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Limitations in Current Breed of Palm Handhelds? 329

Posted by Cliff
from the search-for-improved-functionality dept.
JabrTheHut asks: "Having been a Palm user for over two years now, I've upgraded to a Tungsten T3. While the features I'm used to using have not changed, I have become increasingly frustrated by what I see as a lack of progress. It doesn't seem to want to deal with text files (there is no import feature for the Palm Desktop notepad or memo pad, for example). Also there seems to be no way to copy arbitrary files to the Palm - all files must be "owned" by an application. With a 256MB SD card I expected to use it to copy files between work and home. Has anyone else noticed these or other shortcomings and have figured out ways around them?"
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Limitations in Current Breed of Palm Handhelds?

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  • PPC (Score:2, Funny)

    by io333 (574963)
    Pocket PC.

    Go ahead. MOD me down I don't care.

    You Know I am Right!
    • Sounds Familiar. (Score:3, Informative)

      by twitter (104583)
      You Know I am Right!

      Only if you are running familiar [handhelds.org] or OpenZaurus [openzaurus.org]. GPE has excellent handwriting recognition. KPIM works almost exactly like Palm datebook +. Then you also have browsers, wifi, media players and other not considered "palm" programs.

      I'm still using a Handspring Visor to organize my life, but I can see great advantages to newer platforms. With a little work, I'll master syncing with the Zaurus. If I do that and can find as good a calculator as the Visor has, that's it for the visor.

      Th

      • I'd love a Zaurus if they were a tiny bit smaller. I really like the form factor on my PalmOne Tungsten T|E--it's really the perfect size for me. Any larger is going to be too bulky for my pocket, any smaller is probably going to be too small to use.

        The problem with Palm is that they aren't innovating enough and they definitely aren't moving in the right direction. Take the new T5:
        - Lack of voice recording, possibly the single feature I'd like the most in a handheld (the T3 has it). I use the voice rec
    • Right on.

      I've used my (Toshiba) Pocket PC for over two years now. It syncs with Outlook (which I use anyway, both at home and at work), it allows you to access the SD slot as a removable drive, both in handheld mode and when docked with a desktop, without adding any software, and it reads text files without a hitch.

      I'm not going to knock Palm - I haven't used one, but I'm sure they're doing something right, since I'm sure they haven't sold millions of units strictly because of slick marketing. But the P
  • by laing (303349) on Sunday December 12, 2004 @03:04PM (#11067655)
    The Palm desktop application sucks. You can work around some of the issues you mentioned though. Moving text files is pretty straightforward if you just copy and past the content. There are file size limitations though. A better way is to write to your SD card directly, and use (on the palm) an application (like FileZ or UniCMD) to access it.
    • File size limitations in Memo Pad were fixed from the Tungsten T3/Zire72 on.
    • Indeed. I have actually moved away from the Palm to using my iPod, with the address book, iCal and notes. It is not everything I would like ideally, but the issues of moving files back and forth from work has been greatly simplified as there are gigabytes available in addition to being able to use it as a hard drive for everything (including a boot partition if needed). I had really wished that Palm would integrate more support for standards such as text files and such that would be easily transferable f
    • As far as sending raw text files (or anything else which has an association), Bluetooth works pretty well. And an alternative to using an SD card writer is buying Card Export II and using the Palm itself as an SD card writer. :-)
  • by DJStealth (103231) on Sunday December 12, 2004 @03:05PM (#11067664)
    In Palm Quick Install.. Click on "Add" then select files of type "All Files (*.*)".

    Alternatively, get a SD card drive, its faster :)

    Documents 2 Go can handle text files, alternatively, you can use the Palm Desktop to copy/paste things into memopad.

    There are various shareware/freeware utils that act as very basic file managers for the palm, with hexedit capabilities. (They can also be used to edit/delete your preference files - which can come in useful)
  • 2 Limitation Fixes (Score:2, Interesting)

    by whysanity (231556) *
    1) PocketPC

    2) 8-in-1 card reader
  • Third Party Apps (Score:5, Informative)

    by yoblin (692322) on Sunday December 12, 2004 @03:06PM (#11067672)
    Third party applications are really the only solution to this problem, here's one I used a while back: http://www.tealpoint.com/softmovr.htm [tealpoint.com]
    • Here and now, Kpilot [slac.com] rocks. It syncs very well with Kontact and will move your notes for you. It moves all your attached notes too, such as appointment information and todo notes. I don't use it for email, but it also syncs with kmail. KDE is also working on a cell phone application so that all your database will belong to you. I've already used my old handspring to recover ancient contacts from a backup of previous syncs with Lookout. Syncing with Lookout had become a chronic pain two years ago and
  • Gateway software (Score:4, Informative)

    by murgee (615127) on Sunday December 12, 2004 @03:07PM (#11067677) Homepage
    Some Palms (and Palmish devices.. I have a Sony Clie) come with a gateway-type program you can use to put random files on the memory card. If yours doesn't have one built in, you may be able to find a third-party one.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    this is the new PDA [sonyericsson.com], unless Palm try harder (and not silly branding initiatives) they will be marginalized even further, palm are already considered last and if they dont buck their ideas up they are history left in the dust of the giants which would be a shame
  • by ahecht (567934) on Sunday December 12, 2004 @03:11PM (#11067694) Homepage
    You can install anything to a SD card by selecting "Install to Card". Alternatively, you can install anything to ram using a program such as RAMDisk. Palm uses a very efficient database file system, and they don't want it cluttered up with your MP3 files (just look at the problems they had with the T5 when they tried to allow any files to be stored in RAM).
    • .... they dont want it cluttered up with your mp3 files.

      dumbass, you havent seen the latest TV commercials where they specifically state 'you may just want to listen to mp3s on it'

      Restricting the user from doing simple basic file transfers easily is not justified by any level of 'efficiency' in the database system ... it just exposes their shortcomings.

      My company builds pocket pc applications for collecting geotechnical data in the field, which is then automatically synch'ed into an SQL server database
      • dumbass, you havent seen the latest TV commercials where they specifically state 'you may just want to listen to mp3s on it'

        And if you read the fine print at the bottom, it says "Requires expansion card, sold seperately".

        I have 512MB of mp3s on a card on my Tungsten E, and it works great. Plus, if you don't want to buy a card, you can use PalmRAMDisk.


  • seriously, give me that, ssh, and an internet connnection and people (I) would start doing all sorts of cool things with the palm. (putting a small gcc compiler and perl on there wouldn't hurt either)

  • by pongo000 (97357) on Sunday December 12, 2004 @03:11PM (#11067700)
    Most Palms seem to go to great lengths to hide details of the filesystem from the user. The workaround I've found is to simply store all user data on the removable flash memory, plug it into my flash memory reader and access it that way. I don't have a T3, but I'm able to work with the filesystem directly on several of the m-series Palms.

    I agree, there seems to be very little forward movement in significant functionality in the Palm world. Can I be so bold to suggest that this lack of innovation might be due to the lack fo significant competition for Palm?
    • by pherthyl (445706) on Sunday December 12, 2004 @03:20PM (#11067743)
      >>Can I be so bold to suggest that this lack of innovation might be due to the lack fo significant competition for Palm?

      Ever heard of PocketPC?
      • >>Can I be so bold to suggest that this lack of innovation might be due to the lack fo significant competition for Palm?

        >Ever heard of PocketPC?

        Can I be so bold to suggest that this lack of innovation might be due to the lack fo significant competition for Palm!

        • Yeah, right, considering that PocketPCs outsell Palms three ways from Sunday. Could it be that the PocketPC platform is selling better because it offers greater functionality, a better user experience, and applications that users want?
      • Considering the entire parent post, are you seriously suggesting that the PocketPC filesystem is more transparent and easier to work with than Palm's? While having something like Filez [freewarepalm.com] is necessary for complete control, it's just program and database files - usually one of each for each program. I prefer loading a single program file to dealing with stuff like this [freewareppc.com]:

        - Find/Remove bad uninstall info
        - Find/Remove not valid shortcuts
        - Find/Remove temporary and junk files
        - Find/Remove PocketIE cache files

    • I agree, there seems to be very little forward movement in significant functionality in the Palm world. Can I be so bold to suggest that this lack of innovation might be due to the lack fo significant competition for Palm?

      Actually, the Pocket PC [pocketpc.com] is now the dominant PDA OS [slashdot.org] on the market. I think it's because Microsoft has a genuinely better product here. I have a Dell Axim and an Audiovox SMT5600 Smartphone. They both operate great and I can copy any file I want over to them from the desktop. I wish my ph
      • "Actually, the Pocket PC is now the dominant PDA OS on the market."

        Unfortunately, those numbers came from Gartner, which has an extremely well know MS bias. So in order to get the results they wanted, they left out the 1M+ treos that were sold. (While at the same time including RIM...)
        • Palm has been consistently losing market share to Pocket PC for some time now. You may argue that PDAs are on the way out, but it doesn't change the fact that Palm missed a big opportunity and stumbled with keeping their OS up to date and easy for developers to use. I used to be a Palm V owner. Now I use a Smartphone instead which does everything my Palm V did and more.
  • Palm OS (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Dorsai65 (804760)

    I have a Tungsten/E, up from a Palm IIIe that I had for years. The only workarounds I've ever been able to come up with have been to do the old cut/paste for plain text, and to find an app that I can set to 'own' arbitrary files.

    That recent flap about Palm using the FAT for SD suggests they're trying to do something, but they obviously still need to work on it.

    Yes, it does pretty much suck. If Palm doesn't get their thumb out, I'm going to have to start looking for something else. If somebody comes up wit

  • I currently use a Sharp Sl-5600 PDA. I love the little guy. It has an SD memory slot AND a CF slot. I have a 512 Mb SD card for all my files. Straight out of the box there was applications to read Word files and Excel files, as well as a decent text editor. I too had the problem you described with the ability to read and transport files. Plus the capability to do just about anything with a cf card is a huge plus. Just my humble opinion.
  • I have been a palm user since the Palm III. They definitely defined the palm top and made it popular (with some help from the Newton, et al).

    Now with Sony ditching their palm based products, we see how truly uninnovative Palm is. Sony had some of the best designs, including swivel displays, camera's, keyboards, WiFi, etc. Palm pretty much had the same old design, sometimes adding a feature here or there. After all, there is a palm that has a camera, but only that one unit. Some could play MP3's, but t
    • I Disagree with you.

      Before people kill me about this, read it through.

      Palm does innovate, but they are becoming a niche product. Palm is the Mac of the 2000s (still don't have a good way of saying it.).

      Mac came out with a revolutionary device, then a IBM decided it wanted in on the market too. IBM made a different product, more customizable and cross compatible across lots of hardware. Mac innovated with simplicty and good looks.

      If you replace all the Mac with Palm, and IBM with Microsoft, it works o
  • Where the hell is it? Palm bought it years ago and presumably hasn't sat on it. So where IS IT?

    It reminds me of how many delays the Mac OS went through before they finally got pre-emptive multitasking in the form of OSX.

    I assume that many of Palm's limitations will be solved when this OS happens. IF it happens, that is...

  • I used to have a Palm V - I used it all the time because it worked great for keeping my todo list.

    Then I was purchased a Dell Axim as a gift. It did all sorts of stuff my Palm couldn't - video, sound, etc.

    But it did a crappy job handling my todo list. So I stopped using it.

    Palm got a lot of stuff right off the bat - and they don't seem real eager to mess with success.

    A lot of the major updates to the OS have really been focused around hardware support as opposed to new features. It took forever

  • The greatest limitation I have found is that except for PixelViewer (which only comes with Sony Clie's), no application has native PDF support. Adobe's reader must first translate the file to another format for the palm to read. This is a minor annoyance because since I have a Tungsten C, with WiFi access, I still cannot get school files to my Palm straight off of the internet.
  • Fortunately, future Palm OS releases will be built on Linux. Even if the fine corporation does not build in all the features you would like to have, it shouldn't be too hard to hack them in. And with all the geeks loving handhelds, Linux, and features, it will be done.
  • Palm Tablet? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by xtermin8 (719661)
    Wouldn't a full strength "tablet" PC be a nice addition to the Palm lineup? Of course M$ would never let this happen, but it would be good to have more choices for full-sized touch-screen computers.
  • by Jhon (241832) * on Sunday December 12, 2004 @03:32PM (#11067784) Homepage Journal
    It doesn't seem to want to deal with text files (there is no import feature for the Palm Desktop notepad or memo pad, for example).
    Check out your hotsync settings.

    File Link|Create New Link|Application (Memopad) | File Path (Select your file -- even a .TXT file).

    It will sync the file to the palm EVERY time you sync. Works great.

    You can EASILY install ANY file to ANY palm with an SD card using either a USB card reader OR install-to-card on the palm quickinstall menu.

    This doesn't even begin to address 3rd party solutions available, too. I have a LOT of problems with palm -- but what you are complaining about isn't a weakness in palm, but a weakness in your knowledge of how to USE a palm.

    My current palm is a Zire 72 -- and I'm quite happy with it. Aside from the paint peeling off (DUH PALM!), it's VERY stable. My few work-mates who have PPCs crash almost daily.
  • by turgid (580780) on Sunday December 12, 2004 @03:32PM (#11067785) Journal
    I recently upgraded from a Palm m100 to a Tungsten T3. I'm a Linux user at home, and I also found this sort of thing frustrating.

    I eventually found out from talking to the developers that version 0.12.0, currently in CVS, supports the uploading of arbitrary files to the memory card on the palm.

    I downloaded 0.12.0-rc4 from CVS and it compiled cleanly. There's a new option to pilot-xfer, -D, to install arbitrary files to the filesystem on the memory card.

    This worked perfectly, but I found it a bit slow for transferring lots of MP3 files, so I bought a cheap USB2 card readed, which I can mount like a drive, and use cp to copy the files across. The card readed only cost UKP9.95+VAT and is really worh it for convenience and ease of use.

  • by hacker (14635) <hacker@gnu-designs.com> on Sunday December 12, 2004 @03:39PM (#11067817)
    "It doesn't seem to want to deal with text files (there is no import feature for the Palm Desktop notepad or memo pad, for example)."

    You mean 'in Windows'. In the Linux and UNIX world, there are dozens of choices in how you want to talk to your Palm.

    For "text files", nothing beats Plucker [nyud.net] when carrying text, ebooks, manuals, HTML pages, HOWTO documents, and other items. The LDP even carries all of their HOWTO documents [tldp.org] in Plucker format. Its the only format that is freely available, openly documented, and very extensible.

    Just look at how beautiful [nyud.net] Plucker is with the PHP documentation [php.net] as one example...

    "Also there seems to be no way to copy arbitrary files to the Palm - all files must be "owned" by an application. With a 256MB SD card I expected to use it to copy files between work and home."

    You must mean '...in Windows' again. In the non-Windows side, including OSX, we have pilot-link [nyud.net] which talks natively to your Palm and can do all kinds of things that the Windows tools cannot (including operating at 40% faster in some cases).

    Commercial companies such as MarkSpace [markspace.com] are using pilot-link (the core library of pilot-link anyway) in their commercial product, MissingSync [markspace.com] which runs on OSX.

    For desktop replacements, PIMs, and other tools, there are dozens of alternatives. Here are several, in no particular order (with Coralized [nyu.edu] links to protect the bandwidth of the various projects):

    There are many others, but these are the top contenders. They all also rely on the libraries and language bindings provided by pilot-link to communicate with your Palm device.

    "Has anyone else noticed these or other shortcomings and have figured out ways around them?"

    Yes, stop using Windows. Stop using the featureless proprietary tools provided by these vendors who only listen to their profit margins, not to their userbase.

    Seriously

    • You mean 'in Windows'.

      No, he means "for the Palm Desktop", as written. The very first tool you recommend, Plucker, runs on Windows. Third-party tools for copying arbitrary files to a device have been around on Windows since pilot-link was a proof of concept. Speaking of which, the latest news on the pilot-link site relates how the donation of a Tungsten T3 much like JabrTheHut's will allow the project to begin reverse-engineering the new PIM databases. What was that about "featureless proprietary tools

    • Grandparent wrote -

      Also there seems to be no way to copy arbitrary files to the Palm -

      Let me just amplify one point about pilot-link -- one which had eluded me until recently. Yes, it's a great toolbox and this is one of the things it handles. The tool for this is called pilot-schlep.

      A quick read of the manpage makes it look like pilot-schlep is for installing files to the Pilot. As such, I mistakenly decided that I'd just learn and use pilot-xfer, which is more general-purpose. But pilot-schlep

  • I'd really like to see multiple calendars on the palm. Right now all categories of events have to reside in the same calendar, I'd like to be able to have just family stuff (like birthdays) on one calendar, have a business calendar, and then a personal calendar, and then all of the above. Currently the palm is fine for my needs, but that's because I only use the basics these days. It is true that there has been little innovation from Palm in the past 5 years. Just little details here or there, nothing r
  • On the one hand, I can see the sense in complaining about the lack of innovation by Palm.

    On the other hand, there is something to be said for "if it ain't broken, don't fix it". Palm's handhelds are largely immune to the feature creep that Pocket PC devices exhibit. They just do what they were made to do. Last time I checked, Palm devices were cheaper and required fewer recharges and reboots than Pocket PCs.
  • by Surur (694693)
    Too many palm loving mods suppressing intelligent comments

    Palm is a dieing breed (Score:-1, Troll)
    by fzammett (255288) on Sunday December 12, @08:15PM (#11067719)
    ( http://www.omnytex.com/ )
    Seriously, it is. Even the worst PocketPC is far more functional, and they are quite stable and reliable.

    And that doesn't even mention Linux-based devices, which really haven't taken hold yet. I think it's just a matter of time before they do, although there needs to be a good shell around it. I thought the Zaurus wa
  • by BenjyD (316700) on Sunday December 12, 2004 @03:42PM (#11067834)

    It doesn't seem to want to deal with text files (there is no import feature for the Palm Desktop notepad or memo pad, for example).

    I found the lack of a decent text editor so annoying that 18 months ago I started writing a text editor for PalmOS: SiEd [benroe.com]. It opens text files straight from SD-Cards, as well as Palm DOC files in main memory. You can use it to convert between the two as well.

  • ...underwater, solar-powered, or autonomous!
  • by diamondsw (685967) on Sunday December 12, 2004 @03:48PM (#11067853)
    ...with the Tungsten T5 and the Treo 650. Each of these handhelds has two types of memory built in - the usual RAM that we've had for years, and non-volatile memory where all of your user data, programs, etc are stored. This memory is formatted with a standard FAT filesystem, and can be mounted on the desktop with no special tricks. Essentially, this NVRAM acts as a "hard disk" for the Palm, and should be every bit as flexible as one.

    From the T5 spec sheet:
    256MB (215MB actual storage capacity: 160MB internal flash drive, 55MB program memory for applications and data.)

    And from the Treo 650 spec sheet:
    23MB user-available stored non-volatile memory [doesn't list program memory - I believe it's 32MB]

    See the following for more details:
    How does the Treo 650 memory system work (NVFS)? [palmone.com]
    • This memory is formatted with a standard FAT filesystem, and can be mounted on the desktop with no special tricks.

      I own a T5, and this point needs to be more emphasized. When you activate "Drive Mode", the Palm and the SD card appear to the destkop as plain-jane USB Mass Storage devices (one for the Palm's internal Flash storage, one more for the SD card). As such, this works with Mac and Linux (and likely BSD and BeOS, and whatever else, since it's USB Mass Storage).

      The only downside is that you can't

  • I've found that the PocketPC is generally better in this respect. Before I get modded as a troll like all the other pro-PocketPC comments, have a read.

    "all files must be "owned" by an application"

    For a device like a Palm, this makes perfect sense. A Palm is not a file transport device, it is a PDA/viewer. Not having to deal with filetypes per se means that it can do away with a huge chunk of complexity as you don't need the equivalent of Windows Explorer to manage the file structure. In any case, why wo
  • jPilot (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Davoid (5734) on Sunday December 12, 2004 @03:59PM (#11067910) Journal
    I have been using jPilot for about 5-6 years now with my Palm Vx http://www.jpilot.org/ [jpilot.org]

    I can import/export plain text files as text, CSV, or DAT/MPA. No need to copy-paste. This works for the Memopad app in Palm OS. It also works for the Addressbook, Datebook, and TodoList. I can not say enough good things about jPilot... reliable, simple, fast, gets the job done. It is such a good application I would use it as a PIM even if I didn't have the Palm OS device. One can also get plugins for gnu-keyring and email... and a few others I never use.

    Only one caveat... jPilot only runs on Linux/Unix. Once the files are imported to the Palm the regualr Windows and Mac OS Palm Desktop apps read them just fine.

    I really don't see the problem of the original question. Palm OS does a limited set of things and it does them well. It is basically a way of carrying around a bunch of conveniently searchable and editable databases. I have not found the need for the newer or more featureful apps that are available on Pocket PCs. I also own a Sharp Zaurus 5000 and an HP iPaq. Neither of which comes close to the reliability and utility of my nice little Palm Vx. From my experience all the fancier devices try to squish desktop apps into a palm sized device... none of them do it well.

    YMMV
  • The good thing about Palm is that it is not PC like, the simplicity of the OS is its best feature, I don't need a file system, or floating point numbers etc. Having a simple robust OS that runs on hardware that draws little power, has no moving parts and will actually function in adverse conditions is a huge advantage. Turns out you really don't need a file system or floating point numbers or a 32 bit OS to implement complex applications. Also Palm devices are as cheap as $75 for OS 5 models. My current p
  • Ok here's my biggest beef with Pocketpc "progress".

    Why can't I sync my notes with categories? Phatnotes crashes with Exchange, and no other "open" or closed source solutions even come close to giving me that functionality.

    I invested a good amount of time organizing everything by categories, and bought a pocketpc for seemingly seamless integration with Outlook.

    Boy was I wrong. Does ANYONE have a solution?

    Thanks.

    Yo Grark
  • I use softick card exporter [softick.com] (site is not responding to me, look for the google cache) which makes the card show up as a USB drive. Under linux it is a scsi device like any other usb card reader and can be mounted and used as a normal drive. When done make sure you sync and unmount !
  • I've found that the best thing to do is to stick with a non-Palm yet Palm OS variant. I have a Sony Cliè and it is wondrous. The Picsel viewer that comes standard with the Cliè handles images, plain text, office documents, and PDF files wonderfully. There is also an MS-Office compatible application called "Documents to go" which allows you to create and open documents accessible by a variety of PC applications. The data import application allows you to connect the Cliè via USB to any computer
  • No multitasking... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by $exyNerdie (683214) on Sunday December 12, 2004 @04:09PM (#11067951) Homepage Journal
    If you have Treo 600 (palm OS 5.2), you will definitely get frustrated by lack of multi-tasking/multi-threading in PalmOS. If you are surfing the web and your friend sends you a text message, you go to SMS application and go back to browser, you lose where you left of. You have to start all over again.......

  • Even with great advances in PDA CPU power and PDA-based web browsers, Palm's PQAs were king as far as ease of use when it came to quickly looking up info.

    When Palm.Net was shut down, the PQA gateways were too. As a result, existing Palm-based devices became much less functional. (Using the web browser on my Kyocera 6035 is nowhere near as convenient/fast/easy as PQAs were and is much slower.)

    Palm should have open-sourced the PQA gateway software and released a small update for PalmOS allowing the user t
  • by _aa_ (63092) <jNO@SPAMuaau.ws> on Sunday December 12, 2004 @04:24PM (#11068039) Homepage Journal
    I saw a few comments requesting SSH clients and Text Readers so I thought I point some out.

    First some free stuff:

    plucker [plkr.org] - Ebook reader. Really only supports it's own format but is very robust. iSilo [isilo.com] is a non-free ebook reader that supports other formats including txt, but with the plucker tools you can convert almost any document into plucker format.
    pssh [sealiesoftware.com] - There are other SSH clients for palmos, but this one doesn't crash my treo.
    palmvnc [palmvnc2.free.fr] - Very neat, but less than practical on my low-res, low-speed treo.
    soundrec [infinityball.com] - Simple sound recording application, export to wav (usefull with Bhajis Loops) designed for the treo 600 but may work with other palm devices

    Now some non-free stuff:

    Pocket Tunes [pocket-tunes.com] - Turn your palm device into an ipod only better with ogg and wma support. Worth the price.
    Bhajis Loops [chocopoolp.com] - Turn your palm device into a music studio. Also worth the price

    Not too mention the countless games, calculators, calendars, and other knick-knacks.

    There are limitations in hardware obviously. There's only so much stuff you can fit in such a tiny device. But I must say that my treo 600 does way more than I ever expected when I bought it.
  • Palm dying (Score:3, Insightful)

    by klubar (591384) on Sunday December 12, 2004 @04:30PM (#11068067) Homepage
    I was a big fan of the Palm and really didn't want to go the Pocket PC route. I purchased a Tungsten E and was disappointed with it. The biggest problem was that you couldn't connect a GPS to its nonfunctioning USB port and no built-in bluetooth. I looked at upgrading to the Tugsten T5 and was disappointed at no built-in wifi and a rather high price. The Dell Axim v50x came out about the same time. Built-in bluetooth, wifi, choice of SD and CF. In the vga model (v50x) it's available for just over $400. Surprising decent software and nice design. Too bad it runs pocketPC but it's really not such a bad choice. The palm seems to have lost their edge and it's hard to recommend them any more. The darkside is taking over...and damn it with a better product.
  • anyone tried to install linux on one of the arm based palm yet?
  • by jwr (20994) on Sunday December 12, 2004 @04:37PM (#11068113) Homepage
    You want the T5. That one has an internal drive that is accessible from your pc. I think it would solve most of your problems.
  • If your using WOrd and Excel files, Docs2Go handles them just fine (better, IMHO, than the Pocket version on the PPC) - I regularly beam them back and forth from my laptop.
  • I hate to say it... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by IcePop456 (575711) on Sunday December 12, 2004 @04:49PM (#11068175)
    but get a PDA with Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition. My Dell x50v has it and I still can't belive the stuff I can do with it. It mounts as drives in WinXP, I stream TV/DVDs to it, I mount my home network and can play any file I own. Well, expet for my HDTV stuff - then again what's the point of a 1280x720 video on a 640x480 display? I guess the Linux ones can do some of this too...
  • Yes. I have. [sharpusa.com]
  • Whether your not you're a big fan of Windows, it's hard to argue that Palm is a better OS for a PDA. The windows based devices are simply much more functional and much better at dealing with desktop interaction. I suppose a Linux based handheld would be fine as well, but I have no experience with those.

  • by TellarHK (159748) <tellarhk.hotmail@com> on Sunday December 12, 2004 @05:20PM (#11068348) Homepage Journal
    I picked up a Tapwave Zodiac [tapwave.com] last year, and was really looking forward to getting back into a Palm device two major OS revisions newer than my old Palm IIIc (which was eventually traded for a Newton 2100) but boy, was I surprised by how little had really changed. Sure, the resolution was higher, the expandabiltiy was there at last (Two SD card slots), it was designed for "gaming" with an actual 8M ATI video chip in it, 320x480, the works and then some. The only things it lacked were WiFi and a camera... ...and a decent fucking OS. Sure, my Zodiac can run in 320x480 - but the actual PalmOS dialogs all run in 320x320 at best, popping up the graffiti area even when not needed. If I use the toolbar to remove the graffiti area, it just puts black space on the sides of the dialog. And speaking of the toolbar, it's just so wonderful that Palm made every manufacturer come up with thier own way of doing more than 320x320 resolution. Apps to modify the toolbar on the Tungsten T2 or Clie series Palms, do fuck-all on the Zodiac. Well, I take that back - they're great for crashing it. You can't skin the graffiti area or toolbar, you -still- can't change your icons from the ones included with the device and applications, and multitasking? Nope, that'll be in PalmOS 6.

    The Zodiac is great hardware. It feels right. Well made, sturdy. Quality stuff. But the OS it got saddled with makes me feel like I'm running the PDA equivalent of Mac OS 9. It'll be great for people that require OS 9 apps, but there's a lot more out there. Palm stayed still without INNOVATING for way, way too long.
  • Try Card Export [softick.com]. It exports the SD card in your palm as a usb mass storage drive which you can mount under windows/linux (usb-storage) and access as a normal drive.
  • by Diomidis Spinellis (661697) on Sunday December 12, 2004 @05:24PM (#11068384) Homepage
    I am glad somebody has pointed out the lack of progress in the palmtop market. My 12-year old HP-100LX is literally falling appart, yet I can not find a worthwhile replacement.

    Things I am missing from the current generation of Palms, but I find as built-in features on my [tr]usted HP-100LX are:

    • A rechargable battery that runs for about three weeks.
    • The ability to plug in standard AA bateries when the rechargable battery runs out.
    • A plain vanilla 12V charger port and a backup batery when the two options fail. (In 12 years I have only lost data once, when the machine fell from my bike in a shallow water ditch).
    • Real (though not preemtive) context switching. When I enter one application, the other one is suspended in the state it was, and will be resumed at exactly the same state when I return to it.
    • An industry standard file system (FAT), and support for cheap standard PCMCIA memory cards.
    • A complete spreadsheet (not just a viewer) that includes macros, and graphs.
    • A customizable database supporting complex queries and a visual form builder.
    • Customizable calendar, phone book, and note-taking applications, based on the above database.
    • A scientific and financial calculator with an equation solver, and graphing capability.
    • Locale support for Greece (fonts, keyboard, sorting) out of the box.
    • A sturdy design that can withstand 12 years of (ab)use.
    The flexibility and stability of the machine's software is legendary. Over the years it has adapted to a change in the daylight savings time rule, Y2K, the introduction of the Euro symbol, and a number of phone renumbering exercises (it contains a world city database with a dialing prefixes and a map). The software is fixed in ROM; all needed changes were made via configuration files.
  • If all you're going to do is copy files, why not just get a 256MB USB flash drive? A *lot* cheaper solution!
  • I haven't seen any mention of Psion yet, so here's another thread.

    I switched from a Palm3 (actually, an IBM WorkPad) to a Psion exactly because of the too-small display. I mean, 160px just isn't very useful (anything longer than "lunch with dad" causes line wraps in the calendar). I chose Psion because of good reviews, and my brother had (and still has) a Series 5.

    The Psions give you about twice the display width, plus they come with proper word and spreadsheet apps. Oh yeah, and a file system you can str
  • for exactly the same reason, if you were even half way computer literate.
  • by Trick (3648) on Sunday December 12, 2004 @06:14PM (#11068686)
    Solution to about 99% of the above complaints:

    Open the Palm Install Tool.

    Click "Add"

    Change "Files of Type" to "All Files (*.*)"

    Select the files you want to install (don't worry about whether the files are "owned" by an app. It's totally irrelevant).

    Select the files you want to install. Non-Palm apps and databases will default to installing to your expansion card.

    Sync.

    If you know anything about installing *anything* to a Palm, you may have noticed that this is the exact same process for installing apps and databases, except for the part where you specify the file type.

    This ain't rocket science, kids.
  • storage model (Score:5, Interesting)

    by krokodil (110356) on Sunday December 12, 2004 @06:43PM (#11068868) Homepage
    Palm OS historically have database storage model: everything on it was organized in databases, which contain records. Each record is just chunk of arbitrary-size (well, there is 32K limit) of binary data. Database API provides only means of accessing records by number, marking them as deleted and adding new ones. (I am slightly over-simplifying here, there are also database and record attributes, categories, etc. but this is not relevant to what I want to say here.

    Main advantage of database abstraction is that HotSync could incrementally backup and synchronize your data without knowing about its internal structure. In cases when it should know about record structure, it could be extended on PC-side by something called "Conduits" - essentially plug-ins responsible for synchronizing certain kind of database records.

    In more recent versions of Palm OS they realized that they could not get away without good old file system abstraction (for example for accessing network drives or compact flash cards) and they introduced Virtual File System manager, in short VFS. VFS is certainly step ahead, but data stored on VFS does not have advantage of HotSync - it is not backed up, not synced on per-record basis, not purged then application owning it is deleted.

    Other systems, like PocketPC and Symbian already have just one data storage model - File System. PalmOS now have two, incompatible ones.

    VFS abstraction is more flexible than database, since it offers multi-tier data organization (nested directories) versus two-tier in database (database and record). Interestingly, old model could be mapped into VFS model. One could write VFS library representing databases in main memory as VFS directories. Each record will be shown as file in appropriate directory. This would allow to access with old data structures via new API. Databases modified via this VFS API are still valid PalmOS databases and could be backed up via HotSync. Now developers could gradually shift to new VFS API and old database API could be eventually phased out.

    I hope somebody will develop such VFS implementation.

    (copied verbatim from my june 2004 blog [livejournal.com] entry)

  • it's being fixed (Score:3, Informative)

    by jeif1k (809151) on Sunday December 12, 2004 @07:04PM (#11068959)
    Palm just announced that the next generation Palm environment is going to run on top of a Linux kernel with a standard (though, presumably, trimmed-down) Linux user space. They have also fixed severe problems with their database format and other parts of their system.

    If they don't go bankrupt before shipping the Palm/Linux environment, that should turn out to be a good handheld.
  • by gregmckone (211824) on Sunday December 12, 2004 @07:30PM (#11069097) Homepage
    Forgive me if this is slightly off topic as I boast about blackberries vs palms, but I think the idea of avoiding "information dead-ends" is significant enough to be of value to some slashdot readers.

    For me the usefulness of a tool is connected to how well it allows me to do tasks I already want to do. On my Blackberry I will look up a person's contact information on the internet using the browser, then I'll click on their phone number and my blackberry is calling them. Or In our organization of 20,000 people if I don't know exactly who I'm looking for I do a search against our exchange server and get the closest matches, then I can choose the right one and send an email. My email is always synchronized (no plugging into a cradle etc...) After I use a number or an email, I have the option of adding that contact into my address book.

    I can't play solitare on my Blackberry. It isn't a computer, but when it comes to email, the web, phoning, and otherwise connecting those communicating tasks the Blackberry doesn't present many "dead-ends" for information. My palm m125 on the other hand is nothing but a dead end for information.

    Much like the Internet or Unix, it's not about one killer feature, but rather the integration and connection of simpler features that allow us to work with tools in a way that is powerful scalable and ultimately useful to us without re-inventing how we do our work (graffiti?)

    Thanks
    Greg.

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