Oliver Leibenguth - retired

Every time I have to travel somewhere I need two cases: A small bag for my clothes and a big one for power supplies, chargers and cables. Working with power-hungry devices that can only hold a charge for a few days or sometimes only for a few hours you’re doomed if you forget the charger for that device. And since all chargers look the same, it’s very likely that you forget at least one of them.

 

With the introduction of the mobile device charger, Proporta finally put an end to that misery. Now, we’re looking at a new version of this charger, called “Ted’s Six Pack”. Designed by the UK designer label Ted Baker, the well known charger comes in a nice two-tone brown with an abundance of accessories.

 

p1070142 300x256 The Ted Baker Six Pack

 

 

Even the box got a new design. No shrink-wrap and no need of scissors. The box is kept shut by 4 magnets in every corner. Very uniqe.

 

p1070149 300x150 The Ted Baker Six Pack

 

Opened, it reveals a velvet bag full of small parts, the mobile charger itself and a wall-charger.

 

p1070160 300x237 The Ted Baker Six Pack

 

Everything unpacked we have the small lightweight charger itself, a wall charger (with four plugs suitable for most countries in the world), a 12-volts car power supply, two cables (one for charging the mobile charger and a retractable one) and seven plugs for different devices (Mini-USB, Micro-USB, Nokia, 4.0DC, Sony Ericsson, Samsung and Ipod/Iphone) and the velvet bag for convenient storage.

 

p1070169 300x164 The Ted Baker Six Pack

  

The charger itself is very small (smaller than my Treo 680) and holds 3400mAh of power – enough to recharge several devices in one go or put one device back to business for 3-5 times (depending on the charged device, of course).

 

Using the charger is completely fail-safe; there’s only one button and two USB-jacks marked “in” and “out”. Just plug the retractable cable in the large USB-jack, choose one of the seven includes plugs, plug it into your device and press the button. That’s it. The charger will fill the battery of the attached device and shut itself off, when no more power is drawn from it.

 

The really great thing about this charger is the USB-plug – so everything that can be charged with an USB-cable can be charged with Proporta’s Ted Baker mobile charger.

 

 

p1070166 221x300 The Ted Baker Six Pack

 

Here I’ve attached a retractable sync-cable to my Treo – works like a charm.

 

 

Conclusion:

When you travel a lot and carry a bunch of gadgets around, this is definitely a must-have. Forget about black chargers that all look the same. On your next trip you just have to remember that brown bag with the “Ted Baker” print on it – everything you need to keep your gadgets going is in there. And best of all, it works everywhere in the world – like we do…

The Ted Baker Six Pack can be purchased from Proporta for $ 59.95 (29.95 GBP or 36.95 Euros).

Like I promised before, I bought a copy of Dimitry Grinbergs “PowerDrive” two days ago.

Powerdrive allows (among other things) usage of any CF Card instead of the internal Microdrive.

The first part is fairly simple: Put PowerDrive on a SD Card and start the application. PowerDrive will then patch the OS on the Microdrive and will then copy the operating system to the SD card.

Now we come to the tricky part: PowerDrive will power down the Microdrive and you have to exchange it with the CF Card – while the LifeDrive ist switched on! (Don’t use any metal tools to pry the Microdrive loose…). After that is done, PowerDrive will repatition the CF Card and write the OS ono it. At this point you are given the option to change the size of the memory-portion used as “RAM” – everything between 16KB and 4GB is safe.

tn P1060390 Teaching an old LifeDrive new tricks

Twice the memory of an ordinary LD (Hands still shaking)

tn P1060391 Teaching an old LifeDrive new tricks

128 MB internal memory – big enough for me

I can’t show you the size of the internal drive since PalmOS refuses to display the size of drives > 4GB properly. But since I filled my LD with 7,5GB of pictures, videos and mp3s it really works as advertised.

Next thing to talk about is speed: According to VFSMark my CF Card is more then three times faster than the old Microdrive! This won’t make the LD as snappy as a TX – there’s still some lag when you start a big application – but you can hardly notice it (TCPMP needs less than 1 second to load its 2.1MB into the real Ram). The remaining lag might be the result of the LD still powering down the drive. That’s a great way to conserve energy when you still use the Microdrive – with a CF Card installed, this should be obsolete. Maybe Dmitry can fix this in a future version.

What’s left is a long-term test of the power consumption after the surgery. Since CF Cards draw a lot less power than a Microdrive, I expect a huge increase in running time.

My conclusion so far: 16 bucks (about 10 Euros, if you live in Europe) that are worth every single penny. Just imagine the money you save on cheap CF Cards (you can get the 32GB Card from Adata for around $150).

After my tests with the small Card are done, I’ll switch to a 32GB Adata

One day before Christmas Proporta was so kind to send my one of their extended batteries for the Treo 680.
The large envelope revealed a small blister-wrapped package (besides a bag of tasty christmas tea):

p1050181.jpg

Inside there is the new battery and a replacement battery cover:

p1050187.jpg

My first thoughts after unpacking the battery were like: “Oh my goodness, this thing is huge!”

p1050191.jpg

And it IS huge. As you can see, the extended battery is more than twice the size of the stock battery that comes with the Treo. Well, the larger capacity has to go somewhere… packing more energy in the same form factor is an illusion (don’t fall for the cheap “power batteries” sold on some auction sites claiming to have 2400mAh – most of them don’t).

The new cover has a large hump on his back to make room for the larger battery. Look and feel is almost exactly like the stock cover (if you look really really close, you might notice that the new cover is a bit lighter than the rest of the phone. I needed about a week to notice it.)

p1050200.jpg p1050202.jpg

There are some small gaps where the replacement cover does not fit 100%, but it’s really not bad and nothing you will worry about – remember, what you get in exchange ;)

p1050223.jpg p1050228.jpg p1050237.jpg

The cover is a snug fit, even in tight cases or pouches it will definately not come off when you pull your Treo out of it.

The only thing I don’t like is the release-button. On the stock cover the button is a flexible part glued into the cover. Here it is cut out of the cover with only a small piece of plastic holding it. I have the feeling that this will not last too long (especially if you have a tendency to install every kind of crap to your phone, resulting in many soft-reset). In the last two weeks I removed the cover for about a hundred times and it does not show any weaknesses yet, maybe i’m just a bit paranoid ;)

p1050207.jpg

Ok, enough of the show-and-tell – let’s come to the two question you’re all waiting for.

#1 How does the Treo look like with the battery installed?

Again, my first thoughts were like. “This is a monster and I really don’t know if I’ll ever like that look”.

p1050213.jpg p1050218.jpg

Well, I like it. I like it a lot. The added girth just fits perfectly into the palm of my hand. Believe it or not, holding the Treo is even better than before when you get used to the new size of your phone. You can rest your index-finger on top of the hunch, giving you a very secure grip when typing with one hand.

The downside: Forget your case, forget your dashmount, forget your Enfora WiFi-sled, forget your cradle, forget your car-kit. Almost every accessory you have to stick your Treo in will become obsolete.

#2 How does battery life improve?

This battery is a monster in size, and it’s a monster when it comes to capacity. Being a power-user I always had to have my Treo on a car-charger or in a cradle to survive a working day. With normal usage (“normal” for me: GSM turend on, GPRS always connected, Bluetooth turned on, Pushmail, some phonecalls, some webbrowsing, reading of several newsfeeds and several diurnal newspapers) and without recharging the stock battery dies after six to seven hours (or earlier if I have to do many calls). Pretty dull if your work day sometimes has 10 – 12 hours. Recharging at work is something I don’t really like – I can’t use my phone to its full potential when it constantly is attached to a power cord or a cradle - and I don’t want to plug it in and out 200 times a day. 

Now, with almost three times the capacity, I can go full power all day without worrying about battery consumption at all. You don’t need Tools like Batterygraph or Treobattery any more, the battery will last long enough for everything you can think of.

Pros:
- Power beyond everything you can buy somewhere else

- the humpback makes holding the phone easier

Cons:

- Cover only available in Graphite (Crimson, Copper and Arctic are not available)

- release button of the replacement cover doesn’t look to sturdy

- many accessories will not fit anymore

- rather pricey

Conclusion:

If you are a power-user and you hate your 1200mAh-battery you really should think about this one. After two weeks of testing I will never take that battery off my Treo again. Without the annoying battery-problems I can use my Treo the way I want to, not the way the battery indicator dictates me to.

The extended battery is $104,95 (84,95 Euros, 59,95 GBP) and can be purchased here at Proporta Ltd.

(Great things come in small packages)

Proporta was so kind to let us have one of their new “freedom mini duo keyboard” for an intensive practical experience.

First I was a bit surprised about the size of the package since the keyboard looked rather small on the pictures.

1s The Freedom Mini Duo Keyboard 2s The Freedom Mini Duo Keyboard 3s The Freedom Mini Duo Keyboard
But I was even more surprised after opening the package how small the actual keyboard really is:

4s The Freedom Mini Duo Keyboard 5s The Freedom Mini Duo Keyboard 10s The Freedom Mini Duo Keyboard 17s The Freedom Mini Duo Keyboard
Closed it’s a bit larger than a credit card (92mm x 71mm x 12mm), weighing only 83 grams.

 

The shell is made out of brushed aluminium; the interior is white plastic with light grey rubber keys.

The keyboard is powered by an internal li-ion Battery that can be charged via USB and the cable provided (it’s a standard mini-USB plug, not the proprietary crap you sometimes find on mobile phones and mp3-players), that means you could recharge the keyboard on almost every computer or on the move (Proporta offers a wide range of charging solutions). The battery is supposed to give you about 9 hours of continuous use or about 45 hours standby. I used it a lot over the last two weeks and only had to charge it twice.

Like on all folding keyboards, the hinge isn’t very stiff – you need a flat surface to use it. Thumb typing is possible, but not very comfortable.

 

Opened, there’s an on/off-switch that lets you select the connectivity mode: Left for HID-Mode (for connection to your PC) or Right for SPP-Mode (for connecting to everything else). Hidden underneath the plastic are two LED, signaling the charging state (orange while charging) and usage/battery-State (blue while connected), red when the battery runs low).

6s The Freedom Mini Duo Keyboard 7s The Freedom Mini Duo Keyboard

 

The 63 keys do have a good tactile feedback and are large enough for people with big fingers (like me); the only thing you have to get used to is the gap between the keys where the hinge is located. (I type a lot and it took me about an hour to get used to the arrangement of the keys and the keyboard layout.)

8s The Freedom Mini Duo Keyboard 9s The Freedom Mini Duo Keyboard

 

Bundled with the keyboard is a nice and soft leather case that has room for the keyboard and two credit cards (watch out for the magnetic clasp!)

11s The Freedom Mini Duo Keyboard 14s The Freedom Mini Duo Keyboard 12s The Freedom Mini Duo Keyboard

 

On the CD you’ll find drivers for almost everything that comes with a Bluetooth-interface: Windows-PCs, Nokia Phones, several different incarnations of Windows Mobile, Palm etc.pp. (BlackBerry OS 4.0 or higher, Symbian (Series 60) v6 / v7 / v8, Palm OS 5, Windows Mobile 03 PPC, Windows Mobile 05 PPC, Windows Mobile 03 Smartphone Edition, Windows Mobile 05 Smartphone Edition, Windows XP*, Windows 2000*, Mac OS X Tiger*, Linux* [*Using HID mode])

First, I installed the driver for PalmOS (there are French, English and German drivers; since my keyboard has US-layout, I installed the English driver). After turning the keyboard on (SPP-mode) it took 3 taps to identify and connect to the keyboard. (You need one tap to reconnect). The driver works flawless but has some peculiarities I don’t like:

  •  There’s no automatic reconnect after turning the Palm off.
  • After a few minutes of inactivity the driver closes the connection to the keyboard and starts the setup-screen.
  • Input of Latin characters is a pain in the neck since you have to press [Fn] and [Ctrl] at the same time to switch the keyboard to “Latin
    mode”. Now you can enter Latin characters (e.g. German Umlauts “öüä” or accented characters “éêè”) but you have to press [Fn] and [Ctrl]
    again to turn “Latin mode” off and return to the normal keyset. If German or French is your native language, make sure you get a keyboard
    with “your” key-layout to get around this.

On the other hand, there’s a lot of stuff you can do with the keyboard:

  •  Launching applications: every button on your Palm can be accessed though keyboard shortcuts plus 10 user-defined applications that can be
    run by pressing [Fn] and a number key
  • Extended editing commands: various commands to ease editing (Cut, Copy & Paste, Character, word and Line highlighting etc.)
  • 5-way navigator emulation
  • emulation of on-screen buttons
  • other functions: like backlight, power off, shortcut mode
  • easy typing of international characters and symbols like @€µ~|
  • calculator mode: some keys are remapped to emulate all keys of the built-in calculator-app
     

Since the driver for PalmOS is Version 1.0 I’m sure there will be updates coming.

After that I tried to connect the keyboard to my PC (HID-mode): After telling my PC to look for a HID-Device it took about 2 seconds for an initial connect. I know, you wouldn’t use a mini keyboard on a PC or Laptop equipped with a regular keyboard but this could be handy on a keyboard less Tablet PC!

Overall this is the perfect keyboard for people on the go: small, lightweight and easy to use. With a size smaller than your Palm it fits in almost every pocket, making it easy to carry it everywhere you can’t take a large keyboard. You don’t want to type your thesis on this keyboard (I wouldn’t even want to write it on my Palm with a regular keyboard) but for the average daily stuff like writing emails and memos or taking minutes of a meeting it is just right. Entering German Umlauts on a keyboard with US-layout is annoying, so make sure to get a localized version.

The keyboard can be purchased at www.proporta.com at EUR59,95 ( GBP 39.95 / $69.59).

UPDATE: 

You can’t buy the keyboard right now because Freedom (the manufacturer of the keyboard) have decided to discontinue the product for the time being due to supply issues!

I will post another update as soon as the keyboard is available again. Sorry for the inconvenience but it’s not Proporta’s fault.

A few days ago I discovered  these pictures and the saddening story of a ruined, vandalized and almost killed Palm T3 on www.nexave.de:

The Front of a mangled Palm T3 The Back of a mangled Palm T3

According to the owner, the Palm was lost or stolen. Two days later he got a call from a Kindergarten located in a remote part of his city: Playing kids found the remains of his T3 and gave it to one of the grown-ups. They tried to turn it on and to everyone’s surprise, the Palm powered on and revealed the name and phonenumber of the owner!

 

So some retarded moron ripped off the slider, made two deep cuts into the display and even tried to break open the SD-Slot and the Palm still powered on to display the owner-information? Impressive, really impressive… (the Palm, not the dumbass who did that)

 

Having more and more memory-hungry devices (PDA, mp3-Player, digital camera, cellphone) leads to more an more memory cards to carry around. At least for me (and several people I know), one card just isn’t enough for my camera and my everyday-PDA…

So where to keep ‘em? In a pocket without any protection is not an option – and these days a lot of cards don’t come in these little plastic cases any more (I don’t like them anyway).

What we need is a small and sturdy “thing” to keep these cards protected and organized without adding too much size and weight.

Proporta obviously had the same thoughts and added two protective “cases” I had the pleasure to test:

The Envelope the contents

 

First, there is the “Aluminium Memory/SIM Card Holder”:

It’s made out of (you guessed it) aluminium on the outside and a plastic frame on the inside, has the dimensions of a credit card and is only slightly thicker than a SD card.

Holder 1 Holder 2

 There’s room for three SD cards (MMCs and RS-MMCs are not thick and wide enough to stay in place) or up to six SIM cards (you can stack two cards in one slot – they are wide enough to have a tight fit).

stuffed with cards

I did some rough tests with this holder: a drop test from 8 feet to a tiled floor, a throw test from about 20 feet to a tiled floor, I even stepped on it (I won’t tell you my weight but I’m definately not a ballet dancer…), nothing I did was enough to damage the holder or the cards. Even the small SIM cards stayed in place.

Ok, that’s nothing you should try at home, but you never know… And besides having a sleek holder for your cards that fits in every pocket or in your wallet, knowing that they are protected even in the worst case is a good feeling :-)

 

Let’s have a look at the second storage solution, the “Leather Memory Wallet with SD/MMC and SIM Card Storage”:

Wallet closed Wallet open

Hand made from fine black leather with white overstitching, the wallet offers storage space for your everyday stuff (such as coins, bills and credit cards), additionally it features slots for three SD or MMC cards (Memory Sticks will work, too – RS-MMCs and Transflashs have to be put in the SD-Slots, they don’t fit in the SIM compartments) and two SIM cards:

stuffed wallet4 tn Where do you keep your Memory cards? Clever solutions from Proporta 

 There are two hidden spaces for additional cards, a zippered compartment in the back (for your big bucks) and two more slots for small notes and whatnot.

 no room

As you can see, credit cards don’t fit in these two slots (Sorry, you can’t have my credit card number ;-) )

 

As before, I did some tests:

Throwing the wallet obviously can’t do any harm, sitting on it (even filled only with three Memory Sticks) did not do any damage (I didn’t dare to put my Wi-Fi-Card in it for the tests but since the Memory Sticks didn’t break, it should be as safe as all the other cards I used for testing). Unlike the other cases from Proporta, the wallet does not have or need any additional reinforcements.

If you need room for some SD cards and don’t want to carry an additional case (like the excellent holder mentioned above) around, this is definately your best choice – most of the time you have your wallet with you anyway.

There’s only one drawback if you live in Germany (don’t know about other countries): german ID-cards and vehicle registrations are too large to fit in the wallet :-(

 

The Aluminium Memory/SIM Card Holder is $9.95, the Leather Memory Wallet with SD/MMC and SIM Card Storage can be yours for $34.95

(Both come with Proporta’s Lifetime Warranty….)

Thank’s to Proporta for the samples.

 

Oh, I almost forgot to mention a secret ingredient that came with the card holder and the wallet:

Tea

…but since my water ist boiling in the kitchen, I’ll tell you about it some other time ;-)

Brayder Technologies, known for making Jackflash and Jacksprat pulled the plug and stopped selling and developing their software. Only a short note (“Brayder Technologies has discontinued operations.”) is left….

You can go to their (still available) Support-Page to tell them what you think about that.

 

Chosing the right case for your PDA isn’t always easy, there are already too many different models (ranging from ugly to beautyful, from “zero-protection” to “built like a tank” – and almost everything inbetween) available.
If you’re looking for an exclusive and protective case for your expensive toy, you should have a look at the FreaQs-Collection:

bookstyle case Snugfit case 

Handmade from a constantly changing range of leather and fabric, mostly no two cases are alike. You can alway rest assured that no-one else owns a case just like yours.

There are three different styles available:

Saugschmatz - a snug-fit case called “Saugschmatz”
Oki- a holster-like case for smartphones calles “Oki”
bookstyle klein FreaQs Leathercases   protection and style at its best- a flipcase called “Bookstyle”

 

The design, additional features and customizations are at your choice, Smutje – the guy who makes these cases – is a real artist (You can see a lot of pictures of his work here [Thread at Nexave.de]). Even entirely custom made cases for devices not listed on his homepage are possible. Just ask him and he’ll see what he can do for you. (Prices are reasonable: 45 USD for a standard case - a bit more if you want a custom design)

 As you can see from the following pictures, he puts a lot of love and dedication in making these cases. Even the wrapping is simple but elegant :-)

My FreaQs 1 My FreaQs 2 My FreaQs 3 My FreaQs 4 My FreaQs 5 My FreaQs 6

The quality of the cases is outstanding. The inside of the cases is lined with super soft microfibre, all seams are done several times with heavy-duty yarn and the front is reinforced to protect your screen. I use my case every day and (after a few months) it still looks like I’ve never used it :-)

 

I never liked leather cases for my palms since they weren’t useful for me, or to bulky, or just too ugly. Now, finally, I found a case that fits my needs and my Palm like a glove.

If you want to have a unique and stylish case made exactly the way you like it, theres only one choice: FreaQs…. and don’t wait too long, or the leather you just fell in love with is gone forever!

 

 

Update: There’s a new line available for the LifeDrive, called BlunQ (shown here in a special custom made design):

BlunQ 1 BlunQ 2

On the 6th of July 2005, LG Electronics signed an agreement with PalmSource to licence PalmOS worldwide.
Memorable quote from the press release (Source: http://www.palmsource.com/press/2005/070605_lg.html):
“LG Electronics is pleased to have entered into this agreement with PalmSource,” said Skott Ahn, executive vice president of LG Electronics, Inc. “The flexible, open and powerful nature of Palm OS is an ideal match for our industry leading mobile handsets. We believe our customers will appreciate the new Palm Powered phones we will develop and distribute.”

So they announced “Palm Powered phones” about a year ago…. But where are the “new, cutting-edge smartphones for delivery to the worldwide marketplace”, Patrick McVeigh, interim CEO of PalmSource was looking forward to in 2005?
You might say “A PalmOS-Phone made by LG? There’s no such thing.”. Looking at the present and (probably) the future, you’re right. Sad but definitely a fact. But if you go back some years (seven, to be more specific) in the history of PalmOS, you’ll reach the very beginning of Palm Powered smartphones: The pdQ from Qualcomm.
I bought a pdQ a few days ago as an addition to my PDA-collection and discovered a small “LG”-Logo etched into the stylus. Why should Qualcomm order styli from a competitor (Both Qualcomm and LG produced CDMA phones)? I decided to investigate further and disassemble the phone to have a look inside. First I discovered the phone to be on two separate PCBs – one for the phone (made by Qualcomm) and a separate PCB for the PDA-part. To my surprise this PCB is marked with a “LG”-Logo! (You can see some pictures of it here)

Seven years ago, LG was involved in the development of the very first smartphone with PalmOS. Six years after that, LG buys a licence to use PalmOS. They don’t come a dime a dozen and a company like LG would not buy a licence just for fun. So they must have something up their sleeves – they already had plenty of time and experience to develop something big.
Considering what LG was able to develop seven years ago the hopefully coming Palm Powered smartphone could be a killer device….

A final note: I was so impudent to ask the PR staff at LG if an when we will see a Palm Powered smartphone from them. I did not expect them to answer that question…. And they met my expectations :-(

 

Keeping track of appointments, ToDos, incoming mails, short messages, (missed) calls and voicemails can be tricky. No one likes to open several applications (datebook, todos, sms, your email client) to make sure not to miss anything…

To make these tasks a lot easier, there’s 2Day from ShSh Software:

The main screen weekly view

2Day shows a detailed (and easily configurable) list of your appointments and todos. But that’s not all: it constantly monitors several applications like Versamail or the SMS-App and reminds you of unread mails and short messages in a status bar on top of the screen.

When using 2Day on a Treo, you will get even more status icons:

http://www.shsh.com/2day_icons.gif

The entire application is optimised for one-hand-navigation making it a perfect fit for the Treo. Everything can be accessed with the D-Pad or with the number-keys:

The Main Menu

Configuration is easy and lets you change the look and feel the way you like it:

Prefs1 Prefs2 Prefs3

There is no written manual but there’s an excellent online-help with a “help”-button on every page.

What I really like is the seamless integration of DateBK, the ability to use custom backgrounds (on the Treo you can use every camera image as a background image) and the different options to launch 2Day (at power-on, after a certain time, mapped to the datebook-button – your preferred datebook application will start with a 2nd press of the button!).

Another thing worth mentioning is the ability to enhance 2Day even more with the use of dedicated plugins. There are several free plugins available at the author’s homepage (there’s even a plugin for Quicknews). You can even have 4Cast (weather forecasts for the Palm OS, also available at the author’s homepage) act as a plugin for 2Day.

Overall, for 10,80 Euros you get an application that really makes it easy to keep track of everything - especially on very busy days. If you’re using a Treo, this is the best you can get.

Hi, my name is Oliver, I’m from Germany and I’ll try to contribute interesting stuff and insight at TamsPalm.
About me: I’m addicted to computers since I got my first own computer, a Sinclair ZX-81. During my career (VIC-20, C64, Amiga, Mac & PC) I started to focus on computers that can be carried around. In the late 80s I bought my first real handheld computer: A Casio PB-1000 (already equipped with a touch screen!). The following years I was always on a quest to find a handheld or a PDA that fitted my needs better than the one I was currently using…. And I had ‘em all: several DOS-Handhelds, some Newtons, some with Geos, almost all Psions, one Zaurus, some with WinCE and finally more than 30 Devices with PalmsOS. Today I have a constantly growing collection of more than 80 PDAs and Handhelds.
What to expect from me: I’m not into the race for the biggest, newest and fanciest PDA available. I always try to make the most out of the equipment I already have, so you probably won’t see a review for the next Tungsten or the next Treo from me. Instead, I will show you how to teach your old Palm new tricks, a few software reviews plus some stories from things you never knew existed in the vast realms of the Palm-Universe.

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