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Old 04-08-2007, 09:48 PM   #1
Chicken Warrior
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Cheap Old Palms

Hey,
I'm a big fan of ebooks but I've never made the 'big purchase' that would allow me to read anywhere but in front of my computer. The problem is, I really don't have enough money to blow on an ebookwise or Sony Reader.

I have seen a lot of old Palm computers (ranging from the IIIe to the Treo 90) for super cheap, new. I have an old computer and OSX w/ classic, so I know these would work with my computer...but would they work with ebooks? How hard is it to get PDFs to something like the Treo? Is the software you can download now from adobe's webpage compatible with older Palm OSs? I don't care too much about screen quality, but I really like the treo for its keyboard. Would it work at all, or would i spend most of my time fiddling around trying to transfer my ebook collection?

Thanks for any advice!

EDIT: Also, would old blackberries work at all? With macs? I have a friend who has a bunch of them that should be unlocked, but he's not using.

EDIT AGAIN: I imagine a Zire 21 would do the job just fine. There's one used locally for 25. Good price?

- CW

Last edited by Chicken Warrior; 04-08-2007 at 10:14 PM.
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Old 04-09-2007, 01:54 AM   #2
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I think my old Palm T3 is probably my favorite reading device. It's compact and the high-rez screen expands when you pull it out. The D-pad is in just the right spot and is big enough to easily press to turn pages. You can customize all the buttons so there is always one near whatever hand you are using to hold the device.

I think I'd still be using it exclusively if the non-replacable battery life wasn't so bad (good battery life for a pda, not if you are going to have the screen on for more than a couple hours a day).

Anybody know of any third-party extended batteries for the T3?
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Old 04-09-2007, 07:16 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flumbo
Anybody know of any third-party extended batteries for the T3?
A random search on eBay reveals this item. Not sure if this is what you are looking for.

I agree, the T3 is a nice device; it sells on eBay for around $120.
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Old 04-09-2007, 12:13 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicken Warrior
Hey,
I have seen a lot of old Palm computers (ranging from the IIIe to the Treo 90) for super cheap, new. I have an old computer and OSX w/ classic, so I know these would work with my computer...but would they work with ebooks? How hard is it to get PDFs to something like the Treo? Is the software you can download now from adobe's webpage compatible with older Palm OSs? I don't care too much about screen quality, but I really like the treo for its keyboard. Would it work at all, or would i spend most of my time fiddling around trying to transfer my ebook collection?

EDIT AGAIN: I imagine a Zire 21 would do the job just fine. There's one used locally for 25. Good price?
- CW
The Zire 21 has a low-resolution screen compared to other Palms. If you need a cheap Palm, I would suggest the Zire 71 which has a standard 320x320 screen.

As for ebook formats, PDFs are not the right choice on PDAs due to the limited screen size. Much better to use Plucker, or Mobipocket, or plain txt files with PalmFiction.
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Old 04-09-2007, 12:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flumbo
Anybody know of any third-party extended batteries for the T3?
You can buy a 1100ma (vs the standard T3 900ma) replacement battery on ebay for less than 10 dollars. Replacing it is a 5 min. job. With the new battery, I can watch a full movie in DiVX before i get below 20% power.
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Old 04-09-2007, 12:35 PM   #6
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The only caveat I'd offer with the T3 (I've carried one or another for ~4 years now) is that the slider feature plays with the digitizer on some units -- after a while, it stops recognizing taps at the extreme bottom and top of the screen, shifting the perceived tap point toward the center.

However, for just reading, I don't expect that would be an issue at all.

On the plus side, the T3 has a very bright screen, particularly compared to the newer LifeDrive or T|X models. (go figure)
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Old 04-09-2007, 12:42 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the tips. Is anyone here using a mid-90s blackberry?

I have a lot of my current ebooks on PDF, so I was hoping there'd be some way to blow up the text size on PDAs. Oh well.
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Old 04-09-2007, 01:16 PM   #8
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Adobe does have a (free) version of their Acrobat Reader for Palm: http://www.adobe.com/products/acroba...erforpalm.html

I've used it some, and it's not bad. A bit slow, and the file sizes tend to be ... a bit large, but there you go.
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Old 04-09-2007, 03:02 PM   #9
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Device: PocketBook 360, before it was Sony Reader, cassiopeia A-20
cassiopeia A-20, or even an older version Cassiopeia A-11.
it has large LDC display - not the modern LCD but the kind seen on old digital watches.

- *large* screen (much larger than a typical PDA)
- robust clam-shell construction
- processor and memory are slow/small enough to make the device almost wortheless as PDA - it means you can buy one for peanuts
- there is almost no SW aviable, but I have been reading ebooks using built-in Word for years. - so it is almost unuseable as PDA and therfore cheap.
- it has qwerty keyborad. You can replace strange characters in book files, you can search files, you can [almost] touch type notes
- it has interface for CF card. You load it with 1GB card amd you can carry entire library on it
- (for Cassiopeia A-11 you have to use a standard PCMCIA adapter for CF card (available for 10 bucks))
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Old 04-09-2007, 05:00 PM   #10
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you can use PalmPDF on PALM OS5 PDA, it supports native PDF on most PALM, I use it on my TT3, TC, it works well.
It's the best, if you really want read PDF on your PALM, but frankly, I will not do that.
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Old 04-09-2007, 05:28 PM   #11
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You're probably not talking about a palm as old as the one I have (IIIxe), but keep in mind if you want to hook it to a Mac you need a USB cradle, not serial.
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Old 04-09-2007, 08:13 PM   #12
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...or you can use a Serial-USB converter. I have the predecessor of this model from Keyspan. This one is quite pricey and I got mine with an old PalmV off eBay*, but maybe they are easier available then USB-Cradles for a specific model.
I have not tried this adapter on a Mac (Keyspan supports Mac), but it works well with linux (kernel driver).

From my own experience with Palm powered devices (IIIxe, m500, Clié SL-10) I would recommend a monochrome device (I never had a color one, avoided them till now ), they have a good battery life (I get about 8-12 hours reading time, depending on the battery set) and are quite cheap at eBay. If the device uses replaceble batteries, you can put in a spare set of rechargeables (or alkalines) and extend the runtime on the road, but there is a small chance of memory loss...
The backlight is ok to read in the dark.

*bargain: PalmV, cradle, 3 styli, this adapter, a nice leather wallet ("used look" ) and screen protectors complete for ~12 Euros
It was the last palm I bought sofar, I don't use it as eBook reader cause I have my Clié and it only has 2MB.
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Old 04-09-2007, 08:48 PM   #13
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I've tried USB/serial converters on the Mac and never gotten one to work. The web is rife with stories of those who've tried and failed, whether using Keyspan, the Palm brand converter, or whatever. Not that it never works for anyone, just that something seems to be tricky about it. Just thought I'd pass that along.
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Old 04-09-2007, 08:56 PM   #14
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Thanks for the clarification. As I wrote, I have no experience in interfacing serial devices with macs. But with linux it worked for me as expected .
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Old 04-13-2007, 05:30 PM   #15
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One More Question...

When Palm's require 'admin activation' on OSX, does this just mean the 'admin' of your OS needs to be the one to hook it up to the comp, or does it require some code you get with the palm new?
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