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Palm Tipsheet 28 - March 2002
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Handspring.com -- The NEW Visor Treo combines GSM voice and wireless internet connectivity with powerful Palm OS organizer features, all in an incredibly small package! The Treo 180 is $399 with service activation or trade in of a VisorPhone module, or $549 without service activation.
Fundamental Objects, Inc. -- The official Palm Tipsheet development affiliate, specializing in custom handheld development, including full integration with your web site and databases. Visit us today!
Buy.com -- US and UK readers, get the best deals on PDAs, computer hardware and software, electronics, DVDs, music, books and more.
Gear Up for Outdoor Adventure at REI! Get the stuff you need for skiing, snowboarding and all of your favorite winter sports at REI.
Greetings from the great white north! I'm writing these words as I peer out the window at 8 inches of snow that fell this weekend. I thought we might get through to May without another snowfall, but this snowstorm is a reminder that I live in Wisconsin and spring is still two months away. :-)
If you haven't already heard the news, AvantGo has just changed its policy (as of 20-Feb) to limit custom channels to 8 users maximum. This affects the Palm Tipsheet AvantGo channel, as it is custom channel, created prior to the policy change. For more details on the AvantGo situation, workarounds and alternative software, check out the Tipsheet's AvantGo Info page:
BTW, I'm considering an iSilo edition of the Palm Tipsheet, as a new way to read issues. The iSilo format can display font formatting, links and images in documents. If you're an iSilo user interested in beta-testing the iSilo edition, please let me know and I'll add you to the team.
I'm also pleased to announce Fundamental Objects as our newest Palm Tipsheet affiliate, specializing in custom handheld development. If you need a custom solution, Fundamental Objects can help. Visit their website, ask for a quote and tell Bill Shadish and his team that The Palm Tipsheet sent you!
Finally, I hope you enjoy this month's PalmPix article on the PalmPix from guest writer Pablo Antonio Luengas Ruiz. I found his story interesting enough to contemplate an Eyemodule2 for my own Visor Deluxe!
Hasta la vista,
Palm Releases m130 and m515 -- It's official. Palm has released the long-rumored m130 and m515 handhelds. The $280 m130 is essentially an m125, with a 16-bit 160x160 pixel back-lit color screen, rechargeable battery and Palm universal connector. The $400 m515 is an evolutionary update to the m505, with brighter side-lit 160x160 pixel 16-bit screen and 16MB RAM:
My article "Supercharge Your To-Do List" in last month's issue brought many email messages from readers with excellent comments and suggestions. This follow-up article includes notable comments, ideas and applications.
First off, several readers mentioned I'd missed a *very* simple way of creating a to-do item: simply writing text in the Graffiti area, which will automatically add a new item to the to-do list. I'm not sure why this slipped my mind, but it did. Thanks for keeping me in line on this. :-)
Next, I received three very helpful reader comments, each sharing a different way to make better use of the To-Do List:
* Christian Hess Araya disagreed with my comment that *not* setting a due date on a to-do item indicated low-priority status. He contends that a non-dated item can also be viewed as 'Do-ASAP' such as "Get a Flu Shot!". Great point Christian!
* Arnold Moore sent in an interesting mathematical solution for Franklin-Covey fans who miss the 1-5 and A-E format in to-dos. He says that each item in Stephen Covey's 7 Habits quadrants have both importance and urgency values. He suggests you first assign each item an importance value:
2 - High (Life Threatening)
Then add or subtract a second value for urgency:
- 1 - High (Urgent)
Arnold's idea provides a priority of 1 - 5, perfect for the Palm To-Do List.
* Savas Kyprianides mentioned a tip for Natara Bonsai users. He uses the 'Make To-Do' feature in conjunction with a Bonsai outline called 'recurring' to send recurring to to-do items to apps which don't support this option, like Action Names Datebook.
Finally, I received software suggestions from readers, for To-Do related apps not included in my article:
* Projects (from Roger Sperry):
* Progect Manager (from Ludovic Drolez):
* ToDo to Datebook (from Arnold Moore):
* SmartInput (from Michael Klug):
Thanks to each one of you for your feedback. Your helpful comments, corrections and suggestions help improve the Tipsheet for everyone.
The lights go out. The speaker's voice says "Third call! Third call! The show is about to begin!" Some friends and I are attending a marvelous Mexican dance and music performance in Xcaret Cancún, México. I take my Palm m505 out of my shirt pocket.
The girl at my right says, "This is ridiculous! What do you want to plan for right now?" Then I take a small device, snap it onto the Palm, press one button and begin taking pictures of this enormous mix of movement and color. The girl quickly changes her tone and in a friendly voice says: "Oh... I see.... Would you send me a copy of your pictures by email when you get home? Here's is my card."
For people like me, who love to see new things and keep images of them, or are practical enough to copy a whiteboard full of scribbles after a project planning meeting, there is probably no better invention after the Palm than the PalmPix camera.
As an amateur photographer, I believe one can fully justify paying $129.95 for this digital imaging device from Kodak. Not only because of its small size -- it's less than 2 matchboxes thick -- but because it can be a good on-the-run camera for almost anyone. In this article I'd like to share why I love my PalmPix and how I use it to capture photos on the go.
Since I have used both the PalmPix for Palm III and Palm m500, I'd like to share the differences between these two particular PalmPix cameras:
*PalmPix for Palm III/VII/V:
122KB/picture @ 640x480 pixels
Picture sizes depend a little bit on how complex the picture structure is; for instance, if you shoot a white wall, you use less memory than if you shoot your bookshelf. Also, the 'Pictures Remaining' counter on the PalmPix main screen on your Palm is not terribly precise. It works like a car's fuel indicator; it shows fewer pictures available than you actually can take. This is probably a worst case calculation.
As for power, the PalmPix for Palm IIIc requires 2 AAA batteries, it's a little bit bulkier, heavier and more susceptible to a battery drain emergency on the road. However, you can carry along AAA batteries, just in case.
As for viewing shots to be taken, the Palm IIIc has an active matrix display, so it's a bit allergic to the sun. When you are outdoors (a common place to take pictures) the sunlight prevents you from seeing what you are shooting on the screen, which acts as the camera viewfinder. Although this won't influence the picture quality, you will have to learn to shoot blind specially on very sunny days.
Whether you have a Palm III, V or VII, you can still get a PalmPix plugged into your handheld, with the proper adaptor. For m100 and 105 users, PalmPix for the Palm m100 is identical in specifications to the PalmPix for the Palm III, except for a different shape to fit the m100 and the use of one AAA battery instead of two.
*PalmPix for m500/505:
175KB/picture @ 800x600 pixels
As for power, the PalmPix for m500 series is powered by the Palm handheld's internal rechargeable battery. Still, this battery isn't limitless, so batteries are a weak point (as they are in most digital cameras). It's a good idea to carry a Palm m505 travel charger to assure your batteries are topped up before you head out for a day of shooting.
For example, I fully-charged my Palm m505. After about 45 minutes of non-stop shooting on best quality resolution, my battery was still at 80%. Therefore, power consumption is about the same as if I were not taking pictures at all.
As for viewing shots to be taken, there are no problems with the Palm m505 and sunny outdoor environments as the LCD screen is sun-friendly. However, one must get used to the black and white viewer. In this regard, the grayscale m500 can work equally well as a shooting platform.
As for image storage, if you have an Expansion Card with your Palm m500 series, The Force will be with you every day, as the PalmPix stores your pictures automatically into your handheld's RAM memory. From there you can copy or move any picture into the expansion card, freeing up more room in your RAM for more pictures. The PalmPix software can also convert your pictures in JPEG format to the card, making them much easier and nicer to view on the handheld.
Activating the Datebook button (your PalmPix shooter) will bring the view of the subject to the screen (in black and white). A second push of the Datebook button will take the picture. The image on the viewer freezes momentarily, while a transfer bar displays the transfer process.
The storage capacity and the battery charge are your only hardware limits. The PalmPix software even tells you how many pictures you have room for, just like a film-based camera.
If you would like to see sample some images I've taken with my PalmPix camera and m505, feel free to stop by my homepage, where you can get a feeling for the quality of PalmPix images:
*Shoot in optimal light conditions. The better the light, the better results: remember this is photography -- you get unpredictable results outdoors at dawn or indoors by candle light. I shot some good photos at the Xcaret performance only when all of the spotlights where on. No flash device is available for the PalmPix.
*Keep the PalmPix still. Movement is a challenge when taking PalmPix photos. Wait until the image in the viewer and you yourself are at standstill -- this means both the subject itself and your Palm and PalmPix. No tripod is available at this time. Because of the flat structure of the Palm and the vertical shooting position, I cannot suggest any reliable method for stabilizing the Palm and PalmPix. This means you won't be able to use the auto-shooter with ease to pose for self portraits. By the way, this is an issue where the Handspring Visor Eye Module exceeds Kodak PalmPix design as it can be placed flat on a stable surface for shooting.
*Adapt to PalmPix Shooting. The viewfinder (your Palm handheld's screen) shows the picture at about 3 frames per second. After you get used to this, it won't be a big deal to keep the Palm completely still when you shoot. Remember, the shooter is the Address Book button, and the up and down scroll buttons toggle the digital 2X Zoom.
*Remember that Zoom means low resolution. When you zoom in, the device grabs a small, low resolution section of the image in the center of the normal picture. The result on your PC or Mac is a smaller picture with coarser pixel resolution.
*Learn how digital cameras work and more at:
After syncing, you can admire your pictures with the included desktop software Presto Mr. Photo (which runs only on PCs) or with any picture viewer such as QuickTime. Then you can save it as JPEG and send it by email, or you may want to keep some pictures in your Palm, by converting them and bringing them back onto your Palm through to be viewed by a picture viewer of your choice. I use Club Photo's Album To Go, which, for me, has the perfect balance between resolution and memory usage. There are several other JPEG and image viewers available, such as FirePad's FireViewer, Handwatch's JPEG Watch and Red Mercury's Acid Image, to name just a few:
Album To Go:
As a Mac user I miss out on using Presto Mr. Photo software (included with the PalmPix CD) since it only functions on Windows PCs. This image editor not only allows you manipulate the pictures to see brightness and sharpness variations, but lets you compose a panorama picture from multiple single photos. The Panoramic tool works both manually and automatically. When you discover this feature, you will love taking panoramic pictures (for example, see picture #7 of my photo gallery mentioned above).
Presto Mr. Photo software:
You can also find desktop software (only for Windows 95/98/Me/NT/2000/XP) to create high-quality panoramas from a set of overlapping digital images, shot from a single vantage point at the following site:
There are other good tracking or logging systems for photographers but they aren't PalmPix oriented. Test them well before you buy so you are sure it will meet your needs.
I do like the natural way pictures are taken from the top side of a the Eyemodule while it and the Visor are held horizontally, rather than the way the PalmPix and Palm must be held vertically. As already mentioned, this makes the Eyemodule much more stable for auto-shooting or macro pictures, as you can lay it on a flat surface for shooting.
I also like the exclusive Handspring Eyecontact software that will allow you to carry a portrait of your contacts in the Address Book. I am still waiting for some equivalent software for Palm.
Eyemodule is weaker in picture resolution compared to the PalmPix for Palm III, offering 160x120 and 320x240 pixel resolutions. According to Eyemodule documentation a Visor Deluxe, Platinum, or Prism with 6MB free memory can hold up to 650 small black and white images (160x120 pixels), over 156 large black and white images (320x240 pixels) or over 32 color images (320x240 pixels). Color images are shown grayscale when viewed on a grayscale Visor.
Eyemodule2 is almost equivalent in picture resolution to PalmPix for Palm III, offering 160x120, 320x240 and 640x480 pixel resolutions. Mini-movies work only at the 160x120 pixel resolution. For sharp images you should keep your distance to the subject greater than 18 inches. Eyemodule2 with Visor Prism and 6MB memory space available lets you not only take 50 color or 150 black and white pictures, but up to 20 seconds of color mini-movies with a picture resolution of 640x480. If you have a monochrome Visor, you get 50 color, 660 black and white, or 85 second mini-movies.
While I love my PalmPix, I would also love to have a Visor Prism with Eyemodule2 because of it's unique features and desktop software. Maybe for Christmas? :-)
Thanks to you Mike, I really like to read your e-zine.
They have an increased popularity on higher levels only, some people just don't think they can afford to spend 150 bucks in an organizer. They just don't realize that they are really investing in a full featured computer, with many tools that can increase their productivity.
My m100 actually came with the option of choosing between Spanish and English. I choose English because most of the information I work with is in that language. Palm does sell Spanish-only versions, which are cheaper than dual-language Palms! I haven't tried a Spanish-only Palm yet.
At airports and bus stations, they seem intrigued with it. Some people have asked me how difficult is to use Graffiti, some people tell me that the mini keyboards are way better. In fact I had some trouble with regional airlines about using my Palm during the flight!
Well, it helps me quite a lot since I can quickly download my email in the morning using Eudora, so I have enough time to read and answer it during waiting times and transportation. With Palm Draw I can explain more detailed concepts visually, while informing other CAD users about design ideas. I use QED to edit and view documents and Acrobat for Palm OS to read my reference manuals. I use TinySheet to manage information about travel expenses, my staff performance and service statistics and keep this data synchronized with my desktop.
Eudora Internet Suite:
Acrobat for Palm OS:
Of course I use the usual Address Book, Datebook, To-Do List and Memo Pad for organizing my information. During weekends I can read novels from MemoWare in QED and use HandyShopper to help my wife with the shopping budget.
TinySheet, QED, Eudora and PalmDraw.
I want to buy a Palm Keyboard for my document editing, maybe an IR capable cell phone or modem for mobile web connections, or a Glenayre pager for email functions.
In Central America I was once detained for 2 hours in customs, while officials checked my Palm III, Palm Modem Cables and all. They thought that I was some kind of terrorist! I guess it's funny now, but it wasn't so funny at the time.
Yes, to all the people thinking about buying a PocketPC, just don't, I've tried to use a Compaq Aero 1550 and it was very difficult and problematic to use. My suggestion is to stay with Palm. Simplicity is powerful!
The list of upcoming interviews includes: , New Zealand, Thailand, Venezuela, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Italy, The Philippines, Belgium, South Africa, Bahrain, Barbados, Russia, Romania, Honduras, Saudi Arabia, Greece, Argentina, Guatemala, Portugal, Slovenia, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Kenya, Croatia, Denmark and South Korea.
The list of past interviews includes users from: Mexico, Argentina, Canada, Switzerland, Spain, Israel, The Netherlands, India, 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 an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
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