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New PalEdit-related PIM Program, Outlook synchronization, Database corruption tester, IR desktop-Palmtop data transfer.

By Ed Keefe

If you're looking for a different set of programs to track appointments, ToDo's, telephone numbers and notes (PIMs), take a look at the latest version of the PalEdit (PE) program. Not only is PE a top-flight editor for the HP Palmtop but now it also serves as the driver for a set of PIM applications.

If you're willing to invest a bit of time and effort to learn how to use this product, you'll wind up with a highly efficient productivity tool that you'll depend upon.

PalEdit and PIM are copyrighted freeware by Andreas Garzotto. The package includes documentation files, which hopefully will get you started using the programs. If you have further questions, please post them on the HPLX-L mailing list.

Stereo Shell Without a Nag Screen

Many Palmtop users favor the Stereo Shell (StS) file manager program when they are working outside of System Manager. StS saves a lot of typing when all you want to do is open a ZIP file or copy a few files from one directory to another. Like Filer, Stereo Shell can be used to run DOS programs by pointing and clicking.

Stereo Shell is an integral part of the full installation of Super Software Carousel from Thaddeus Computing.

Currently, Stereo Shell can be distributed only as shareware. The unregistered version of StS is identical to the registered version except for an opening shareware screen and a short, sign-off message. However, in the past couple of years, if you tried to register the software, you would have discovered that the normal channels for doing so had vanished. The author, Emery Wooten, stopped supporting the program several years ago.

Now, thanks to the "detective work" of fellow user, Jeff Johns, the registered version of Stereo Shell is available upon request at no charge.

Jeff contacted Emery Wooten and secured permission to distribute the registered version of StS to his friends. To honor Emery's request, the registered version may not be posted in any public forum. The only way to get a copy for personal use is to send an e-mail to Jeff Johns (jeffj@scott.net) and ask for it.

If you are not familiar with Stereo Shell, we suggest getting the unregistered version, try it out and see if you like it. Like many file manager programs, such as Norton's Commander, XTree, Volkov Commander, etc. StS takes some getting used to. It has almost all the features of other file manager programs with the advantage of using only 40K-70K bytes of disk space. If you have the unregistered version already configured for your Palmtop, the installation is easy: just replace the unregistered version with the registered version of StS and you'll be ready to go.

New Version of Synching Program

Curtis Cameron has recently updated his Palmtop-Outlook conversion program (OLC2LXinst.EXE). The version number is 3.01.

The new version has the following features.

Synchronize a Palmtop file with an Outlook folder. Both will then have exactly the same set of data.

Support of any format PDB or GDB Palmtop file.

Support of Outlook 97, 98, and 2000, although the latter has not been tested.

Multiple Outlook fields can be assigned to each LX field, so in case an Outlook field is blank, it will go to a second or third to find data to put in the LX field.

You can separate Outlook's multi-line street address fields into their first, second, or third lines and assign them separately to LX fields.

Field mapping is stored for each different Palmtop file you use, so you can have several different ones and it will remember the mapping for each.

If you pass a Palmtop file name on the command line, that Palmtop file, along with all its mapping info, will be loaded when it starts.

If you also pass the string "/run" after the file name, then the conversion process is started automatically.

Extended characters are converted correctly (both directions as of version 1.90).

Uses a Windows DLL, courtesy of Mack Baggette, to do the LX importing and exporting.

Version 2.01 may be downloaded directly from the following Web site.

http://cameron.hplx.net

Preventing Back Up Woes with DBCHECK

Most Palmtop users are faithful in backing up their data files on a weekly if not daily basis. Many have automated the process using system macros and/or batch files that are attached to an Appointment Book item.

The only problem with this is that if a database file is corrupted, the backup will also be corrupted.

How can you tell if a database, Appointment Book, NoteTaker, or PhoneBook file is corrupt? The way to find out is to open the file in the appropriate application and try viewing all of the items in the file. If you get an error message, for example, a message that tells you that a record is not found, then you know that something is wrong. However, such a procedure is both time consuming and can't be automated.

To solve this problem, Curtis Cameron has created a special program that will race through almost any System Manager file and look for possible errors. If no errors are found, you can proceed with a safe backup. The DBCHECK program is copyrighted freeware and is directly downloadable from

http://cameron.hplx.net

You can use the DBCHECK program in a batch file or you can run it alone at the DOS prompt. The program will check most of the Palmtop's data files, including ADB (appointments), PDB (phone), GDB (database), NDB(note taker), and WDB (world time) files but not Lotus 1-2-3 files or Pocket Quicken files.

Many programs, including DB CHECK, return a result code that can be accessed with the ERRORLEVEL variable in a DOS batch file.

Here's a sample batch file that will perform all the necessary checks and let you back up safely. You will have to modify it to suit your own Palmtop setup.

@echo off

rem SafeBkup.bat

dbcheck *.?db >dbcheck.log

if errorlevel 2 goto error

rem All is OK, so back them up

copy *.?db a:\

goto end

:error

echo Warning! A possibly corrupted file was detected!

echo Files were not backed up.

:end

If there is an error in one or another of your ?DB files, a message will be recorded in the DBCHECK.LOG text file. Hopefully you will not find such an error message but, if you do, you can recover from a safe, backup file or try to correct the error and run the backup procedure again.

HP 1000CX Users: Get Control of Your Palmtop.

The HP 100/200LX have the System Manager Setup program to adjust such things as screen contrast, sound volume, etc. None of these features are available on the HP 1000CX since it does not contain the System Manager suite of programs.

Now, HP 1000CX users can gain more control over their Palmtop with the freeware CXCTL program by Nils M. Holm nmh@dialup.nacamar.de

The program will perform the following operations and more:

adjust the display contrast

adjust the beeper volume

set the video mode and zoom mode

set the power off timeout

enable/disable the COM port

Another Program to Enhance the HP 1000CX

Since the 1000CX does not have the HP 200LX Appointment Book, users need to install their own reminder or "tickler" program. Granted, a program like Borland's SideKick+ will serve this purpose but such programs generally take up a lot of disk space and are often hard to find.

Now you can have a small tickler file (approximately 1 Kbyte) that will help you keep track of important dates.

DIA.COM (copyrighted freeware by Jorgen Dybdahl) is a UNIX-like calendar program that scans through a text file called C:\CALENDAR and displays the results on the screen. The output can also be sent to a text file.

You have to build the CALENDAR data file using the conventions given in the DIA.TXT instruction file. Once you have it set up and running, you can put the DIA.COM command in an AUTOEXEC.BAT file. That way the tickler information will appear each time you restart the Palmtop.

The program should also work on the HP 100/200LX. Even if you're satisfied with the Appointment Book, you might find that DIA is useful for things like reminding you about birthdays, anniversaries or other fixed events.

By the way, DIA stands for DIARY.

Enhance Filer's View Function with QuickView

The System Manager Filer program will let you view text files by pointing at the file name and pressing the F8 (View) key. It will not let you look deeply into an .EXE or .EXM file to look for text material. This is often helpful when you've forgotten what a particular program is supposed to do. Up to now, you could leave Filer and use a hex editor to view the file. (This can be dangerous. One slip of the finger and you risk corrupting the file.) Alternatively you could use a program such as Vernon Buerg's LIST program.

Now, with QUICKV, you can stay in System Manager and view files either as text files or display the hexadecimal version of the file.

QUICKV.EXM is a small, System-Manager Compliant file viewer for the HP 100/200LX. Some of the features of QuickView are:

Text and Hex viewing modes

Supports the zoom modes of the HP-LX

Integrates well with X-FINDER

Runs in 7k of memory, 10k when using the file open dialog

System manager compliant: uses the HP-LX user interface, can be task-switched, leaves your DOS process free for other applications.

File to be viewed can be chosen via file open dialog or passed by the clipboard.

Some Known Limitations are:

It does not show database type files nor will it let you perform a search in such a file.

QuickView has some problems viewing files that are larger than 64 Kbytes or more than 128 pages long.

QUICV.EXM is copyright freeware by Alan Krempler of Graz, Austria: alan@oeh.tu-graz.ac.at

Smallest Infrared Device

The HP 200LX has an infrared (IR) port that can send and receive signals to other computers and printers. The IR protocol that is built into the HP Palmtop doesn't meet the latest specifications. However, that is easily corrected by getting a copy of the most recent IR driver from the SUPER site. If you have the latest drivers, there may still a problem since there may be no way to connect to your desktop or laptop computer if it doesn't have an IR device.

Here's a device that will remedy that situation.

The IR-HP5 is a serial infrared adapter that will connect your HP 100/200LX to a desktop or laptop via the Palmtop's built-in IR port. It works at 57600 Kbps so it's the perfect hardware companion to the popular Transfile Win200 software distributed for free by Hewlett-Packard. It will also work with the HP Connectivity Pack and other file transfer software. You can plug the IR-HP5 directly into the DB-9M serial port on your desktop or connect through a cable. (A 6-foot DB-9M to DB-9F cable is included with the adapter.) As an added bonus, the IR-HP5 also works very nicely with Linux and either lxtools or LXFileman. Setup is simple. Just use the setserial program to make sure your serial port is set for spd_hi. With the 200LX pointing at the IR-HP5, the Filer will answer commands from your Linux box via infrared! The IR-HP5 is constructed inside a DB25-DB9 adapter shell so is very small and only weighs a few ounces.

Shareware/Freeware mentioned in this article

Commercial Products mentioned in this article

iPhone Life magazine


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