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Palm Tipsheet 16.0 / March 2001
If you're a writer looking for the ultimate text editing tool for your Palm handheld, check out this month's review of WordSmith, a powerful new word processor for Palm handhelds. In the Tipsheet Interview we'll travel to Turkey and chat with Selcuk Demiray, an avid Palm handheld user, information technology team leader and founder of the Turkish Palm User Group (TPUG).

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Notable Links
  WordSmith: A Revolutionary Palm Writing Tool
  The Tipsheet Interview: Selcuk Demiray
End Note

Palm Offers Palm VIIx Rebate: Final Cost $300 -- Following last month's price drop on the Palm VIIx, Palm is now offering an additional $100 rebate on the $399 wireless handheld. To get the rebate, you must buy a Palm VIIx by December 31, 2001, sign up for a one-year $25 or $45 service plan and complete the rebate form. More details at Palm's rebate page:

Not Quite Accurate PocketPC Ads Give Microsoft Problems -- The Wall Street Journal reports Microsoft faces Federal Trade Commission charges for false and deceptive advertising in their 'Can Your Palm Do That? ads. Apparently some PocketPCs couldn't 'do that' either, as ad headlines promised wireless capabilities, while the fine print at the bottom said the same features were only available at additional cost.

Sears To Use 15,000 Wireless Palms in 860 Stores -- Computerworld's Bob Brewin reports the retail giant Sears, Roebuck and Co. are deploying 15,000 wireless Palm OS handhelds from Symbol Technologies to 860 US stores for merchandise control and management over a wireless ethernet (802.11b) LAN.,1199,NAV47_STO58135,00.html

Palm Handheld Keeps Schoolgirl Connected to The Classroom -- This encouraging article posted on the Muscular Dystrophy Association website shares the story of Jen Rossman, a physically challenged schoolgirl and how a Palm handheld keeps her connected to her class and classmates.

PalmUser Magazine -- If you love articles about Palm handhelds but would really enjoy reading them in print form, check out the PalmUser magazine. In only 7 issues, PalmUser has managed to review over 110 Palm products, so you certainly get good value for your money. A one-year, 6 issue subscription costs between £24 and £33, while issues 1-12 are £40 to £60 (all depending on where you live). Individual back issues are also available for £4 each and all prices include packing, postage and airmail costs (outside the UK).

Online Calendar Tool Offers Mac Users Full Synchronization! -- Mac users are painfully aware of online calendaring tools which exclude Macs from syncing, including YahooCalendar and even Palm's own MyPalm service. However, ScheduleOnline an online calendaring website is now offering a conduit for Macs running OS 9.0.4 and 9.1. Their Silver package is free, and is geared toward individual users ,while the Gold package is geared toward collaborative group users and costs about $8 per month or $60 annually.

New Palm Mailing List Caters to Spanish Speaking Users -- If you're a Spanish speaking user looking for help resources and fellow users, then have a look at HisPalm, a Spanish-specific e-mail list hosted on YahooGroups.

An AvantGo Role Playing Game -- Role playing gamers will appreciate the creativity of LudiGames from This AvantGo channel is a hypertext role playing game complete with nicely drawn images. Channels are in English, French and German and are somewhat large, weighing in at 400k.

The Active Anywhere Language Dictionary -- If you work with language and would love to check word translations wherever text is displayed, try SlovoEd from Paragon Software. This $20 dictionary translates between English, French, German, Hungarian and Russian and users can access the dictionary in other Palm applications. Highlight some text, activate the dictionary with a special stroke and a dialog appears above the current application with a translation of the word -- without switching to SlovoEd!

We're Sorry; These Palm Files Will Now Self Destruct -- Palm users who carry super-sensitive data, should have a look at PDABomb. This $20 security application can lock all access to a Palm (HotSync and IrDA) and stays locked after a hard reset. Individual files can be encrypted and PDABomb can erase a Palm's data after multiple failed attempts at password cracking.

Creative Palm App Helps You Quit Smoking -- If you're tired of the toll smoking is taking on your lungs and budget then check out PuffFree. Just enter your quit date, and this free application logs how many days you've been smoke-free and how much more money and life you have as a result.

Insult Friends With Shakespearean Flair -- Here's something impractical yet fun -- the freeware Palm Shakespearean insult generator, Zounds. While it's quite useless for organizing your life, it can offer you the fun of calling your closest friends an "impertinent eye-offending harpy" or a "spongy weak-hinged rampallion" and that's worth something, right? :-)

The Battle of Visor CF Adapters -- Last month I reported the MatchBookDrive adapter was ready to ship in February allowing Visor handhelds to use CF cards. In February, InnoPocket announced their own $40 Visor CF Adapter package which includes FAFileMover software. Both InnoPocket and MatchBookDrive modules were recently reviewed at Visor Central:


InnoPocket Visor CF Adapter:

Early in March Visor Central reported Matchbook Products have now lowered the price of their MatchBookDrive (MD-001) to $25 and an updated $45 version of the module called the MD-100 will be offered in mid-March with a flush fitting module and FAFileMover software bundled in the package.

Update: Palm Desktop 4.0 and USB Visors -- Last month I reported the release of Palm Desktop 4.0 as useful to *only* users with Palm series handhelds. Palm Desktop 4.0 writes over the USB drivers Visors need to synchronize. Chris Holt wrote to mention Visor owners can sync with Palm Desktop 4.0, once they have re-installed only the USB drivers *after* the installation of the Palm desktop. Chris cited a four step procedure outlined by Matthew Bevan in the reviews area of the PalmGear software download page:

PalmPower also has an article about Palm Desktop 4.0 and Visors:


WordSmith: A Revolutionary Palm Writing Tool
by Mike Rohde

As a writer, I'm always on the lookout for tools to improve the time I spend writing, whether it's a Stowaway foldable keyboard, a Hackmaster extension like MagicText or a powerful word processor like WordSmith. In this month's feature article I'll explore WordSmith's features, capabilities and explain why I think it has established a new standard for Palm OS word processors.

Writing With A Palm -- So you might ask me why WordSmith is such a big deal for writers using Palm handhelds? There are certainly many writing tools available, which I've already covered in my feature article 'Writing With a Palm' in Palm Tipsheet 7.0:

However, since adopting SmartDoc as my writing tool of choice in 1999, no other application has piqued my interest as much as WordSmith. This new word processor combines text editing and formatting, HotSync connectivity and foldable keyboard access into a revolutionary Palm OS application.

What Makes WordSmith So Revolutionary? -- Well, WordSmith is first and foremost a text editor, which in itself isn't that revolutionary. The application can edit Doc, Word, Rich Text Format (RTF) and Memo Pad files. But what puts WordSmith in a category of its own are extensive text formatting features, including bold, italic, underline, strikethrough, justification, tabs, indents, line spacing controls and even font controls.

It doesn't stop there. WordSmith also allows users to seamlessly sync Word or Rich Text files between the Palm handheld and a Windows PC via an included conduit (a Mac conduit is in the works). WordSmith's installation package even integrates with MS Word and the Palm Desktop application.

Finally, WordSmith was built around Palm Foldable and Targus Stowaway keyboards. This is significant, since WordSmith can be controlled by key commands, keeping your hands on the keyboard while writing.

The WordSmith Desktop and Conduit -- Running the WordSmith installer on a Windows PC installs the WordSmith desktop application and the HotSync conduit used to synchronize documents between the PC and Palm. WordSmith's installer can also add a menu item to Microsoft Word, for selecting documents to synchronize with the Palm handheld and can add a button to the Palm Desktop to activate the WordSmith desktop application.

WordSmith is also able to work with WordPad and other word processors capable of saving RTF formatted files, such as Word Perfect, so you don't have to use MS Word to take advantage of document synchronization. In this case, the WordSmith desktop application is used to mark documents for synchronization. Documents converted to WordSmith format are kept in the default 'My Documents' folder, though the location of a default folder is optional and is designated at installation time.

Mac and Linux users can use the simple conversion tools included with their installation packages to convert Word and RTF files into WordSmith documents for the Palm. I also understand from Blue Nomad that a Macintosh conduit is currently in the works to synchronize WordSmith with Word for Macintosh.

The WordSmith Palm Application -- On a Palm, the WordSmith application is installed, which can read, edit and create Doc, Word or RTF documents. The application first opens to the document listing screen, which lists all WordSmith readable files on the Palm device. At the top of this screen are two tabs: one labeled 'Memo' and the other labeled 'Doc'.

The Memo tab displays all of the memo pad documents stored on your Palm, while the Doc tab displays Doc, Word and RTF files. Word and RTF files are distinct as they are marked with 'W' icons to the left of the document title, while Doc files have no icon and memos are numbered. Clicking on either the icon or space next to any document pops up a menu to quickly edit, beam, delete, duplicate, rename, categorize or get info on it, saving multiple trips to the menu bar.

At the bottom of this screen, you'll find a 'New' button for creating new documents, a 'Filter' field to enter characters and quickly drill through a list of documents and a indicator displaying your Palm's free RAM space.

Editing Documents -- WordSmith's editing mode is where this application's power really shines. The Palm application offers full formatting of text (bold, italic, underline, strikethrough, superscript and subscript), control over tabbing, justification, indents, line spacing and even font designation. Unfortunately, the Palm's limited font display won't allow you to view different fonts but they are preserved for viewing on the desktop version of document.

These formatting functions can be easily accessed by WordSmith's menus or in the toolbar which resides at the bottom of the screen. To display more lines of text the entire toolbar can be toggled off by clicking the small arrow icon on the lower right corner of the screen, or you can view the full screen by selecting 'Full Screen' mode under the 'Options' menu bar.

WordSmith also provides a very nice Multi-Paste feature which stores the last 10 bits of clipboard text and can display them in a floating menu. A quick tap on a clip pastes it into your document wherever the cursor is.

WordSmith's cursor is especially smart, staying in sync with the up and down scroll buttons. This feature is especially useful for scanning a document and never having to 'find' your cursor before adding new text. The cursor is always where you want it!

Find/replace functionality is provided under the 'Edit' menu. Search your document matching the text case, whole words and even inside other applications. Automated find/replace is promised in the next release.

Document Navigation -- If you're thinking of editing or viewing very large text documents, you'll really appreciate the 'Go To Paragraph...' and 'Go To / Count...' functions WordSmith offers under the File menu.

The 'Go To Paragraph...' feature lists the first line of each paragraph in a menu form, letting you quickly jump to specific areas of large documents. This is also important as a substitute for bookmarks (which are being added to an upcoming version of WordSmith).

The 'Go To / Count...' feature provides a dialog box listing how many paragraphs, characters and words are contained in the document, along with the document location represented as a percentage. This dialog also includes two buttons for 'top' and 'bottom' for quick navigation.

If you own a Palm Foldable or Targus Stowaway keyboard, then WordSmith has even more features for you. Not only can you activate formatting functions like bold, italic and underline, WordSmith's menus can be entirely controlled via key commands. Key commands can also be used for scrolling, navigating line by line or even for selecting characters, words or paragraphs. It's a great way to stay focused, since you never need to switch between stylus and keyboard.

Viewing Documents -- While WordSmith's strengths are clearly as a word processor it also functions very nicely as a document reader. Opening a document automatically activates the editing screen, so to keep from altering files, you'll need to click the 'Edit' button along the base of the screen. Once you do this, you should see three new icons to the right of the 'View' button which work together with screen taps.

The first contains a stylus and lines of text and advances text a line at a time. The second contains up & down arrows and advances text one screen at a time. The third contains eyeglasses and auto-scrolls text based on tap location. The menu and toolbar can also be hidden as in the editing mode.

WordSmith Limitations -- After looking at WordSmith, it's hard to believe this application has any limitations, but it does. One must keep in mind this is a 1.0 application and many features are likely missing because this is only the first non-beta release of WordSmith.

* No Bookmark Support -- for hard core Doc editing and navigation of files on a Palm, bookmarks are essential. While 'Go To Paragraph...' offers a similar functionality, bookmarks are needed and are coming in the next release.

* Closed Access to Text -- MagicText, my favorite text editing hack won't work with WordSmith and I really miss drag and drop editing with a stylus. Closed access to text also limits third party dictionaries and thesaurus tools from interacting properly with WordSmith documents.

* Support for Tables -- Tables are quite common in Word documents, especially in business settings so WordSmith's inability to view these types of documents limits the applications usefulness for heavy table users.

* No Way to Save RTF/Word Documents back to Plain Text -- One feature I'd love to see is the ability to save a formatted Word or RTF file back to native Doc. This would be useful for quickly stripping formatting or converting files to Doc format so they can be beamed to other Doc readers.

* Color Support -- Color Palm handheld users are likely to increase as the platform matures. This is also being addressed in the next release.

Judging by what this app was able to accomplish, I have no doubts these limitations and many others will soon be addressed. In fact, I expect many more features will be added in future versions of WordSmith, pushing its power and capabilities even further.

Conclusion -- I firmly believe the combination of powerful word processing tools, seamless synchronization with MS Word and extensive keyboard support make WordSmith a must-have application for any writer wishing to use a Palm as a serious word processing tool.

Alexander Hinds of Blue Nomad and Scott Maxwell of Quick Sense should be highly praised for pushing the boundaries of the Palm platform further than ever before with this excellent tool. What they have managed to do with a 1.0 product excites me about what's in store for WordSmith 1.1 and beyond.

The Tipsheet Interview: Selcuk Demiray
In this edition of the Tipsheet Interview, we'll speak with Selcuk Demiray, an information technology team leader and Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) working for a Turkish IT firm. Selcuk uses his Visor Platinum to read e-books and news on his way to work, send and receive SMS and e-mail, track his stocks and organize his busy professional and personal life.

*PT: Selcuk, thanks for sharing your Palm experience with the Palm Tipsheet.

It is my pleasure to access thousands of Palm users with your excellent 'Palm Tipsheet' e-zine .

*PT: You live in Turkey -- I'm curious to know how popular Palm handhelds are there. Have they been gaining popularity recently, or have you noticed them being used by people for a long time?

Until this year the Palm was not known very much. But I think the number of palm owners doubled in 2000. Our statistics at TPUG (Turkish Palm Users Group) shows that 70% of all members bought their device last year. Recently we saw a few television programs explaining what a Palm is and how it helps people organize their lives, etc. Also, a local bank has just introduced 'Palm Banking' and a local ISP created a PDA News Channel in AvantGo.

Turkish people love using technological gadgets. Perhaps the most important reason for this is Turkey has a very young average population -- half of the total population is under the age of 30! We have about 16 million GSM phone users (25% of all population) and it should increase dramatically. I hope the same thing will happen to handhelds.

*PT: Is your Palm a localized Turkish language operating system?

It is English version, but recently a Handspring distributor here announced a free localization software which converts standard Palm OS applications, dialog texts, menus etc. to Turkish. I think this will help to increase sales tremendously.

*PT: Is there a version of Graffiti which allows you to write special Turkish characters, or must you use other methods to enter them?

The Turkish alphabet has only a few accented characters over the English alphabet. Three solutions exists (2 commercial, 1 freeware) for writing and reading these special characters.

*PT: When you're using your Palm, what kinds of reactions do you get? Are people intrigued? Do you have opportunities to 'evangelize' the Palm?

Yes and no. I've influenced a few friends to buy a Palm OS device as a handheld choice, but could not change my chief's mind -- he is an MS lover and bought a WinCE device. However, in general most of the people here are intrigued when they see the capabilities of a Palm handheld.

*PT: How does the Palm help you in your everyday life?

I do almost everything with it. Schedule meetings, take quick notes, read docs and news, arrange things to do, track my stocks, read/write SMS messages, etc. I also use it to check my e-mailbox and to write e-mail while on vacation.

*PT: Are there any programs which you use daily and couldn't live without?

Yes, I have many. Here is my list of a few favorites:

JFile -- A database in which I have almost 30 customized databases for my needs.

BDicty -- Lets me use my Visor Platinum as an English-Turkish dictionary.

iSilo -- Document reader for viewing Docs and iSilo files.

CryptoPad -- A memo pad replacement with strong encryption features.

Progect -- A project management app like BrainForest, but this is open source freeware and has much more potential, and many nice features. It is still being developed.

Pz -- This is one of the most useful Palm tools I've ever seen. Pz is an archiver for the Palm OS and functions like Winzip on Windows PCs. I keep rarely used apps, files, etc. zipped, gaining space on my Visor Platinum.

*PT: Are there any hardware or software items that you plan to buy in the near future? What functions will you use these for?

Probably I will buy a Thin Modem Plus (TM+) springboard module before my next holiday. The built in 8 MB Flash memory will be an advantage compared to a separate memory module. Perhaps in the future I can buy a VisorPhone, and thus eliminate the need to carry a separate GSM phone.

*PT: Would you share a funny story that relates to your Palm with us? :-)

Well, here is a story of Odul Kanberoglu, a TPUG member, directly translated to English from his mouth:

Perhaps there are many stories of Palm handhelds forgotten or dropped in a taxi. In fact, my first encounter with a Palm was thanks to a Palm left in a taxi! One day a taxi driver suddenly asked me whether I had any knowledge about computers, organizers etc. or not. When I replied 'yes, I have' he showed me a Palm V.

At first I did not realize a customer had dropped it. The driver said he reported the device at the lost & found bureau but could not find the owner. Anyway, I removed the stylus and tried to find its owner. Since I was unaware of the owner setting in the prefs application, I searched through possible records in the address book. I think I finally found the owner (and hope the unit was delivered to him).

Anyhow, as frequently said, this experience was enough to set my mind on purchasing a Palm unit. At the first opportunity, I got a Palm m100. More interestingly though, I myself forgot my m100 in a taxi after using it one month. I thought everything was over. My only hope was Padlock Hack, since I had entered my phone number in the owner setting. The next day after I lost my Palm taxi driver called me and I got it back :-)

*PT: You are the founder of the Turkish Palm User Group (TPUG), why did you decide to start this and how popular is the group?

Well, in my opinion there was a need to form such a group among Turkish speaking users. I was reading comp.sys.palmtops.pilot newsgroup and saw a few posts from other Turkish users. I decided to found a group and started to collect email addresses. When it reached to 10 (end of December 1999), I created an email list called 'Turkpilot' and announced it through email. The number of members reached to 50 in less than 3 months.

Then we approached a local Palm distributor for sponsorship (Thanks Biltur!). They gave us a PC, shared their internet connection and bought our domain name for the web server. Now we have over 900 members and it is increasing day by day. Not a bad number for only 10 months!

We have started many new services on our site and this helps to keep traffic high. For example, local newspapers here in Turkey do not have 'Palm OS compatible' pages yet. Our solution gives our members the option to download 8 newspapers, 4 different last minute news services and at least 15 selected column writers in Palm OS compatible format daily. My colleague wrote several Perl scripts which use the magnificent SiteScooper to do this.

We have set up 3 working groups (or committees) at our site, including 'e-books' to increase awareness of Palm OS community among publishers, 'Turkish committee' to convert popular Palm OS applications to Turkish and 'Palm OS programming' to increase knowledge sharing among the members who are interested in programming.

Besides all of these activities, sometimes we set up lotteries for product giveaways. Many thanks go to participating software vendors here. We invite all other software vendors, shareware owners to support our user group. We list them in a special page called 'product sponsors'. If you are interested in sponsorship of the TPUG, just send a mail to

*PT: Thank you for taking time to share your Palm using experience in Turkey with the Palm Tipsheet. Are there any final comments you'd like to share?

If Tipsheet readers want to know more about Turkey and Turks, I advise them to read a travelogue written by an American who spent his 3 week holiday in Turkey in 1998. I have converted his travel diary (by permission from author) into various Palm formats including Doc, iSilo, Mobibook and they are available for download at TPUG site:

If you want to read other travelogues or film reviews by the same author, they are available at his site in plain text, so you can easily convert them to your favorite reader format:

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 for consideration.

Currently the list of confirmed Palm users includes: Australia, Germany, Ireland, Costa Rica, India, the Netherlands, Spain, Israel, Switzerland, Canada, Argentina, Mexico and Thailand. If you're from a country not represented in this list, feel free to apply for consideration. Thanks!

Thanks for reading this issue of the Palm Tipsheet. I hope those interested in word processing on a Palm handheld will seriously evaluate WordSmith as a candidate for your writing tool of choice. Special thanks to Selcuk Demiray for providing his insights and comments in the Tipsheet interview.

Hungry for more? I invite you to check out the Palm Tipsheet website for archived issues, article and interview listings, Tipsheet FAQ, the Tipsheet AvantGo channel and the handy search tool:

Feel free share the Palm Tipsheet website with new Palm users. If this issue was forwarded by a Palm friend, you too can get the Palm Tipsheet sent to your e-mailbox free each month. Follow the subscription instructions below, or use the subscription tool on the website to join the mailing list.

Warm greetings,

Mike Rohde


Copyright 1998-2001 (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 with written permission. 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, AvantGo or Palm doc format. Remember, it's always fun until someone loses an eye.


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