Palm Tungsten Blog
Wednesday, November 27, 2002
Expansys have got some stock of the 'Slim Leather Case' for the TT. Still no sign of the Scuba case though.
The big question of whether we could use our old Universal Connector (m5xx) PPK/Stowaways with the TT has been resolved. Palm have released a beta of the keyboard driver for the TT:
Unfortunately, when I was trying to raise cash in ahurry to buy my TT, I was pessimistic about this ever happening (since it would undercut sales of the UltraThin keyboard) and thus sold the PPK as well. Duh! So I cannot report how well or badly it works. Anyone out there with a TT and a PPK (or a PPK with universal connector they want to lend me)?
Monday, November 25, 2002
I have not got around to doing any testing yet, but noticed over the weekend that my TT went without a charge for 32 hours, that usage was average in that time (about 45 mins per day with backlight at 33%), but included two regular back-ups to SD, and the battery level only dropped to 75%. It looks like a week on a charge is plausible.
Sunday, November 24, 2002
The latest version of pToolSet is bringing a 32k clipboard to OS5 with 'copy', 'cut', 'paste', and 'select all' available via customizable graffiti strokes. This really is the killer utility for OS5.
Saturday, November 23, 2002
It has just occurred to me: what is the point of having a cutaway for the navigator button if the flip-cover is opaque? Have I missed something?
A reader, Chris Mellor, has sent me this link: http://thepocketsolution.com/tungsten.htm.
It appears that this company are making flip covers for the Tungsten T, though there is a long lead on their delivery (4-6 weeks). The design looks good, aluminium with padding for the screen and a cutaway for the navigator, but the attachment is by velcro. They have done nothing to take into account the unique sliding design of the TT, presumably because they have assumed that the only times the TT will be 'open' will be times when it is in use.
I think $24.95 plus shipping is a bit steep for a flip cover, and I cannot see why the TT cover is $5 more than the ones for PPC and Sony machines.
Thursday, November 21, 2002
The first launcher replacement to take advantage of the Tungsten T was Embark. I had a quick look at v.1.0 but found it a bit slow (I don't expect to ever see a 'please wait' box on the TT). When v.1.01 came out 10 days later, I tried that but found my free trial period had expired. This is cheap shareware ($12), so I was a bit taken aback by the stinginess of the author.
Anyway, LauncherX was released on Tuesday and I have been enjoying it immensely. To anyone familiar with LauncherIII, this will be very familiar. There is slightly greater control over the appearance, a few more gadgets, and improved card support allowing it to use multiple folders on the card. The long awaited 'Homer', which will add McPhling-style application switching has not been implemented yet.
LauncherIII was not the most visually spectacular launcher, but it was small, fast, well-featured and very robust. LauncherX will probably be outdone on the skins and custimization front by an OS5 version of SilverScreen, but I suspect that it will soon be established as the launcher of choice for power users. For example, there are three options for refreshing the apps list: Automatic, Manual and Ignore Card. Whichever you set, there is a little refresh button on the top of the screen by the time, so a full scan of RAM and all designated card directories is only a tap away.
Monday, November 18, 2002
I am getting really fed up with the plastic screen cover that comes with the TT. It makes simple jobs fiddly and slow, plus I am always worried about dropping the Palm during the process.
Unfortunately, even the Palm Store has no stocks of the cases yet. But Amazon has a larger than life photo and a bit of a description of the so-called 'Scuba' slip case. I expected it to be a neoprene glove from which the TT had to be completely removed. But the description at Amozon mentions metal re-inforcements and ability to access all functions. Close scrutiny of the photo suggests that it has a rigid front panel that opens to the left, exposing the TT. The big question is how they manage to bind case and device together while still allowing the sliding mechanism to work. I hope it is not velcro, but uses the elasticity of the material to grip the Palm (like Vaja leather cases).
And a big brownie point for the first person to spot a third-party TT case.
Tuesday, November 12, 2002
It worked. So here are the figures: 23'34" of voice at maximum compression (2 bit sampling) becomes a 4.02mb Palm database. the trouble is that it sounds terrible. Not only is it as fuzzy and crackly as 1960s vinyl, but it appear gets stuck like a needle on vinyl: "Last night I dreamt I dreamt I deamt I dreamt I went to Manderley again". Oh well, listening to audio books on the train remains something PPC can do which Palm is still trying to catch up.
Audio - the missing app
Everyone who unpacks their shiny new Tungsten T is aware that something is missing - an audio player. We know that Real Networks are working on one, and Palm have said it will be a free download, but some of us have long boring train-journeys to get through and are getting impatient.
The guys at SmartCell Technology have tried to fill the gap with AudioPlus v.1.2. AudioPlus is a sound file player for the Palm, and is now Tungsten compatible. It comes with a converter which creates the PDBs and they can then be played either from RAM or SD cards. I can put up with not playing standard formats directly from the SD card (though I hope Real will manage this), but compression is the issue here. The sample file of music takes 638kb for 1 minute, yes, 1 minute. One minute of speech is 369kb. All of a sudden my 32mb card is looking rather puny.
By way of testing I took an audio CD of Jenny Agutter reading Rebecca. The AudioPlus converter only accepts WAV files as input, so I searched the web for a freeware Audio to WAV ripper, which I found here, and ripped the first chapter. That came out at a trifling 240mb WAV file. Then I set AudioPlus to convert it at maximum compression with the voice setting on. First attempt crashed my PC. Second attempt worked away for 15 minutes then gave an error message. FOr the third attempt I am going to close every other running app and leave it to its own devices. I'll report back later. Ciao.
Saturday, November 09, 2002
Essential Utility #1
If you have just moved to a Tungsten T, you will probably have been dismayed to find that all those little hacks and applets on which you life depended no longer work. The solution is to get pToolSet, though make sure you get version 6.41 or higher. It can be called up with a single tap or through the command bar, and has loads of essential widgets, and more are being added all the time. It also includes a 'text tool' which gives major league text editing functionality, including sorting, in any text field in any app. These are the sorts of thing we all feared could not be done in OS5.
Friday, November 08, 2002
The 'Low End Palm' idea rather went up the spout when my Tungsten T was delivered last Friday. Anyway, what I am going to do is turn this Blog into a Q&A corner on the TT.
If you have any questions about the Palm Tungsten T, e-mail them to email@example.com and I will do my best to answer them on this Blog.