It looks like palmOne is finally pulling the plug on the Palm.net wireless internet service for Palm VII, VIIx, and i705 models. In an online letter dated 2004-07-30, it was announced that Palm.net is “ceasing operations” as of 2004-08-31.
This is a sad but inevitable event in the “Palm economy”. I worked at Palm during this entire time and, in spite of the development problems, was really excited about the possibilities of handheld internet access. In fact, many of the “PDA-friendly” websites on my list were discovered through those early Palm Query Applications (PQAs).
During the rapid growth at Palm, wireless was touted as the Next Big Thing and lots of resources were brought in for these projects, including the entire Palm.net infrastructure. Unfortunately, like several other projects at that time (e.g., “Enterprise”), the financial results never materialized. I'm kind of surprised that Palm.net stayed online as long as it did; I suppose having some number of users still paying $40/month helped pay the bills.
HBlogger — a new application for blogging from your Palm OS PDA — was recently released at version 2.0. I posted to my moblog using my Treo 600 and it seems to work fine, although the Movable Type support is not great.
The software is advertised to work with Live Journal, Blogger, and Movable Type. But, the choices in the app itself are only Live Journal and Blogger. The notes say to use Blogger for MT because it uses the Blogger API. While true, this means that all the additional features of MT are missing (including simple things like titles).
On the plus side:
- ability to upload images
- correctly handles the 4 blogs set up on my MT installation
- support for creating drafts for later posting
- support for multiple “accounts” (account = weblog)
Overall this looks promising. It's good to see another choice in Palm Blogging software (along with mo:Blog — which I wrote about previously — and Vagablog.
The Tapwave Zodiac enthusiast site Tapland just added an RSS feed to their site. Some time ago I wrote a short article on Getting Started with RSS for Goodthatway.com which was an earlier site from Scott Raulinaitis who is also the founder of Tapland.
If you're a Tapwave fan, be sure to check out Tapland, including their new RSS 2.0 feed and Mobile version.
From clievideo.com comes Palm Webcam 1.0 — a combination device/desktop application that turns camera-equipped Palm OS devices into a Windows webcam. I gave it a whirl with a Zire 72 and Treo 600 and it worked pretty well with Yahoo! Messenger. (Ahh, the best of both worlds…Palm and Yahoo!)
The video quality in both cases was pretty good with a slight nod to the Zire 72 (which has a better camera than the Treo 600). The speed was much better on the Zire 72 as well: at 320×240 resolution, the app reported 4.9 vs. 1.6 fps on the Treo; for 160×120 the difference was even larger at 1.9 vs 11.6 fps.
I like this solution — a $15 piece of software gives you a new function for your existing device. It probably won't be much of a threat to “real” webcams, but I can imagine it being useful for mobile travellers, for example (no need to bring a separate webcam with you).
I finally switched from my plain old cellphone to a Treo 600 and I'm really enjoying it. I'm not sure why I waited until two months after I actually stopped working at Palm, but I wasn't quite ready to commit. I'm so used to the high resolution color of my Tungsten T3 and the fast 802.11 wireless LAN on my Tungsten C, I was reluctant to go down to the lower res display of the Treo. But, being able to carry one device around has been worth it. I've even got the entire Yahoo! phone list loaded (well, at least for the Sunnyvale office which is over 2600 people!).
I was already a SprintPCS customer, so switching my current number to this phone was really simple. For $15/month, I added the “Vision Pro Pack” which gives you unlimited data access for web/e-mail and I believe 100 SMS messages.
I've loaded VersaMail 2.7 and am using it to grab my personal e-mail from cantoni.org (VersaMail supports IMAP which is essential). Version 2.7 has a few bugs and oddities when run on the Treo, but I believe the good team at Palm is working on the next release which should work better.