Mobile Declaration and Mobile Declaration + Constitution is now available @ Palm’s App Catalog. Here are some screenshots:

Download:

-Mobile Declaration (free)
-Mobile Declaration & Constitution (0,99$)

This is not a full review, but an update of Brent’s excellent review of Iambic’s launcher.   I luckily did not encounter the crash that Brent did, but upon installation propel installed itself and then seemed to have some conflict, I believe with Uninstall Manager.  I was presented with a white screen which I was able to exit by pressing a hard key.  The rest of the install/registration process went very smoothly.

In preferences->programs to use I would have liked to be able to change the handling of avi and mpg files to TCPMP, but the choice was not available.  As a matter of fact there seemed to be no way to change it at all.  When I tapped on “Media” it stated that only Media could handle these type of files.  Instead I ended up using APT to redirect calls for MEDIA to TCPMP.  That being said, the implementation is very nice.  I particularly liked that programs were suggested that were not even on you device, so you would then know what applications to look for to handle those files (see image 2 below – note that the apps in paraenthesis are not resident on my device).

programstouse mediaonly Propel launcher 2.3 from Iambicprogramstouse suggestions Propel launcher 2.3 from Iambic

Although it isn’t new, I liked the ability to set various backgrounds, especially the option to use a faster cached version of a jpg.  I didn’t like the fact that when the background is displayed, it only displays in 320×320 view instead of using my full 320×480 or 480×320 screen space.  Propel itself uses all screen space available, so I’m not sure why it limits the backgrounds, even the built in palm image I used in the first image below.  Backgrounds I took from my own jpgs were similarly limited and images I had sized to fit to my screen (320×480) also experienced shrinking side to side (image 2 below).  The only way I was able to get a full screen background is by choosing “solid colour” in the background choice and selecting a color (see image 3).

backproblem Propel launcher 2.3 from Iambicbackprob2 Propel launcher 2.3 from Iambic baclsolid Propel launcher 2.3 from Iambic

A welcome addition is the ability to Display icons or names or both on the category tabs.  You can only display up to 8 tabs at a time even with the view set to icons only (more if you go into landscape mode, but that’s another story).  Iambic should revisit this aspect of the launcher.  I use LauncherX and can get 11 tabs with icons only across the same screen.  This is important for anyone who wants to do some categorization of their apps.  I confess that I didn’t play around with the skins in propel and that I needed to find a skin in LX that would allow me to display that many tabs (not all do).

Propel vs LauncherX

icontabs8 Propel launcher 2.3 from Iambiclxsetup16 Propel launcher 2.3 from Iambic

The Favorites and Hidden Items preferences section title bar came out garbled:

garbledtitlebar Propel launcher 2.3 from Iambic

I think it was well thought out to provide navigation option for your hard keys while inside propel.  I found a major drawback to be no options for the 5 way toggle and the default implementation of its use was at best non-intuitive.  For instance moving between tabs is not possible as far as I can tell with the 5way or d-pad.  It is nice that I can use it to go up and down as well as sideways within a tab and go up to the tab bar and then down to the tools bar and navigate through that.

settinghk Propel launcher 2.3 from Iambic

Like Resco, Iambic has put in an item that gets updates for the software.  Unlike the Resco update feature, the feature in Propel will get much more – bookmarks, skins, backgrounds, and plugins.

updates Propel launcher 2.3 from Iambic

After messing around in all the preferences I found that it was starting to hang a bit.  it was only during certain operations (setting the preferences for the resco backup plugin made it hang for 15 minutes before I decided to stop it).

Categorizing using the tabs was a little difficult.  I would have liked something akin to a drop down of existing tabs during a tap and hold, instead of actions.  This is of course a setup impression, I would guess it is handier to have the actions drop down after setup.  But in the course of trying to drag and drop icons from one tab to another, the app ended up moving my SDHC driver file to the card instead of moving it to another tab.  I had to reinstall my driver in order to access my card.  This mistaken move happened more times than the app actually moved to the correct tab, until I got used to scrolling the app to the top of the tab tap and dragging correctly.  Also it seems it is easier to move icons between categories when in the list view – 1 column of apps per tab.

There is still a problem if you want to hide the status bar.  On my TX the statusbar did disappear but it left a blank white area and propel reverted to 320×320 mode.  When I tapped to bring the statusbar back, it reappeared and propel came back to 320×480 mode.

hidestatusbarprob Propel launcher 2.3 from Iambic

Pros

  • Icon view in categories
  • integrated with Icon Manager to bring in new icons or edit existing ones
  • update feature is very encompassing
  • Type to search great for finding apps or files in advanced view
  • Backgrounds for different tabs
  • skinning
  • I liked that you could assign most file types to be handled by your own installed applications (and if you weren’t sure what to use there were even suggestions as to what application to get)

Cons

  • Iambic didn’t address the problem with setting different font sizes for different aspects of the app (categories, apps, etc)
  • Although there is now an icon view in the categories, there can only be 8 categories visible at any one time and there is no drop down to access categories not displayed (like the tabs in FireFox).
  • The tabbed interface is difficult to use (see my section on dragging and dropping)
  • For all intents and purposes, the statusbar still cannot be taken off the screen in propel
  • 5 way navigation is not implemented well
  • There was a garbled text error in one of the preferences screens
  • Backgrounds from images that should have filled the whole screen did not, the only thing that did was the solid color option
  • The program does not allow you to reassign which program handles avi and mpg files – it is set to use Media only

A while back I compared Resco’s IDGuard with SplashID (see “Resco idguard versus splashid: whats in your pocket“).  I’ve been beta testing the desktop component Resco has created for IDGuard.  The app is just about ready for release.  You can already get the latest beta directly from here, or go to this page to read about it and download from the beta section on the page.

Previously, my only real reservation about switching from SplashID to IDGuard was the lack of the desktop component, I have switched now.  Resco is honing the desktop component for release (there are still a few bugs, although not in the conduit).

More to come when I’ve more fully tested it!

Agendus Initial Screen I confess that I am not and have never been an Agendus user, so it’s all new to me. I’ve been very happy using the built-in PIMs since I started using a palm OS device over 10 years ago. Recently, I’ve become unenthusiastic with Blazer, Memos and Versamail and replaced the first two and deleted the third. So when the chance to review Agendus came along, I took it.

First a caveat. I started looking at this app and was taken aback by the plethora of features and options available. I almost decided against writing this review due to the immensity of the task.  So I have not reviewed every feature of this app.  I’ve picked some of the items I thought were significant and looked into them.

INSTALLATION:
First I needed to install the app. In most cases installing a palm application is relatively easy, just extract from a zip archive and install the appropriate prc/pdb files. In some cases there is an exe installer that does the job for you. Iambic gave Agendus a better installer. Put the agendus prc file onto your palm. The first time you run it, it is the installer that runs. When the installer finishes it erases itself. It installs 4 launchable apps: Agendus Pro, Agendus Tour, Iambic Store, and TinyChart (not an application itself but it is used by tinysheet to create the charts in some views in Agendus).

Overview:
I have to admit to being wowed when I first launched the Agendus Pro application. This application should have come as part of the Palm OS. The interface is easy to use, navigation is intuitive and the initial screen brings together everything you might want to see onto one screen. Some things I didn’t even expect to see in this PIM replacement app and was pleasantly surprised. Having the weather is handy, the quote of the day and “this day in History” are nice additions, and if you follow your own stocks, having a mini ticker there is nice (although they do take up screen space and any of the items can be deselected in the slots preferences screen). Each item is collapsible and you can configure how many items (e.g., meetings) you want displayed at a time – the default is 3. I also liked the advertised ability to plan trips and track projects, unfortunately, initially I couldn’t try either of these because each time I tried to create a new project or new trip, my device reset. Note that when I test software I restore a backup set that was created after a hard reset and some fiddling around with deleting and adding certain applications. This is a stable configuration and should not cause a reset. With a little help from Iambic, I was up and running again. It turned out that somehow the files used to store the trip and project information had become corrupted, I deleted these 2 files and they were recreated the next time I tried to create a trip and a project. (thank you to Michael from Iambic quality assurance for setting me straight).

The Agendus Tour which installs with the application is worth taking. For an Agendus newbie like myself, it was very helpful to be shown the meaning of all the various icons. As well as some features that would’ve taken me some time to discover otherwise. Here are some screenshots from the tour.

Agendus toolbarAgendus Hyperlinks

I found Page 8 to be very helpful since I didn’t know what any of the icons meant. Page 3 was informative. I find the fact that you can link to your web browser call a phone number or send an email all from this screen a great feature. Unfortunately I have a TX, so I couldn’t test the phone call link, but otherwise I really liked this ability.

Agendus TripsAgendus Directions

The ability to get driving directions worked seamlessly and came in very handy. Once you use it you won’t want to get directions any other way.  You do need to install the free Google Maps app for it to work.

As you probably already have guessed there are 14 pages of info in the tour. I found all of it helpful.

Agendus uses the databases on your device to populate it’s views. This has it’s ups and downs. When I started Agendus no sort view was selected for the contacts. Which was no big deal, but when I started the built in contacts app again the names were all jumbled up – unsorted. If I sorted them by name in the Agendus Contact view, they are correctly sorted in the built-in contacts view. On the other hand you don’t have to reenter or import any of your data.

On the down side the app is no lightweight – it takes up a couple of MBs of space. According to Memory Info when Agendus is running it takes up about 4mb of DBCache (out of a total of 13mb of usable DBCache on a TX is significant).

No matter how you slice it, Agendus has so many features, both new and from previous versions, that there is something for everyone. I personally found the free time finder extremely helpful. I needed to find four hours to meet with a colleague and so I started Agendus, tapped the title bar and chose the tools menu. I selected Free time Finder and this screen came up:

Agendus Free Time Finder initial screen

Then I tapped Advanced to get this screen (which allowed me to set some more restrictions on how I wanted the search to proceed):

Agendus Free Time Finder Advanced options

I tapped okay and set the time to 4 hours and then tapped okay again. the result was the first screen below. When I tapped the down arrow on the 18th I got the second screen below:

Agendus Free Time Finder - found time monthly viewAgendus Free Time Finder - found time down arrow

Tapping the time designated above (8:00 am – 2:00 pm) brought me to a screen to schedule the meeting.
Agendus Free Time Finder - schedule meeting view

The busier your schedule, the more useful you will find this feature.

This is definitely a program you should try out. And this is also one of those programs you need to read the manual for or you are likely to get lost, even with the tour. Agendus 12.05 is feature rich, and after my first installation problems were solved, it has run like a charm. I tend to look at my files using a file manager quite a bit, so the fact that there was no application named Agendus was slightly confusing. The actual file name of the app is ActNames.prc. Before trying you might even want to go to Agendus’ home page to read about it or to the Agendus page on this website.

Recently Astraware announced the release of a new game, Westward for both Palm OS and Windows Mobile, and it promises to bring the Wild West to your handheld device. Astraware is renown for its quality games and has many smash hits, but how would Westward stack up?

Gameplay

The gameplay is set in the old Wild West where you visit different places, talk to different people, and take part in interesting quests.

 Astraware Westward   The Review Astraware Westward   The Review

Right off the bat I could see Westward has great graphics, and since playing the game for a while, my opinion hasn’t changed. They are really top-notch, keeping with the rest of Astrawares games.

 Astraware Westward   The Review Astraware Westward   The Review

When you start a game for the first time, it guides you through an interactive tutorial. I was always a big fan of interactive tutorials, and this one is implemented perfectly. It doesn’t totally explain everything (like what all the buttons do), but it nudges you in the right direction.

 Astraware Westward   The Review Astraware Westward   The ReviewStory

Westward has a pretty good background story that is interthreaded throughout the game (but I won’t tell you what it is!) You land in your first town after the tutorial scene called “Hope River”. It is pretty easy to get established in this new town as raw resources are very abundant (Trees for Wood, Gold Veins, ect). After you get set up in this town, the game will present you with side-quests. In the beginning, these quests teach you how to do new things that you will need to know in the future (put out Fires, build Bridges, ect.). But I assure you, later in the game these side-quests become very interesting.

Soon you will leave this first town and travel to new ones. It seems that the further you get in the game the harder it is to succeed, and I really think Astraware did a great job with this aspect. It is not so hard where you put the game down in frustration, but not so easy as you walk right through it. You will find yourself saving the game at different intervals quite frequently as you progress further in Westward.

User Interaction

As with all Applications for the Palm OS, there are two ways to control Westward; Using the touchscreen or hard buttons. It seems that Astraware has really tried to have the game controlled totally with either method of input. And they’ve been pretty much successful. I prefer using the hard buttons to control games – even though there are only 4 buttons plus the 5-way navigator on my Palm TX. But with some things, I still had to pull out the stylus. For example, I could never get the hang of multi-selecting a group of people with the buttons, and I don’t think there is any way to reform a drunk with using just hard-buttons. I noticed Astraware makes no use of the other buttons, only the five-way, and I think they could be put to use to make the stylus totally unnecessary. All in all though, the interface is very nice, and once you understand what all the on-screen buttons do, it is very intuitive.

Issues

One of the things I noticed was that the game takes a very long time to load on my Palm TX. Although the seemingly endless amount of tips that are displayed during loading help to offset this, it was still a little bothersome. I’m usually the type of game player that plays for 10 minutes, then comes back to it in a little while, so this was especially noticeable.

One of my other little issues with Westward, was it is a little hard to see some of the intricate details at times. I often found myself squinting to see it in bright lighting conditions. I had no trouble with subdued lighting, but it might be something to consider and make sure is fine for you (there is a free trial available).

Conclusion

All in all I really enjoyed Westward, and this coming from a person who usually doesn’t play games on my handheld device – or anywhere else for that matter. I felt that the great gameplay, graphics, subject, and overall experience certainly outweighed the couple issues I found with it. Credit to Astraware for another quality game.

Westward retails for $20, and can be purchased at the TamsPalm Shop. A free trial is also available.

vfsusage root graphicalI was scrolling through some freeware apps and came upon this gem. Have you ever wondered what was taking up all that space on your card? This app creates a graphical representation of your card which is dynamic (in that you can tap on any section and it zooms in (give it a few seconds to redraw the screen).

You can toggle between the graphical view and a files listing that shows the size of each file and the percent of the card taken up by the file.

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vfsusage root-palm-programs listThe toggle changes from a list graphic in the graphical view to a pie graphic in the list view. When you are in the graphical view and tap a section you zoom into that section and percentages change to be of that section only (instead of a percent of the whole card), while the section percent changes to 100%.

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For example if you change from the root directory view in the first screenshot to the root->palm view to the palm->programs view and then to the palm->programs->powerrun view, the screenshots from my card look like this:

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vfsusage root graphicalvfsusage root-palm graphicalvfsusage root-palm-programs graphicalvfsusage root-palm-programs-powerrun graphical

You can also display the freespace you have on your card by going to preferences and asking it to show free space:

vfsusage with freespace graphical

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VFSUsage is a handy tool to see where the clutter is and clean up your card. It is very similar to the PC utility Sequoia, but is more versatile. You can get it from the freeware section of www.1src.com, or the direct URL is:

http://www.1src.com/freeware/fileinfo.php?id=1720

I often post screenshots to help explain what I’m talking about or to illustrate a point I’m trying to make. More than a few times people have asked me how I produced the screenshot to begin with. Either they were unsatisfied with what they were using or they didn’t know what to use at all.

I’ve found a couple of very good utilities and tried many more. The 2 I like best are HRCaptDA 1.85E (freeware) and Screenshot5 (shareware). These are the easiest to use in my opinion, and provide the best functionality. Both take full screen screenshots (including the DIA and the statusbar).

hrcaptdm initial screenHRCaptDA 1.85E is, you guessed it, a Desk Accessory. It can be launched from within any application using a DA launcher, like DALauncher, myKbd, MultiLaunch, MetaDA, ZLauncher, McPhling or anything else that can either assign a DA to a hard key or act as a DA launcher. It has a companion app called HRCaptDM. The DM app supposedly lets you manage the images captured using the DA. Unfortunately, this app crashes my TX if I try to open more than one image with it. You must set the preferences for HRCaptDA with it, but beyond that you can forget about it. I have it setup so it saves all it’s screenshots to my card in .bmp format. This is not great since most forums and the like require either jpg or gif format. To set up storing the images on your card, in the file manager part of this – HrCaptDM – use the drop down menu in the upper right corner to select MS (Memory Stick, but this works for an SD card) instead of CLIE (which puts the file in main memory).

hrcaptdm prefshrcaptdm prefs ms settingsThen use the menu option “Saves to MS Setting…” to choose the format of the image file, ie BMP or BMP 24BIT. After you do this, images will be stored in /Palm/PROGRAMS/HrCapt on the SD card. Now you are good to go! Other than the image viewing causing crashes on my TX , it works very well. I just don’t use the DM app to do anything other than set the preferences.

You can get HRCapt from this Japanese URL, just click on the link at the top of the page – it downloads the english version:

http://www.excite.co.jp/world/english/web/(…)&wb_lp=JAEN&wb_dis=2&wb_co=excitejapan

screenshot initial screenScreenShot5 is a shareware app from LinkeSoft. You can configure it to launch from any hard button and you can configure a delay time as well. One can also set it to auto repeat every set number of seconds , beep on taking a screenshot, take fullscreen or not (DIA and statusbar included or not). You can easily view your captures from within the app and export them to your card with a base name. You can also choose the format you wish to export in (jpg, bmp, gif), and the directory on your card to which you wish to export. For instance, if you have 3 images and use the base name “test” and export as jpg, your card will contain test.jpg, test0000.jpg, test0002.jpg. If you have already used that base name, it starts numbering from where it left off.

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screenshot5 export format dropdownscreenshot5 export dialog

Previous screen shots were all taken with Screenshot in fullscreen mode, the one on the right was

screenshot5 not fullscreen

taken with the fullscreen box unchecked (Notice that it doesn’t show the DIA and statusbar):

You can get ScreenShot5 from LinkeSoft for $15 USD here:

http://linkesoft.com/screenshot/order.html

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Though the concept is simple – the game became an internet phenomenon: LineRider (PC version for playing online visit www.linerider.com).
With a simple drawing tool the player draws lines, creates ramps, hills etc. in order to create a track on which a sledge will run – until it crashes.
Now this game is available for PalmOS, too.

On the main screen you have the possibility to choose between the game modes “Create Track” and “Puzzle” mode, you can connect to the internet for sharing your tracks, open a help screen and access the settings.

20071128 141430 LineRider Mobile   the famous online game for your palm

In “Create Mode” you can design your own tracks without limitations. In the design window you can find a toolbar at the top of the screen with the following elements (from left to right):
Undo – Drawing Tools – Line Tools – Erase – Zoom – Hand – Play.
At the bottom you can see how many lines are used in the current track. Via “Menu” you can open a menu for saving, loading, deleting etc.

20071128 141607 LineRider Mobile   the famous online game for your palm

Drawing Tools:
Here you have the possibility to choose between straight line, freehand and curve. In straight line mode you can draw a line by selecting start and ending point – LineRider draws a line between the two points automatically.

Freehand:
This mode allows you to draw a line right how your stylus moves.
Curve:
In curve mode you can click a straight line and it will automatically deform.

LineTools:
Via LineTools you can define how your lines behave:

Normal:
This line has no influence on the sledge.

Acceleration:
This line accelerates the sledge to the right side of the screen.

Reverse Acceleration:
When the sledge comes on this line it will accelerate into the other direction (left side of the screen).

Deceleration:
The sledge gets slower here

Finish Line:
This line slows the sledge down very fast.

In addition there are several other line types which are only for cosmetic purpose:
You can draw lines which do not affect the sledge. They can be placed behind or before the regular track lines. But there are special lines which can be placed on the track so that the sledge can crash into them and destroy them.

All lines are displayed in an other color so that one can identify them easily.

If a line is misplaced you can remove it by using the rubber.

20071128 141717 LineRider Mobile   the famous online game for your palm20071128 141703 LineRider Mobile   the famous online game for your palm

By pressing “Play” the sledge starts to move and to solve the track. Now you can see if your track is ‘good’ – the the sledge will pass it without crashing – otherwise you should correct the track :-) .

20071128 141639 LineRider Mobile   the famous online game for your palm

This was the ‘freestyle game mode’.

In puzzle mode you will get a track which is not completed. You now have to add lines in order to make the track playable. In addition you can find red flags which all have to be destroyed by the sledge.

2007122 113005 LineRider Mobile   the famous online game for your palm

These game modes are available in offline mode.
But LineRider has got an online mode, too.
You can access it by tapping on “Shared Tracks” in main menu. After getting online you have the ability to publish your own tracks and to download other ones tracks which were published by them.

2007122 112414 LineRider Mobile   the famous online game for your palm

You even can rate online tracks.

I’ve tried the game on a Palm TX: it runs quite good. The game is stable – I experienced no crashes or similar. You can really get addicted by it.
Anyways I found two things which are disturbing the good image of the game:
At first, the game only runs in 320*320 resolution mode on a 320*480 display. The missing space could be very useful for the track designer window.
The second thing is the processor speed: I had to overclock the CPU up to 520 MHz until the game stopped lagging but it is playable without modification, too.

You can try LineRider yourself – a demonstration is available via clickgamer.com.
The full version costs 10,21 € ($14.95).

Download and buy via clickgamer.com:
http://clickgamer.com/moreinfo.htm?pid=14559&section=PALM

PS: Merry Christmas! :)

Have you ever found a program which does not run on your device because of not enough dynamic memory heap? Such programs are emulators or PDF viewers (like PalmPDF). When you run them, they could cause crashes or run in a ‘limited’ mode just because there is not enough heap storage. Dmitry Grinberg (www.palmpoweups.com) wrote a program called ‘UDMH’ which allows you to increase the size of the heap artificially. When you first run UDMH you simply see a checkbox for enabling/disabling UDMH and two buttons – ‘Config’ and ‘Info’.

UDMH - main

When you press ‘Config’ you can add or remove applications for which UDMH uses a special configuration (e.g. whether UDMH is disabled for the app or not) because by default UDMH is enabled for all apps and assigns the heap automatically. When you want to add a program to UDMH�s custom settings list you just press ‘Add’ – a screen with a list of all installed application appears.

UDMH - list

Once you have selected your program, a setting window appears. Here you can decide whether
- UDMH is enabled for the application
- UDMH cleans memory up (use this setting when the program doesn�t do it automatically)
- UDMH skips quit (this option is recommended when the program opens several other programs in background – like Documets To Go. In this case the settings are not only used for the main app also for the other DTG-parts (like SlideShowToGo) so that there is no need for configuring them separately. Use it for apps launched from card per shortcut, too. Otherwise it won�t work either because UDMH applies the memory only for the shortcut and drops it when starting the real program)
- a field for the amount of dynamic heap you want to assign – leave it blank or fill in ’0′ and UDMH will make this setting automatically

UDMH - settings

The same screen comes up when you want to modify UDMH settings for a program
So, what are the advantages? For example you can run PalmPDF in color mode instead of gray or even black-white mode. Emulators like LJP become more stable, you can play DOOM or HEXEN ports on your palm. So many applications which need a lot of dynamic memory are now able to run on your Palm. For newer Palm PDAs like the Tungsten E2, T5 or TX UDMH is recommended. These devices have got a very little dynamic heap so that they come earlier to their limit than older Palms like the Tungsten T3 which has got a multiple heap than the e.g. T5.
On the Info-screen you can check how much heap you currently have � when UDMH is enabled or disabled.

UDMH - overview

A 7-day trial version of the program is available at www.palmpowerups.com. Though UDMH changes the whole system relatively much it is very stable.

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