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10.4: Recover Drive Mode functionality on Palm devices PDAs etc.
The 10.4.9 update broke "drive mode" functionality for Palm T5 and LifeDrive models, and Palm seems unwilling to do anything about it. Symptoms of the problem include the Palm device hanging (soft reset required) and even Mac USB ports becoming unavailable until a restart is done.

Today I discovered CardExport II, which is supposed to provide drive-mode-like capabilities to Palm OS devices with expansion card slots. I installed a trial version to see if it would work, and now I can see either of the devices I could once see with Drive Mode (albeit one at a time). Better than nothing, though it's $14.95 I shouldn't have to spend if Palm was doing its job -- and it seems to indicate that the problem is on Palm's side, not on Apple's.
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10.4: Fix for Adobe Reader for Palm not launching PDAs etc.
I recently downloaded the Adobe Reader for Palm OS (for Mac) to my MacBook running 10.4.8.

As soon as I launched the app, it closed again, and the console.log (/Applications » Utilities » gave this error (line breaks added):
2007-02-02 21:10:18.327 Finder[375] CFLog (0):
CFPropertyListCreateFromXMLData(): plist parse failed; the data is not proper UTF-8.
The file name for this data could be:
Contents/Info.plist -- file://localhost/Applications/
The parser will retry as in 10.2, but the problem should be corrected in the plist.
I opened the Applications folder in Finder, then selected the Adobe Reader for Palm OS app, control-clicked and chose Show Package Contents from the pop-up menu. From there, I went to the Contents folder and opened the Info.plist file in Property List Editor (the default app for .plist files, if you have the Developer Tools installed).

All I did was save the file to its original name, closed the various windows until I was back at the Applications folder in Finder, and opened the app. Presto-Whammo, it launched (albeit in Rosetta). I have marked this a 10.4 hint, because I believe there was a change with the way plists are handled, but I could be wrong -- the app hasn't been updated since 29 August 2003, so a lot has changed!
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Scripts to convert files to/from Palm's PDB format PDAs etc.
I often like to read and edit documents, articles, and papers on my Palm device (using the excellent QED), and then continue back at home on the Mac. This requires quick and easy inter-conversion from .txt to .pdb. In addition, for reading PDFs as text, the conversion must respect the column flow in multi-column PDF fliles (or else you end up reading across, rather than down, the columns in your text file).

This is how to create AppleScript droplets to convert text, PDF, and Word documents to .pdb and then back to text.
  1. Read and follow this excellent hint for converting text to pdb for Palm OS. Make sure during this you pay attention to:
    • Installing xCode tools first (to compile unix make/install files)
    • The tips about using sudo to avoid "permission denied" errors
    In fact, to use these droplets, you don't need to get the AppleScript on the above site to work (just compile xpdf and text2pdb), but it is very useful so I'd do it anyway.
  2. Use the following scripts to do your conversions...
[robg adds: I haven't tested these scripts, and any errors are probably a result of my bad work with cut-and-paste...]
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A workaround for a Palm Bluetooth HotSync error PDAs etc.
I have a Palm Treo 650 that I HotSync with my Powerbook over Bluetooth (using MissingSync). When I initiate a HotSync from the Treo, however, I get the following error message:

Unable to initiate HotSync operation because the port is in use by another application.

One solution seems to be a system restart, but the problem re-appears after the first Bluetooth HotSync. The only other solution I've found is to open the Bluetooth System Preferences Pane, and toggle between the Settings and Devices tabs while the Bluetooth connection is attempting to connect. (I came across this solution in a forum somewhere). This second solution is a little annoying to do manually, so I wrote the following AppleScript to automate the process. It is adapted from the script in this hint.
tell application "System Preferences"
end tell
tell application "System Events"
  tell process "System Preferences"
    click the menu item "Bluetooth" of the menu "View" of menu bar 1
    delay 2
    click the radio button "Settings" of the 
     first tab group of window "Bluetooth"
    click the radio button "Devices" of the 
     first tab group of window "Bluetooth"
    delay 2
  end tell
end tell
tell application "System Preferences"
end tell
After initiating a HotSync from the Treo, simply invoke the script. I use Butler, and assigned a keyboard shortcut to launch the script. Note that you must have enabled access for assistive devices in the Universal Access System Preferences pane, as this script relies on System Events.

I would be interested to know if there is a more straightforward solution to this problem.
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