GrxView was updated to version three recently-in case you don’t know the program yet, it is a pretty good image manager/viewer.

The program starts up in a ‘file manager’ style mode, and stays in it all the time. You can move, rename, delete,.. files with ease. The “address bar” at the top of the window allows you to jump up into the folders above your current location with a single click. The file manager can work in four different view modes that show more or less information. However, one cannot use the 5way bottom and up keys in some of the modes:
 GrxView 3 review  GrxView 3 review
 GrxView 3 review  GrxView 3 review
A long tap on an entry brings up a ‘file management menu’:
 GrxView 3 review
A multiselection mode is available in the menu. It looks different in each view, but still works pretty much the same way:
 GrxView 3 review  GrxView 3 review
 GrxView 3 review  GrxView 3 review
In the moment you switch into a folder, the file manager proceeds to showing thumbnails of the images in two of the four supported views. The thumbnails give you a good overview and generate pretty fast:
 GrxView 3 review  GrxView 3 review
You can open images in ‘scaled view”. The toolbar is hidden at first, but can be displayed with the tap of a single button. Once zoomed in, the control bar can not be removed if you want to scroll around the image(a click on the screen closes it)…
 GrxView 3 review  GrxView 3 review
A slideshow module is contained too. It does a good job at displaying images…
 GrxView 3 review
Overall, GrxView 3 is a good image viewer and sorter. The UI design is a strike of genius and makes navigating deep file system structures easy and comfortable. If you need a low-priced image sorter/viewer and can miss out on some of the “extra features” other, much more expensive products offer, this is a hot way to go!

If you are a movie addict, then you should definitely give Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide 2006 a try.

screenshot0013t Leonard Maltins Movie Guide 2006

This program packs 21,000 films right into your palm. When you select a film, you can see Leonard Maltin’s opinion (1-4 stars), the rating itself (G, PG, PG-13, R), a short summary, whether it was released on DVD or VHS, and many other properties of the movie.

screenshot0014t Leonard Maltins Movie Guide 2006

The program’s best feature is its ability to run a search on its database. You can specify certain criteria, and it runs a search for it. For instance, I wanted to see a movie with Nicholas Cage, made in the last decade, and rated PG-13, and it came up with the movies that matched that criteria.

screenshot0015t Leonard Maltins Movie Guide 2006

It also gives you the ability to keep track of your movie library. You can add the movies that you own which helps you keep track of them, and this helps if your roommate “borrows” a movie (steals it forever) and then claims that he’s never seen that movie before.

The program also allows you to connect through the internet and upload their most recent movie database. This is a handy feature to stay current with Hollywood’s newest releases.

My only concern with this program is the rating system they put on the movies. It seems that the majority of recent movies get very poor ratings while the only movies that get good reviews are the “classics” that were made before we were born. I understand that time can add quality to a movie, but I do believe the modern special effects, humor, and story lines may have been overlooked in their rating system.

The positives do outweigh the few negatives, and this program is definitely worth a try. Let us know your opinion on the program.

This week Tyler is interviewing Dan Marlin, the CEO of Corecodec, the makers of TCPMP. I havent finished listening yet, but I have the interview question list, and I know its going to be a great podcast. I won’t try to elaborate on it. Im not going to link to PalmAddict today, because there is nothing in the shownotes. I might as well give you the question list…

1. How did TCPMP and CoreCodec start? Where did you get the names?

2. TCPMP has been an amazing success for every platform you’ve released on so far. It’s literally been mentioned wherever anyone talks about handheld media. Was this something you expected or did the explosive popularity of your application come as a bit of a surprise to you?

3. Version 1.0 has been widely anticipated for the past year or so… how big a milestone is this for CoreCodec, and how would you describe this release?

4. The title of the post you made on the TCPMP forums concerning v1.0 is “TCPMP, set to change the way others think….” Want to elaborate a bit on that?

5. One of your main goals for v1 seems to be to create a software player that’s on par with hardware devices in terms of usability and media management. How are you planning on taking on this big task?

6. You mention briefly in your post that TCPMP will become a dual license software platform, consisting of a GPL piece (open-source) and a closed source piece for licensees. How will this affect the end-user?

7. Any hints on licensees? Is TCPMP something that will be shipping on smartphones and handhelds, or are you going to take a different approach?

8. What about operating systems? In addition to Symbian development, which obviously fits in well with the goal of making TCPMP a universal mobile media player, you also plan to support Linux and Windows. Will this be part of TCPMP, or TCP, your desktop program?

9. You describe CoreTheque in the post as a large backend database… what functions does it serve in the overall life of TCPMP?

10. Media streaming is a very important component of v1. Why do you consider it to be such a big differentiating point, putting you in a group of world-class media players? Would you say it’s the most important advancement of v1.0?

11. With all these improvements in the works and the amazing progression of TCPMP in only two years, it would see like you must have an amazing coding team! Does picard handle it by himself?

12. With all that we’ve heard, I can hardly wait for the official first version release! Do you have an estimated release date?

13. Would you like to add anything about what’s been going on with TCPMP or in general at CoreCodec?

14. Finally, and I try to ask this of everyone I talk to, what Palm device do you use and why did you choose it?

I cant guarantee all of those are answered, but most are, so listen in. (Direct link)

“Speak” is a small program, that speaks out the contents of the clipboard, using “PSpeak”, a TTS (text-to-speak) engine. You just have to copy the text you want to be read – from a memo, from a web page, from a mail, … – and then to activate Speak, and your Palm “speaks”. You can download the app from http://www.freewarepalm.com/utilities/speak.shtml. Install the three files onto your handheld, and start “Speak” from the launcher.

033 This is your Palm speaking

You can choose how to activate Speak, the volume and the speed of the voice. I recommend “activating using command bar”. Then do a graffiti stroke -

022 This is your Palm speaking

- into your graffiti area, and a pop up menu shows itself, with commands to copy, paste, delete, … If activated, Speak is in this menu, too. It’s icon looks like the paste icon, but is always at the right.

012 This is your Palm speaking
Now, what does your Palm speak?

You may have read my first look on Media Players for the Palm OS. I was not able to get a review copy of MMPlayer, and so this will be a comparison of Kinoma and TCPMP. Its a little late, mainly because I have been putting it off. The information is pretty much up to date though, as neither of the programs have really changed.

What will follow is a hands on review of each program, its true purpose, and then my overall pick for the best media player. I will start with TCPMP.

The Core Pocket Media Player (TCPMP)
TCPMP is thee newcomer in the world of media on the Palm. It has been around for a little more than three months. The Palm version is based on the same core as the PPC version (originally called Betaplayer), and so it came out as a fast and heavily optimized player. Fortunately for us, it didnt stop there. It can handle most major audio and video codecs, with the exception of WMA. Because of licensing problems, the AAC plugin cannot be stored on Corecodecs servers, but it is available (on servers in countries where it is legal) through links in a couple threads on their website.

HRCapt20050820205453 Media Players for the Palm, Hands on Review!
The user interface of this player is very basic. It has a play button, fast forward and rewind buttons, a fullscreen button, a prefs button, and a slider. The beauty of the UI is that everything is below the hood, so to speak. Underneath that prefs button are all of the options for functionality. In the prefs menu are options to control speed, a/v sync, video controls, and many other things.

In any benchmark possible, you would find that this program is fast. I must say that it is faster than Kinoma or MMPlayer in respects to playing media at high bitrates. Again, I have to push the fact that this player is very good for video and audio, and does nothing else.

Kinoma Media Player
HRCapt20050820205526 Media Players for the Palm, Hands on Review!Kinoma Media Player is a different type of player than TCPMP. It has been around for many years, and has gone through many major revisions. Until the release of TCPMP, it was almost unrivaled in media with its latest version. Some of its features include media organization, an inviting interface, and a large selection of methods to get media onto your handheld.

One you get your hands on this player you realize that it offers more than meets the eye. One of the things that did this for me was the album art that showed up when I started listening to an audio clip available on their website. In addition to this, it is the only media player that can play 3 unique types of media. These types of media are 3D objects, panoramas, and interactive guides. All of these were developed from the ground up by Kinoma, and they have worked to get their media formats up on the net. There are numerous videos in their format, as well as smaller numbers of the other types of media.

Overall, they are both really great players. Kinomas player, along with their separate converter, can handle high quality video with faster handhelds. As I have said, its biggest benefits are in its other media capacilities, as well as its music support with album pictures. TCPMP is the king of all dedicated video players. A dedicated developer, and a very dedicated fan base create a great program that can handle most modern video formats.

I have both of these programs on my device, and can definitely see how they are used for very different things.

Comments and questions can be directed to the comments section.

In part 1 of my review I told you about all the functions that “Ringo Pro” offers. Now let’s see if the program works properly.

The big testing
Thank God we have an ISDN-telephone at home. That means: I have 3 different phone numbers to call the Treo. I tested “Ringo Pro” with these 3 numbers, let’s call them NR1, NR2 and NR3.

  • I added NR1 as a “Ringo Friend”. As ringtone I selected “Outcast-Hey Ya” and I picked a picture, let’s call it Pic1.
  • NR2 is in no special group and no “friend”. The default ringtone is “Gritty Shaker” from the Ocean’s 11 soundtrack. Default picture is Pic2
  • NR3 is in the “Private” Group. For this group I selected “U2-Vertigo” as ringtone and used Pic3.
PICT2176 Ringo Pro: Review, part 2

Now I took the 3 phones we have and called the Treo from each phone.

  • Call from NR1: The Treo plays “Hey Ya” and shows the right picture
  • Call from NR2: Treo plays “Gritty Shaker”, shows Pic2.
  • Call from NR3: Treo plays “Vertigo” and shows Pic3.

So far, “Ringo” does it’s work very well. Now I wanted to test the “Don’t disturb”-functionality. I activated the corresponding checkbox for NR1 (“Ringo Friend”) and NR3 (“Ringo Group”). And I did some calls again:

  • Call from NR1: The Treo rings, playing the polyphonic tone selected in the built-in ringtone application. The right picture is shown.
  • Call from NR2: Treo plays “Gritty Shaker”, shows Pic2.
  • Call from NR3: Treo again plays the polyphonic ringtone, shows Pic3.

Result: Something is wrong with the “Don’t disturb” function. The Treo rings, but it shouldn’t! As a last test, I set the ringtone for the “friend” and for the “Ringo Group” to default. Perhaps the Treo doesn’t ring now. Testing again:

  • Call from NR1: No sound comes out of the Treo
  • Call from NR2: Treo plays “Gritty Shaker”.
  • Call from NR3: Treo doesn’t ring

As you can see, the “Don’t disturb” option only works if no individual ringtone is selected for “Ringo Friends” or “Ringo Groups”. But this is the only bug I found.

Conclusion
“Ringo Pro” offers a lot of options to make your Treo ring the way you like. Depending on the size of your MP3-collection you can choose from hundreds or thousands of different ringtones. By using “Ringo Friends” and “Ringo Groups” you can assign an individual ringtone to every person and/or group of your address book. The only negative thing I found is the problem with the “Don’t disturb” option.
I don’t know if all these functions are worth 29,95 USD. Some other ringtone programs are cheaper. But they need additional MP3-player software like PocketTunes or AeroPlayer. So the price of “Ringo Pro” is not exorbitant high.
I would give “Ringo Pro” 4 points out of 5. One point is missing because the “Don’t disturb” option and the “Ringtone Mixer” do not work perfectly. But I can recommend the programm to all Treo users who want more than just the built-in tones.

Introduction
When your Treo comes out-of-the-box, it’s not able to use mp3-files as ringtone. You only can use the built-in polyphonic ones. The only way to make music or other sounds a ringtone, is to record them via the Treo’s microphone. But the quality of this sound is not very great. If you want your Treo to play “real” music, you need 3rd party software, such as “mRing“, “LightWav“, “mp3Ringer“, “PhoneTechnician“, “TreoGuard” or “Ringo Pro“.

I had a look at “Ringo Pro for Treo 600 & Treo 650 4.4″ by Electric Pocket (Price: 29,95 USD)

Installation
The *.zip file contains the “Ringo-installer.prc”. After the transfer via HotSync the software extracts and installs itself on the Treo. While the installer.prc has a size of 918KB, the installed program only uses about 400KB of RAM.

First look and overview
The program offers three different views: “Ringo Ringtones”, “Ringo Friends” and “Ringo Groups”. You can switch from one view to the other by tapping the corresponding symbol at the lower right corner of the screen.

  • On the “Ringo Ringtones” screen you can choose the default sounds for incomming calls and text messages. And you can pick a picture to be showed when somebody calls you.Snap BF3B7B11 Ringo Pro: Review, part 1
  • For important persons you can use “Ringo Friends” to assign each “friend” an individual ringtone and/or picture.
    Snap BF3B7B33 Ringo Pro: Review, part 1
  • The “Ringo Groups”-screen offers the same functions for the different categories of your contact database.
    Snap BF3B7B4B Ringo Pro: Review, part 1

The “Ringo Ringtones” screen
There are 4 different ways to choose a ringtone or a SMS tone:

  1. You can select a MP3 tune from any directory of your storage card. Ringo comes along with 5 tunes which are stored at the /audio directory. Before you definitely pick a MP3 tune you can listen to it by tapping the “Play” button.
    Snap BF3B861C Ringo Pro: Review, part 1
  2. The second possibility is to browse the Ringo ringtone store. After choosing this option the web browser is started and connects to the ringtone-website on electricpocket.com. I did not download any file from the website just because using a GPRS-connection is too expensive for that.
    Snap BF3B7FCE Ringo Pro: Review, part 1
  3. Of course you can also use the built-in polyphonic ringtones. Additional MIDI tones can be imported over the menue Tones>Import Tones
  4. Last but not least you can create your own unique ringtone when you tap the button “New”. You can choose from different drums, melodies and instruments to mix the ringtone you like most. This is really great fun. I spent hours with trying all the different sounds. There’s only one thing I don’t like about the “Ringtone Mixer”: When I choose a drum pattern and a lead pattern they are played simultaniously until the lead pattern is repeated. Then the lead pattern sets in too early and the rhythm of the drum and the rhythm of the lead voice don’t fit together any more. This means it sounds quite horrible. You can avoid this problem when you only use the drum or the lead voice.
    Snap BF3B8026 Ringo Pro: Review, part 1

As you can see, you have a lot of options to select the ringtone you like. At the next step you can decide if you want a picture to be shown at an incomming call or not. You can use the pictures taken with the Treo’s camera or the ones that are on your storage card (in the directory /DCIM).

The “Ringo Friends” screen
This is the screen for important callers. A “friend” is added by tapping the “New” button. You can pick a person from your address book or create a new entry. For each “friend” you can choose an individual ringtone, SMS tone and picture. And you can select the “don’t disturb” option which means that the Treo won’t ring when this person is calling.
Snap BF3B7CD5 Ringo Pro: Review, part 1

ringofriends Ringo Pro: Review, part 1

The “Ringo Groups” screen
On this screen the categories from your address book are listed. For each category you can again pick a ringtone, SMS tone and picture. And of course select the “Do not disturb” option.

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