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Archive for the ‘PDA’ Category

My Palm – a PalmOne Tungsten E2, to be exact – still can be used for more than waking me up in the morning (or later ;-). Just to prove it still works, even on battery, here’s a picture of my latest Sudoku.

Dated 2017-04-11

The Tungsten E2 was introduced into the market in 2005. The funny part is, you can still buy them on Amazon. Since they can sync their data with a PC over a Bluetooth connection, they’re even compatible with the latest versions of Windows – how cool is that?

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IDG Connect pointed me to the website of Planet Computers Ltd. Planet Computers uses the Indiegogo platform to fund the development of the Gemini PDA. Basically, the Gemini PDA is a Psion Series 3/5 lookalike – but with modern hardware and running Android and a GNU Linux variant.

Could be a Psion Series 5, indeed!

I must admit that I lusted after a Psion “personal digital assistant” in the late 1990’ies. But the Psion devices were quite expensive, especially when compared to some of the quite capable devices that Palm Computing managed to build. I still have three Palm devices in the house, although these days their functionality is limited to being alarm clocks ;-)

Much as I would like to see Planet Computers succeed in making the Gemini a success, I tend to agree with the IDG expert, Francisco Jeronimo, IDC Research Director for Mobile Devices in EMEA, who..

… is sceptical of the extent to which the Gemini will appeal to buyers, citing the relatively limited uptake of the recent BlackBerry smartphones that also combined the Android OS with a QWERTY keypad.

“There’s a very small market for this kind of device. Everyone has got used to typing on a touch screen, and most users that really need a physical keyboard or a larger screen have a mini tablet plus an external keyboard,” he adds.

On the other hand, the Indiegogo campaign seems to work well, and perhaps many of the millions of Psion buyers are prepared to spend quite a bit less money on a possibly very functional device, even if it’s just out of nostalgia. We’ll see what the pundits say about the Gemini, if and when Planet manages to build (and sell) them!

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Android 4 Is Coming

Google and Samsung have announced the new hard- and software that will set the standard (in the Android universe) for the coming months: the Galaxy Nexus (the Google Phone) and Android 4.0 (the Ice Cream Sandwich). Time to start lusting for better and/or more – it cannot be denied that there is a lot to be liked in what has been announced. I had to laugh, though, when Google mentioned the revolutionary Beam facility, that allows you to “beam” apps and data from one phone to another, as long as they’re equipped with an NFC chip: my Palm could “beam” stuff over Bluetooth or infrared 10 years ago!

Anyway, just don’t drop your smartphone, especially if it’s an iPhone! Or get insurance ;-)

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The last two months, I have been using the CyanogenMod 7 ROM on my San Francisco smartphone – because that seemed the best way to get Android 2.3 on the machine. Functionally, CyanogenMod is an excellent product: lots of tweaks and bells and whistles – just what a geek likes. But I am not too happy with the frequent crashes and reboots, especially when connecting and disconnecting the phone to the charger or to a USB port. I never lost any data, though, just lots of time.

A few days ago I found out that there is an alternative: Ginger Stir Fry (what a name!), supposedly based on an unreleased ZTE version of Android 2.3.4 . So I decided to take a deep breath and see what happens when switching ROMs… I’m happy to announce that I’m running the beta 19 of Ginger Stir Fry now, and I haven’t seen any problems until now. Apart from the standard launcher (which I have never used before, since CyanogenMod brings its own variant), the most remarkable feature of Ginger Stir Fry is the speed of the user interface: every click and swipe is immediately converted into action, maps are drawn and redrawn at lightning speed, and all applications (or at least the ones I have tried) feel snappy – just what you want in a smartphone. All in all, I’m a happy user – but we’ll see if that feeling remains after a longer period of using the phone.

What I do need to learn for the next time, is how to avoid having to reinstall all the Market apps I had downloaded manually… On the other hand: now I have only reinstalled those that I really use ;-)

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Wiki Anywhere, Even On My Phone

I was just whiling away the time, browsing a few smartphone-related websites. And there it was: Wiki software that runs on my Nokia E63! It’s called Fubuki, and although the version number 0.2 hasn’t changed since 2007 it does work without errors. Let’s call that a tribute to the Symbian platform as well as to Python.

There are more (Python) applications mentioned on the opensource.nokia.com wiki, so I’ll have to pay them another visit soon!

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Quick Report On Mobile Internet

I attended the KVIV / TI  evening on Mobile Internet tonight. Interesting evening, even though the speakers had to admit that Belgium isn’t exactly top of the bill, thanks to generally high prices for mobile Internet access.

KVIV Speaker on Mobile Internet - Tijs Vrolix

KVIV Speaker on Mobile Internet - Tijs Vrolix

KVIV Speaker on Mobile Internet - Michaël Uyttersprot

KVIV Speaker on Mobile Internet - Michaël Uyttersprot

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“Do Not Use Faylmene”

Machine translation can be fun! I tried it at work a couple of months ago, just to mock the author of the document – and yes, I know that was not a very nice thing to do. Today however, it was an absolute must: although I can understand a few Russian words I am incapable of reading a (technical) text in Russian. So off I went, to ask Google Translate for an english translation of the manual for DEdit, a text editor for Symbian S60. I’m guessing “faylmene” means “File Menu”, and I’m pretty sure I can use a “keypada” in “kverti” mode. I’m still working on this phrase, however: “Vindovozny notebook into the furnace.” (that’s a complete sentence, to be sure)… Seriously now: when I try to install DEdit on my Nokia E63, the installer complains about invalid certificates, and when I try to sign the application through the SymbianSigned website, the site tells me it can’t go on because “FAILURE: Submitted .sis file uses a UID that is not allocated to the account holder matching this email address“… Sorry, Juriy, but that’s as far as I want to go to try out a piece of software; I’m not going to try and rebuild the application with my own signature (if such a thing is at all possible).

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Not For Me, No

I held back from publishing my thoughts about Apple’s brand-new iPad last night, because I was very disappointed. But thinking it over made no difference, so here’s my official point of view: the iPad is just a blown-up iPhone. It looks great, is probably well constructed, but it’s missing features that I find essential, like a memory card slot, a (fast) USB connector, a Flash player, multi-tasking, and massive amounts of memory. What’s worse, all those missing items are ways of opening up the machine to the rest of the world, which is what I want: I want to choose where I go find movies and books and pictures and applications, and not be dependent on the whims of a single company that controls the hard- and software in my hands. So that means: no iPad for me, no – I’ll wait for the competition to do better (can you say Android?). If you want  more views on the iPad, start with “Insanely great? Ars reacts to the Apple iPad” over at Ars Technica.

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Last year (of course ;-) I tried to install an unsigned Symbian application on my Nokia E63. Since that system requires signed applications only, I went over to the SymbianSigned website and followed the instructions for the personal online signing process. But several attempts later I did not get any further than an error message saying that there was something wrong with the certificate… End of the story, I thought. Just by accident, a few days later, I read in some forum post that it might be necessary to wait at least one day before trying to install a self-signed application. No real explanation was given, but since I still had the mail message containing the required link I had noting to lose but the the few seconds needed to click to the URL on the E63. And lo and behold: the application installed cleanly and without complaints from S60! It would be nice to see that required delay mentioned on the SymbianSigned website, but in the meantime I’ll write it down here (and hope that I remember to check this blog if I’m ever stuck again)…

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The last few days I have been spending many hours playing with my new cell phone, a Nokia E63. Most of it was fun, because Symbian S60 (3rd Ed.) is a powerful platform, but at moments it is frustrating to see that practice and theory do not match. For example: I have everything to transfer my password file to the phone – but to transfer the data file a simple “Send to…” from the Mac over Bluetooth to the phone doesn’t seem to work for me: the file sent ends up in my e-mail inbox, and I can’t find a way to save it to the filing system. Lacking a micro-USB cable I have to juggle micro-SD cards and card readers during my experiments: doable, but not much fun. Another example: both the standard web browser and Opera Mini are quite good, considering the limitations (screen resolution, CPU, etc.) – but being used to the Safari’s and Firefox’es of the desktop world there’s a lot of functionality missing when a site doesn’t behave as expected (when trying to download files, when trying to download an image, etc.). Usually, there’s some way around the obstacle and I get what I want – but it takes much fumbling, swearing and time. Guess I’ll have to build my own apps for this baby, now that I have a Python shell running on it!

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Fine

I saw a fine movie on television tonight: Don’t Come Knocking, made by Wim Wenders. The acting is excellent, the photography even more so. I guess I’ll have to buy the DVD if I want to see it again; sadly these movies stand little chance in the commercial theatre circuit.

By the way: Sunrise is doing great stuff for my offline Internet reading on the Palm <smile />

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OK, so I should have noticed earlier that AvantGo had disppeared. Actually, I did notice problems while syncing my Palm, but I thought I had too much data in my Channels, or some other local technical hitch. It never occurred to me to check that AvantGo was still up and running. After all, there’s that little thing called ’email’ that allows a company to warn its ‘customers’ of impending closure of their services, no?

So I quickly configured a replacement: Plucker. I had a few books in Plucker format on my Palm, so I knew it worked for me (or at least it did a few years ago). Adding a few RSS feeds should have been simple… but it wasn’t. Python 2.5 (as running on this Mac OS X 10.5.7 machine) refuses to execute a few of the Python script that parse and convert documents, halting execution with a nasty “SyntaxError: Non-ASCII character 'xb4' in file /Applications/Plucker.app/Contents/Resources/parser/python/PyPlucker/TextParser.py on line 2055” message. It took me quite some time to find a reference to this problem, read it through, check the CVS version of Plucker source code (I hate CVS, btw!), and apply a few corrections to the application’s resource fork and resolve at least enough similar messages to get a patched Plucker to work… At least, I hope it works – Plucker is still busy converting Wired’s RSS feed, although I started it before writing down this rant. Oh well, tomorrows another day; perhaps I’ll be happier then ;-) But anyway, I am worried about Plucker future. The problem I encountered isn’t new, to say the least, and nobody apparently took the time to rebuild the downloads on the official Plucker site… Or is it simply a sign of the times, as if even Plucker is saying: ‘Throw away that prehistoric Palm and get an iPhone‘?

[Update] I’m following the instructions about the use of a tool called Sunrise to convert feeds and documents for the Plucker viewer on Palm – seems to work.

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My Palm Is Not Dead

How about yours? Check out the PDAmill Game Studios to see if they are still giving away their complete collection of Palm games. And “giving away” means “for free”, as in “gratis”. Thanks! I’m trying the Asian gamebox at this very moment…

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Yes, I wouldn’t mind being able to combine my Palm and my iPod and my mobile phone into a single machine. So when a Palm emulation for iPhone/iPod touch [is] demonstrated, my lust for the iPhone grows yet again! Luckily – for my wallet – I’m a patient man. And besides: my iPhone would need more RAM than is currently for sale – even the bump to 16GB isn’t enough for my CD collection plus Palm stuff plus photos…

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After migrating to the iMac and Mac OS X 10.5 I suddenly lost the possibility to sync my Nokia 6233 with Apple’s AddressBook. Luckily I remembered that iSync needed a little hack, and the Mac OS Hints site told me how and where. In summary: you need to unzip this file and put the unzipped  Nokia6233.phoneplugin  folder in the /Applications/iSync.app/Contents/PlugIns/ApplePhoneConduit.syncdevice/Contents/PlugIns folder. It’s a bit silly to have to install a plugin in the application folder itself – no wonder that my move to a new machine and OS couldn’t find the phone! Or is there a better place to put new iSync plugins?

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