Hardware/Accessories Palm OS PDA's

8 MB Internal Memory Upgrade (Visor)
This memory upgrade increased the internal memory of my Visor Prism from 8 MB to 16MB. The 33MHZ Dragonball processor can directly support 16 MB of memory, but the Prism's are supplied with 8MB. The 16 MB is fully functional; all applications and data work fine. You probably have already added a SpringBoard Flash Module to your Prism; however, all programs do not run properly from Springboard Flash Modules and the data files on the Springboard Flash Module are restricted to read only. With this internal upgrade, you do not have those problems. All applications and data files that worked in the Prism's main memory before the upgrade to 16MB will run fine after the upgrade to 16MB.

I was constantly shuffling applications and data to/from several Springboard Flash Modules because I was always running out of main memory. When it became apparent that the Prism would be my main PDA for the foreseeable future (based on my major disappointment with the display brightness of the M505), I "took the plunge" and researched internal memory upgrades. I reviewed several sites; however, I was very impressed with the upgrade service offered by Tony Rudenko.

I mailed my Prism on a Saturday and received it back the following Saturday with 16 MB of functioning main memory. Combined with my 8 MB SpringBoard Flash Module, I now have 24 MB. I am now using my Springboard Flash Modules for extensive AlbumToGo/SplashPhoto photo albums and ebooks. If over time, I run short of memory again, I can replace the 8MB Springboard Flash Module with a 16MB Springboard Flash Module for a total of 32 MB. If you are constantly running out of main memory in your PDA and intend on keeping your PDA for awhile, check out Tony Rudenko's Web Page. Tony offers processor and memory upgrades for many models of Palm OS PDA's and Pocket PC's, not just the Prism.

Click here for Tony Rudenko's Web Page on Memory and Processor Upgrades

8 MB Flash Springboard Module (Visor)
Quick way to update your total storage by 8MB, works great. Some applications will not run properly; however, I believe most major vendors are updating their products to work with the Visor Flash Module. I currently have the latest version of the Peanut Press Reader along with several books in the Flash Module. Everything works fine. I have purchased several Flash Modules, one for work related data and one for personal data.
BackUp Springboard Module (Visor)
Definitely the easiest way to back-up a Visor. One step, fast, easy backup of your 8 MB Visor. I believe this module is a "must have" accessory for the Visor. I have several backup modules and use them frequently.
Cross DigitalWriter Duo
Nice feel to stylus and a regular pen on the other end. Use this item every day. I have always liked the feel of Cross Writing Instruments and this unit maintains that high quality feel.
FlashPlug (Palm)
The FlashPlug attaches to the serial connector on the bottom of the Palm and gives you 8 MB of non-volatile storage for the Palm III series. When you are low on main memory, or only use an application infrequently, you can transfer applications and associated data files to/from the FlashPlug. The unit is light and easily fits in your pocket or purse. Software allows you to transfer files to/from the FlashPlug or backup your main memory to the FlashPlug.

A free doc reader is available which reads doc files directly from the FlashPlug. In addition, a third party launcher is available which will automatically transfer an application and associated data from the FlashPlug to the main memory and then copy the changed data back to the FlashPlug when the application is finished. This third party launcher eliminates the need for you to manually copy an application and its data from the FlashPlug to main memory. However, you must have main memory available, the application and data are copied to the main memory and execute from the main memory, not the FlashPlug. I have used the FlashPlug with both my IIIc and original Palm III. In all cases, I had no problems transferring files or reading doc files on the FlashPlug. I tried the third party launcher on my IIIc and again encountered no problems. If you have a Palm III series PDA and will not be upgrading in the near future, checkout the FlashPlug. FlashPlug is also available for the Palm V series.

Click here for FlashPlug Web Page

MemPlug (Visor only)
This Springboard Module allows the use of SmartMedia Cards and other storage devices with the Visor. This Springboard came with four applications on the module: PiPrefs (utility application), PiMover (transfer files to/from SmartMedia Card), PiBackup (Back-up Visor main memory onto a SmartMedia Card), and PiViewer (which allows viewing of pictures on the SmartMedia Card directly from a digital camera). My digital camera and MP3 player both use SmartMedia Cards and I already have over 500MB in SmartMedia storage capacity. I did not need to purchase any additional cards for use with my MemPlug. MemPlug can use any 3.3 Volt SmartMedia Card.

I used all four applications without any problems. The PiViewer is particularly impressive. I took a SmartMedia Card directly from my Olympus C-3030 Zoom Digital Camera and placed the card in the MemPlug. All pictures displayed in 16 bit color (Visor Prism) without any problems and with excellent detail/color. It took approximately 12 seconds for a 1280 X 968 JPEG file to display directly from the card. A 2056 X 1536 JPEG file took approximately 25 seconds to display. Although I would like the pictures to display quicker, I am not surprised at the time it took to display. Excel Spreadsheets and Access Databases that calculate or apply a filter almost instantaneously on a PC take 6 to 18 seconds to perform the same task on the Visor (600 MHZ Ahtlon vs. 33 MHZ DragonBall). Considering the fact that the picture is being decoded directly on the Visor with excellent quality (as opposed to other photo programs that require conversion on the PC), the time it takes is understandable, although I would like to see quicker decoding in future software versions. Of course, smaller resolution pictures would display quicker. The size of the original image determines the size of the picture displayed on the Visor. The 1280 X 968 pictures are displayed full screen, the 2056 X 1536 pictures are displayed within a square on the screen. If you already have SmartMedia Cards and/or are looking for a quality storage solution, the MemPlug solution may be perfect for you.

MemPlugs are now available for Compact Flash (Type 1) and Memorystick as well as the original SmartMedia. Data can be accessed directly from a memory card in the MemPlug using the new included PiVFS Manager application. If an application can directly access data from a Palm SD card using Palm OS 4, that application most likely can also read data directly from the MemPlug Compact Flash/Smartmedia or Memorystick. I currently have about 10 MB of photos on the MemPlug Compact Flash Adapter and SplashPhoto 2.84 can display the pictures directly from the MemPlug Compact Flash Card. The MemPlug/SplashPhoto combination is and excellent way to display a large number of photos without using all your main memory.

Click for MemPlug Website

Minstrel S Modem - OmniSky (Visor Prism)
I am impressed with the Minstrel S Modem when I am using it in an area with good reception. Although limited to 19.2KPS, the web clipping and email applications work well and this solution is ideal for the user who does not have ready access to a desktop PC or telephone line. The included email application downloads the email headers. After looking at the sender and subject, you can download the remainder of the message. This header only solution works well. You usually do not want to read spam email and you can choose only to download the messages you want rather than waiting for large spams to download at 19.2KPS. The web clipping application is designed for web sites developed for PDA's but also does a decent job of downloading regular web pages. I used the Minstrel S with AvantGo, Blazer, and Iambic Mail. All three applications (2 browsers and 1 email) worked well with the Minstrel. If you want to surf regular web pages, use AvantGo or Blazer, not the web clipping application included with the modem. Unfortunately, the reception from my home with the Minstrel S modem is not good. Based on several discussions with OmniSky tech support (great tech support), the best guess is that my home is located in a pocket between two cells. One block from my house, I get great reception, but I constantly loose the signal at my street. You have 30 days to try the OmniSky and, if unsatisfied, you can return it for a refund. I was really impressed with the OmniSky/Minstrel S solution and wanted to keep this modem. However, I did purchase the modem with my home as the prime use location. As my home was in a pocket between two cells, I reluctantly returned the modem before the 60 day trail period was over (tech support granted me an additional 30 day trial period for a total of 60 days). If you have a need for wireless communication, try the OmniSky for the 30 day trial period. If you are not located in a pocket between two cells, you will probably be impressed with the service and want to continue using it.
Palm Portable/Stowaway Portable Keyboard
If you do any amount of data entry into your Palm or Visor, immediately purchase the Palm Portable (Palm devices) or Stowaway Portable (Visor devices) keyboard. Both keyboards consist of four sections which fold into a form factor about the same size as the PDA. Both have keys approximately the same size as a notebook computer, have a good feel to them, and are ideal for extensive text/data entry into your Palm or Visor. After about five minutes practice, I was typing as fast on the Palm and Stowaway keyboards as I do with my desktop keyboard. Most new or updated software support these keyboards (eg: WordSmith). Unless you only use your PDA to read data, you will wonder how you ever survived without the appropriate folding keyboard for your PDA model. In addition to being a very practical accessory, these keyboards have a "cool" rating of 11 on a 10 scale.
Stylus+ 4-Way
A great product - a combination stylus, 5mm pencil, and two pens (choice of colors) all at a very reasonable price. I am very impressed with this product. The instrument has a nice feel and the pens have fine points, my favorite. In addition to a great product, I received outstanding customer service from this company, better than I have received from an on-line or brick 'n mortar company in a long, long time. I purchased two pens, one for work and one for home. Highly recommended product. A new model with 3 pens and a stylus (no pencil) is now available.

Click here for STYLUSPlus web page

Thinmodem (Visor)
I used this modem extensively during a recent vacation and it worked very well. My ISP has a nationwide deployment and I obtained a local number for my vacation destination before I left. The hotel allowed unlimited local calls. I checked my email every day and did some web surfing. AvantGo, Blazer, and Iambic Mail all worked well with this modem. Currently, you are limited to 33.6KPS. An upgrade to V90 (56KPS) is expected shortly. The modem fits the SpringBoard slot perfectly, no overhang. You do use a dongle to connect the modem to the telephone jack. I did not find the dongle to be inconvenient, you would need some type of cable to connect the modem to the telephone jack anyway. If you tap just below the find icon, a modem status box is displayed which shows your connection speed, connection time and bytes sent/received. Based on my vacation experience, the modem's small form factor, and promised upgrade to 56KPS, I believe you would be happy with this modem and I highly recommend it. In February, 2001, the thinmodem plus was released. In addition to support for 56K, the thinmodem plus has 8 MB flash memory contained in the module. You use the standard filemover application to move applications or data from the main memory to the 8MB flash ram on the thinmodem plus. Very nice addition to an already fine product.
Vaja Leather Cases
Expensive, but nice!! I have Vaja leather cases for my Palm IIIc's, Visor Prism, and Sony Clié NR70V. All cases have the belt clip. The leather looks elegant, smells nice and does offer some protection for the PDA. No velcro is used. Each case is form fitted and holds the PDA without velcro. The front flap uses magnets to hold it in place over the screen (III c and Prism - don't put any credit cards near the magnet). The NR70V cases uses a snap

I have been able to hotsync and charge the Palm IIIc's in the Vaja cases since day one. I have not been able to hotsync or charge the Prism or NR70V in their cases. If you are in the market for a nice, form fitting leather case with no velcro, consider a Vaja case.

Click here for Vaja Cases web page

Xircom Wireless Ethernet Adapter (802.11b)  
Expensive, a lot of T&E (trial and error), minimal documentation, but it is nice. I use this adapter to connect my Visor Prism to my Apple Airport based WI-FI (802.11b) network. Once connected, I surf the net and check my email. Although I can do the same funtions using a wired modem, it is nice to be able to "surf" from any location in the house without regard to whether there is a phone jack or not. Additionally, the connection is established much quicker with the 802.11b than with a modem. The manual does not have much info, the support section of the Xircom website (now Intel) does not have much info, and tech support was not very helpful. A lot of T&E and patience are the reasons I got the adapter to work with my network set-up. I am glad I took the time to get it to work properly. The message from the tech support person for Xirocom was we only help to get a connection, we do not guarantee you will be able to surf the web. In my case, if I didn't use the adapter to surf the web with my Prism, I would have wasted my money.

The SWE 1130 is the most expensive Springboard module I have purchased. Even though I purchased it at a discount from Buy.com, it is still an expensive option. For me, it was worth the investment. Only you would know if you would use this module enough to warrant the purchase cost. Good luck and you may need a lot of patience to get it going; however, it can be very convenient and a good addition to your Visor once you discover the proper settings via T&E.

Click here for Xircom web page

Return to Jim's Palm OS Page