Saturday, April 30, 2005

Zuma!!! What can I say? Its really good.



I have tried alot of Astraware's games, and I can say that Zuma is one of the best. Like many of Astraware's PopCap titles, it is incredibly similar to the original.

  • It runs in Hires+ as well as Landscape orientation

  • Rotating balls

  • "Cave" areas where you cant see or hit the balls

  • Multiple strings of balls

  • Powerups, such as the target indicator, and different speed altering powerups

PROs: Its really fun to play, and is almost exactly the same as the PC version.

CONs: Zuma loads levels slowly on my TH-55, and gets slow when there are many objects on screen. This is likely because of my poor slow TH-55, and most should not see this problem.

On my game scale of ratings, which again goes from 1-10+, it gets a 9.5

This game is way too fun for its own good, but it runs slow on low speed devices, and I am sure game makers could do a little more to optimize the speed for slower devices.

As always, you can download it here

Gmail with SnapperMail; it's now a reality

If any of you have GMail accounts, you can now use SnapperMail to retrieve your email using Gmail's new POP3 features!! Here's how to get it working:

Log into your Gmail account, go into Settings, select the "Forwarding and Pop" tab, and enable the type of POP3 you want to do.
Next, launch SnapperMail and create a new POP3 account.
In the "Server" tab, fill in the POP3 server with "pop.gmail.com", enter your full gmail email address as the username, and enter your password in the password field.
In the "Outgoing SMTP Server" field, enter "smtp.gmail.com", enter your full Gmail Email address, and enter your password.

Finally, choose "More" and adjust the following settings:
For POP3 settings:
Set the "Use SSL" drop-down to "Always Secure (wrapped port)", set the port to "995" and leave the other checkboxes unchecked.
For SMTP settings:
Set the "Use SSL" dropdown to "Always Secure (STARTTLS)", set the port to either port "465" or "587" and leave the other checkboxes unchecked. For me, I 1st used 465 and my receive worked BUT my send didn't. Then I tried 587 and then both worked. See what works best for you. Set up the rules as you wish, and when you tap "Send/Receive" you should be able to send and receive mail!

Works GREAT on my Zire 72! What are your experiences with GMAIL?

Readers: Sorry for the lack of pictures. I have yet to learn how to post my screenshots. My next blog will be a feast for the eyes!

Friday, April 29, 2005

Bob Pease, the closeup

TamsPalm covered National Semiconductor's mascot Bob Pease a few days ago. And here are the photos! Bob gladly posed to have himself photographed-here is a photo:

Look at those hand-written slides and at the printed book which didn't quite match the presentation. The company attempts to use Bob as mascot-and they are successful.

Please click on these images in order to see a bigger version. The cup rings, stains, etc actually are printed into the paper!

As you see, National tries to carry the Bob Pease is an engineer feeling over-and they did this very successfully.
Overall, I did enjoy the presentation. Bob is an extremely talented engineer-and he is marketed well. Kudos to National!

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Say hello to-David Zucker

Dear Readers,
It is yet again time to introduce a new author-give a warm welcome to David Zucker. David is coming from Salem, OR and has used almost every PalmOne handheld since the III. He is a software geek and tries out-um, well-every hack that he can get his hands on. His current Zire 72 contains over 60 addon programs-and they're getting more...
David is no developer-he will be focussing on howto and software stuff for everyday use.
This is his first time blogging-so please be as kind as possible to him. Give feedback and critics-but don't flame him!
w/best regards
Tam Hanna

Another Landscape update!

Not that big of an update, but I just wanted to give a little more info on the program.

The new versions performance hit is about 10mhz less on my TH-55, and so it benchmarks at ~105 in Speedy in landscape. The old version benched at ~95 in Speedy in landscape. The performance gain may be greater for more powerful systems, or may be less, im not sure. I think more powerful systems will benefit more.

On another note, the next version, 1.1, will not support the Garmin iQue 3600, but the next release after that, 1.2, may, so for all you Garmin users, keep your hopes up.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The FCC leaks again...

Most of you can still remember how the FCC leaked accurate information about the Tungsten E2 months before it hit the market. At this time most commentators beleived that this would be a one-time mistake, butr apparently, people at the FCC also develop a rumour problem recently. This time, the victim is IBM's X41 tablet PC-no, there is no information about the Life Drive yet.
Jamwes Kendrick somehow watched the FCC page and found a few images of the X41 which has not yet been announced by IBM. The images show details of the device, how it will look and also give a lot of system and radio specs.
Now there is the big question-what can a OEM do against this. I personally beleive that he can do nothing. You need FCC certification somehow(at least I think so, can anyone tell me more?). And if the FCC leaks your info, you can only sue them for reparation. Good fun fighting the US state....
Visit his blog for the full scoop.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Landscape 1.1 Looms, Sony HHE Graphics Engine hacked!!!


Click for a larger picture

Being one of the beta testers for Mobile-Stream, I am able to get some inside information about their products. At this moment on my Sony TH-55 I have version 1.1 of the Landscape application installed. This version includes many updates, the most noticable of which is the preferences panel. I can definitely say that this update will solve alot of problems. The preferences panel allows you to set "locked" applications, which will keep the landscape application from interfering with their orientation. You can also set a number of other options, including which APIs it supports (Palm or Sony). It is also possible to set the orientation that each application uses when it starts. This may allow Clie users to successfully use Media Launcher, but I have yet to try it. I will post an update on this later.

Now, if you thought that was good news, there is even more, and this is even more exciting. This applies specifically to Clie users who have the a TH, UX, or VZ pda. Before the landscape application was released, there were two really big problems that Clie users wanted fixed. We always wanted to be able to choose our device orientation (Landscape or Portrait), and we wanted someone to hack the graphics engine on the HHE chip. Some said it couldn't be done, but most just believed that it would never happen because of the difficulty involved. Well, Mobile Stream released an application to make Clies work in landscape, and now they are trying to acheive the second task. You heard me right, Mobile Stream has told me they are going to hack the graphics engine, allowing developers to use it for media decoding. To give a little background, I asked them if they could fix the bug that keeps things like LJP and TCPMP from working when the system is in the landscape orientation (I know the technical reason, but I am simplifying it here). They responded,

"We already had a conversation with Gabor Kovacs (The developer of TCPMP) and this will be fixed. Also we promised him a reverse-engineered interface for the HHE GE2D library. Hopefully it will allow for better movie playback on TH/UX/VZ."

Depending on the way that the "engine" works on the Clie devices, Gabor Kovacs (Picard in the TCPMP circle) may be able to optimize the codecs for this chip. If he is able to, it should lead to Clie (TH, UX, and VZ) devices being able to acheive much better video and audio playback.

Stay tuned for my next update, there is one other feature I may keep for another article, but dont get too excited, its not news for Clie users.

Note: I added comments in parentheses in the quote.

Also, I merged the pictures with GIMP. Im not that good with GIMP, if it looks sloppy. Im a "Paint" junkie, but I am stuck on my Mac for now.

What the Palm OS market lacks-a "mascot"

I was at a national semiconductor signal path seminar today. Of course, the information presented there was interesing, and going there definitely paid out. One figure stood above the rest-Bob Pease.
This guy is anm excellent and funny analog engineer that seems to have worked in almost every team national ever had or will ever have. Altough he is about 60 already, he is still full of energy and makes an extremely good teacher and presentator. However, he seemed to clearkly violate some if the non-written rules of presentations.
For example, he was the only presentator to use hand-written overhead slides-everyione else used a beamer and powerpoint. He was the only presentator who did not unclude a complete set of slides into the documentation book that was placed on each visitor's chair. The manual that we found was incomplete and had some scorchmarks, coffee cup rings, etc printed into it. Bob wore a long, long white beard, and so on....
I was stunned-Bob Pease stood in front of us and talked with everyone. He even answered my questions long and wide. When I overcame my awe, thought struck me. Everyone who knows Bob starts to consider him ther typical analog engineer. And thats the crucial point-everyone connects Bob Pease with National Semiconductor.
Tune in tomorrow for some pictures of the event and for what I beleive that Palmsource must do...

Monday, April 25, 2005

Designing for small screens-a little linklist

Recently, wireless bandwith got cheaper and cheaper. 50k costed 9.99$ on the Palm.net service-it now costs me 50 cents on my T-Mobile contract.
Wireless internet is starting to become a reality-but the screens still didn't really get bigger. So, designing for small screens is slowly but surely starting to become a necceccity for everyone who wants to have his web site viewed on mobile devices.
Indeed, creating a web site for mobile devices is quite different from main-stream web design. You cannot use all the technologies that you love on a PC-there is no real flash support, little storage and usually no Java VM.

Loads of problems. But TamsPalm has a solution:there is a nice web page that contains a huge load of information. Find it here:
http://www.informit.com/guides/content.asp?g=webdesign&seqNum=61&rl=1
What are your experiences?

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Optimizing the Palm OS emulator

Most of us already work with PODS. They use the Palm OS simulator for testing their programs. This program can be quite a beast to load and can use up to 142 MB of RAM if configured improperly.
But-its once again time for PODS tuning! The emulator takes up only 17500KB on my Windows 20000 development machine-and it loads incredibly fast. Here is what you need to understand in order to achieve this performance:
The Simulator basically has a RAM image of the entire simulated machine-and this RAM image is of course in system RAM and nowhere else. Now, some applications require a storage heap of 8 Megabytes and more-so the emulator can be set up to use a stograge heap of arbitary size. Most programs do not need more than 2MB though, but since Palmsource wants to avoid crashes etc. they set the initial value pretty high.
And here are the steps to reduce memory waste:

  1. Launch the simulator

  2. Open the context menu(right-click)

  3. Click Settings->Memory->Ram size->4 MB


Well, I originally had my ermulator set top 128MB. While this amout of RAM is similar to a Zodiac 2 and definitely looks impressive in the launcher's info dialog, it took 142 MB of RAM on my P4. Downgrading to 4MB may make the simulator less impressive, but it still enouigh for most (of my) apps. And I sure know a better way to use the 100MB of RAM...

Saturday, April 23, 2005

TealBackup, for the Paranoid Palmer

For anyone who worries about messing up their Palm by installing a corrupt program, or just one that doesnt like your system, a backup program is essential. Teal sent me a package of software to take a look at, and though all of the programs look good, this is one which I found myself using, due to its ease of use, and automation. If you want a backup program that you dont have to mess with, or ever really see, TealBackup is the one for you. Its a one-time setup, and even that is easy. Some of its benefits are:


  • Full compression and encryption options

  • Only backs up files that have been changed

  • It installs itself in the launcher folder on your expansion card, which makes it very easy to recover from a hard reset

  • It can automatically power down after a backup

  • It gives you complete control of deciding which files to backup, though interaction is not required

TealBackup also gives you the ability to control how your hotsync backs up, leaving no stone unturned.

Now, i'm not going to say this software is perfect, as it is missing the ability to quickly and easily create multiple backups on your card, though an experienced user can make the program do this. TealBackup is a great backup solution to protect you from a hard reset, and with its automated features, you can make sure your backup is always current, and secure, without ever having to see more than its main screen. I always turn on my pda in the morning and am greeted with the satisfaction of knowing that my handheld is backed up, since TealBackup's main screen lists your free card memory, as well as the time of your last backup.

My rating: 9/10

You can look at the many great Teal software programs at www.Tealpoint.com, or click here to see the page on TealBackup.

Friday, April 22, 2005

PalmSource installer 1.5 released

PalmSource released a new version of its over-the-air installer yesterday. It supports an array of new features-here is a short overview:

  • Self-extracting EXE creation for simplified Windows install

  • Self-extracting PRC support for Macintosh/Linux installation fallback

  • "Universal" URL supports OTA and desktop from one link

  • "Universal" browser support: IE, Firefox, Mozilla, Netscape, Opera

  • Installation support for OS selection and Device ID selection (in addition to language and screen resolution)

  • Auto-Run of app after install

  • Simple documentation install (“Installed Packages” Directory)

  • Improved graphics/icons

  • Updated documentation and samples


All these features are a big step towards OTA transfers. Palmsource installer also simplifies desktop installations. Up to now, creating a setup program required use of a setup generator like Innosetup. These are usually limited to Win32 operating systems-Linux and Mac users still need to download seperate PRC files. Now, you can create a single PRC file that handles the components. Missing libraries, wrong install files and other problems should not occur any more-support departments all over the world, rejoice.
This is IMHO the main reason for the program. OTA is still way to expensive, as a megabyte of GPRS data easily costs more than 1€. However, developers already missed a comfortable way to bundle libraries with their programs for quite some time now(see the Tungsten T3 DIA files, the different resolution versions of games, etc). SnapperMail had such a program a year ago or so, but only used it as an antipiracy measure. Now-developers all over the world are expected to use this tool since it is free.
Overall, this is a very nice product-and it is available for free. Developers needing further information should visit these PalmSource pages:
Portal Page
Developer Page
Samples

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Why a PDA can never be as powerful as a desktop

Recently, there is more and more chatter about how mobile desktops will eventually replace PDA's and smartphones. The Sony QOQ led to bickering and fear in both Palm OS and PocketPC user forums-but I personally feel that this is overreaction.
First of all, lets get to the screen size. Most people use a resolution of at least XGA or higher-while the best PDA's currently have VGA. When you create a line pattern in VGA, it is almost impossible to see the pattern, as it fades out into gray. The pixels are incredibly small and it gets difficult to hit single pixels with the stylus. Now imagine an XGA resolution on the handheld-the display would be impossible to see! And many programs require resolutions much higher than XGA-I just say AutoCad, Target 2003 for PCB layout and PODS/Visual Studio. Thus, one would have to increase the size of the screens-and alas we are back in the Tablet PC sector.
Hard disk space is the next limiting factor. Hard disks follow a simple rule-tmore disks, more capacity. Windows and other applications follow another simple rule: grow with capacity. Add all of these together, and you have this: a PDA is always gonna be smaller than a desktop PC or Tablet PC-so it will always have a disk capacity smaller by an order of magnitude. This will lead to dissatisfied users.
I could go on for hours-but lets end it for now. We had all of this a few years ago with the HP LX series and some other DOS-based Pocket computers-they all died out.
What do you think?

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

HSNSwitch, good for you, bad for developers!

A new utility was just released on FreewarePalm by the name of HSNSwitch (HotSync Name Switch). What this program can do is dynamically switch the hotsync name for every application, allowing you to migrate to a new pda, or just new hotsync name, without having to re-register all of your applications. I personally think this is a great idea for honest users, but with it comes a few problems for developers. Because most applications are locked by hotsync name, all that is required now to "crack" an application is a hotsync name, and a key. Before the release of this program, crackers had to create either keygenerators (keygens for short), or a patch, which alters the validation system to make it easy to illegally "register" the program. What do you think? Please feel free to comment.

You can download this program off of the authors website here, or off of FreewarePalm.

On simplicity

There is a new commercial on n-tv. It shows a very expensive pen and describes its history. The pen shown is the one that was developed for the NASA space missions. Its development costed over 1000000$. It then proceeded by showing a stupid, ordinary pencil accompanied by the words "This is how the russians solved the problem".
But I know another, similar example. Did you ever compare vacuum cleaners when at a store? I did-and oh boy, what a difference. A Siemens machine regulated suction power with an electronic system that was controlled with a multitude of buttons. The Progress one had a adjustable hole in the jet. You could slide a little piece of plastic over it to increase power. I owned and used both-and never noticed any advantage with the electronic one.
So, here is today's TamsPalm hint for developers. If the user does not notice a technical deficit and it doesn't hinder development-ignore it.
A collegue of mine is currently rewriting his-IMHO excellent-german warehouse manager. The new version will be all-dynamic. There will not be one line of old code in it.(his words)
And this is where I ask:why? His current version is stable and fast. It has a nice array of features and works very well. Does the user feel a difference between static and dynamic code? Do you?
Let's finish it for now. Next time you refactor/rewrite, just keep one thing in mind. Simple can be good too.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Cobalt on Sony TH-55

Recently viewing the Cobalt on Treo 650 article, I was very distressed that Sony devices were left out of the loop, per se. I decided to take things into my own hands. Below is a photo of my TH-55 running Cobalt. Or...., at least a photo of the Cobalt simulator displayed fullscreen, as PDALive mentioned would be the easiest way to fake this. That is what I did, BTW. If you want to read the PDALive article, click here. If you want to see Cobalt on a real device, you will have to wait, but for now you've got teaser pics.


Note: The original post was by PalmAddicts, but they did not comment, so i'm linking to PDALive.

Disclaimer: If anyone at PalmSource would like me to remove this post for any reason, feel free to email me at jjesusfreak01@gmail.com

The Motorola MPX is dead

Motorola today announced that they will cancel the MPx-their do-it-all handset running Windows Mobile. The device was announced over a year ago and hat some striking similarities to the UX50. People living in asia are lucky, as the machine faced a limited release in Malaysia. Here is a photo of the MPX, just to get it back into your minds:

What does this mean for the business? Well, first of all it is a heavy whack for Microsoft. M$ was among the first to have PDA's with an integrated keyboard(I can strill remember the Jornada 720, oh boy what a machine). However, the whole platform was killed and no new machines followed. Psion also died out for a long long time, their EPOC operating system is now used in smartphones. The only M$-powered handheld in a similar form factor is the announced MDA4/XDA4-but who knows if it won't face a similar fate!
What do you beleive?

Due Yesterday v6.0 Release Candidate is out!

For those of you who love and use Due Yesterday, I wanted to give the heads up that v6.0 is now out. You can get it at PalmGear or go to their website for more information. Version 6.0 provides support for almost all screen resolutions on Palm devices.

Monday, April 18, 2005

The Cradle-an endangered species

The first Palm Pilot shipped with a docking station called cradle. This device soon got cult status among PalmOS handheld owners. When PalmOne's T5 was announced, it lacked this corpus delicti. Commentators all over the world immediately commenced ranting, TamsPalm included. However, I recently started to see the benefits of a data cable:
Display orientation independant
The cool thing about the T3 was the landscape/portrait mode screen system. Many users began to use both modes as appropriate. Switching required a single tap-doing it often is no problem. But the cradle cannot rotate-it can be designed for landscape or portrait mode. But what happens if your T3(portrait optimized cradle) needs to be recharged while working in landscape mode? This photo shows how cumbersome the process can get:

Multiple connection/disconnection cycles can get annoying really fast. Also, the position my hand has in the image is extremely uncomfortable. A T5 user misses out on these problems-looks as if a PalmOne engineer used his brains...
Portability
Drive mode is useful-and it is coming big. Beeing able to use a handheld as an intelligent external drive is great and gives you freedom from the PC that you have at home. This freedom is limited by the weight and the size of the docking station. One can easily take a cable on a short visit-but a full-sized cradle?
This post will definitely annoy/perplex some of you-feel free to comment.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Convergence of Media players and Palm PDAs

What do the Epson P-2000 photo viewer (not shown) and the average Palm PDA have in common? My answer is "not enough".



Many Palm PDAs can play video and view pictures, but there is only one media viewer out right now that has PDA functions. It is the Archos PMA-400, and I'll discuss its capabilities a little later. The problem is that there is no device that can claim to be a good portable photo viewer and a PDA. This is essentially the holy grail of device convergence. The new, (rumoured) Palm handheld which holds the name "Tungsten X", for now, tries to do this, and from my angle, it looks like it has alot in common with the Archos player. I'll tell you why.

The Archos player only has one major flaw, a lack of card slots, which are essential for a portable media viewer, since they are mainly used for uploading pictures away from a computer. The device does have USB host drivers, so it can still upload pictures to its harddrive, but must use the camera as the card reader, which will drain the camera battery. It even has a 30gb harddrive, but runs linux, which somewhat takes away from its usefulness as a PDA, since users will mainly be forced to use the included programs, or any written by third party developers (screen size is an issue for programs). The screen is only 320 by 240, or QVGA, the same res as all older PPC devices, so though they claim that it can handle enhanced definition content (720x480, Wide DVD), it can only decode it, not display it in its full glory.

On to the LifeDrive
The Palm T|X handheld is similar for a few reasons. The main one is that it tries to be both a media player and a PDA, but has the same problem as the Archos. It only has an SD slot, and not a CF slot. Unlike the Archos, it is also lacking in storage, though it does hover way above any Palm or PPC device out right now in terms of installed memory with 4gb. This is more than enough for a music player, but not good enough for storing huge amounts of video content.

Will anyone get it right? I believe somebody will, and I believe either the next generation of Palm handhelds, or the next set of Archos devices will find a way to make this convergence a reality. BTW, TapWave has been working on this convergence thing for quite some time. The next Zodiac is rumored to have a hrd drive like the Tungsten X. They would have it right-if they only had smart marketing to back it up!

Why the Life Drive cannot be a "Zire"

The Zire series logoWe all read Ed Hardy's editorial on why the Zire 73 will never hit the market. He beleives that the Life Drive will not land in the Tungsten, but rather in the Zire line. He has a few arguments that seem pretty plausible-but I still think that he forgot a variable in his equasion.
Ed goes into great detail about how the new model will support native multimedia files and streaming. In his oppinion, multimedia and streaming is something that designates a Zire series handheld. When you continue thinking this way, you get to the following fact: A Tungsten is not a multi-media handheld. Actually, this is wrong. The T5 comes with loads of multimedia programs, and so did my T3. A top-of-the-line model usually is expected to be able to do (almost) everything the models below it can-and this is where his no1 argument busts!
The internal hard drive is something that needs to debut in the Tungsten line IMHO. WLAN debuted in a Tungsten, and so did WLAN and NVFS. Color was introduced with the IIIc which also was a flagship model. Same story with SD/MMC(m5xx series came first).
Some of you may now ask what a business man needs a 4g hard drive for. The answer is simple:company files! A teacher/friend of mine is manager in a chemical firm. We talked about his needs with organizers recently. The number one thing that he wanted was: storage-the more the better! His notebook contains over a gig of MS word files. He needs most of them very often. Programs like Docs 6 allow the maintaining of a file structure on the SD card. But SD cards currently are limited to 1GB-the Life Drive would be the PDA that he would buy immediately. It would replace his external hdd, floppy disks, notebook, etc and would allow him to work on the files on the go.
Also, the rumoured 32 MB of RAM make perfect sense in a business handheld. Business programs like web browsers and email clients usually make little trouble when having to store data on a external storage(e.G. SnapperMail enterprise). The main troublemakers are games.....
Concludingly, there is little reason for the Life Drive to be a Zire line handheld. It has all the features that a business man needs and wants. It is by far better than the Tungsten T5. Releasing it at the same price as the T5 would kill T5 sales-T5 components could easily be recycled as a Zire 73(think of this, dudes). I don't want to know if the TE and the T2 don't share the same screen and other components....
So, lets end it for today. What do you think? Is Ed right? Will the Life Drive kill the Zire line? Or will it be a Tungsten?

Friday, April 15, 2005

The rumourous flow of information

TamsPalm ran a story giving 100% proof of the TE2's imminent release about 8h ahead of its announcement. PalmInfoCenter and BrightHand were both informed and even posted other news, ignoring the call from TamsPalm. However, at 00.00h, the PIC posted detailled information on the TE2. A web site even had a complete review online. Now, there remains one big question. How?
Now, I received the following email by one of the editors working at one of the pages:
Thanks for the tip, but, for obvious reasons, I couldn't say anything about this yesterday.

Lets let that sink in. These pages got informations way before the public. PalmOne possibly gave them test devices, etc in exchange for silence. The editors got perfect coverage of the new device, but they had to wait publishing. But enough of the past. Lets look at the new Life Drive and the Zire 73. A lot of info about these devices was published some time ago. Now, there is no new information online. Can this mean that PIC, BrightHand, etc now have their eval boxen and quench their squealing editors? Does this indicate the imminent release of the two machines? Of course, one can argue that there simply is no new information available. However, the PIC already published multiple articles at 00.00h. Each one of them contained cutting-edge informations about new devices.....
Lets finish for now. The PIC and Brighthand obviously get insider information. I cannot tell you how they do it, but I can tell you that they do it. Feel free to comment.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Wireless Transfer with a Mac?


For those of you with a wireless Sony Clie handheld and a Mac, you probably believe that you cannot wirelessly transfer files between your PDA and your Mac OSX computer unless you buy "The Missing Sync".

However, TamsPalm has a solution-and it is called SMBMate. This freeware program allows wireless file transfer using the SMB protocol for Windows. Now, though this is primarily a Windows protocol, Mac OSX supports it for transfer of files with a Windows desktop. In Mac OSX, you simply enter the system preferences, select sharing, and select Windows sharing. In the Palm program, SMBMate, create a new connection, and a resource path of "\\localhost\????" (the "????" is your user name on OSX). For the IP Address, just enter your computers IP Address. On most home networks, this will be 192.168.1.??? (or a similar variant)1. On the Login page of SMBMate, the username must be your Mac OSX username, and the password your OSX password. This setup will work on Palm PDAs, but it is more necessary for Sony owners, as they do not have the Mac version of Palm Desktop for file transfers.

SMBMate can be downloaded here from the 1src download section. I believe it is the newest available version (1.0 alpha 8), though the rights for this software were sold to another company, so it is no longer being developed. The commercial version is called WiFile.

Note 1. To find your IP Address in OSX, enter the system preferences, hit network, double click Airport, or your network connection type, and click TCP/IP. IP Address should be listed, and you can copy that into the proper field in SMBMate.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The TE2 is out

Well, what we all expected did happen. The TE2 is out. It hit the market on the 13th of April, but the life drive isn't here yet.

The TE2 has the rumoured 200MhZ CPU, and a highly optimized NVFS system according to some reviews. Also, it has bluetooth and an enhanced screen. Feels kinda like the transition from m505 to m515, but this time, with added horsepower. The PalmOne WIFI card will be supported in May, so throwing another 100$ at the machine will get you WIFI. Battery life has been enhanced, the TE2 is said to run 11h while playing MP3 according to CNET.
The overall good impression is however weakened by three things:
  • High price of 250$
  • No Voice recorder
  • No internal memory
The latter one will probably the main problem of the TE2. A PocketPC can play MP3 rgiht out of the box, while a Palm cannot(if it doesn't have an internal drive). If the TE2 at least had the Drive Mode app, it could be advertised as a cardreader...

Instead of boring you with all the facts, etc-here is a shirt linklist where you can look up reviews and detailled impressions yourself:

Reviews
CNET
BargainPDA
PdaBuyersGuide
Announcements
Brighthand
PalmInfoCenter
So, this was it for now. How do you think that the TE2 will fare?

PicselAccellerator, now thats an idea.

Dmitry Grinberg has just released a program called PiscelAccelerator, that removes the long startup times of PicselViewer. I have used it, and it does seem to work well. Historically, Picsel Viewer has been used by Clie users to gage the performance of their handhelds and see if background processes are running, because Picsel Viewer loads progressively slower when more background processes are running. This program will remove one of our favorite benchmarking programs, but will give us back one of the most useful programs on our handhelds.
Clie owners can find this great fix at the downloads page on Dmitry's site.

Picsel Viewer can view most major document and picture formats, and they appear as they would on a computer screen. It antialiases text, and allows zooming, and other tools, but not editing.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The TE2 is coming

TamsPalm was one of the big players in the Tungsten E2 story when it was first announced. Not it is clear that the machine is coming, as PalmOne ads for it were spotted on Engadget.


Basically, there is little new with the E2. It will now have a 200MhZ CPU and will use NVFS as storage area. Another new feature is bluetooth. It will use the new Athena style connector that is already installed on the T5. The housing has not changed, and it looks as if the FCC model was not a fake-I repeat, not a fake.
Now-there is only one thing left to decide on-when will it hit the market. Most Palm OS analysts beleive that it will be the 13 of april, but I have not yet received any kind of information.
Concludingly, I am not sure about how this machine will fare. When you look at it from a Palm Os view, it is a good upgrade to the TE, altough a bit more RAM would have helped out. However, it has to fight PocketPCs with a physically bigger screen and more RAM. A PocketPC can play MP3's when it comes out of the box, the TE2 can't(unless a 128MB card gets bundled).
Lets now await the market's decicion.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Please help-WebPro and RealOne for Clie/Zodiac

Well, it is time again. After having made NetFront compatible with all other kinds of handheld, it is now time to do the same treatment to WebPro and RealOne. These two products also limit their target audience to a specific brand of handheld-without any real reason except marketing(and the Sound API problem on some Clies).

If you want to test, please download MakeTungsten. Install it to your handheld, get your hands onto RealOne or WebPro and install them too. then, click the button that corresponds to the handheld that you want to become. Alas, run the program! I have not yet had the opportunity to test myself, but I did a reverse test. Makeclie blocked both WebPro and RealOne on my T3.

This version of the program can emulate the following handhelds:
  • Tungsten T3
  • Tungsten T5
  • Tungsten C
  • Tungsten T
  • Treo 650
This means that it may also be possible to get Blazer 4 running, but I could not yet get my hands on the files.

Some Sony Handhelds use a proprietary sound API. These machines need an emulator than emulates the PalmSource standard one-please refer to 1src for further informations!

As always-no warranties. And keep the feedback coming, guys!

Literature makes new customers

Recently, I emailed TI in order to get some information on their CD4k family. I just wanted a PDF pinout overview-they didn't have that. It looks as if the Harris migration wasn't as smooth as it may seem. I forgot about the topic-and about experimenting with IC's while learning digital electronics.
Well-until I got a call. A TNT delivery clerk phoned me that he had a 7.5 kilogram package for me and would like to deliver it. Erm, what da? Was Sony trying to get rid of me with a 10k bomb? Or whatever??
After opening the packahege, I was heavily astonished. It contained a huge lot of literature about TI's main TTL logic families. This picture shows all the stuff standing on my bookshelf:

Here you see a few of the things contained:

Also, TI included a poster advertising its role in the development of the integrated circuit:

Overall, TI now gained a new customer. I may not be a huge buyer(about 50pcs or so), but next time, I will definitely demand TI's stuff! PalmSource could really cut a slice off!

New Free Media Player for the Palm OS

I was originally let onto this by JungleMike at 1src, but its big enough news to spread around. The developers of Betaplayer (the popular free player for ppc devices) have begun work on a similar player for Palm OS 5 devices. It can play all but a few of the files types that are supported by BetaPlayer, but the early test version doesnt have a real interface, because it is just a test of the decoding engine. The new player will be called, "The Core Pocket Media Player" or TCPMP for short. It will sit alongside its new PPC counterpart (BetaPlayer is being renamed), which will carry the same name, and will be developed to the same standards. You can download it here, and the official forum is here. I know I am looking forward to the development of this player, it should beat everything else out of the water.

Friday, April 08, 2005

PUG Vienna-Palm meet yesterday

On every first thursday of a month, the vienniese palm user group meets at the Pizza Plus. Yesterday, we met. There was no fixed discussion topic this time, and so we chatted about various things.
First of all-our ipod-dude Alexander finally sold his shuffle. Not that he got any wiser-he now has an ipod photo and loaded it with 4000 photos-a procedure that took 2h.

BTW, the image below compares ipod and T3 screen size.

Herwig was in a pretty funny mood at the beginning of the meet. However, his personality soon normalized and he tought us a lot about lighting and the definition of white. Did you know that many white papers actually contain a bit of blue color?

Here you see Sabine, the girlfriend of our PHP-specialist Boris looking at a pile of mac-related newspapers. Since I have a PC, I cannot quite understand al the fuzz-someone please explain it to me!

And here we have Boris himself. This picture shows him in a thinking state-he is thinking how to solve a PHP problem...

Finally, a little camera comparison between SX1(left and Treo 600(right). Please zoom in on the second one in order to be able to fully appreciate the distortions! The image test person is me, just FYI.

Overall, it was yet another interesting meet. I definitely enyoed my stay. Readers, visit/support your local PUG and tell us about it!

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Non-Volatile RAM, a Reality

This is just something I stumbled upon a while ago, and its very interesting. A company named Compu-Technics developed a new type of memory titled, "Quantum Optical Ram". It uses a fucused laser beam, and a solid state storage device to create memory at densities of up to 6.4GB (Gigabytes) per mm cubed. Thats right, 6.4 Gigabytes in 1 cubic millimeter (This is the max, they are using half that density in products now). That allows for nearly limitless storage for something the size of a computer. The one thing that sets this apart from other types of memory is that its cycle speed is so fast that it can be used for RAM in a computer and nonvolatile storage at the same time.

To give you an idea of the density:

Thats a quantum memory card the size of a usb plug.

Right now, its usage is limited to 2 laptops that the company showed off at CES this year (They won top awards in their division by the way). They also have working prototypes of connection devices that use their product, such as usb adapters, and memory cards (not sure if the cards are working).

What I am getting at is that this type of memory is ideal for PDAs. The one downside to a pda is that large amounts of ram are both expensive, and volatile. For this reason, they have to be supplemented by ROM to store the OS, and some have flash to store other programs, but most people use flash expansion. If this Quantum memory ever made it into a handheld, it would be the end of our memory worries. They could put enough memory into a PDA in the space that the RAM currently takes up to make it rival most laptops, and you would never have to worry about RAM, ever. Non-volatile RAM also means that it will use alot less battery, because no part of the storage system needs constant power. It will likely be a long while before this makes it into PDAs, but keep your hopes up, and for now, some links to more information on the technology.

Link to the howstuffworks article where this is featured
Link to the Atom Chip website (contains more info on the technology)

I was planning to cut the article off here, but right before publishing, two articles popped up on very similar technologies. IBMs version is called Millipede technology, and though it appears to have a higher density than Quantum RAM, it does not appear that it can be used as RAM. The second technology is made by Hitachi, and is called perpendicular recording. Its just an improvement on the current method of hard drive storage. The Hitachi Technology will let us see 4 platter drives with 1TB, and microdrives with 20GB. The IBM and AtomChip technology will allow much larger jumps in storage. In otherwords, you are likely to see two really steep jumps in storage technology in the near future. The first will be moderately large, to multiple TB hardrives, and the second will be huge, enabling us to fit nearly unlimited amounts of data in small amounts of space. You will see the Hitachi drives first, and if all goes well, the Quantum RAM and Millipede technology will follow, not necessarily in that order.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Something interesting about the Tungsten C.

To anyone who knows what the Tungsten C is, this name brings the idea of a very powerful PDA. It is, in fact, the only Palm PDA with built in 802.11b wireless. What you may not know is that there is no listing on the FCC website for this device. Its a phantom, or is it. The truth is, the TC is listed on the FCC website, but not under that name. It was originally called the Tungsten W2. You heard me right, this was originally intended to be the successor to the TW.

Below are unaltered photos of both devices . In appearance, they are completely identical. Just a little bit of investigative reporting, until the next Palm device comes out.



In the latest news, there is a handheld, with some pictures, of the Tungsten C2, which essentially would be the W3, think about that. It is a photoshopped image, but i'm including it anyway. Here is a photo of it:

As you see, people are really waiting for the successor of the TC. The next Palm is likely to be the Palm LifeDrive, of the Tungsten line. This is a rumor, but is also rumored to be released this month.
Find further information about the W2/TC story at the FCC web site by following this link:
FCC homepage

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

NetFront on T3

Users who have a Clie usualy don't discuss Netfront. Users who don't have one want to have the program. It is as easy as this.

UPDATE to UPDATE-I had a typo in Dimitry's name. Sorry for that, I didn't mean to insult anyone!

UPDATE-MakeClie works with PXAcliocker. Dimitry Grinberg is posting information which is correct-but only in theory. PxaClocker works with the Creator ID changed.

Many people have already attempted to run NetFront on a non-Clie handheld, but all of them failed. The program either couldn't be installed or didn't run. But these times are over-there is a solution! Do you see this image?

Here is how you can get to this state. First of all, you will need NetFront, McFile and a program called MakeClie that I cooked up myself.
Install NetFront to a memory card with Softick Card Export or a card reader-it cannot be synchronized due to specific internal architecture or whatever! Then, install McFile and MakeClie. Indeed-you will need McFile because my favourite file Manager FileZ does not copy the file.
Now, do the following:
a)Start McFile
b)Copy the file to RAM
c)Open MakeClie and click one of the buttons
d)Run NetFront
If you have enough dynamic memory(if not-use this program) and don't have TextPlus activated, Netfront should work well. So should the 3d launcher. However, WebPro and RealOne cease to work until the unit is resetted. Also, you have ridiculous alerts at every reset and every global find. But overall, NetFront works.
Tomorrow, there will be more details!

GMAIL giveaway-part 3

GMAIL logo from google's homepageGMAIL recently was updated to include 2 Gigabytes of storage for emails. Google added support for HTML emails in the process-all in all, quite a nice service. However, access to GMAIL is still limited to those who receive an invite. Now, I have a few invites to give away-read below for instructions.
Here is a list of features:

  • 2gb of mail storage-and its getting more and more
  • Login serves as Google groups account
  • HTML email support in on-line app
  • Spam filter
  • Basic web frontend accessible from every browser
  • POP access
  • 10MB maximum email size
So, if you want a GMAIL account, please email me at Tamog@gmx.at.

Monday, April 04, 2005

On forums and their moderation-part 2

Welcome back to the second post on discussion forums. If you haven't caught the first post, find it here. Reading it is important if you fully want to understand this post...
Lets now get to troll management. Trollings happen. They cannot be avoided. A user is bored, so he posts some junk to a forum and enjoys the sound of users bashing up each other.
Now, unhappy users are frustrated. And they need to do something against their frustration. Lets quote a theologist(he is not famous, but I liked this quote-BTW, he is my religion teacher): A sacrifice is a mass murder. A group of people selects an object and destroys it in order to get rid of their aggressions and frustrations-by Mag.Christian Claucig
I hope that you forgive me the extreme example, but it should put the thing clear. Unhappy users love to flame others. If users are unhappy due to excess moderation, trolls have good standing. Flamewars lead to aggressions, ......
Lets now take a look at why users are the most valuable resources a community has. Indeed, the site owner is the one who pays for the bandwidth and the web space-but is this all that there is for a successful board?
Bandwidth + Web space=Discussion?
I say no. And I have reason behind my words! Web space and bandwidth cannot talk or give answers to questions. It only aids the distribution of information. However, the information is created by the forum's users. So, a forum without users is a dead one. ..
Another thing-how does our fellow administrator react to claims? Well, I read a few of his posts concerning the matter. All he says is that he is satisfied with the moderators, that he is the one paying for the platform, etc. I say-better read TamsPalm!
Well, to conclude for now. I am not sure if all of you liked this excourse into psychology-but I enjoyed it and hope that you at least had a few new thoughts!

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Outlook+Hardreset=ouch

Recently, the catastrophe happened. I hardreset my T3 and syncronized it with Outlook the first time. Synced ok, but no contacts, etc on the machine. So, hotsync again-and alas, all contacts, etc were gone once and for all(in outlook).
Dispair, as I lost a few meetings-but no total catastrophe. I luckily had back-upped my .pst file every now and then on a CD-RW. So I reimported everything and found out that I only lost a few mailing list contacts that could be recreated easily.
So, here is a litle intro into backing up your outlook data and other stuff that you may need in your life:
a)Get a CD-RW
CD-RW's can be written on many, many times. They do not cost much more than a regular CD-R, but can be used up to 1000 times!
b)Locate your pst files.
This actualy is the hard part. Outlook saves all your data in a so-called personal storage file which is hidden somewhere in the filesystem. In order to determine where the file is, you need to right-click it in the folder tree. Then, you have to click on Properties and then on Advanced. Alas, here is the path to your pst file.
c)Burn the file to a CD-RW-and do it often
Many people tend to see this part as easy-but it actualy is the hardest of the four, as it envolves an enormemous amount of discipline. Clicking the burn button is an easy thing to do, but clicking it once a day?
I have almost lost my data now, and already lost all of it once.- So, keep backing up, dudes!

Receive all kinds of files with your Palm OS handheld-for 0.00$

We all loath our PalmOS handhelds because they can not accept all kinds of files via Infrared, Hotsync and Bluetooth. A shareware called ReceiveIT promised interception of transfers-but it was rather pricy and the evaluation version never really worked for me. But-there is a new solution on the market. It is called GetdeBlu and is distributed as freeware. Here is a link to its homepage.
And on we go-here is a quick look at the program:

The interface is straightforward to use-add a file type to the program's list. Or change into MIME mode via the menu. Or add a * to intercept al kinds of files that the handheld does not know yet(I didn't test this though).
You can set the default storage directors in the preferences of the program. Access them via the Menu-the form should look like this:

Overall, this is a must-have utility for everybody who wants to communicate using his vfs-enabled PalmOS handheld. It requires 16k of memory(plus cache for incoming file), OS4 and a memory card.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Cell phones and contracts-why they belong together

Cell phones and contracts-why they belong together
You see it many, many times a year-users bickering about purchasing contact handsets from their carriers. Of course, some of these phones really suck(heavy branding, etc)-but most of them are usable or can be made usable with little hacks like disabling internet access. Now, many users don't want to buy these for whatever reason they may have. However , here are the reasons why I think most of them are wrong:
You need a contract
Face it-if you really want to use your phone, you need a contract. Prepaid is cumbersome and expensive. Also, a prepaid card tends to run out when you need it the most.
Easier access to service and help
Getting help with a PalmOS handheld is hard-some phone manufacturers are worse. If your phone "belongs" to the carrier, he is the ony one responsible for its function. He cannot announce that this model isn't supported on the network. If something doesn't work, the carrier has to fix it!
You don't change your phone number unless you absolutely have to
I have more than 400 numbers in my Palm. A friend of mine has 2000. If we would change our phone numbers, all of these guys need to be informed-an impossible task. It would take half a year until all of them get the idea-and then, half of the bind time is already over.
I bought loads of phones off my carrier for me and my dad-we had 3 erricson ones, a T68i, two MyX5's from Sagem, two MT50 from Siemens,....-and always were happy.
Contract phones for you?