David Zucker

I was given the opportunity to put a great piece of software, Central, to the test recently. What I found was a nifty companion to my already numerous applications installed on my Treo 600.

Central has a sleek; user-friendly interface. It actually makes using the application fun:
 Central Review   on a Treo 600!

Features include a Do Not Disturb selection where you can choose to completely silence your Treo at set periods or on demand; a Super Alarms selection where you can set an alarm for wake-ups or important meetings and other times when it’s absolutely necessary to be reminded. This feature overrides the Do Not Disturb feature so if you happen to leave Do Not Disturb on, you will still hear the alarm. Sweet, huh?
 Central Review   on a Treo 600!  Central Review   on a Treo 600!
 Central Review   on a Treo 600!

The next feature is a killer…..in fact, that’s what it’s called. The Kill Pill feature. This is the # 1 reason I wanted to try this software out. With this feature, you can send a SMS containing your secret password to your Treo and all data will be erased and your Treo will reset. This is great for times when you lose your PDA or if you seriously think it may be stolen. Let’s face it, we carry our lives on our PDA’s. Everything from credit card #’s to passwords to names, addresses and phone numbers will be found on one’s PDA. How would you feel if one day you get back to your desk from a morning coffee break and your best friend is gone?! Worried I bet. Well with this software your worries turn into peacefulness knowing with a simple text message (via SMS), all your data (including the SD card, if you choose to opt for this) can be totally erased. I tried in twice on my Treo 600 and both times it worked flawlessly. Mint!!
 Central Review   on a Treo 600!

Another great feature this software has is the ability to turn your phone radio back on after a reset. You can also save your battery by setting the times when the phone radio will be turned on and off. Simple but needed. Central is also fully integrated with Palm Addit Treo Edition software. Set a schedule for your Treo to automatically download the latest Reuters news and weather updates. This software also has a Quick Launch feature. Launch your favorite applications from anywhere using a customizable hot key or use the side buttons as page up/down and select buttons. Makes one handed operation easy.

Once you start using Central to manage your Treo, you will wonder how you ever lived without it! Central is budget priced at $14.95 and can be found here: http://www.bluefishwireless.com/products/Central_for_Treo.htm.

Just when you thought that there couldn’t possibly be another thumb-style keyboard available for the Palm, I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong! Seiko Instruments Inc. has their own thumb board for the Palm V/Vx, m500, m505 and m515 that has been conveniently named the ThumBoard. I was sent the m505 version to review.
 Proporta/Seiko ThumBoard for m5xx review

When the box arrived I could hardly wait to get it open. And I was not disappointed. the PDA slidesinto the device (Exhibit “A”) allowing you to use your thumbs to type on the small keyboard while holding it between your two hands.
 Proporta/Seiko ThumBoard for m5xx review

Let me start at the beginning. When you first receive the ThumBoard you get the accessory itself, an instruction manual (which you don’t really need), a floppy disk containing the driver software (but since my PC doesn’t have a floppy drive, I went ahead and downloaded the driver directly from Seiko’s web-site), and a postcard you can use to get a free carrying case for your Palm/ThumBoard Combo (I just sent this in). Just install the driver to your handheld, attach the ThumBoard, and you’re ready to go. I mean that in the literal sense.

Since the ThumBoard covers the entire Graffiti area, you won’t be able to use “sliding hacks” while you’re using this accessory. However, Seiko did include function keys that allow you to access both the silkscreen buttons and the four hard buttons on the front of the unit. I also found that the ThumBoard, while made of plastic, seems durable enough to hold up to long use. The keys are easy to press; although people with very large thumbs may find the key spacing to be a little cramped. However, I found it comfortable to hold and use. Using the keyboard to type up memos and notes was quick and easy. I really didn’t have much trouble with the keyboard layout. The only key that felt like it was out of place was the ENTER key.

The ThumbBoard is so convenient that I can use it anywhere, even when I don’t have a table available for the full-size keyboard (Exhibit “C”). For portable data entry, my choice from now on will be my new ThumBoard. It’s a lot less annoying than Graffiti, even though I’ve had a few weeks of experience with it as opposed to almost eight years worth with Graffiti.You might want to try the ThumBoard and see if it meets your needs.
 Proporta/Seiko ThumBoard for m5xx review

The ThumBoard is available at Proporta and other retailers.

Price: $29.95

Product Requirements: Palm m500, m505

The case is made of high impact, injection molded ABS plastic(the type used to make crash helmets, according to Proporta). I’ve personally stepped on mine and dropped the case with no ill-effects to either PDA or case. I doubt that it’s very waterproof, lacking rubber gasket seals. The case has a unique interchangeable front and back snap-in color plates feature. If you can’t make up your mind which color insert you like, you can buy their optional colored inserts (now you see why it’s called the “Chameleon”). The review unit I received had blue inserts. These plates can be purchased separately and are also available in Red, Dark Green and Blue. Unfortunately, the plates are difficult to change.
Figure A Chameleon Palm m500 Series ABS Plastic Protective Case review

The Palm m500 PDA is held in the Chameleon with a plastic rail which fits securely in the left stylus slot. Inserting and removing the PDA from this case is not difficult. Luckily, you don’t need to remove your PDA from this case in order to sync with the cradle.
Figure B Chameleon Palm m500 Series ABS Plastic Protective Case review

The inside of the case is lined with padded foam to lessen shock and protect your PDA’s finish. It also has a SD slot on the inside back side of the case. I guess I should say that it is supposed to have an SD card slot… I was not able to get my SD card to fit in this slot. It just didn’t seem wide enough. The case closes securely when your Palm is not in use via a sliding latch.
Figure C Chameleon Palm m500 Series ABS Plastic Protective Case review

All in all, the Chameleon is a great case that is protective and stylish. Now my Palm has a home.
Figure D Chameleon Palm m500 Series ABS Plastic Protective Case review

Addon by Tam Hanna for David Zucker: my Palm m500 dropped out of my car window today and survived without a scratch thanks to the case.
www.proporta.com ~$23.95 to $29.95 US

100 Ways to Barbecue or Jack BBQ is a great game for people of all ages. The game is optimized for all screen resolutions and has a musical soundtrack powered by MODULA Audio Engine. The graphics are surprisingly rich enough to keep any gamer engrossed in it.
 Jack BBQ or 100 Ways to Barbecue review
You’ll find that as you go from room to room, you’re not the only character. There’s a spinning skull that moves. If you bump into one of these, your health will suffer. This is just one example of the 15 characters that await you.
 Jack BBQ or 100 Ways to Barbecue review

As you (Jack) find your way through, there are challenges that await you. There will be spinning disks and flames in darkened rooms. You’ll pick up keys, health capsules, torches and a host of others to aid you along the way.
 Jack BBQ or 100 Ways to Barbecue review

Jack BBQ or 100 Ways to Barbecue is a fantastic game that will entertain and enthrall PDA users of all ages. It has auto-saving functionality as well. Go ahead and download it and be ready for the adventure!

Cost: About $30 from www.boxwave.com

Comes with:
- clear colored skin case
- 2 sizes of sling line (long and short)
 FlexiSkin for Zire 72 review

Dressing up the PDA (in my case, the Palm Zire 72):
“Bottoms up”

Bottom are the front, top and back view with the skin on:
 FlexiSkin for Zire 72 review

 FlexiSkin for Zire 72 review

 FlexiSkin for Zire 72 review

- good smooth rubber grip
- Its contoured form-fitting style maintains a low-profile to preserve the look and size of the device without adding bulk or weight.
- protects from accidental scratches and FALLS. This is a true story….the day after I “installed” the skin, I dropped my Palm on a hard floor. To my disbelief, the Palm actually bounced (just a bit) and came through without any damage. I was lucky that the Palm’s screen must have not made any contact with the floor; otherwise I may have had a broken scrren. This is my next point………….

- No protection for the screen. However, it will be highly difficult (or impossible) to come up with a variation that does protect the screen from heavy impacts(like sitting on it) in normal conditions. I say normal since we tend to drop our PDA’s when USING them (like what happened to me). You cannot have the screen covered with the skin and use it, too (the FlexiSkin is thicker than the average screen protector).

The FlexiSkin is a worthwhile investment for anyone who needs to protect their PDA from accidents, thus keeping the trade in or selling value high. It has a good rubber grip and feel nice in the hands. However, one must always remember that this is not a shock proof casing; rather shock resistant casing.

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