Palm Tungsten Blog

Sunday, December 07, 2003


For a very roundabout reason, which only a man who describes himself as Bignoseduglyguy knows, I have just re-read Trevor Casswell's excellent article about how he understands the Zen of Palm. In it he says:
For example: we often reach for a PDA when we would normally reach for a pen and paper, to jot down a quick note, make a list of things to do, or enter an appointment in our diaries. PalmOS applications, therefore, try to mimic the immediacy of pen and paper by allowing you to enter or edit data 'in-position'; all you have to do is tap on the right spot on the screen and start writing. It's quick, simple, and has the great advantage of allowing you to see everything in context.

This reminded me of one of the simplest and best freeware word-processing apps for the Palm: Freewrite. Freewrite is designed for schoolkids, and has a remarkable feature which should e an option on every word-processor: wherever you tap on the screen, you can start writing. So suppose you want to indent some text, you do not need to enter lots of spaces or tabs, just tap where you want the text to start and get writing!

P.S. Freewrite certainly used to be free, but now the website describes it as a 'demo' version, but does not seem to provide any means of paying for it. I suspect they make their money out of consultancy and thus don't want to appear to be giving stuff away.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003


The acronym is for BackUpBuddyVFS, a utility which i certainly use every day, since it does an automated back-up of my T|E to my resident SD card at 18:01. Why then? Because I will have finished entering work data, but not yet begun any messing around with new apps during the evening, so restoring to that moment is unlikely to lose anything of great importance.

I mention this because I have just 'requested' an upgrade. At last the OS 5 version is out of beta, but to get a copy, you have to e-mail BlueNomad to ask for it. That always strikes me as a labour-intensive way of looking after your customers, and in the modern world, rather slow. I am used to upgrades being sent to me or logging on to a website to download them. This has much more of the flavour of going to a shop and asking for what you want. Now that is weird!


After a very long period of indecisive testing and failing to write a review for Foxpop, I finally registered Secret! from Linkesoft today.

Secret! is yet another way of encrypting sensitive data on your Palm, but it has two major advantages: it is an encrypted Memopad, so data can be kept as freeform as you like, or as structured as you like, for that matter, and it imports from and exports to the memo database (I only use 4kb memos, so I have not yet discovered what will happen if you try to import a 32kb memo into Secret!, but my guess is that Secret! will cope fine, since the text field size for a standard Palm database is 32kb, not 4kb), and there is a free OS X viewer for your encrypted databases. The viewr is written by Martin Demers and is available here. Thanks Martin - it is great to have such a useful piece of freeware.

While at Linkesoft's website I discovered that Screenshot5 has been updated and a brilliant new piece of functionality has been introduced: you can now export screenshots to your SD card in gif or bmp formats. The two of you who have been reading this blog for some while will have noticed that I stopped posting screenshots in June. This was simply because I had gone over to Mac at both home and work by then (I am IT purchaser for my Department, so I get to choose at work as well!) and the only way to convert screenshots on a Mac was via a specialist graphics converter application which costs $30. It always struck me that $30 was rather a lot extra to pay just to use the app I had bought for my Palm. But now I can do the conversion on the Palm and just read the card on the Mac. And in case you are wondering, Preview opens bmp files by default (bmp is a Windows format, but that should not bother the OS X user) and will export them to jpeg and several other formats.