Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The ipod moves in a PDAesque direction

My mind still contains a few faint memories of the PUG Vienna discussing how the ipod was moving into a PDAesque direction when the ipod photo came out. I never beleived that this could happen due to the lack of touchscreen and input possibilities(I could live with just a keyboard somehow). But indeed, it happened.
After the Doom port(which is pointless IMHO), a new service has been launched by users that use their ipod to store subway maps. works by slicing the map into tiny pieces that exactly fit on the ipods screen. These can thern be shown somehow-but dont ask me how they naviage the maps... . Not owning an ipod definitely makes revieweing such stuff difficult, especially if there is no ipod simulator available for download.
Overall, I do not beleive that this threatens PalmOS apps-Metro and the other map serices simply benefit from the touchscreen and the 5way nav for zooming and panning. But, this shows that there is demandf for a converged device that does everything: media, movies and organization! So, the LifeDrive idea isnt even that bad after all. Altough the current device has some deficits for sure(no real RAM, doing everything with the HDD is slow and costs battery,..)-keep in mind that it is a first generation unit and that it will still take some time to mature. Apple once had PDA's-so it is entirely possible that they decide to whack a touchscreen on the ipod and cite Bruno Kreisky(austrian president):
One can get smarter over night!

I am pretty sure such a device would be quite successful, as the ipod name would drive it forward... .

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

TamsPalm becomes international?

For all German readers, the blog member "Bubu" opened the German version of TamsPalm. Every week he collects all posts here and translates them.


If other languages will follow, TamsPalm becomes international!

The tinyest web servers of the world

Some of the readers on this page do electronics-and already have experimented with MicroChips PIC line of controllers. Yes, I know that Freescale's Nitrons are cheaper, I know it for a year-but Microchip seems to keep itself alive by:

  • Offering many models

  • Community, already installed uwer base

Anyways, some freaks always have to implement web servers on these tiny controllers. This web site has a lovely project, and also offers an overview of other people who try to create the "tinyest web server of the world".
Ever tried something like this yourself?

Tamoggemon AutoSync

Editorial content begins below this post!
Tamoggemon Software has released a new product that is intended to "mirror" the behaviour of ActiveSync and other features of a Pocket PC that can make life easier for a person who docks his handheld often!

  • Did you ever want to adjust brightness/contrast automatically when docked to a device?
  • Did you ever want to have different sound settings for docked and wireless modes?
  • Do you want to have IR receive fixed to on when docked?

If you answer any of these questions with yes, Tamoggemon AutoSync is the program for you!
Find out more at:
The 14day evaluation version can be registered for 7-99$ at PalmGear's:

Australia planning SMS spam to find new recruits

The australian army is said to evaluate a new way to find recruits.
The german press agency recently reported that the australian army is planning to send out SMS messages to teenagers advertising the benefits of working for the ADF. Australia has one of the best spam laws in the world currently, however, it looks as if a leak was introduced to allow political communications in paragraph 44.
Another problem with the australian plan is the obtaining of mobile phone numbers. The information is said to be purchased from address agencies-the same businesses spammers use to find potential new targets.
If the ADF is allowed to start the campaign, this will have desasterous effects on SMS spam. While I already get a spam SMS/week, this would move the spammer's attention to mobile phones. Pricing for SMS still imposes costs, but it overall might pay out for some(callback spams).
Do you beleive this is a good idea?

Monday, August 29, 2005

The dictionary of algorithms

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has created an awsome portal that lists explanations for all kinds of algorithms and data structures.
Its Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures, DADS for short, contains a few hundred explanations for about everything you weill see in a coder's life. Some of the algorithms even come with implementations or graphics.
If you need information about FIFO, LIFO, stacks-find mathematical notations,... here:
Thats US tax payer's bucks at work....

Sunday, August 28, 2005

D&M Holdings pulls the plug on the Rio line

This is not a joke!!!
As if Sony and Tapwave retreating werent enough-yet anothe company falls victim to a market leader. This time, it is not in the PalmOS sector, but rather in the portable media player area. D&M holdings, the japanese mother company of the Reio series has decided that the market is too competitive and that they stop producing RIO's player lineup at the end of september!
Ther only good news is that D&M has announced that they will retain the rights to the Rio line and will provide customer care and retailler support.
Read more here:
Overall, this is bad news. The Ipod moves on and on...
via Lockergnome

Why PalmSource had to cut the line on garnet

PalmSource recently announced the halting of all PalmOS Garnet/Cobalt based development efforts. Immediately, users and analysts began to bicker about how PalmSource has just become irrelevant,... ! This is true at the first glance-but not if you look at it in a detailled fashion.
Palm OS Cobalt never made it out to the licencees-not because it isnt finished(runs in the Simulator well enough)-but rather because Garnet did almost everything needed. Now look at Microsoft. When Windows 98 was introduced, it didnt really do much more than Windows 95 OSR2 or OSR3. We already had FAT32, USB, the new IE desktop,... . However, it caught on really fast because Microsoft tried to end 95 sales!
PalmSource nwas in a similar situation with Cobalt-but it didnt take the same steps! If PalmSource had stopped licencing Garnet for new device projects, licencees would automatically force-move to Cobalt, developers and eventually users would follow. PalmOne would never have gone so far in their Garnet pimping mania, the LifeDrive would run Cobalt and could multitask in a true way! Developers would be rid of the segmentation problem(I beleive this is one of the main reasons why many opensource projects port over to PocketPC but not to Palm OS) and could create true ARM applications without the 68k glue!
Now, it looks as if PalmSource finally learned the lesson. Licencees wont move on their own, you gotta force-move them if you want progress. With Garnet and Cobalt development discontinued, new hardware/software protocols will simply not work with Garnet or Cobalt anymore. Licencees wanting to use these technologies to create devices capable of competing with PocketPC's will have to use PalmOS for Linux-or do all the dirtwork themselves.
So, PalmSource is not becoming irrelevant if you ask me. Instead, it is finally learning from its past... .

Friday, August 26, 2005

Domain name scam-domain owners, beware

Daniel Gray just reports that there is an ongoing domain scam.
A company is busily sending out letters to domain owners about how their domain will expire soon. It then proceeds to ask them to renew their subscription-for an incredibly high price.
Find more about it at his website:
Did you ever find something like that in your mail box? I didnt find it, yet!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Web Browser for Cobalt

There is no cobalt device yet, but there is already a simulator for developers - and a web browser SDK for developers. "Palm Web Browser 3.0 for Cobalt" is its name. The old standard browser for Palms is Web Pro, the new one is called "Blazer". Palm Web Browser is another browser line. The only device that has Web Browser I know is the Tungsten C (Web Browser 2.0 for Garnet).

For the moment, it could be better than Web Pro, Blazer and perhaps better than NetFront, too. Highlights are "Tabbed-Browsing" (Firefox, ...), VGA support, zoom (50%, 75% or 100%) and Small-Screen-Rendering, JavaScript and Pop-ups with integrated blocker. I couldn't get the simulator connected to the internet so I can't tell how fast it is etc.

Here some screenshots:

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The LifeDrive is NOT discontinued!!!

Okay, I dont know where the rumor came from, but apparently alot of people thought Palm was discontinuing the LD. I also have noticed that all of the major news sites have put out articles telling us that it us not discontinued.

On another note, check out Google Desktop version 2.0. It provides a sidebar that is unlike anything you have ever seen. If anyone has ever seen the previews of the sidebar for the next version of Windows, this is a couple steps ahead. It can take notes, aggregate rss feeds, show the latest news, stocks, weather, photos, and even email if you have gmail. It also has a search bar that gives all of the features of Google Desktop, with one search for the web and all of your docs. You can find it at

Monday, August 22, 2005

The StylusCentral 3-in-1 stylus reviewed on a T3 recently provided us with a few samples for testing. This review is for the 3-in-1 stylus for the TT/T2/T3. It may also fit the LifeDrive, but I am not sure because of its thickness(click all images for larger versions).

These images show the shipping envelope. The stylus itself comes in a blister pack like most SD cards. Here are a few photos of it in empty state:

The Stylus looks a bit thicker than the one that came with my TT. It takes a lot of force to push it into my T3, but it fits in without rattling. However, it sticks out of the silo quite a bit. It actually is compressed together in the blister pack. Look at these images for a bit more detail about the dimensions:

The spring mechanics are noisier than the ones used on my T3-but well, used that for a very long time. A short stress test(50x) improved the situation. It does not always function immediately. I dont know if this is a problem with my hand(usually works after two or three presses-same thing with my father though, he is extremely strong). The PalmOne mechanic is way better for both of us... .

Softresetting a T3 is no problem. Writing on-screen is extremely comfortable and smooth due to the cone-like tip. It even works perfectly on my overhead "protection" foil.
But now on to the ball pen.

Its tip appears if you unscrew the top of the stylus. The unscrewing procedere itself is no problem, these mechanics appear sturdy and work well. The tip comes secured with a yellow silicon bubble which needs to be removed before writing.

Lets cut a long story short-this pen's output cannot verse a parkers. The lines are extremely thin(like a pencil), thinner than a fountain pen or regular ballpoint's. While I personally prefer 0.7mm lines, the thin ones save ink and allow sketching. The writing process feels ok for such a tiny thing-enough for form-filling and note sketching. The filling can be changed by unscrewing the middle of the stylus.
By the way, I could not test if it looses ink over time. But it looks as if ink will not enter the PDA due to the cap(happened to a friend once with his TC and a different one).
Overall, I like this thing. Writing with it feels nice and the pen can come in handy. While the spring mechanism could be improved significantly, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks for a pen+pda user. The current price is justified because of the comfortable writing feel-if you need the pen.
DISCLOSURE:The stylus was not returned after reviwewing as it became unsuited for resale due to the revieweing process. However, this has no effect on the objectivity of the review! Please email me at if you have any concerns about credibility or bribery!

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Google Maps and Palm OS

Google maps is a free map service, its web page is You can't yet view maps of the whole world, but in America, England etc. If you try to load the page on your palm, you will notice that won't show the page because it is using ActiveX.

With KMaps ( it is possible to view Google Maps on your palm / smartphone. Soon it shall be availible for other phones, so the developer decided to use Java technology. This means that you need to have installed "IBM Websphere Environment" (

Now it would be cool to have even Google Earth on your Palm! Google Earth uses much pictures, so it would take much expensive downloading time on your smartphone, but there are Palms with Wireless LAN, too.

So this is the second interesting Java project, after Opera, in this month.

Some more bluespamming

It looks as if we won't be able to leave our bluetooth radios on in London's railway stations anymore.
The band coldplay apperently hired Filter UK for distributing stuff about their new album X&Y-to everyone who walks close to their "Proximity Bluespamming System", ah sorry, "Proximity Marketing System".
Read more here
Ever were bluejacked/spammed?

Replacing crystal oscillators with silicon ones

Crystal oscillators have become a standard part in electronics. Dallas Maxim offers a nice selection of silicon oscillators which reduce the amount of components needed on a board. These are realy easy to integrate into a circuit!
Find further information on using these components in this well-written application note:

Flowcharting-the good, the bad and the ugly

When it comes down to describing processes, everyone has a different view of things! There are Flowcharts, Nassi-Schneidermann-Charts, Petri nets and other junk. I personally use flowcharts most of the time, as they are easiest to create, to brainstorm and to understand. However, some teachers prefer Nassi-Charts-which can finish off beginners straight away due to their comlicated nature. In the end, the poor fellows tought by those people don't know any of the two methods and create-um-crap.
While all three methods do have some benefits and shortcomings, one usually doesnt describe a million processes on a single page. Thus, the space needed by a flowchart is not really a problem. Whats significant-however-is creation speed. You simply dont have the time to draw an hour on a simple process visualisation. Also, Nassi-Schneiderman charts are extremely unsuitable for brainstorming.

Flowcharting is easy. All you need is a pen, some paper and a process-or you can use one of the many available flowcharting/drawing programs. But the difference between a good and a bad flowchart is small-it all depends on the style and the symbols you use. The symbols were standardizes in an ISO, but since this is not available on Google, we gotta look at third-party stuff.
So, here is a nice list of flowcharting resources:
Here we have the english Wikipdia definition. Not too much useful information here, but good for showing to people who are new to the topic!
This is the typical whack-over-the-head tute we all know and love from our hacker clan days. While it misses out on some important symbols like the subroutine one, ti is a good introduction to the topic.
This tutorial by definitely contains a lot of ads for its own program. However, it conains a lot of useful information-especially on the first few pages.
This IBM paper(PDF format) is pretty old(1970) and contains lots of useless information. However, it definitely makes a good read as it seems to cover about everything one can say about flowcharting. BTW, if this file ever goes offline, just email me at and I up the file s I have it archived.

And last-but-not-least: if you need a quick overview on actively developed commercial software for flowcharting, just look to the left and to the top of the article. God bless AdSense...
How do you process-visualize?

Saturday, August 20, 2005

The new PIMs on old Palms - part 2

This is the second part of "The new PIMs on old Palms" - you could read that the new applications "Calendar", "Contacts" and others run on Palm OS 4.1, even on Palm III, V, IIIc and so on. Now I'll tell how to copy them. Many of you had to wait long for this news, because there were problems. For example, I couldn't use the files from the T5.

First, you need a real device (Tungsten T3 or Tungsten E) or a device-specific simulator (get it at Zire 31, 72, Tungsten T5 and newer palms have those applications, too, but those files made problems, for example the "Contacts"-application crashed if I tried to beam an address. Perhaps the reason is that the *very* new programs (on T5 or Zire 72) use libraries for contact photos and calendar backgrounds. If you use the simulator you can't copy libraries because they are compiled to DLL files (x86). If you want to be sure you should use a T|T3 or T|E or their simulators.

You need a file manager, of course, I recommend FileZ ( Copy it to your palm and then start it. Choose "View and Edit Files" and show the "Internal Memory". Now look for the files. You need the following files:

* Calender-PDat + localization files (Calendar-PDat_deDE for a german-"speaking" palm, ...)
* Contacts-PAdd + localization files
* Memos-PMem + localization files
* Tasks-PTod + localization files

If you use a Zire 72 or 31 or copying, you need additionaly "CategoryLib-catL" + localization files. You must install them first, otherwise your palm will crash.

Select them and copy them to your card or beam them to your old device. If you use the device-specific simulator, you'll have to copy them to "POSESlot1", that's a virtual card you find in the folder "Card0" in the simulator folder. But often FileZ doesn't recognize virtual cards. Then use "GentleMan", another good file manager (, it will recognize it.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Microsoft reveals pricing et al on latest XBOX devices

Microsoft today released lots of information on its new XBOXen. This post just gathers some of the information released.
First of all, Microsoft plans to start selling later this year. The company beleives that this will let them be the first of the three console makers to release their next-gen gaming platform. To say it once again: M$ wants to be faster than Nintendo and Sony! We can expect these devices hitting ther shelves soon-so dontb get that high-priced XBOX if you dont want to do Linux!
In addition, Microsoft will offer two series designated Core and Pro.
XBOX 360 core
The core model will cost 299$. It will not-unlike the original XBOX-include a hard drive. So, if you want to save state, you gotta buy an external module. A 64Meg one will cost about 40$. It is said to have an ethernet port. BTW, it comes in a green box.
XBOX 360 pro
This model will cost 399$ and comes in a cream colored shell. Thus, it is the dearest console MicroSoft ever sold-the original XBOX began sellng at 299$. It includes a 20GB hard drive, a wireless game controller(latency, uh-oh???), an XBOX live subscription(dont ask for how long) and a remote control.
Of course, all these specs aren't chiselled into stone yet. If you want to see more, look at these articles:
Will you get one of these?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Opera for the Palm

Opera Software has developed a J2ME version of his well-known internet browser "Opera" which runs on Java-enabled mobile phones. It can display real HTML web pages and even images or forms. It is freeware, but it can only be downloaded in Norway because the download is provided by the TV channel "TV2".

But now, it is number 1 in the list "hot downloads" on with 1520 downloads! To be run on a palm, it needs "IBM WebSphere Environment" , a java runtime. It isn't as good as the smartphone version "Opera for Series 60", but many people say that it would be better than "Blazer". It even runs in hires+ mode (320x480) on Tungsten T3, T5 , ... -- Java runtime download -- software page on,18865.0.html -- discussion on, with instructions how to change the language -- discussion on (german). There you find a free download with out registration on -- news on -- discussion on

Now have fun with it, and give feedback!

Monday, August 15, 2005

T-Mobile Germany announces the MDA pro

The device that is known to most of us as XDAIV or MDAIV has just been announced-and it will be sold as MDA pro in germany(T-Mobile calls the XDA's MDA).
This UX50-similar device with a flip-screen will cost 500€-with contract and will begin selling in september. The hardware, however, is impressive. First of all, it is the first box running Windows Mobile 5. This means that the MDA pro now has Microsoft's persistant storage-which is essentially Palm Inc. S NVFS. Lets see if Microsoft did a better job implementing than Palm Inc. did.
The OS runs on a 512mhz XSCALE processor and has 128 MB of Flash and 64 MB of SDRAM. The MDA pro has a MMC/SD slot and two cameras-one VGA and one 1280x960. Stereo speakers allow users to listen to music comfortably(listen up, Tapwave). Connections to the carrier can be established with triband GSM/GPRS and UMTS. Local networking is managed by bluetooth and 802.11b WLAN transmitters.
Just a little info: The austrian T-Mobile service line hasn't even heard of the device yet.
You can find lots of images here:
This german T-Mobile page finally confirms the existance:,4516,6253-_3683-761-0,00.html
Lets see how it fares. I beleive such devices have future if done right. While the box is incredibly expensive at the moment, falling prices will make this a threat to PalmOS. The keyboard simplifies data entry on the go significantly-most of the first PDA's actually had a keyboard... . What do you think?

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Skinning for all!

SkinUI is up to version, which, among other things, adds Zodiac support.

SkinUI is a total skinning program for the PalmOS, which allows skinning of almost any aspect of the UI. In addition to skinning, Dmitry is working to add 5-way navigation support to all older PDAs, which will certainly be a nice feature.

You can download the newest version for the Zodiac here

Friday, August 12, 2005

New Activesync flaws

It really pays out to read bugtraq! These vulnerabilities just were discovered in ActiveSync for PocketPC's:

7. Microsoft ActiveSync Network Synchronization Multiple Vulnerabilities
BugTraq ID: 14457
Remote: Yes
Date Published: 2005-08-02
Relevant URL:
Several specific issues have been identified with the network synchronization protocol used by Microsoft ActiveSync.

The first issue is the use of cleartext communications for all network traffic.

The second issue is the lack of password authentication.

The third issue is an information disclosure issue when attempting to initiate network synchronization.

The last issue is a denial of service vulnerability.

These issues combine to allow remote attackers to gain access to potentially sensitive information, aiding them in further attacks. Attackers may also alter or destroy data by simulating the synchronization protocol, or crash the ActiveSync service.

Doesnt look too safe. An attacker can:

  • Steal the data on your PocketPC
  • Crash the ActiveSync server

Not something I'd want to happen on my machine! Do you like Network Hotsync?

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Attention-Giveaway scammers incoming

Many PalmOS underground sites were closed over the last few months due to good developer efforts. Now, developers have better chances to generate sales as the warez movement lost the main communication portals! However, a new kind of scam has just begun-while giveaway scamming may be less damaging, it can be annoying nevertheless.

The scammer's strategy always is the same. You sponsor a giveaway with a licence/pass on a licence by means of donation. Then, the scammer gets the registration code. In the moment he has the reg code working, some random problem arises which usually cannot be reproduced! After exchanging a few support emails, he asks you to change his licence to sth else, if you comply, the game goes on!

The strategy is always the same-so counteracting is pretty easy. Here are a few good hints:

  1. Always inform the user that the program cannot be refunded/exchanged if the code is dispatched BEFORE emailing the code to the user
  2. Keep an extensive army of testers so you can know what devices the program works on
  3. If you seem to be giveaway scammed, just forward the con man to this site...

Ever were giveaway scammed?

Monday, August 08, 2005

Processor speed's influence on BlueTooth performance

Many of you run overclocking utilities on their boxen. When these programs first came up for the DragonBall CPU's, it was a dangerous adventure to run them. The sound output was altered, debug modes entered et al! Nowadays, the programs are more reliable and don't have too many unwanted side effects.
And this is where TamsPalm comes in. I use the bluetooth radio on my T3 excessively with WebPro. Since I usually play around with the CPU clock(old habit from IIIc days), it was interesting to see if WebPro or the radio implementation is the part that limits the transfer speeds. Thus, the dslreports speed test was executed multiple times at different clock speeds-and here are the results:

The data transfer speed follows the processor almost 1:1. So-faster CPU=more data transfer.

The latency is lowest at 200 MhZ. At 400 Mhz it actually grows a bit. This however-is due to BT beeing a wireless system IMHO.

The total time taken is what really counts though. It decreases greatly at first, but then decresases slower due to the latency. But overall, we dont run into limits of the radio yet...
Get the raw data as an Excel Table here.
What do we learn from this? The transfer rate of the bluetooth radio of the T3 scales up with the processor in a hyperbolic fashion. Thus, WebPro users definitely benefit from a CPU running at full speed or a bit higher-and WebPro seems to be the bottleneck at lower frequencies. The radio hardware is not guilty-for now. The total time is bogged down by the latency at the higher settings-so we start to see problems here already. But how does the CPU affect file sending? We'll cover that next week!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Why its bad to trust a carrier when email is concerned

Recently, a TamsPalm author got himself a Sidekick from T-Mobile. He got a shiny new address for use with the machine and immediately began spreading it among his peers. Most of you won't see why, but he is making an incredible mistake.
Lets wade back into history to make things clear. Many carriers suddenly closed their email services(, t-email,...) and left customers sitting in the rain. Changing an email address is a mayor pain in the butt. There are newsletters, forums,...-and some services even use your email address as account name. Updating all of these is almost impossible-especially if you just have 30 days of time!
But actually, there is no need to swap address to use push email! Most providers(Gmail, eg) support POP3 forwarding which solves the problem. People get the Gmail/foo address which is set to autoforward email to your IM address. Autoforwarding happens almost instantaneous at mail receipt FYI, and the from,... Parameters remain unchanged. Then, setup your IM email program to tell users to reply to the foo address if possible. If your carrier now decides to disable your address, all you need to do is change a parameter in your foo account. No reconfiguration orgies needed..
Call me paranoid or mentally ill, I have been called worse. But I stick to my GMX account, no matter what carrot a carrier waves. Do you trust your carrier?

Apple's "mighty mouse"-taken apart

Apple recently realised the value of a mouse with more than one button. Apple cultists on 1src, Nexave et al celebrated the announcement of the so-called mighty mouse.
Now, I am pretty sure some of you will want to know what's inside of apple's new offering. The people at arstechnica took theirs apart(and destroyed it in the process-non user openable case).
Read more about it on:
-via LockerGnome

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Cave mapping-an innovative use for PalmOS handhelds

Auriga is a really innovative program for PalmOS handhelds that allows topographers to use PalmOS handhelds for cave mapping. Here is a short description of the program:

Auriga is a cave survey freeware designed for in-cave use; it runs on any PalmOS device with OS 3.0 or better. Beside replacing the classical paper notebook for input of numeric data, it provides a real-time graphical display of the cave line plot, statistics and list views of accumulated survey data. A conduit allows bidirectional transfer of data with popular PC-based cave survey sofftware. The program is available in 3 languages-download it at

Innovative, isnt it? Do that with a PocketPC....