Saturday, March 13, 2004

Screen Protection

As you know, I use a T|E with FitalyStamp. I have been using Fitaly for 2 years now and would not think of doing without it. Sometimes I use a Palm without it and I find I can easily remember my graffiti and have no trouble inputting a few commends or one/two word items of data. But I would never seriously consider entering a sentence or more without Fitaly.

[Aside: one of my reasons for reluctance in moving to a device with virtual graffiti is not the absence of Fitaly, since FitalyVirtual works well by all accounts, but the absence of a dedicated area for input, a keyboard as it were. A Palm feels ill-equipped without one.]

A side-effect of using FitalyStamp is that standard screen protectors no longer work, because the sticker on the graffiti area causes a huge, unavoidable air bubble at the bottom of the screen. One solution would be to put the Fitaly sticker on top of the screen protector, and I may try that when my Fitaly sticker is next due for replacement, but the last one has done six months and is still going strong.

So I had an idea: why not use a Tungsten C/W screen protector, which will cover the screen area but not the graffiti area? Brilliant, eh? So I ordered one from Brando and it arrived this morning.

Now, in my experience, it is only ever possible to fit a screen protector by allowing it to go between the screen and the casing at some point. Usually only by about 0.25mm, but the impossibility of absolutely precise alignment, given the constraints of trying to avoid marks and dust, means that at one corner there will be just a little too much screen protector, and the excess must be gently pushed under the casing.

The T|C Brando protector was no exception: I had three attempts, and each time it was slightly out of true at one corner. So after the third attempt I pushed the edge of the protector under between the screen and the casing, and found it easy to smooth out all the bubbles. But then disaster struck: my T|E died. Or to be precise, it would accept no screen input, or even simulated screen input. Even worse, when I tried to Hotsync, it would mysteriously turn off during the Hotsync, making it impossible to get an up-to-date back-up.

Since I had done this with screen protectors many time before, I assumed a software fault and went through the sequences of soft and hard resets to no avail. I checked my warranty status and discovered that Palm would want £72.34 to mend it. Knowing that whatever I decided to do, I would not need to leave the screen-protector on it, I took it off, and BINGO everything was back to normal.

So it seems that the T|E digitizer is so finely tuned that the thickness of a screen protector pressing between case and screen at one corner can totally disable it. Be warned.

I should note that I have used Brando screen protectors on an m505, a Clie SL10, and a T|T, all with the same need to push it underthe casing, and never experienced anything like this before. So it may just be a T|E thing, but it is worth watching out for.