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Old 01-01-2005, 12:31 AM   #1
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PalmOS to Pocket PC: Part II - Conversion

This is Part II of an article describing my conversion from a PalmOS Sony Clie to a Toshiba e405 Pocket PC. Click here for Part I To recap briefly, my motivation for switching was multi-fold:
* I had to replace my Clie soon
* The current Palm PDA hardware just didn't excite me
* I like to try new things, and this seemed like a good time to try PPC
* There was a special on www.woot.com for a $150 refurbished Toshiba (if you haven't tried Woot, give it a look!)
* It looked like it might be a while until Cobalt gets straightened out
* PalmOne and Tapwave seemed to be the only significant sources of Palm devices, and one was dedicated to smartphones, the other gaming handhelds.
...So, bottom line, I decided to make the plunge even though I really prefer the simplicity and efficiency of the "zen of Palm."

Data Conversion
The most serious part of this exercise was the conversion of data. For me, this was exacerbated by the hundreds of pages of organized and categorized and formated data. Certainly a large part was Calendar, Memo, ToDo and Contact data in the basic PIM apps. But there was also a lot of other stuff. My copy of ShadowPlan outliner had most of it, but also things like ebooks, encrypted passwords, HandyShopper, etc etc.

You really have two options for the basic PIM data...
1) Manually re-enter it by copy and paste from the desktop PC, and manual entry on the PPC where necessary
2) Automatic conversion from Palm Desktop to Outlook

I chose #2 for the basic PIM data in the 4 basic Palm PIM apps. My free solution was Stratabase Resync. It worked okay, but didn't give me that warm satisfied feeling like everything worked well. You may want to do a printout of your Palm address list as a minimum to check and see if everything went according to plan. In my case, I printed to a .pdf file, which seemed like a convenient way to go.

If you have a way to sync directly to Outlook (which is the required desktop PIM app for Pocket PC to sync to), you are all set. Just sync your data to Outlook and then set up your PPC. The data will be there. Note, however, that due to a restriction in Activesync, all the memo notes will be synched to the MyDocuments folder on your PPC, with no folders for categories, or even a subfolder to hold all the notes. They're just thrown in along with everything else. I didn't like this, so I found an alternative, Tombo, which I think is much better anyway. More later, when I list the apps I'm using and how they compare to my old Palm apps.

Other Sources Of Info On The Web
There are a number of reviews out there comparing Palm and PPC, and discussing conversion. Very interesting reading, but you have to remember that they are all somewhat biased based on what they have previous experience with, and what the author cares about. (Just like this article is baised because of my background and preferences.) Plus a lot of the articles doing comparisons are pretty old, so they may not really reflect the newer features, especially for Palm.
To give you a sample of how popular this subject is, here are a few links I found with just a quick search on Google...
http://www.clieuk.co.uk/vs.htm
http://www.cewindows.net/faqs/convertpalm.htm
http://computertimes.asia1.com.sg/sp...,1554,00.html?
http://www.pdabuyersguide.com/tips/palm_vs_pocketpc.htm
http://palmtops.about.com/od/pda101/l/blchart.htm
http://www.palmone.com/us/solutions/...ogo/chart.html
http://www.clieuk.co.uk/bye.shtml
http://www.comp-talk.co.uk/Articles/POS%20v%20PPC.htm
http://www.writingonyourpalm.net/column010924.htm
http://www.writingonyourpalm.net/column011001.htm
http://palmtops.about.com/cs/pdafact..._Pocket_PC.htm
http://www.pcworld.com/howto/article...,111825,00.asp

Okay, so suppose you've survived the core conversion and you have your PPC set up and you have all your basic PIM data over there. Now what? In my case, it was a very manual process of trial and error to get the right programs to hold my data effectively, and then to cut and paste everything over into the new format and organization. After many false starts I think I've come up with a plan that works well. For me it does, anyway!

Software Replacements on PPC
Here are the basics that I used (Palm -> PPC):

* DateBk5 -> Pocket Informant (PI)
You gotta try PI! My favorite benefits are the weekly view with text in boxes (you may have to set vertical or horizontal orientation of the day layout to get it to look like you want) and the monthly view that lets you have a full month calendar on the screen, and when you tap any day it shows the appointments in a list just below the month calendar. Wonderful!

* Graffiti -> Fitaly
You don't need Fitaly, of course, but I just hated the PPC built-in input methods. I do like, however the PPC method of chosing the input method from a drop down box you can access at the time of input.

* SecureIt (password vault) -> eWallet
I like eWallet both because it has a desktop app available, and because it has a Palm version in case I go back to PalmOS.

* Handy Shopper -> Handy Shopper!
And even better, the data files can be copied directly!

* MyBible -> PocketBible (also from Laridian, and has NIV)
But eSword is what I'm actually using right now. Free and has a lot of commentaries and resource materials available. Can buy NASB for it. I use Modern King James Version right now, and it is adequate. But I miss the NIV.

* Sony Backup Software -> Sprite Professional
I can't understand why the default is to backup to the internal Flash ROM on my Toshiba (that ROM gets cleared out in a hard reset), but fortunately the default can be changed in advanced mode. The scheduled backup is what I like, and you can set all the parameters like target and what to backup, etc. I am running it on schedule each day at 3:30am when (hopefully) I am sleeping. Then I hope to get an xcopy batch file working to automatically copy the contents of the SD card to my PC using a card reader. Not sure if that will work yet, but it would really simlify and speed up things if it does. Right now, even though the SD card contents doesn't change much, I end up copying it all for every backup, and that takes a long time.

* MemoPad & ShadowPlan -> Tombo
This is a free and wonderful app. Slick, fast and reliable. It stores each "memo" as a text file, but you can do categories and they show up as folders. I miss Shadow, but not as much now that I'm using Tombo. I haven't seen a single other app that works well for me in the memopad/outliner category.

* Patience (Solitaire) -> ??
This is one of the programs I miss a lot. I loved the version on Palm because it was fast and slick and you could double tap cards to play and move them. On PPC, cards look ugly and the UI is awful in my opinion. Solitaire City improves on the look I think, but until the UI improves with tappable play, I'll pass. Instead, my mind-numbing game has become PDAMills Gamebox Asia (Mahjongg). It's a lot of fun. Lots of game emulators are available on PPC also, but that's not really my thing. Until I figure out how to do it and how to play the games... Then I may be hooked!

* iSilo -> iSilo! Yippee! That's a big deal to me and I'm glad the PPC version is almost as good as the Palm version.

* eReader -> eReader! Another big deal for me that things are interchangable. See my tip for how to use bold fonts for reading.. http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...2928#post12928

* Adobe Acrobat Reader -> Adobe Acrobat Reader!
This works much better for me on my Toshiba because of the faster processor. On the Clie, it was so slow turning pages I just gave up.

* Noah Free Dictionary -> Pocket Dict

* DocsToGo -> MS Pocket Excel and Word
This is a sad comparison as DocsToGo is much better, even in the very old versions I was using on my Clie!

* FileZ -> Resco Explorer
I didn't buy it, though, because I so far have been surviving with the built-in file explorer in Win Mobile 2003 SE.

* Launcher -> Multiple options, but you will want a task manager.
I'm using a combo of SPB Pocket Plus for the Today Screen Launcher with tabs, vBar for the task switcher that allows you to switch apps or close apps, and program menu plus which is a cascading start menu very nice for app launching.
But there are many other options like WisBar Advance and cLaunch (tabbed today launcher like Pocket Plus, but free) and Pocket Launcher (a full-screen tabbed launcher like Palm which seems to also work with WisBar Advance) and many more.

Lots of other stuff is available, of course. Multimedia players, Karaoke, Pocket Streets is nice, Vade Mecum and Sunrise are a nice combo, email, voice recorder, journaling, photo albums, time accounting, skype VOIP, etc etc The list goes on and on!

For the freeware, be sure to check at...
http://www.freewareppc.com/ and
http://www.pocketpcfreewares.com/en/index.php

Well, that's it for now. Hope that is helpful info for someone moving from Palm to PocketPC!
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Old 01-01-2005, 03:11 AM   #2
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Notes: Try HPC Pro (Shareware)

Solitaire: Try King Sol (shareware)

You did mention Vade Mecum, for the clueless it is Plucker for Pocket PC.

One thing I dislike about Pocket Pc is Activesync, it's just harder to recover data after a hard reset. Things on Outlook stays there but most of the datas created by applications are not backup unless you specifically tell activesync to do a complete backup (which takes a long time). Backup to card is still the way to go (keep a spare at home), since if you somehow lost the handheld, so goes too the card.
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Old 01-01-2005, 02:06 PM   #3
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Bob this is a wonderful guide for every Palm OS user curious enough to attempt the switch I wish I had had it a couple of weeks earlier, it probably could have saved me from one or two hard-resets

What I really don't like is the tight integration of Activesync - Outlook - PPC. Ever since using Windows, I've been able to avoid using (and/or installing) Outlook (including its "Express" incarnation), and I don't want to change this just because of my newly aquired Pocket PC.

In other words, I've entered *all* my personal contacts and notes by hand directly with the stylus. Don't ask me how much my hand hurt afterwards.

I looked at Pocket Informant and I think it is the best PIM for Pocket PC. Some people swear for Agenda Fusion, but I am still horrified of all the small programs and shortcuts it installed on my PDA. Plus, it just doesn't look as good in VGA mode.

I never tried Fitality. In fact, I am using the boring "Keyboard" input method that comes with WM2003SE, and I am quite happy with it.

Sprite Professional rocks! I recommend everyone who has important data to be backuped to purchase this little application. With the included desktop component installed, it allows me to backup my all data (including rom storage and external card) via wireless over TCPIP to my home PC workstation! The only feature I miss is incremental backup (backing up a 1GB SD card takes some time, even via WiFi).

Of the readers, I have iSilo, Vade Mecum, Mobireader, and eReader Pro installed. The latter two required additional patching to support WM2003 VGA.

As a launcher addon I can recommend Magic Button; it is free, very light-weight (<100kb) and very stable.
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Old 01-05-2005, 07:11 PM   #4
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Question eReader Transition smoothless

Hi,

a very interesting and thorough article, even if I am not inclined yet to switch from my Clie TH55 to a PPC device.

I have one question re: one of your Yippies: You mention that the transition from eReader for Palm to eReader for PPC went smooth. What would me, as an avid ebook reader, hinder to switch platforms is that I thought that the licenses for all secure ebooks I have purchased from eReader.com or Fictionwise are not transferable to another platform. Is this not true?

I always hated this legacy issue about the eReader platform, but would be amazed to learn that licenses bought for my Palm device would be still active with a PPC device.

Thanks for letting me know, and good luck in the PPC world,
GB
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Old 01-05-2005, 07:26 PM   #5
Bob Russell
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I can't speak to the Fictionwise issue, but I had no problem with converting eReader books from one platform to the other. If I remember correctly, the same key works just as it did on the previous platform. Very slick!
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Old 01-05-2005, 07:35 PM   #6
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GB, eReader e-books are transferable, unlike it is not the case with some other DRM-formats such as Mobipocket. All you'd need to do is to reenter your Credit Card information again.

Keep in mind though that eReader Pro requires a new license, i.e. you would have to pay another $9.95 for the PocketPC reader (if you want the PRO version that is).
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Old 01-06-2005, 04:34 PM   #7
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Hi,

thanks for your replies, very true indeed. The RTFM-Award goes to myself, as found at Fictionwise:

"Q: If I change devices from a Palm OS handheld to a PocketPC handheld or vice versa, do I need to re-purchase my eBooks?
A: No, Fictionwise's Palm Reader eBooks are formatted as .pdb files and they work on both Palm OS handhelds and PocketPC/Windows CE devices."

Thanks anyway,
GB
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Old 01-07-2005, 12:11 PM   #8
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You don't enter any credit card information with Mobipocket DRM. You only enter the device identifier (called PID).
The credit card information is not a stable data, as the credit card number may change, overall when using the european e-credit card system, ie your bank gives you a temporary credit card number generated on the fly by the user when doing an online transaction. If the customer loses this number, there is NO WAY to get it back... you lost everything.

Please note that Mobipocket eBooks can be read on any PDA using Mobipocket Reader. When you change your reading device, you just need to update your PID in your online account on the eBookStore where you purchased your eBooks, and download them again.
Unencrypted files are binary compatible between all devices-platforms.
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Old 05-03-2005, 10:44 AM   #9
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eReader can change DRM info easy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mobipocket
...The credit card information is not a stable data, as the credit card number may change...
Changing credit card info with eReader is very easy. Add the new credit card to your account. Then just the click of a button to reset the credit card info in your bookshelf for all the past purchased books! Download the book again and set the info when you open it. Not a problem!

eReader is my favorite ebook reader! I have also used MobiPocket (nice but uses a lot more memory on Palm! It includes AvantGO like features I do not want in a reader) , Adobe Reader, Plucker, and MS Reader. I like that eReader gives away Palm DropBook which I use to make my own professional looking eBooks. They also sell eBook Studio which would probably be an easier way to go, but I can afford the free tools!

So don't let the credit card DRM thing scare you away from using a really nice eBook reader!
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Old 05-03-2005, 11:18 AM   #10
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Bible Software

Quote:
Originally Posted by BobR
...

* MyBible -> PocketBible (also from Laridian, and has NIV)
But eSword is what I'm actually using right now. Free and has a lot of commentaries and resource materials available. Can buy NASB for it. I use Modern King James Version right now, and it is adequate. But I miss the NIV.

...
Have you looked at Olive Tree Bible Software ? This reader is free for both PalmOS and PocketPC and there are several free Bibles for download. Unfortunately you would still have to pay for the NIV version but this Bible file would work on either platform.

Last edited by revincent; 05-03-2005 at 12:26 PM. Reason: to add a title-oops!
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Old 05-03-2005, 12:56 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by revincent
Have you looked at Olive Tree Bible Software ? This reader is free for both PalmOS and PocketPC and there are several free Bibles for download. Unfortunately you would still have to pay for the NIV version but this Bible file would work on either platform.
Yes, I used to use that on Palm before I got Laridians program. It was excellent, even on older Palms without color. It would probably be a good option for some people, and has probably also improved quite a bit since I used it last.

But e-Sword is really awesome. I like the free MKJV translation, and it has a lot of nice add on reference works and commentaries. Including some great standards for Bible dictionaries and commentaries. Message translation is free, and NASB is available for purchase I believe.

For commercial products, Laridian is very nice, and has a relatively new version out. But you have to repurchase for Pocket PC so it can get pretty expensive. Even so, I'm often tempted to get it because it has NIV, and the Daily Readings feature (on Palm at least, don't know if it's in PPC version) is excellent. It also has the particular daily reading plan that I like, which is not available anywhere else to the best of my knowledge.
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