Palm Tipsheet 8.0 / July 2000
In this issue of the Palm Tipsheet, I'll share some of my own techniques for supercharging your handheld's built-in Address Book. I'll discuss ways to make the fullest use of its built-in features, highlight third party Address Book replacement applications and cover several methods for entering and modifying your contact data.
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Notable Palm Links
Supercharge Your Address Book
**Surprising Palm Related Announcements at PC Expo** -- This year's PC Expo in New York City may need to be renamed Palm Expo next year, judging by all of the Palm related announcements during the show this week. Some of the more interesting announcements include:
* Sony will release a PalmOS handheld this year with memory stick technology, sporting a blue-silver VAIO appearance. Reports from the Expo and Sony suggest that the Sony handheld's size will be narrower than the Palm V, and thinner than the III, weighing in at 5.3 ounces and use a Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery like the Palm V. The handheld should be available with either a black and white or color screen and something called a 'Jog Dial' for one hand operation of the built in applications.
* Palm announces the wireless 'Palm Mobile Internet Kit' to be released later in 2000 allowing Palm handhelds to gain connectivity to the internet through a mobile phone. The new software suite, to be priced at under $50, will use the Palm VII's web clippings and work via Infrared or a cable connection to a mobile phone, allowing Palm handhelds to connect to the internet or check email via POP or IMAP4 using a bundled version of ActualSoft's MultiMail to be also included in the kit.
* Palm announces that their future handhelds will have a built in Secure Digital slot (SD) using SD memory cards for storage and further functionality. This announcement seems to undermine existing PalmOS compatible technologies such as Handspring's Springboard, TRGPro's CF Card and Sony's Memory Stick, which are already standards used with PalmOS handhelds. On the positive side, SD memory cards are small, inexpensive and secure; on the negative side, the SD format certainly complicates efforts to standardize on a single storage device in Palm handhelds.
**Problem DRAM Chips With Some Palm Handhelds** -- Palm Inc. has reported that limited quantities of their Palm 8MB models, including the Palm IIIc, IIIxe, and Vx models manufactured between October 1999 and May 2000 may have a DRAM chip problem. Apparently a faulty component in the affected models can cause random data to be written to the handheld, corrupting data or causing fatal errors at power on. Palm has provided a downloadable software patch on their website to completely repair this problem on the Palm IIIc and Vx models. As of publication, Palm is still working on a patch for the IIIxe and offers IIIxe users email notification when it's completed.
Handspring has also acknowledged a possible problem with their 8MB Visor Deluxe handhelds (Visors with 2MB of RAM are not affected) and is providing a small software test application for download from their site. Rather than providing a downloadable patch, Handspring is having affected Visor Deluxe owners call their customer care line at (888) 565-9393 for more information.
And finally, TRG has issued a PalmOS upgrade to 3.5.1, which contains the patch for the possible DRAM problem as well as other specific updates for the TRGPro handheld device.
**Handspring Has IPO; Shares Climb 34% on First Day of Trading** -- On Tuesday, June 20, Handspring, Inc., makers of the Handspring Visor and Visor Deluxe, offered 10 million shares of stock under the symbol HAND, in an initial public offering. On Wednesday June 21, the first day of trading on the NASDAQ, the initial offering price $20 per share climbed 34% to $28.25 and finished the day at $26.93, raising $200,000 for Handspring.
**Future Viruses Ahead for Palm Handhelds?** -- In June, security experts discovered a worm virus moving through the Spanish mobile phone system Telefonica. The virus had already effected mobile phone users when it was discovered. More importantly, this event suggested that the popularity of mobile phones and PDAs such as Palm handhelds might attract virus-writers.
Just days after the announcement of the mobile phone virus, Symantec, Inc. known for its PC and Macintosh utilities posted a press release about their development of a PalmOS handheld virus protection utility.
Late in June, McAfee released a virus protection product called "VirusScan for Palm OS" which checks for viruses each time you HotSync your Palm handheld to your PC. While this is a PC centric utility, the Palm portion of the virus scanner application works on any PalmOS handheld.
Viruses have not yet appeared on PalmOS machines, so we can count ourselves fortunate to this point. However, as Palm Inc. and other PalmOS makers embrace wireless access for handhelds, viruses might become more of a problem. Fortunately scripting isn't built into the PalmOS, so handheld targeted viruses are much more difficult to create. Hopefully these limitations will discourage hackers from creating PalmOS viruses.
**Have Palm, Will Travel** -- Have you ever considered traveling abroad with your Palm handheld as your only computer? Well, Ken Zemach is doing just that in Thailand and Burma using only a few high-tech tools, including a TRGPro Palm handheld and a digital camera. With these few items he keeps in contact with people back home as well as maintaining a website with text and images. His mission? to "Explore strange new lands... in the quest for fun." though in reality he is also advocating for those in need in Burma.
**Site Brasileiro e em Português sobre o Palm** -- Você fala Português? Then you'll love the Portuguese language PalmBR website! This Brazilian site offers news, links, a mailing list, pictures, descriptions and comparison charts of Palm models, modems, keyboards, styli and many other accessories. Also featured at the site is a Brazilian 'Biblioteca' with nearly 200 classic literature Docs in Portuguese. If you'd like to visit the site using your Palm handheld, check out the mobile edition, the AvantGo channel or the upcoming WAP version.
**Sprechen Sie Palm?** -- If German is more your style, PalmForum and PalmDownload.de are two German language sites devoted to everything Palm. Palm Forum offers news, a forum, mailing list with over 1800 subscribers, tips, reviews, book suggestions, and links to related sites. The PalmDownload.de site offers Palm related news, news forum, software, tips, Palm FAQ, used Palm hardware sales and an online shop for hardware, software and books.
**Parlez Vous Palm?** -- For French language coverage of the Handspring Visor, have a look at the Visor Guide website. The site, formerly named ad.VISOR, has been renamed to VisorGuide.com. The site offers news, software suggestions, module listings, comparison charts, links, a forum area, and even a listing of French language AvantGo sites available on the net.
**PortableLife** -- Recently I came across this nicely designed site offering news, real world reviews of Palm related software and hardware, reviews, tips, email newsletters, a portable glossary, and a useful 'How To Buy a Handheld' guide for those who might be contemplating an upgrade or a first handheld device.
**PalmInfoCenter** -- Here's another useful Palm news site, with daily news updates and the ability for readers to submit news items from the internet. News stories are enhanced by visitor comments to posted stories, generating a bulletin board type atmosphere. The site also features reviews, links, a message board along with handheld friendly and AvantGo versions of the site.
**CORRECTION: No Macintosh Web Syncing** -- Last month I reported on several web syncing services for Palm owners. Alex Matthew, a reader of the Palm Tipsheet reported that _none_ of the 3 online syncing websites (AnyDay.com, iPalmDesktop or FusionOne) can HotSync with a Macintosh, since the software conduits are Windows-only. If you're a Mac user and wish to use one of these services, let these companies know of your thoughts on Mac connectivity. Hopefully the recent purchase of AnyDay.com by Palm Inc. will bring Macintosh connectivity and other sites will follow suit.
**Additional Reference for Writing with a Palm Handheld** -- Following my article last month about writing with a Palm handheld, I've been informed of two excellent in-depth websites covering this same subject. If you're experimenting with word processing on your Palm handheld, these sites may prove useful.
**Eudora Internet Suite Released** -- Qualcomm has released the Eudora Internet Suite 1.1, which synchronizes the Windows version of Eudora with a Palm handheld. The free package includes Eudora for Palm and EudoraWeb for Palm along with a Eudora HotSync conduit for synchronizing email _only_ with Eudora 4.3.2 on Win95/98/2000 or NT PCs. Users of other Windows generic-MAPI email clients may purchase a $30 'unlimited sync code' enabling the conduit to sync these clients with Eudora for Palm.
**Travel Guides in The Palm of your Hand** -- This month, ChoiceWay, CitySync, CitiKey and Vindigo have released Palm city guides for summer traveling. These guides integrate the information you need when visiting a city, including places to see, things to do and city maps with landmark icons. City guides currently offered include: Bangkok, Boston, Chicago, Hong Kong, Las Vegas, London, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Stockholm, Sydney and Washington D.C. Locations available, features and pricing vary by vendor.
**Mac HotSync Control Strip Module** -- The HotSyncCSM is a Macintosh Control Strip module which allows Palm users to turn the HotSync serial port monitoring on or off. The module has been upgraded to work with MacOS 8.5 or higher and is freeware.
**Ahoy Matey! It's the OtterBox!** Are you a sailor or boater? Then the OtterBox might just be the case you've been looking for to protect your Palm while on your boat this summer. The OtterBox is water resistant, tough and comes in a variety of sizes and colors; the 2000 and 3000 series fit Palm and Handspring handhelds especially well. The shell is constructed from strong ABS plastic and is sealed from moisture with a rubber O-ring. You may order direct from the OtterBox site, and for further information, check out a recent PalmPower review.
**Thincom Slim Visor Springboard Modem Released** -- If you're a Visor owner, chances are good that you've had a look at Handspring's somewhat chubby Springboard based plug-in modem. Card Access has just released the $120 Thincom 33.6bps Springboard modem, sized to fit flush in the Springboard slot of a Visor. That's not all though; the modem comes with on board 'Browse-it' graphical web browser and trial version of the popular MultiMail email client application, is v.90 upgradable, and uses a low-power technology which is much easier on batteries.
**Speaking of Modems...** -- Psion, the British maker of several handheld PDAs running Symbian OS released the $130 56k Infra Red modem in June. This new 56k V.90 IrDA Travel Modem is designed for Psion's own handheld line but also works with a variety of other handheld devices including Palm III, IIIe, IIIx, IIIc, V, Vx, and the Handspring Visor via Infra Red port. While it offers an intriguing alternate wireless access method, Psion offers no information regarding the range of coverage the modem can provide via Infra Red connection. The modem can run 4 hours on 2 AA batteries.
Supercharge Your Address Book
by Mike Rohde
Ask the average Palm handheld user which application they use most often, I'd suspect 9 out of 10 would mention the humble address book. Because of the address book's everyday usefulness, many users may not realize how much of a 'killer app' this little application really is.
In this month's feature article, I'll show you how to supercharge your own address book by exploring its many standard features, providing information about third party address book replacements and investigating data entry techniques.
**The Power of the Address Book** -- The real power of the Palm address book is the ability to retrieve or enter vital contact information virtually anywhere. I can't count the number of times in which my address book has provided critical information on the go, just when needed. I've used it to quickly find a telephone number to make a call on my mobile phone, to locate a destination with directions in a note field of an address entry or to immediately enter contact information of a friend or colleague I've had a chance meeting with.
The address book is essentially a simple multi-field database, which has been optimized for storing contact information. But beyond its field capabilities, the address book has a few other often unused features which can make it even more powerful and useful.
**Use Those Categories** -- One of the coolest features of the address book are categories, which allow the division of a contacts into specialized groupings as opposed to leaving contacts in a single, unwieldy list. Open the address book application and notice that the upper right corner of the screen has an inverted pyramid with some text to the right; this indicates the current category. If you've not yet altered the categories, you will find 'All, Business, Personal, Quicklist, Unfiled and Edit Categories...' as choices in this list.
Don't limit yourself to these 5 basic categories -- add your own! To add categories, select the triangle (or text) and then choose 'Edit Categories...' to bring up the category editing dialog box. Here you may add, edit, rename or delete categories to your heart's content, though the total number of categories is limited to 15. A simple way to make use of the address book's power is to create several distinct categories and organize all of your addresses around them.
For instance, I have separate categories for Friends, Family, International Friends, Business contacts, Company contacts, Quicklist, Lodging, Restaurants, Theaters, Macintosh, Palm, Music and Travel. By separating contacts into categories I've found I can more quickly locate the contact I want, without resorting to a search.
**Beam Me Up Scotty!** -- Having your contact list divided into categories has an added bonus; you can beam whole categories of contacts to other Palm devices! To beam an entire category, select the category you wish to beam and then select the menu bar and the menu item 'Record'. Now notice that the first menu item is 'Beam Category'. This might be especially useful for sending entire vendor, client or co-worker listings to your work colleagues, or for sharing important categories with your spouse or significant other.
In case you're wondering, Individual contacts can also be beamed if you'd rather not share an entire category. To do this, select a contact to beam and look under the 'Record' menu item for 'Beam Address' menu item. This function is probably more likely to be used than the beam category function, made obvious by the graffiti shortcut of command-B assigned to it.
To perform the command function in graffiti, tap the graffiti text area in the lower left corner and stroke up to the upper right; you should see a black bar appear above the graffiti area displaying the words 'Command:' inside. Now write a graffiti 'B' and your address will begin beaming!
**Create Your Business Card** -- Another feature that the address book provides is the ability to have a virtual 'business card' defined for yourself. To take advantage of this feature, first create a contact entry with your name, address, phone and any other important information you'd likely want on a business card. Now, while your own business card entry is active, select the menu bar and menu 'Record' and look at the bottom of the menu items for 'Select Business Card' and select it. A dialog will appear asking if you really want to use this contact as your business card. Select the 'Yes' button if so, and you'll be returned to your contact.
You should now see a small icon at the top left of the screen in the menu area, which looks like a rolodex card; this indicates you have made this contact into your default business card. When you encounter another Palm handheld user who wants your contact information, simply beam your business card from anywhere in the address book application. An easier way to beam your business card is to open the address book, then press and hold the address book hard button for 2 seconds; your business card will begin beaming.
**Make Use of the Standard Fields** -- Another way to supercharge your address book is to make good use of the standard fields in each contact entry. Stock fields include: Last and First Name, Title, Company, 4 Phone/Mobile/Pager or Fax fields, an Email field, Address, City, State, Zip Code and Country. The phone fields in particular can be especially handy, as they can provide a variety of primary, secondary, mobile, pager and fax numbers in one location. Good use of your stock fields can help provide important information when you need it most; on the road.
**Make Use of the Custom Fields** -- In addition to the standard fields mentioned above, the address book also offers 4 'custom' fields which may be renamed. To edit the custom fields, select the menu bar and the menu item 'Options', then look for the menu item named 'Rename Custom Fields' and select it. A dialog screen will appear with four editable fields; now enter your field name between 10 and 13 characters here (depending upon the letters you choose).
I use these four custom fields in my contacts: Website, Other Email, Birthday and Comments. For my purposes, these four fields work best; your own uses will dictate what to rename your own custom fields.
** Attach Notes for Even More Information Power** -- One of the features which I find most useful is the note feature present on each contact. To add a note, first locate a contact which you'd like to add a note to and select it. When the contact opens, click the 'Edit' button to open the contact editing screen. Next, click the 'Note' button and a memo pad-like field will appear, allowing you to enter your text.
How can you tell which contacts have notes attached? After you've added a note to your contact, click the 'Done' button on the note editing field, then click 'Done' on the contact editing field. This will return you to the contact listing of the address book, where you will see a small note icon to the right of the contact to which you've just added a note. If you click the note icon with your stylus, the note will open directly for viewing or editing.
**Suggestions for Using Notes** -- I often use the note feature to compile detailed information which won't fit into any other address book field. For my business contacts I'll normally add directions to a company, write notes about phone conversations or dated lists of items ordered from a firm.
In my personal contacts I often include directions to a friend's house, notes on interests, taste in music, food or clothing sizes for later shopping trips. Sometimes I'll enter gift ideas into a note as they strike me. On later shopping trips I can quickly refresh my memory by referring to these useful notes.
For my restaurant contacts, I usually enter the establishment's hours, my favorite dishes and directions for future visits. Recently I've setup a category for Lodging, with Bed & Breakfasts and hotels that my wife and I like, along with notes about the location, check-in and check-out times, amenities and prices, to make future reservations a snap.
**Address Book Replacements** -- And if the built-in address book doesn't seem powerful enough, you might want to investigate the variety of address book replacements created by third party shareware authors.
All of the shareware applications listed below are designed specifically to _replace_ your stock address book, while not modifying the basic datebook database structure. Each Application has its own specific features, though all have quick access A-Z selectors and feature some type of sorting functionality.
* Address+ -- This application has the handy ability to move large groups of contacts between categories, which could be especially useful if you have just created many new categories and don't want to move your contacts one at a time. I also liked the Address+ A-Z selector the best; it seemed easiest to tap since the letters are relatively large compared to the other applications. It's also only $8, which is by far the least expensive address book replacement.
* SuperNames -- This $20 shareware offering provides linking with datebook, to do and memopad items as well as other contacts in the address book, which separates it from the rest of the pack. In order to offer this functionality, SuperNames adds a bit of cryptic code in the note area of linked contacts (which cannot be altered without damaging the link). It also features user-definable tabs that can appear above or below the contact list, great for frequently used categories.
* TealPhone -- The main screen of TealPhone makes a radical departure from the standard address book user-interface; the A-Z selector is placed vertically along the left edge of the screen, the contact telephone number is at the top of the screen in large, readable numbers, and the contact list fills in the remaining screen space. The informational display area at the top of the screen can switch between phone, email and address information display by clicking on small icons of a phone, computer or house. TealPhone is $18.
* AddressPro -- This application provides sorting selectors at the top of the contact list with a huge selection of criteria using various combinations of company name, last name, first name, title, phone. AddressPro also offers customizable sort fields via a checkbox activated by the 'Other...' selector in the sorting list. Priced at $20, this app would work well for someone who needs to re-sort their contacts often.
* AddressBookR -- Brought to you by the same folks who created CityTime, AddressR provides the capability for adding additional information to each contact by making use of its note area. When this feature is used, a diamond selector appears in the contact in the full screen view, providing access to the note area. AddressBookR is $15.
* PopUpNames -- This $13 hack activated application takes a very different approach, providing a pop-up window activated by pressing the address hard button on your Palm handheld. The application's pop-up window appears over any other application so that once your contact has been found, you can copy the complete text of the contact into the clipboard or close the window and return to the underlying program. PopUpNames also makes extensive use of a tabbed interface to display names, which offers quick access to all information. Hackmaster ($5) is required to run this application.
**Launching a Replacement Address Book with the Address Button** -- If you decide to use one of these feature-added address book replacements you can easily have it launch by pressing the address book 'hard button' on your Palm handheld. AddressBookR has a checkbox preference to make it launch via the hard button and PopUpNames primarily operates via hard button. Address+, AddressPro, SuperNames and TealPhone can also be directed to launch via hard button by changing the button preferences in your Palm.
To make this change, find the 'Prefs' application on your Palm device and click it. When it opens, use the selector in the top righthand corner of the screen to select the item 'Buttons' at the top of the list. Now you should see icons for all of the hard buttons on your device, with selectors next to them. Look for the icon which represents the phone and click the selector to its right (labeled 'Address'). Clicking this selector will provide a list of applications currently on your handheld. Now select the replacement application you'd like to launch via the address book 'hard button' and you're all set!
**How to Best Enter Contact Data** -- One problem with moving from a paper to Palm address book is the entry of contacts. For this task, I suggest entering the bulk of your contacts with your desktop application, since you can make use of faster keyboarding skills on your computer.
Once your main contacts are entered, you can add additional contacts via the computer desktop application, or directly into your Palm handheld. I try to immediately enter contact information while I'm meeting with someone to prevent myself from forgetting to enter it at a later time.
**What if I Want to Tune Up Existing Contact Data?** -- If some of the ideas listed above intrigue you, but you don't want to invest a large amount of time making the changes to your contact list all at once, just modify contacts as you use them. If you bring up a contact to make a call, make an effort during the call to get any information you might be missing; following the call take a moment to update the contact.
You may also make use of downtime (train rides, waiting rooms, etc.) to edit your contact information. Making the updates in small chunks seems to work best for me since it's never a huge task to complete; rather it becomes many smaller, easier tasks.
**Conclusion** -- Whether you decide to use the built-in address book or a feature-added replacement, I encourage you to take a little extra time to supercharge it. Most importantly, be creative! Each person uses a Palm handheld for different reasons, so feel free to experiment with ideas to make the address book really work for your needs.
Thanks once again for joining me in another issue of the Palm Tipsheet. I do hope that my suggestions for supercharging your address book will make your Palm handheld even more indispensable as you use it each day.
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