Tuesday, May 25, 2004

USB Charge and Sync cables for CLIE TJ-27 -- Zip-Linq

Pc-Mobile cables for PDA, GSM and GPS

I've got a few threads on this topic in earlier blog postings and on usenet. I found this page by searching on the battery specs for my TJ-27 - 5.2V and 800 mA (it can be so hard to find unique search terms for Google work). This site also has a nice selection of CLIE connectivity cables for sale.

They wrote:
Important note: Turn off power management (at least to the USB port), particularly if you are going to charge the Clie via USB port unattended. Otherwise no power will be delivered to the USB port thus no charging current.

Depending on the models, USB charge cable will charge a nearly out of power Clie to about 75% capacity in 3-4 hours (710C may take longer) and the charging rate drops significantly afterwards. 320 (and models with Li-ion batteries) could be charged to nearly 100% in further 3-5 hours, while 710C (Li-polymer battery) can be charged to maximum of about 80% or more.

Power output from Sony AC adapter is 5.7V/800mA, output from standard USB port is 5V/500mA. 5V is just about minimum to be able to trickle charge the Clie while it is being used. It is recommended that the Clie to be turned of while charging.

USB power output from computers varies and most are about 5.0-5.2V (some can deliver as much as 5.3V, in that case, it can charge even 710C to 100%). If you connect it into a hub, the hub must be powered. The computer USB port will not have enough power to operate more than one device as well as providing power for charging.
Here's the result of the research:

1. I ordered two CLIE Sync-N-Charge I
ZIP-DATA-P05 / UPC# 724580610410 Zip-Linq cables
from PC Connection. The Zip-Linq site states these are compatible with the TJ-25. I am very pleased with them. I think I paid about $24 for the two plus shipping, I should have ordered three of 'em.

2. My TJ-27 does NOT use the 5.7V/800mA battery of the older CLIEs. It's a 5.2V/800mA battery. Since USB output is 5V/500mA this is actually a BETTER match to the TJ-27 than to earlier CLIEs.

I'm not bothered by the charge time. I leave the PC in a special power saving mode I defined (basically running with drive spun down and display off) and let the PDA charge overnight.

This is a vast improvement over the ridiculous contraption that ships with the CLIE. SONY should bundle the Zip-Linq cable with the TJ-27.

Monday, May 17, 2004

BeyondContacts & item duplication

Outlook on Palm OS Beyond Contacts accesses your Outlook Calendar and Outlook ContactsBeyondContacts periodically duplicates items -- tasks, appointments, etc.

KeySuite did something similar.

Same behavior on a CLIE TJ-27 and a Tungsten E.

My guess is it's not really BC's fault. I suspect our ancient Exchange server is periodically doing something that messes up KeySuite and the Tungsten E's change algorithms.

Yet another reason I may need to return to paper.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Law One: No PDA shall be wider or thicker than the "Razor" (Palm V)

After spending a week with the CLIE TJ-27, I've formulated LAW ONE of the Society for the Preservation of the True PDA.

No "true" DPA shall be wider or thicker than the Palm V ("Razor").

Justification: The "true" PDA can be always with its owner -- irregardless of gender. Since women don't wear items, and most men don't carry a purse equivalent, that means it must fit comfortably in a pant's pocket as well as occupy little space in a purse. The front pocket test is more severe. The Vx is the upper limit of what fits comfortably in a front pocket.

The Palm V, Vx, m5xx series qualify. The PalmOne Tungsten E just misses, but more importantly it violates LAW TWO. ALL CLIEs, including the TJ-27, appear to violate LAW ONE. Thus no CLIE can be a "true PDA". I don't know of any PocketPC that passes LAW ONE.

A PDA does not lose data. It is fundamentally reliable.

The Tunsten E, thanks to its "DataManger" feature, fails this test. Some CLIEs also abruptly lose data if they discharge their primary battery (lack a backup power store for sleep mode).

Friday, May 14, 2004

CLIE TJ-27 pictures: getting them to the desktop

ClieSource Archive - Saving JPG files to PC - Help!

So you take a picture of something. How do you move it to the desktop? The manual doesn't say. There's no software.

SONY must be a VERY depressing place to work.

1. Buy a memory stick card. Use image viewer to save it there. It will translate from PDB to JPG.
2. Use the mail software to "mail" jpeg, sync to desktop, don't send mail. There will be a JPG in the mail.
3. There are a few cryptic command line converter programs floating around. Sync to desktop, see if PDB of right sort is in backup folder. Use conversion softare to change to jpeg. More.







The last has an identified author and is perhaps safest. The UI is extremely crude, but it worked in my testing.

SONY is clearly in bad shape.

PS. For some additional details, check out this usenet thread:


Proporta SONY CLIE TJ-27 Retractable USB Sync and Charge Cable

Retractable USB Sync and Charge Cable (Clie) - Proporta PDA Cases, PDA Cables, PDA Software and PDA Accessories

Proporta's Retractable USB Sync and Charge Cable (Clie) is compatible
with Sony Clie TJ27. This cable synchronises and charges your handheld on
the move from any USB port.

If true this would get around one of the primary TJ-27 problems -- the silly sync/charge cables and chargers. I'm looking for more info on this CLIE forum. It's a UK company with inexpensive international shipping.

Update - from a usenet posting

Proporta sells a retractable cable that they say will both sync and charge a CLIE TJ-27 (and others) via a USB port [1]. This would be great if it works, I think the standard TJ-27 travel cable/charger arrangement is a real kludge.

Question is, how well does USB charging of the CLIE work? The standard charger is 5.2V. Minimum USB output is 4.75V. This technical doc [2] describes how USB power is adapted to charge LiOn batteries using National Semiconductor’s LM3622 Li-Ion Battery Charger Controller. I wonder if the Proporta cable uses this controller?

[1] See:
[2] http://www.national.com/appbriefs/files/AppBrief101.pdf


Zip-Linq sells this cable directly: http://www.ziplinq.com/retractable-cable-pda.html. I'm going to order from them.

meta: jfaughnan, jgfaughnan, Palm, CLIE, TJ27, TJ-27, USB charging, power adaptor, power adapter, USB cable, travel, sync, hotsync, synch

Thursday, May 13, 2004

There's a Google Group 2 (beta) for this blog.

Google Groups : SPTPDA

If you poke around you'll see the Atom feed link. It's open to all registered Google users for posting, etc.

Also, this blog now supports comments.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Tungsten E vs. SONY CLIE TJ-27: A comparative review by a hard core pda user

Sony CLIÉ TJ-27

Overall the Tungsten is a better device, BUT after two weeks of use the CLIE is starting to pull even.

T: PalmOne Tungsten E (See my Palm page for a full review of the Tungsten E.)
Revised: 5/23/04

1. Form Factor: T >>>>> S
- S is heavier and thicker. It's very noticeable in the front pocket of my jeans. This alone would be a deal-killer, if not for the data mangler issue (below).

2. Sync connector: T >>> S
- T uses a USB cable for sync and charging. Sync at work and at home is no problem.
- S requires a ridiculous adapter to work with the power cable and a USB sync cable. HOWEVER, Zip-Linq and others sell a USB cable with a SONY adapter that looks very promising. It closes the gap, if SONY sold it directly I'd rate this one as T = S since the S has a CLIE-standard connector and the T has only the USB connector.

3. Charging unit: T >>> S
- T charges via a compact charger or a USB cable
- S uses a bulky converter with a bulky and wasteful power cord

4. Camera unit: S > T
- S has a camera, T doesn't. The SONY camera needs more resolution, but it focuses very close. I can take a readable image of a large text document. On the other hand S doesn't win as big with this as one may think. There's no easy way to move the image off the CLIE. You need to buy a memory stick card. Lord, this is so dumb.

5. Display, including daytime usability: T >> S
The T is MUCH brighter in default (battery drain) mode and it can be read in daylight. Dimmer allows it to be throttled down for indoor use. The S display is difficult to read even with indirect daylight.

6. Stylus: T >> S
- the stylus on the S defines pathetic, BUT the digitizer on the S is much more responsive and accurate than on the T.
- the T uses the m500 series stylus and comes with a very nice stylus, but its digitizer is the weakest I've used on any PDA.

7. Case: S >> T
- neither has anything near as good as the Palm V or even m500 series, but the S is better than the very weak T cover

8. Performance: T = S
Supposedly the T is faster, but I don't notice much difference. Data Mangler issues slowed down some apps on the T.

9. Data Integrity & "Data Mangler": ????
This is why I switched from the otherwise far superior Tungsten E to the SONY. Will I be spared the data manger effect of the Tungsten E and T3?

10. One handed operation and controls: S >> T
I'm still evaluating the jog dial and the SONY launcher (I use TealLaunch normally) but they seem very promising. Doesn't make up for the #@#! SONY stylus though.

11. Macintosh compability: T >> S
SONY doesn't support the Mac natively, though it's said to work better than one might think.

12. Stroke recognition: S >>> T
Both only support Jot/Graffiti Two. Hence both are dismal, but with TealScript I'm getting much better recognition on the S than the T. This is quite significant, I think the S has a much better digitizer than the T.

13. Support for PalmSource compatibility: S > T
Neither are great but PalmOne really hosed the conduits.

14. Available accesories: S = T
There's almost nothing for the T, but there's little of interest for the S either. Mostly cradles one shouldn't have to buy. No wireless options for either one.

15. Support for migrating data from previous device: T >>>> S
Neither is good, especially when changing PalmOS vendors, but at least the T allows a family to sync with the desktop with different devices. S doesn't even support synching to a desktop that's shared with users of OTHER SONY devices. Pathetic. (In practice I'm synching my S to my T desktop for the moment, but I'll eventually switch.)

16. Warranty: T=S
Be sure to register to get warranty. Use a disposable spam address (Yahoo, etc).

17. Graffiti sticker: T > S
Tungsten comes with a G2 sticker you can place on the cover. S comes with a card?! Good thing I don't use G2.

18. Battery life: S >> T
Given the lack of USB charging and the bulky charger cord, the S needs a longer battery life! At first I thought they were quite similar, but after a few days the S is clearly better. One can also buy a USB travel charger (see above).

19. Software bundle: T >> S
The S has very little associated software, though you can download "Documents to Go". The T had quite a bit. I miss the old Expense tool -- it's nowhere to be found.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Tungsten E: today the tasks were gone

Another saga in the continuing story of John and the curse of the Tungsten E.

1. John has a spare moment.
2. John opens Tasks item.
3. There are no tasks.

At home there are 259 tasks, so I sync from desktop to Palm. I've probably lost a bit of data, not too much. I sync almost daily.

Where did the tasks go? I don't know. The hack PalmOne executed to internally coordinate their old and new applications appears to have made a bad situation worse.

My old Franklin Planner is looking better all the time.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Installing Palm Desktop on OS X

MacInTouch Home Page: "After spending the better part of a day trying to get 'Palm Desktop 4.2.1' to work with my Palm T2 I realized that it's an installer issue. The only safe way to update is to completely remove all vestiges of any previous Palm install and reinstall 4.2.1 cleanly. I ran Palm's un-install then did a search for anything with Palm or Hotsync in the name and then moved those items to the trash. Then open your Accounts pref pane and remove the 'Palm Desktop Background' app from the startup list and restart the computer. Empty the trash and install 4.2.1 then the 'Apple iSync Conduit 1.2' software. You may need to run the Permissions fixer app as well even though it's now included in the Palm 4.2.1 installer package I'm not sure it works. Once you've done this it should work fine. It did for me.
  The problem is that 4.2.1 installs new conduits but leaves the old ones in place which creates havoc and cause failed syncs or alerts saying any one of a number of problems were encountered. (Makes you wonder if they actually tried doing an update install themselves.)"

I doubt they did much QA.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

New Desktop with new Outlook conduits: first experiences

I downloaded the new desktop and tried synching. First experiences:

1. I got several duplicates. A bad sign -- but maybe it means they're fixing problems with the matching algorithms and this will improve from now on.

2. The failure to manage the completion status (check in palm does not complete task in outlook) may be improving.