Sunday, December 01, 2002

More pToolSet News

pToolSet is being updated so often at the moment that it is hard to keep up, but v.6.44 adds a major new function which is worth telling you about: pMagiPad.


In case you are not familiar with Paul Nevai's MagiPad concept, let me explain. MagiPad is a place where you can store all those bits of text, such as your address, or a collection of URLs, or a template for a numbered list, or ... It can then be accessed, via pToolSet, from within any application and the relevant item of text copied across (Command q is the 'Qopy'n'Paste function which takes the text highlighted in pMagiPad and pastes it into the current text field of the application you were in when you launched pMagiPad). The uses are endless.

Despite all the frenetic activity amongst developers which the launch of the TT has generated, pToolSet is still streets ahead.


PalmInfoCenter has a review of TomeRaider which mentions but does not detail some issues with the Tungsten. I don't know what their problem was, but I am using v.2.82 on my TT, with a 6mb database in external memory and it works brilliantly. It is also considerably faster than on the old m505.


Though OS5 has the 'enhanced' security of OS4, it is still pretty basic. So anyone who wants to protect data from prying eyes, or wants to make their Palm unusable if stolen (more below), should consider an application like TealLock. It is sufficiebtly customizable to suit everyone's level of security with the minimum of inconvenience. Personally I have it set to lock the Palm every three hours, every day. Some may prefer to use the scheduling function, locking the Palm outside office hours, for example.




Two really good features are (i) the option to encrypt databases when the Palm is locked (with the 128-bit Blowfish algorithm, if you wish), and (ii) the quick access password which allows the Palm to be unlocked by a sequence of button presses, but only gives you one try and only a few seconds to do it.

Encryption Options

I have been using v.4.70 on my TT and it works fine. I found a small conflict between v.4.66 and v.6.43 of pToolSet, but both apps have been updated since then and it seems to have gone away. This small problem gave me an opportunity to test out TealPoint Software's support, and it was excellent. They replied quickly and helpfully to my e-mail, and avoided the common bluff of blaming someone else's software.

My only caveat is a Palm OS bug which has not been fixed in OS5 � the Palm system password does not accept uppercase characters. So if you use uppercase characters in your TealLock password and tell TealLock to keep the system password in sync, these will be changed to lowercase for the system password. (It is not that the OS5 system password is case-insensitive, but that if you uppercase any of the characters in your password when it is set, you must enter them in lowercase to unlock. Discovering this cost me an evening of mild panic.)

If you have data on your Palm which is sensitive, TealLock�s combination of password access and encryption makes it an invaluable addition to OS5.

How can TealLock protect your Palm if stolen?

Alert readers will have realized that someone who steals your Palm but has no interest in your data need only do a hard reset to get around TealLock. However, it is possible to run TealLock from flash RAM, so that it will survive a hard reset. I have not tried this for the simple reason that over the years I have discovered that Palms I have not used FlashPro/JackFlash on are an order of magnitude more stable than those I have messed with their flash. But even if you do not run TealLock from flash memory, it might still render your Palm unusable. There was a story in circulation about 6 years ago about a journalist who was captured by mujehaddin (is that the right transliteration?). All his work, contacts etc. were on a Psion series 3, which he had set to lock every time he switched off. His captors were unable to crack teh security, so they took the batteries out. When they put them back in it was still locked, so they gave up and returned the Psion to the journalist. How come? Well, they did not know about the back-up battery on a Psion, which kept the RAM live while they took the main batteries out.

Someone who stole your TT with TealLock active could not take out the batteries, so they would have to either know how to do a hard reset or leave it for several weeks for the batteries to run down completely. Just leaving it on until the batteries were so low it would not switch on (then recharging) will not be sufficient to get around TealLock, because the Palm is designed to protect your data as long as possible.