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Palm Tipsheet 24.0 / November 2001
Tips & tricks galore! In this issue, Jake Jacobs contributes some real gems to the Handy Palm Tips & Tricks collection. In the Tipsheet Interview I'll talk with José Julio Ruiz, a Spanish Palm handheld user and director of the Spanish website PiensaEnPalm.com.
Handy Palm Tips & Tricks: Part 2
The Tipsheet Interview: José Julio Ruiz
Palm Doc Edition (17k):
DirectCase.com -- Tons of new Cases for the Palm m500/m505 like the RHINOSKIN Molded Aluminum case! Coming soon, INCIPIO's USA Flag Case, 20% of your purchase goes to The American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund! We've got it -- Why go anywhere else? Always FREE SHIPPING in the continental US!! Call (307) 732-1400 or shop online:
Amazon.com -- If you enjoy this issue of the Palm Tipsheet simply purchase any item at Amazon.com, using the special link below. All purchases at Amazon.com provide a referral reward to the Palm Tipsheet.
Handspring.com -- NEW VISORS! The $299 Visor Pro has 16MB RAM and rechargeable lithium-ion battery. The $199 Visor Neo features a 33MHz processor in Smoke, Red or Blue. Visor Prism now only $299! VisorPhone is FREE with any Visor purchase and service activation. FREE US shipping!!
VersionTracker.com -- The place to get the hottest Palm OS software! Offering daily updates and notification e-mails, let VersionTracker.com keep you on top of the latest and greatest Palm OS software titles:
Outpost.com Check out the excellent selection of hardware and software for Palm handhelds, Windows PCs or Macs at great prices at Outpost.com!
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.
I imagine those of you with homes can relate to the extra work owning a house brings. This autumn my wife and I have been raking leaves and preparing our lawn and garden for winter. It's hard work, but quite fun!
My wife and I also collaborated on a local Palm class for 16 students, called "Palm Pilots: Paperweight to Powertool". The class went well and in the next few weeks I'll be posting our class outline and a variety of links to 3rd party Palm software on the class info page. Feel free to have a look:
The Palm Tipsheet is now in Portuguese! My deepest thanks to my friend Vladimir Campos, Director of Content of Portal Palm for his hard work in translating Palm Tipsheet. The Portuguese edition will appear on the Portal Palm website about 15 days after English edition is published. Portuguese readers, be sure to check it out and send thanks to Vlad for his hard work.
Finally I'm pleased to present Jake Jacobs' contribution to the Handy Palm Tips & Tricks collection in Part 2 of the series. I hope you enjoy it!
Mike Rohde, Editor
FYI, My Portuguese greetings mean "Welcome Friends" and "regards". :-)
There's No Place Like Palm for the Holidays -- Preparing for the holidays and (hopefully) brisk sales of handhelds, Palm has quietly dropped pricing for the m505 to $400 and is now offering holiday deals with m125 and m500/505 handheld purchases including a 16MB SD card and various coupons:
Sony Strikes Again: Clié PEG-T415 Launched -- Sony is most certainly targeting the Visor Edge and Palm m500 by launching the super-slim, high-res monochrome Clié PEG-T415. Sony's $300 T415 offers 8MB RAM, 15 feet of Infra-Red range for AV control and MP3/video playback with add-on adapter. If only Sony could deliver catchier product names... ;-)
The Power of 3: Handspring Treo -- These new $400 Handspring Treo handhelds feature an integrated GSM dual-band worldphone (for voice and data), flip-lid earpiece, monochrome screen and 16MB RAM. The Treo 180 offers a Blackberry-style thumbboard while the 180g has a Graffiti area. Both will be available early 2002; the $600 color Treo 270, in mid-2002:
Acer Launches First Chinese OS Palm Handheld -- Acer expands Palm OS to include the Chinese market with the Chinese-specific Acer s10. The s10 offers 16MB RAM, rechargable battery, dual Memory Stick support, audio recording features and MP3 playback in a PDA about the size of the m500:
PalmVector: A New Croatian-Centric Palm Site -- Focusing on Croatia, Bosnia, Yugoslavia, Slovenia, PalmVector offers news, hardware and software reviews, message boards, tips & tricks and Croatian software downloads:
An m500/505 SD Card Reference -- Confused about using SD cards with Palm m500 series handhelds? check out Danny Hager's useful SD reference page:
$1,000 Up for Grabs in HanDBase Applet Contest -- If you missed the HanDBase Applet Contest last year, here's another chance to win $1,000:
Visors Can Do VFS -- Visor owners can now use most any VFS (Virtual File System) apps! Kopsis' FileMover 2.0.0 includes VFS Helper, which enables Visor CF Card adapter modules to access CF cards and use VFS-enabled apps:
Shadow Plan 2.0 Adds a PC Conduit -- Jeff Mitchell's hierarchical organizer, Shadow Plan, now offers a PC conduit (Mac and Unix conduits are coming soon). Shadow Plan for Palm OS is $13, with Shadow Desktop it's $20:
Currency Updater Surfaces -- If you use Henrique Martin's freeware Currency converter, Hans Anger and Stefan Braunstein have teamed up to offer free rate updates and a Palm app to import rates! Thanks guys! :-)
SyncWizard Provides a Direct Link to PCs -- Browse your Palm's RAM on your PC, install apps, backup, convert files on the fly and access VFS media cards with Envi.com's new $35 SyncWizard! Requires PalmOS 3.0 or higher, Windows 95/98/2000/XP/NT 4.0 and a USB connection:
IPCalc x2 -- Network managers, check out these two network calculator tools named IPCalc. Each is very different: Alan Weiner's IPCalc is highly detailed, while Lucas Wall's IPCalc is quite simple:
Handy Palm Tips & Tricks: Part 2
by Jake Jacobs
In the 3-plus years of using Palm handhelds (upgraded a few times since the Palm Pilot Professional model I began with in December, 1997), I have gathered many useful tips & tricks. These tips & tricks are practical, so you can put them to use right away and use them every day. Some of them are right out of the Palm users manual; some have been gleaned from articles like this and other Palm users and some I've discovered myself.
I've collected these tips & tricks in a list on the Palm Memo Pad application, which I refer to often and can beam to other Palm users I meet. I now want to share this collection with you, in hopes that you will benefit and get even more effective use of your Palm handheld.
To see Handy Palm Tips & Tricks: Part 1, check out Palm Tipsheet 14.0:
General Tips & Hints
Just Write, Baby! -- In the built-in Datebook, To Do and Memo Pad applications, just start writing and a new entry will be created automatically. You don't have to tap the New button.
Let Your Digits do the Timing -- In Datebook if you start writing a number as the first digit of the appointment start time, the 'Time Set' screen will appear. You can continue writing the next digits of the start time or tap the remaining digits on the 'Time Set' screen. If you then write an A or a P you can set AM or PM. For example if you want an appointment at 8:30 AM, simply write 83A (notice you don't need the final 0; for 8:00 AM simply write 8A). If you started in the Datebook by writing letters instead of numbers, a new 'No Time' entry will be created.
The Button Cycle -- You can cycle through the categories in an application by pressing its application button repeatedly. For example, every time you press the Memo Pad button, the next category will be selected. This works for Address Book and To Do also. In the Datebook you can press the up and down buttons to cycle through the day in the day view, week in the week view and month in the month view.
Movin' On Up... -- Do you have a favorite category that you would like to see at the beginning of the category list? Rename the category by adding a blank space before the first letter. From now on, your favorite will appear at the top of the list. If you have for example three categories you would like to have at the top of the category list, put three spaces in front of the first one, two spaces in front of the second and one space in front of the third. The first, second and third will appear in that order. Now when you cycle through the categories as described in the previous tip, your favorite three categories will be shown before the others.
Email on the Go -- Did you know you can send and receive email with your Palm handheld? Consider enabling email to have your email transferred to and from your Palm computer and your PC every time you HotSync. Compose emails anywhere and the next time you HotSync those messages will be sent through your PC's email system. Any incoming emails will be transferred to the Palm handheld to be read at your leisure during the day. See the Palm users handbook for details on how to enable email. Note: Mac users need the $30 MultiMail Conduit to HotSync email to their Palm handhelds:
Simplify Your Strokes -- Learn the menu commands for often used menu items such as Cut (/X), Copy (/C) and Paste (/P). These allow you to edit entries by copying, cutting and pasting just like you can do with your PC word processor. With Palm OS 3.5 or later, you don't even have to write the letter, just write the slash, /, and then tap the icon for cut, copy or paste. Saves loads of time.
Find it Quick -- The Find command searches the current application first. If you want to search a particular application, then open that application before tapping the Find button. Find will search in the current application before it searches in the other applications. If you want to find another occurrence of a word that is currently at or near the cursor, highlight the text. Highlighted text is automatically placed in the Find field. When you tap the Find icon, the highlighted text will already be inserted in the Find field for you.
Erase it Quick -- You can delete an item from the Datebook, To Do or Memo Pad by deleting all the text in the item rather than tapping the Delete button. But if you delete by deleting the text, the item will not be archived on the next HotSync. If you want to archive a deleted entry, use the Delete button.
Return to Sender... -- Each field can hold multiple lines of information. Use the return stroke (diagonal stroke top right to bottom left of the letter side of the Graffiti area) to create a new line. This is true of any field such as telephone numbers, addresses, Datebook and To Do entries. You can even add returns as blank lines to improve legibility.
Graffiti Tips & Helpful Hints
Backspace and Cursor Tricks -- Learn how to backspace, move the cursor left and move the cursor right:
To backspace make a horizontal stroke from right to left in the Graffiti area. This is like the backspace key on your computer keyboard and will erase the character to the left of the cursor.
To move the cursor one character to the left without erasing, make a continuous left-right stroke: start at the right side of the Graffiti area, make a horizontal stroke left and then return back to the right without lifting the stylus. This will move the cursor to the left by one character without erasing.
Similarly, to move the cursor one character to the right without erasing, make a continuous right-left stroke.
One-Stroke Graffiti Reference -- You can invoke the Graffiti help screen anytime you want with a single stroke. Just use the 'power stroke' by starting from the Graffiti area and stroke up into the viewing area to summon the Graffiti help screen. If your 'power stroke' is set to do something else such as turn on the backlight, bring up the keyboard, turn off and lock your Palm, or beam data, you can change it to the Graffiti help screen. Go into 'Prefs' application, then choose the preferences category 'Buttons', then click the 'Pen' button and select 'Graffiti Help'.
Use Those ShortCuts -- Store often used phrases as ShortCuts. For example if you use the phrase 'Meeting with' often, then program a ShortCut of the two letter combination 'me' to represent 'Meeting with.' Go into Prefs application to the category 'ShortCuts' and tap the New button. Enter the ShortCut Name (me) and ShortCut Text (Meeting with) in the blanks. Remember, the ShortCut stroke looks like a lower case L.
Use shortcuts to enter characters that are not available from Graffiti or the keyboard. For instance, you can set [ShortCut stroke]12 for a special character (such as ∏). There is no way to enter the special characters like this using Graffiti or the built in Palm keyboard. But the Palm will display them. Using a workaround, you can paste any special characters into a new memo on the Palm Desktop application. Then HotSync, and these characters will be in the new memo in your Palm. Copy the first special character from the synced memo into the clipboard and go into Preferences-->ShortCuts. Now tap 'New' and enter 12 into ShortCut Name and paste the ∏ character into ShortCut Text field. The next time you want to write your special character, just use [ShortCut stroke]12.
Datebook Tips & Helpful Hints
Blank Those Lines! -- The default setting of the Datebook is to show a full day of blank times from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM like this:
I prefer a blank screen with only lines shown for entered appointments. In Date Book if you set Options-->Preferences Start Time and End Time both to 12:00 pm, then a blank day looks like this:
The AM/PM Trick -- If you add a 10 o'clock appointment, how do you know if it is AM or PM? Easy. The 12:00 blank line is your 'noon marker.' Any appointment before 12:00 is AM and any appointment after 12:00 is PM. The following two appointments illustrate this point:
9:00 This is the AM appointment
9:00 This is the PM appointment
Details, Details, Details -- To change a time or date, select the event, tap 'Details' button at the bottom and choose the Time or Date and change it. You don't have to erase (delete) an entry and rewrite (paste) it somewhere else. I have to admit, when I first starting using my Palm handheld, I forgot about this and was cutting and pasting to move appointments. I'd forgotten about tapping the 'Details' button and selecting the 'Time' button or 'Date' button to change the appointment time or date.
History Always Repeats -- You can set events that repeat on the same day of the week (such as Thanksgiving, Daylight Savings Time, Memorial Day) by setting the repeat to Monthly, Every 12 Months, Repeat by Day. Some annual events occur on the same date: Christmas is always December 25. But other events such as Daylight Savings Time occur on the same DAY not date. To set the start of Daylight Savings Time, go to the first Sunday in April and enter an untimed event -- call it Daylight Savings Time. Now tap 'Details', then 'Repeat' and set Every 12 Month(s), End on 'No End Date' and Repeat by 'Day' and tap OK. If there's an ambiguity, you will be asked, for example on U.S. Thanksgiving day, if you want the fourth or last Thursday of the month.
Repeat it Forward -- Also keep in mind that changing text or notes of repeating events changes ALL occurrences without prompting you. But deleting or changing the time or date asks you to choose from 'Current', 'Future' (which changes only from the selected date forward), or 'All'.
Address Book Tips & Helpful Hints
Show Me the Number -- The first telephone number that you enter into the Address Book for a new address will be the one displayed in the browse list. It will be the phone number selected in Edit-->Details, Show in List. But you can select a different number later by changing the Edit-->Details, Show in List section of the particular entry at a later time.
Quick Business Card Beaming -- Use your own name, phone, and address entry as your business card, that can be beamed to another Palm by simply holding the Address Book button down for a few seconds. The Address Book application can have one, and only one entry designated as the 'Business Card.' This business card will be beamed whenever you want by holding the Address Book button down for a few seconds regardless of what application was running. This will exit the running application, however. To set your personal Address Book entry as your business card tap Menu--Record and tap 'Select Business Card'.
Where's That Name? -- If you sort your Address Book by last names, not companies, you may in some cases want to sort an entry by company and yet have the person's name included in the entry also. Here is a way to do this: for those entries where you want the entry sorted by company, put the person's first and last names in the 'Title' field (leave the First name and Last name fields blank). The person's name will be displayed immediately under the company, and the entry will sort on company.
Memo Pad Tips & Helpful Hints
Keep it Private! Create a separate category just for private memos. Call it 'Private.' This way you will know where they all are (the list will appear blank when Change Security is set to Hide Records). With Palm OS 3.5 there is less of a need for this if you set the security to Mask Records. This selection shows the memo in the list, but the title is grayed out. If you have private Address Book or To Do entries, you can also create a 'Private' category for each of these applications.
PC Palm Desktop Tips & Helpful Hints
Copy and Paste -- You can copy and paste into and out of the PC Desktop program, such as addresses and memos. If you copy the entry or entries from the Desktop Address Book list and then paste it into a word processor document, for example, the entry or entries will be nicely formatted with each field on a separate line. You can then edit in the word processor.
Drag Your Dates -- Drag an event from the day-view into the small month view on the top right of the screen to change the date. The time will remain the same.
Click to Dial -- Right click an Address Book entry and select Dial to auto dial it on your modem telephone line.
Conclusion -- I hope some of these tips and hints are helpful. If you have any other hints, please send them to me at [email protected] for consideration. They may be included in Handy Palm Tips & Tricks: Part 3.
[Jake Jacobs is a retired electrical engineer and part-time flight instructor who has used a Palm handheld since 1997. He enjoys writing in his spare time.]
The Tipsheet Interview: José Julio Ruiz
In this edition of the Tipsheet Interview, we'll talk with José Julio Ruiz, a Spanish Palm handheld user and director of PiensaEnPalm.com, a popular website for Spanish Palm users. José uses his Handspring Visor Prism to manage his personal and business schedules, to read email and surf the Internet with his GSM VisorPhone and to play an occasional game.
*PT: José, thank you for taking the time to share your Palm experience with the Palm Tipsheet.
Thanks to you for giving me this opportunity. I am very pleased to collaborate with Palm OS users worldwide.
*PT: You live in Spain -- 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?
In the last 2 years PDAs have been steadily winning popularity. The three most important reasons for this are: lower prices, more information about the existence of these products, and the knowledge that they can certainly be a great tool for any person -- not only for busy businessmen.
*PT: Does your Palm use a Spanish OS? Is there a version of Graffiti which allows you to write special Spanish characters on your Palm, or must you use other methods to enter them?
My current PDA uses a Spanish version of Palm OS, but all the previous ones were in English. In both cases there was not any problem for the recognition of special Spanish characters such as 'ñ' or accented letters. I have only found one problem: the Visor Prism Stowaway portable keyboard (by Targus), doesn't have a version with a Spanish keyboard, so entering special characters is a bit clumsy.
*PT: When you're using your Palm, what kinds of reactions do you get from people? Are they intrigued by your Palm? Do you have opportunities to 'evangelize' the Palm to them?
Even now that PDAs are well known in Spain, you can still see surprised people when they see you use it in a restaurant or in the subway.
On occasions, people come closer to ask "what is this small device that you are using?", and then you can start to 'evangelize' :)
On the other hand some of my friends and old co-workers bought a PDA after seeing mine and realising all the applications available for it.
*PT: How does the Palm help you in your everyday life?
The two main uses that I give to my Visor are: "virtual assistant", mobile Internet and mobile phone. As a virtual assistant, I take all my appointments and meetings, and I can always have all the phone numbers of my contacts (about 530!!). This is very important since I always know who is calling me on my GSM mobile phone -- the VisorPhone. Regarding mobile Internet, I check my email wirelessly anytime, and I also surf to certain news and information sites. And as mobile phone, I use it for sending and receiving calls and SMS messages.
*PT: Are there any programs which you use daily and couldn't live without?
Of course, over the years I've collected lots of very interesting software:
AvantGo -- for offline access to content channels:
MultiMail Pro -- for email:
Blazer -- for online web surfing:
SplashID -- for managing all my passwords and personal info:
CryptoPad -- a Memo Pad replacement with Blowfish strong encryption:
And many other programs. My PDA's memory is almost full all the time!!
*PT: Are there any hardware or software items that you plan to buy in the near future? What functions will you use these for?
At PiensaEnPalm.com we have just announced the forthcoming presentation of a new Handspring model called the Treo, an authentic Palm OS smartphone. Maybe I will buy it, but I am not sure. The main drawbacks of the model are: it lacks the springboard slot (I use several accessories: backup module, digital camera, etc.), and monochrome screen (once you have tried the color screen it is very difficult to go back to the monochrome one).
I hope that Handspring launches a new color PDA soon.
*PT: I understand you are the creator of the Spanish Palm website PiensaEnPalm.com; Tell me why you decided to start this site and how its being received by fellow Spaniards and Spanish speakers worldwide.
Well, when I bought my first Palm OS PDA, almost 4 years ago, I realized that there wasn't any website in Spain that offered the same level of information as those in USA. In June of 2000 I decided to start my personal project, PDAInfo.net, a website for all new users of PDAs. In little time it got a lot of recognition, appearing in a lot of magazines.
In January of 2001 the company Piensa en Red contacted with me because they were very interested in the project, and together we began PiensaEnPalm.com. Currently we are the main reference point in Spain about Palm OS PDAs. Our users can access daily news, weekly articles and reviews, Forums,wireless channels, software, and many more services and contents:
Piensa en Red:
Piensa en Palm.com:
We have also founded HispaPUG, the first Palm User Group in Spain, with 400 members:
*PT: Would you share a funny story that relates to your Palm with us? :-)
Well, here's a recent history that was very funny:
Two months ago I was looking for a new apartment. After a lot of searching, in the end I found one that was just what I wanted. I met with the owner and she asked me about my job. As you might imagine, it is quite strange that a Spanish housewife more than 50 years old, knows what a PDA is, so I started saying: "I work for a company that works with pocket computers -- something like an electronic planner, but powerful -- in businesses..."
And to my surprise she said, "yes, I know them, you are talking about PDAs, aren't you? I saw you last week in a interview on TV!" (a national TV channel had interviewed me one week before). So it seems that step by step handhelds are becoming more popular. :-D
*PT: Thanks for taking time to share your Palm using experience with the Palm Tipsheet. Are there any final comments you'd like to share?
Palm OS is a Community around the world. One of the things that surprises me the most at our Palm User Group meetings is seeing in the same room people from so many different backgrounds: university students, lawyers, doctors, businessmen and so on, all with a common interest: their Palm OS PDAs.
From here I want to encourage your readers to participate in this Community. Attend local PUG meetings and continue helping other users in forums, chat rooms, etc. Seriously, this would be fantastic!!
Thank you Mike for giving me the opportunity to share my experiences with all your readers.
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: Switzerland, Canada, Argentina, Mexico, 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 and Kenya.
The list of past interviews includes users from: 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 [email protected] for consideration.
I hope Jake's excellent collection of tips & tricks help make your life easier and working with your Palm more productive. Special thanks to José for his perspective on the Palm and Palm community from a Spanish perspective.
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.
Mike Rohde, Editor [email protected]
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 by 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, in any language, in plain text, HTML, AvantGo or Palm doc formats.
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