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Tuesday
Jul142009

Managing a Palm Pre - documents, pictures, and, maybe music

Palm's historical affiliation with desktop computers was (rightly) thrown out the window with the Palm Pre.  The Pre is designed, as a PDA, to be affiliated (and sync'd) with either Gmail / Google Apps or Exchange (or both, as in my case).

This raises a question, and poses a problem:  how do I get "computer" stuff to the Pre?

Computer Stuff:

Documents, Pictures, and, maybe, Music:  Until or unless someone comes up with a robust (read: supported) wifi connection between the Pre and a computer, you need a microUSB cable to connect the two devices.  Once that's done, you choose (for the purposes of this and the next paragraph) to connect as a USB device.  Your Pre's internal memory shows up as a drive on the computer. 

To designate what should be sync'd between the two devices, and since I don't want ALL of my documents or pictures sync'd, I created a folder called Presync in my Documents folder, in which I put documents (Word, Excel, PDF) I want sync'd.  I have a folder called Contact Pictures and another called Photo Album in my Pictures folder that I want on the Pre.   I use a utility (have for years) called Second Copy, and I set up a profile in Second Copy to sync these two folders with the Pre.  I could also add a folder or folders in Music to this, but I chose not to.  More later.  Now, I hook up the Pre, select USB mode, double click the Presync profile in Second Copy, and in a few seconds the devices are in sync.  Easy!  It will be easier when/if someone comes up with a wifi connection that would serve in place of the USB cable.  Then, the Pre could sit on the Touchstone charger, and I could run the Second Copy profile automatically every so often, or manually whenever I want, without having to mess with the microUSB cable.

For music, I chose to use the other mode of connection the Pre offers:  Media Sync.  Right now, this causes the Pre to look like an iPod - pretty cool, actually, and I think Apple is NUTS not to support this, but in their usual style, Apple is bristling at this intrusion into their proprietary world.  I chose to use this method of syncing for one primary reason:  playlists.  I know iTunes isn't the best or most stable or functional Windows application - never has been - but it's easy to use, and so I choose to use it for its simplicity, and the fact that it can sync with the Pre.   iTunes also causes album art to be included with songs, and I like that on the Pre.  I know there are other ways to manage music (I've used them all) and all will work.  But I like the simplicity of this solution.

So there you have it!  Until something better comes along, this works pretty well.

Addendum: 

I found a solution to the problem of not being able to access, and therefore back up, .prc and .pdb files from Classic (PalmOS) applications on the Pre.  My need was to have a backup of my HandyShopper backup.  This is my solution (with help from the folks on the Treo Yahoo group):

Following the advice here:

http://forums.precentral.net/official-classic/187716-get-data-out-classic.html

Download and install RFBackup from here:

http://www.dt002.titandsl.co.uk/software/rfbackup.html

When you run that tool, it puts the backup files (including my precious HandyShopper database) in a folder where Second Copy can get at it.

So, now I have two profiles in Second Copy: one to update things as described above, and another to copy the backup to my Pre folder on my laptop.  Not as easy as HotSync, but then again I don't HAVE to hotsync, and this works just fine.

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