Welcome to Resco Explorer for Palm OS. This file contains just a few basic remarks. FOR THE PDF MANUAL VISIT PLEASE OUR PRODUCT PAGE. Contacts: Support: palm@resco-net.com (preferred) or support@resco-net.com Product page: www.resco-net.com/Palm/Explorer Technical Specifications Min. Palm OS version: 4.0 Supported resolutions: 160x160, 320x320, 320x480 portrait/landscape (DIA supported) ARM support: Yes (Currently used for loading jpeg/gif images, zipper and backup) Other requirements (not mandatory): - Resco Viewer works best with color devices and high-resolution screens. - 500 KB of the free storage RAM Built-in image viewer: jpg/bmp/gif images and RAM images produced by Clie and Zire cameras One-handed navigation realized using 5way or Jog Dial (together with the Back or Esc keys) Compatible applications: - mmPlayer, AeroPlayer, Pocket Tunes, TCPMP (used to play mp3/ogg/wav records) - Kinoma Player (video) - iSilo, Wordsmith, TiBR, TealDoc, LionDoc, ReadThemAll, eReader (doc readers) - Resco Viewer, Acid Image, AI Pro, SplashPhoto, GrxView (image viewers) - JackFlash - LeftHack (use 'Scrollbars on the left' in the General Options) - WebPro 3+, Blazer 3+, NetFront (Clie), Novarra 3+ (Web browsers; used to display e.g. local html files) - Repligo v2.1.4+ (http://www.repligo.com) - Needs MobiOffice v7.25+ - Documents To Go 7.0+ - All applications using standard Exchange Manager protocol (To test use the 'Open With' context menu command) Acknowledgments Zipper Internally, Resco Explorer uses the ZLib 1.1.4, copyright (C) 1995-2002 Jean-loup Gailly and Mark Adler. All rights reserved. Jpeg This software is based in part on the work of the Independent JPEG Group. Installation Hotsync RescoExplorer.prc to the handheld. Uninstallation Delete the RescoExplorer from the handheld. Further you may want to delete also created RAM zip files - use the standard system delete dialog as well. (While Resco Explorer creatorId is 'IMGE', RAM zip archives use 'RExp' - hence they are not deleted with the Explorer.) Remarks: Zlauncher ZLauncher Users should make sure that they have used the ZLauncher option to overwrite the Palm Categories with the ZLauncher Categories. Otherwise Resco Explorer will show the original Palm Categories. Tungsten/T3 If the full-screen is not properly working, check please whether you have installed Palm OS patch from PalmOne. For more info see please http://server:8080/palm/palmviewer_T3.asp German link: http://t3.forum330.de/software/dialibs.php Support for Clie CF cards Clie CF cards (concerns NX60, NX70V, NX73V, NX80V, NZ90) do not support standard VFS (Virtual File System) interface and as such are invisible to standard Palm apps. However, you can use CF Enabler from Athena America (former eruware) to pass past this limitation. See also the review http://www.spug.net/reviews/rcfdriver.htm Clie & Zire Camera RAM images To convert those images to standard jpeg format drag them onto the card. Clie Back key toggles between the tree and the list iQue 3600 ESC key toggles between the tree and the list GUI Explorer works similarly to the standard Windows Explorer. It is organized into the tree (left pane) and the file view (right pane). The dividing splitter can be dragged. General Options allow to switch to the vertical layout which might be an advantage on HiRes+ screens. The tree can be hidden. (Use e.g. respective button in the toolbar.) The resulting single-panel system is fully functional, i.e. the use of the tree is optional and matter of user preferences. (However, you cannot use e.g. drag-drop without the tree.) Explorer right pane can be presented as an icon list (main menu option 'Toggle Icon View') with 2 icon sizes. Copy is done via drag&drop or copy&paste, multi-selection via the shift indicator (vertical arrow in the titlebar). Tap and hold context menu is available for the tree nodes, files and even for the column labels in the file view. Fonts can be customized for both explorer panels independently. Basic techniques: A lot of things are similar to the Resco Photo Viewer: tree, context menu, drag-drop, multi-selection. Plus a few techniques are added: - cut&paste, - intelligent toolbars (tooltips, files can be dragged onto the toolbar icons) - browse history (toolbar buttons back/forward),... Toolbars Both top and bottom toolbars have tooltips: Tap and hold the icon to read the tooltip. To cancel move the pen outside the toolbar. Several title bar icons (those marked with a small gray triangle) display a context menu for a long tap. Bottom toolbar can be hidden. (Black rectangle at the bottom.) Moreover, the bottom toolbar allows 2 ways to carry out selected action: - Classical - by tapping the icon, or - Drag selected file(s) on the toolbar icon. Screen customization The splitter (the thick line dividing the tree from the list) can be moved. Long press of the column label opens the column selection dialog. One-panel system: To use it hide the tree by tapping the tree icon in the title bar. Offers the full functionality except a few exceptions (such as drag&drop). Handy shortcut: 5way left key switches to the parent directory. Icon View Icon view may be selected independently for either Documents/Applications or the remaining folders. General Options allow to select large or small icons. Launcher View When you open one of the doc/apps folders and hide the tree and the toolbar, you get the launcher view with the typical category selection combo-box. Unlike other launchers the combo-box offers not only application categories, but also the root document folders. Browsing The tree works in the standard way: - Tapping +/- buttons expands/collapses the node. - Tapping the node label moves the cursor. The file view (right pane) lists first subfolders, then the files. Open the subfolder by tapping its name. (Notice that tapping the icon or another column performs selection instead of the open action - can be changed in the General Options.) The very first item ("..") represents the parent folder. (Exactly as on the desktop systems.) 5way works as expected. Left/right arrows shuffle the cursor between the tree and the file pane. On the JogDial equipped systems, this function is realized by the extra HW button (Back, Esc). The things look differently on one-panel system (when the tree is hidden), but they are also easy to master. So one-handed control is possible with one exception: Older handhelds equipped only with up/down keys cannot skip between the tree and the file pane. Hence, these handhelds have to use the one-panel setup. (To achieve one-handed control.) File sorting Current sort order is indicated by the blue triangle in the column header. Tap the triangle to revert the file order. (But the folders are always listed first.) Tap another column label to sort by that column. Incremental search Start typing the searched name into the text box in the top right edit box. While typing, the cursor moves to the first name that starts with the typed string. Characters that would result in zero match are not accepted. (If there is no file starting with 'x', this character will be refused.) Context menu Tap an object and hold the pen pressed until the menu opens. Can be done for the tree nodes, files or some icons in the title bar. Multi-selection Switch on the shift indicator in the titlebar (vertical arrow) => the file tap event will be interpreted as select/unselect. Used to perform an action on several files at once (copy, drag, delete, send, pack). Drag&drop Select one or more items. Tap one of them and while the pen is pressed move the pen to the destination folder. (The tree will auto-scroll and auto-open the subfolders.) While moving over the tree folders notice the changing icon: - text (file name) = drop possible - stop icon = impossible (move pen up to cancel the drag in this moment) Drop on the same drive (e.g. card -> card) = move. Drop across drives (e.g. card->RAM) = copy If the shift indicator is switched on, you get the choice copy/move/cancel. (This menu can be forced also via the Confirmations Options dialog.) Copy&Paste Similar, just realized via menu options. Select one or more items. Open their context menu and select "Copy". Go to the destination folder in the tree, open its context menu and select "Paste". This is a copy. Move is the same, just select "Cut" instead of "Copy". v2.51 introduced another handy alternative - "Copy To...". It is basically "Copy" plus immediate selection of the target folder. Wildcards: Can be used in the search/filter dialogs. * = any text, ? = one character Examples: a*.jpg means all jpeg files starting with 'a' or 'A'. *gif means all gif files abc?? means 5-character names starting with abc (ABC, aBC etc.) Search dialog Accessible from the titlebar (rightmost button). Name allows wildcards. You can use '*'/'?' buttons for easier typing. (The buttons are visible only when the name checkbox is switched on.) Found files are shown in the listbox. You can either select one of the files and press 'Goto' button or press the '->' button. In the latter case a new tree node ('Search results') will be created with all found files. The node will be removed when the search button is pressed the next time. Filter dialog Accessible from the titlebar (2nd button from the right) or via menu. Filter determines which files are presented in the file view pane. Some of the settings are applicable to the databases only (listed in the upper part), but there are also two settings that relate to the files only. (Hidden, resp. Unix .Dot files.) The name field allows the wildcards. (See the search dialog description.) Something for Mac users or for those sharing the card with Mac/Unix computer: Unix Dot files are special configuration files which are "invisible" to a normal list command. Their name start with a dot and they are normally hidden. In order for the filter switch on the checkbox "Use filter". When the filter is active, its icon in the title bar is red. While the filter settings are persistent across the program runs, the filter always starts in the inactive state. Select by filter dialog It is very similar to the Filter dialog except it serves for multiselection. Viewing images Internal viewer: A simple fast viewer providing full-screen image preview ("fit-to-screen" mode). Internal viewer is part of the Hex viewer: You can tap the image name in the top left corner and switch to the hex view. Supported images: - jpg/bmp/gif images on the Expansion Card (progressive jpeg unsupported) - RAM images produced by Clie and Zire cameras - jpg/bmp/gif images packaged as the RAM stream databases (produced e.g. by Resco Viewer) External viewers: Resco Viewer can be used (if installed). Alternatively any image viewer capable of accepting images via standard exchange protocol - e.g. Acid Image, AI Pro, SplashPhoto, GrxView. External Tools Options decide whether the internal or external viewer will be used. (Valid for jpg/gif/bmp images.) Viewing zipped images is possible, too. Various ways to view an image: - 'View' context menu command always uses the internal viewer - 'Open' command uses the viewer assigned in External Tools Options - 'Open With' command lets the user select among existing viewers Viewing documents 'TEXt' databases (Palm doc format) can be viewed using the readers listed in the External Tools dialog. (For the list of supported readers see Technical specs) Similarly to the images, this automatics works for 'Open' command (i.e. a simple tap), while 'Open With' allows to select any registered document handler. Listening Music mp3, ogg and wav files can be played using one of the players listed in the External Tools dialog. (For the list of supported players see Technical specs) Similarly to the images, this automatics works for 'Open' command (i.e. a simple tap), while 'Open With' allows to select any registered player. Tungsten users will find strange that the Real Player is not employed. The reason is that Real Player does not offer an interface for the external control and does not even support the standard Exchange Manager interface. (Notice that Real Player does not declare itself as able to receive mp3 records - see the Associations control panel.) Documents Root folder "Documents" is intended as a place where users can access their documents, images, eBooks etc. by a simple tap instead of using the extra step of launching the associated application. Documents folder behaves similarly to a card folder: You may add files, create subdirectories, their sub-subdirectories etc. However, unlike the card folder, you add (copy, delete) links to the source data file that resides on the card or in the RAM. (This, however presents a new problem: If a file ceases to exist - is deleted or card removed - the link becomes invalid. See the Refresh option below.) Every folder can have an associated document query: - The query can be accessed via the document info dialog. Use it to define the document types associated with the folder. - You can specify whether the folder will contain any RAM documents. Notice that there are no additional options in this case. RAM documents are simply all RAM databases that can be opened via known document readers or office packages. - Alternatively, you can specify a card folder and a list of extensions, e.g. "xls;doc;ppt". (There are presets for most common cases, in order to make the setup less complex.) - More generally you can specify any combination of RAM documents/images/music databases and a card folder/mask. E.g. you can specify this query: All RAM images + all card "jpg;gif" files from /DCIM folder. Once the query is defined, you call the Refresh command (document folder context menu). Refresh will: - Add the links to the files satisfying the query, - Delete invalid links. What is an invalid link? Seemingly straightforward question, but once you realize that the card can be temporarily removed/exchanged, then answer will be less obvious. Resco Explorer can differentiate between the cards provided they use different labels. (Check your card labels and modify them right now! This is the only sign that can differentiate the cards and Resco Explorer is not the only application relying on this.) So a link is invalid if: - It points to a non-existing RAM database, or - It points to a non-existing card file and a card with proper label is inserted. Default document folders When you run the Explorer for the first time, the default doc folders are created for the common document types: Documents, images, music. RAM filter 'Show Documents' is accessible from the RAM context menu, submenu Special filters. As the name suggests, it shows known RAM documents. Control Panel Control panel accommodates various system-wide settings. Alarms panel The panel lists existing alarms. If you don't know about alarms, then make a small test: Run the Clock application and set the alarm to say 5 minutes of the current time. If you wait those 5 minutes, you will see an alarm. Alarm is simply a time instant when the Palm handheld is awoken and the control is given to the application that set up the alarm. Each application can have at most 1 alarm and can use it for its own purposes - maybe for an user alert, maybe to do some background work. Besides listing the alarms, the panel enables: - The deletion of an alarm - Re-scheduling of an alarm (tap on the date or time value). If you do so, the application will be really called at a different time - even if it remembers the original time. The last column - alarm launch code - is the value passed to the application and is listed here just for interest. Warning: While the alarm is really modified, the original application may not know about it. Note also that while the application can have only one "Palm OS alarm", the user may be presented with a series of alarms. It is easy: 2 "user alarms" for times t1 and t2 can be realized as 1. t1 alarm, 2. t2-t1 alarm set when the first alarm happens Associations panel The panel allows you to add, edit or delete an association. Please, be careful when changing the associations and do so only when you understand the consequences. What is an association? An association is a relation between a file type and the application that will handle it. A typical example: .mp3 -> Pocket Tunes (This means that the Pocket Tunes will be used to play mp3 records.) Normally installed apps define this association themselves. Using the control panel you can redefine these associations or even add the new ones. Associations are used on many occasions, such as when receiving beamed data or when previewing email attachments. Explorer uses the associations when a data file is tapped. However, to prevent the confusion, 3 broad file categories (images, documents, audio) are treated via the External Tools options. Hotsync directories are defined by the applications that are prepared to handle specific file types. For example Resco Photo Viewer uses the directory /Palm/Programs/RescoViewer (a Palm quasi standard). Another viewer may decide for /DCIM (a standard obeyed by digital cameras). These two viewers will then compete for the target folder definition and the probable scenario is that whenever you launch one of them, the folder will be re-defined. A short excursion into the theory: Applications tell the OS which file types they want to handle. This is also called the file type registration. As a result the OS maintains a list of applications that are able to handle given file type. (Such as e.g. a list of jpeg viewers.) Each registered application can ask the system to make it the default application and become thus preferred when the system decides who will receive the given file. Note that 2 kinds of the file types are listed: - File extensions (jpg, mp3 etc.) - Mime types (image/jpg etc.) Mime type (short for "Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions") represents simply another name for the data type that was originally designed for the web browsers. In case of conflict, the OS prefers the mime type association prior to the classical file extension. (Palm OS will use "image/jpeg" viewer rather than ".jpg" viewer.) The associations are stored in the unsaved preferences and are thus cleared after each reset. Different applications use different paths to restore their registrations: Some do so when they are started, the others during the reset or even at other occasions. Pitfalls you should be aware of: - Unattended registration changes. - Apps installed onto the card should be used with care in an association. The reason: the OS sees only RAM apps. (Therefore 3rd party launchers use to offer a "shortcut" = a small application placeholder in RAM that forces the OS think the application exists in the memory.) - To copy a new file type to the card you have to introduce an association for that file type: Select e.g. Explorer as the handling application and define the Hotsync path. Afterwards you should pass this information to the desktop by performing a HotSync. Important Palm OS has a bug related to the Exchange Manager associations. It manifests as a fatal alert 'Preferences.c, Pref DB Open Error' whenever any application (Resco Explorer, Snappermail etc.) tries to list available viewers. The reason for the problem: - The registered application does not exist. How this problem happens: - When a registered application is deleted in a non-standard way. - When an app installed on the card is registered and no RAM shortcut exists for it. How to solve the problem: - Use Resco Explorer menu option Repair Exchange Prefs. "Manage Associations" dialog (main menu) This dialog provides the tool to fight against unattended association changes. It allows the possibility to manually backup/restore associations. Moreover, 'Restore on each Reset' checkbox allows the automatic restore of the associations after each reset/Hotsync. These are the 2 typical events when associations use to be modified either by OS or 3rd party applications. (Explorer tries to be the last application that modifies the associations, but this in fact cannot be guaranteed.) Saved/Unsaved Preferences panels SavedPreferences is a RAM database storing the preferences of individual applications. This database is backup-ed during each HotSync and hence can be restored in case of a hard reset. UnsavedPreferences is another RAM database containing app preferences, but their backup is not performed - hence any reset will clear these preferences. Associations are actually part of the unsaved preferences, but are handled by a separate control panel. The preferences are modeled by a folder whose members are individual database records. This access has a number of advantages over classical DB viewer (that was used in the previous release), e.g. the records are sortable and the relation to the master application is identifiable. Available user actions for preferences records are view and delete. Another place, where you can access the application preferences is the categories tree. Card tree There are many kinds of storage cards (MS, SD, MMC...) and they all will be recognized provided they support VFS (Virtual File System - standard since Palm OS4.0). The same cards can be used in another devices, e.g. - PocketPC handhelds - Symbian handsets - digital cameras - card readers plug-able into the PC ports I.e. interchanging the cards between different devices is one of the methods of the data sharing. The card is organized into the folders and files using classical 16 bit FAT file system. (In fact, VFS interface can be built on top of any other file system, but the currently available cards use FAT.) Besides its simplicity FAT has several disadvantages, one of them being worse safety. The two problems, which we met several times, are: - Creation of files in the root directory may lead to a local FAT corruption. - File links are unsupported, yet they can be created - even circular links. Things like this can be sometimes corrected on a PocketPC handheld. While you have the full control over the card, you should be aware that certain operations may be dangerous. Keep in mind that: - /Palm/Launcher is the place reserved for the system - subdirectories of /Palm/Programs are reserved for individual applications Besides the classical cards, Resco Explorer displays also RAM disks. If you have one, then it is presented as an additional drive subject to standard file operations. The card is presented as a root tree node and name of the form CardName(x:) where - CardName is the card label - "x" is dynamically assigned drive letter. (Note that a card with different label will be assigned different drive letter.) File operations can be carried out in several ways. E.g. to perform a delete select one or more files and do one of the following: - Select 'Delete' in the context menu - Select 'Delete' in the Application file menu - Press delete icon in the bottom toolbar - Drag selected file(s) onto the toolbar delete icon (Notice that not all operations offer all enumerated alternatives.) Here is a brief list of the card-related operations that can be performed with the Explorer: - (*) file delete - file rename - (*) file duplication (appends "~" to the original name) - (*) file copy (either via drag&drop, or copy&paste) - (*) file move (either via drag&drop in the multiselection mode, or cut&paste) - (*) file info (allows changing file/database attributes except those that could cause a crash) - file send (beam, bluetooth, Snappermail etc. - whatever installed) - (*) pack (creates zip archive) - view (opens hex viewer) - open (opens associated application - see Exchange Panel description) - open with (let the user choose among applications able to handle given file type) (*) The operation can be performed on several files at once. (Use multiselection, i.e. switch on the shift indicator in the titlebar.) List of directory operations: - directory delete (deep delete, i.e. incl. subdirectories) - directory copy (deep copy; use copy&paste interface) - directory creation - directory rename - directory pack (deep packing) - directory info (allows changing the attributes) Zip archives: Zip archives are presented as card nodes (i.e. as folders) and you can really use them as folders. For example it is possible to copy to/from a zip archive or preview zipped files. Special operations: - Copy a data file from the card to the RAM (the card file is stored as a database stream) and back. - Copy a RAM application (prc database) to the card. Can be either copied back or directly launched from the card. Notice that the info dialog for the copied file refers to the original RAM database. Remark: This operation is a simpler version of the "Install to Card" offered by several launchers. It does not care about the additional data databases. Hence, it is suitable for occasionally used utilities that do not create large databases. Do not use it for apps that are registered as handlers of some data types. (Such as jpeg viewers.) - Rename on the card root changes the card label RAM tree RAM panel lists the contents of the RAM, i.e. various databases residing in the Palm memory. The Palm memory is structured linearly, i.e. it does not contain the folders. However, zip archives are presented as RAM subfolders. More structured view of the RAM contents is presented by the Applications tree. There are altogether 7 columns that can be shown for each RAM database: - name - CreatorID - DbType (called here the extension) - Size - Attributes - icon - date Use the Columns options dialog to define the columns shown. List of database operations: - (*) database delete - database rename - (*) database duplication (appends "~" to the original name) - (*) database copy (either via drag&drop, or copy&paste) - (*) database move (either via drag&drop in the multiselection mode, or cut&paste) - (*) database info (allows changing database attributes except those that could cause a crash) - (*) database send (beam, bluetooth, Snappermail etc. - whatever installed) - (*) pack (creates zip archive) - view (opens hex viewer) - open (opens associated application - see Exchange Panel description) - open with (let the user choose among applications able to handle given database type) (*) The operation can be performed on several files at once. (Use multiselection, i.e. switch on the shift indicator in the titlebar.) Zip archives: Zip archives are presented as RAM nodes (i.e. as folders) and you can really use them as folders. For example it is possible to copy to/from a zip archive or preview zipped files. Applications tree This node list Palm applications grouped by the traditional Palm categories. You can find here each application with conveniently grouped resources: - Application database - Application files (the contents of the folder /Palm/Programs/) In the future this list will be extended by the application preferences and possibly other things. Launching applications File associations i.e. launching another app based on the file type: Special interfaces are implemented for images, audio files and documents. (All described above.) These files are opened using the tools selected in the External Tools option dialog. The reason for explicit introduction of "external tools" was the "aggressive" behavior of several Palm applications that used to redefine valid associations without the user decision. The remaining documents use the associations mechanism. File associations are defined via Control Panel / Exchange and realized via 'Open' command. Open is accessible in 2 ways: - from the file context menu - by tapping the file name (provided General Options dialog allows this behavior) Opening a file means that the associated app is called passing the object via exchange manager interface. This is the only general Palm interface, but it is not suitable for all cases. (Or some apps may not implement it.) Hence, troubles are to be expected. For some file types the interface will work, for the others not. "Open With" context menu command overrides the existing association (or selected external tool). Hex Viewer Started via menu (or context menu) View command. By tapping top left corner you can select different modes (image, hex, text, database) - those which make sense will work. Database mode allows also deletion of individual records. Besides that, the editing is possible only for the text files. DB mode shows number All viewers except the database viewer are subject to the 64K max. file size. (Larger contents is truncated.) The viewers allow 2 font sizes - standard and small. (Feature available on HiRes devices only.) Text files "New" command on the card gives the option to create a file or a directory. Eventual txt file created will be 1 byte long (containing just a blank character) so that it can be immediately processed in the built-in text editor. Remark: .txt files can be processed also in the standard memopad. However, there is a substantial difference: memopad does not edit the text file itself, but import its contents as a new note. (While the original text file remains intact.) This has historical reasons as in the the older days Palm did not support expansion cards and importing of the txt file into a RAM database was the only possibility how work with its content. File associations The association is a relation between the file type and the application that will handle the file. Examples: *.txt files can be handled (associated) with memopad *.jpg files can be viewed by Resco Photo Viewer Besides the file extension, the file can be characterized by the so-called mime type, e.g. "image/jpg". These associations are preferred, i.e. if "image/jpg" will point to a different viewer than ".jpg", then the first viewer will be used. In any case, the associations are defined in the Associations Control Panel and are used with the Open command: "Opening" a file (database) means launching the associated application. "Open With" command allows for explicit selection of the application that will be called. The selection is done among all applications that declare themselves as able to handle particular file type. An additional possibility for changing the association provides the file info dialog: If you tap on "Opens" listbox (General tab), then you can do the same thing as in the Associations Panel. Remark: The "Opens" box is present only if there exists at least one application able to handle given file type. For images/music/documents that are subject of "external tools" the "Opens" box is read-only and shows the currently selected tool. Zipper The purpose of the zipper is to bind several data files (or RAM databases) together and to compress and eventually encrypt them. Explorer can pack/unpack directories or single files: - Works with the multi-selection, i.e. packs several files at once. - Files can be copied or moved to the archive. (Archive editing) - Packs directories recursively, i.e. the whole directory tree. Encryption Sensitive data files can be packed and encrypted. Viewing encrypted files requires knowledge of the password that was used when the archive was created. However, the encryption can be specified only at the time when the archive is created; files added later are not encrypted. Explorer treats the zip archives as folders and tries to do so in a transparent manner, i.e. you can manipulate the packed files in the same manner as if they were in standard card folders. When needed, the zip archives are unpacked on the fly. (This enables e.g. viewing of a packed file without creating a temporary unpacked file.) Archives can be created either on the card or in the RAM. (An interesting corollary: RAM folders.) Archive contents can be edited in a standard way: Files can be added (via drag or clipboard), deleted etc. Operations are safe - in case of problem (e.g. low memory) the old state is roll-backed. Compatibility: Compression itself is standardized, but there might be differences in the organization of directories. The zipper is compatible with e.g. Total Commander (popular Windows utility) zipper and several other zip programs were tested as well. Compression quality Here is a comparison to some popular Palm zippers and to the popular Windows Total Commander 5.0. (MobiSystems) Orig FlyZip Explorer HandZipper MZip TotalCommander --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- GrxView 107433 61642 48928 freezes 57K 48924 Filez 151522 68319 56517 66K 56451 sample.bmp 394386 - 192292 - 189994 sample.gif 373937 - 369765 - 369095 None of the tested Palm packages works as a univerzal zip tool. They all concentrate on archiving RAM applications only. (FlyZip additionally creates approx. 5K large stub applications that acts instead of the original prc.) Hence, these apps could not be tested on the card files. As the test samples 2 Palm apps and 2 images were selected. Gif is already compressed, hence no big savings can be expected. Results: - Total commander provides best results, but it is to be expected as they can use much larger compression window. (More memory available; larger window means that they can analyze larger parts of the original file and also memorize more intermediate results.) - Resco Explorer is second with very similar results. (Both apps were configured for the same compression level.) - All tested Palm zippers yield much worse results. Zipper interface Pack The menu option is used to create a new archive out of (one or more) currently selected files. Extract: Unpacks the complete archive into the selected directory. (Path selection dialog) Extract here: Unpacks the complete archive into the current directory. (No path selection dialog) Drag a file onto the zip archive Adds the file to the archive Drag a file from the zip archive onto a folder Extracts one file out of the archive Alternative handling: You can use Cut/Copy/Paste instead of drag. Other editing possibilities inside an archive: - create/delete folders, - delete/copy/move files BACKUP The purpose of the Backup is to provide a safety copy of the handheld content. Explorer backups the complete RAM contents with these exceptions: - Cache files for several popular apps - these files are automatically restored on as-needed basis. - WiFiGenie: opened databases and RAM drive data files - psysLaunchDB and Net Library (restore operation is dangerous) - Old PIM databases (AddressDB, DatabookDB, MemoDB, ToDoDB) can be excluded if the user wishes so. (Checkbox "Skip old PIM DBs".) This option should be used on T3 and newer palmOne handhelds (T3, T5, T650, E2) as these handhelds store the PIM data elsewhere and the "old PIM DBs" are just emulated. Explorer uses the zip format to backup the RAM content, whereby all small databases are merged together and the remaining databases are stored 1-by-1. Advantages: - Speed: Merging of small files minimizes the card access. - Space: Merging of small files minimizes number of card blocks used. - Standard zip format makes offline operation easy. Zip crc is computed optionally (since v2.50). Use it when you need compatility to other zippers. Otherwise you may switch it off and gain thus some speed. Explorer allows multiple updates and different users can update to the same card. Explorer also allows full or incremental update (fast). All backups are stored as subdirectories under /Palm/BackupE folder. The folder name describes the user name and the date, when the backup was performed. The backup contents is browseable via standard means. (And even editable - but you should rather avoid it.) OS4 users: You can use zip compression, but the speed will be very slow. Instead, you should use the "Store" compression (i.e. no compression), which is the default selection. The other backup programs use the same procedure. Comparison to other backup solutions: - Our measurements show that Explorer is much faster than any other popular backup application except FlyBackup. - Explorer achieves also the best compression ratio, but the advantage is not that big. - Explorer does not provide automatic backup operation (periodic, on HotSync etc.) This is something we rather leave for the specialized backup product. Backup procedure: Backup is started from the main menu. First screen allows these operations: - Select/unselect files for backup by using pen tap or via context menu. The file selection is remembered for the next backup operation. - Select visible columns by using context menu of the table header. - Select the sort order by tapping respective column label. - Filter shown files by using the graphical filter button. (Notice filtering of locked/opened databases.) - Attributes column displays 3 flags: -- B for databases with backup bit set (logical choice for the backup operation) -- O for opened databases (risky) -- L for locked databases (less risky) -- XO for exclusively opened databases (cannot be backup-ed) Next screen allows these decisions: - Drive where the backup will be stored. (Normally a card.) - Select incremental update (the last backup will be modified to reflect the changes) or new update (full backup). - Select optional encryption. (Be aware that if you loose the password, the backup cannot be accessed.) - Select the compression level. The default (suggested) choices are fast compression for ARM handhelds, no compression (Store) for OS4 handhelds. After the backup is done, the report window shows the list of all files with the results: OK means the compression was done on the particular file. == means the file was skipped because it was not changed. (Incremental backup only.) Remaining rows are written in red and contain the error description. (Backup does not stop on error.) The list is sorted: 1. errors (they cannot be missed), 2. compressed files, 3. skipped (unchanged) files. The list can be exported as memo. RESTORE This is the reverse of the backup - it allows the restoration of the databases to the state stored in the backup. Note the backup exclusions described above. They particularly mean that psysLaunchDB cannot be restored (categories may be lost). PIM databases are generally restored, but there are exceptions - some PIM managers use tricks preventing proper restore. There might be more files on your handheld that are dangerous to restore. Usually they are the opened databases, some of which may prevent any access at all. Be careful with these files. They are often opened by various hacks or as a reaction to reset etc. Therefore we suggest to perform reset after warm reset (reset while keeping the "Up" button). Warm reset prevents automatic launching of hacks etc. and minimizes thus the number of opened files. First restore screen allows selection among existing backups. Normally the backups made by the current user are offered only, but after a hard reset (when the user information is lost) all backups are offered. Second restore screen evaluates the differences and allows to select files for restore: [RAM] button shows files that are in the RAM, but not in the selected backup. (These files are left unchanged.) [Card] button presents the files in the selected backup, whereby you can use these filter buttons: >> shows RAM files that are newer than their backup counterparts. (I.e. they were accessed since the last backup.) << shows backup files that are newer than their RAM counterparts (or when the RAM file is missing). != shows files that differ in size. == shows files with the same size and date. These files are by default excluded from the backup, but you are free to take another decision. (Imagine a file that is partially rewritten without changing its size and whose modification date remains unchanged. A strange situation, but cannot be excluded; Explorer will not detect such a change.) You can use similar actions as for the backup: - Select/unselect the files via pen tap or via context menu. - Use custom filtering. (Filter button at the bottom.) - Define columns displayed and the sort order used. Pressing [Finish] button starts the actual restore operation on the selected files. Final report has similar properties as the backup report - i.e. the special sorting and export to memopad. VERIFY BACKUP Verify backup menu option enables reliable check of the selected backup. The function performs bytewise comparison of every backup-ed database to the original RAM database and is thus a tool to a) Find the differences between the actual RAM databases and their counterparts in the backup set. b) Localize the backup bugs. (This argument applies primarily to the NVFS systems). Restore Backup procedure seeks for the differences as well. However, the comparison criteria used are different - the database size and the modification date. This comparison cannot detect e.g. bugs caused by NVFS problems. Don't look for problems behind every difference reported - even if you perform the verification immediately after the backup. E.g. preferences or various caches may change virtually at any time. NVFS explanation ---------------- The new feature on T5/T650 devices is the use of NVFS - Non-Volatile File Storage. NVFS basic advantage (and reason of being) is that it preserves the data also after the total power discharge. NVFS databases can't be accessed directly. Therefore Palm OS reserves part of RAM called DbCache. Prior to its use the databases are copied from NVFS to the DbCache and after the use they are copied back (if changed). DbCache gets subsequently filled because the databases are not immediately purged from the DbCache, but (for performance reasons) stay in the cache as long as there is enough space. On T5 the DbCache has 10 MB and it is considered full when the free space reaches approx. 1MB. Full DbCache means slower data operations because of the increased data exchange between the NVFS and the DbCache. However, the user will generally notice it only when a large amount of data is processed. (Such as e.g. backup of the whole memory.) DbCache can be emptied only via reset. There is another important difference: NVFS has different granularity than the conventional RAM with the lowest accessible unit being 512 By. The consequence is that the databases with small records (e.g. contacts) will occupy much more space on NVFS than they used to have in the RAM-based systems. Many applications have real problems to adapt to this situation. Example: Database record with 50 By length will occupy 512 By on the NVFS. A database with 2000 such records will occupy 100K in the dynamic RAM, but 1 MB in NVFS. Consequences to the programming: Even if NVFS was implemented reliably, there are important changes the programmers have to cope with. Such as e.g. the DB position is not fixed anymore, the DB close may fail because the NVFS is full etc. Applications not optimized for NVFS may occasionally crash simply because their authors did not know about these changes when the apps were released. NVFS Bugs: It is known fact that the NVFS implementation is buggy. As a rule, the problems manifest when the DbCache is full. Our stress tests indicated that certain Palm OS services for the database access fail in 0.1% cases when the DbCache is full. There exist workarounds for most of the cases - unfortunately not for all. (E.g. when Palm OS itself uses these services.) Palm policy is remarkable - unofficially they admitted the problems and a patch for T650 should be on the way. However, the T5 may stay as it is. (Unofficial information valid as of Mar-14.) Sprint T650 update, Tungsten E2 -------------------------------- The NVFS allocation unit was decreased to 36 By and many NVFS bugs corrected. It does not mean that all problems are over, but these handhelds are substantially safer. Updated example: Database record with 50 By length will occupy 2*36=72 By on the NVFS. A database with 2000 such records will occupy 100K in the dynamic RAM, but 144K in NVFS. This tremendous improvement must cost some speed, but acc. to the first reports it is hardly noticeable. Useful advices: --------------- - Take advantage of the information collected by other users. E.g. http://www.1src.com/forums/showthread.php?t=71634 contains very interesting discussion about the stability of various apps on the T5. - Special danger comes from the background applications that cannot work around the NVFS bugs. These apps work as a rule reliably until more intensive data operations are performed on the full DbCache The peculiar thing is that the user will see crashing the application running in the foreground, (Typical examples are mysterious crashes during the HotSync or crashes of the backup programs.) - Another way how to deactivate the background applications is the warm reset. (Reset while the Up key is being pressed.) Special on this reset is that it does not send any notifications that are otherwise used to start running the background applications. Our compatibility list: Buggy background apps: ClipPRO 2.1.1 TextPlus 5.6 Okey 1.2.3 Bk apps that work: Crash Pro 2.15 ScreenShot 2.3 ScrShot 1.3.4 Tealscript 3.66 Uninstall Manager 2.70 BatteryLine 1.3 PowerOn for OS5 6.6 MobileWrite 3.4 UDMH 2.3 FindHack 4.06 Jot 2.1 WordComplete Mar-22-2005, http://www.palmone.com/us/support/downloads/treo650updater/sprint.html There was an update to T650 that contains a.o. "non-Volatile File System improvements that optimize memory handling and free up more memory". At the time of this writing it is not known whether it solves known NVFS problems. T5/T650 specifics ----------------- - RAM info includes the DbCache state. - PALM_DM folder on the BuiltIn drive: This folder is the NVFS mirror of the RAM. (Notice e.g. that these files cannot be deleted.) The Explorer shows the RAM database names. Real names are listed in the file Info dialog. RAM column shows the RAM database size so that you can compare NVFS vs. RAM size. (Provided you have switched the Size column.) Notice, there are some files (such as ReserveFile) that do not show the RAM size. These files have no RAM counterparts. Previous Explorer version showed the NVFS size within the RAM folder. However, as palmOne keeps on changing the name conventions, we took this way that is easier to maintain. - Backup-related dialogs are equipped with additional safety measures: -- The dialogs check for the presence of risky background tasks that are known to cause a crash after DbCache gets filled. (I.e. those apps are not prepared to work around the Palm OS bugs.) -- Restore dialog checks DbCache and a suggestion to reboot is issued if the free space is too low. (Nevertheless, the restore might succeed even without the reboot. The reboot just decreases the probability of the DbCache corruption.) Although we found workarounds for several NVFS bugs, we suggest increased care further on - mainly if you are seeking for reliable backup. This includes: - Deactivation of the risky background tasks. - Verification of the backup results. - Preliminary reset (or warm reset as its safer form) can be used as the last resort. TIPS How to make a group of files readonly: -------------------------------------- - Select the files and open the Info dialog - Switch to the Attributes tab - The checkboxes have 3 states: -- Grey: unknown value (the attribute won't be changed) -- Selected: The attribute will be changed for all files -- Unselected: ditto Remark for Windows users: This behavior is copied from the Total commander How to repair damaged places on an card -------------------------------------- FAT file system gets easily into problems - mainly on a simple OS such as the Palm OS. Typical situation that results in a card problems is a crash (or card removal) during a file write operation. Problem manifestation: - Lost file cluster (less card space) is an easy problem as the card can be used without any problem. - Bad or circular references will effectively disable the use of certain directories. (Explorer or other applications will usually freeze or crash here.) In most cases the card can be used if you avoid these directories. Solution: Old good MS DOS utility chkdsk (check disk) can repair the file system on the card. To use it, you have to make the card accessible from the PC. Some of the possibilities: - T5/LifeDrive: Use the Drive Mode application - Use some of the card readers - Insert the card into a PPC handheld and access it there Installing Explorer on a card ----------------------------- It works, but there are some minor pitfalls: 1. Explorer is registered as a default handler of zip/txt files (and maybe of other files depending on the user choice). However, if launched from the card, these registrations are cleared to compensate Palm OS bugs. 2. When an app launched from Explorer crashes, RAM copy of the Explorer might remain registered as the default launcher. However, this copy is just temporary as the Explorer resides on the card. System should cope with it and launch default launcher in such case. This also means that eventual 3rd party launcher will have to be restarted manually.