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The original Palm Pilot (from
the late 1990's) struck an interesting
(and very successful) balance
form and function, power and cost, features and easy-of-use. In fact,
pretty much got it right. Its easy to learn and use, ships with a
set of tools that does pretty much everything that makes sense for a
device to do. Its light weight and pocket-sized so its there when you
it. There's now one for pretty much any geek budget.
The Tungsten T3
In January 2005 I replaced my SJ30 with a used T3 (one of my co-workers
was selling so he could buy the latest Toshiba PDA). The T3 was about 6
months old at this point and running well. The Clie SJ30 had held up
well to its two years of use, and my Wife will be putting it in her
purse in the future. The T3 has a few extras that, while nice, are not
essential for everyday use - more speed, more memory and a bigger
display. The T3 displays photos a lot faster than the Clie did, and the
T3 can play MP3s, has a speaker rather than just a beeper and has a
much louder alarm signal. It can even do a decent job of playing videos
by using The Core Pocket
Media Player. The bluetooth feature is pretty limited (low
speed and little range), WiFi would be much better.
After using it for a year now, I have to say I really like it. About my
only complaint is that the digitizer seems to be a bit off, you just
have to learn to click a little bit lower that the true position drawn
Replacement batteries for a number of Palm devices, including the T3
can be found here
The Sony Clie SJ30
At the start of January 2003 I finally replaced my Palm Pilot
which had been my constant companion for the last 5 years. For the last
6 to 9 months of its life it had been full and I was having to
delete old memos and less-used applications to make space. Here's about
what it contained:
The biggest consumer of memory were the memos, since I got a keyboard for
my Palm I took a lot of meeting minutes. This Palm Pro started life with
1MB of RAM, at some point in time I upgraded that to 2MB (it was combined
with a flash ROM so also gave it a couple of operating system upgrades)
and added an IR port. The SJ30 comes with 16MB of RAM and can take up
to a 128MB memory stick (I wonder if it will take the new "pro" memory
sticks?), so feels quite spacious.
- 344 addresses
- 3298 appointments
- 691 memos
- 407 to-do list items
I bought the Sony folding keyboard for the SJ30, so I could continue
my minute taking, this appears to be the same keyboard as I was using
on my old Palm, but the interface module and connector has been
changed. I look forward to wearing the lettering off this keyboard as well.
The SJ30 appears to be a great little organizer, its about as small
as one could want, thinner would always be nice but that would come at
the expense of battery capacity and I think Sony has made the right
here. The battery is a lithium ion unit that is a little bit smaller
a standard 9V transistor battery, it appears to be field replaceable
is a very good thing as my past experience with rechargable lithium
has been that they last 2-3 years and the SJ30 (with back light on)
a lot of power. You'll want to use it with back light on since that
the display look so nice.
I don't like the position and feel of the power button. I much
the front mounted button of my old Palm. Also the Clie's button
got stuck in the pressed position twice so far - on edge of it seems to
get caught under the edge of the case if you don't push straight down
it. Not a big problem, but not something that should be happening in a
third generation product. The power button on Palm's new Tungsten is
nicer (but its twice the price). A work around to this is to tell the
to turn on and off by the "back" button (by the jog wheel).
Odd bit of trivia, the USB cable that comes with the Clie SJ30 has a
standard computer end and a little end that fits into an adapter before
attaching to the Clie. I just noticed that it appears to fit the
USB port on my Motorolla C333 cell phone. Now only if I had some hot
software for the phone...
I hot sync my Clie at home and at work, in both places I do this
using USB on PCs running Windows 2000 Pro. At home I had no problems, but at
work on my dual-Athlon workstation the hot sync would completely crash
Windows back to a blue screen of death which would display a cryptic
about interrupts for a few seconds before the PC would start to reboot. I
tried updating from service pack 2 to 3 and even installing Direct X 9.0
(which I needed for something else), but to no avail. In the end I found that
Palm was distributing version 4.1 of their desktop software, while Sony
was still at version 4.0.1. So I uninstalled Sony's and then
installed the Palm software. From then on the hot syncing worked.
Sony's main web site is at www.sony.com.
They have another that specializes in clie stuff at www.clie-link.com.
Victor Tapia in a clie-linux mailing list wrote:
I have had a play around with this. PictureGear file format
is published, but I couldn't be bothered creating a program to
After doing some hacking I wrote the included script which uses
some ImageMagick programs to convert all the JPG files in a directory
into the resolution of my Clie screen and rename them to dsc*.jpg. I can
then copy these dsc*.jpg files to the mounted memory stick in the
directory /mnt/memstick/dcim/100msdcf. I can then open PG Pocket on the Clie
and tap over to the memory stick and get the list of images. If I try
and look at them they look like crap... but if I then IMPORT them into
the Clie's inbuilt memory using the import button in PG Pocket, they look
General Palm News and Links
- 2010-Apr-22: The StyleTap platform brings Palm OS applications to various smart phones. 
- 2010-Jan-16: Aceeca is trying to release (in 2010) some PalmOS based PDAs. 
- 2009-Aug-13: A first look at the Palm Mojo SDK. 
- 2009-Jul-24: The HTC Click is to be an Android powered phone, and for some reason an unlocked version is supposed to be reasonably (for a phone anyway) priced. Perhaps this sort of thing might make for a good replacement PDA for an old Palm user? 
- 2009-Jun-28: The Palm Pre SDK for webOS is leaking into the wild. 
- 2009-Jun-23: The Palm Pre might be off to a good start with independent developers, with the root image of webOS leaking out, also here on Engadget. Apparently flashing new firmware onto the Pre is quite simple. A NES emulator and Doom have been ported to the Pre. Unfortunately Palm says the webOS SDK will not be available until the end of Summer - this reminds me of the early Amiga days when the ROM Kernel Manuals were a long time coming. Despite the lack of an SDK some developers have figured out how to install applications on normal Pre phones. Installing small apps can apparently be done through email. 
- 2009-Apr-02: The PalmOS may live on in emulation mode on the Palm Pre, now if only the Pre were sold without a phone contract. 
- 2009-Feb-27: Palm has released a webOS Mojo SDK Tutorial for those who want to learn about application development for the new Pre. 
- 2009-Feb-13: Palm has finally made it official, 2009 will be the last year they ship PalmOS based devices. 
- 2009-Jan-16: StyleTap is making a Palm OS emulator for the Symbian OS, so maybe you can upgrade your aging Palm with a Nokia device? 
- 2009-Jan-09: The Palm Pre gets introduced at the 2009 CES show. At last, something new from Palm. Some views of the user interface, both static and in action. 
- 2008-Aug-26: Engadget looks at 
- 2008-Aug-21: Palm OS 2 appears to have slipped again, this time to the first half of 2009. 
- 2008-Jul-20: How to make a USB charging cable for a Palm TX out of a dead wall power adapter and an old USB cable.  
- 2008-May-20: The Linux based OS replacement for the Palm might be available in Summer 2009. 
- 2008-May-14: Hotsync 6.0.1 when running under Windows Vista may one day fail to finish transferring your calendar data. When this happened to me I did some searching and found that a common cause of this was that either one of the databases had become corrupt or that there were a large number of deleted items on the Palm (and as these get deleted once the hotsync is done, so the problem never clears up).
There is a tool called DbFixIt you can install and run on your Palm to check to see if you have any database errors. This will also report the number of deleted records in each database. The registered version of this tool will also fix common database errors. By the time you need this you might be in a Catch-22 position where you cannot hotsync but you need to hotsync to install the tool. So to install the tool you will need to configure your hotsync manager (on your computer) and tell it not to synchronize the applications that are causing it to hang (the calendar in my case). When I ran the tool it told me that all the databases were fine and there were no records to delete. Later I tried hot syncing on a Windows XP machine, and much to my amazement the hotsync finished, but it did report an error:
Some handheld records were not copied to your PC. Your computer may be full or you may have reached the maximum allowed records on the desktop. To correct this situation, delete some records and perform a HotSync operation again.
So my problem was that I had exceeded some fixed maximum number of records in the calendar. To test this theory I deleted a few records from the Palm's calendar and synced again, this time without incident. I then synced on the Windows Vista machine, and again, the sync ran without any issue.
Desktop = 6378, Handheld = 6375
So now the question is: is 6375 the maximum number of calendar records, and can this be changed? 
- 2008-May-10: While replacing the battery of my Tungsten T3 (following these instructions) I noticed a screen that allows you to enter the rules for which days daylight saving time changes on. After completing the installation and reloading my Palm I could not find the screen this is entered on. I did the usual Google search and while this turned up Palm's official update for the new (2007) rules for DST in North America I thought it was odd that no one was mentioning that the Palm actually has a way of entering this information - somewhere! So I did a bit more poking about and eventually found it, here is how to do it:
Kind of twisted, and this explains why Palm's people had forgotten their software already supported this feature and so released a tool to fix a problem that did not exist.
- Go to the Preferences application
- Select Date & Time
- At this point you see the set date and time entry fields, and a Location, select the Location drop list
- Select Edit List...
- Now you see the short list of locations, select the location you want to fix and hit the Edit button.
- Now you are in the Edit Location display, and here (at last) are the two buttons that allow you to enter the rules for starting and ending daylight saving time.
The above procedure also works for the TX. 
- 2008-Feb-24: The Palm has been emulated on an iPhone, what a way to upgrade your Palm. This sort of approach might make sense for the Palm company - just sell a Palm OS emulation package that runs on different hardware packages, leaving the low-margin high-risk hardware development and manufacturing to other companies. 
- 2007-Nov-13: The Nokia N800 can now run Palm Garnet OS applications via an emulator. 
from Seiko, reviewed here
of 14-Jun-02 Seiko has redesigned this unit and it now is called the InkLink,c
looks like it might finally be a winner.
software (includes source) which allows you Palm to look like it is
a Wacom graphics tablet, now what I want is a Palm program that can
receive data from one of these Wacom graphics tablets.
sells lots of PDAs and accessories
has a good selection of PDAs and accessories, plus free ground shipping
in Canada. Service seems to be quite prompt (Jan'05).
site for Palm stuff
another site for free Palm software
table of the various Palm devices including the new Sony Clie
keyboard layout from IBM called ATOMIK for the palm.
makes thinkDB, a database package for the Palm.
PalmGear site for
LinuxDA offers both
a Linux-based PalmOS like package (which will run on a Palm Pilot, looks like the
8Meg versions) and a PDA
that uses their OS (wonder if you could load their PDA with
looks like Handspring, who were a spinoff from Palm, have
since been reabsorbed into palmOne, and their key Treo palm-phone product can
be found here.
Canada provides parts and service for Palm and Handspring PDAs (and memory upgrades too)
palmOne Inc., are
now the key technology owners (they were the original Palm
Pilot people, after 3Comm, and after US Robotics, and after someone
HandEra also makes
a good Palm clone
of PGP is available for PalmOS
The Palm Easter
Two solutions for using your Palm
Pilot as a bicycle computer are referenced here
Iambic makes some
productivity applications for the Palm
The new (28 Mar 02) Sony
PEG-NR70 and PEG-NR70V series of SuperPalms
is finally available for the Palm from Palm
Maybe you made the mistake of showing you child how to
doodle on your Palm
device? Well now you can buy her the Pixter
and save yours from certain ruin.
While this can hardly be considered a "palm-top", the Dana
from AlphaSmart is based on PalmOS and brings it into the
micro-laptop form factor (adding a built in keyboard)
networking may make it onto the Palm this year (2002) via the SD slot.
Linux DA brings Linux to
the Palm Pilot (well the Palm IIIx at least)
STNE has memory
upgrades for Palm based machines
built into a watch
Targus makes a folding
keyboard for the Sony Clie series (well most of them). Belkin
also makes some keyboards for a number of Palm-type devices. I have an
older keyboard for my PalmPilot-Professional (before the Palm III) and
I find it to be an essential tool - very useful for taking notes in
meetings. Logitech also makes two types of keyboards, their folding unit called the TypeAway
and a "roll-up" unit called the KeyCase.Cyrez
International also makes some PDA keyboards, possibily distributed
under the Vortek Systems label in Canada. GrandTec also makes the PocketVIK,
which is a roll-up keyboard.
for the Sony Clie PDA (this is a sub page of the site PDAinternalBattery.com).
sync cable for the Sony Clie also allows for USB and Car charging.
is a freeware utility that allows you to run Palm applications from
within a memory stick (freeing up memory)
PalmGear.com has a
lot of software for the Palm PDA
PDA discussion forums
a Java based development environment for the Pilot
for Palm OS, Java for the Palm from SUN
Fossil even makes a watch
that contains a 2MB Palm
PEG-UX50 clam shell format PDA
a Commodore 64 emulator for the Palm PDA, discussed on Slashdot here
(well the ARM powered ones at least). I guess its getting time to cast
off my SJ30...
TJ37 has WiFi built in
is build on PalmOS but it has a bigger screen and built in keyboard,
sort of a Palm becomes a laptop idea.
has lots of accessories for palm-type devices
Pocket Essentials is a Mah-Jongg solitaire game for the Palm
The Sony Clie PEG-VZ90,
perhaps the most expensive Palm device in the world - and its got an
A portable bluetooth
keyboard and the Stowaway
Keyboard and one from Brando
RPN is a
full-featured reverse Polish notation style calculator for the Pilot
While this is not a Palm device, the idea of an electronic
sketchpad (available here)
is quite interesting. One strange thing is this is intended for use
with A5 size paper (about 6"x9" in size) so the North American standard
letter paper does not fit - though one could fold it in half.
In Sept 2005 the sale of
PalmSource to Access (A Japanese cell-phone software company) was announced,
is this the end of the road for Palm-based organizers?
of the Palm Pilot
running on the PalmOne LifeDrive
Video playing solutions for Palm include: Fairuse and The Core Pocket Media Player
the Kinoma Player, and TealMovie. PocketDivXEncoder does a
reasonable job, and has been extended to the more powerful Lathe.
Feb'06 thoughts on where
the PalmOS might be headded. Early Mar'06 and some more
information on this. In Dec'06 a delay until the first half of 2007
announced for the new Access Linux Platform.
Aerodrome Software makes AeroPlayer,
an MP3, AAC and OGG player for the ARM based Pilots, this is well
revieiwed and does have the ability to turn off the display backlight
while playing on a Tungsten T3
Softick makes a Bluetooth Audio Gateway that
allows one to listen to stereo audio generated by the Palm on a pair of
wireless Bluetooth headphones. Sounds pretty neat, wonder if it really
works. Still at $269 for a pair of the Plantronics
headphones you really got hate the old cable to want to do this.
is a program to catalogue your DVD colletion, it has a PC part (to
ease data entry) and a Palm browser. The Leonard
Maltin Movie Guide also has the ability to track your collection.
Palm and PalmSource may be going
separate ways in the future, with Palm once again developing the
Loops, a music studio in a box that runs on the Palm, like the
Tungsten 3. Get if from Chocopoolp
- StyleTap has built a PalmOS
emulator that runs on Windows Mobile, so now you can move to
different hardware and keep your Palm apps. This is confirmed here
In late 2006 another attempt to get a Python port working on
PalmOS was announced.
This is a good thing, it would be nice to be able to write little bits
of code and run them right on the Palm.
Future (perhaps starting in 2007) Palm devices will be
based on a Linux core, discussed
here on Slashdot
Datastick makes a
vibration spectrum analyzer (VSA-1214)
based on a Palm TX
In Aug'07 Engadget sent a public
message to Palm in the hope of waking them up
Some early history about the Palm company in Palm
Before the PalmPilot.
an encrypted data storage folder by MSB Software Engineering
for your Palm device, to view the contents you must enter a password,
if you switch applications or turn off your Palm it automatically locks
up. When it syncs to your PC its backup database is encrypted, a
second tool (Yaps
Viewer) is available that lets you view the database on the PC. I
highly recommend Yaps.
has replacement batteries for a lot of PDA including the various Palm