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Observations on the Palm Desktop public beta Apps
After a very very slow download (13.6mb at 936 bytes per second on a cable modem, or roughly four hours!), I have now installed the Palm Desktop for Mac OS X beta software. For many Mac users, this was one of the biggest pains about OS X - many could not get hot synchs to work in Classic, and were forced to reboot in OS 9 simply to synch their Palm devices. The availability of a native version of Palm Desktop eliminates this problem!

After the installation, I spent some time doing a hot synch (my first in literally over a year at home!), and playing with the software a bit. Read the rest of the article for my impressions of the Palm Desktop for Mac OS X public beta...

After the painfully slow download completed, installation was sort-of straightforward. I launched the installer, and it proceeded to find my OS 9 Palm desktop software and wanted to remove it (which surprised me). The only options at this point were "remove" or "cancel and quit the installer". I just told it to go ahead and remove the old one, since I hadn't hot synched anytime in 2001 ;-).

At that point, I noticed an "Uninstaller" app running in the dock, and nothing more seemed to happen. After about five minutes with nothing happening, I used force-quit to quit the Uninstaller, and I immediately saw the "Install Palm Desktop" splash screen. After that, everything went perfectly fine. Although the Uninstaller did not delete my previous installation, if you want to keep it, it may be best to have a backup on a separate, non-mounted disk when you run the installer.

After installation, it was time for the ultimate test - running a hot synch. The connection between my Palm IIIx and my Mac is not what you would call straightforward - the cradle's cord leads to a Mac-to-PC serial converter, then to a true PC serial modem cable which plugs into a Keyspan Twin USB serial adapter, which is then plugged into a powered Asanté four-port USB hub, and then finally into my Mac! I figured if my setup can successfully hot synch, then pretty much anyone's should be able to!

I plugged the Palm into the 2nd port on the Keyspan adapter (I'm using the 1.01GM Keyspan drivers), and tried to hot synch. Nothing happened. So I moved the Palm to the first port, tried again, and everything worked fine. I have no idea why it didn't like the second port; it would probably work fine now if I switched it back (but I'm not going to push my luck!). Unlike hot synching in OS 9, you can move the synch window to the background and work on other things (like this article!) while the hot synch proceeds (if I'm recalling this incorrectly and you can background an OS 9 hot synch, someone please let me know).

The software worked as expected - I didn't notice a ton of new bells and whistles over the OS 9 version (but I'm not a 'heavy' Palm Desktop user), but the look and feel is now 100% OS X, and I must say I like the new look. For beta software, I have yet to have a single crash, and event printing worked as expected. Overally, I'm happy with what Palm has done, and I think most Mac users will find it meets their needs.

A couple of caveats. As noted earlier, you may lose your existing OS 9 Palm installation, so back it up if you wish to keep it. Also, once installed, the Palm software does not appear to like being moved. I tried, and on the next run, HotSynch complained that it couldn't find the conduit manager. I moved it back, and all was fine. Finally, I can't seem to get the "Instant Palm Desktop" option to work. It's enabled and I've restarted, but there's nothing showing up in the menu bar.

I wasn't expecting to see this app until sometime after MacWorld, so having a public beta (which generally works fine!) is a nice surprise. The fact that it works with my "frankensteinian" connection is even more surprising!

[NOTE: The following URL has appeared on three separate mailing lists now, so I don't think it counts as a secret ... so I'm reposting it here. If you're having trouble with the download, it's available on this iDisk.]
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Observations on the Palm Desktop public beta | 31 comments | Create New Account
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Instant Palm Desktop
Authored by: Alex281 on Dec 27, '01 08:44:14PM

Instant Palm Desktop works just as described in the read me-

"Instant Palm Desktop integrated as Mac OS X Dock Menu Item
Click and hold the mouse on the Palm Desktop icon in the Dock for quick access to your data, or to find or create items."

it works beautifully..i love it!

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Instant Palm Desktop
Authored by: wmulawprof on Dec 28, '01 11:14:44PM

Only seems to work if the app is running (at least I can't find a separate dock item for Instant Palm Desktop).

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Authored by: dewme5 on Dec 27, '01 08:47:31PM

i have the palm m100 and keyspan USA-19 serial to usb adapter. the newest drivers that i can find anyway on version tracker. installed everything. straight forward no problem. But.. the only way i can hotsync, is to unplug my keyspan, plug it back into the computer, go into hotsync manager, turn the enable switch back on, and then hotsync. if I try to do it again, 2x in a row, without touching anything on my computer besides the hotsync button. it won't work. unplug, replug, enable, then hotsync... weird.

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Authored by: paalb on Jan 03, '02 08:57:22AM
I can confirm this behavior, report this bug to Palm! Palm Feedback Link

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Kick Butt !
Authored by: mickeycoke on Dec 27, '01 08:57:24PM

You guys rock! the FTP site for the palm software is jammed with users. Maxed out a 300. your suggestion has a much faster download too.

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Hotsynch with Classic Apps?
Authored by: cptodd on Dec 27, '01 09:51:51PM

Can you hotsynch classic apps like Entourage 2001? Or just carbon apps?

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It's about time!!!
Authored by: dougc on Dec 27, '01 10:25:48PM
The wait has been way too long, but at least it's here. So far, I'm very impressed. Lots of Macish stuff built in, you can double click on almost anything and it will pop up some type of window with more detail.

Just a reminder to anyone (like myself) that downloaded this via the link above, make sure you still go to the Palm beta page and sign up. The more people that register the better. Maybe if they really knew how many Mac users use Palm products it wouldn't have taken over a year to get this out.

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can't access the conduit setup dialog after restore to 9
Authored by: kerim on Dec 27, '01 11:08:43PM

I thought I'd try the new Palm desktop software for OSX since I've been waiting for OSX native support for so long. Big mistake.

(1) It doesn't support syncing two byte characters. (Unless you can read Japanese - the Japanese conduits don't work with the English desktop app.)
(2) It doesn't support old conduits - so you can't use any third party applications at all (untill they are updated). So no Vindago/Avantgo/Entourage/Password/BackupBuddy/etc.

So I tried to uninstall and return to my old Desktop. This was a long story (for instance I had to do a restore from backup because of all the duplicates that were created by synching in OSX) but the end result was that I now have a problem:

I can't access the conduit setup dialog, the setup dialog, the install files dialog, etc. from either the menu in the Desktop App, or in the Instant Desktop. I have deleted the version installed by the OSX install, and I have reinstalled the old version. Then I rebuilt the desktop. I even trashed the preferences. Anyone have any ideas? Thanks.


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can't access the conduit setup dialog after restore to 9
Authored by: abztract on Feb 15, '02 09:41:30AM

If you're having the problem where Instant Desktop, etc. won't work in OS 9 after trying out the Palm Desktop 4 Beta, try rebuilding your Desktop. This solved the problem for me.

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the installer works very well
Authored by: wealthychef on Dec 28, '01 01:59:47AM

Just wanted to comment that the installer handled my existing installation well: deleted the old Palm desktop software but saved my user folder. At the end it displayed this message:
"The Assistant found data files for the following users and copied them for use with this version of Palmâ„¢ Desktop software. The original files were not changed, but the word "old" was added to the "Users" folder.

Users from: (path to folder here)

The first time you open Palmâ„¢ Desktop software your data will be converted and ready to use. "


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Needs Classic on drive to install?
Authored by: tonyo on Dec 29, '01 11:43:27AM
After enduring the long download, finally got into installing and ran up against a problem. Upthread someone mentioned that the installer checks for a palm install in the classic environment. Well, no classic on this box - OS 10.1.2 only, on a UFS volume to boot. ;)

I can fire up the installer, but nothing happens - top shows Palm Desktop starting up and then quickly exiting. I hit the user feedback page at Palm with this info, no reply yet. But I have a feeing they're going to say - I need classic installed. anyone had any luck on OS X only boxes?

will post reply from palm asap. tonyo

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I had troubles but fixed them: crashes fixed
Authored by: wealthychef on Dec 28, '01 03:01:31AM

After my initial install, I had a consistent problem opening Palm Desktop in OS X. It would try to import my User information and then crash immediately after reporting 100% importing.
I also found that I was unable to synchronize my Palm. It would finish the ToDo list, then crash the Conduit Manager exactly as it had the Desktop software.
And naturally, my OS 9 installation was hosed (although I backed it up).
Here is how I fixed it:
1. Launched Palm Desktop. When it began importing my user data, I hit "Cancel." It then created a new user file.
2. I saved the new user file under a stupid useless name. (doubt if this part is important)
3. I discarded the User (old) folder created by the installer and restored my old OS 9 Users folder from backup.
3. I chose File... Open and opened the old User Data file, which it then converted successfully.
Now I am able to synchronize and view my old data with no problem. When I open Palm Desktop, it correctly opens my converted file and the "garbage" file I created in step 2 seems to have no effect on the whole thing, so I deleted it with no ill effects.
Hope this helps someone....

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I had troubles but fixed them: crashes fixed
Authored by: mzajac on Jan 01, '02 10:06:55PM

I had a similar crash. I presume mine was caused by a corrupted database, because I had had problems syncing.

I solved the problem thusly:

1. un-install Palm Desktop X
2. re-install Palm Desktop 2.6.3
3. export addresses and memos to text files
4. re-install Palm Desktop X
5. import the text files

The re-installing procedures worked smoothly, and all of my data survived the several transitions. The import brought everything across intact, but my notes all have today's creation date.

The Palm folks have obviously put in a lot of work making the installers pretty reliable, so don't be scared to try out the beta software.

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I had troubles but fixed them: crashes fixed
Authored by: dspatz on Jan 02, '02 03:36:22PM

I had a similar problem but fixed it with a simpler procedure. Go to System Preferences, LogIn. Change the order of items so that the two Palm items load first. After one restart, everything worked perfectly.

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File menu trick works for corrupted OSX User Data files too
Authored by: bobd on Jan 14, '02 10:40:59PM

I have a Firewire G3 PowerBook and experienced the same problem. I followed wealthychef's prescription more or less and eventually got it to work ... the critical thing seems to be to prevent Palm Desktop seizing on the OS9 User Data file and attempting to convert it, but instead corrupting it. Thus, back it up and move it out of the old Palm folder before doing the installation, then use Open... from the File menu to convert it.

However, I'm not out of the woods yet ... my User Data file sometimes becomes corrupted spontaneously (overnight ... could it have something to do with anacron?). I store frequent backups and revert to the latest one, again using the File menu.

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Authored by: cansas on Dec 28, '01 09:56:52AM

I've registered with Palm, and downloaded from the link included in this story, however the archive will not expand (Stuffit Deluxe 6.5) The binhex appears to decode, but the .sit never appears. Any ideas?


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Authored by: cansas on Dec 28, '01 10:34:28AM

Nevermind - I tried a few more browsers and finally got a good archive.

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Can't download
Authored by: macubergeek on Dec 28, '01 06:44:59PM

My biggest problem right now is that I can't get on the ftp being limited to 300 users at a time.
It would be nice if they could up that limit!?!!?
Does anyone have a img file of this I can grab from a iTools Public folder?

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Re: Can't download
Authored by: mhollis on Dec 31, '01 09:56:19AM

I logged in on a Sunday very early in the morning, and it took over three hours to download the file. Took just a few minutes to upload it to my iDisk

Please, answer the questions at the Palm site. The folks at Palm need to know that we all want the software and that they need to keep supporting the Macintosh users.

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Runs okay, kinda.
Authored by: Peganthyrus on Dec 28, '01 10:11:38PM

My experiences:

Installed okay, with the scariness of saying it wanted to delete my old copy (it didn't).

Didn't sync at first. The readme says it won't sync if Classic is running, but I have discovered this is not quite true - it won't sync if Classic is running and the background tasks for detecting a sync are running under Classic; toss those, reboot Classic, and it's fine.

I had the inevitable random duplicates of four or five memos and addresses on my first synch.

More annoyingly, I found that it wanted to back up everything on my Visor. Which is rather annoying when you have an 8 meg device that's mostly full.

It also tends to still occasionally insist on backing up all my programs and their data on a sync. Even when it doesn't do that, it seems to take a lot more time <i>looking</i> at everything, flipping through every program on my PDA.

I think the backup conduit is... um... over-enthusiastic.

Still, it's one less reason to deal with Classic. The only things that use Classic on my machine are the muck client I use and the occasional run of Photoshop.

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sony clie
Authored by: moyashi on Dec 28, '01 10:51:51PM

anyone here have a sony clie?
want to check before I install just in case.

note:: it was a birthday present .. for a mac user ;-) ughh

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sony clie
Authored by: moyashi on Dec 28, '01 11:05:49PM

anyone here have a sony clie?
want to check before I install just in case.

note:: it was a birthday present .. for a mac user ;-) ughh

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just wanted to say...
Authored by: HAL9000 on Dec 29, '01 09:52:12PM

Hi all, i just wanted to point out that it's spelled HotSync (no h at the end of the word)

;-) (-;

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irDA Sync with PwrBkG3 FireWire
Authored by: Anonymous on Jan 02, '02 08:52:19AM

FYI ... hadn't seen it mentioned; but irDA sync works fine (albeit, slower than my USB cradle setup.) Just discovered it [almost] by accident whilst trying to configure my Keyspan (serial<->USB) cradle adaptor. Apple's k-base explicitly states that irDA is not operational in 10.1 (perhaps it doesn't include 10.1.2?).

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irDA Sync with PwrBkG3 FireWire
Authored by: valmont on Jan 14, '02 11:12:23AM

it's funny because some time after installing 10.1.2 and playing around with my modem dialup settings in "Internet Connect" and "network" control panel, the system told me that it detected a new port named "IrDa" and will now added it to the supported ports in my "network" control panel.

so now it's there. wooohoo

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Alternative link
Authored by: brodie on Jan 02, '02 11:18:25AM

just an alternative.

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Failed to install on PB G3
Authored by: WizKid on Jan 03, '02 11:05:47PM
I've had no luck with the installer on my PowerBook G3. I double-click on the "Palm Desktop Installer" and I get the zoom box that appears (the flash from the icon indicating that something is going to launch), and then nothing.

Checking the console I found that the app is erroring: "Launch failed with error code -2856".

What's strange is that the installer worked on my desktop PowerMac G4 at work. Same installer file, same version of MacOS X (10.1.2).

anyone know what error code -2856 is? Ideas on how to make it work on the PowerBook?

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Works with Classic
Authored by: mhollis on Jan 27, '02 08:12:11PM

Palm, Inc. released a beta of their desktop for OS X. In their release notes, they state that it does not work when Classic is running. I note that it works just fine when Classic is in sleep mode and I generally have that set to sleep in 5 minutes.

You can download the application at

The site seems to be faster these days (I tried it and stopped the download before completion).

I have noted a few cosmetic problems with the application only -- it seems to be a very stable beta program. I had previously used it successfully with a IIIc and I am presently using it with an m505.

I would mention that the newer Palm Pilots seem to be much faster with a hot-sync than the older versions. The IIIc took up to four minutes for a full backup. The m505 just takes a few seconds. Also the newer versions come with an USB cradle that does not need an adapter.

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Availability of Third-Party Conduits
Authored by: Anonymous on Jan 28, '02 01:04:14PM
On Friday, January 18, Apple posted an article on the Palm Desktop beta, adding it to the list of other "featured applications" that they've hyped and/or reviewed. Most of these are sales-oriented, aimed towards getting you to buy the product, but this particular article may be of special interest to many -- the "Rules of the Road" sidebar in the lower righthand corner of the piece details the availability and/or forecasted release of OS X versions of many popular Palm conduits.

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Backgrounding Hotsync on 9
Authored by: mikerose on Mar 18, '02 04:22:22PM
Rob wrote (back in December):

Unlike hot synching in OS 9, you can move the synch window to the background and work on other things (like this article!) while the hot synch proceeds (if I'm recalling this incorrectly and you can background an OS 9 hot synch, someone please let me know).

In fact, it is possible to move the Hotsync process to the background under OS 9. It's not a good idea -- many conduits don't like it, especially AvantGo -- but if it's not unbearably slow it's OK to do.

If anyone has any experience with ScheduleOnline on the Mac, or any other (prefererably free -- not planning to buy Now Up To Date) way of sharing calendars between multiple Macs and Pilots, that would be most helpful.


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palm 0SX beta: nada!
Authored by: jkruper on Mar 18, '02 11:59:32PM

I just downloaded the OSX PalmDesktop beta... have a Palm M100 + PalmConnect serial/usb cable. I've configured HotSync manager to use PalmConnect w/ Hotsynch enabled. But, any time I try to HotSync from my Palm... nothing!??

Any thoughts?

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