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Palm Tipsheet 13.0 / December 2000
Supercharge your Memo Pad! In this issue of the Palm Tipsheet I'll share techniques to make the most out of your handheld's built-in Memo Pad and I'll highlight freeware and shareware Memo Pad replacement applications. In the Tipsheet interview, Norwegian Palm user Tore Hogas talks about his Palm handheld and Palm popularity in Norway.
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Supercharge Your Memo Pad
The Tipsheet Interview: Tore Hogas
Palm Releases PalmOS 3.5 Update -- The long awaited release of the PalmOS 3.5 update has arrived. This OS update is now available for sale as a $15 download or as a $20 CD (plus shipping and handling). PalmOS 3.5 provides enhancements such as a new agenda view showing your schedule and to do items simultaneously, tappable menus, a shortcut command bar, improved privacy features, easy duplication of contacts in the Address Book, faster HotSync operation, IR HotSync, Euro symbol support and snooze on alarms.
Palm Mobile Internet Kit Now Available -- Promised earlier this year, the Palm Mobile Internet Kit, providing internet access through a mobile phone is now available for Palm m100, III, IIIx, IIIxe, IIIc, or V/Vx handhelds. This $40 software includes the PalmOS 3.5 update and requires a data-enabled mobile phone or Palm modem and 660k of RAM. The kit features an email client, WAP browser and uses Web Clippings, like the Palm VII/VIIx.
Handspring Updater for Prism and Visor Platinum -- This updater provides fixes for English-only Visor Platinum and Prism handhelds, including improved Grafitti performance on the Prism, modem and USB HotSync fixes for both units.
An Excellent Palm vs. PocketPC Comparison -- The Gadgeteer is featuring a 6-part article by musician Tom Munch, who compares a Palm IIIc with a HP Journada 545. The comparison is good, though I found Tom's description of daily handheld usage full of great ideas for my own Palm use. A must read!
PDABuzz Holiday PDA Buyer's Guide -- If you're thinking of buying a PDA for someone special, check out the PDABuzz buyer's guide. The guide provides price and feature comparisons to help you make the best decision.
Linux to Palm -- Allen Dante has written an excellent overview of how to sync a Linux box with a Palm handheld. He also provides screen shots and links to software he uses to make the connection.
Nederlandse Palmclub -- If you're a Dutch speaking Palm handheld user, check out the Nederlandse Palmclub. This great resource provides the latest Palm news, reviews, tips, forums, links and shopping info in Dutch.
Handheld News From Norway -- Norway's infoSync website provides the latest news in the industry, covering Palm, PocketPC, Symbian and mobile phones. The site features great pictures of new hardware and screen shots of new software in English and Norwegian. A slick and informative resource!
Palm Freeware Galore -- FreewarePalm is an excellent resource for Palm freeware, with categories for browsing, a search tool, a New Software section and a Top 5 Downloads section.
Lookout DocsToGo, Here Comes Quickoffice -- Not to be out done by DataViz's recent addition of Word and Excel editing capabilities to DocumentsToGo Pro 3.0, Cutting Edge Software has released their Quickoffice suite. The $40 bundle combines Quicksheet, Quickchart and the new Quickword application, letting Palm users create and edit Word and Excel files. The package also comes with a HotSync conduit (PC only) to sync between a handheld and Windows PC.
Reviews of Quickoffice:
JungleSoft Generates Palm Maps and More -- Now you can create maps, yellow pages and dining guide information for your Palm with JungleSoft. At the JungleSoft website, choose from a list of US cities to generate a Safari package with maps, yellow page info and dining guides. Users can also enter a custom city to generate a map-only package. Best of all, it's free!
Pocket Express Releases dbNow -- The just released Palm database application dbNow offers multi-user options, record-by-record sync, 250 fields per record, 16,000 records per database and a PC desktop tool for making edits. dbNow Desktop offers a database creation wizard, printing and reporting capabilities, HTML file output, and file import and export. dbNow is specially priced at $15 until 12-15-2000, $15 off the regular $30 price.
BrainForest Challengers -- In issue 11.0 of the Palm Tipsheet, I wrote an article about using BrainForest to manage projects. Since then, I've come across new BrainForest-like apps, including Progect, ShadowPlan and Bonsai. Each has features like BrainForest as well as features to set them apart. Progect is open source freeware, ShadowPlan is $13 shareware and Bonsai is $25 shareware; Bonsai is the only one to include a PC client and conduit.
iambic Releases a New Email Client -- If you're looking for a multiple account email client for your Palm handheld, take a look at iambic Mail. It's optimized for color screens, sporting a very nice user-interface with icons to indicate mail status and folders. For a limited time iambic Mail is priced at $10, $5 off the $15 regular price.
Supercharge Your Memo Pad
by Mike Rohde
How do you use the Memo Pad on your Palm handheld? I've recently re-discovered the Memo Pad and have found it a very useful Palm tool. In this month's feature article, I'll be sharing techniques for using the Memo Pad along with information about Memo Pad replacement applications and their unique features.
The Power Of The Memo Pad -- The Memo Pad is a flexible and powerful tool, providing the ability to store useful, vital text-based memos for review anytime, and anywhere. It's incredibly useful for Palm handheld users to have all sorts of information at their fingertips, such as the lyrics of songs, famous quotes, favorite recipes, jokes and other useful snippets of information.
However, the Memo Pad is not limited to just viewing text, since it also allows users to enter or edit text on a Palm handheld. Memos can be created for scribbling down the URL of a website, the title and ISBN number of a book or just jotting down daily journal entries. Existing memos can also be edited on the Palm, letting users modify memos in the field.
How Does The Memo Pad Work? -- First let's take a look at the Memo Pad and how it works. Like the other three standard applications (Datebook, Address Book, To-Do), the Memo Pad has three main components:
1) Built-in Palm application
2) HotSync Conduit to synchronize data between Palm and Desktop
3) Desktop application, running on a Mac or PC
The Palm and Desktop applications are unified by the HotSync conduit which synchronizes data between the Desktop and the Palm. If any changes are made on the Palm or Desktop Memo Pad applications, those changes will be synchronized on both Palm and Desktop apps.
Both applications are very similar, having two modes; list mode and detail mode. The list mode lists all memos in the database and allows for the creation of new memos, while the detail mode provides viewing and editing capabilities for an individual memo.
Memos can be made private, only appearing if you allow private files to appear on your handheld. However, this method of protecting memos isn't secure, since anyone with access to your computer can open and view the Memo Pad database file (private records included) with any text editor. Later in this article I'll discuss 3rd party replacement applications using stronger encryption schemes.
Limitations of The Memo Pad -- The Memo Pad application does have its limitations; each memo can be a maximum of 4k or (32,000 characters) and no larger. Once you fill that 4k, you must create a new memo. Memos don't support formatting of text beyond the choice of display font on the Palm (Regular, Bold or Large Bold) in a single memo.
Utilize Categories! -- One of the most useful features of the Memo Pad can be applied whether you already have memos in your list or not; defining categories. Categories help organize information into logical groups; users can define up to 15 categories. I use several categories for my memos: Business, Email, Humor, Music, Palm, Personal, Quotes, Recipes, Reference and Travel to name but a few.
To create new categories, look In the Memo Pad application in either the list or memo view for the inverted pyramid with text next to it in the upper right corner of the screen. Click the diamond (or the text) to see a full list of categories. Next, choose the item 'Edit Categories...' to open a the category editing window, where you may create, rename or delete categories.
Sort Your Memos -- Not only can you use categories to organize memos, you can sort your memos. There are two ways to sort: alphabetically or manually. Alphabetical sorting is the default mode of the Memo Pad, and it orders memos by their title contents.
You can force the order in alphabetical mode by using spaces, special characters or numbers in the title of your memos. Spaces always sort at the top, followed by special characters ($,%, #...) numbers (1,2,3...) and finally by letters of the alphabet (A-Z). With this technique commonly used memos will always remain at the top of the memo listing.
The manual sorting mode is handy if you must maintain a certain order to a memo listing. When in manual sort mode, the Memo Pad application lets you order memo titles any way you wish, by clicking and dragging their titles up or down in the listing. Be aware that if you sort your memos in manual mode and decide to switch back to alphabetic, the manual sort order will be lost.
To activate manual sort mode in the Memo Pad, make sure you're in the Memo List, then select the menu bar and choose the menu item 'Options' and submenu 'Preferences'. A small options window will appear. Notice the 'Sort by:' option, which should indicate 'Alphabetic'. Next, click the diamond, choose 'Manual' and then click OK.
This setting will allow you to select a memo title with your stylus and drag it up or down to the desired location. Notice that a gray line will appear to indicate where the dragged memo will move to.
Beam Memos -- From time to time you may want to beam a memo to a friend; the Memo Pad lets you beam individual memos or entire categories of memos to another Palm handheld. To beam a memo, first choose a memo you want to send, then choose the menu item 'Record' and the submenu 'Beam Memo' to begin beaming the memo.
To beam an entire category, return to the Memo List and choose the menu item 'Record' and the submenu 'Beam Category' which will beam all memos in the current category to another handheld.
WARNING: On the receiving Palm handheld, beamed memos will always be filed in the 'Unfiled' category. Beamed categories will also always be saved into the 'Unfiled' category -- even if an identically named category exists. This is a known PalmOS limitation with no work around.
Memo Pad Usage Ideas -- Now that you have an idea what the Memo Pad is and it's standard features, I'd like to share some of the techniques I use to make more effective use of the Memo Pad.
I use the Memo Pad to write the occasional email on the run, since Mac Mail HotSync isn't supported without an expensive 3rd party conduit. I've created an 'Email' category where memos are created and filed for my emails. When I return home, I sync, copy the text out of the memo in the desktop Memo Pad and paste it into a new email message.
Web Info Clippings
If I find a bit of information from the web that I'd like to carry with me, like a train schedule or a news story, I just copy the text from my browser and paste it into a new memo in the 'Reference' category.
I like to carry favorite recipes as memos in case I need to whip up dinner in a hurry. With all the ingredients listed in a memo, I can make a quick visit to the grocery store, then use the same memo as a cooking reference.
I like good jokes but can't always recite them from memory, so I take the best funnies and paste them into memos. Sometimes a laugh can brighten up my attitude, especially on visits to the dentist.
Books & Music
I often list books and music which interest me for library requests, purchase or as gift ideas for my family. I create a memo for books and another for CDs, entering titles, author names and ISBN numbers and store them in 'Books' and 'Music' categories. Memos also work well for storing track listings and liner notes of my compilation tapes and CDs, and to carry lyrics of my favorite songs.
I also like to carry my favorite quotes in a single memo and Bible verses in separate memos, each with the verse reference in the title.
Having current schedules and travel information is very useful, so when I travel, I create memos to store this critical information. I like to carry my airline itinerary, bus and train schedules, driving directions and record fuel ups and mileage for our cars on driving trips.
I also keep a weekly journal of my work activities, with each week as a memo. The big advantage to this approach is the ability to search my journal entries either on the Palm or the desktop application.
This is just a short list of ways I happen to use the Memo Pad for my needs. There are many more uses for the Memo Pad; I encourage you to find ways to best use this great tool for your own needs.
Memo Pad Replacements -- While the built-in Memo Pad application is powerful, there are some very good reasons you may want to consider a Memo Pad replacement application. The security capabilities of the PalmOS are weak for sensitive information, so encrypted Memo Pad replacements may be necessary. Other Memo Pad replacement applications offer added functionality, like powerful text editing features, memo templates or the ability to attach drawings to your memos.
With encrypted Memo Pad apps, encrypted text will appear scrambled in the built-in Memo Pad and on the desktop, so *great care* must be taken not to edit encrypted memos, as it will destroy the information. Some 3rd party apps like CryptoPad put encrypted memos in a new database, while MemoSafe backs up the memo database to help prevent this problem from happening.
All of the shareware applications listed below are designed to replace your built-in Memo Pad, using the basic memo database structure. Each application has specific features but all generally follow the stock Memo Pad interface.
Safe -- This $10 shareware replacement app, created by Horace Ho, offers secure protection of your memos. It uses triple-DES encryption (DES-EDE2). Safe lets you encrypt memos by clicking a small padlock on the lower-left of each memo and assigning a global password.
MemoSafe -- This $7 Memo Pad replacement from DeepNet Technologies encrypts memos or entire categories. Memos get encrypted with a checkbox at the bottom of each memo via a global password. MemoSafe can also hide your password when entering it, offers a pinpad for numerical passwords, comes with a PC desktop app for viewing encrypted memos, and automatically backs up your memo database. MemoSafe is available in English, German and French.
CryptoPad -- This free, open source Memo Pad replacement from Maxime & JB Labelle can encrypt memos and categories, allows global or one-time passwords, can mix font faces in the memo listing, allows for different fonts in each memo and can hide lines of a memo. Memos are encrypted using a 448 bit Blowfish algorithm and are saved in a separate file from regular memos so you can't inadvertently change encrypted text. A free PC desktop application for viewing encrypted memos is also available. Both the Palm and desktop app are available in English, French, German, Spanish and Turkish.
Memo PLUS -- This $20 Memo Pad replacement from Hands High software offers a different interface than the standard Memo Pad, with handy icons along the bottom of the screen. Memo PLUS can attach drawings or alarms to memos and lets users save common memos as templates. A Template Editor for PC is included for viewing templates and attached drawings. Memo PLUS is available in English, French, German, Japanese and Spanish.
Snap!Memo -- This freeware Memo Pad replacement from Further Along Software provides two unique features; the ability to filter the memo listing with an incremental search tool and auto-filing to save the most recently used memo at the top of the memo listing. The incremental search tool can quickly jump to one (or more) memo titles which match entered text strings. Snap!Memo is available in English and Japanese.
pedit -- Paul Nevai's unique $20 Memo Pad replacement is designed for serious text editors, providing a myriad of useful tools in a grid-like toolbar along the bottom of each memo. pedit also offers multiple mono spaced fonts for viewing memos, support for external keyboards and the ability to view Doc files. There are 3 different versions of pedit available: pedit, limited to the 4k memo barrier, pedit32 breaks the 4k barrier but uses a different database, peditPro ($32) melds pedit and pedit32 into one app and peditLight offers the most essential features of pedit with a 100k smaller RAM footprint for $9.
PopUpNote -- Bodizar Benc's slick $5 HackMaster extension provides access to your Memo Pad files while in other applications. PopUpNote uses a pen stroke or tap combinations on the Palm's silk screened icons to activate.
Launching a Replacement Memo Pad with the Memo Pad Button -- If you decide to add a replacement Memo Pad to your Palm handheld, it's very easy to set your hard Memo Pad button to launch the new application.
In the launcher, find the system application 'Prefs' and open it. In the upper right corner of the screen, look for the inverted pyramid selector and choose the category 'Buttons' to open the button prefs screen. Here you should see selectors for all of the hard buttons. Next, choose the selector entitled 'Memo Pad' and a list of applications to choose from will pop up. Find the Memo Pad replacement application you'd like the hard button to launch, select it and its title will replace 'Memo Pad' in the selector. Now you're all set!
Conclusion -- I hope this month's article inspires you to explore the Memo Pad more deeply and to find ways to make it work more effectively for your needs. Whatever you do, I hope the Memo Pad will become as useful a tool for you as it has for me.
The Tipsheet Interview: Tore Hogas
In this month's installment of the Tipsheet Interview we'll hear from Tore Hogas, a Norwegian web designer who uses his Palm handheld to track his personal and professional life, handle email, write and read documents, track expenses, manage his transit schedules and play an occasional game.
*PT: Tore, thanks for sharing your Palm experience with the Palm Tipsheet.
No problem. I've been an enthusiastic Palm user since I bought my first Palm Personal in the US in 1997, and take any opportunity to talk about Palms (as my wife will grudgingly attest to...;-). I am a web designer by profession, and am planning to make a Palm Page on my private home page, so I can rant on about Palms as much as I like.
*PT: How popular are Palm handhelds in Norway? Are they just gaining popularity, or have you noticed them in use for a long time?
I would say that a certain circle of people (web designers and other IT-people, especially Mac enthusiasts) found the Palm irresistible from the start. A Norwegian web site dedicated to all things Palm -- it's called NorPilot --was founded as early as in 1996, I think.
But only recently have they come into the mainstream, along with Psion and PocketPC handhelds. I see more and more coverage of the handheld arena in mainstream media, for example. General electronics warehouses have also started carrying Palms, which they wouldn't do unless they expected big sales.
Scandinavians are generally quick to pick up new technology and I know at least that Norway and Finland top the statistics of mobile phone usage per capita. My impression, although it might be somewhat slanted, is that Palm and Psion share the lead, with PocketPC way behind.
*PT: Does your Palm run an English operating system, or a Norwegian OS?
It is the English version, although a company called Ide Data have some Norwegian language programs.
*PT: Is there a version of Graffiti which allows you to write Norwegian characters on your Palm, or must you use other methods to enter them?
The original Graffiti has included strokes for all three Norwegian-specific characters. However, these are a bit tricky, and there is thankfully a hack (DanishChars) that lets you write the normal Norwegian characters, and the Palm understands them!
*PT: When you are using your Palm, what kinds of reactions do you get? Are people intrigued by your Palm? Do you have chances to 'evangelize' them?
A lot of people are intrigued by it, but few dare approach me and ask about it. So most of my "evangelizing" is to friends.
*PT: How does the Palm help you in your everyday life? Are there any applications which you use daily and can't live without?
All the time! The built-in apps are extremely helpful to organize my work and social life, and I've filled my 8 MB of memory almost to the brim with useful apps. As far as essential apps, quite a few. In addition to the built-ins, I can mention some:
AvantGo is essential. I do some online browsing, but mostly I subscribe to a lot of channels. Among the Norwegian ones are various news channels, a TV Guide (configurable to your favorites), my stock portfolio, and city maps. In fact, I am making a city map for AvantGo for my home town.
DMoney is a simple app that lets me track my personal expenses. Without this, I'd be broke! Schedule replaces my many bus schedules (I don't have a car). HexWar is an essential Palm game, one of the most addictive I've played on any platform. I use WordToGo to view AND EDIT my Microsoft Word and Excel files on the Palm. And then there are a lot of hacks/enhancements plus BackupBuddy to make Palm life easier and safer!
*PT: Are there any hardware or software items that you plan to buy in the near future? What functions will you use these for?
I dream of a Palm unit with BOTH a color screen AND expansion options, at a decent price (The Visor Prism is too expensive!). I hope that qualifies as "near future"! ;-)
*PT: Would you share a funny story that relates to your Palm? :-)
I don't know how funny it is, except to illustrate how pitifully addicted I am to my Palm, but I can relate how I'm answering your questions. Right now, I'm enjoying a cappuccino in my favorite coffeeshop while writing this email on a GoType external keyboard. The email program I use is Eudora, which is just amazing, not to mention free! I have three different email accounts configured to use with it. I downloaded your questions, and will send my reply, with my Palm and a Siemens S25 mobile phone with infrared port and built-in modem. Is there any better way to email?
*PT: Thanks for sharing your Palm experience in Norway with us. Are there any final comments you'd like to share with the readers?
The future of computing is mobile, and the best platform to deal with that is Palm. Forget Microsoft, they're trying to squeeze too much into the handhelds. Remember the Zen of Palm!
Interview Slots Still Available! -- If you're a Palm user outside of the US and are interested in being interviewed by the Palm Tipsheet, I invite you to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration. Thanks!
I hope you've enjoyed this issue of the Palm Tipsheet and the Supercharging Your Memo Pad article will inspire you to fully utilize this great built-in application. Many thanks to Tore Hogas for sharing his thoughts in this month's interview.
Happy Holidays everyone! :-)
Copyright 2000 (C) Mike Rohde. All rights reserved. There is no guarantee of accuracy in articles. The mention of a product or service does not imply an endorsement. Company names mentioned herein may be trademarks of their respective companies. This document is freeware and may be redistributed freely without modification. No portion of this document may be altered, reprinted, or sold to any person or entity without written permission of Mike Rohde. This copyright applies to all versions of the Palm Tipsheet, whether in plain text, HTML or Palm doc format. Remember, it's always fun until someone loses an eye.
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