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Word 5.5

I don't travel with a laptop and I find that much of the work I do on my Palmtop is word processing. Although both Memo and PalEdit are fine as editors, they are very average word processors. Like many other users, I've found that Word 5.5 for DOS works very well so I put up with the 900 Kbytes of disk space that it consumes on the Palmtop. Where possible I use margins that allow the 64-column Palmtop zoom mode to be used for improved readability. I use a number of macros to make version 5.5 emulate Word 97 on the PC as much as possible (such as Ctrl-X/C/V for Cut/Copy/Paste). Microsoft offers a free utility, WDSUPCNV.EXE, that adds extra file conversion features to Office 97 and allows documents to be saved in Word 5.x and other less-used formats. Obviously many features of Word 97 are lost but simple formatting is preserved. I also use Word 5.5 in DOS on the PC so it is my universal format. A bonus is that it reads and writes RTF files but the downside is that it compulsively writes BAK files. I access Word 5.5 from a batch file that deletes all BAK files upon exiting.

CuteMouse on the Palmtop

Most applications for the Palmtop, including those under System Manager, don't use or support a mouse. However a mouse improves productivity in both XTree and Word 5.5 so I occasionally use one. My favorite mouse driver is CUTEMOUSE by Nagy Daniel. It can be obtained from his Web site at www.vein.hu/~nagyd/. When using a mouse, I generally reconfigure XTree to call a mouse-supported text editor, usually Microsoft's Edit. It has a very small footprint, only 7 Kbytes. I have found that some mice do not work on the Palmtop so you'll have to experiment. Use the cable and the 9-pin crossover adapter from the Palmtop Connectivity Pack to connect to a standard 9-pin mouse cable. This is quite unwieldy - recommended only for testing. I have cannibalized an LX serial cable connector shell (slit it down one side) and rebuilt it with new 10-pin insert connecting to a Logitech mouse with only 18 inches of cable. This is shown in the accompanying photograph. It was not particularly easy to do and is not recommended for the non-adept. The mouse is labeled "10 mA" and in fact it adds about 6 mA to the standing current under DOS when it is loaded. This is not a great burden to the Palmtop, which generally consumes anywhere between 20 mA and 80 mA depending on what it is doing. I use a simple batch program, shown in screen 8 to load and unload the mouse driver. Physically removing the mouse cable while the driver is loaded can lead to your Palmtop consuming a constant 80 mA, presumably due to a confused serial port.

Read More About It

There have been several books written about XTree. I can recommend Official XTree by Beth Slick (IDG Books Worldwide, Inc, published 1992) which is comprehensive and clearly written.

The easiest way to discover more about XTree is to visit the "XTree Fan Page" site maintained by Matthias Winkler at http://xtfp.arkanda.net. Matthias discusses the many XTree clones and successors, including ZtreeWin, under active development for Windows 95. Part of the reason for these clones is that XTree is no longer available from or supported by Symantec. Unfortunately this limits the appeal of XTree both within the Palmtop community and more widely. Further exacerbating this situation is the fact that only versions 3 and later support the current versions of Zip (PKZIP2.04g).

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