Sunday, May 29, 2005

Part 2:Updates-a user talks about his experiences

So, lets get back to software updates with the second part of the user experience. In case you missed the first part-it is here:
http://tamspalm.blogspot.com/2005/05/updates-user-talks-about-his.html
Lets continue:

And damnit-I hate barcodes. everybody uses barcodes around me, and they change their codes once a year. I have to buy new licences each time. OMG; I cannot stand it anymore!

Listen up!! Here we are at the next problematic point. The user is dissatisfied because she is forced to update. Updating bar codes is ok if you do it for a technical reason, but updating just to generate cash?
Users will feel the difference, and will loath you if they feel that youn upgrade only to pull their cash out of their pockets. so, when upgrading, always offer addon value-but don't break the things that worked well before.

Who knows. I can't change it. Should stop ranting and get back to work. If they weren't the only company offering this kind of product. If they werent the market standard...

This is the death blow for any vendor. The user I talked with hasn't yet cancelled your licence contract at the bank, but already dismissed you mentally. If the people start to dislike you and your software, they will gladly help the competition by betatesting and other things. Even if you may not feel the effects immediately, such a company looses on the long term. We all want to retire as software engineers, don't we?

Friday, May 27, 2005

Gui and Shell-whats the difference

Please don't be afraid-the second part on updates will come soon. But before, I would like to discuss something different that I saw over at the Linux Weeek in vienna.
You all know Linux. It is a pretty shell-based POSIX operating system. And you might have heard about zsh, the new "super shell". It offers autocompletition "menus", selection with enter, etc and reduces typing effort to a minimum. Impressuive when you compare it to the crude MS DOS command line on which countless Tam hours have been spent measuring and controlling stuff over RS232. Using windows was not possible due to the direct memory access technique used. And after all, nothing beats a command line for geekyness;-P
But this is the point! Where is the difference between a GUI and zsh? Both can be conterlled with the keyboard. While hackers will frown over Windows and KDE, they will be all bonkers about zsh. But in pronciple, these two tools are all the same. The one displays in XGA natively, the other one can be displayed in XGA. The one can be controlled with cursors, and so can be the other. The one offers easy access to options-and so does the other. In case you haven't tried zsh yet, it even allows you to list program options in a wizard while typing.
Overall, this shows a thing that many developers underestimate. The so-called Market Myth/dogma. If many users beleive x, no matwer how mad it is, it will be hard to convince them. You will have to adjust or you will die.
Just look at extremists in the real world... . What do you think?

Tungsten T3

I was searching on compusa's website today and I noticed they are selling the Tungsten T3 for $299.99. Are these leftovers? I checked and it was available in one of the stores around me too. Do you think this is an error?

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Palm, palmOne, Palm, make up your mind!

palmOne has aquired full rights to the name "palm" again. palmOne will change their name back to palm later this year. So that means there will be a new logo. Also it sounds like the palm PDA's released this fall will have the palm logo. What do you like better, Palm or palmOne?

Updates-a user talks about his experiences

You all still remember the TamsPalm series on updates-if not, here are the links:
Part 1
Part 2
Today, I talked with a female store owner about her experiences with software-she did not want her name or business published. This is respected, but this story is true nevertheless!
The discussion started by a mention of the word improvement. The lady jolted up from her seat...

Damnit, I have given up beeing pissed so long ago. Nothing ever gets better, and nothing will ever get better! There is no such thing as investition security or compatibility in IT anyway.

Of course, a software developer now feels urged to discuss-but no chance. The woman developed a fatalistic point of view towards her software vendor. While she cannot swap for now because there is no other program available, she has ressentiments when a new version arrives.
This is perplexing-what should I do? No more updates??

Damn, everthing changes so fast. This is a scandal, nothing ever stays the same. I used CTRL-A for some task in the old version, and CTRL-A deletes data in the new one. (curses)

Geez laweez-this is her problem. She dislikes new versdions as stuff changes. The lesson is very easy today-never change too much. Users are lazy and don't want to learn. So, always offer them to keep on working with the new one using the old habits and ways. If you need to do a change, keep a compatibility mode inside. It may be more work, but your users will love you for it!

Stay tuned-the second part is coming soon!

Monday, May 23, 2005

PalmSource-David Nagel resigns

Just a quick info blurb-the german news portal Golem reports that David Nagel, the PalmSource CEO has resigned. He will be replaced by Patrick McVeigh for now. However, Nagel will still consult PalmSource until July 2005.
Well, don't ask me why he went just after the PalmOS on Linux move. Maybe it wasnt that great after all? The devcon is scheduled soon, so we will know more then!
What do you think?

Tungsten C being discontinued

If you want to purchase a Tungsten C (only one left with universal connector) Buy it fast because I have recieved information from a reliable source that palmone will be discontinuing it. So say farewell to the universal connector and the QWERTY keyboard.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

The Motorola RAZR-lets check it out

I recently had the opportunity to spend some time(30min) with that new Motorola Razor. Here are my impressions-please keep in mind that this is not a full review.
Size
There is little to say about this. The machine is as thin as my Palm V and also is way smaller and quite a bit lighter. A truly pocketable machine.

Mechanics
The device has a kind of keyboard I never saw before. It reminds me of the foil keyboards one found on older Psions, but is extremely comfortable to use. The keys travel less than a mm, but it feels good. The RAZR also has a few hard buttons-on the display unit.

However, the speaker is at the bottom of the machine. Don't ask me why Motorola chose this stupid place-Palmone behaves similarly.
Screen
The screen looks ok. If you set it to max. brightness, it compares well to my T3(it has protective foil on in this image).

Camera
I couldn't get the reference photo I made out of the device. The VGA camera offers regulatable brightness and a 4x zoom. But the images aren't too good IMHO-some portions are too bright while others are too dark, A SX1 does better...
Software
Lets cut a long story short-the Java enabled IOS stands no chance against Series 60 or PalmOS. Java applications take long to load, and they cannot be suspended easily. The organizer software is mediocre at best-but it still has a funky program. Look at this

its a 3d address book. Funky...
So, lets finish for now. The RAZR definitely is impressive-but it cannot replace any handheld(I'd prefer a m515 or SX1). The hardware blows fresh wind into the market, but the bundled software cannot satisfy my needs.
Do you like the Motorola RAZR?

Mobile Managers

So the lifedrive is out, Now whats next? 40gb? VGA? 802.11g? Please post comments on what you would like in the next mobile manager.

A little slow....

If anyone has notived, TamsPalm has been a little slow in recent days. I have final exams coming up next week, but after that im free for the summer. What that means for readers is that you can expect a good amount of new editorials and news reports after next week, as well as other material. If anyone has suggestions of things they would like to see on TamsPalm, feel free to tell us in the comments section.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Multiplayer games-why they are good for smartphones

Recently, Nokia announced a huge load of new games for their NGAGE and smartphone platforms. When you look at all the news that can be obtained at a finance site like Finanznachrichten, you will soon see one mayor picture: multiplayer gaming. People pay 10$ a month for beeing allowed to PLAY(!!!) a game purchased for like 40$(Warcraft or how was it called??).
Actually, multiplayer games have some huge advantages to them. An artificial intelligence cannot change the way it's internal algorithm works-and once you understand it, there is little challenge left in the game. In contrast, a human enemy cannot be analyzed easily-there are all kind of people in this world. Some are cowards, some are aggressive, etc.
Also, games usually are the most interesting when played in mission mode. A single player game will eventually run out of new missions, while a MPOG can always be supplied with new stuff.
PalmOne killed its .net service about a year ago due to lack of subscribers-altough the service offered stuff that even dangers, etc cannot fully do yet. Imagine .net's infinite plan bundled with some nice online games. New user groups would have purchased a new, hip Mobtex device, BellSouth had customers and PalmOne made cash.
If Tapwave would really start to focus on Multiplayer games, they would gain market share pretty fast. Also, a few multiplayer games bundled with a Treo or GSPDA smartphone would lead to both cash for the carriers(data flatrate) and to sales of the device.
What do you think?

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The Life Drive is here-and it is not alone

All the rumors we heard weeks ago about a new handheld called Life Drive are true, the machine is here. And just like in the times of the T3-everyone is going all bonkers!
Many news sites say that it is the only non-mediaplayer mobile device with a 4gb hard drive-but it is not. Nokia recently began shipping its N series(they already ship in Saudi Arabia-data from www.finanznachrichten.de(german site)). And oh boy, isn't the N91 similar to our new darling. Here is a quick glance at some of the specs:

  • 2 Megapixel Camera with carl zeiss objective
  • USB 2 for Drive Mode
  • Mobile phone
  • 4gb hard drive
  • 12h MP3 useage

Obviously, all the N91 lacks is a touchscreen. Most new users and buyers will not know about the advantages of this input device - and thus go for the N91 with its impressive mobile phone and digital camera technologies.
Now, don't get me wrong. I don't want to say that the LifeDrive is doomed/will not sell well. While it definitely has a few little flaws IMHO(Hard drive as program storage, more on this later), I am sure that it will sell well in the PDA market. But it will have difficulties to attract teenagers-they will prefer a 100$ subsidized solution from their carrier with a smaller screen...

New LifeDrive Photos!

Some more lifedrive photos for your veiwing enjoyment. If rumors are true it will be announced in a few hours.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

LifeDrive Announced!

The lifedrive has been announced! It was everything the roumors said it would be, wi-fi, 4gb, 320X480, and more. Go to Palmone. We will have more information later.

Another quick shot at Linux-now for the ipod

TamsPalm discussed Linux for the Nintendo DS a few days ago. Now, yet another popular end user device gets the Tux-the 1,2,3gen of Apple's popular ipod. Visit the ipodlinux homepage for further details!
At the fist glance, it is diffidcult to see a reason for porting Linux to the ipod. The ports to the PocketPC's were somehow expectable if you think how buggy the first versions of Windows CE were. However, the ipod's firmware always had a high quality and also was expandable.
But, looking at the specs of the new ipodlinux, one can immediately see why users were all bonkers to get this working. There are world clocks, mandelbrot explorers, games and even an ogg player...
Apple has not yet sued the creators of the programs, and I actually think it were a wise idea to actually support these geeks! Their firmware is getting more and more stable, and could eventually become a real replacement for the ipods IOS. If Apple supports the project now, it could eventually bundle it with the 5th gen ipods-and save themselves the effort of always adding features to their IOS.
How do you feel about ipodlinux? Is it on your ipod?
Image by ipodlinux project. Available under GNU Free Documentation License 1.2.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Windows XP SP2, bluetooth and a Tungsten T3-Part 2

Yesterday, TamsPalm explained how to send files to a bluetooth device with your Windows XP bluetooth stack. Today, we will cover receiving files and connecting to the internet via Softick PPP.
Receiving files is a funky procedure that can be a real pain in the butt if you want to transfer more than one file. First of all you need to enable the bluetoth icon. This can be done in the General section of your Bluetooth preferences. Then, click on the new B icon in the taskbar and select "Receive file". A wizard will pop up-go ahead and send a single(!) file over to your PC. The wizard will prompt for the location where the file should be saved, and thats it. If you want to receive another file, you need to click the bluetooth icon once again, etc. Microsoft really needs to optimize this IMHO.
The setup procedure for the bluetoth serial port is similar to the procedure on other stacks. Just open up the Bluetooth icon in your system prefs and click the COM ports tab. Then, create a new COM port that is intended to accept connections. Setting up Softick PPP can be done in the usual fashion. Just read it up on the internet(quick pointer->enable PPP at startup->select bluetooth serial port in Serial/Bluetooth tab..).
Ovwerall, I enjoyed playing around with the Microsoft bluetooth stack. I would have loved to do further experiments, but I lack the Professonal edition of Windows XP.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Windows XP SP2, bluetooth and a Tungsten T3

Microsoft added a Bluetooth Stack to its Windows XP in the Service Pack 2. Most users beleive that this stack is unsuitable for connecting a PalmOS device to the internet and sending/receiving files-I now know that this is wrong for the serial method.
First of all, you have to dock your bluetooth dongle(I have an EPOX BT-DG02) to the Windows XP machine. If you have service Pack 2 installed, tbhe BT stack will automatiocvally trap your dongle and the Bluetooth icon will become available in the prefs(german Windows XP here, so no screenshots).
First of all, you will have to authenticate your PalmOS handheld. This procedure is simple if you sat your PalmOS's handheld's radio to on, and make it discoverable. Initiate the pairing process on the PC using the Bluetooth icon in the control panel. Enter a master key, enter the same key on the handheld, check the Add to trusted Devices checkbox. Thats all, your handheld is now paired with the Windows XP box.
In order to send a file to the Palm OS handheld, just right-click it and chose send to->bluetoth device. Use the Search Button to select a device, and click next to start sending. This dialog will appear once for every file that you send....
Tomnowwor, TamsPalm will explain how to receive a file/access the internet using your Bluetooth dongle!

Maxim IC's stolen-Attention to all electronicians

Since some of the TamsPalm readers do electronics, here is an important alert for all of you who use Dallas/Maxim components. The company lost a truckfull of marked but untested IC's in Malaysia on the 21'st of April, and I expect these to tricker through to the market eventually. Dallas claims a failure ratio of up to 30%-so better be careful.
Visit www.maxim-ic.com/hijackedparts
for further information and a list of components.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

PalmOS licencees-Linux hackers are your friends

The Nintendo DS is in the news - a few cracks got a linux kernel running. The hype having developped out of this reminds me of what we experienced in the PDA sector a few years ago. A few Linux freaks got their favourite OS to boot on a Compaq IPAQ and other handheld PCs. Since I was not in the market at that time, please understand that this article may have a few little flaws!
At the first glance, running a desktop OS on a handheld is stupid. The screen is extremely small, the processor is slow and the battery will run out fast! Every Windows user who ever set up Windows 2000 on an extremely slow laptop will confirm this.
However, Linux is different as many of the apps are written efficiently. Thus, the 200 or 400MhZ ARM CPU may actually be enough for some programs, and 64MB of RAM also are way more in Linux than they are in Windows XP!
Being able to run Linux from SD/CF card also has another advantage. It allows you to use your handheld as an ultraportable "laptop replacement" - in case you only need one or two desktop apps. A midrange IPAQ with a 1Gig storage card and an external keyboard usually will be cheaper than a notebook - and this is the factor that some companies will use. And - last but not least - don't forget the good publicity!
Actually, getting a Linux port to the foo handheld is not a difficult thing. There are a few freaks working on Linux for the TE already - just give them foo's, technical data, and watch the development grow!
What do you think?

The Tungsten E2 now does WLAN

Just in case some of you wondered. PalmOne now made its WIFI SD card compatible with the Tungsten E2 handheld. Find the updated driver over at their support section:
http://www.palmone.com/us/support/downloads/wifi_card.html
BTW, the Treo 650 stil isn't supported. I wonder when PalmOne will get smart enough to see that these users want WLAN too. Or are they trying to have an argument for the new, coming Treo?

SkinUI by Dmitry


Dmitry Grinberg has just released a beta of a skinning program he has been working on. It has the ability to skin parts of the interface such as buttons, the scrollbar, check boxes, the I icon, and future releases may be able to do more. Currently, it comes with a skin titled Cobalt, which gives some of the system a noticably Cobalt look. Try it out. It can be downloaded from Dmitry's homepage at www.dmitrygr.com

In the picture you may notice the skinned buttons, pulldown menu button, and scrollbar.

If I had been going Cobalt crazy, I could have loaded my Cobalt SB skin to go along with the AA fonts for a complete Cobalt look, but im too lazy.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Palm meet in vienna

The vienniese Palm User Group met yesterday. Here are a few fuzzy impressions of the meet:

Boris's girlfriend reported that her baby son fried her Zire 71 by licking its hotsync port. I thought that this was an urban myth and tried it on my T3. The machine actually hard-reset later on due to a bug in GetdeBlu...

Boris wanted to know why PalmOne handhelds hum. Immediately, he got an explanation about audio frequencies, sound et al-his thirst for knowledge was satisfied for a few minutes!

Herwig brought his partially defunct ibook to the PUG-immediately users crouded around him in order to fix the notebook. Who said that we PalmOS users are mindless OS fascists??

Bluetoth dongles and software stacks also were a topic of discussion. This shows a complicated BT network with masters and slaves. Boris told a lot about the different bluetooth stacks-and I helped out with some bluetoth standard trivia...

Alex brought his Treo 600. Interestingly, the calculator on that machine was very similar to the one installed on the T5....
Overall, it really was worth going there! The discussions were interesting and each one of us left the pub with more PalmOS knowledge than he had before! How are the Palm Meets in your area?

Free & easy Palm/windows movie converter & viewer.

Well since the Lifedrive is comming out soon and with that 4gb hard drive many people will put movies on it. So here is a very simple and 100% free movie converter and viewer instructions. first, go to http://tcpmp.corecodec.org/ for palm usersand download TCPMP, this goes on your palm handheald. For PPC users go to http://betaplayer.corecodec.org/Then go to http://www.fairusewizard.com/ (this is the converter for your computer) Now you should have both programs installed. So open up fairuse wizard and creat a name for the file you would like to convert. Then click next, A screen will pop up asking what DVD player you want to use or you can convert an ISO file. also if you haven't already doen so put in the DVD you would like to convert. Now a screen will show up showing various files and one highlighted (the biggest file). all you have to do is click next. Now will it will "build program chain index) this can take a while depending on the size of the original file (it shouldn't take more than 1 hour). Next click auto set and it will crop the movie automatically. Then click next and auto detect. on this page now you can adjust the final output size, the audio quality and more. If you have a 320X480 device check rotate 90 degreese (for better performance on the device). Finally click next. Then the video will be encoded and this can take up to 4 hours. So I would go do something during this time. when the video is finally fully encoded transfer it to your memory card and play it on your PDA.

The perfect ROM update, is attainable.

A TamsPalm reader Tom Fraeunhofer made a comment on his blog regarding a problem that ROM updates have. They are very dangerous. If your battery goes dead in an update, you could have to do some serious hacking to get it working, and even this may not be possible. You probably know that PalmOne ROM updates come in the form of PRCs that you either launch yourself, or are automatically installed after a hotsync. Now, this is crazy in my opinion. My Creative jukebox 3 will not install an update unless the battery is full, for this reason. Any ROM update should take the same precautions, and should also make it reasonably difficult to interrupt the update, by disabling the soft reset switch. This may seem stupid because you would not be able to reset if you have a problem. However, if you need to reset during an update, you are in worse trouble already, and this will not be your first issue.

Now, if a manufacturer is even more vigilant and helpful, they could install a real
Read Only chip that contained the original OS, and a second nonvalatile flash chip that would store ROM updates. This would allow users to muck up their system to no end, and still be able to recover.

What do you think? Are device manufacturers doing enough to compensate for their technically illiterate users?

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Operating system updates and the value of investition protection

Windows Mobile 2005 was recently announced. Immediately, a few PocketPC makers stated that at least some of their models will get an OS upgrade. When you look further at the devices that get the upgrade, you will see that it is only the business line! HP's "entertainment" machine 3715 won't get one for example-bad luck for my comrade Leubi... . I told him that PPC sucks anyway...
But lets now forget personal sorrows. Look at the strategy. Businesses nowaday don't have the buck to buy a new set of PDA's once every two years or so. Thus, they will go for a manufacturer that allows the retention and upgrading of old devices.
Actually, Palm once had a good history of offering upgrades. The entire III and V series could be updated to OS4.1. The m5xx series could not receive updates due to the way the hardware was built(Motorola Dragonball VS ARM). And well, somewhere in the move, PalmOne forgot about this good tradition!
The T3 still has some bugs in the Calendar application, the T5 has errors in the most elemental API's and so on. Failure everywhere, and no updates. The TT users still have to sacrifice 600k for updates that would have fitted in the ROM for sure,...
And this is the crucial point IMHO. PalmOne was once known for caring about its products. You invested into a product todaym, and could still use it years after. My IIIc was still useful and an ok machine when the m515 was out a long time, and I had no real compatibility problems. Nowadays, PalmOne is loosing this reputation!
Some of you may now say that the WinMobile story is different(no real version jumps in OS5). But no-just look at the T5's scientific calculator. Offering it as a free bonus for TX owners would not cost PalmOne a cent and would make them more popular. Seling G2 for Tungsten T would have been easy as well(just three libraries), and PalmOne would have made a few bucks for sure.
What do you think?

Monday, May 09, 2005

The Mobile Manager-the end of the Tungstens

Well, the recent PalmOne announcement hit the sector hard. For all of you who didn't read it yet-here is a short abbrevation:

Mobile managers are designed for customers who are eager to take full advantage of the trend toward “digital everything” – from documents and email to music, images and video, as standalone files or in organized folders;

Handhelds attract customers whose first and foremost interest is in basic organization tools, such as calendar and contacts. These customers often incorporate additional applications and add music and images to their handhelds, but their central purchase driver is organization. palmOne’s Zire branded handheld computers serve consumers, and Tungsten branded handhelds serve mobile professionals in this customer set; and

Smartphones attract customers whose primary interest is in a single converged device that is an outstanding phone that also delivers excellent email access and organization. The Treo smartphone from palmOne serves this customer set.

There is only one thing thast I miss here. The real reason for the Tungsten Line and the Zires... . As I said some time ago, mobile professionals need storage. For my friend(the guy with the chemical firm), a GB is nothing. Nada, he uses it up like we drink an energy drink(not exactly, but he needs loads of storage anyhow). Multimedia users who currently used the Zires will also be happy about the additonal storage for photos and MP3's.
Overall, the mobile manager cuts into both Zire and Tungsten market shares. It may not be a Zire or a Tungsten, but well, it still is a good offer for both user families. And here is the real message:
Real high-end stuff will always be in the mobile manager section
Forget the Tungsten line as flagships. Forget the high prices we saw over at the T3,... . These two model lines will move down into the 300$ sector IMHO-and the crown will be left for the new mobile managers.
Or what do you think?

PalmOne announces the LifeDrive, kinda?

PalmOne has just announced the start of their new line of PDAs, the Mobile Manager series. They didnt exactly say LifeDrive, but since the latest LifeDrive information has had the Mobile Manager label attached, we can put 2 & 2 together and guess that this affirms the relevance of other reports.

You can read PalmOne's press release here.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Palmsource Mobile Summit & DevCon 2005

Do you love palm OS then check this out may 24-26, 2005 San Jose California http://www.palmsource.com/events/devcon2005/

missing synce 4.0.5b1 released

A new version of missing sync has been released. What's new is it is compatible with Mac os Tiger (10.4) get it at http://www.markspace.com/testing/

Hello everyone!

I'm just saying hi I'm going to be posting here. You may know me from the 1src.com or brighthand.com forums. I use the name Tungsten T5. I hope to bring great things to this blog. And thank you Tam Hanna for letting me post here.

Treo 650 serial cable released!

If you still use serial and own a Treo 650, Then be happy because PN Technologies just released it. Go to http://www.pcables.com/

Saturday, May 07, 2005

The Tungsten T5's scientific calculator works on the T3

You all still remember my hacks that got NetFront erunning on PalmOne handhelds. It was followed by a program that made PalmOne's Phone Configurator run on the Clie series. And now it is time for a smaller bread-take a look at this image to se what I am talking about:


Yes, it is the Tungsten T5's scientific calculator. Here is a sequence of things that you must do in order to get it onto your machine.
First of all, you need a T5 that you can access. It needs to be set up in the same language that your machine uses(if you have a german T3, your T5 must be german too, etc). Then, insert an SD card into the handheld that contains the program FileZ. Copy the files ScientificCalc.prc and its overlay file(you absiolutely need this file-PalmOne removed the resources from the prc file in order to make the user dependant of the ovl file) to a memory card. The overlay file for an english handheld is called ScientificCalc_enUS.
Now, insert this card into the target machine-it should run OS5 and MUST have the MathLib installed. Copy the files into the RAM-and alas, you have the scientific calculator working for you! However, it will show up as a second icon in the launcher(two Calc icons). Combat the ghost icon by installing this file. It basically is an empty PRC file with the same name and creator ID as the original Calc file. It however has a higher version ID and the hidden bit set-so it overrides the old Calc application.
I could not test this on anything but a T3 for now, but it works well there. Please write back!

Friday, May 06, 2005

LifeDrive, Amazon Pics!!!

Amazon posted early info and pictures for the PalmOne LifeDrive handheld:


Product Details

Features:
• Quickly drag and drop files from your PC onto your LifeDrive mobile manager.
• Intel 416MHz XScale processor
• Portrait and landscape viewing
• 320x480 hi-resolution, color display
• LifeDrive smart file management


Thanks to mareuter at 1src for spotting this

PalmOne LifeDrive, CNet reports!

Cnet has just posted an article on the PalmOne LifeDrive. Until now, there has been little info released on this new handheld, but it seems CNet has gotten their greasy hands on some of it now.

They give some new information about the handheld:

"The No. 1 handheld maker will introduce LifeDrive Mobile Manager on May 18, according to sources familiar with the company's plans. The $499 device will come with a 4GB Hitachi Microdrive and two flavors of wireless networking--Bluetooth and 802.11b Wi-Fi."

"LifeDrive handhelds will be powered by a 416MHz Intel XScale PXA270 processor and come with a 320-by-480-pixel color screen. It will not use handheld OS developer PalmSource's latest operating system, Cobalt--which is aimed at wireless devices. Instead, it will use Garnet. Garnet includes support for wireless connections such as Bluetooth. Files will be transferred from a PC to a LifeDrive over a USB connection."

They also say that it will use PocketTunes, as previously believed.

Take a look at CNet

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Modifying the beam receive status

It has been a long time since TamsPalm last contained useable code. However, say hello to another code that can be used in any way you wish: the beam receive routines.
We all know the beam receive feature of handhelds. It decides if a handheld should receive beramed data or keep its infrared detector powered off. The system preferences contain a value that controls this behaviour, but like many other PalmOS goodies, it is unimplemented. Developers wanting to changwe this value have to use the exchange manager. This sample code accomplishes these tasks:
Boolean getIrState()
{
Boolean state;
UInt16 irLibRefNum;
UInt16 len;
// Checks if Irda is present at program start and gets irLibRefNum
SysLibFind("IrDA Library", &irLibRefNum);
len=sizeof(state);
ExgLibControl(irLibRefNum, irGetScanningMode, &state, &len);
return state;
}

void setIrState(Boolean state)
{
UInt16 irLibRefNum;
UInt16 len;
// Checks if Irda is present at program start and gets irLibRefNum
SysLibFind("IrDA Library", &irLibRefNum);
len=sizeof(state);
ExgLibControl(irLibRefNum, irSetScanningMode, &state, &len);

These routines compiled well under PODS 1.1. They should also work with MetroWerks CodeWarrior and other tools. If you are unsure if the IR library is available on the device that you run, check the return value of SysLibFind. Have fun coding!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Rumour=free market study

Recently, Molly Wood over at CNET ran a nice "little" x-page suada against blogs such as Engadget or Gizmondo. While it may look as if she is trying to get people to accept their NDA's, the real reason is a different one when you ask me. Her page is a concurrent to engadget, etc and she just wants to kick them in the hide. Luckily, she didn't mention TamsPalm, thus I will not dissect her post any further.
But, lets get on to rumours. We already had that topic online multiple times, and we always found out that rumours are not entirely bad. Read it up yourself if you don't trust me:
The rumourous flow of information
New devices and rumors-when they're good and when they're bad
And today, we will look at runopurs from yet another direction. When developing a program, nobody knows how well it will sell. I created LedManager not knowing about how it will fare. The beta testers usually like the product-thats why they apply for testing-and thus cannot give true feedback! But doing a rumor release of the product?
If the specifications are not fixed yet, bickering still makes sense. thus, users will be extremely likely to express their wishes. Alas, the company knows what to include. A good example is the decicion 32/64 Meg of RAM or the good old FlashROM question.
If you ask a customer directly, he will always want the better and the bigger. But if you indirectly ask him by forcing him to bicker if he does not like a part of the specs, you can get accurate feedback.
Overall, I feel that Molly really overreacted-what do you think?

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Landscape 1.1b released!! Oh, and Portrait too!!

Yeah, I know, this is like my 5th post about landscape. Just here to tell everyone that the new version is now out, along with the much awaited Portrait program for UX devices. Some of its features are:

  • A new API for developers allows different ways of triggering the orientation change, IE, SharkSwipe or a DA

  • Many bugfixes from the preious version


The new prefs panel, which allows users to choose:

  • Which orientation programs open in by default

  • Which API is used for the program (This can fix incompatabilities)

  • What the orientation trigger is


The new uninstallation command also makes it much easier to remove the program, though I don't know why you would want to.

If you own a Sony PDA with a 320x480 resolution screen, then this program can add a new degree of functionality to an already great device.

If you have bought a previous version of this program, go to the website where you bought it and redownload it. If you bought it from Mobile-Stream using ShareIt, send them an email and they'll hook you up with the new version. If you have not yet bought this program, you can find it at the developer's website, Mobile-Stream.com

Rising ESD margins-why we all pay

Recently, a big ESD(software sale portal) rised its developer commission to 40%. This means that every developer has to pay 40% of what he earns as premium to the salesman.
Most users will not note this, and the developers riot along in their mailing lists and their ESD-Union web site. However, users should also understand the reasons why high ESD margins are bad for the platform-read on for the full scoop!
High margins discourage development
If you can get 60% on platform A and 75% on platform B, what will you choose? the PalmOS and PocketPC markets are equally big by now. So, this will lead to most new programs appearing on the PocketPC side of life. Palm ESD's are cutting themselves in the flesh.
High margins reduce the likelyhood of free upgrades
Well, face it. Most PalmOS apps are one-time purchases. You buy them once and get all the upgrades for free. Of course there are some exceptions, but lets ignore them for now. If the margins rise, developers make less money. In order to get to their cash, they start charging for updates.....
Margins increase software prices
Developers need money to live. If the ESD eats more of his income, he needs to raise the prices. Its really simple...
So, what do you beleive? Should the developers be supported? Or are we all stupid, greedy crooks? You decide-the census is open!

Say hello to the Palm LifeDrive,... I mean T|X,... oh, actually the LifeDrive!!

Okay, this is getting ridiculous. 1src is now reporting that the new Palm handheld will be called the LifeDrive, after the name was first rumored to be this, and then changed to the Tungsten X. So, what we are all wondering is whether the name will be the T|X, or the LifeDrive? Are we in for another change. We will just have to wait and see.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Voice recording on T5-is it possible

When the T5 was released, everybody was unhappy because it lacked a microphone. Recently, a strange report hit my eye:
1src thread
An user reported that a program called SoundRec actually could record some kind of sound on the T5. Lets quote him:

I have been playing with SoundRec 1.07b from infinityball.com on my Treo650 and on my T5. It seams that T5 can record some kind of sound (when you start recording take stylus out and knock few times on the plastic casing around the screen, when you've finished recording play that recording and you can hear that knocking!!!)
Can anyone confirm that? Maybe there is microphone hidden somewhere inside?

Lets have that sink in. The device actally recorded the taps. Users immediately urged the guy to go on testing, and it even was possible to record faint voices.
At first, this is totally unlogic. Even if a speaker is somewhat similar to a microphone(yes, it is), the machine would still lack a chip called A/D Converter that could convert the analog data(a microphone outputs voltage) into a digital form.
However, there is a possible reason: as we already said some time ago, it looks as if the T5 was rushed to the market. And who says that they didn't run out of time developing? PalmOne let the converter in, but removed Mic and record key! It is possible IMHO, as A/D converters are not so expensive anymore. But is it a good idea? Will a company do it? Loads of questions-what do you beleive?

Please keep in mind that all of this is based on a single source. He may just want to create a fuzz for himself-we are waiting for your experiences.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Power and data cords, why proprietary?

I'm sure everyone is aware that PDA companies seem to love to release devices with different types of cords, for both power and data. It can become very annoying to the consumer, but in some cases, it is necessary.

I never like to see a new cord, but I really dont have to. Though Palm doesnt hold this ideal, most Sony devices use the same cord that was seen on devices as early as the T415. Every Sony PDA in my house (I have a TG-50, a TH-55, and a T415) will use the same cable for charging and syncing.

Over on the Palm side, the newest pdas, the T5, the E2, and the Treo 650, all use the new Athena connector, which is capable of media output. This is the reason why the Palm line has changed cables, but why? Do they actually use the media output? I cant be sure, but I dont think there are any peripherals out right now that use this. I would havev waited for later more multimedia friendly models before implementation. Waiting until Cobalts first handheld may have been a good idea.

When you look at the problem from a historic side, you can further see the madness behind this. The Palm V, III and m10x series all had the same connector system-Palm only fit it into a different housing. Thus, a user needed to purchase a load of new accessories when upgrading, unless he used one of the adapters available like Midwest PCB's "Bridge" accessory.