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Archive for the ‘Palm’ Category

How I Use an Old Palm PDA Even in 2016

Palm Tungsten T introduced and made in 2002, still used nearly 14 years later

Palm Tungsten T

CLOSE friends of mine rightly find it hard to believe, but I still carry around with me (and regularly use) a device that’s nearly a decade and a half old. Well, newer is not always (or not necessarily) better, especially when there are habits and workflow involved.

Whenever I get asked about this I end up explaining that I use it primarily as a voice recorder and the older Tungsten was replaced by a newer (identical) one purchased in eBay a few years ago for my wife (we still have both of them and have used them both on occasions, even in tandem). Remember beaming? Yes, it still works! The truth is that the old one was not in a good enough state anymore, though battery life was OK (acceptable enough for use between daily charges).

Why make this newer purchase nearly a decade after the device was actually made? Well, the older one looked worn out after a decade’s use (almost a decade), having been carried around a lot (some bits of it no longer worked or were missing). How the eBay seller managed to keep this device in pristine condition (unused) for so long will remain a mystery. I don’t know the seller. Maybe it was kept in some attic (loft) in a home or a warehouse of some business. Maybe an unwanted gift from 2003 (ish).

What is it currently being used for? Well, I use it as a password manager with a master password (theft or loss less risky an incident this way). It stores it all (passwords) on a device without an Internet connection or a baseband OS, which makes it more secure in some ways; definitely no back doors can exist without physical access. Encryption at the storage layer on devices with back doors (usually the baseband OS is being used to hijack the principal OS, e.g. Android or iOS) is very limited as they can remotely rooted. This is widely understood these days, thanks to document leaks (mostly GCHQ) from Edward Snowden. Even the BBC covered it a couple of times in 2015.

I still occasionally use the device as an address book, though no longer much as diary/calendar. There are various ‘apps’ that come in handy as well; it is sometimes used for memos, scribbling, timing, calculations, conversions and so on.

How long will I use this Palm PDA? Judging by how long this first one lasted, it can easily last well past 2020. Even then it will remain equally secure.

Palm to Change Hands

Palm TungstenAccording to a new report, Palm is going to be acquired this week. Whether the absorber will be Motorola, or Nokia or somebody else, there’s no way of knowing yet. Apparently, several large companies are bidding to snap this stagnating giant. As a long-time Palm user, I wonder what the implications will be. As a Linux users, I am relieved to know about ALP, which is Linux-based, is also able to run legacy Palm OS applications. So Palm as we know it is unlikely to vanish. And old applications will continue to run.

Coping With the Loss of Personal Data

AS recently as January this year, I proudly spoke about data resilience in Palm PDA‘s. Now, on the other hand, I am slightly more hesitant in making such bold statements, having screwed up big time. Allow me to elaborate in a stream-of-rage fashion (this won’t be too eloquent).

Palm TungstenWhile my general opinion (and confidence in Palm) has not changed much, this morning I was a victim of data loss. This cost me about 3 hours, a loss of data that I cannot truly recover, and a huge headache (metaphorically-speaking, through distress). To describe the ordeal in brevity, I woke up to discover that my Palm’s battery was empty. I thought the unit was dead until I had it charged and could reset it. I could soon come to grips with the fact that my main, volatile memory was void (not ROM). I then realised that the batteries got emptied without any prior notification. I left the handheld in my trousers’ packet overnight, rather than dock it on the cradle as I usually do.

The drainage took my by surprise. The last HotSync operation took place 24 hours earlier, but backup files were no good under KPilot, which can be odd and inconsistent at times, despite my praises. To make matters worse, it was the past 24 hours when I made the most changes, some of which were crucial and spanned a period of months. But it gets worse…

I attempted recovery in vain. I fortunately had one backup which was one week old in my peripheral SD card. I could recover with the loss of one week. To avoid this considerable time gap, this afternoon I bought a USB card reader. I thought it would enable me to modify the backup on the SD card using Red Feline Backup — that which I mentioned a long time ago. I wanted this backup to be be overriden by newer data which resides on the desktop. However, files were corrupt and led to a mess time after time. So no luck there, either.

SD Card

All in all, I ended up losing data, some of which I could restore from short-term memory and timely backups on the desktop. It is very laborious and time-consuming though. While the loss was rather small if put in proportion (nothing on par with data loss “disasters”), this occupied a lot of my time as I was somewhat negligent (I was caught off guard due to complacency — an indication of resilience in its own right). I suspect the unit might betray me again, so I will begin backing up more frequently. The paranoid’s approach will perhaps be embraced, but what else do I have to rely on? I never want this to happen again. Ever!

Intellectual Property and its Negative Effects

Orange pillsPatents, copyrights and trademarks serve an important role. They prevent theft of one’s methods and reputations, which often require heavy investment (not necessarily financial). But what about intellectual property which is fuzzy and not concrete? I will use a case study to exemplify this.

Think about the case where Xerox patented the one-stroke Graffiti input, which Palm devices later used for stylus-based input. It is the method by which drawing on a screen is translated into discrete, atomic signals such as letters and numbers. Jotting a line from top to bottom to render a “1″ should not warrant anyone property of such an idea, right? Yet, that’s what Xerox achieved. They ‘invented’ the chalkboard interpretation language and took ownership. Ultimately, as to abstain from paying royalties perhaps, Palm invented “Graffiti 2″, which is a cumbersome method of achieving the very same thing. People’s habits were broken and input made slower just because Xerox ‘owned’ a more efficient input method that involved a single, unambiguous stroke. A common language was actually possessed by one master.

Let that teach us why patents in software are evil and are not accepted in Europe. The case would of course be different in fields like medicine and especially drug discovery.

Tiny Projectors for Phones and Handheld Computers

Internet Explorer 7 screenshot
Looking forward to running a presentation solely off your PDA?

ANOTHER tiny toy is yet to hit athe market: a matchbox-sized data projector that can be mounted onto a cellular phone or a PDA. Its projected resolution can be as high as 2048×1280 pixels and power consumption is not a major issue.

Light Blue Optics Ltd (LBO) has developed a revolutionary technology for miniature laser projectors dubbed PVPro. Today they announced their latest demonstrator unit, which is only 3.78 cubic inches in volume, and is similar in size and shape to a typical matchbox.

The gadget is of particular interest to me, perhaps owing to a personal vision. For quite while I have been wishing to have my PDA connect to external displays (analogous to projectors) at greater ease — something which is possible already, using third-party hard/software for Palm. Rather soon, one would hope, with miniature data projector readily-available and peripherals likewise, full-scale computers can unfold off our small pockets.

Related item: Spherical Display

Goodbye Palm OS, Welcome Linux

Linux on the Palm Tungsten E
Amateur attempt at Linux on the Palm

PALMSOURCE, former software makers of Palm (after fragmentation and before re-joining), have finally announced the inevitable transition to Linux. To be more specific, they intend to release a Linux-based mobile phone to the market. This exciting move will mark the death of Palm OS. It also explains the delayed Cobalt, as well as the relatively dormant state of Palm O/S.

Access subsidiary PalmSource revealed details of its Linux-based mobile phone operating system, Tuesday at 3GSM in Barcelona.

With the millions of existing Palm users, think of the exposure Linux is yet to get. This also puts behind some worries that Palm have sidled with Pocket PC.

Recent rumours spoke of a possible Palm takeover. Even Apple were at some point mentioned as a possible candidate/runner-up.

Old items on Palm and Linux:

Laptop Versus the Desktop and the PDA

Compaq with Linux

AFTER 6 years with a laptop, I gave up on it completely. This was mentioned in the context of the PDA and also 6 years to a laptop’s retirement. There are a two main reasons for giving up a laptop: (1) a desktop machine is typically more powerful; (2) a PDA can replace laptop for better mobility.

More on the deficiencies of the laptop, which I include as addenda to previous essays:

  • The laptop cannot be carried in the streets or pulled out within seconds to be used for a just few seconds, then pocketed
  • Laptops are heavier
  • Laptops rely on wireless connections while one travels. This makes Web navigation and mail rather impractical on the go. Text, navigation and productivity through creation seem like the stronger points when using laptops
  • Laptops are difficult and expensive to fix, maintain, and extend

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