PalmPilot: The Ultimate Guide


3Com's PalmPilot is the world's bestselling hand-held computer platform. In three years, its 16 models from 5 different manufacturers have captured 80 percent of the palmtop market. About the size of a playing card, Palm devices are lightweight (under 6 ounces), offering two-month battery life, handwriting recognition, Internet connectivity, and a touch-screen display. Above all, these devices are fast and elegantly designed.

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3Com's PalmPilot is the world's bestselling hand-held computer platform. In three years, its 16 models from 5 different manufacturers have captured 80 percent of the palmtop market. About the size of a playing card, Palm devices are lightweight (under 6 ounces), offering two-month battery life, handwriting recognition, Internet connectivity, and a touch-screen display. Above all, these devices are fast and elegantly designed.

PalmPilot: The Ultimate Guide became an instant classic when it debuted in 1998, becoming, and remaining, the #1 bestselling Palm book (and a Top Ten title among all computer books) every month since. Dense with previously undocumented information, this newly updated bible for Palm users contains hundreds of timesaving tips and surprising tricks, plus a CD-ROM containing over 3,100 Palm programs. The second edition offers exclusive insider coverage of all models, including 1999's Palm IIIx, Palm V, laser-equipped Symbol 1500, and the revolutionary, wireless Palm VII.

The book is divided into five sections:

  • Section One details every hardware and software aspect of PalmPilot as it comes out of the box: the stylus and screen, the buttons, and the current line of models. A tutorial takes the reader through the palmtop's preferences and settings panels, teaches the Graffiti alphabet, and unearths surprising features of the machine's eight built-in programs.
  • Section Two explains step-by-step how your PalmPilot can work with your PC: how data gets from your palmtop to your desktop computer and back again (HotSyncing). New chapters give special coverage to the separate Windows and Macintosh (Mac Pac 2.0) versions of Palm Desktop, which duplicates the functions of the PalmPilot (calendar, phone book, to-do list, memo pad, email, and expense tracking) on the desktop machine.
  • Section Three takes the reader beyond the built-in Palm software to the best of the add-on programs included with the book. They include such graphics programs as DinkyPad, TealPaint, and the amazing ImageViewer (which unlocks the "black-and-white" Pilot screen's grayscale features); electronic books in Doc format; and music programs that use the hand-held¹s built-in speaker. New in this edition: how-to advice for using PalmPilot database programs to collect data in the field, and syncing them with such popular PC programs as FileMaker and Microsoft Access.
  • Section Four covers the new Palm VII, the first one-piece, pocket-sized, wireless Internet device ever marketed, offering cell-network-based e-mail and Web access anywhere in the country. As this section makes clear, any PalmPilot model can access the Net when equipped with the tiny PalmPilot modem. Such an arrangement is ideal for reading and replying to email -- a great time-shifter for anyone who'd otherwise consider plane, train, or automobile time as downtime. Additional chapters cover the five Palm Web browsers, paging, faxing, and infrared beaming features.
  • Section Five explains simple ways to troubleshoot both software and hardware, including HotSync snafus and various software glitches. Special chapters cover Palm fans' options for upgrading and accessorizing their palmtops. Two new appendixes debut in this edition; one explains how to write Palm VII Web-querying applets; the other, for the first time, covers the PalmPilot's synergy with Unix and Linux machines.

PalmPilot: The Ultimate Guide, 2nd Edition is the most comprehensive Palm-platform book yet written. With the cooperation of Palm Computing, and 3Com, bestselling computer-book author David Pogue succinctly answers every conceivable question, unlocks Palm features most users never suspected, and radiates the fun, passion, and sense of community shared by Piloteers the world over. The enclosed CD-ROM (for Windows 9x, NT, and the Macintosh) is a disc-based version of the #1 Palm-software Web site,, offering over 3,100 programs organized in a searchable, sortable database catalog with auto-install features and web links. PalmPilot: The Ultimate Guide is the essential guide for the PalmPilot owner.

Geared toward intermediate PalmPilot users, this tutorial and reference is an updated version of a prior publication, PalmPilot : The Ultimate Guide. This edition incorporates the style and format of the first, but covers more enhancements, features and web use information. For maximum benefit, you should be familiar with PalmPilot documentation.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
As of this writing, Pogue's is just about the only book available on Palms, and though it will reward primarily beginners, experienced users can glean plenty of new tips as well. Detailing all the models currently available, the book ranges from Graffiti to web surfing to music composition. The book is well written, the CD-ROM has lots of goodies, and the audience is growing: not only are there many Palm users out there already, but people will want to read this book to decide whether to buy one or not.
Pogue updates his 1998 guide to the brand of tiny computers<-->about the size of a playing card. He adds coverage of new models, and offers practical tips and tricks. The disk, for Windows or Macintosh, contains over 3,000 programs in a searchable, sortable catalog. He does not provide a bibliography. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781565926004
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/9/2000
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 620
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.13 (h) x 1.19 (d)

Meet the Author

David Pogue, a Yale grad and former Broadway conductor, writes the Computer Press Association award-winning back-page column for Macworld magazine. He's the author or coauthor of 15 computer, humor, and music books, including . Macs for Dummies, Opera for Dummies, Classical Music for Dummies, Magic for Dummies, Macworld Mac Secrets, Hard Drive (a novel), The Microsloth Joke Book, and Tales from the Tech Line. Mia Farrow, Carly Simon, Harry Connick, Jr., and Stephen Sondheim are among his computer students. He's a frequent presenter in the Palm Computing booth at national trade shows.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 5: The Other Built-In Programs


When you first begin learning the Graffiti alphabet, you may find Yourself frustrated. "Doggone that letter K!" you might say, "I can never remember what its symbol is supposed to look like!"

To make Graffiti learning more fun, your PalmPilot comes with the world's tiniest arcade game: Giraffe. If you have Palm OS 2, Giraffe probably came pre-installed. On earlier models and Palm III, you have to install Giraffe from the CD-ROM that came with your package; the most recent models don't come with Giraffe at all. (You'll have to hunt for a friend who can beam it to you.)

In either case, the idea behind Giraffe is easy, especially if you played Space invaders as a kid. Think Independence Day, except that the evil marauding aliens from the sky are dressed as alphabet characters. Your job is to shoot them down before they land. The good news is that you don't have to aim., simply firing your weapon is enough to blow up an alien. The bad news is that you fire your weapon only when you correctly draw the Graffiti shape needed to match each falling letter. (See Figure 5-3.)

When you correctly write a letter or number that's falling, it blinks and disappears (accompanied by a tiny chirp). Your score increases by an amount corresponding to your current round (1 through 10). When you write an incorrect Graffiti symbol, the corresponding letter or number appears briefly to the right of the Help button, giving you feedback on what you're doing wrong. And if you simply can't produce the correct Graffiti symbol, the letter reaches the bottom of the screen. Your score decreases by the number of points indicated by the round you're in, and your Crashes counter decreases by one. If the Crashes counter reaches zero, the game's over; thanks to your lousy Graffiti skills, the world becomes overrun by the evil alien alphabet.

If you're stuck on some symbol while playing Giraffe, tap the Help button. Up pops a Graffiti cheat sheet (tap the down-pointing triangle to view additional screens full of symbols). Exit the cheat sheet by tapping the Play button.

Fortunately for you, the invading letter-aliens don't continue their invasion while you're doing Graffiti research; the game pauses for as long as you're in the Help screens. When you return to the game, you'll see that the invading symbols have been frozen in midair. Ten Rounds, Ten Levels

A game of Giraffe has ten rounds, each increasingly difficult - and the higher levels are unbelievably difficult. As Table 5-1 shows, by round 10, you're attacked by 10 characters at a time, and they're ridiculously difficult Graffiti symbols, most requiring two separate pen strokes to draw - ç, ^, §, î, #, and so on. (Wondering what kind of terrific fireworks display you get if you stay alive all the way to the end of round 10? Forget it. According to the programmer, surviving to the end of the game is impossible, saving him the hassle of having to program in a special endgame display.)

Actually, though, the game may test your nerves in much earlier rounds, in a way the designers probably never foresaw: it's sometimes devilishly difficult to discern which letter is falling, because so many look alike. For example, the number 1, lowercase l, capital I, and the vertical stroke ( 1) symbol look nearly identical. The underline (_), hyphen (-), and dash (-) characters are also eye teasers, as are the zero (0) and capital 0.

Now and then, after a perfect round, the PalmPilot will acknowledge your prowess by showing you a tiny movie of a swaying palm tree (because it's a PalmPilot, get it?). If you're the highest scorer so far (for each level setting - Beginner, Intermediate, Expert), a dialog box pops up where you're allowed to write your initials. (To view the current high scorers in each skill category, use the Game menu's High Scores command.)

When you first play Giraffe, you may scoff at its apparent simplicity and sluggishness; it is very easy to knock off one lowercase letter at a time during Round 1. If you like, you can speed things up by tapping Menu - Speed, and then a different skill level: Beginner, Intermediate, or Expert. Be careful, though: a speed setting applies to the entire game, all the way to Round 10. You may find the Expert speed setting fine for Round 1, but you'll be dead meat by Round 7. Likewise, don't try to change the Speed setting in the middle of a great game: changing the skill level forces you to start over with Round 1.

Practice Rounds

Fortunately for easily frustrated Type A types, Giraffe offers a practice mode, where you're not penalized for crashes and the world's future isn't at stake.

To practice, tap Menu - Practice. You're now asked to choose which kinds of characters you need work on: lowercase letters, upper- and lowercase, numbers, punctuation, extended symbols (™, Ý, curly quotes, and so on), and accented symbols (é, ü, î, and the like). The round begins instantly when you make your menu selection - don't tap Start Game; if you do, you'll launch a normal, highstress game of Giraffe, complete with scoring.

To end your practice round, either switch to another program (if you're finished with Giraffe), change your practice-menu setting (to keep practicing), or tap Start Game (to play a regular game of Giraffe).

The Memory/Info Screen

The Memory program (see Figure 5-4), available on every Palm model until the Palm III, serves three important functions. First, it identifies your operating-system version (see Chapter 1, The 3Y5-Inch Powerhouse) at the very top of the window. Second, it shows how full your memory is getting. (Remember, a PalmPilot has no disk drive; the RAM capacity of your PalmPilot is its storage capacity.) Finally, the Memory program lets you remove programs you've added. It's important to remember this final feature, because you might not otherwise think to look in the Memory program for a delete-application function.

Easter Eggs # 3, 4, and 5: The Forbidden Easter Egg

Three witty Easter eggs lurk in the Giraffe game. For example, the phantomlike Sheldon the Dancing Palm Tree (Figure 5-3) usually appears only to masters of the Giraffe counterattack squad-following a perfect round, and even then only if the PalmPilot feels like it. But if you tap the Help button and then draw the Graffiti stroke for the # symbol (tap a dot and then draw a backward capital N), you summon the dancing palm whenever you feel like it.

But there's more. While holding the stylus tip down anywhere in the top strip of the screen (where it says Giraffe, for example), press the plastic Scroll Down button. Giraffe disappears-and in its place is the all-too-familiar DOS error message: "Not ready reading Drive C. Abort, Retry, Fail?" And here you thought you'd escaped Microsoft by buying a PalmPilot...! (To escape the phony error message, tap anywhere.)

Finally, try the only photographic Easter egg on the PalmPilot: the Photo of Two Guys. To make it appear, place your stylus tip near the lower-right comer of the Giraffe screen. While holding it down, press the plastic Scroll Up button at the bottom of the PalmPilot. Presto: a photo of two formally dressed party-goers (and, presumably, Palm Computing employees). Here they are, shown rotated 90 degrees for your viewing pleasure:

Aren't you glad to know what's using up some of your PalmPilot's precious memory?

To view your Memory information, tap the Applications button in the lower-left of your screen to bring up the Applications screen. Tap the Memory icon.

On the Palm III and later models, there's no Memory program. However, the same feature is built right into the Applications launcher - you get to the memory display by tapping Menu - App - Info.

Records Versus Size

As you explore your PalmPilot and its manual, you may occasionally encounter the term record. A record, in Palm-speak, is one morsel of information: a Memo Pad page, for example, or one person in your Address Book, or a To Do item, or an appointment in your Date Book.

At the bottom of the Memory screen, therefore, you can see two buttons for switching the way memory usage is displayed: Records or Size. (The Palm III and later models also offer a Version button that identifies which version you have of each program.) When you tap Records, you see a list of every program installed along with the number of records you've created in that program. The memory bar at the top of the screen, in this case, shows how much memory these records take up relative to your PalmPilot's total memory capacity ("35%," for example; on the Palm III and later, you see the percentage of memory that's free, not used).

If you tap the Size button, on the other hand, you see a list of every program installed along with the memory its records are using up in kilobytes W. In this view, the memory graph at the top of the screen shows you how much RAM is being used in K, plus the number of kilobytes your PalmPilot has available: "541K of 960K," for example.

In either view, if the list of programs is too long to fit on one screen, you'll see scroll-button arrows or a scrollbar at the right side of the screen. Tap them, or press your plastic scroll buttons, to view the rest of the list....

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Table of Contents

ForewordPrefaceThis Is Your PalmPilot Speaking

  • Chapter 1: The 3 × 5-Inch Powerhouse
  • Chapter 2: Setup and Guided Tour
  • Chapter 3: Typing Without a Keyboard
  • Chapter 4: The Four Primary Programs
  • Chapter 5: The Other Built-In Programs
Palm Meets PC
  • Chapter 6: HotSync, Step by Step
  • Chapter 7: Installing New Palm Programs
  • Chapter 8: Palm Desktop: Windows
  • Chapter 9: Palm Desktop: Macintosh
The Undiscovered PalmPilot
  • Chapter 10: PalmPilot: The Electronic Book
  • Chapter 11: The Secret Multimedia World
  • Chapter 12: Database and Number Crunching
The PalmPilot Online
  • Chapter 13: Email Anywhere
  • Chapter 14: The Web in Your Palm
  • Chapter 15: Paging, Faxing, Printing, and Beaming
  • Chapter 16: Palm VII: Wireless Email, Wireless Web
Troubleshooting and Upgrading
  • Chapter 17: Troubleshooting
  • Chapter 18: The Palm Family, Model by Model
  • 100 Programs Worth Knowing About
  • PalmPilot Accessories
  • Piloteers in Cyberspace
  • Writing a Palm VII Query Application (PQA)
  • Unix, Linux, and Palm
Graffiti Quick ReferenceColophon
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