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Exchanging personal information used to be simple: you gave out your business card and got one in return. How things have changed. Recently, we were at a press event and watched the bizarre ritual of a product manager and journalist updating data between their respective Pocket PCs in what was reminiscent of a Star Trek Mexican stand-off.

3Com's 10Mbps (megabits per second) card is designed for this new way of dealing with data, allowing you to connect a range of Pocket PCs "to a 10Base-T network. In a novel approach, it uses a standard Type II CompactFlash socket for connection. Most machines, such as the Casio Cassiopeia and Compaq iPaq, are fitted with this type of slot for CompactFlash memory. The CF+ Card is aimed at any machine that runs Windows CE 2.1, with Mips, StrongArm and Hitachi SH3/4 processors.

Installation and setup are straightforward; you initially need to install the connection software from the PC that you normally use with your pocket device. After that, you can connect the CF+ to any compatible network using the standard Ethernet cable that comes with the kit.

A System Tray icon should appear at the bottom of your screen to confirm connection; you can double-click on this to change the settings. A green square on the icon represents a good connection, yellow means suspend mode and red shows a failed link.

3Com 10Mbps LAN "CF+ Card

Wireless and infrared connectivity are fine, but it's handy to be able to connect directly to your network. The 3Com card will give you broad compatibility with direct access to enterprise data, e-mail and the Internet, at low power consumption.

Price: $199.

Phone: 1800 678 515.

URL: www.3com.com.au.

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