When one looks at a lot of Nintendo hits, one wonders about what makes those games so popular. They are simple, one can beat some of them in less than a minute. The graphics are average, but nevertheless, people go all bonkers about them.

Today, we will start off with a practical example-a pyjama party(it makes a lovely example, trust me). Patty, the host, wants to entertain her guests in a modern fashion-Tonic binge drinking and step dancing isn’t exactly what she wants. So, she decided to go out and get some IT stuff from her buddy. Her buddy installs two machine groups-a Nintendo 64(running, say Mario Party) with a little TV and four controllers, and a network of four ultra-highend-Alienware PC’s running Caste Wolfenstein or another cutting edge game.

As the party is running, one looks at the gamers playing-if you didn’t invite hardcore gamers, the PC’s will probably sit there abandoned. Understanding Wolfenstein takes way to long for the regular party-goer-and if nobody is there to explain, it is next to impossible!

On the other hand, Mario Party is so intuitive that one understands if after just a few seconds…and gamers will probably gather around the Nintendo 64. They won’t stay at the system for a very long time, but they will have fun-loads of fast-paced, quick fun.

Overall, when designing a game, sometimes allowing for simple adoption is a great idea. It may not get you the love of hardcore gamers(they would gather round the Wolfenstein boxen probably), but casual gamers will love you for it. And always keep one thing in mind(else you’ll be egocentric, just like the FSF is being accused of here): hardcore gamers are a few percent of the gaming market…

Stay tuned-next part coming soon!

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Many times, the japanese company Nintendo was declared dead. When the PlayStation 2 came out, one said that they were dead. When the PSP came out, one said that they were mincemeat. When people first saw the true Wii…analysts said that Nintendo was on its way out…and so on.

But why is Nintendo still alive, then? A TamsPalm series starting tomorrow will take a good look behind the curtains of Nintendo’s offerings-why they are successful, and what keeps them alive.

For now-just one last thing to keep Nintendo’s legal department peaceful-this series won’t contain anything secret. We’ll just look at Nintendo’s offerings with open eyes…and no one can prohibit that!

Stay tuned!
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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.


Recently, a few analysts bickered about how mobile application sales are getting weaker and weaker.

All About Symbian now joined in the train of moaning, and published an article called Survival of the Killer Apps.

In short, the author believes that the mobile application space is divided into three classes of applications; and that users don’t know that they can add extra applications to their mobile phones(this is not a Palm OS site, so I believe them). Last but not leastm, he also mentions Series 60 piracy as a problem for developers – thats definitely true, there are way too many Palm OS warez sites still online!

Overall, this makes a great read(IMHO)!

First of all, thanks go to reader j from Amsterdam for the wise comment on how LedManager’s fate should look(unedited):

Realease as Open Source!! So that other people can learn.

I am sure that quite a few of you will now laugh their hides off – but this is no joke, I really was thinking about releasing LedManager as open source. It could in fact even have been helpful to some, but here are the reasons why this is not an option for me(as of now, maybe once I quit the Palm OS arena for good):

“DRM Code” embedded into LedManager
OK; LedManager was the first Tamoggemon product to be released(a bit of trivia: Binary Clock for Palm OS was developed first, but I forgot it in the back of the RAM of my Palm Tungsten T3). Thus, the first DRM experiments were made on beta builds of LedManager, and this lead to the pretty decent DRM system implemented into LedManager 1.0.

Obviously, Tamoggemon permanentely looks at improving its technology, and so the DRM system used in current apps is different from what we had originally. But nevertheless, the clues given in LedManager could be very helpful when it comes to create a keygen(and illicitly selling the app)!

LedManager’s code is embarrassing
This comes from the deepest end of my heart: from a coder’s point of view, LedManager is an embarrassing thingy. All the code is stuck into a huge, xy KB huge c file with a single header and a library file. Releasing LedManager in its current state is not gonna help anyone IMHO, unless he wants a bad example for how not to create a program(ridiculously, Binary Clock was segmented right from start…probably the OnBoradC influence)!

LedManager’s code is undocumented
All documentation that ever existed for LedManager’s code are two A5 sheets of paper on the DRM system. And in fact, even those were burnt a few months ago..so everyone who wants to do something with LedManager would need to rethink all the thoughts I had!

Releasing LedManager to open source would require loads of work. The DRM system would need to be cut out, the code would need to be refactored and documented. The problem with all this is that it IMHO doesnt pay out. Maybe, one day, LedManager will be opensource-but definitely not now!

What do you think?

About one and a half years ago, LedManager(the first Tamoggemon product) saw the light of day. Sales were hmm, but the experiences gained were invaluable(and paid for a nice little WristPDA)!

But this article’s gist isn’t history – its future. And LedManager’s future looks dark for a variety of reasons:

  • The API used is dead
  • LED’s are dead in Palm handhelds
  • Nobody at Tamoggemon still uses LedManager

Now, we face a problem: to EOL or not to EOL. While I can’t yet say how we act(still gotta ask the guy who pays Tamoggemon bills), this post serves as a ‘brain dump’:

For EOL’ling
Honesty to customers
Tamoggemon’s founding ideal was to satisfy each customer(if needed, by refunding them). Many customers buy applications to encourage further development – but no amount of sales(ok, a few k sales…) can make us recommence development of a product that we all hate.

If customers beleive that LedManager is still beeing maintained, they can’t assess its value correctly. This leads to dissatisfied customers-something we want to avoid.

Reduction of portfolio
Every product that Tamoggemon has creates effort for us. Analysts want to review it; customers inquire about hardware support; the web site needs maintenance etc. The less roducts you have, the less data you need to keep floating around your head.

Improving portfolio quality
Customers visiting Tamoggemon’s web site get to see all products that we currently offer. However, most of the time, they only download one. If they go for LedManager, there is a high probability that the program won’t work on their box; they would then end up thinking that all Tamoggemon Products suck..,

Against EOL’ing
Corporate greed
That point shows that we are no ‘opensource’ house – Tamoggemon needs to earn $$$ in order to be successful. ‘Selling’ a licence of LedManager essentially is a no-brainer by now, so discontinuing LedManager is kissing good-bye a few easily-earned bucks!

Overall… I can’t say anything overall=). Why don’t you post your ‘overall’ passage?

Mike Mace just posted an article on his blog. He claims that mobile application vendors are currently facing hard times, and tries to explore reasons for this hardship. I wrote this article a few weeks ago, and felt that it may make a good addon to the current discussion:

 Investition security in the 3g content business
Yours truly recently participated in the vienniese Linuxwochen, which basically is an opensource gathering. In a talk about free software, the following statement was made:

3g phone software is no safe investition. If your mobile phone dies, you need to buy all the software once again!

To be honest, that SpaceWarrior licence I purchased for my Siemens MT50(it cost like 15$ from T-Mobile back then, and was – hmm) years ago is still laying around on it and hasn’t moved to my SX1-so there is truth in the statement.

Of course, ‘dumbphones’ are incompatible with one another-but moving software from a broken phone to a new one is nearly impossible with some machines. Compare this to David, a Tamoggemon Binary Clock for Palm OS customer-his licence just moved for the fifth(!!!) time, this time from his sold Palm Zire 72 to his Palm m500(I have permission to give these figures, I know David very well).

The ones harmed most by this fact are developers. Most dumbphone software is sub-10$, feature-poor and generally ‘bad’. The reason for this is the lack of future-customers aren’t willing to pay loads of cash for an application that dies along with their mobile phone.

Developers obviously can’t do much about the incompatibilities-but they could at least offer free ‘redownloading’(via an unique id assigned to customers, for example) in case of screen damage, etc. You will definitely see a small bit of abuse, but the general feeling of investion safety will create happier customers willing to pay more money/app!

What do you think?

I recently attended the vienniese LinuxWochen for the second time, and was scocked by the amount of fanatism I saw there. Yeah, I am writing about fanatism, and I really mean it. To get started, here are a few ideas which were seriously considered(!!!!):

Every end user donates loads of cash for free software that he uses

Every kind of DRM or copyrighting scheme is evil and unneeded(shareware too)

All kind of binary driver is bad, its better to have just 1% of market share and no closed source drivers than 50% market share and a few closed source drivers in the kernel

The sale of indidivual software licences will be totally dead in a few years

At the last LinuxWochen, people were generally open and understod the issues of commercial micro-ISV’s. But this time, most has radically changed.

First of all, most users don’t think about donating even a cent for software that they use. Don’t think of Linus Thorvalds now, think of Joe Schmoe who uses his handheld as a calendar only. Joe Schmoe won’t ever think of donating for software…

Secondary, harmless “DRM” systems like the expiration of Binary Clock for Palm OS harm nobody, but motivate customers to purchase the licence that finances further development of the product. But one of the presentators couldn’t stip flamingf about how every user gladly donates loads of cash for good software…back to point one.

The third point, binary drivers, is a bit difficult, as it indeed is not an ideal solution. However, having high market share IMHO is better than having no market share; and if the binry modules were given a standardized API for docking in, all compatibility issues would be solved, too!

Indeed, I am not the only one noting radicalism growing in the opensource scene. InfoWorld’s Neil McAlister says that the movement is starting to turn into a crusade, and GoogleSystem says that user’s don’t want open soure, but rather good software.

What do you think?

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Recently, an analyst reported that Palm was planning to create a Linux OS-one that was not compatible/similar to the Access Linux Platform. Immediately, analysts went all bonkers claiming that ALP was dead, will never ship on Palm’s handhelds, blah.

At the first glance, this looks true. Developing an operating system is a huge amount of effort, it takes a lot of time, is expensive, etc. But is developing a Linux OS the same thing as developing a new OS?

Nope, it is not. A few (skilled) developers got Linux running on PalmOS boxen within a few weeks without having access to data about the hardware or anything. Now think of a full-fledged gang of software engineers(I am speaking of, say 50 ppl) wit acess to the best hardware and documentation. For them, creating a Linux derivate is a no-brainer.

So, if we now recall the sucker editorials published about half a year ago, this OS idea gets relativized. OK; Palm may be developing an OS. But there is no need that this OS will definitely be Palms future. The operating system could be developed as a “smoke test” or a backup plan in case ALP bails. Or, the operating system could serve as a bridge between the dieing Garnet and the upcoming ALP, allowing Palm to deliver smartphones with EDGE, etc soon!

So, keep your hair on and your eyes open!

Recently, Garmin announced that the i3000 was going to be delayed. A few PalmInfoCenter commentators announced that they beleive that Garmin now shuts off their PalmOS development department.

Many people discuss if Garnet will still cut it in 3g handsets. Personally, I dare to say that I am not sure if Garnet will cut it. It may cut it with a bit of tweaking(remember, it was a RTOS core);but no promises. But Garnet will for sure cut it in a different arena-in the arena of lowcost/mediaplayer/game/data-only handhelds and organizers.

But why? If you look at the devices named above, you will see immediately that the users of those machines are OS agnostic. They don’t care about what runs their games or videos, they just want performance. Did you ever see a ‘regular’ person asking for the Ipod’s or the Nintendo DS’s operating system?

PalmOS 5 would do a perfect job in such an arena. Gang it up with NetFront, an image viewer, a PIM/email suite and a multimedia player with a unified UI. What comes out is a nice, reliable core for a portable box. It may not be excessively cool, but it works reliably; and this is what users want!

The LifeDrive we currently bicker about actually is a great box-if it were a plain media player box without third party apps. The things that made and still make problems are third party applications.

Overall, the future for Garnet will change. It does not have the power to compete in highend markets for a long time(unless someone rewrites it a bit, the RTOS is there(!!!!!!)). However, Garnet still has loads of meat and beef to keep alive in different market sectors. The future for PalmOS developers may not look excessively great; but Garnet will cut it for sure.

How do you feel about the future of the Palm OS?

Norton apparently doesn’t give up-they just released yet another Palm OS antivirus application. Symbian users currently fight hundreds of virii with multiple antivirus programs. If you combine those two news bits, you may believe that Palm OS may soon face an all-new wave of virii.

I dare to predict that Garnet and 68k machines are reasonably safe and will not face major virus epidemics like Series 60 cabirs,…for one simple reason:

No Multitasking=no easy reproduction
The thing that kept Cabir alive was that it could replicate itself WITHOUT blocking basic system operations. The Bluetooth radio was sending out data permanently, but the phone still stayed operational. On a Treo, things would look different. The Bluetooth stack runs in the context of the foreground app, thus, the handheld cannot be used while the virus replicates.

This means that users would find out about the virus very fast-and would hard reset their handhelds busting the malware. The insane, unnoticed replication of Cabir would not be possible, each virus would live less than a day until it is noticed.
Do you believe that we will see new virii?

Its finally out! Version 1.0 of PalmPDF has been released, and can now be found on Metaview’s website.

For those who have been in the dark lately, PalmPDF is the only free native PDF viewer for the Palm OS. Other available viewers are Docs To Go, which is alot slower, and less feature filled, and PicselViewer (or Picsel ProViewer), which also really arent available on a wide scale. I should mention ProViewer is definitely not free, but quite expensive.

How much pain can an app cause? Let me tell you a story about the TX. Even after a hard reset, the TX has its dynamic heap fragmented with the biggest free chunk just 2MB. An application causes this. An application by itself loathed by many and that will likely be loathed for this by even more. The application is Blazer. After installing MemUnfragment by Dmitry Grinberg, the ram is no longer fragmented :-)

–Dmitry Grinberg–

Because of Blazer, there have been alot of problems with various programs, because alot of them require large blocks of contiguous (unfragmented) Heap to run well. This program should fix the program. You can get it here.

Unfragment von Dmitry Grinberg

Das neueste Programm von Dmitry Grinberg ist für T|X-Besizer gedacht. Da der Webbrowser “Blazer” viel Dynamic-Heap-Speicher braucht, führte dies zu Problemen und Instabilität. Dieses Programm verspricht dieses Problem zu lösen, indem der RAM defragmentiert wird.


For a long time there was a browser on Palm devices called Blazer. Contrary to the name, it was not very fast. Sometime in the last couple years, Palm did something smart. They licensed the Netfront core from Access to use for their browser. Then came something we did not expect. People loaded up the browsers on the new devices, and they were not that much faster. In fact, they looked just like the old browsers. Something must have been wrong! Anyone who had had one of the newer Clies has seen Netfront, and knows what it can do; how fast it is. This was not Netfront. In alot of ways they were right. Palm took the Netfront core, and added and tweaked it to give people the “Blazer experience”. Palm, we have to tell you, the Blazer experience is not that great. For these reasons, I am making a move, and trying to get something started. I will call it the “Straight Netfront Petition”. All I ask of Palm is that they give us Netfront. Access now owns PalmSource, and so they certainly have the resources to make a great Palm version of Netfront. They have no excuses, only angry customers.

Palm, you have to compete against Windows Mobile. Im sorry to say that I think Blazer is just about at the level of IE on Windows Mobile. They arent your competition. People dont compare your browser to the worst browser on another platform. You are competing against Opera and Mozilla, who both have very impressive offerings, not to mention Netfront on WM which is lightyears ahead of Blazer. All we ask is that you give us something a little better. Something that we know you can deliver, but just aren’t. Give your customers something back. We are sticking around because we expect this much from you. Dont show us we are wrong.

To “sign” the petition, click this link and sign up!

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