provided, and then plug a cable into the PC card, which connects to the telephone line. Series 5 users will need to plug their PC Card into a PC Card Adapter, which in turn plugs into the Series 5's serial port.

Connecting to an external modem
Assuming you have a standard external modem, two of the three connections you need should be obvious - the mains lead and the lead that runs off to the telephone socket. Some modems have what looks like two small telephone sockets (which are called RJ11 sockets). One will be for the connection to the telephone line, and one for a telephone handset, which you normally ignore.
The third connection relates to the modem-to-Psion link. You will normally find that there is a 25-pin female pin connector at the back of the modem. To connect to the modem from your Psion, you need to use your PsiWin cable (or the cable from your Revo docking station), and connect that to the modem's 25-pin connector. You will probably notice that you are trying to plug a 9-pin female plug into a 25-pin female plug. At this point, you will realise that you almost certainly need an adapter, and most probably not a normal adapter, the infamous null modem adapter mentioned earlier (see the Boxout).
If you've got the right kind of null modem adapter, then everything should plug together perfectly. If you've got a more obscure combination of cables and connectors, then you may need yet another adapter such as a 9-25 adapter, or maybe a 25-pin male-to-male ‘gender changer'. These are fairly common in the computer world, and your local computer or electrical retailers should be able to help.

Connecting to the telephone line.
It's worth spending a few moments considering your connection to the telephone line. Unless you've got very old telephone wiring in your home, it should be possible to unplug your phone to plug in other telephone handsets and modems, however, you might want to think about the following:
If you obtained your modem from a different country, the connector may not fit your telephone socket and you will need to look for an adapter. Changing the lead from your modem to the phone socket may not be the answer, as some modems have non-standard leads (notably the older US Robotics).
You may want to consider a socket doubler, which will allow your telephone handset and your modem to share the same telephone point. These are commonly available from telecommunications shops, computer shops and electrical retailers.
You may want to consider an extension. Your telephone provider can do this for you (at a charge), or you can do-it-yourself. Note that law prevents you from tampering with the ‘master' telephone socket, so read the instructions carefully.
Remember that when you are connected to the Internet, your phone is busy so other calls can't get through. It may be worth considering installing a second line, especially as another line opens up other possibilities such as fax, or the ability to speak to someone while surfing or downloading files.
Modems don't like having their connection interrupted. If someone picks up an extension phone while you are online, you are likely to lose your Internet connection. Similarly, if your telephone company supplies you with Call Waiting, note that the ‘beep' that announces an incoming call, disrupts data being sent over a modem. You may want to disable your call waiting when you're planning to be online for a while. In the UK, #43# turns it off, and *43# turns it back on again. These codes may vary depending on your network provider.


Null Modem Adapters

The lack of this low-cost little box of tricks has caught out more than a few potential surfers. If you own a desktop computer, you can just plug your modem straight into the back of your computer. You don't need a null modem adapter. So why do you need one for your Psion?
Basically, with a PC and a modem, one end has to be designated as the "sender" and one as the "receiver". Your PC sends and your modem receives. When Psion developed the way they connected to other computers, they wired the serial (PsiWin) cable so that the Psion acts as a "receiver". This was done so that larger computers can still be classed as a "sender". This works fine until you plug a modem into your Psion. Modems are "receivers" too, and so you end up with a "receiver" talking to a "receiver". This is an over-simplification, but essentially a null modem adapter swaps some of the important wires over, allowing the two machines to 'talk' correctly.

Many computer and electronics shops sell null modem adapters, but another potential pitfall is that not all of them work the same way. Some don't swap all of the wires needed. Your best bet is to look for Psion's own null-modem adapter, or contact a specialist Psion dealer such as the ones advertising in Palmtop. Modem adapters typically cost under £10.
You can get a Null Modem Adapter lead
from Maplin Electronics The have a 25-pin version (Cat no: L72BT) or a 25pin-to-9pin version (Cat no: L721T).


Getting the software

The good news is that, is you have an ER5 machine such as the 5mx, Revo or Series 7, then life is a lot easier than it was back in the Series 3 days. With the newer machines, most of the software that you need is already on your machine. Here is a summary of the software, which we'll cover in more detail as we go along:
Dial-up software - This is all built-in and can be accessed through the System screen Control panel.
Email - The email application is built-in and can be opened with the program icon below the screen.
Web - The Web browser is not built-in to the ROM of the machine, but can be installed from the PsiWin CD. An alternative browser is available in the form of Opera, which we will discuss later.
WAP - Psion's new WAP browser can be found on the PsiWin CD supplied with the Revo Plus. Series 5mx , 7 and Revo users can download this from Psion's web site.

We'll look at how to set up the software shortly, but first we need to look at subscribing to an ISP.

5mx and a mobile?

If you have a Series 5mx and are planning to connect via a mobile phone, there is one additional piece of software that it is recommended that you install. There were some initial problems with communicating to some mobile phones via infrared and Psion released an upgrade to address these. The fix applies to Sagem M8300/RD750, Bosch GSM908/909 and the Motorola Timeport L7089 but as other users have reported it resolves other issues, it's worth installing it. To get the update, go to and get the Series 5mx Mobile Connectivity Update v1.1 . This is a SIS installation file that, once copied to your PC or 5mx, you select and run to install the new files automatically.
Note that this update is not required for users of the Psion Series 5, Series 7 or Revo.


ISPs - Internet Service Providers

An ISP is your gateway to the Internet. Using your modem, you dial a special number given to you by your ISP, and you can then access your email and the World Wide Web, via their infrastructure. It might be that you already have an Internet account; perhaps at work or on your home PC, in which case you may be able to use that with your Psion, otherwise you'll need to pick one from the host of ISPs out there.
Today, there is so much choice that it can be difficult to know just which ISP is right for you. Some ISPs offer free Internet access, while some offer free calls in return for a monthly subscription fee. There are so many different deals available that the choice may seem daunting. The good news is, it is actually quite easy to try a couple of different ISPs at the same time, or to change ISP when a better deal comes along. When choosing, some factors worth considering are:

Cost. Free Internet does not always mean 'free'. By ‘free', many ISPs mean that they don't charge a monthly fee. While this does give you free access to the Internet, you may still be paying your phone company for calls. Most ISPs have a local-rate telephone number so that your costs are low, but the charges can still mount up if you make a lot of use of the Net. If you are intending to be online only for a few hours a month, then a subscription-free ISP may be best for you. If you plan to surf for longer, especially in the evenings or at weekends, then it may be a better bet to look for an ISP that charges you a small monthly fee (usually debited to your credit card) in return for free off-peak calls. See the boxout for a summary of some of the current deals on offer in the UK. Note that, as stated in part one of this article, connecting to the Internet via your mobile phone is likely to be slower and much more expensive than a landline connection.

Support. With the main ISPs, setting up your account on a Psion should be fairly straightforward, but if you're a beginner, it might be worth checking out their technical support team before signing up. If they've not heard of a Psion or can only help you if you are running their Windows software, then steer clear. Be warned that some ISPs charge for telephone support at a premium rate. If you find yourself needing a lot of help, it could be a costly business. Some ISPs offer an email-only support service, which is not a lot of use if you can't connect.

Extras. Look for features such as ‘webmail'. This service allows you to access to your email from any computer with an Internet connection. This is particularly useful if you're away from your computer, but have access to someone else's, maybe at a cybercafé or on holiday. With this service, you can log on, enter your username and password, then send and receive messages as if you were on your main machine. Another extra to look for is WAP access - you may be able to access your account with a WAP phone or the Psion WAP browser. Also worth looking out for is a generous amount of free web space - 10MB should be ample if you're planning to create your own website at some point in the future.

Portability. If you've got a computer at home or at work as well as your Psion, you may want to be able to pick up your mail from any of these locations. While ‘webmail' is useful for reading and writing messages, there's no substitute for having access to your mail with a full-blown email application like the ones found on a Psion or PC. For that reason, don't get caught out with an ISP that relies on you using their software and nothing else. If you install an ISP's software from a CD, you may find that it customises your PC to work with their service in preference to other ISPs, making it difficult to remove, or transport to another machine. On this subject, note that AOL, one of the most popular ISPs, is not best suited for use on a Psion. See the boxout for details.

Reliability. Network speed and stability may play a factor. Just about all ISPs offer connection at speeds of 56k (or higher for ISDN/ADSL users), but with some ISPs offering free or near-free services, they sometimes suffer from clog meaning that engaged tones are commonplace. Check on the reliability and speed either from one of the Internet magazines or word-of-mouth from other ‘net users.
Remember, you can own multiple accounts for different uses, and most allow you to cancel an account without penalty, so if a better deal comes along, then go for it. The only note of caution is that is that if you cancel an account, you lose the email address that comes with it. If you've told all of your friends and colleagues your email address, changing accounts means retelling your contacts, or risking losing new messages. Advanced users tend to have more than one account to get around this, or even get hold of their own Internet domain, such as, so that they can juggle accounts used for connection, without losing their main email address.

Getting your first account is something that you can't do on the Psion itself. The most common way to get an account is over the Internet, which of course can be something of a chicken-and-egg situation. For those who don't have access to another computer (maybe a friend's or a work machine), if you phone a subscription-based ISP, they will normally post the login instructions to you once they have taken your credit card number.



To connect, you'll need to have an account with an Internet provider. You may wish to use your existing Internet account, or apply for a free account that can be used with your device.

For the purposes of this article, we're going to assume that you are in the UK and that you want to create a new dial-up account with an Internet Service Provider. Here, we're using a free dial-up BT Yahoo dial-up account .

If you don't have an existing dialup account, then sign up for one from BT Yahoo free-of-charge and get a pay-as-you go account. There's no subscription fee, and you only pay standard call rates for the time you're online. BT Yahoo works well for on-the-move access to email and web.

To get an account, first, go to from a PC, select "Pay as you Go" and create an account.


Setting up the software

Before we get into setting up the software, you will need to know the following pieces of information. If you don't know them, you'll need to contact your ISP's Technical Support desk.

The phone number to dial (also called the POP number). Look for a free, or local-call number where possible.
Your logon (user) name and password (without which you can't connect)
Your email address. Some ISPs allow more than one email address, or allow you to use any name you like before the@ symbol, i.e. ‘'.
Your mailbox (email) logon name and password (sometimes the same as to your logon name and password)
Incoming email server address (POP3) - (i.e. "")
Outgoing email server address (SMTP) - (often the same as your incoming address)
In rare cases, you may also need to know your IP and DNS addresses. Your ISP can give you these. You may also be told a "protocol", either SLIP or (more commonly) PPP

If you have a Revo or Revo Plus, setting up your Internet connection can be made a lot easier by using this built-in setup ‘wizard'. From the Extras button, select eSetup and the software will walk you through entering the details for the first time, asking you for the telephone number, ISP details and email settings. This is an excellent tool for those with little or no Internet knowledge, and Psion should be applauded for building this solution into Revo. If you don't have eSetup, or are a little braver, then move on to the next section for details of how to create an account manually.

Dial-up settings
First off, go to your System screen, press [Psion]+[L] and make sure your remote link is set to "Off". Your modem may not connect if you don't.

From your System screen, tap on the ‘Control panel' toolbar icon. You will find an icon for each of the following settings:

Dialling. This allows you to change the settings that affect the way your Psion dials out. You can select whether you are dialling from ‘Home', ‘Mobile' or ‘Office'. If you're at work, you may need to edit your ‘Office' settings to add a ‘Dial out' digit of "9," for an outside line. (the comma indicates a ‘pause' and may be required by some older switchboards). Most of the settings in here can be left set to the default options.

Modems. Select your modem type from the pull-down list. Pressing the ‘Edit' button will allow you to change settings, but for the moment, stick with the defaults. If your modem is not listed, select either "Generic modem" or "Infrared modem".

Internet. If your ISP is already installed, tap on ‘Edit', or tap ‘New' to create a new ISP setting. If creating a new account, choose "Base upon: Standard settings" and complete the information supplied by your ISP (as above) in the five tabbed dialogs:

Service - An account name of your choosing, with the dialup telephone number. if you plan to dial in from another country to collect your email, you may wish to use "use smart dialling", which prompts you for the country and area codes as well as the number. If in doubt, unchecked this option and enter the telephone number as normal without the country code.

Account - Untick "Manual login" and enter the logon username and password details from your ISP.

Addresses - Not normally required. if your ISP has supplied either an IP or DNS address, these can be entered here by unchecking the "Get address from server" options.

Login - Most ISPs do not require a login script, so leave this unchecked unless advised otherwise by your ISP. Psion has supplied a general script, and should it prove necessary to use this or any other script, note that the "Display window" option may come in handy if you are having a problem with your script as it allows you to see a step-by-step walk-through of your logon.

Advanced - It is normal to leave these settings alone with just "Allow plain text authentication" checked.

That's the basic setup finished, so tap on ‘Done'. You should now be at the "Internet service settings" dialog. At this point you may wish to change your "If idle, stay online for" setting. This can prevent you from running up a large telephone bill should you fail to remember to disconnect after surfing. It is also useful to check the "Show connection dialog", as this will bring up a box prompting you to select your connection every time you try to access the Internet - very handy for managing more than one account, or as a warning that you are about to start running up your telephone bill. Once you have completed the settings, tap on ‘OK' to save your settings, then exit the Control panel.

Hint: If your telephone company run a discount scheme for frequently dialled numbers, (i.e. in the UK, BT's Friends and Family), don't forget to add your ISP's number, to help keep the costs down.

You have now entered enough basic information to allow you to connect to the Internet for Web browsing and you're halfway towards completing your email setup.

Setting up Email

Now you have to set up your email details. To do this, tap the ‘Email' program icon from below the screen. Press Menu, move to the ‘Tools' option and select "Add new account". You will now be presented with a screen containing three tabbed dialogs:

  • Account - Enter a memorable name for this email account, your name, and your email address. If this is your preferred (or only) email account then tick "Set as default account".
  • Outgoing -enter the SMTP address from your ISP
  • Incoming - enter the POP3 details including username and password

Once you're happy that the information in these three dialogs is correct, tap ‘OK' to save your email settings.
We will be covering the email application in more depth later, but if you have used a desktop email application, such as Microsoft Outlook, you may be familiar enough with the concept of Inbox and Outbox to be able to get started.

Web browsing

If you want to surf the Web from your Psion, you have two choices and the when it comes to software:

Web - this free application was written by Symbian and can be found on your Psion Win CD. This Web browser does not have some of the features that you would find on a typical desktop web browser. Many web sites make use of Javascript to enhance their look, and most the commerce and banking sites make use of SSL for transactions. The Symbian Web browser is currently unable to cope with either Javascript or SSL and cannot handle plug-ins such as Shockwave. It is however, a relatively fast browser and should suffice for casual surfers or those who are more interested in getting information than looking at impressive graphics.

Opera - the Opera Web browser for EPOC has recently been launched and is a ‘port' of the PC version of browser. It has several features that cannot be found on the Symbian Web browser, notably support for Java, SSL and frames. Although the browser is a little larger than Symbian's offering, it is also faster. The Opera browser is free to Series 7 and netBook users, and is also being distributed with Psion's Revo Plus. Existing 5mx or Revo users can download this product as shareware and register it if they find it useful.

As neither Web browser requires any specific setup details, you should be armed with enough information to allow you to connect and surf.

Outside the UK?

The ISPs mentioned in this article are UK-based. If you are outside the UK, then the best advice is to ask around, or refer to a local Internet magazine for details of available Service Providers. If you have Internet access by another means, then it might we worth looking at Psion's Global Roaming database at By entering your country and town, you'll be given a list of local ISPs that are members of either GRIC or IPASS, two organisations who provide Global Internet Roaming to travellers wishing to access the Internet from outside their home country.

Using Email

If you followed the advice above, you should have entered all of the required information to allow you to connect to your email account and send your first email. Before you get typing, let's take a run through of the email basics:

The Email application works using the concept of an "Inbox" and an "Outbox". Start up Email, and on the left of the screen, you will see four folders. If you can't see them, select "Show list of folders" from the ‘View' menu. These folders store various types of email:

  • Inbox - This is where your new incoming email will be stored.
  • Outbox - Messages you've written will be stored here waiting to be sent when you are next connected.
  • Draft - If you are halfway through typing a message, you can save it here to return to later, before moving it to the Outbox.
  • Sent - By default, copies of messages that you have written will be placed here, for future reference.


Working offline
All of your messages are stored ‘offline', which means that you don't actually send new messages or check for post until you are online (connected). When you do get online, you transfer your messages to your ISP and collect any incoming messages that are waiting for you. This helps to keep your costs down by only connecting to the Internet to transfer the messages, not to read or write them.

When typing an email address into your software, you must get it exactly right, or it will be ‘bounced' back to you by the service provider. There are some specific rules regarding how email addresses should be typed:
An email address must not contain any spaces, and is normally written in lower case.
There must be an ‘@' symbol (meaning ‘at') somewhere in the address.
There must be no punctuation at the end of the address (no full stop!).
The address must not contain any commas, colons, brackets or quotemarks.

Return address
When you set up your email account, you would have been asked to enter your own email address. When you send an email, your return address is quoted automatically on each message, so you don't have to type it in each time, and people will know how to reply to you - that's assuming you entered your own email address correctly.

Sending your first email
Now that we have covered the basics, let's get on with sending your first email.
If you have a colleague or friend, then ask for their email address and use them as your guinea pig for your first message.
Another good way of testing your email setup, is to send a message to yourself. The message should get back to you almost instantly, as it's being sent on a short journey to your ISP and back. If the message gets back to you, then its worked. If not, you need to check through your mail settings supplied by your provider.


From the main Email screen, tap the "New" toolbar button.
Select "Email" from the popup list
You should now be at the screen that allows you to type in a new message. Move to the "To:" line, and type in the email address, e.g.
In the ‘Subject' field, put a short description, e.g. 'Test message'.
Type a message in the large blank box
When you've finished, tap the ‘Save to outbox' button on your toolbar (or ‘Save', then 'Save to outbox' on a Revo).
On the left of your screen is the folder list. Tap on the ‘Outbox' and you should see your message waiting to be sent. Now tap the "Send" button on your toolbar and send your email. You should now be connected to the Internet and your messages will be delivered.
Hint - There are some conventions used when writing an email message - this is called 'Netiquette'. See our explanation on page 63 of issue 29.

Collecting your email

From the toolbar, tap on the ‘Open mailbox' button.
Your Psion should now dial the Internet to see what new messages are waiting for collection. It will download a list of ‘headers' summarising the subject of the message, who sent it, and when.
Before you can read the messages, you have to copy them to your machine. You can chose to leave the messages at your ISP and just take a copy (handy if you access your email from your PC too), or move them from your ISP to your machine. Hold down the [Ctrl] key and tap on the messages you want to read. They should become highlighted in black.
From the toolbar, tap on ‘Copy (inbox), or from the Transfer menu select either ‘Copy to inbox' or ‘move to inbox'.
Once the messages have been transferred, disconnect from the Internet using [Ctrl]+[U].
Click on your ‘Inbox' to see the list of mail waiting to be read
Double-tap on an item that you wish to read.


Remember to keep your folders tidy. The ‘Sent' folder is the first candidate for a clearout.
When viewing the content of your folders, try zooming out to see more onscreen - with lots of messages, it makes a difference.
Experiment with ‘sorting' your emails - either by date received, by filesize, or by ‘To/From'. To do this, use the "Tools | Sort by" menu option.

The Email application is very powerful, allowing you to manage fax and SMS messages, as well as ‘synchronising' your messages to your PC using PsiWin. Again, refer to our ‘Email in depth' article to get the most of Email.

Web browsing

As we touched on last time, there are two software applications available to you if you want to surf from your Psion, Symbian's Web or the Opera browser. The functionality of the latter makes it the best choice for the serious surfer, but as Web is supplied with all EPOC machines, we will be referring to Web in this section.

Fortunately, Web does not require any configuring, and it should be a simple case of opening up the application and typing in a web address (or URL, as it's more technically known). To get to the Palmtop Magazine homepage, type the address of into the location line at the bottom of the screen, and press [Enter]. The application should then dial the Internet, connect, and start to download the web page.

By scrolling up and down the page, you'll find links to other web pages. Links come in several forms, most commonly as a button (which is actually a tappable image), or an underlined word or phrase. By tapping on a link once, you will see that a message appears in the top right-hand corner of the screen telling you where that link will take you. Double-tap on a link, and you'll be taken off to that page, known as the ‘target'. Once you've had a good look around our site, follow the link to our "Hotlinks" page - this page contains a list of other Psion-related websites. Make sure you check out Psion's own website (, and Steve Litchfield's excellent 3-lib site (


Here are a few tips for happy surfing:

Navigation - The ‘Go to' menu, plus the toolbar and navigation buttons next to the location line are there to aid your navigation around pages that you have recently visited. Take time to explore these for a better browsing experience.
Bookmarks - If you find a page you like, ‘Bookmark' it. Bookmarks allow you to go back to a favourite page without having to type in the whole address again. To bookmark a page, press [Ctrl]+[B], or select ‘Add bookmark' from the ‘Edit' menu. Use the ‘Bookmark manager' from the ‘Go To' menu to select a bookmark, or rearrange your bookmarks into a more logical order.
Save it - If you've found an interesting page with lots of text - don't forget that you're paying for your online time whilst you're reading it. You should either save the page, or disconnect if you're going to be staying on the same page for more than a minute or so.
Make it fast - From the Tools menu, select ‘Display preferences' then disable animations and reduce the colours to ‘4 grey'. Websites will looks slightly less impressive, but you'll move around faster.
Make it faster - Another cost saving measure is to turn the images off altogether. The pages will probably look even less impressive without the graphics, but new pages will load a lot more quickly. Experiment with working image-free, and remember that there is a "load all images" option [Ctrl]+[I] if you want to check out the current page's images.
Cache - Web browsers make use of something called a Cache to store images and pages in a hidden location so that they don't need to download again if the user asks to see them again. This can greatly speed up surfing to sites that you have visited before. Using a cache has a downside - the cached files take up space. if you are running low on space, you may wish to alter your cache settings, or empty the cache altogether. The controls for this are hidden under the ‘Other' tab of the ‘General preferences' dialog under the ‘Tools' menu.



Unless you've been living in a cave, you are probably aware of the current hype generated by WAP, or the ‘Mobile Internet'. WAP is a method of accessing web-like content over the Internet in a format that is fast and optimised for small devices such as mobile phones and handheld computers. Psion released their browser back in 2002. Setting up WAP is more complicated than getting Web to connect, as WAP makes use of a ‘gateway'. I'll steer clear of getting too technical here, which is fortunately what Psion have chosen to do too. Their browser comes with a built-in ‘profile' that you can use to connect without having to type in lots of technical information. For beginners, this profile is more than sufficient. If you have a Revo Plus, the WAP browser can be found on your PsiWin CD, but if not, you can purchase a copy via the Psion website ( After installation, tapping on the PsionWAP profile will connect you to the PsionWAP site, and give you access to a host of links to services and information. There is much less material available in the WAP world than you can access over the web, but you may be pleasantly surprised by the speed of WAP browsing on your Psion.


Connecting to the Internet can sometimes be frustrating. If you're using a Travel Modem have a good ISP, then it's normally plain sailing, but there are many factors out there that hinder good connection. An unhelpful ISP, engaged signals, a noisy phone line or a quirky modem can all conspire to make your surfing hard work.
If you're having problems connecting, it's difficult to know where to start. We suggest you tale a look at the FileSaveAs Psion Trobleshooting section for a list of possible solutions to try when things don't go as planned:

What's next?

If you've made it online, you should be able to send email and browse the web. Here are a few other things to try online:

Searching. From the browser, try one of the search engines. These will allow you to search the whole WWW for keywords. Try for a fast search engine that's optimised for use on a Psion. Type in a word, and wait for the results. Whatever your interest, there are pages and pages of stuff out there for you. Give it a try!

Psion sites. The Palmtop reference section at the back of this issue is a good place to start looking for sites containing news, software and discussion areas. Highly recommended is for owners of a Revo or Revo Plus. Also worth a look are and, as well as

Newsgroups. There are thousands of Psion users out there, discussing software and hardware right now. Many use UseNet, a huge collection of newsgroups to post questions or look for answers. RMRNews allows you to connect and download messages from the UseNet, and compose and post replies. This application is well worth a look ( Failing that, with just a web browser you can search, read and post via Go to this address and search for comp.psion.sys.misc, or just try searching for a Psion subject, such as ‘EPOC'. Once you've found your way around, talk to other users and look out for tips.

Article from Palmtop Magazine in 2000 - Much of the information is now out-of-date, but we're publishing as-is, in case it's of use to any Psion users.
For more up-to-date Psion Internet connectivity information, see our Psion Connected page


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