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Palm Tipsheet 20.0 / July 2001
In this edition of the Palm Tipsheet, guest writer Jake Jacobs reveals the significant advantages a Palm handheld holds over paper planners. In the Tipsheet Interview, Palm user Christian Hess shares his Palm handheld experiences and impressions of the Palm's popularity in Costa Rica.

Editor's Welcome
Notable Links
  Palm Handhelds vs. Paper Planners
  The Tipsheet Interview: Christian Hess
End Note

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Send the Gift of Flowers with Internet Florist! Let the ones you love know just how much more special they are than your gadgets. :-)

Gear Up for Outdoor Adventure at REI! It's time to stock up for summer camping, hiking, climbing, running, trekking and cycling at REI.

Greetings and welcome to the July issue of the Palm Tipsheet! This is the very first Palm Tipsheet compiled and published from the new house my wife and I have bought and moved into this June. We're very excited as new home owners and have already begun unpacking and settling in. Our Visors have been indispensable throughout the entire home buying process; I'm already planning a feature article to share our ideas later this summer.

Before our move, my wife and I had a chance to see the new Sony CLIE N710C handheld; we were both impressed. The industrial design is very well done and fits the VAIO design theme. While I considered the design form and suspected the chromed plastic would fingerprint easily, my wife was busy oohing and ahhing over the gorgeous color 320 x 320 pixel screen and sending subliminal telepathic "I WANT THIS HANDHELD!" messages to me. :-)

Last months article on reading with a Palm handheld seems to have struck a chord, as many readers were excited to learn of these new Palm reading capabilities or were already using a Palm for reading e-books. I'm quite pleased with this, since the goal of the Palm Tipsheet has always been helping readers utilize Palm handhelds to their fullest potential.

Finally, I'm very pleased to present an excellent article by Jake Jacobs, who shares his thoughts on the advantages of Palm handhelds over Paper Planners. Jake makes many excellent points and builds a strong case advocating Palm handhelds for at anyone who needs to keep organized.

Thanks again for reading. I hope you enjoy the issue!

Mike Rohde, Editor

Palm Hardware and Software Suggested by Palm CEO -- This interesting story by the Register's Andrew Orlowski seems to confirm Palm's plans to divide their hardware and operating system and software divisions into separate companies. Might the OS division become a consortium of Palm OS licensees, which work together to improve the OS? Only time will tell, but this is certainly a significant move for Palm and the Palm OS.

Sony CLIE Gains Two New Cousins -- Just a month after Sony announced the CLIE PEG-N710C, they've released two CLIE cousins: the PEG-N610C and PEG-S320. While Sony's 'anti-catchy' naming system leaves a bit to be desired, these new CLIE handhelds seem like nice machines. The N610C is nearly identical to the N710C except for a 65,000 color 320 x 320 pixel screen which is nicer than the N710C's 256 color screen, the lack of ATRAC3 and MP3 music playing capabilities of the N710C and availability in silver or violet case colors. The N610C is $400; the N710C costs $500.

Meanwhile, the PEG-S320 offers a similar shape (though only weighing 4.27 vs. 5.6 oz.) and many features of the pricier models, with a standard 160 x 160 pixel grayscale screen and lack of music capabilities for $200.

All of the new CLIE family members sport Palm OS 4.0 (except the N710C with OS 3.5.2), 8MB RAM, Lithium-Ion rechargable battery, Sony Memory Stick slot, Jog Dial, USB sync cradle and cover. For users who want a great color screen and don't care about music playback, the new N610C seems a great deal when compared to the Prism or m505. Meanwhile, the grayscale PEG-S320 is priced very competitively against Visor Deluxes and the Palm m105 at $200.

Palm OS 3.5.3 Update Released -- Palm is continuing its support of older Palm handheld owners with the release of Palm OS 3.5.3 Update. The OS patch updates Palm OS handhelds running OS 3.5.0, 3.5.1 and 3.5.2 and resolves some system level issues of the OS. Some Palm and all Handspring owners _cannot_ update to OS 3.5.3 as their Palm OS are non-upgradeable. See 'Is This Update Right for Your Handheld' area for more info on handhelds which need the update. FYI, some Mac users have reported serious problems on PalmTracker related to installing this update -- caveat emptor!

Palm m500/505 Backlight Utility Released -- Palm has released the 'Palm m500 Series Handhelds Backlight Utility' which can save the backlight preferences of a m500 series handheld. Unfortunately, this utility does _not_ provide multiple backlight levels, but is a free download.

Palm and Mobile Phone Ring Tones & Logos at -- If you're looking for ring tones or logos for your Nokia or Siemens phone, then is the place to go. The site features low-cost shareware ring tones and logos as well as alarm tones for Palm handhelds. Shareware apps MonkeyAlarm, MonkeyLogo or MyPhone are required for transfer to mobile phones by IR port or cable.

Portable MS Money with Ultrasoft Money -- Last issue I mentioned two Quicken-compatible Palm applications; this month I came across a Palm application which works exclusively with MS Money. Ultrasoft Money uses a HotSync conduit to keep your financial information updated. The Pocket edition costs $35, a family two-pack is $55.

SilverScreen Adds Tabs & More in Version 2.0 -- Popular launcher SilverScreen from PocketSensei has been updated to 2.0 with a variety of updates to the interface and underlying application. Tabs are especially welcome for managing many of apps in multiple categories. SilverScreen has always featured 'themes' which change the launcher interface and icons. The launcher is $20, version 1.X owners can upgrade to SilverScreen 2.0 for $10.

Launch 'Em 3.0 Adds Color, Removable Media Support -- Another great launcher to check out is Launch 'Em. Recently updated to 3.0, Launch 'Em is compatible with OS 3.5 and 4.0, is optimized for color, offers Jog Dial support for the Sony CLIE and works with Handspring Flash Module and TRG Pro removable media. Launch 'Em 3.0 is $15; demos are available for evaluation.

cJAG Notes -- In an effort to simplify note-taking, the $15 cJAG Notes works with the standard Palm Memo Pad database, but provides often used features like bullets, auto-numbering, outlining and an instant category feature. A demo version is available for preview before buying.

Ethernet HotSync Cradles for Palms & Visors -- Portsmith offers a variety of Ethernet Cradles for Palm III, m500 series and Visor/Visor Deluxe owners which feature auto IP address assignment. Ethernet cradles could be quite useful in networked environments. The Cradles cost $150 to $220 each.

Foldable Keyboard Battle Brewing? -- ThinkOutside, the company who invented the Palm foldable keyboard now has some competition from Belkin. The new Belkin $80 foldable keyboard fits the Palm III, V, VII and m100 series and IBM WorkPad c3 handhelds (and probably TRGPro and HandEra 330) via universal adapter. The keyboard sports full-size keys and weighs 8 oz. The image of the Belkin foldable keyboard on their site seems to indicate a single halfway folding point, making it larger when folded than the ThinkOutside keyboard is folded. Further, Belkin's handheld connector is placed at the far left side of the keyboard, rather than centrally located.

ThinkOutside still offers folding keyboards for many more handhelds, having just announced a new Stowaway Keyboard designed for Sony CLIE handhelds last month. PalmInfoCenter suggests an Edge edition of the Stowaway Keyboard is coming to market in August to further expand ThinkOutside's product line.

Aluminum Palm IIIc Shells Offered; Visor Shell Previewed -- Several issues ago I reported on Dave Design Palm III machined aluminum shells; this past month the Gadgeteer featured a review of the new Palm IIIc Dave Design shell. These shells are machined from solid aluminum blocks and feature matching aluminum buttons. The Palm IIIc shell is available in silver, red, black, blue and gray for $225. Dave is also previewing a Visor shell which looks slick and will be offered in silver, red blue and black for $250.

More Palm Reading Resources -- In response to issue 19.0 and 'Reading with a Palm' a two readers sent in suggestions for related services and software. The first was sent in by Bill: Poor Mojo's Doc conversion engine, which can take text pasted into a browser window or a website and generate a Doc formatted file for you, ready to download install and read on your Palm:

A second item was sent in by Gary: Codemill's SuperDoc reader, which can display true type fonts in anti-aliased quality on a black and white or color Palm handhelds. SuperDoc is $20 shareware and requires Palm OS 3.5.

Thanks to Bill and Gary for sharing those excellent resources with us! :-)


Palm Handhelds vs. Paper Planners
by Jake Jacobs

We Palm computer users all have shared this same experience at one time or another: trying to convince a friend or acquaintance of the advantages of using a Palm handheld instead of a paper address book and paper calendar. We've heard all the excuses for avoiding the inevitable: "I donšt want to learn Graffiti" or "It's too hard to use" or even "I canšt do without my paper planner" and so on. I've written this article as ammunition for helping you convince the 'Palmaphobes' you know to join those of us who have already seen the light.

As dedicated Palm users, sharing with others just how useful our handhelds are to us is quite natural and fun. To help your efforts to convince others of a Palm handheld's usefulness, I've compiled several reasons why I believe Palm handhelds beat paper planners. If these examples donšt convince your friends, then they're prime candidates to buy that old typewriter you've stashed in the attic.

Palm Advantage 1: The Find Feature -- One of the major motivations for using a Palm handheld is the Find feature. Let's say you're looking for the phone number of a guy you met at a party who told you he was a venture capitalist, but you forgot his name. Right now you could use the services of a venture capitalist to fund your new startup. How do you find his entry in your paper address book? You start at the beginning and scan each and every page, looking for the words "venture capitalist." Maybe you'll find it or perhaps you'll miss it on the first pass. This is a tedious process.

Compare the manual scan method to the ease of tapping the 'Find' icon and entering the word "venture" upon which you will be whisked to a small list in your Palm address book application that includes his entry. Tap his name in the list and you'll be placed right into his contact entry. And if your venture capitalist acquaintance had his own Palm handheld at the party, he might have already magically beamed his business card directly into your Palm, saving you the effort of writing the information yourself. Yet another advantage of Palm over paper.

Now imagine you're trying to find the date of your cousin's upcoming wedding in New Jersey. With a paper planner's calendar you must manually rummage through each page from today forward until you locate the wedding entry. With the Palm handheld the Find function comes to the rescue once again. Tap 'Find' and enter the word "wedding" and ... well, you get the idea!

Palm Advantage 2: Less to Lose -- What if you lose your paper address book? Unless you've made a copy to keep in a safe place, you're out of luck. Just hope that a good Samaritan finds and returns it. Besides, how exactly does one find the time to copy a paper planner? Just imagine standing in front of a photocopier, making copies of each and every page of your planner; we're talking hours of manual labor! Even if copying your planner manually was something you'd consider, how often would you do it? Maybe every quarter? Certainly not weekly!

Now, compare this scenario to the loss of your Palm handheld. Sure, you've lost your Palm; but you can buy a new Palm handheld at a computer or department store, plus you have an excuse to upgrade to the latest model. Of course you havenšt lost your data, since a copy is saved on your computer's Palm Desktop application. Just set your syncing preferences to 'Computer overrides Palm', HotSync and you're back in business!

Palm Advantage 3: Multiple Alarms -- Another area where paper planners can't touch a Palm handheld is the multiple alarm feature of the built-in Date Book. Not even the most sophisticated electronic wristwatch has as many simultaneously pending alarms as does a Palm handheld. You can have hundreds of alarms set with multiple alarm tones. But as for a paper planner, I've yet to see one with any alarm at all!

Palm Advantage 4: Rescheduling -- Rescheduling an event in a paper planner is problematic at best. It's even worse if you write your entries in ink! With a paper planner, you must first cross out or erase the old entry and totally rewrite it on another line or page in your date book... if there's still any space on the page that is. I suppose you could use a sticky note and pray it won't fall out.

With the Palm, rescheduling is a snap -- or tap!. Select the entry, tap 'Details', tap 'Date' and select the new date, or tap 'Time' and select a new time. You're done, with no messy eraser dust all over your clothes.

Palm Advantage 5: Repeating Events -- What about repeating events such as monthly meetings, annual birthdays or anniversaries, and weekly chores? Again, a Palm handheld beats a paper planner repeatedly (pun intended). With a paper planner, you must buy a new book or refill and spend hours copying all the birthdays, anniversaries, and next year's entries into the new book. Don't you have better things to do with your time? :-)

With the Palm repeated events are simple. Select the entry, tap 'Details', tap 'Repeat' and select the repeat schedule: Day, Week, Month or Year. Further, the Palm handheld is able to distinguish between and query you whether you want the fourth Thursday or the last Thursday of the month -- as is the case with U.S. Thanksgiving Day, for example.

Palm Advantage 6: Categories -- The ability to place Address book entries into categories is another advantage of Palm over paper. Yes, you could partition your paper planner's address book into 15 smaller address books, each with its own category, but that would make looking up a contact entry very tedious, especially if you had forgotten the category in which you had placed it.

With the Palm, you can place any item into one of 15 categories and scroll within one category only. But you can always select 'All' categories to look for an entry. The global Find searches all categories regardless, so you can have the best of both worlds.

Palm Advantage 7: Other Built-in Applications -- So far we've discussed only the Date Book and Address Book applications and these two applications alone could easily justify switching to a Palm handheld. But look at the many other built-in applications: a calculator, a Memo Pad with room for thousands of notes and lists, and a To Do application with priorities and deadlines. How about email? You can jot down an email to anyone, anywhere, and it's sent during your next HotSync.

Palm Advantage 8: Third Party Applications -- Then there is the ultimate advantage: the ability to add over 50,000 third party applications! From MS Word and Excel compatible applications to a multitude of games you can readily customize your Palm handheld just the way you want. Score: Palm handheld 50,000: paper planner 0.

Palm vs. Paper: A Summary -- Here's a summary list of the advantages a Palm handheld has over paper planners:

* Global search capabilities
* Beam items to other Palm devices
* Protection against loss with HotSync backup
* Calculator
* Thousands of third party applications

Date Book
* Search for keywords
* View schedule overlaps
* Set multiple alarms
* Easy to enter repeated events
* Easy to reschedule events
* Beam your business card to friends and colleagues

Address Book
* Search for keywords
* Lookup feature
* Multiple categories

To Do
* Maintain multiple to do lists in one place
* Easy to reprioritize
* Multiple categories

Memo Pad
* Replaces many pieces of paper and sticky notes
* Paste documents, email, web pages into memo pad via desktop
* Write documents in the field and transfer to PC or vice versa
* Multiple categories

Conclusion -- I fail to understand how anyone would want to continue using a paper planner after seeing a Palm handheld in action. I hope these advantages I've shared will help you demonstrate to your 'Palmaphobe' friends how beneficial a Palm handheld can be compared to a paper planner. If you have other Palm vs. paper planner advantages, please send them to me at and I may include them in a follow-up article.

Editor's Note: -- Jake Jacobs is a retired electrical engineer and part-time flight instructor who has used a Palm handheld since 1997 and enjoys writing in his spare time. Thanks Jake for your excellent insights in the Palm vs. Paper Planner issue! -- Mike

The Tipsheet Interview: Christian Hess
In this edition of the Tipsheet Interview, we'll hear from Costa Rican Palm user Christian Hess, an attorney at Costa Rica's Supreme Court of Justice. Christian uses his Palm IIIxe as a portable copy of Outlook, to carry shopping lists and encrypted sensitive data. Christian's teenage son uses a Palm m100, which he received as a birthday gift from dad. Way to go dad! :-)

*PT: Christian, thank you for taking the time to share your Palm using experience with the Palm Tipsheet.
My pleasure. I've benefited greatly from what previous users have said here, and perhaps others can find my own experience useful too.

*PT: You live in Costa Rica -- 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?

I believe it's been over two years since Palms were introduced to the local market. Since then, they've been gaining popularity among executives and professionals. At this time, it is not unusual to observe people at meetings whipping out their Palm for a quick note, scheduling new appointments, etc.

*PT: Is your Palm an English version, or a localized Spanish language operating system?

It's an English version.

*PT: Is there a version of Graffiti which allows you to write special characters on your Palm? Or must you use other methods to enter special characters?

The Palm handles all Spanish characters right out of the box. The necessary strokes are not always exactly intuitive, but the point is you don't need anything else to use them.

*PT: When you are using your Palm, what kinds of reactions do you see from people? Are they intrigued by your Palm? Do you have opportunities to 'evangelize' the Palm to them?

Flashing my Palm at meetings is definitely always cool. You immediately attract curious attention, and several times the person sitting next to me has asked me to show him/her what the weird gadget is. Though maybe I wouldn't call it 'evangelizing', I do always make the point that my Palm is an indispensable tool for me, and that it certainly enriches your business and personal life.

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

I first began using it basically as an extension of Microsoft Outlook; i.e., I thought of it as a way of carrying Outlook in my briefcase. Eventually, and thanks to a friend who had been using a Palm for some time before me, I began exploring new functionality through third-party applications. So while my Palm still doubles for Outlook, it also takes care of other important aspects of my daily life, from password safe-guarding all the way to grocery shopping.

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

Sure! Besides the built-in apps of course, I'm prepared to put my hands into the fire for:

*Ultrasoft Money Pocket Edition. I use it to keep a record of daily financial transactions, which I can later upload to Microsoft Money on my home computer. It makes checkbook balancing and general account management so much easier and faster.

*CryptoPad. My very first issue of the Palm Tipsheet led me to this great (and free) Memo Pad enhancement. I now use it to encrypt/decrypt personal memos, including bank accounts info, passwords, credit card numbers, etc.

*HandyShopper. Grocery shopping will never be fun, but my Palm almost makes it that way with this free application. It keeps shopping lists for up to 15 stores, and then helps you quickly create a checklist of needed items. You can even store aisle numbers for individual products, and then sort the list based on them, which makes the trip to the store much shorter.

*Thought Manager (previously Thought Mill). From HandsHigh Software, assists me in creating itemized outlines for just about anything that could require one. Project management, for instance. With drag-and-drop capability and an extremely intuitive user interface, it lets you look at and manage complex activities either from the big picture view or in precise detail. Great for sketching out a general idea, and then filling in whatever extra content you might need later on.

*Chapura Pocket Mirror. Although it comes bundled with the handheld, you shouldn't overlook the importance of this app if you're an Outlook user. Precise and fast synching makes it a pleasure to use.

*WordSmith. While this app is rather hefty (around 400K), the ability it gives me to read and edit both text and Microsoft Word documents makes it indispensable.

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

Once again thanks to the Palm Tipsheet, I plan to take a look at Pocket Express' dbNow, for database management. I guess I could also use one the apps that let you read and edit Word or Excel files on the handheld, but I'm not yet sure which to try out. I've also been actively looking for a Palm Desktop substitute, that'll overcome current shortcomings such as creating recurring to-do's, setting an alarm for a to-do, etc. I already took a look at one or two applications, but haven't found one yet that satisfies me.

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

I recently gave my 14-year old his first Palm, an m100, on his birthday. He's also very fond of it, and we have lots of fun beaming items from one to another. One day we were at the dentist, arranging for my son's next appointment. A man sitting nearby watched curiously as I took out my Palm and scheduled the date and time. But his jaw positively dropped when my son whip out his m100 and I matter-of-factly beamed the appointment to him on the spot. His expression was so hilarious we couldn't stop laughing all the way home in the car!

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

People reading this newsletter are well aware of the benefits of owning a handheld computer. Sometimes other people don't seem to appreciate what they're missing until they've had the chance to get their hands on one. More people using handhelds can only lead to better prices, better software, and better machines. So don't hesitate evangelizing a bit anytime you can!

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 check the list of past and upcoming interviews (to make sure your country isn't already represented) and send an email to for consideration.

The list of upcoming interviews includes: India, Netherlands, Spain, Israel, Switzerland, Canada, Argentina, Mexico, Thailand, New Zealand, Venezuela, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Italy, The Philippines, Belgium and South Africa.

The list of past interviews includes users from: Costa Rica, Ireland, Germany, Australia, Brazil, Britain, China, France, Japan, Norway, Poland, and Turkey. If you are from a country *not* represented on either list, feel free to apply with an e-mail to for consideration.

I hope Jake's Palm vs. Paper Planner article provides you with the info to convince friends and colleagues to switch to a Palm handheld. Special thanks to Christian Hess for sharing how he and his son use their Palms and his perspective on Palm use in Costa Rica in the Tipsheet Interview.

Want more? Check out the Palm Tipsheet website for archived issues, article and interview listings, Tipsheet FAQ, the 'About the Tipsheet' area, our unofficial 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.

Hasta la vista! :-)

Mike Rohde, Editor


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.

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