Monday, October 31, 2005

Mini's WiFi patch for Clies


A 1src member named Mini recently posted something very interesting. They put up a WiFi patch that they say enables any Clies with a CF slot to work with any CF WiFi adapter. I have no way to know if it works, but if you have the right handheld, but were never able to find the Sony branded WiFi cards (my local CC still carries them), then this is the patch for you. Here is a link to the 1src post with the info.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

TamsPalm.de: New summary online!

It's Sunday again and the new summary is available. Just take a look at TamsPalm.de!

Friday, October 28, 2005

The AquaPac small reviewed

Proporta.com recently provided TamsPalm with a few samples of their products. The first reviewing candidate is the AquaPac. I received a small version. The envelope was pretty stuffed(click all images for bigger versions):

Some of the packages were slightly dented, but the contents all were in good state. This is the AquqPac's shipping package:

The AquaPac itself is blue and ships with a multi-language manual that explains that one should check the pack before using and that one shouldnt use it in hot water or leave it in the sun:

An Aquapac has a transparent and a nontransparent side. The handheld can be used in the pack if the screen points to the transparent side:

The pack is locked with the two yellow handles on the clip. You have to rotate them upwards and click them in at the top in order to open the case . If you dont click them in, the case doesnt open:


The mechanics revealed look unstable, but they work better than one may beleive. I really liked the creative design and the reliability. And, you have two years of warranty anyways!

We tested the case with a Palm Vii:

a Palm V

and a Tungsten T3:

Each of the three units floated on the water and had to be pressed in order to push the pack under the water. The transparent front allows operating the handheld even under the water, the digitizers of all units worked well. However, my T3's softcase didnt fit in:

The carrying band is useful, but gets soaked and thus transfers water/gets wet. A synthetic band would have worked better...

Overall, the AquaPac is useful and sturdily built. It protected the gadgets reliably in the tests, but the problem is if the handheld is in the pack when it meets water. I prefer to keep my handhelds outside of the October/thaaquapac if there is no apparent risk of soaking. Accidents-thats why they are called accidents-usually happen when one is not prepared. So, this thing is not designed to transform a stock PDA into a ruggerdized handheld tank like the Acceca Meazura. However, if you need to temprorarily protect your handheld from water and dust, this is guranteed to satisfy your needs!

Palm OS Virii-the definitve list

We wrote about the uselessness of PalmOS antivirus programs on TamsPalm quite some time ago. Anyways, here is a list from F-Secure that contains all virii known to them. Just click the links for more details about these mostly harmless companions:


PalmOS/Vapor


Palm/MTX_II.A, Palm_MTX, SABiA_II, I-Worm.Sabia Palm component


PalmOS/Phage


PalmOS/Liberty

By the way, to cut a long story short, I have not yet been able to get hold of any of those programs. if someone has them, please inform me!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Avvenu Review

Avvenu is a free service which enables you to access your desktop computer's files from anywhere in the world - you just need a broadband connection (you don't need, but it is recommended as ou need an active internet connection) and your computer with installed Avvenu running. Then you can access every file on your computer from every internet-enabled device in the world. You can download files, view pictures, and upload files.

Getting started

First, you need to download an application that enables your computer to Avvenu. You must browse to http://www.avvenu.com and click on "Sign up". Then you can download it. After the installation assistant has completed, you can sign up. It needs you real name, your mail address, a username and a password:


That's it, you just need to choose a name for that computer (you can use more than one computer with your account, and you must know which computer you mean, so choose a clear name ;-)) and you need to enter your proxy setting (if availible).

Accessing your desktop

Now, Avvenu is active on that computer. So, if your computer is turned on and connected to the internet you can access your files, from anywhere in the world, by browsing to http://share.avvenu.com. There you've to enter your login data, then you see your files:

You can browse your file system, download and upload files. A good feature is downloading a whole folder. Avvenu compresses it to a ZIP file. Images can be directly viewed, without downloading.

You can share files, if you want to, with others. They just need a mail address and a browser. :


There is a mobile version of Avvenu availible for Palm OS and mobile phones. It's small and doesn't take much traffic. I made several screenshots on NetFront, PicselBrowser, Web Browser and Web Pro:


NetFront: folders, login, files, file, download


PicselBrowser: start page, folders


WebPro login, folders; Web Browser login, folders

Picsel Browser seems to be the only browser that displays the "full" page, all others show the "light" page. The light page is, on the one hand, small, but on the other hand it lacks some features: you can't download a whole folder as a ZIP file, and it doesn't support uploading files. On a mobile device perhaps you don't need whole folders every day, but uploading files can be useful. And, as you can see on the pictures, the light version shows only 6 objects a page, so you have to load the next page a lot.

My results: I won't need it as I don't want my computer to run 24 hours a day, but people who have an own server will be glad to download important files that aren't on their handheld or mobile phone. I don't think that the service is bad, although there aren't many features. I miss: file info with size, type, ..., perhaps a reader for MS Word, ... files as there aren't so many mobile phones that can open MS Word files. And I'm missing file operations: no copy, no delete, ... This isn't SO important, but it isn't difficult to make such a feature availible, so, why not? And Avvenu shows that it has good ideas, just look at the feature to download a whole folder. This about the full version (although they could add a reader and file infos to the light version, too). The light version: another good idea because the full version uses a lot of pictures. This costs money on mobile phones or smartphones. The lite version has few pictures and almost only plain text. But, why shows it only six files every page? Perhaps some mobile phones aren't able to load bigger pages (I don't think so), but then the user should be able to define how many files should be shown. So, Avvenu, good work, but I'm still missing some features.

What would you like to see in Avvenu?

Blazer 1.x, 2.x shut down

Palm apperently wants to kill old Treo/PalmOS smartphone installations. About one year after eliminating the Palm.net service(the mobitex network still is up, just as info for you all), Palm secretly posted a message on its knowledge base saying that the proxy server needed for Blazer 1.x and 2.x is going to be turned off. Read the alert here:

http://kb.palmone.com/SRVS/CGI-BIN/WEBCGI.EXE?New,Kb=PalmSupportKB,ts=Palm_External2001,Case=obj(40527)
Palm offers users to upgrade to Novarra's nweb for free until the 31 October of this month. You can either access the portal via your handheld, or just use the form below:

http://web.palm.com/support/blazer/sprint.jhtml
The file actually works on my T3(Treo 300, Sprint), but it didnt work in the Simulator. However, the T3 cannot use its extended screen, the grafitti area always is displayed. Anyone who needs a decent browser can get one for free now...

Last but not least, I wonder why Palm didnt announce this openly?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The return of the DSP

Apperently, ther DSP wasnt such a stupid idea after all. Anyways, it would have been-if Palm would have been able to release the documentation for the Tungsten T series DSP. Anyways, those days are gone-but BroadCom now targets mobile phones with a new multimedia processor(that essentially is a DSP).
The BCM27xx fasmily recently got new members that can do the following:


  • H.264 CIF video encoding/decoding at 30 frames per second and TV output
  • Support 5mpixel cameras
  • Do VGA MPEG4 video
  • All members of the family are software compatible

Do you beleive that DSP's have a future? Or do you beleive that rising CPU performance and lack of SDK's will kill those cores on the long run?

First 'official' native PDF viewer - for free - update

The nexave member "MetaView", head developer of MetaView Software has published "PalmPDF", an early alpha version of his native PDF viewer today. It's a port of XPDF. I tried it a few days ago and today again, but it crashes on my Tungsten|C, I think that I have not enough RAM. But other people say it would work fine! The program and the installation instructions can be found here:

http://www.metaviewsoft.de/en/Software/PalmOS/Freeware/Other/index.html


Adobe's Reader could never open native PDF files - they had to be converted, and no other company released a PDF reader for a long time. Then Picsel Technologies released Picsel Viewer and later Picsel Browser - but it was only part of Sony CLIÉs and a Chinese smartphone. If I get it working, I'll update this post.

Does it work on your Palm?

UPDATE:
Now it isn't in alpha state anymore. The onscreen buttons work, you can scroll and zoom very fast (on a T|C), you can use the stylus for scrolling, and now it seems to work better on low-memory devices. Does it now work properly?

The next version will include landscape mode and better memory management. If you own a Tungsten T or T2, you could also try out Fargo Heap resizer!

Palm Treo 650 advertising in Time Magazine

Apperently, Palm is really serious about combatting the ipod video/using the PR it gets for its own products. According to 1src users, a full-page ad was placed in the whats next issue of the TIME magazine.
See an image of the ad here:
http://www.1src.com/forums/showthread.php?p=863905&posted=1
What do you think about it? Does Palm do enough advertising?

Softick Commander - file manager with Bluetooth file transfer

Softick (also developer of Card Export II e. g.) has just released "Bluetooth Commander", a file manager which can access other Bluetooth-enabled devices and their shared files (like mobile phones, desktop computers, other Palms with installed "Softick Blue Files").


Although its main feature is the Bluetooth file transfer capability, it seems to be a good file manager, too. So look and "Discover the world of the wireless file exchange!" (like Softick says), at http://www.softick.com/commander/.
What do you think?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

VFSi review

VFSi - the VFS information viewer is a free and very special file manager for Palm OS: It can't access RAM or ROM (FileZ, GentleMan, FileProg, FileCaddy etc. can) but it can open several file types (FileZ etc. can't): plain text (TXT), bitmaps (BMP), jpeg images (JPG) and gzip archives (GZ). So it can be used as a text editor or image viewer. It supports 320x480 px screens (HiRes+).

Getting started

The main program + text, jpeg and bitmap plugins take 168 KB RAM. After installing you can start and use it directly. By default it starts in "/Palm/Programs/VFSi" (You can change this in the menu "Options" -> "Preferences).

The interface


The interface is very simple. There is a list with two icons (one shows whether the file is selected, another shows the file type), the file name and (if you wish) the file size. You can navigate through the folders and open files with both the stylus and the 5-way-navigator, also on old devices without one-hand navigation (Tungsten|T, T|C, ...).

One icon shows a house. You can switch to your start folder. The "B" button means switching to bookmarks (more about that later), the "F" button means switching to the file system.

The "Info" dialogue shows file name, size, type and "last modified" date.


Image viewing

When the plugins for bitmaps and JPEGs are installed, you can view such images with VFSi.


With the first button you can open a menu (you can also open it with the center button) and switch to the next or previous picture, zoom and rotate. The second icon returns to the file browser and the third button sets the zoom to fit the screen.

The text editor

With the editor you can view and edit plain text files. To create new text files you have to open the "Plugins" menu. VFSi has also a plugin to use "KaniEdit" as text editor. If you have problems with the character set and you see "strange icons", you can remove CRs (carriage returns).


In this screenshot, you see four selected files. This feature lets you copy, delete, ... multiple pictures.

Bookmarks


VFSi is the only file manager I know which lets you define bookmarks. Bookmarks can help you to find important files fast. Every bookmark can have a memo.

Plugins, Extension Manager, ...


For example, the text plugin links TXT files to itself. With the extension manager, you can set up other file types to a plugin (for example the text plugin can open CSV and HTM files as they are plain text, too). Unfortuanely you can't open external applications (like DocumentsToGo).

My results

Yes, VFSi is a special file manager. It has special features, like image viewing or bookmarks but I miss some features - like opening external applications: Bookmarks and the file browser can be useful to access important documents - but VFSi can't open documents (PDF, HTM, DOC) although they are apps that can. The image viewer is useful, too: it can rotate and zoom pictures (but not save) and switch to the next. It seems that development is discontinued because the latest version is old.

You can download it at: http://www.geocities.co.jp/SiliconValley-PaloAlto/7022/oldcontents/vfsi.htm

Symbian Series 60 market share is bloated/hyped/misestimated

A Symbian powered phone side to side with a Sony Erriccson IOS powered oneWhenever people discuss OS market shares, they usually state that Symbian Series 60 owns the smartphone market. This is true at the first glance-but if you think about how Series 60 phones are used, it quickly becomes void:
Series 60 is mostly used as proprietary OS replacement for dumb phones
Face it, people. My SX1 is damn cool-but I never use any of its features except phone and camera. Many of my friends own Symbian Series 60 powered phones and dont even know what they run. They do install the occasional app or game-but none of them uses the machine as a supplement to their PC or notebook.
A stock T68i ran on some kind of Erricson IOS that was extended to do java and 16bit color later on-it could do almost everything Series 60 does now. Thus, the main benefit this OS offers to handset makers is a faster time to market. Instead of developing your own dumb phone OS, you license it from Symbian.
Sony Erricson owns part of the Symbian corporation-and most of their touchscreen-less boxen don't run on Symbian. They actually run on the very IOS that powered the T68. Sagem behaves similar... . Ridiculously, the IOS powered phones don’t exhibit mayor deficiencies when compared to a Series 60 phone!

Now, these dumb phones are sold to users. These users don't realize what they are running. They don’t buy the phone for its OS, but rather for price and integrated features.

So, to cut a long story short. Series 60 has an insane market share if you define market share only via the amount of devices sold. If you look at the user community, however, you will soon realize that most Series 60 users don't consider their devices as smartphones! Thus, many of the devices sold don't contribute to the 3 party developers.

What do you think? Is the market share justified?