June 16, 2001


Back Issues


A New Look
If you click on a PDA Community link, you will soon view an area with a fresh new look. Don't feel lost. It's still PDA, and it still has the same group of friendly, helpful members and volunteers. I hope you enjoy exploring and then participating in the community. It's wonderful to get help when you need it; it's even more satisfying to help someone else with a problem.

PDA Contest
The text entry contest continues on the PDA Contests message board at keyword: PDA. Procedures are in the first post. You can also find them at http://www.pocketpress.info/backissues/060901a.html. The top score posted so far is 27 words per minute. I'll bet some of you are doing better than that. I hope you'll post your score or send it to me in e-mail. I'd especially love to hear from our fingernail Graffiti writers.

PDA Chat Schedule
For help with your PDA or a chance to talk with the PDA community leaders and members, stop by a PDA chat. They take place at 9:30 PM ET in the conference room at keyword: PDA. You'll find more information about this month's chats in The PDA Conference Center

Pocket Press is available by e-mail. It's also on the Web at http://www.pocketpress.info. Follow the instructions at www.avantgo.com to make it a custom AvantGo channel.

E-mail your articles, comments, tips, reviews, and favorite Web sites to Susan Gustafson (susangustafson@aol.com). The PDA Forum is updated every week. If you haven't spent time there recently, stop by and check out the tips, the message boards, and the new files. It all begins at keyword: PDA.

If you'd like to receive AOL on your PDA through AvantGo, create a custom channel at the AvantGo Web site, setting it to update every Sunday.


I had a pleasant surprise! I hooked up my Palm to my SprintPCS Samsung3500.Not having a 'web-clipper' program, I have installed Eudora Web on the Palm. Much to my delight, I scribbled in the address of our museum website (www.timkenmuseum.org) and viola, up pops our webite! As one is accessing our site by wireless palm, they can read the gallery guide entries for a painting, while actually standing in front of the painting! I doubt many (if any!) other museums can claim this, and think it really points out a real world use for wireless sites. So, anyone coming to San Diego with your wireless PDA, come enjoy our paintings, and the guide entries (without plunking out $3 on the guide!) -- James Petersen (JmPetersen), Administrator, Timken Museum of Art, www.timkenmuseum.org

There is a known bug (I confirmed this with Palm) in the IIIc. The higher the brightness, the worse the recognition of Graffitti. Try this with a IIIc and you'll agree--
go to the graffitti app, and turn the brightness to 15% or so. Write the alphabet. It does as well as all III series palms. Now turn the brightness up to 100% (85% is fine). Continue to write--- your character recognition goes to about nothing. Look at the echo of what you carefully drew. It stinks. Turn the brightness down.... it works fine again. What a poor design. -- Howard Robinson (HVROBINSON)

First of all, thanks for publishing my story in the last issue -- have had some communications from other readers and perhaps have some new friends.

Last week, I experienced a phenomenon with my HP Jornada that even the tech help desk had never seen. I was logging on to check AvantGo stuff and suddenly got a message saying that some kind of application file had caused a fatal error and the screen went blank -- not dark, but nothing on the backlighted screen. Could not revive it no matter what -- wouldn't reset, could not turn on or off.

The HP tech help desk walked me through a "hard reset" procedure -- as opposed to the "soft reset" (PDA reboot) that you normally do with the button on the back. It consists of holding in the power button at the same time as the reset button and it will reawaken the unit. The tech had never heard of the error message I mentioned, seemed somewhat akin to a GPF, but hopefully they will research that.

She did strongly recommend a soft reset at least once a day to clear all the temporary garbage files and suggested the fact that the internal clutter may have contributed to the fault. Hope this is some help to the Jornada users. -- Mike Cohen (Mike775954)

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PDA Programming -- More Fun Than A Barrel of Games

If you want to have real fun, don't just play games, try programming. The challenge is intense, but it's a challenge you set for yourself. I've opened a Programming message board at keyword PDA where beginning and experienced PDA programmers can share information.

The first folder in the message board is for Quartus Forth, which is available free for the Palm OS at (http://www.quartus.net/products/forth/#). Why Forth? Because I know and love this programming language, which I used for years on an Apple ][+. And because Forth programs can be developed right on the Palm, which means you can work during snippets of quiet time.

I'll be happy to add folders for your favorite PDA and the programming languages available for it. Just drop a note to susangustafson@aol.com. I the meantime, I'll post some very simple Forth programming ideas for you to try. Here's a sample program that adds four numbers together and prints the answer. I named it "add4."

: add4 + + + . ;

After writing that little program, if I enter 4 numbers on my Palm followed by add4, the sum will be displayed. It would look like this:

35 72 89 114 add4
My Palm responds by printing 310.

Like all beginner's programs, it seems rather silly. After all, the Palm has a perfectly good calculator. But you have to begin with something simple. I remember that one of the first programs I wrote in BASIC computed the square footage of the walls of a rectangular room.

Let that be our first programming challenge. Either in Forth or in another language that you use for programming on your PDA, write a program that we could call "walls." Post your program on the Programming message board at AOL Keyword: PDA. If you are an Internet subscriber, send it to susangustafson@aol.com.

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REX 6000
John Royse (Digital843)

You can pay $500 for the latest PDA and find it's outdated in six months when something new comes out, but for a really practical workhorse consider a $99 MicroPDA called the Rex6000. The Rex is literally the size of a business card and fits in a shirt pocket even in its handsome leather case. Yet, it has it all -- Calendar, Address Book, ToDo and Memos, Calculator, World Clock with dual times and even some Web content downloaded from the Xircom(Rex) site. Powered by lithium batteries with a six-month life and containing space for thousands of entries, the Rex synchronizes(Intellisync) with a desktop site (like the Palm) and a site with some extensive Web info . . . sports, news, business, entertainment, etc.

Synchronization can be accomplished by a serial cradle or through your laptop's PC Card slot. The Rex has it all -- alarms for the appointments, day, week and month views for the calendar. A stylus is included in the holder but it can be replaced with a small pen since the leather holder contains business card-size notecards.

No, it's not in color and there are no games; although one endorsement at the Xircom site claimed an owner had downloaded an e-book and Rex promises future downloadable features. It's hard to believe that for only $99 you get all the workhouse features of a larger, more expensive PDA. But, to me, it's the convenience of its shirt pocket size that is most amazing. It fits in any business card holder or notebook with a card pocket and if that contains a clear plastic face, it means your REX has extra protection but can still be operated through the protective face. It's a $99 wonder!

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News from the Beta Team

Have a Palm OS PDA? A Windows CE/PPC PDA? A mobile phone? A pager? Chances are AOL is working on providing AOL services and content for your mobile device. If you would like a first look at these AOL services and products, the AOL Anywhere Beta team would like to invite you to become a beta tester. They are currently beta testing AOL products for Palm OS, Windows CE/Pocket PC, AT&T PocketNet service, Sprint PCS, and more. Drop on by AOL Keyword: Anywhere Beta: to learn more.

Also from the Anywhere team, AOL Mail VII 1.0 is being sunsetted. Users should upgrade to AOL Mail VII 1.2 as 1.0 will stop working shortly.

Wondering how AOL for PDAs works from far away? Many of you have read posts made by JET8810. Today I received an IM from him. He was using a modem and AOL for the Palm OS on his HandEra 330, and he was talking to me from Italy.

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Desk Accessories: A Different Kind of Hack
by Dany Byrne (HOST Comp Dany)

Palm OS PDAs can switch between applications very quickly, but they can't run two programs simultaneously. If you are in MemoPad and you need to use the calculator, you exit MemoPad as soon as you tap the calculator silkscreen button. Your Palm saves MemoPad data when you exit and, if you didn't close the memo before exiting, it opens to the same place when you once again push the Memo button. So it is not especially cumbersome to switch back and forth. However, unless your memory is much better than mine, sometimes you need to be able to look at your memo while you enter figures on the calculator. A special type of pop up software, called Desk Accessories, will allow you to do this.

Desk Accessories are small apps that are accessed through a DA Launcher. Most DAs, including many launchers, are free. They all pop up over your current application, allowing you to view and use two sets of data at once. (Bozidar Benc has created a series of pop up apps which are NOT Desk Accessories. They share many of the same features, but do not require a DA Launcher for use.)

Desk Accessory launchers are usually hacks, although there is at least one that works through the Prefs panel. They are generally activated through a stylus stroke that calls up a list of DAs. Tap the name of the DA to launch it. App/DA Launcher 0.5.4, for instance, divides the App silkscreen button into four sections. A tap on the lower left section launches DAs. The upper left quadrant brings up a list of all applications. The upper right gives you a history list and the lower right is the Palm launcher. Different pen swipes will launch your last used app or DA.

The DAs themselves don't just add new functions to your Palm. They may make hidden features easier to use, enhance the built in apps, or increase your productivity. There are pop up clocks, world clocks and stopwatches, pop up calculators, a phone look up (much superior to the built in one), system utilities like volume controls and backlight toggles, pop up notepads, a find and replace string utility, and a host of text editing tools. For instance, ToUpperDA lets you choose any text and change case from all lower to ALL UPPER to Title Case with a single tap. Tree lets you create and use outlines in any text entry field. TealEdit, a part of TealTools, has a whole slew of functions including bulleted text or numbered lists, tabs, encryption, auto capitalization, copy, paste, and more.

Some Desk Accessories may not be compatible with OS 3.5 or OS 4.0. Be sure to read the instructions and do a HotSync to back up your data before trying older DAs. You can find lots of Desk Accessories at PalmGear, where they have their own category. Go to http://www.palmgear.com/software/answer_category.cfm?sid=22707820010305123855&categoryIDs=146,&searchTitle=DALauncher%20%28Desk%20Accessory%29 for a good selection of applications. You can find more DAs at Cute & Funky DA, the web site of H. Yamakado, the creator of Desk Accessories : http://member.nifty.ne.jp/yamakado/da/index.htm

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