Tag Archive: PalmOS

Feb 26

iPod Touch News: Software Development Kit (SDK)

Apple announced that in February 2008, they would release a Software Development Kit (SDK) enabling third-party developers to create applications for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Many people are placing a lot of hope into this tool. As of this writing, it appears that its release will be delayed until March, 2008. Read on to see my take on what the SDK may or may not bring….

On one hand, I am very excited that the availability of the SDK could potentially provide some excellent and useful applications. Opening up application development to third-party developers could potentially rival the literally thousands of applications released for PalmOS PDA's.

But on the other hand, I have several concerns or questions:

1. Because the applications will be distributed exclusively through iTunes, it is currently unclear what applications will cost. My guess is that it will probably follow a pattern similar to PalmGear with free, shareware, and commercial offerings, but it is also likely that Apple will always want their cut, so we may not actually see any free applicaitons.

2. The SDK will obviously provide the ability to develop and distribute onboard applications, but it is unclear if the SDK will also allow syncing data with the new applications which, in my opinion, is essential. For example, I would like to see an eBook reader application be developed, but to work, you would need to be able to sync various file types through iTunes. Being able to sync data will open up many capabilities, but it depends on what Apple provides.

3. What will be the "approval" process to accept applications? Who or how will applications be approved for distribution through iTunes?

4. Finally, what will be the cost of the SDK? Will it be free, or will it cost? Amd what about the "digital signatures" required for control and distribution through iTunes? Will these be free as well? If it costs anything to develop applications, the pricing will need to be so as not to price out small, hobbyist developers. Unless, of course, that is Apple's intention.

Time will tell as to how this plays out.

In the mean time, I'm craving a number of software updates or additions, so here is my current wish list in no particular order:

  • Calendar application that syncs with Google Calendar over WiFi and through iTunes
  • Notes application that syncs with Google Notes over WiFi
  • ToDo application that integrates with Calendar
  • Bible Reader application
  • eBook Reader that syncs documents (.txt, .html, .pdf, Word, excel, and Palm DOC) through iTunes
  • Calculator that is more comperhensive
  • Offline RSS reader
  • Application to simply toggle WiFi on or off from the Dock
  • Ability in Safari to "save" pages for offline reading

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/ipod-touch-tips/ipod-touch-news-software-development-kit-sdk

Feb 25

iPod TouchReview: iPod Touch 8GB

I've been a long-time proponent and user of PalmOS PDA's, but lately I have become very by Palm's lack of innovation in their offerings. And innovation is something Palm was regularly known for. For example, consider the Palm V, arguably one of Palm's most innovative designs with its sleek form and powerful (for 1999) capabilities. This was an example of a innovation driving the market.

The PDA trend eventually shifted to "convergence" devices like the Smartphone. But despite their popularity, many of us prefer to have separate devices. Over time, Palm's PDA offerings have really amount to permutations of the same old thing. Now don't get me wrong, I love Palm PDA's. It's just that nothing really new has come out to cause me to want to upgrade or consider a device from another company. So another company appears to be picking up the ball and running with it.

The Apple iPod Touch

Enter the Apple iPod Touch….

Read on for my review of Apple's iPod Touch…

After poking around on the Internet and reading articles and commentary on Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch devices, I decided to give the iPod Touch a closer look. The iPod Touch is basically an iPhone without the phone, camera, or Bluetooth. What's left is a solid, elegant WiFi-enabled media player that also happens to run other applications. I've never actually owned a portable MP3/media player, so I was entering uncharted territory. The closest I came was the several PalmOS multimedia PDAs that could play MP3 files and videos, but they were primarily PDA's, and media playback often seemed like an afterthought.

Now, before I go too far with this, I need to clarify one thing. While I do understand that Apple markets the iPod Touch primarily as a multimedia player, it really is (or has the potential to be) so much more. The iPod Touch is a powerful, pocket-sized, OS X-based (derived from BSD UNIX), WiFi-enabled, touchscreen computer that is very well-suited to run and manage so much more than just music and video playback. Having significant experience with many PDA's over the years, I feel that the iPod Touch has the potential to become the PDA that could significantly refine the concept of what is a current PDA. It is this kind of innovation that very well could launch Apple far ahead of Palm. It could very well be the "Palm V for the 21's Century", if you will.

Hardware
The iPod Touch is very sleek and very small. It measures just 4.3" x 2.4"  x .31" (110mm x 61.8mm x 8mm) and weighs in at 4.2 ounces (120g). Yet, it has a very substantial, comfortable feel, though not too heavy. It is solid and does not bend or creak when flexed. The front of the case surrounding the screen appears to be plastic, and the back of the case is metal–mirrored chrome. The chrome back, like on other iPod models, is very prone to scratching, so you'll want to quickly grab some sort of case to protect it. Overall, it is very solid and very sturdy.

Compare this to the Palm V, and you'll see how advanced it is:

iPod Touch     Palm V

The touchscreen is really nice-looking and solid. Unlike most PDA designs where the touch sensors are on top of the screen, the iPod Touch's sensors are under a screen of solid glass. This means that the touchscreen is very sturdy and not as easily scratched as are plastic-based touchscreens. Obviously, glass can still scratch and wear, so simple a screen protector is all that is really needed for decent protection.

With the addition of a simple sleeve or cover and a screen protector, there is no reason why the iPod Touch can't be "front-pocketable". If the pocket you put it in has keys, coins, or other metal objects, you may want a more durable case. In any case, it's so small that you are more likely to have it with you. Also, a word of caution: I personally never "back-pocket" any PDA simply because I don't want to risk damage.

WiFi
Apple's inclusion of WiFi is very well done. The Settings screen that controls connectivity is very intuitive, and also serves as a basic "stumbler" application showing you all avaiilable WiFi Access Points within range, bith open and locked. The settings are quite customizable, and once set to your liking, connectivity is a snap. I have used a couple WiFi-enabled PDA's and the iPod Touch is by far the fastest and easiest to use, and so far, the most reliable. Its integration is seamless.

If I could change one thing about Apple's WiFi implementation, it's that they did not provide any simple way to toggle WiFi on or off. Leaving it on will drain your battery, so being able to toggle it on or off is essential. Yes, you can do it through the Settings screen, but why don't they include a Home page icon that will do it simply and wuickly, similar to excellent the WiFiSwitch application for Jailbroken devices?

And as long as I'm complaining, the my only real complaint with Apple's hardware choices is the lack of an external speaker. The included transducer simply doesn't cut it. Other than some very basic system sounds like some clicks and very soft-sounding alarms, you need earbuds or headphones to hear any real sound. I realize that other iPods don't have external speakers, but this is quite limiting, in my opinion, given the advanced capabilities and potential of this device. How many times have you wanted to play a quick audio or video clip for someone, but don't because you either don't have or don't want to hassle with earbuds? Having an external speaker would really make this so much easier.

User Interface
The iPod Touch's User Interface is very responsive and very well-suited to fingertip navigation. For example, scrolling is not done by the typical tapping or dragging of a scrollbar. Instead, you just use an up or down "flick" gesture on the screen, and the content scrolls–it's very intuitive. And then there's the "Multitouch" gestures that make interaction fun and easy. Doing a "pinch" motion with two fingers on the screen will zoom in where applicable, and doing a "spread" (or "reverse pinch") will zoom you out. In many cases, "double-tapping" will do a quick zoom in, and "double-tapping" again will quickly zoom you back out.

Another nice feature is an automatic "Landscape" mode that rotates when you tilt the device. There is an accelerometer built-in that detects when you tilt the iPod Touch, so when you turn it on its side, if the application supports it, the screen will rotate in that direction to a landscape format. This is excellent for functions as Cover-Flow and Web browsing.

iPod Touch Landscape

Text input is done with an on-screen keyboard–there is no handwriting recognition here. Surprisingly, the implementation works very well with the fingertip. You won't get the speed of thumb-typing on say, a Treo or a Blackberry, but it's quit usable. My fingers occasionally tap the wrong letter, but correcting is easy. The only real shortcoming of text input is the absence of any Cut and Paste functions, though
it is rumored tha
t a forthcoming firmware upgrade will add this.

Software
The
iPod Touch was originally marketed as an innovative media player, but it does include several other applications like a Calendar, Contacts, and Web browser that bring it closer to the PDA world. Here is a brief description of the included applications:

Music
The heart and soul of all iPods is its ability to play music. The iPod Touch really shines with a slick, intuitive interface. Just sync your music files through iTunes, and you can browse by artist, album, song, genra, and more.

There is also an alternate view called "Cover Flow" that takes advantage of the iPod Touch's landscape mode. While in the music app, tilt the device 90° in either direction, and you see a fanned-out cover-art display of all of your albums. Doing a "flick" gesture left or right scrolls through the animated display, so you can quickly navigate to any alnum. And tapping on a cover "flips" it over revealing the songs on that album. Tapping any of the songs begins playback.

My only complaint with Cover Flow is that it appears to sort the albums by the name of the first artist listed on the album, not album name. For single-artist albums, this is a non-issue, but it can be confusing when dealing with compilation albums. I wish there was a Settings option to define how Cover Flow sorts the albums.

On not-so-know feature allows you to control music playback and volume from within any application or even when the device is locked. Just press thr Home button twice in seccussion, and a small music control pad will pop up. Given that the iPod Touch does not have any external volume controls, this is an excellent and convenient solution.

Videos
Like several other iPod models, the iPod Touch will play videos. From short clips to full-length movies, they look and sound great. Videos can be purchased through iTunes or converted using either iTUns or several third-party applications. Browsing the videos is straight forward, and playback offers full control. In my opinion, compared to the Palm OS PDA's I have used to play back video, the iPod Touch leads the pack.

Photos
The Photos application launches displaying scrollable list of "categories" derived from the directories the photos are stored in. Tapping a category brings up a scrollable list of thumbnails. tapping a thumbnail will display the photo full-screen. Like several other applications, rotating the iPod Touch will put it into Landscape mode whci may make some photos easier to see. You can use the "flick" gesture to scroll, the "pinch" gesture to zoom in or out, and double-tapping will zoom in and out. When zoomed, you can pan around. You can also view the photos as a slideshow.

From within the Photos application, you can select one of the pictures to be used as your Lock-screen background. It's a great application store and show off your pictures. Images must be synced through iTunes.

Calendar
The Calendar app is a modest appointment calendar that will sync with iCal or Outlook. It does not include ToDo's or Notes, but as an appointment manager, it works well. I do wish, however, that it would sync wirelessly with Google Calendar.

Contacts
The Contacts application is fairly complete offering lots of fields for your needs. It syncs with iCan and Outlook. I don't use it that mutch, but the UI is very slick and friendly.

Safari
The Safari Web browser is simply amazing. I have used Web browsers on several Palm OS PDA's, and there is simply no comparison. Safari beats them all hands-down in all counts. Pages render quickly and accurately in Safari, and best of all, they aren't proxy-hobbled or stripped pages–they are the real pages. There is no Flash support, but it is rumored that a forthcoming firmware update will add this feature.

iPod Touch - Safari

Of course, on the small sreen of the iPod Touch, many pages are simply unreadable, but this is quickly and easily resolved by the using the iPod Touch's advanced User Interface. First, you can tilt the device into Landscape mode giving you a wider, more readable display. This is all you need to do in many cases. You can also double-tap on any part of a page, and it will zoom that section to fit the screen. Double-tapping again will zoom you back out. The "pinch" gestures will zoom you in and out as well. A "Flick" gesture up or down will scroll in the desired direction, and if you are zoomed in, tapping and holding then dragging will pan the screen. And to select a link, just tap on it. Internal links load in the same page, while external links take advantage of Safari's Multi-Page view. Safari can maintain several open pages, conceptually similar to Firefox and IE7's Tabs, except pages are chosen through a thumbnail-like viewer. It's a very fresh and intuitive way to navigate Web pages.

Obviously, getting the Web pages requires WiFi connectivity, but the pages are still viewable while offline–almost. Safari's page cache seems to be dependent upon available memory, so if you have more than a few pages open, or have one or two large pages open, if you navigate to another application and return to Safari, the pages may be lost. Unfortunately, what or how much is stored is not predictable, so you cannot rely on having pages always available offline. I would like to see Apple provide an enhancement to Safari that would provide for viewing of saved pages while offline.

Also, Safari displays Adobe .PDF file in an excellent rotatable, zoomable viewer, but you must get the file online, as Safari prevents viewing any local files (file:///…) Of course, there is currently no "official" way to store .PDF files locally, so this may not be an issue.

YouTube
I haven't used this app much, but it provides you with direct access to YouTube videos. The interface is solid, quick, and you have full control over playback. You can browse various video lists or search for specific videos. YouTube fans should enjoy this.

iTunes WiFi Music Store
This slick little application lets you connect directly to your iTunes account while connected via WiFi. You can browse and search for songs and albums, you can listen to previews, and you can purchase and download the song or album immediately with the purchase being charged to yout iTunes account. You cannot access PodCasts or Videos through the app, but for music lovers, this should give you what you want.

So, there you ahve the basics of what the iPod Touch is all about. If you would like an even more detailed hardware and software review, jump over to over at The Gageteer's site: http://the-gadgeteer.com/review/apple_ipod_touch for their excellent review.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/ipod-touch-tips/ipod-touchreview-ipod-touch-8gb

May 01

PDAs: A Year With The Palm Z22

In my article, "PDAs: Back To Basics", I outlined my plan to attempt to simplify some things in my life, and one key area was my PDA use. Having the latest and greatest PDA was always my goal. I couldn’t get enough of the new features and capabilities that the newer PDA’s offered. Yet over time, I found that of the many amazing and cool features, most either went unused or were just plain distracting–distracting to the point of sucking up valuable time that could otherwise be used for more productive things. So I opted for the Palm Z22 to see if its limited feature set could help me to simplify my PDA use.

Well, it’s been just over a year since I moved to the Palm Z22, and so far, I’ve not looked back. The Z22 has proved to be a very useful and solid PDA, and has served my goal of simplifying things. Is it limited? Yes. Do I wish it had more features? Yes. Is it doing what I had hoped it would do? Yes! Read on to see how the Palm Z22 has fared, what I would like to see added to future models, and what are my future PDA plans….

It’s about a year later, I’m still using the Z22, and I have no regrets. I find it to be an amazingly powerful, useful, and productive PDA. Yes, I’ve been stung on occasion by some of its limitations, (notably, its incompatibility with a few applications) but overall, it’s been a very positive experience. I’ve honed my original list of installed applications to a solid set that works well for me. In fact, I just realized that it has literally been several months since I even installed anything new! For example, after having a couple "issues" with mNotes, I decided to just sync my PIM with the Palm Desktop and not worry about it. True, it no longer syncs with Lotus Notes, but I have access to Lotus Notes at work all the time. It turns out that almost all Palm-related alarms and appointments tend to be personal ones, so for me, it’s very manageable.

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Some might see my move to the Z22 as an "innovative step backwards" but the reality is that I no longer focus on the nuances "of the device"–I just use it. While the imposed limitations of the Z22 can be both a blessing and a curse, so far, the positives far outweigh the negatives. There are a couple things I wish were improved (see below) but these limitations haven’t drawn me away from it.

Combined with the Palm Air Case, my Z22 is completely front-pocketable. This has been key to its usefullness because after all, if you can’t take it with you, you can’t use it, right? And because I almost always have it with me, there’s no no real excuse not to use it.

So, am I more productive?
Well, that’s debatable! The time I used to spend tweaking, adjusting, and playing with the extra features of my other PDA’s has definitely gone down. I rarely tweak the Z22 simply because I don’t need to. In fact, the it has truly become an appliance–it’s just there when I need it, and doesn’t get in the way. And that extra time can certainly be spent on more productive things. Obviously it’s what I do with that extra time that determines my productivity!

Unfortunately, I’m not the most organized person, and it is a continuous struggle for me to manage priorities and general organization. But now, at least I can’t attribute that to a PDA–it’s a personal issue. I’m slowly learning better organizational skills, and trying to pick up better habits. But the fact that I’m no longer distracted "by the device" means that I can at least spend that time elsewhere.

Some Wishes
No assessment of the Z22 would be complete without recommendations for improvements. After all, this PDA is not a feature-rich one. Amazingly, I have but two feature requests in improving the Z22 which, to be effective, would have to come without impacting performance or battery life:

1. SD Memory Card Slot
Believe it or not, after a year using the Z22, I have about 3.9MB free RAM. This is actually slightly more than when I started using the Z22! The limited amount of RAM and no memory expansion has been key to maintaining its simplicity by forcing me to limit the applications I use. But I admit that there are times that I wish it had an SD card slot. I would like to be able to have access to additional data and to be able to backup the system RAM. But is this a "must have" feature? No. But then again….

2. High-Resolution Screen
I find the Z22′s screen to be its biggest area of potential improvement. The 160×160 color screen is adequate, and that’s about it. It displays PIM data well, and overall, PalmOS applications are readable and usable. But it’s simply not stunning or impressive. But coolness aside, its readability could be improved. I’d like to see the screen replaced with a full, high-resolution screen extending into the Graffiti area as on newer PalmOS models. It would certainly be easier on the eyes. Fortunately, this is not a huge deal, but it does detract from the overall feel and readability.

And on a side note, when is someone going to come out with a decent color LCD screen that will look great in both office lighting and in bright sunlight? PDA’s suffer from this. Cell phones suffer from this. It’s simply annoying that when I go outside, the the screens become completely useless. I was playing around with an old Palm III the other day, and remembered just how readable the monochrome PalmOS PDA’s were in bright light. OK, so they weren’t high resolution and they weren’t color, but man, were they sure functional!

The future
Will I be replacing the Z22? Will I revert back to an older model? As it stands, the Z22 has really served its original purpose of simplicity well. I’m not saying that the Z22 is the best PDA out there for everyone, but half the battle in simplifying was buying into the concept that less features and imposed limitations would help in simplifying things. And for me, it worked. Other than the couple features I wish it had, I’m truly impressed with the Z22′s performance, capabilities, usefulness, and portability.

So, I don’t foresee purchasing a new PDA or reverting to an old one any time soon. This comes at an interesting time too, because I feel that the whole PDA world has really slowing down in favor of the Smart Phone and integration. Unfortunately, I don’t see much in real innovation happening in the PDA world, so an improved Z22 probably isn’t likely. That said, should Palm decide to release an improved Z22 with a full high-resolution screen and an SD card slot for a reasonable price, I’ll buy it in a heart beat. But until then, I’ll stick with my Z22!

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/palmos-pda-tips/pdas-a-year-with-the-palm-z22

Apr 19

PDAs: Palm Z22 Review

I’ve been trying to simplify my life, and one area is in my use of PDAs. I realized that my PDA use tends to have more to do with tweaking and trying to make the device work better than actually using it as a productivity tool. (See my article "PDAs: Back To The Basics".)

So, after some pondering and research, I decided to "step down" to a Palm Z22 PDA. After a couple weeks of use, I have to say that I just love it! No, it’s not feature-packed like other high-end PDAs on the market–in fact, it’s much simpler in design and function. But that was my goal: to simplify. Read on for a review of this fine PDA….

In my "PDAs: Back To The Basics" article, I explained the benefits of the slimmed-down Z22 PDA, but here, I’m going to get into more of the technical details, including features (or lack thereof), what I dislike, and what I like about the Z22. I’m also going to detail the applications that I have installed. Hopefully, you will come to appreciate its simplicity.

The Palm Z22 is Palm’s latest entry-level PDA offering targeted at those who have never used PDAs. But I contend that its usefulness is not limited to the PDA novice. While it is definitely not feature-packed like Palm’s latest Tungsten TX, or LifeDrive, it captures the simplicity of Palm’s original PDA concepts with some nice 21st century enhancements. And at under $100.00, you get decent features that won’t break the bank.

OK, let’s get to some specifics….

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Construction

The Z22′s case construction is all plastic. Most recent PDAs tend to be mostly metal-cased, so I was a bit unsure about this. It does, however, appear to be very sturdy. After flexing and squeezing it a bit, it seems to be solid. In looks, it looks somewhat like an iPOD from the front with a sleek, smooth white face. giving it a very modern look. The back is a semi-clear blue plastic reminiscent of the iMac. Its design is very curvy, and it fits in the hand nicely. It’s sturdier than I expected for such a low-priced PDA.

On the top is a sub-mini USB connector for HotSyncing, and a holder for the stylus.

On the back is a reset button that is flush to the back surface that is large enough for the stylus tip–no more bent paperclips!

Buttons

The buttons are large and flush to the face of the Z22 with small depressions making it easy to feel. The 5-way navigator pad is a round ring with a select button in the middle. Overall, the buttons feels very good, and there are responsive.

Of significant note is that Palm reduced the number of buttons on the Z22 from most other models. There is a power button, 2 hard application buttons (set to launch the Calendar and Contacts apps, but user-configurable) and the 5-way nav pad…that’s it. If you rely on more buttons, you will be disappointed. However, I did find an excellent workaround in the Hi-Launcher application. See below for details. The limited number of buttons actually simplifies use.

Screen Protection

Like many seasoned PDA users, I’m always concerned with the screen becoming scratched or broken, so some sort of case is definitely needed. The Z22 comes with no case or cover. I have always been partial to Belg Designs’ Leather Flip Case with Belt Clip, but it does boost the geek-rating a bit, requiring you to hang your PDA on your belt. It’s an excellent case, though. I am also partial to Proporta’s Crystal Case for the Palm T3–I simply love it, and I recommend that case in a heartbeat. UnfUnfortunatelyroporta does not offer a Crystal Case for the Z22, and I really don’t want a PDA hanging on my belt.

I discovered that Palm offers a hard, clear "Air Case" that reminds me of Proporta’s Crystal Case offerings. (See my review of the Air Case here.) The Air Case is not as robust as Proporta’s Crystal Cases, but it is still a decent case for the price of under $15.00. The combination of the Palm Z22 and the Palm Air Case really makes for a sleek, pocketable PDA that provides excellent, simple features.

Palm Air Case  Z22 in the Air Case 
 {mosimage}  {mosimage}

Palm does include a thin screen protector that will help prevent scratching. It sticks to the screen, and is easily removable and replaceable.

Size

Wow…this sucker is small! The Z22 makes other Palm PDAs seem huge by comparison, yet it fits my hand nicely, and is easy to hold. For a size comparison (at least the screen anyway) a look at the included Screen Protector: compare the outline of the Z22 to the rest, and yes, it is Palm’s smallest yet. This kind of takes me back to the Palm V days with its sleek lines, slim form factor, and small size. The size of the Z22 certainly doesn’t disappoint–in fact, it’s one of its assets.

But what did palm pack into the minuscule Z22? Surprisingly, a lot….

Memory

Compared to most other PDAs, the Z22′s 20MB of memory seems minuscule. While it has been a challenge to decide which applications are "necessary" and which are not, it turns out that 20MB really provides lots of space with room to spare. It is so easy to fill it up, (especially if you have amassed hundreds of Palm applications over a decade!) but the challenge was to decide what’s important and what’s not, so eventually, I installed those applications and data files that I really needed. It left me with over 3.5MB of free space! (I’ll detail this later on in this article.)

Screen

OK, this could be the Achilles heel of the Z22 for some people. First, understand that I’m VERY used to Hi-resolution devices, so "stepping back" to a 160×160 screen was very difficult at first. But you know, it really isn’t that bad. Most PalmOS applications are written to accommodate a standard 160×160 screen, so most applications run and look just fine.

That said, there are some notable incompatibilities. The big ones for me is Mobi-Systems’ Mobile Office Pro and AstraWare’s Bejeweled 2. They are designed for high-resolution screens only, and that’s that. So I’m back to using Documents To Go and Bejeweled. While it is disappointing given my investment in both, this is not a major issue considering my stated goal of simplicity.

The next issue is "color bleeding". Colors have a tendency to bleed a bit displaying visible lines of color extending down the screen. I guess the good news is that this is only really noticeable on screens that have lots of color elements. Most productivity applications where the majority of screen information is text, it’s notnoticeablee. It would be nice however, if the screen did not do this. Sure, I would really like to see a high-resolution screen on the Z22 form factor, but given my simplicity goals, it’s turning out to be not really necessary.

Finally, the Z22′s screen is virtually unreadable in sunlight. I really wish it had a screen that would be more visible in sunlight (and South Carolina sun is b-r-i-g-h-t!) Of course, the Z22 isn’t the only LCD-equipped consumer device that’s unreadable in the sun.

Speed

The Z22′s 200MHz processor is pretty peppy. I only notice "lag" when moving from one application to another, and mostly when launching an application that hasn’t been launched in a while. This is a departure from Palm’s very typically snappy application switching. My guess is that the Z22 is caching applications, and if the application you want to run isn’t cached, then there’s a slight "load lag". This, no doubt, likely has more to do with the Z22′s use of NVRAM than with the processor itself.

It is a bit unnerving just seeing a blank white screen for several seconds before app displays, but for most
people, this won’t be that noticeable. The Z22 ran all applications I have thrown at it quickly. After using other high-end Palm PDAs, the Z22 isnoticeablyy slower on some counts, but overall, it doesn’t make you wait.

Installed Applications:

Below is a list of the applications that I currently have installed. This provides me with the "essential" applications and data I need, along with some minor superfluous applications, (I know, I know, simplicity, Jim….) All that leaves me with just over 3MB of free memory space. I had to really strip things down to get to this point, but then again, that was my goal. I simply kept asking myself, "Do I truly need this application"? I could still remove some, but for now, I’m satisfied.

Stock PIM apps
I decided to forgo all third-party PIM replacements (with one exception), specifically Pimlico Software’s DateBK5. This is an excellent application, and its features are rich, but I want to give the stock PIM applications a chance, hoping that they will work well for me. So far, I’m finding them to be robust and effective, especially the Calendar app.

LifeBalance
This is the one exception as a third-party PIM replacement app that I’m demoing. LifeBalance is a very interesting application. When I first tried it, I simply didn’t get it, so I dismissed it. But since understanding David Allen’s "Getting Things Done" concepts, I get it, and I find it to be invaluable. LifeBalance’s design is, in my opinion, how Palm’s Tasks app should be. LifeBalance is a simple, yet effective way of managing lots of "Next Actions" and "Contexts". Its implementation is very well thought-out, and I think I’ll put this to good use.

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mNotes
This is an essential application for syncing my Palm with Lotus Notes at work.

ZLauncher
ZLauncher has a large footprint, but it’s what I’m used to, and I have always loved this launcher. Zlauncher is a complex application launcher, but it can be configured down to a quite minimal, simple form. It’s also nice to know that there are a number of features (like a File Manager) under the hood should I need them.
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Hi-Launcher
Hi-Launcher is an application that I purchased long, long ago, and until recently really had no use for. But after installing it on my Z22, I find it to be completely invaluable! Hi-Launcher easily makes up for the reduced number of hard buttons on the Z22. I configured it to "trigger" when I press the hard Contacts button. It pops up a concise list of my favorite and recent applications. It’s fully navigable with the 5-way nav pad, so no stylus is ever needed. I highly recommend this application for Z22 all users!
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Palm’s Calculator
This simple included calculator has a lot of nice, hidden functions…if you know how to find them. I had no idea that you could enable an Advanced mode through the Options menu! The advanced mode adds decent math, finance, statistics, and conversion functions that most people should find very usable. Unless you have specialized needs, there’s really no need for any third-party calculators.
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MyBible
MyBible is an excellent Bible reference application that works very well on the Z22. I installed the KJV and Life Application Notes files. This took up a HUGE amount of space–over 9MB–but it is important to me to have this. Book access is quick, especially with the 5-way nav pad, and searches are as fast as any Palm PDA model.
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HandStory
I find HandStory to be the easiest and quickest way to get text data into my Palm. My method may be a kludge, but it works very well and very quickly for me: Copy any text from any source, paste it into the UltraEdit text editor, clean it up as needed, copy the text, and convert using HandStory to a Palm DOC file which auto-installs on next HotSync. It’s fast & simple, and the reader app is top-notch. (One caveat: Handstory is not 100% 5-way nav compatible in its list screen.)
{mosimage} 

 

Frotz
OK, this is completely superfluous, but I admit it: I love to poke around in Zork 1, 2, and 3! Frotz lets you play old Infocom text adventure games. Yes, this really dates me, but sometimes, gamies in the mind are more exciting than gamies seen with the eyes.
{mosimage} 

 

Klondike
Everyone has to have a portable card game, and this version of Klondike has been my favorite for many years. This version of Klondike is rock solid, and is very configurable. Yes, there are other card programs with many more gamies, but this is simple and fun!
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Monopoly
Capitalism on a Zen device! What more can I say? Well, I can say that Monopoly plays well on the Z22. The colors are great, game play is quick, and it’s lots of fun.
{mosimage} 

 

SuLite One
Yes, I too caught the Sudoku bug. SuLite One is a great, free Sudoku implementation that is surprisingly configurable. It’s great for burning time (when it’s appropriate, of course!) and it’s very playable on a 160×160 screen.
{mosimage} 

 

PixMarker
I love to doodle, and PixMakrer is my favorite doodling app for the Palm. Though I have to admit that I really miss the larger, hi-resolution screen for this one.
{mosimage} 

 

Things I Don’t Like

OK, those are the technical points about the Z22. Here are some things that I do not like about the Z22. None are deal-breakers for me, but they may be for some.

Brightness/Contrast Setting
When you reset the Z22 (either by selecting a software reset from an app like ZLauncher or pressing the reset button on the back) the screen brightness and contrast revert to factory defaults. This might be desirable for some, but I find it annoying. Of course, the reality is that we shouldn’t have to reset that often…

Sound Volume
Sound on the Z22 is not as loud as I would like it to be. Its alarm is not that loud, though I can hear it–probably due to a decade of familiarity with the standard Palm alarm sound. I really wish it would be louder. Aren’t alarms supposed to be annoying–enough to
actually get your attention?

Older Security Screens
Come on, Palm. You’ve produced countless incarnations of the PalmOS, and yet the Z22 doesn’t have the nice PIN-pad security screen that the Tungsten T3′s security update provides. The Z22′s security screen is a big step backward requiring a stylus for entry. How tough could it have been to implement something a bit more modern?

I’m demoing the AppLock program, and it looks really slick, yet simple to at least provide application locking with easy key entry. Yes, there are other Palm security suites out there, but for simplicity, AppLock seems to be just what I need. Check it out!

Screen
As mentioned above, the screen could be better. Some have complained about getting headaches after looking at it for a long time, but fortunately this hasn’t been an issue for me. A crisper, high-resolution screen that is viewable in the sunlight would be an nice upgrade.

Things I like about the Z22

Now for the good stuff. There are lots of things about the Z22 that i really like.

Battery life
So far, battery life is excellent. It very well might be measured in weeks as opposed to hours. In agreement with another review that I read, the short time connected to my PC via its USB cable during a HotSync (maybe 10-15 minutes) seems to be more than enough to "top off" the battery to full charge. This is a huge boon in that I no longer have to worry about battery life. With regular use, it looks like the batter will last much longer than most modern models.

Brightness/Contrast Setting
While I listed this as a negative, one positive point is that the brightness setting has a simple 2-level setting: Low and High. I find the High setting to be perfect for normal daytime use, and the Low setting great at night in low light conditions. Do we really need the granular brightness control of other models?

Calendar
The Calendar application now has a nice Agenda view. It’s not as configurable as say, DateBk6, but it certainly works well, presenting upcoming appointments and tasks. It’s uncluttered, and very effective fitting in with my simplicity goals.

One-Handed Navigation
Being able to navigate an application without having to pull out a stylus is very nice. Either I never really noticed it, or it just wasn’t as robust, but no other PalmOS PDA I have ever owned had the depth of really decent 5-way navigator integration like the Z22 has. I can navigate almost any application with just the 5-way navigator pad, and it’s intuitive. It works very well with all the stock apps, and most third-party apps I have tried. Major kudos to Palm for getting this right!

USB HotSync Cable
My first reaction to this was "Oh great, yet another HotSync connector that’s again incompatible with every other one Palm has introduced in the past." While this may be technically true, the fact that it’s a standard sub-mini USB connector means that I can HotSync with any standard sub-mini USB cable (most geeks have several lying around.) HotSyncing is quick and effortless like most Palm models. No, there isn’t a nice cradle to put it into, but then again, my Z22 should either be in my hand being used, or in my pocket so I don’t forget to take it with me. I have left other Palms in their cradles too often.

Stability
So far, the Z22 has been very solid. The only reason I’ve had to reset has been when I try to push it too far with less-than-stable applications. I did have to do a hard reset at one point, but it was my fault. I tried to install the above mentioned Security patch from the T3, and the Z22 simply didn’t like it. No file manager I tried would delete it, so I had to resort to doing a hard reset. But a simple HotSync after the hard reset restored everything back to where I needed it to be.

Conclusion

For my stated purpose of simplicity, the Z22 really can’t be beat. It is powerful enough to handle essential applications, yet it’s limitations force you to make important decisions as to just what applications are really essential. No, it’s not feature-packed, and it won’t win any awards for advanced designs, but it is what it is, and it does it well. The sleek, pocketable design, really shines.

For people who have never tried out PDAs, the Z22 is an inexpensive way to jump into the PDA world without breaking the bank. For power users who are expecting a power PDA, you will be disappointed–look elsewhere. But I believe that any user, power or otherwise, who wants to have a decent PDA while maintaining a level of simplicity, may find the Z22 to be the answer.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/palmos-pda-tips/pdas-palm-z22-review

Apr 17

PDAs: Back To The Basics

A recent article on Palm247.com discussed moving to the Palm Z22 as a method of simplifying things got me thinking about just how I use my PDA. I have been reading David Allan’s book "Getting Things Done" (GTD), and it has prompted some serious pondering about the fact that so many things in my life are simply way too complicated. I’m trying to make "simplicity" my new mantra, and one area of complexity that I have noticed is my use of my Palm PDA. Read on to see how I have simplified by PDA use by embracing a more simple PDA

I am a long-time user and proponent of PDAs with my first being a Casio "Zoomer" PDA way back in 1993.

{mosimage}

The Casio Zoomer was an amazing PDA that was unfortunatly overshadowed by the Apple Newton’s popularity. Interestingly, the Zoomer had an optional version of the Graffiti handwriting recognition software which was later incorporated into all PalmOS devices.

In 1996, I next purchased Palm’s original Pilot 1000 sold by US Robotics:

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"In the day" the Pilot 1000 was a stunning, amazing device. Its power through simplicity reigned through quite a number of succeeding Palm’s models. But then something happened: feature overload. Along came color screens, expansion slots, MP3 playback, photo and video capture, video playback, Bluetooth, WiFi, phone integration, internal hard drives…the list goes on.

I then progressed through these PDA’s:

Palm iii Palm Vx Sony NX70V
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Palm Tungsten T3 Palm Tungsten C
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While the added features are certainly high on the cool scale, I consistently find that I’m simply not using most of these extended features. Some features are certainly quite useful, (I find a nice color screen to be nuch more readable than the original monochrome screens) but I find that most are simply not "essentials", and I never use them.

So this got me thinking about what features do I really need, and what features are just "fluff" that serve as nothing but distractions? And that’s important to me, because I find myself very easily distracted "by the device" instead of actually productively "using the device." In trying to achieve more simplicity, I decided to choose a device that would provide the functions I need while providing few extras so as not to be distracted from real productivity. So, I decided to take the plunge and convert from the gee-wiz, feature-laden Palm Tungsten T3 to Palm’s latest "entry level model", the Z22.

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So far, I have no regrets!

I’m not going to review the Z22 here–I’m covering that in greater depth in another article–but I am going to explain how some of the Z22′s features (or lack thereof!) are turning out to be very useful and productive.

Size

The first item of note is the Z22′s size. Wow! This is the smallest PalmOS PDA (save the wristwatch version) and I really find it stunning. Everything is proportioned nicely, and it looks very slick (kind of "iPod-ish".) It fits in my hands very well, and it is very front-pocketable. The simple fact that I can easily pocket the Z22 means that I’m more likely to have it with me, and I’ll be more likely to use it productively. While I was never ashamed of proudly sporting a large, belt-clipped PDA, being able to comfortably pocket the Z22 certainly draws less attention, and really reduces the overall Geek Factor.

Memory

The next item of note is the Z22′s limited memory. While 20MB can certainly hold a lot of data, coming down from a T3 with 58MB of space and my added 256MB SD card was difficult. The Z22′s 20MB seemed, at first glance, paltry. But let’s remember my goal: Simplicity. Over the last decade, I have amassed a large collection of PalmOS applications, so this presented an excellent opportunity to re-assess just what applications would be useful, productive, and non-distracting. The end result is that I now have all of the applications and data that I need with over 3MB free space to spare! I’ll detail my setup below….

Screen

The final item of note is the Z22′s screen. After owning several high-resolution PalmOS PDAs, I thought that reverting back to a 160×160 screen would be huge step backward. It turns out that I was dead wrong. The colors render just fine, and I can very easily view all the information I need to view in any of the installed applications without any problems. No, I won’t be showing off high-resolution photos or videos, but remember the goal of simplicity. I simply don’t a high-resolution screen to be productive with it. My only real complaint is that there is some "bleeding" on the screen, and text is definitely not as sharp as a high-resolution screen, but it is very functional, and surprisingly pleasing to look at.

As a side note, I do want to address PDA "protection". Out of the box, the Z22 comes with no case or screen cover. I’ve always been a proponent of PDA cases, so I purchased Palm’s Air Case. The Air Case is a clear plastic case that completely covers the Z22, and has a "flip" cover on the front. It’s made of the same material from which they make safety glasses, so it offers great protection, especially when in your pocket. You can read a more detailed review of the Air Case <>. This combination really can’t be beat for form and function.

Applications

So what do I have installed? Remember that my goal was to strip back all of the superfluous stuff that caused me distractions and prevented me from being really productive with my PDA. So, I assessed that I had, and came up with the following list of applications that I find to be functional and useful:

ZLauncher
(Zhangzhe Technology)
While this application could go somewhat against the "simplicity" concept because of its actual complexity, it provides form and function that I really like, and it integrates some essential tools that I find indispensible (notably, file management.) Its rich feature set, though complex, can be tailored down to a fairly minimal view that is functional, pleasing, and doesn’t distract.

Hi-Launcher
(RNS::)
I purchased this popup launcher long, long ago and haven’t used in a while, but on the Z22, I’m finding it to be invaluable! I assigned it to "trigger" when pressing the Contacts (right) hard button, so I now have one-touch access to my most-used apps. No more fumbling with the stylus to launch a quickly-needed app. This really more than makes up for the limited number of hard buttons on the Z22. Regardless of what launcher app you use, I highly recommend this one! UPDATE: This is an essential. I use it daily, and it has proven to be a true gem of an application!

PIM
(Palm)
Surprisingly, I find the native PIM applocations to be exceptionally useful. I have been a long-time user and proponent of Pimlico Software’s DateBk, but I find that the installed PIM applications have evolved into surprisingly robust applications that do almost all I need. For example, the Calendar’s "Agenda" view provides an at-a-glance list of upcoming appointments and pending Tasks which, though concise, looks great on the 160×160 screen.

LifeBalance
(LlamaGraphics)
This is a very interesting application that I am demoing. When I first looked at this program, it was confusing and not very useful to me–I just didn’t get it. But after finally understanding the GTD methods, this application makes total sense. In fact, its execution is really how Palm’s Tasks application should work. I’m still demoing it, so we’ll see where I go with it long-term….UPDATE: I find that though LifeBalance is an excellent application (and I really wish some of its functionality could be rolled into Palm’s PIM) I I reverted to using Tasks and Memos to handle things. The main reason is synchronizing: Having everything sync with Lotus Notes or Outlook keeps things consolidated and simple. Having to maintain data in yet another Windows application reduces my productivity.
.

MyBible
(Laridian)
I installed the KJV and Life Application Notes files, and they take up a HUGE amount of space–over 9MB! But, it is important to me to have this, so I’m willing to devote the space.

mNotes
(Common Time)
mNotes is essential for syncing the Z22 with Lotus Notes at work. For Outlook users, other excellent solutions exist.

Note Studio
(Dogmelon)
I am demoing this application to see if it will be useful for me for taking and maintaining notes. It provides a simple interface with a Wiki-like structure that could me manage notes efficiently. It’s kinda pricy, but its power through simplicity might prove very userful. UPDATE: I decided that maintaining memos works just fine. Though I do Wish that Memos had wiki-like links, in trying to simplify, it’s a level of complexity that I simply don’t find useful at this time.

Other Applications
I also have several other useful applications and some small games to kill time when I’m waiting in a line or trying to fall asleep. (Come on, you have to have some diversion!)

The Benefits

I find two main "features" that will benefit me in moving to the Z22: Design limitiations and size. Accepting the imposed design limitations has made me re-think how I use a PDA. It’s no longer the photo-displaying, video-playing, information grabbing, gameing, wireless data repository behemoth that I used to have. It’s now a lean productivity device that I can use and trust. And because the Z22 is so easily pocketable and easy to use, I’ll have it with me all the time, and I’ll be more likely to use it.

I am hoping that combining these benefits will give me a device that I can truely consider to be my "trusted place" to keep my thoughts, ideas, tasks, actions, etc. You see, one of the key GTD concepts is to get all of that "stuff" you constantly think about, dwell on, and juggle around in your head, out of your head and into a "trusted place" so that you don’t have to waste time and effort keeping track of it all. For me, a solid, simple PDA just might be the technical solution I have been looking for. Of course, being successful with GTD concepts means understanding that the solution is never in the divice or method itself, but how you implement and actually use it.

Conclusion

While I cannot say that the Z22 is the solution to simplification, I can say that in moving to the Z22, my PDA use has become simpler and easier–and I like it. I believe that "power users" should take a step back from time to time to assess just what they really use in their PDAs. I think they would be surprised at what is useful and what is not. And at under $100.00, it’s not that steep a price to pay to try out a Z22.

Update: 2006-04-18

I received an email from Mike Rohde of rohdesign.com , and it seems that moving back to more simpler PDAs just may be a new trend! Check out Mike’s article about how he transitioned from a lost Zire 72 to a Sony Clie N610C.

If anyone has any stories of their own about intentionally moving to simpler PDAs, let em know, and I’ll add a link here to your article!

Update: 2006-12-11

I’m really liking the Z22, and I find that I’m simply not craving the bells and whistles I used to have. Yes, there are times when I miss my Clie’s camera. Yes, I sometimes miss the Tungsten C’s keyboard. Yes, I miss the SD card memory expansion. And yes, I do wish it had a high-resolution screen. But you know, the Z22 really gives me what I need, and I don’t find its simplicity limiting. And I’m still amazed by its excellent pocketablilty.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/palmos-pda-tips/pdas-back-to-the-basics

Feb 23

T3 Tip #6: Resurrecting a Dead Palm Tungsten T3

The other day, I went to turn on my Palm Tungstern T3, and it was dead, and I mean D-E-A-D. No combination of charging, resets, etc. would bring it back to life. I posted a message at www.1src.com (an excellent PalmOS forum) and found some suggestions and links. Fortunately, opening the T3 and re-seating the battery connector did the trick, so a replacement battery was unnecessary, but if I did have to replace the battery, it would have been an easy task. Read on for some links and information about disassembling and resurrecting a dead Palm Tungsten T3…

I did a Google Search on Palm T3 Disassemble or Palm T3 Disassembly and got a number of good hits. I found the following links to be very useful:

http://www.pspilot.de/ppptun3/ppptun3.html
http://www.pidcock.co.uk/pda/tungsten-repair.html
http://www.gethightech.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=GHT&Category_Code=_tungsten_takeapart

If your battery is completely unusable, go to http://www.PDAParts.com , where they have a huge selection of PDA replacement parts.

A couple notes:

1. You only need a simple, small Philips screwdriver to disassemble the T3. No need for a Torx driver (which is required for the T5….)

2. Have patience and be careful. The parts are small, and you don’t want to break anything. The good news, though, is that once opened up, there is a logic about how things are connected, and it’s very simple to locate the proper connections.

If nothing else,  it’s kinda cool seeing the insides of a T3, and how it works!

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/palmos-pda-tips/t3-tip-6-resurrecting-a-dead-palm-tungsten-t3

Nov 12

Gmail Tip #35: Gmail on your Palm! – Part 2

I posted an article on how to access your Gmail account using SnapperMail via Gmail’s POP3 feature. Read on to see what other PalmOS email application works as well…

I tried several other email applications, and found another PalmOS email applocation that works very well with Gmail’s SSL-secured POP3 connection: Mark/Space Mail from Mark/Space. Like SnapperMail, it is a very slick, full-featured email client, and it provides SSL connectivity. (For those that don’t know, this is a “Secure Sockets Layer” security model that Gmail (and many othe Web sites) uses to create a secure connection. This should help boost user confidence in Gmail’s security policies.)

To configure Gmail, just enable POP3 in your Gmail Account by clicking on “Settings”, click on the “Forwarding and POP3″ tab, and then make the appropriate settings based on your situation.

Next, launch Mark/Space Mail, and select “Options > Accounts” and tap “New”. Fill in page one with your account information. Tap the Page 2 icon and fill in your username with your FULL Gmail email address. Next, enter “pop.gmail.com” into the “POP3 Host” field and assign your password. Enter “smtp.gmail.com” into the “SMTP Host” field. Next, tap the Page 3 icon and check off BOTH “Use SSL” boxes. For the POP3 port, use “995″ and for the SMTP port, use “465″ or “587″. Check off the “Allow SMTP Authentication” checkbox and then enter your full Gmail email address in the “SMTP Username” field and assign the password.

Tap “OK”, tap “Done”, and when you tap “Send/Receive”, you should connect properly.

This works like a charm on my PalmOne Tungsten C.

Have fun!

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/gmail-tips/gmail-tip-35-gmail-on-your-palm-part-2

Nov 11

Gmail Tip #34: Gmail on your Palm!

If any of you Gmail users own “connected” PalmOS PDA’s, you can now use SnapperMail to retrieve your email using Gmail’s new POP3 feature! Read on to learn how…

I tried out about 6 different email apps for the PalmOS, and the ONLY one I could get to consistently send and receive email from my Gmail account is Snapper Mail. Here’s how to get it working:

Log into your Gmail account, go into Settings, select the “Forwarding and Pop” tab, and enable the type of POP3 you want to do.

Next, launch SnapperMail and create a new POP3 account. In the “Server” tab, fill in the POP3 server with “pop.gmail.com”, enter your full gmail email address as the username, and enter your password in the password field. In the “Outgoing SMTP Server” field, enter “smtp.gmail.com”, enter your full Gmail Email address, and enter your password.

Finally, AND THIS IS IMPORTANT, tap “More” and make the following settings:

For POP3 settings:
Set the “Use SSL” dropdown to “Always Secure (wrapped port)”, set the port to “995″ and leave the other checkboxes unchecked.

For SMTP settings:
Set the “Use SSL” dropdown to “Always Secure (STARTTLS)”, set the port to either port “465″ or “587″ and leave the other checkboxes unchecked.

Set up the rules as you wish, and when you tap “Send/Receive” you should be able to send and receive mail!

Works like a charm on my Tungsten C!

SnapperMail can be found at www.snappermail.com

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/gmail-tips/gmail-tip-34-gmail-on-your-palm

Sep 03

New night-friendly WonderSilk Skin!

Want to see red? With the new “WS-Red” WonderSilk Skin, you now have a “night-friendly” WonderSilk Skin to use with your favorite Astronomy app!

I have been using two Astronomy apps (2Sky and Planetarium) on my PalmOS PDA’s for a long while, and though they work and look great on my NX70V, one huge annoyance is their “night” modes. This mode colors all of the program elements in “red” to make it easier to see in the dark. The problem with the NX70V is that because these programs are not HiRes+, the Virtual Graffiti area is always enabled resulting in a bright, full-color, distracting area–too bright for the “night” modes.

Enter my new “WS-Red” WonderSilk Skin! It’s simply a re-rendering of the current Standard Input Virtual Graffiti input area colored in Red. No frills, no extras, just a nice, red Virtual Graffiti area.

And here are a couple tips:

1. If you use the CodeDiver app, you can “force” this Skin to activate every time the app is run and then revert the skin back to its original when you switch to another app. CodeDiver can be found here at Handango.com.

2. Once you enable WonderSilk (or ANY “Silk Plug-in”) you can switch between the current and the last-used “Silk Plug-in” by doing a stroke with your stylus from the middle of the status bar diagonally up to the left into the Alpha section of the Graffiti area. This can come in very handy if you just want to quickly switch or don’t want to bother with CodeDiver.

Note: WonderSilk only affects the Virtual Graffiti area, not the Status Bar.

This skin, like all skins and information on JimsTips.com and WonderSilkSkins.com is free. If you find this skin or any information on this site useful, please consider donating to JimsTips.com. Your contributions help defray the ongoing costs of keeping this site up and running.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/palmos-pda-tips/new-night-friendly-wondersilk-skin

Aug 12

Tip #21-WonderSilk Skins Installation and Startup

Using WonderSilk Skins requires a specific, but simple process of Download, Install, Assign, Activate, and use. The following steps will walk you through the process.

1. Download and install the two main WonderSilk components onto your PDA:
WonderSilk.prc, the Silk Plug-in
Kinumaru_E.prc, the skin manager app.

These can be found in the WonderSilk distribution found either here at the official (Japanese) WonderSilk site or here where I keep a backup on my site. (Note: my site may not have the latest version, so always check the official site first!)

2. Download and unzip a skin file.
Some WonderSilk Skins can be found here at the official (Japanese) WonderSilk site, the “files” section of ClieSource, or my site WonderSilkSkins.com. There may be other sources, so ask around.

3. Install the skin file
If the skin file is a .prc or .pdb file, you can install it as you would install any normal PalmOS app or database by using the standard Palm Install tool.

If the skin file is a .wsb file, you must copy the .wsb file from your PC into the /PALM/PROGRAMS/wondersilk directory of your Memory Stick using the MSImport program. Next, you must import the .wsb skin file using the Kinumaru application. Open Kinumaru, open the menu, select “Skin Import…”, check the checkbox of any skins you want to import, and then tap the Import button. This will create a .pdb file in internal memory on your PDA.

4. Assign the skin
In the Kinumaru screen, highlight any skin that you either installed or imported and tap the “Assign” button. This will make the selected skin the one “assigned” to WonderSilk.

5. Activate the skin
Now the fun part. You have imported or loaded a skin and assigned it, so you now want to actually use it. Tap on the Silk Plug-in manager icon. This is the icon fourth from the left next to the Find icon. By default, “StandardInput” us highlighted. Select WonderSilk and tap OK.

Your Virtual Graffiti area now displays the WonderSilk Skin that you assigned.

To get back to the standard Virtual Graffiti, just tap the Silk Plug-in manager icon and select StandardInput.

For information on specific WonderSilk usage, please refer the included documentation, check out the ClieSource Forums, or see my article “Tip #18-WonderSilk Skins: Those Elusive Buttons” at JimsTips.com.

As always, all my information is free, but if you like what you see and would like to help support JimsTips.com, please click on the “Donate” button. Your financial support, no matter how large or small, helps keep this site alive and kicking.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/palmos-pda-tips/tip-21-wondersilk-skins-installation-and-startup

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