Welcome to InterconnectNow - Interconnected Technologies' blog about technology and other items of interest to small businesses and individuals.

The topics here will usually deal with productivity-enhancing technologies of interest to small businesses and individuals, but are often of broader interest.  Productivity is the goal of all of this technology that we use. Enabling productivity through refining or adding technology-based capabilities is what we're obsessed with at Interconnected Technologies, and so this blog is dedicated to discussions of all things related to that.


Entries in Cellular technology (23)


How to back up, wipe and recover a Palm Pre, when you want to!


The Palm Pre is a magnificent device.

Sure, it's got things that any one reviewer could pick at, but all in all, and especially when one considers that it's a brand new piece of hardware (in June 09) and a brand new operating system (in June 09), it's a spectacular achievement!

Just as the PalmOS/Treo/Centro devices had their method (hotsync, with some Activesync later) for sync/backup, so does the Pre, but it's different. The Pre is designed to be a "cloud device." That is, just as PalmOS devices were designed to hotsync, the Pre is designed to sync with the cloud, not with any given computer. This is more like the traditional BlackBerry method. Very similar in fact, except that the Pre doesn't have an analog to the BlackBerry Desktop Manager, which was RIM's (not very good) tool to sync a BlackBerry with a given computer.

Now, NOT being tied down to any given computer is a great thing, and the Pre allows users to do this by syncing with Google (for free) or Exchange (for fee, usually), over the air, in real time.

HOWEVER, there is stuff on the Pre that isn't backed up anywhere, and so if you lose the Pre or it gets stolen or destroyed, you will lose some stuff if you don't take steps. The good news is that these steps are pretty easy to take. It should be pointed out that the iPhone, the Droid, and the BlackBerry all "suffer" from this situation - it's not unique to the Pre.

So, here's one man's approach, for the Pre. This is highly tailored for MY Pre, but the methods generalize to any Pre and probably, really any similar device.


Since my email, contact, calendar and task information live in Exchange, I don't have to worry about backing that up. The Pre is just a subset of that, and the vital stuff is preserved regardless of the status of the Pre.

For Memos/Notes, I use Evernote, and the worry about backup is similarly not present.

Were I using Google (Apps or Gmail), I'd have to worry about tasks, since they don't sync between the Pre (or anything) and Google, yet, but I'm not so I don't. If I were, I don't know how I'd handle that. Perhaps some Google user could fill that in. Maybe I'd use Remember the Milk, or one of those web-based todo apps. I think there's even a Pre app that interfaces with one of them. With Exchange, I don't have to worry about this.

The normal Palm Profile function appears to back up and restore purchased apps.

For the "irreplaceable" stuff, l I use my favorite backup tool, Second Copy (www.secondcopy.com<http://www.secondcopy.com>) to do two different types of backups:

1... Occasionally I back up the AmazonMP3, ClassicApps and DCIM folders from the Pre to a folder on my laptop. That captures purchased music, my Handyshopper database, and pictures I've taken, respectively. This is the rest of the irreplaceable information on the Pre about which I care.

2... Less occasionally (rarely, but certainly before wiping and starting over, such as when I received the replacement Pre, or last night when I just wanted to start fresh since I'd patched and then updated the Pre (don't try this at home; it's a big nono; not something a "regular" user would do; not something one can do without a lot of work!; and not a good idea ), resulting in some odd behavior, I have another backup profile in Second Copy that backs up everything but music (since the music is just sync'd from Windows Media Player in the first place, no need to back it up) to a folder on my laptop.

With the above, I feel pretty OK about things. I don't know how to preserve and restore text messages, but I don't really care.So, I have a pretty streamlined, efficient way of managing backup/recovery that I've only had to use by choice. Of course, if I lost my Pre or if it were stolen, that would be an instance of using it NOT by choice, and I'd hope I'd done a fairly recent backup of the type in #1, above, to preserve the irreplaceable stuff. The vital stuff (email, calendar, contacts, tasks) is kept in sync in real time over the air all the time.


OK, so it's time to start fresh for the new year. I've applied Palm maintenance twice now recently, both times forgetting to remove patches before doing so! The result is that I now have a whole TON of apps that will not run, only offering the choice to update, but they will not update, either, failing each time. A delicious Catch 22 out of which I've not been able to get! I did this to myself; no fault of Palm or WebOS.

These are the apps I use:

(the ones that say "not restored" next to them were not restored from my Palm Profile after the reset; these are HomeBrew apps, and Palm makes no claim to backing THOSE up!)

* Accuweather

* Amazon Deals

* AutoCorrectEdit (not restored)

* BADD Flashlight (not restored)

* Bestbuy

* BlocknRoll (not restored)

* Bubble Level

* Bubbles! (free)

* Checkers

* Classic

* CoinFlip

* DevMode Launcher (not restored)

* Evernote

* Express Horoscopes

* Express Stocks

* Facebook

* fileCoaster (not restored)

* findMyCar (not restored)

* FlightView

* FMLshake (not restored)

* Free Books

* gDial Pro

* Get Starbucks (not restored)

* Glad That's Not Me Trial (not restored)

* GoodFood

* iWorld Atlas (not restored)

* Keyring (not restored)

* Launchpoint

* Mobile by Citysearch

* Music Wish List

* My Notification (not restored)

* myIP (not restored)

* Net2Streams Beta (not restored)

* Nodoze (not restored)

* OpenTable

* Package Manager Service (not restored)

* Pandora

* PDF View

* PhotoDialer

* photoWALL

* PreChess (not restored)

* PreJeweled (not restored)

* PrePod (not restored)

* PreVino (not restored)

* Preware (not restored)

* RadioTime

* Scientific Calculator

* Screamit (not restored)

* Send My Location

* Shopping Manager (not restored)

* Slipslide (not restored)

* Solitaire (not restored)

* Stopwatch / Timer (not restored)

* Sudoku

* Tic Tac Toe for WebOS

* Tic Tac Toe Free

* Topple Ball Mini

* Topple Maze (not restored)

* Tweed

* Unit Wizard (not restored)


* White light (not restored)

* Word Clock

* Yule Log (not restored)

OK, I don't actually USE all of those, but I have them! The ones that don't get restored automatically will present me with an opportunity to decide whether I really want them.

Time to wipe the Pre - FULL RESET! I've never done this before; should be interesting.

Not before backing it up, of course, though! One quick full backup, as described, above.

Backup, Reset, and a fresh, new Pre! Enter the Palm Profile info and it starts restoring.

. . . a few minutes pass . . .

OK, well this is fun! Now, only two apps are failing in the way so many were before: Flightview and Sudoku. Deleted both of them. I'll put Flightview back on later (handy little app). I don't really play Sudoku.

Ah, and as expected, the program for which I use Classic (Handyshopper) is gone, as is its data. Need to restore Handyshopper and data (which, of course, were backed up). Copy the .prc file and the .pdb file to the Classic Install folder, and I'm done!

Now, I need to re-learn how to install Preware so I can mess things up again! :) It's not entirely clearly documented, even now, but it starts here: http://www.webos-internals.org/wiki/Application:Preware, which will eventually get you here:

I have all the prereqs already in place (not for the faint of heart!), and remembered to put the Pre in developer mode.

OK, Preware installed.

Now, to put back in my patches:

Palm really should implement these, so I don't need the patches:

* 4x4 icons v3

* Brightness in Device Menu

* Call Duration in Call Log

* Enable landscape email

* Improved filename format

* Repeat Reminder Notifies

* Reset to first page

* Timestamp - builtin


This one's fun, but I worry about wearing out the flash by using it. Still, fun to show off, especially since my daughter's Droid has this: Flashlight in Device Menu.


Patches all added.


OK, I'm not done yet. My pictures, wallpaper, documents (all backed up, yes) need to be put back. With the Pre in USB mode again, I just copy my pictures and documents back onto the Pre. Finally, every time I start over from scratch (3 times now: replacement #1, replacement #2 and last night because I wanted to) I have to reassign pictures to contacts (they get remembered and restored, but only in the smaller versions kept by Exchange, since Exchange keeps small thumbnails of contact pictures for its use), which takes maybe 10 minutes, and recreate LaunchPoint shortcuts to my most frequent callers (which takes all of 3 minutes).

That's it!

It's not as simple as Hotsync, or even the (pretty poorly made) BlackBerry desktop manager, and I'm sure Palm will provide something, or someone will, that automates all of this, but it's not really all that tough - even simpler if you don't have Classic or Presync apps and can skip those parts!


Zagg invisibleSHIELD 

Over the years I've used these amazing products to protect all sorts of mobile devices. They really are very impressive! If you don't know about them, look:


For my Palm Pre I tried twice to put them on correctly, and gave up. I'd ended up with bubbles and with them not fitting correctly and with parts not sticking well. I also tried other, lesser shields, and found them utterly devoid of value (i.e., they sucked).


Eureka! My daughter was at the mall and found that Zagg has now franchised kiosks (they call them Mall Carts) in malls where enterprising young people who put these things on all day long are there to, well, put these things on all day long! She had them put one on the screen of her new Droid, and they did an excellent job.

Today, I visited the kios . . . I mean Mall Cart and the enterprising young gentleman put an invisibleSHIELD on my Pre. It's perfect! They have tricks, you see, to get it to come out right. I know the tricks now, but I still would be MORE than willing to pay them the $5 service charge to have them do it. They have a 7-day guarantee - if it's not right, they'll do it again! Also, they have a new device guarantee. If I have to return my Pre for a replacement, they'll put an invisibleSHIELD on the new one for just the $5 service charge, waiving the (in the case of the Pre) $15 cost of the product itself.

Why don't they make the screens and backs out of this stuff? Maybe that's next!


Before you buy an iPhone . . .

This article mirrors my experience with iPhone users (since I have little experience with the iPhone).  Cool device, poor phone service.  That kills it for me.  You?



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.


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:


Download and install RFBackup from here:


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.


Don's Pre-orities

Herewith, my first assessment of the Palm Pre.  It's not very detailed, and it's not complete, but it focuses the discussion: starting with what's most important, and working its way down from there!

I preface this by saying that with a background of using every device Palm ever made (and a couple by Sony, too), starting with a Pilot 1000 and going through the Centro, and having then jumped ship for a Blackberry Curve for about a year, I LOVE the Pre.  My Curve is in the drawer, and I haven't looked back, other than to see what the BB can do that the Pre can't, yet, and to capture some of that, here, along with some things from the Treo/Centro that Palm should put back in!

Did I mention that I LOVE the Pre?

You can read more here:




Palm Pre-orities


Priority 1: Reliable device

This is the highest priority - the thing without which all the rest is meaningless. This is where Windows Mobile fell down again and again, where the Storm 1 was deficient, and where PalmOS increasingly showed cracks. I've had the Pre for almost a month and don't even know how to reset it. No resets, no locking up, no performance lags. Synchronization with Exchange is quick and so far without errors. Media sync with iTunes is the same – it just works. Sync with Google Apps, to the limited extent to which I’ve used it, also works flawlessly.

Areas for improvement

1. Battery life not great. Good news is that I can have a spare - take that iPhone!


Addenda regarding usability:

I had to get a replacement device.  It was a trivial thing - a vertical stripe down the middle of the "viewfinder" when using the camera - but not something that one should have to deal with in a new device.  The Verity Sprint store replaced the device, and here's what happened:

  1. At my computer:  Copied my pictures off the old device.
  2. At the store:  Full wipe of the old device (one command, that could have been done remotely).
  3. At the store: Let the new device start up.   Put in my Palm Profile email address and password.
  4. Nearly everything then came flooding down onto the device: Apps, my Exchange profile (which immediately began syncing), my Google profile (which immediately began syncing.
  5. Put my photos back on the device, and sync'd again with iTunes.
  6. What was missing:  launcher configuration reverted to the default placement of icons; launcher shortcuts to contacts were gone; Classic reverted to Trial mode (MotionApps says it can take up to 48 hours to activate), and HandyShopper (and its databases) vanished (I have a trouble ticket open with MotionApps on this); pictures associated with contacts reverted to poor quality thumbnails that come from the sync with Exchange (which themselves came from setting them up on the Pre); web bookmarks are gone; SMS threads are gone; keyboard shortcuts are gone.  None of this is vital.   

The Pre was functional in about 30 seconds, and everything that was going to be on it was on it before I left the store (about 10 minutes).  There is nothing else like this (even with the issues in #6, above) in my experience of moving from one device to another (and as my frequent readers know, I do move from one device to another!!).  I guess it will be nice to fully understand how to backup/restore the items missing in #6.  With a Treo or BB one would back up (most of) that stuff to a computer and then restore (most of) it.  With the Pre there seems to be no way to do that, so it's an area they need to address.


Palm Pre-orities


Priority 2: Great phone

Clarity and signal reception are at least as good as any other device I've used on Sprint - Treo, Centro, Pearl, Curve. Sprint performs better in my area (60 mile radius around Denver) than the other three carriers. The Pre's design makes it very easy to use, and the real keyboard makes all text-based functions easy to do accurately. While the keyboard can be a bit off-putting initially, it actually gives me fewer double-key-presses than the Curve did! The vertical keyboard makes one-handed use easy. Putting contacts directly on a launcher page is fun! One can put “t” for one second delay and “p” for hard pause inline in a phone number to control after-dialing entry of digits.

Areas for improvement

1. Many will miss the Treo/Centro “Favorites” pages. Putting shortcuts to contacts on a launcher page mitigates this somewhat, but it’s still a two-step process to dial a favorite phone number, and there are only 3 pages in the launcher, which limits space to put them compared to the Treo/Centro.

2. Need more than three launcher pages.

3. Little button on the bottom front is totally useless, but it's pretty and doesn't get in the way. Maybe somebody has plans for it?

4. Phone really needs call log function - just the ability to know how LONG a call was, and the exact time, would be great!

5. Need separate sounds for all events - ringer, alarm, notification, SMS, etc.  A full implementation of profiles, like the Blackberry, would be nice, but something short of that would be OK.

6. Bluetooth device speed dial and voice command functions don’t work. It would be nice if this were brought up at least to the level of the Curve.

7. The far right button on the main row of applications should be assigned to something else, since the same function can be had by just swiping up!



Palm Pre-orities


Priority 3: Great PIM

Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, Notes. The visual aspects of these are great. The Calendar is very intuitive and easy to use. Contacts are easy to manipulate, although with the global search one won't need to open the Contacts app very often. Having multiple task lists is nice, unless you rely on syncing with Exchange, where having one task list is the norm.

Areas for improvement

1. The task list is rudimentary - needs sorting, filtering, categorization. In particular, the task list should maintain its current ability to sort by creation date (VERY USEFUL and nobody else has it!!) (See Mark Forster's Autofocus system), and the search as you go narrowing the list (which is wonderful!), but add the ability to sort by other dates, priority, category, etc.

2. Notes app needs something to sync with - a desktop component - Hey! Outlook has notes - let's sync with that!

3. Multiple task lists need a PC-based SOMETHING to sync with. Syncing with multiple task lists in Exchange or multiple task lists in Google Apps would be nice!

4. Contacts should allow one to move a contact from one source to another, like the calendar does. This would allow one to look up and add a business in Where, and then move it to the "real" address book, sync'd with either Exchange or Google Apps.

5. Need to be able to exit a text field without saving, in case of error.

6. Scrolling from day to day in the calendar needs to be MUCH faster. Right now one has to wait 2-3 times as long as one would want to in order to just flick through the days to get to a given day.

7. Deleting things from the calendar takes too many steps.



Palm Pre-orities


Priority 4: Other

Replacement device:


Pre can replace a Calculator, Navigation system, Music player, camera, Alarm Clock, and Laptop broadband – WOOPS!! That last one isn’t there yet.


For laptop users, the Pre can reduce the need to refer to the laptop for email. Web browsing and map lookup. With higher screen resolution one can get a tolerably good experience using the Pre instead of a laptop for some functions. Some web sites are built in such a way that they don't work very well on a small screen, and there are some technologies that aren't yet implemented (Flash? Ajax?)


Text functions:


Email, SMS and MMS work very well. How nice to have REAL MMS!! Not that I use it all the time, but I can, the pictures are good enough to send, and I no longer have to mess with (or pay for) stupid stupid stupid Picturemail. The threaded SMS is lovely, as it was on the Treo/Centro.

It breaks long SMS messages into multiple outbound messages – w00t!

Email should be more configurable - number, date range, filtering


Areas for improvement

1. NEED TETHERING!! Bluetooth would be OK. Ad Hoc Wifi would be cooler!

2. Email should switch to landscape mode when rotated. There is a "hack" for this., but it should just do it!

3. Google Maps should be able to copy name, address, phone, etc. to the address book like it can on the Treo/Centro

4. Quicktext should be added back in as on the Treo/Centro

5. Emoticons should be added back in as with the Treo/Centro

6. Need more apps in the App Catalog!!

7. iHeartRadio

8. Nobex Radio Companion

9. Basically every app out there for the iPhone


Palm Pre-orities


Priority 5: Tips and tricks

One of the great things about PalmOS was that there were tricks and third party software to accomplish almost anything. I’m accumulating some tricks that are important to me, here.

Email in Landscape, until Palm turns this feature on for real

Gennadiy sends in a tip that's in the same vein as the now-famous Konami Code developer mode trick, but is much more useful to your average user: viewing email in Landscape mode! Here's how: when in your mailbox listing view (i.e. the top of the email app), type in RocknRollHax. It helps if you hold down Shift+ the key for the capitalized letters instead of hitting them in sequence. As Gennadiy writes, type as follows:


Hold Shift + R


Hold Shift + R


Hold Shift + H


Screen capture

You can take a screenshot of whatever is on screen by pressing orange key + shift + P all at the same time. It creates a screenshots folder in Photos and saves the image. Also you find the image in the USB partition when you hook up Pre as a USB drive."










Addenda regarding tips and tricks:


Tethering:  I do not include this above, since Sprint/Palm have still not enabled this officially.  I got a pretty good inside view of the fact that one can not only hack the Pre to enable tethering via bluetooth, but, even better, that one can enable "tethering" by turning on ad-hoc wifi networking, and enabling internet sharing through that mechanism.  Bluetooth is a poor protocol for many reasons.  As long as wifi doesn't drain the battery faster than Bluetooth, wifi tethering would be the way to go!