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

The 2gb memory card compatibility table published a few days ago was born when a major Austrian retailer started pushing 2GB memory cards out in masses. The picture below shows the dump where 2GB cards can be picked up for 19 per piece:
DSC04836 The Hama 2GB SD memory card review

The ‘Volksspeicherkarte’ offered was a product by the German brand Hama, a company I have always liked well for their affordable and yet fast memory cards. Hama shipped the memory card in a small triangular blister:
DSC04832 The Hama 2GB SD memory card review DSC04833 The Hama 2GB SD memory card review

CardInfo states that the cards are produced by Toshiba – the picture below shows a ‘status dump’ from Card Info on a Treo 680:
treo The Hama 2GB SD memory card review

The memory card fit well into most of my handhelds; however, getting it out of a Treo 600 was a bit hard because of the elevated markings at the back of the card.

On a Palm TX, the card performed very well speed-wise. After formatting, VfsMark reported the values given below(best of three runs):

VFSMark Results

File Create: 264%
File Delete: 747%
File Write: 15%
File Read: 552%
File Seek: 3933%
DB Export: 275%
DB Import: 197%
Record Access: 1292%
Resource Access: 1280%

VFSMark: 950

CardSpeed returned the following values:

Speed:Good
Wrt32bit: 24 bit/sec
Wrt8KB: 748982 bit/sec
Read8KB: 2016492 bit/sec

The memory card was then formatted in a Treo 680. Disasterous values were produced in both VfsMark and CardSpeed – and the Palm TX also lost about 50% of access speed:

VFSMark Results

File Create: 33%
File Delete: 20%
File Write: 13%
File Read: 682%
File Seek: 1475%
DB Export: 20%
DB Import: 316%
Record Access: 696%
Resource Access: 783%

VFSMark: 448

Speed:Poor
Wrt32bit: 21 bit/sec
Wrt8KB: 10553 bit/sec
Read8KB: 3276800 bit/sec

Formatting the card in a TX and sticking it into a Palm Treo 680 improved the Treo’s benchmark results significantly:

VFSMark Results
File Create: 278%
File Delete: 215%
File Write: 15%
File Read: 725%
File Seek: 1966%
DB Export: 302%
DB Import: 328%
Record Access: 804%
Resource Access: 960%

VFSMark: 621

Speed:Good
Wrt32bit: 23 bit/sec
Wrt8KB: 534987 bit/sec
Read8KB: 2621446 bit/sec

In everyday usage, a memory card formatted in a Palm TX(NOT in a Treo 680) is more than fast enough. Recording video onto the card is possible with a Treo 680…no lag or stuttering whatsoever.

Overall, the Hama 2GB is a solid memory card for a decet price. If you want to extend your handheld’s memory, this is an affordable and fast enough way to go.

In Austria, retailers are starting to press 2GB memory cards into the market with force(stay tuned for a review of the ‘volksspeicherkarte’). While walking past one of the stacks, I decided to gobble one up….and test it on all handhelds I own. Here we go:

Palm m500 vs 2GB card
The m500 had no problems reading a small PRC file from the card. However, writing data onto the card failed with an error message.

Palm Tungsten T3 vs 2GB card
The T3 read data from the card easily, but could not write data to it.

Palm Tungsten E2 vs 2GB card
The Tungsten E2 failed to see the memory card. Total failure.

Palm TX vs 2GB card
No problems, read/write works.

Palm Treo 600 vs 2GB card
No problems, read/write works.

Palm Treo 680 vs 2GB card
No problems, read/write works.

To cut a long story short, here’s a little table of the results:

Device Sees card Execute PRC(read) Save PRC(write)
m500 y y n
Tungsten E2 n n n
Tungsten T3 y y n
TX y y y
Palm Treo 600 y y y
Palm Treo 680 y y y

What about sharing your handheld experiences? Share some data and it’ll get posted here for your fellow readers!

This time we will review what Brando send us: the 55-in-1 card reader.

The card reader is a small, white box with the size 85 x 58 x 12 mm (and a weight of 40 g). The included USB cable has a length of about 60 cm. Because of all those relative small sizes, I think it is a good card reader for users of mobile computers (laptops, UMPCs,..)
cardreader01 The Brando 55 in 1 card reader review cardreader03 The Brando 55 in 1 card reader review

Everyone should notice it – the card reader supports many different kinds of cards. There is a list of compatible cards on the product page. The only card type which is not supported is SmartMedia. I know one person which has a very old Olympus digital camera – that’s the only device I know which uses this cards. This and other manufacturers which had used SmartMedia cards now often use xD cards, the successor of SmartMedia cards. And xD cards are supported.
cardreader02 The Brando 55 in 1 card reader review cardreader06 The Brando 55 in 1 card reader review

The support of newer card types should be much more important: CompactFlash, SD cards and Memory Sticks are standard. But the support of SDHC cards should be mentioned. SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity) cards have sizes of 4 GB and more (4 and 8 GB cards are available) and are supported by many new PDAs (Treo 680), digital cameras and other multimedia devices; for older devices there may be a firmware upgrade for the slot driver.

It should also be mentioned that you can insert Micro SD, Mini SD, T-Flash and M2 cards directly – it needs no adapter like most other card readers.

The card reader is a regular USB 2.0 device and so can be easily connected to the most computers. It acts as a USB mass storage device which is supported by the most operating systems, including Windows 2000, ME, XP and Mac OS (officially supported by Brando), Windows CE, Linux and others. I tried it at both an older Windows XP USB 1.1 computer and a Mandriva 2007 laptop and couldn’t find any problems.

I can confirm the compatibility of the following cards. None of the cards I own made any problems:

  • 16 MB SD, Canon
  • 256 MB SD, SanDisk
  • 128 MB Memory Stick, Iodata
  • 1024 MB SD, Panasonic (Highspeed)
  • 128 MB Compact Flash, Lexar Media

cardreader10 The Brando 55 in 1 card reader review cardreader11 The Brando 55 in 1 card reader review

Because of USB 2.0, data transfers are very fast. I wrote some files and copied many pictures from a SD card. The speed should only depend on the cards you use. I could even insert three cards at one time, and it worked well. An LED shows when a card is inserted / accessed:
cardreader09 The Brando 55 in 1 card reader review

In my opinion, every Palm user who owns an SD card should have a card reader. Although many new computers contain a card reader, there are few ones that read so many different card types and even SDHC cards. This card reader is useful for anyone who has a PDA, digital camera, MP3 player or other device which uses flash cards, because you can insert (almost?) all card types – I think Smart Media support is not too important. You can’t do much wrong if you buy this card reader – it is in the Brando Shop for $ 28.00.

SD cards have become cheaper and cheaper on a per-MB basis over the last few years. This has led to multiple SD cards per user and PDA – protective cases are usually not capable to accomodate for more than one or two cards though. Proporta’s keyring is intended to simplify transportation – lets see how it fares!

Proporta’s products ship in envelopes via regular mail. I never received a damaged gadget yet – the loads of advertising paper make for good padding:
0a Proporta SD/MMC Keyring review 0b Proporta SD/MMC Keyring review

The keyring is very small. Here is a comparison shot next to a Treo 600:
1a Proporta SD/MMC Keyring review 1b Proporta SD/MMC Keyring review 1c Proporta SD/MMC Keyring review

Cards get inserted into the ‘pouch’ at the back of the keyring. When the card holder ships, fitting a card in is impossible. You need to use the stylus to ‘pry’ the slot open:
2a Proporta SD/MMC Keyring review 2b Proporta SD/MMC Keyring review 2c Proporta SD/MMC Keyring review

Inserting an SD card works well after a few attempts – removing the card works well too due to the stylus.

The manufacturing quality of the keyring is excellent – I have not noted any kind of problem with it.

Overall, if you want to store your memory cards on your keyring, this thingy is the way to go. Product quality is good, and so is design and functionality. The overall price of the unit is a very reasonable 3.95$.

I recently hang out at a Burger King with a friend of mine, and we were bored. So, we decided to test which Palm accesses VFS memory the fastest.

We had a Palm Tungsten T3, a Palm Tungsten E2 and a Palm Tungsten T5. The card used was a SimpleTech/HP 1GB SD card, and the benchmark program used was VFSMark(the standard – the numbers don’t mean anything but everyone publishes them :-) ). We ran each benchmark twice and then averaged the results.

Anyways, to cut a long story short – the Palm Tungsten T5 is the fastest, with the Palm Tungsten T3 second and the Palm Tungsten E2 being third.

The Palm Tungsten T3 and the Palm Tungsten T5 were more-less on par when reading data was concerned, the E2 was already lagging behind seriously in this discipline. When writing was concerned, the Palm Tungsten T5 overtook both Palm Tungsten T3 and Palm Tungsten E2 significantly. The Palm Tungsten T3 usually was a bit faster than the low-end Palm Tungsten E2 though!

A gif graph(17k, but big) of the results can be downloaded here. The full Excel spreadsheet containing all the data can be downloaded here.

What do you think?

Well, a long while ago, probably over a year ago, I wrote an article describing some technology seen in the last couple CES shows. It was about quantum optical memory. It seems Mobileread has written an article about the technology this year.

Take a look:

My old article
The Mobileread article

What do you think? (Note: I am not trying to insinuate Mobileread stole my article or anything like that :) )

According to this thread on 1src, the PalmTX supports SD cards with 8 GB capacity.

The Tungsten E2 was the last PalmOne device with FAT16 drivers. The next one, LifeDrive had a 4 GB hard disk, and due limitations of FAT16 (no partitions > 2 GB), a new driver had to be developed. From then on, all PalmOne devices (except the Z22) had the FAT32 driver which supports – according to Wikipedia – much more than 8 GB. However, not every device could handle cards with “maximum size” (the Tungsten C doesn’t recognize 2 GB cards, the Tungsten T3 has read-only access, …). Because of this you first have to test if such a card works.

To fill a 8 GB card, you need lots of data, for example:

  • 20 movies with appr. 90 minutes in handheld quality (each ~ 200 MB)
  • 7000 JPG photos with 3 MP (2048×1536) (each ~ 0.8 – 1.2 MB)
  • 2000 MP3 music files in good quality (each ~ 4 MB)
  • 80 backup sets of a full TX memory (each 100 MB)

or

  • 5 movies (see above for exact specifications), 3000 pictues, Wikipedia with text and images, 500 MP3 music files, 200 MB Palm database stuff in /Palm/Launcher, 5 backup sets of a full TX memory and still 120 MB free ;-) )

That sounds good – but what costs such a fun? A 1 GB SD card starts from 50 EUR, a 2 GB one from 110 EUR and a 4 GB one 270 EUR. And a 8 GB one? Froogle only finds CompactFlash cards with 8 GB, they cost appr. 600 EUR. A LifeDrive is cheaper…

What do you think?

The HP 1GB SecureDigital card
SD cards are produced by various manufacturers and are relabled by a lot of VAR’s. Today, we will look at a HP 1 GB SD card which is produced by SimpleTech.
My card shipped with FedEx, it took less than 24h for it to arrive in a huge box:
shipbox The HP 1GB SecureDigital card shipside The HP 1GB SecureDigital card

The memory card is packed up in a triangular blister card:
blisterfront The HP 1GB SecureDigital card blisterback The HP 1GB SecureDigital card blisterside The HP 1GB SecureDigital card

A blue storage box accompanies the SD card. The box can protect a single SD card and seems to be similar to AccuPower’s Accusafe(Review here):
boxclose The HP 1GB SecureDigital card boxopen The HP 1GB SecureDigital card
HP’s card ships preformatted. Both a Tungsten T3 and a Tungsten E2 had no problems formatting and using it.

Kopsis VFSmark returned the following values for 3 executions on a freshly formatted card:

Tungsten E2
VFSMark Results

File Create: 460%
File Delete: 313%
File Write: 47%
File Read: 170%
File Seek: 337%
DB Export: 108%
DB Import: 187%
Record Access: 304%
Resource Access: 284%

VFSMark: 245

VFSMark Results

File Create: 192%
File Delete: 159%
File Write: 47%
File Read: 171%
File Seek: 337%
DB Export: 111%
DB Import: 187%
Record Access: 301%
Resource Access: 284%

VFSMark: 198

VFSMark Results

File Create: 194%
File Delete: 160%
File Write: 47%
File Read: 171%
File Seek: 327%
DB Export: 109%
DB Import: 189%
Record Access: 301%
Resource Access: 280%

VFSMark: 197

Tungsten T3
VFSMark Results

File Create: 1050%
File Delete: 894%
File Write: 52%
File Read: 773%
File Seek: 983%
DB Export: 151%
DB Import: 786%
Record Access: 770%
Resource Access: 783%

VFSMark: 693

VFSMark Results

File Create: 259%
File Delete: 246%
File Write: 53%
File Read: 760%
File Seek: 983%
DB Export: 153%
DB Import: 786%
Record Access: 770%
Resource Access: 768%

VFSMark: 530

VFSMark Results

File Create: 260%
File Delete: 243%
File Write: 37%
File Read: 760%
File Seek: 983%
DB Export: 153%
DB Import: 786%
Record Access: 770%
Resource Access: 768%

VFSMark: 528

CardSpeed was also used for benchmarking. The card was formatted right before running the test three times. This led to the following results:

Tungsten E2 Tungsten T3
Time Wrt32bit Wrt8KB Read8KB Time Wrt32bit Wrt8KB Read8KB
1.64 400 364088 609637 0.7 1236 624152 2912711
5.71 69 92958 609637 5.75 59 97451 2912711
5.88 68 88263 609637 5.16 73 104439 2912711

Overall, the benchmark values are decent. Not really stunning, but not bad either.

However, neither the E2 or the T3 were slowed down in my tests. MP3′s play without lags or jerking, there is no significant delay in opening applications. Plucker has no problems accessing 5MB files from the card, it all works “fast enoguh” for me not to feel it(and I feel speed stuff fast). This card may not be the fastest, but it seems to be very reliable. If a reliable, decently fast card is what you need, this is the way to go. Speed junkies should look elsewhere…

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