Friday, November 26, 2004

The Treo 650 SD Card Giveaway-Mysteries of memory-explained

PalmOne has announced that each Treo 650 buyer is eligible for one(1) free 128Mb SD Card. This card should help reduce the memory loss from flash memory segmentation-PalmONE announces that it is about 30%, but practically, it can be way more, if the individual chunks are much smaller than 512 bytes. Even though 128MB may not be that muich wehn you lok at it today, this is definitely a step in the right direction. In times whwre Palm's arrogance knew no limits, users were left alone with problems like cases falling apart(IIIc), power buttons not working(V series),.. . Now, PalmONE at least says that there is a problem and offers some recompensation in hardware form. Before, the only recompensation action ever made was with the m130's color display lie(!!yes, I am writing lie!!)-and it was a measly game that nobody seemed to quite want.. . Tungsten T5 users are still excluded-but well, when they buy at PalmDirects, they get a free one anyway as with most other handhelds(C,E,Z72)!

Now, many users will not have used an SD Card before and may now ask themselves what will happen. Will the handheld's RAM get extended to 128MB, like we had it with the old memory cards for the Pilot? Or will the card be treated as secondary storage, from where data cannot be run?
I am sorry about having to tell you that the second is the truth. Any program is copied to RAM BEFORE beeing run, then is run from RAM, and then deleted from memory again! Non-VFS-aware apps are even worse, as they keep all their data in the handhelds RAM. VFS-aware apps can at least store data on the card! Now, when there isn't enough free RAM on the handheld for the app-tough luck, the app won't run. Preferences are always stored on the handheld, and only apps resindent in main memory can act as so-called viewers for incoming files!
Thus, this is my advice:
Keep your RAM free! Apps that don't need to synchronize or act as viewers and where delays at startup can be accepted(e.g. games, web browsers, stuff you dont need permanentely)-shouldn't be left in main memory. Copy them out to your SD card-they survive a hard reset there, too!!!


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