Palm stuff

I've been a dedicated Palm user for years now, progressing from a Pro model to a IIIx model in the process.

It's been a slow learning process but a worthwhile one; the more useful functions I find for it, the more I wonder how I ever lived without it. And how I could ever live without it if I had to give it all up.

As a writer by trade, I can write and send whatever I have written to people by e-mail - all with a Palm. It has become a replacement for a laptop computer and a welcome one at that. I've lugged around enough laptops to know that no matter how dinky they get, they are always bulky and heavy.

That said, the Palm cannot do everything on its own. Two vital acessories make it the machine I need - a GoType Palm keyboard and a mobile phone with built-in modem.

I cannot over-state the usefulness of a GoType keyboard, especially if like me you want to use your Palm as a computer rather than a personal organiser. Mine is looking pretty old now, but it still works fine with a IIIx and you can buy alternatives very easily.

My mobile is an Ericsson SH888 - now something of an old model and probably soon to be phased out. But it's an excellent machine for getting online through a PDA and performs very reliably.

Recommended software

Apart from the pre-installed Palm apps, I have spent a lot of time investigating various shareware and freeware things. Here's a list of what I've ended up using most.

BigClock, combines clock, world clock, stopwatch and countdown timer. Simple, nifty, free.

CSpotRun is a triffic, tiny Doc reader. Handles multiple views and fonts very well.

I like to doodle with Diddle, and excellent program by the very talented Mitch Blevins. I also use his PhlegmHack hack to switch quickly between applications, and DiddleBug to write electronic sticky notes to myself. There's a Windows utility for extracting Diddle doodles - it's called DiddleEx.

pedit is my text editor of choice, for several reasons - first, I like the functionality and it works very well with the GoType keyboard. Second, it integrates with the Memopad database, so I can easily manage and copy text to and from by PC by using the good old Palm Desktop software. Finally, pedit can import and export text memos as Doc files, a feature which I'm certain will come in useful one day.

I use Top Gun Postman to send and pick up email while out and about. I don't use it a lot, but when I do I find it very useful.

AvantGo, of course, supplies me with offline web channels to browse on the bus.

Converter does an excellent job of converting units of something into units of something else. The author also wrote Wiggle, a Palm clone of the popular Snakes game.

Hotdate means you can see all your Datebook and ToDo items in one go. Which is handy.

Instead of the standard Palm OS launcher, I prefer to use Launcher III from Benc Software. Benc also wrote Country Codes, which you will only need once a year, but when you do, you'll be glad you had it installed.

Eringson acts as a conduit between my Palm and my Ericcson mobile phone, so I can compose a ring tune on one and beam it to the other.

CityZen is a remarkable world atlas, even more so considering it's freeware.

More excellent freeware for travellers comes in the form of Currency, which does all sorts of international money convertions for you.


My preferred games are MahJongg and Pocket Chess two very simple but very addictive games that are good to play while travelling.

Grouper is a challenging brain-bender that demands concentration and a sharp eye. Frankly it's really bloody difficult.

I couldn't resist buying SimCity, simply because I remember loving it back in the 80s when it first came out for PCs. The Palm version is horribly addictive.

IR Pong is the best fun you can have with two people and two Palms.

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