Sunday, February 08, 2004

AgendaVu Themes

AgendaVU is a neat app which displays images in the Agenda view (all is explained) of the Calendar app on the T|E and T|T3. There are a variety of themes available, each of which consists in a set of photos which alternate instead of the plain blue background that is standard.

If all goes well, thanks to the co-operation of Alan at Cushysoft, there should soon be a free Foxpop theme for AgendaVU, based around teh logo at the top of this page.

More Zaurus

So, I have found about 4 hours to play with the CL750 so far. Most of the time has ben familiarization with the software. It comes running Qtopia, which is pretty easy to use. Here are some things I have learnt or tried so far:

1. The internal storage is divided into RAM and Flash. The RAM is purely operating memory (64mb) and the flash purely storage. The parts of the flash memory which contain the 'system' files are not user accessible, leaving 30mb of storage space on-board. This divison of memory between storage and working memory is exactly the same as the distinction between disk-drives and RAM on a desktop, and is unsurprising since the Zaurus runs a desktop OS. Compared to a PPC, the division is static, not allowing the user to effetively swap working memory for storage at the cost of not being able to have so many apps open at once. [The following sentence has been updated] Compared to the Palm it sometimes seems a little slow: while the PIM apps, including email, open almost instantly, there are occasional delays. Even with its 400mHz Intel processor, the Zaurus is not noticeably quicker at anything than the T|E with its 126mHz OMAP.

2. Keyboard navigation is bery easy. The arrow keys work in all apps, and there are 'Cancel' and 'OK' buttons on the keyboard, which work in dialogues but also close windows with or without saving. In 'palm' mode there is a jog-dial and an OK/Cancel rocker.

3. Qtopia includes some office software, so I tested out MSWord compatibility. Files from Word on my Mac opened fine on the Zaurus, and, perhaps more impressively, Word files created in Hancom Word on the Zaurus and Docs to Go on the Palm were fully interchangeable. These were pretty basic files, with no formatting more complex than tables, but at least they recognize each other's file formats. I will try some spreadsheets next.

4. The landscape screen and fantastic resolution make reading text a real pleasure.

5. The review model came with an AirCable, which is basically a bluetooth card which (a) needs no drivers (on any OS with appropriate serial protocols), and (b) uses the serial port. It took me some time to get this paired with my Fisio 825, but that turned out to be because the Fisio will only pair with one 'PC' at a time, and thus I had to overwrite the pairing with my T|T.

6. The Zaurus only expects to make network connections via CF cards or IR, so setting up the AirCable is a bit of a fuss. The network connection 'Wizzard' (sic) has not been translated from the Japanese, so I used that with lots of guesses, then edited the service afterwards. Fortunately those dialogues have been translated. The instructions from AirCAble say that you must first create an Dial-up over IR service and then edit the script manually to get the Zaurus to use the serial port rather than the IR. I found that the easiest way to do this was not to use the Terminal, but to edit with the Texteditor then use the FileManager to remove the .txt extension. Unfortunately, if you edit the service, for example to change the modem init string, in the Network manager, that removes the manual chnage to the script. After much messing about and two reboots (because the serial port was apparently 'in use'), I got it working. Personally, I find web browsing over a GSM connection unbearably slow and expensive, so the main point of this exercise is checking e-mail.