Palm Tungsten Blog
Wednesday, February 26, 2003
My vote for the best use of bluetooth technology yet goes to this:
I don't have a T68 to try it out, but if it works, why limit it to the phone? Why not have your TT as the remote control for your Mac? It would be much easier to use.
Wednesday, February 19, 2003
To Do Plus
Mentioning ToDo+ from Handshigh yesterday, I remembered that they have still not added proper support for the Navigator Pad. In particular, it is not possible to select and check off items using the Navigator and select button. This is so obvious that even Palm put it in the ROM version of ToDo List. Come on Handshigh, you have a really useful product but it is beginning to look out of date.
Tuesday, February 18, 2003
I have noticed that the Cover-Up flip cover makes my screen very dusty. No damage occurs, because this is not grit but looks more like lint (I suspect there is a US-UK difference in what that word means), but it is slightly irritating. At first I thought it would go away as the cover was used a bit, but it seems to continue. I cannot work out if it is coming from the atmosphere and being caught by the cover as it flips over, or whether it is falling from the soft pad which covers the screen area. The lint is largely white but the pad is black, so maybe I just live in a very dusty pace and the Cover-Up accentuates the effect.
I own a license for Agendus, but I never use it. However, a queasy feeling of disorganization this morning encouraged me to download version 6 and take a look.
There is a Today view, which is pretty standard, and an improvement on ToDo filtering, so that now you can pick more than one (but fewer than all) categories to be dislayed. The list view is quite nice, and the data entry screens are good except they assume that everything you do needs linking to a contact.
Anyway, a bit of playing with Agendus made me realize what I really really want from PIM software. I am quite happy with the built-in date bok, and have no problem having to press two buttons to see my appointments and to-dos. ToDo+ does a nice job of adding alarms, repeats and better filters to the to-do list. But noting I have ever seen allows you two views of your to-dos at once. I would like a split screen view, so thatI could see, for example, all items due today in the top half and all due some time this week in the bottom half, or view what is due in one category and what is coming up in another, or .... That would really allow me to plan my day.
Monday, February 17, 2003
OK, I have done the deed. The four best photos of the Cover-Up on my TT are now online. They should answer the questions that the photos on The Pocket Solution website do not. So that I do not have to spend more of my employer's time formatting this page in raw HTML (which is what you have to do with Blogger), I am just going to do them as links for the time being.
Here is a view from the side with the cover closed. If you look carefully you can see the screen pad.
Here is a view of how the TT rests on a desk when the case is open. I like it.
Here is a detail of the hinge when the case is closed, showing how there is a small gap. This prevents the SD card from being accidentally released.
And here is a detail of the all important attachment point.
Conclusion After four days use, my view is that if you want a protective flip cover, this will do just fine. It is strong, light and adds next to no bulk. But the finish is lower quality than the TT itself, the edges are slightly sharp, and because it is opaque, it reduces functionality.
Updates on UK site
The Audio and Digitizer updates are now on Palm's UK website, along with an update for Versa Mail to help with handling of jpeg attachments. Get them all here - in fact I suggest you bookmark that page for future reference!
Meanwhile, while I have my morning coffee, I am going to hoik the photos of the Cover-up onto my work PC and try to upload them later today.
Saturday, February 15, 2003
Unfortunately the promised photos of the Cover-up will have to wait until I become more au fait with OS X. My camera (a Casio) appears to use a 16-bit DOS FAT, and OS X recognizes the card in the camera but refuses to mount it as a drive. Anyone who has some suggestions, please e-mail me ASAP.
Friday, February 14, 2003
Cover-up from The Pocket Solution
This arrived yesterday (my stinginess meant it was sent airmail rather than Global Priority, so it took 10 days to cross the Atlantic). I am pretty pleased with it so far and will post some more details this evening (photos are dependent upon whetehr i can get my digital camera to speak to my Mac). Meanwhile, here are the key features:
- It attaches by a small velcro pad about 25mm by 10 mm on the top back section of the TT.
- Apart from that, it is made of high-grade aluminium throughout, but with a coarser, less satiny finish than the TT itself.
- It hinges at the back and only opens about 225 degrees. When open on a desk, the TT is propped up at a rather nice angle for viewing.
- On the inside of the cover there is a sqaure foam pad which fits into the recessed screen area, and two rubber pads which prevent metal on metal contact and stop the buttons being accidentally pressed.
- When closed it adds surprisingly little bulk to the TT. In fact, in the hand it feels smaller than the standard plastic cover.
First opinion: if you just want screen and button protection, this is a very effective though not particularly beautiful solution.
This is an interesting one. It seems that I was not alone in the following train of throught:
"The digitizer seems to miss some of my taps at the top of the screen. This is probably a hardware fault which could be fixed under warranty. However it is only a minor irritation, whereas sending the TT back to be replaced would be a major irritation involving lengthy discussions with half-trained Customer Service Assistants. So I will live with it."
Fortunately enough people must have complained to Palm for them to investigate and discover that it is a software bug. So yesterday they released an update which cures it. Get it here. Like the Audio Update, it has not been released in Europe yet, but I have tried it on my EFIGS TT and it does the job without causing any problems.
Tuesday, February 11, 2003
Docs To Go
While I have always appreciated the fact that mid to high end Palms come with office software, I have never found much use for it. If I use my Palm for writing, it is the 'get that idea down quickly' sort of writing, and I do not need to carry around complex documents to access on the road. In fact, my biggest mobile office type of use is the annotated bibliography I am building up, and that works very well as a Memo category.
However, I have now found a totally invaluable use for Docs to Go (DTG). I have a Windows lapop at work and a Mac at home. Sometims I need to work on documents, usually Word files, at home. Now I could bring the lappy home, but it weighs a ton and I tend to walk. When I had a PC at home I just carried a floppy in my bag. What to do now?
One solution is to e-mail the documents to myself, but (a) tests showed that some formatting was lost, (b) I would need to know what I wanted in advance, whereas in practice there are 3-4 papers I am working on at any time and I might find myself wanting to edit any one of them.
It turns out that if I load DTG on both the lappy and the Mac and use the TT as a go-between, the synchonisation is almost perfect, except, and this is the bummer, for footnotes. More research needed, as they say.
Sunday, February 09, 2003
I made the switch to Mac on Friday. So far I am pretty pleased. I have not used a Mac since 1991, and in between spent a lot of time with EPOC, so I was pleasantly surprised to find how much OSX reminded me of EPOC.
Anyway, I can report that Palm Desktop installs fine from the CD-ROM which comes with your TT. However, since I have started using Entourage for e-mail (I never touched Outlook on Windows) I decided to try sync-ing the Palm with Entourage.
I could put up with Entourage for Mail, but formed a very rapid dislike of it as a PIM. At first I thought this was because of the way it tried to integrate all my PIM data, but now I think I have put my finger on it: Entourage (and Outlook) makes a non-reversible assumption that it is your main PIM software, that you will do everything of importance with it and you only want to sync to a Palm in order to have a mobile copy of Entourage data. With me exactly the reverse is true: my Palm is my personal computer, the place where I keep all and edit all my important data. I only bother to synchronize, rather than just back-up, to the desktop to give me cut'n'paste transfer of data with other applications.
Suspecting from the installation instructions that it would have the same fault, I have also decided against installing iSync. I am going to stick with PalmDesktop simply because it makes no assumptions about relative priority between desktop and handheld PIM: you can treat your Palm as a mobile copy of your Palm Desktop, or vice versa.
If, unlike me, you do want to sync your TT with Entourage, you need to visit this link, and if you want to sync with the Mac address book and iCal software, go here.
Thursday, February 06, 2003
At long long last the Audion Update for the TT has appeared on Palm's US website here. Though it is not on the UK website yet, I cannot find anything which says it is incompatible with EFIGS units, so I have installed it and it seems to work fine. Do tell me ASAP if anyone finds any problems with it, but meanwhile enjoy those multimedia moments which you used to envy PPC users for!
Proporta Aluminium Case
I have been sent a sample of the Proporta aluminium case and it is fantastic. A really clever design which has addressed all the issues that have cropped up in case reviews over the years (with the exception of needing to take it out of the case to fit on the cradlle - but this case is for road warriors and they don't carry no cradle!).
Attachment is by gentle pressure from the neoprene padding applied to the bottom section of the TT. It is a tight but comfortable fit, and in case you might worry that in time it will loosen there are two extra safety features: spring-loaded attachment to the two accessory connection points on the back of the TT, and the lid of the case has a lip, which will prevent the TT sliding out when the case is closed. The lid closes very firmly, so I do not expect it to pop open on a 1 metre drop (but it is not as strong as this!)
Being very accurately machined aluminium, it adds very little bulk (much less than the Scuba case) and almost no weight to the PDA. There are cutaways for all functions, plus some designed so that you can get a good grip on the TT when (a) opening the slider, and (b) taking it out of the case.
I will take some photos, though they will not add much to the very clear one's on Proporta's website here, and then pass it along to Craig, who is doing a big comparative review of cases to appear in March Foxpop. But my first impression is: an outstandingly clever design which maintains maximum functionality while providing serious impact and scratch protection.
Wednesday, February 05, 2003
The AeroPlayer has finally come out of beta and Pocket Tunes 1.4, which I slightly prefer for no good reason, now plays MP3s as well as Ogg files and has the option to play in the background. All we need now is for Palm to distribute the sound patch to improve the playback quality. Rumour has it that the RealPlayer will be available mid-Feb and that the sound patch will be released then.
Sunday, February 02, 2003
That stupid plastic cover!
The Vaja case has still not arrived, but my patience has worn thin with the plastic cover. While putting my TT away the other day my attention was distracted and I found myself holding the cover and not the TT! Fortunately the impact does not seem to have done any harm, but my instinctive attempt to catch the falling object was disastrous: I scratched teh screen with my fingernail. Aaargh!
Fortunately the scratch has disappeared with some special polymer polish, but I have learnt the lesson and ordered a Cover-up from www.thepocketsolution.com. I will post some photos when it arrives, since the ones on their website are lousy.
Number 1: How To Switch from OS4 to OS5
When upgrading from an OS4 to an OS5 device like the TT, nearly all your software will work, but it is worth taking care. So I recommend the following procedure:
1. If you are using any hacks, run your hack-manager (Tealmaster or X-master) and disable them all. Also disable any hack-like applications such as keyboard drivers.
2. Hotsync your OS4 device and make a complete copy of the C:\..\Palm\
3. Navigate to C:\...\Palm\
If you have any software that you know is incompatible, such as the PPK driver, delete it from this folder too.
4. Do a hard reset on the OS5 device.
5. Put the OS5 device in the cradle and Hotsync. When asked select the username of your OS4 device.
6. Enable and test your hacks one by one. All self-contained applications (i.e. ones which do not try to do something while another app is running) should be fine.
7. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO HOTSYNC YOUR OS4 DEVICE AGAIN! Since you now have two Palms with the same username, if you Hotsync them to the same computer, in any order or under any circumstances, you will almost certainly get data loss. If you want to carry on using the OS4 device, do a hard reset and give it a new username. This will mean that any registered shareware will not work on it, but since you only paid for one licence, that is fair enough. If there is something you paid for which only works on OS4, then contact the author and explain the situation. Most are reasonable people and they will give you a new registration code for the new username.
Number 2: How To set up a Bluetooth Connection between the TT and the Sony-Ericsson T68i (by Craig Murphy)
Stage 1: If you haven't done so already, install the T68i drivers onto the Palm. These can be found on the disc that came with your TT or can be downloaded from Palm's website.
Stage 2: Go to Prefs/Bluetooth on the Palm, and make the settings:
* Bluetooth - On
* Device Name - Give your TT a name
* Discoverable - Yes
* Allow Wakeup - No
Stage 3: On your T68i go to Connect/Bluetooth/Discover, and allow the phone to find the Palm. Enter a passkey on the phone and then enter the same passkey on the Palm. The Palm should now show your T68i as atrusted device.
Stage 4: Now, go to Prefs/Connection on the Palm and select the BT to Sony-E T68i driver.
Stage 5: Next, go to Prefs/Phone, and make sure that the BT to Sony-E T68i driver is selected. Tap test to ensure that the Palm correctly sees the phone.
Stage 6: Next, go to Prefs/Network and enter ALL your ISP's details and select the BT to Sony-E T68i driver as the connection type. Tap connect to ensure that the connection can be established.
Stage 7: Finally, select the correct Network connection in whichever e-mail/web browser you're using.