Palm Computing

Palm Computing Resources at Fourmilab

An overview of Palm Computing resources at this site, both for handheld and desktop platforms. Includes links to and extended descriptions of all the following items.

Handheld Utilities

Eat Watch for the Palm

The central component of my book The Hacker's Diet is a set of tools which permit you, just by logging your daily weight and performing some simple calculations, to determine the precise balance between the calories in the food you eat and the calories you burn. This is the essential information you need to achieve and maintain whatever weight you desire. While you can do the calculations by hand or with a spreadsheet on your computer, it's far more convenient to just write your daily weight into the Palm and receive instant feedback including an up-to-date chart. Companion desktop software backs up Palm databases and exports them as illustrated HTML logs or CSV files for transfer to other desktop applications. New release 1.10 fixes kilojoule energy balance in historical charts.

Desktop Utilities


If you're developing for the Palm platform, sooner or later you're probably going to want to look at the contents of a Palm resource (.prc) or database (.pdb) file on the desktop. Palmdump dumps these files with header and record information in human readable form and the contents of each record or resource in side-by-side hexadecimal and ASCII/ISO character form. Palmdump runs on Windows and most Unix platforms and is insensitive to byte order and structure packing conventions of the desktop platform. A ready to run Win32 executable file is included along with complete source code.


Once you've developed a Palm application you may ask yourself, “Now how do I get the database it needs from the desktop machine onto the handheld?”. PDBMake is a generic (non-application specific) desktop program which accomplishes this. It takes an arbitrary desktop file, text or binary, and embeds it into a Palm Program DataBase .pdb file. Once you've created a PDB file with PDBMake you can install it on the handheld (or emulator) just like any other application or database. When you next HotSync, the database will be installed, then your application can access it through the usual Data Manager mechanisms. PDBMake runs on Windows and Unix platforms, and is insensitive to platform byte order and structure padding conventions. Complete source code and a ready-to-run Win32 executable are included.


The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition—In Your Palm

Don't you just hate it when you're about to close a clandestine munitions deal and your partner raises a question about the relative applicability of Rules of Acquisition 35 and 177? You'd look like a lobeless altruist if you had to stop and ask whether Rule 35 is “Peace is good for business” or “War is good for business”! Install this Memo Pad document containing a compendium of the Rules of Acquisition on your Palm OS handheld and profit from the distilled wisdom of generations of Ferengi in the palm of your hand. Since this reference is provided as a Memo Pad archive, you can read it using the built in PalmOS Memo Pad application; there's no need to install a document reader application, and you can modify the document using the Memo Pad editing functions.

The NATO Phonetic Alphabet (In Your Palm)

Airline pilots, military personnel, cops, amateur radio operators, and others who need to accurately transmit sequences of letters and numbers across voice communication links with limited fidelity mostly rely on a phonetic alphabet developed in the 1950's by NATO. This document provides both a Web-based reference to the phonetic alphabet and a version you can download and install on your Palm OS handheld computer.

Tom Swift and His Pocket Library

There's nothing better to fill those odd moments of downtime…standing in line at the post office or supermarket check-out, waiting in the dentist's office for your name to be (gulp) called, whiling away that seemingly endless interval between blinding flash and deafening report…than whipping out your PDA (PalmPilot, PocketPC, etc.) for a little light reading. Aleatory occasions for literary indulgence of unpredictable temporal extent demand works which don't require a great deal of concentration nor a long attention span; early 20th century juvenile pulp fiction fills the bill superbly. I've been reading through the original Tom Swift novels written by Victor Appleton between 1910 and 1941 on my PDA; here's a library so you can do likewise, should you wish. These books are based upon the Project Gutenberg Etext editions, but reformatted for reading on a handheld computer with eReader or any of its predecessors. HTML, PDF, and plain ASCII editions suitable for reading online or printing are also available. The modest collection of titles will grow slowly and sporadically as I work my way through the series.