After the second Treo article appeared in epowernews this week, I had a few more personal inquiries from real estate agents and those who support these mobile professionals.
Cathryn Jones, a Texas virtual assistant of www.assistants4agents.com sent me the following email about compatibility issues she was having with the Treo and some of the programs she’s using.
I spent a couple minutes of research to help give her some direction about the concerns. With her permission, I’m printing her email and my response below.
I’ve been reading your column in EPower News about the TREO 650 with
I am a VA that currently owns a TREO 650 and, since getting it in May, I
have not been impressed.
My biggest problem is when I’m on the internet. Many internet based
programs that I access for my real estate agents will not work on my
TREO 650. When I contacted Palm, they told me the TREO 650 is limited
and can not open programs that open in more than one web page. Have you
had this problem? Thus, both Sureclose by Realty Assist ( a top of the
line transaction management platform for real estate agents) and
Ezintranets will not open on my TREO. I get the main page, but, after
entering my password, the TREO will not open any farther.
I’m not a technical wizard so I admit that it could be my limitations
with the machine in combination with the machine’s limitations!
Have you heard from other VAs or Real Estate Agents that they were
frustrated with the product?
Looking forward to your next column!
Assistants For Agents
Dear Cathryn –
I’m not familiar with SureClose, so I looked it up on the web. Just as I suspected, it requires a pop up to do the log-on (which is nested in a frames page). So, I’ll spare you my comments about designing a website using frames at this point in the Internet game (but I may blog a bit about it later!) :O)
Most mobile browsers don’t handle pop ups well, which will leave you at a loss if you are dealing with a product that requires that for a log-on.
There are a couple things you can consider:
1. Contact the company and ask that they create a mobile-friendly log-in platform. They should be able to do this easily and then you can bookmark it for future use. Most mobile-aware companies test their sites on mobile devices — but there are so MANY platforms out there that it’s not easy to be all things to all users. But, they can do a mobile friendly link on their index page, if they want to retain mobile users such as yourself.
2. The Intranet question is probably an issue of trying to cross a firewall. Most intranets are secured in this fashion and it’s not always easy to access these with a mobile device. Since I’m not familiar with the particular product you mention, this is purely guestimation on my part. However, there is supposed to be virtual private network support for the Blazer 4.0 product (be sure the one you are running is 4.0) but it requires additional VPN software. I don’t run a VPN, personally, and haven’t researched this.
From Palm: VPN support – Ability to turn VPN on from within the browser allowing you to access secure Intranet sites (VPN software not included).
3. There is a hack available, that’s met with some good and some bad reviews that “hacks” the ability of the Blazer browser to load pop-ups – this was created some years ago with Blazer 2.0, I think, and may or may not work with the newer versions. Go to this forum thread to learn more:
(NOTE: If you are going to give this a try, do a full system backup, read the disclaimers by the author stating that it’s not working exactly so and that he doesn’t support it, then read the “readme” file completely. I’m not recommending this, just simply giving you all the options I was able to locate quickly.)
4. In a recent blog I mentioned that I’d be looking into the Opera browser for Palm, once it’s come a bit farther along in the development process. One of the reasons is the hope that it will be more tolerant of the programming styles that are not mobile friendly. Other options currently are: Access NetFront, EudoraWeb Browser, PalmComm, and a beta on Opera (to name just a few). You may want to try a couple of these to see if your “must have” apps work better with different browsers.
5. You asked about a java environment. Blazer handles some java apps, but the full javamicroenvironment is a real space hog (so I’m not running it on my own Treo). From the Palm site about Blazer:
Extensive Support for Web Standards
I use and recommend products that are designed “clean” and work with all browser types — including mobile ones. I have even contacted godaddy.com to let them know that their login page is indicating that my blazer is an outdated version of IE or Netscape. They are currently looking into that problem. I want the places that I visit to welcome me — whether I’m at my desk or on the road. I expect it, I demand it. And if it’s not there, I request it and give an appropriate amount of time before finding a new vendor if they are unresponsive.
Real estate and insurance software is notoriously slow to adopt new technologies, whereas real estate agents aren’t. This constantly causes an issue between these “package” vendors and their clients when the vendors don’t keep up with client needs.
Anyone out there who is looking at designing or redesigning their site, should be sure it functions with a mobile browser, or risk losing a lot of visitors over the next few months. The Internet surfer is going mobile in a big way and it’s gaining momentum. This is especially important to real estate agent sites and any sites that agents or brokers use.
I hope this has helped.
Angela A. Parker
Writing and Marketing Magic
With her permission, it’s posted here and I hope it will help others considering a Treo to do an assessment of their essential existing programs before making a purchase to be sure the Treo software they buy will run the programs they need. Also, I hope this will encourage you to ask your vendors if they are mobile friendly, and to request that they become so if they aren’t already. Until they see a customer need, one they can measure, some companies don’t make changes.