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I haven't played solitaire in years. However, recently the combination of finding PATIENCE .COM = for my Palmtop and lots of travel changed that pattern. Frankly, I don't understand the human fascination with placing cards one on top of the other in strict accordance with a specific set of rules. Granted, some skill is involved, but there are better games for exercising brain muscles. (See Vol.4 No.1 Pg.20). Even so, I became hooked on Patience.

There are ten games of solitaire to choose from in Patience, as viewed from the opening screen.

Patience Solitaire Opening Screen: Graphic

 There is a lot to like about this program. Set it up in Application Manager and you can run it without exiting the built-in applications. The Path statement in the AppManager setup screen should look like this (assuming the main PATIENCE program file is stored in C:\PATIENCE):

c:\patience\patience.exe /l|176

The /l is an undocumented AppManager switch that makes the game more readable. The |176 tells the Palmtop to allocate 176K of system RAM for the game.

The main program file occupies 61K of disk space. You can also include an optional 99K help file. The nice thing about including the help file is that when you press (F1) you can access the rules of the game.

Playing the ten PATIENCE games is easy, as each has a similar user interface. Moving cards is easy, as the following example will show. Klondike is the most common form of Solitaire. The above screen shows a Klondike solitaire game in progress. In the above screen, to move the 6 of Hearts in stack 7, to the 7 of Clubs in stack 4, type 7 4. If their was an Ace in stack 1 you could move it to the foundation, by typing 1 f.

Klondike Solitaire Game: Graphic

 There is even a Cheat mode in some of the games, not that anybody ever cheats in Solitaire. When you are finished, the computer scores how you did and records the results for future reference.

As good as the games are, the implementation on the Palmtop is not perfect. First, the cards are small on the screen. If lighting is good and your eyes are OK, the display is acceptable but borderline. Secondly, if you store the program on the A drive, you may not be able to access help or the scoring history. I used the ASSIGN command (ASSIGN C:=A:) to remedy this. I could use HELP and Score History for a while, but then I couldn't get it to work properly. The third problem is that the shareware author has disabled the Setup feature. That means if there are features that make the screen more visible or allow you to run it from your A drive, you wont be able to test it before registering. Even given these shortcomings, Patience is a virtue on the HP Palmtop.

iPhone Life magazine

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