Thursday, April 29, 2004


I decided to download the latest release of HandBase (3.0j) this morning and logged into their 'registered downloads' section, only to hit a problem: I registered HandBase Plus when I still used a Windows box at work, and their licenses are for either Windows or Mac but not both. Since I only use the Palm app because when I last checked out Mac support it was dire, I thought I would just download the package and install the Palm app ignoring the rest. But that was not to be because the download is a Windows executable.

I e-mailed support who said that since I had bought a license for Windows that was that, but passed me on to Sales who offered me the Mac desktop for $9.99. I replied that I did not want the desktop, just the Palm app I had already paid for. So I agreed to a 'downgrade' from HandBase Plus to HandBase ordinary in exchange for the switch to a Mac registration.

The apparently incremental increase to 3.0j from 3.0h includes masses of improvements, but the most obvious and most overdue is hi-res icons:

HandBaseseparatorHandBase beaming options

The other good news is that there is now a proper desktop companion for Mac OS X. You need to have the 'Plus' version or better to get full two-way synchronization, but the standard version allows one to open and edit HandBase databases on the desktop. It seems that you have to open them from your Backup folder and then save them to the Install folder [but OS X makes it easy to Save As to a particular folder by putting that in the Favourites]. The odd thing is that the Desktop app does not allow one to create new databases. I think this is because the version I have is crippled and they want extra money out of me.

I am a pretty light user of databases, so I have no idea how HandBase compares to its rivals, but it certainly has all the functionality I need.

Moreover, it follows the iSilo lead in being cross-platform: you can create a HandBase database on you Palm OS PDA and beam it to a PPC or vice versa. While this is achieved through a proprietary standard, at least it helps dispel the myth that if you don't use Windows (on the desktop or in your hand) you are at some sort of disadvantage when it comes to sharing files.