Help me enter the world of the Tungsten E
October 4, 2005 6:36 PM   Subscribe

Palm Tungsten E question: I just got one (I know it's lame), and I'm at a loss as to what to do with it. Can anybody help me with essential apps, and how to go about actually using the thing?

It's my first PDA, so I'm a newbie as to syncing and all that sort of thing. I'd like to do the following with it if possible:

-Download my gmail/hotmail messages (I have "versamail", but it seems to be useless)
-Sync things in a logical way between my home PC and work PC - Can I pick and choose which contact/calendar folders I sync with outlook, for example? Are there any tips or tricks to this?
-Somehow use a rational application to sort photo/music/movie files, something like vlc player or the like for the palm - does this exist?
-Can I use it as a hard drive? Is there any way for Windows XP to recognize it as such?
-Any other suggestions for little games or other cool apps? I know there have been some other threads about this, just thought I'd see if anything had changed.

I have documents to go and the adobe reader, and palm reader, and realplayer, and something called kinoma. I'm really trying my best to find an actual use for the thing.

Thanks a lot!
posted by loquax to Computers & Internet (34 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The killer app for Palm is Avant Go. I use it to download the New York Times, Washington Post and several other publications to my handheld every day. The money it's saved me in paying for these papers (and the ease with which it allows me to read them on the train) has paid for the device many times over.
posted by aladfar at 7:47 PM on October 4, 2005

Best answer: I've tried twice with PDAs, and basically get the same feeling I used to get looking at my Amiga in the pre-internet days: this is an answer without a question. I'll play a game, then. Unless a business has a specific use for a PDA and gives an employee custom software, I can't think of things that aren't done better with a piece of paper or a laptop.

I've tried to make a PDA be a number of things, but it was just heartache:

It's not digital intelligent paper (though I hear the Newton was supposed to come close to that) and The Palm handwriting recognition is just utter shit, frankly, which makes something as basic as notes about 50% slower to take. Especially for left-handers, whose natural right-to-left crossbar stroke deletes letters.)

It's not portable web (all the browsers are more-or-less shit).

It's not portable email (and even if it were, the handwriting ...)

So, er, play bejewelled.

or er, do what I did.

(On preview: I'll relent. There are two good uses: Text adventures are brilliant on a Palm, because the whole screen is active, and it cuts the typing right down. And eDocs can be somewhat fun.)
posted by bonaldi at 7:50 PM on October 4, 2005

(Oops. Good text adventures list here. I loved Frobnitz and its groovy context-sensitive menus to play them on.)
posted by bonaldi at 7:56 PM on October 4, 2005 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I haven't used a Palm in a few years but when I did, the best apps were Mapopolis, Bejewelled (bonaldi mentioned it), Shadow Planner, Beiks dictionaries... and the place to keep up to date was Brighthand.
posted by dobbs at 8:00 PM on October 4, 2005

If you work somewhere where ability to access several hundred important pager and phone numbers immediately in the middle of the night could save someone's life, your Palm will be indispensible.

Occasionally I also used mine to 'beep' 10 minutes before an important meeting.

And I played DopeWars a lot while I was on call. I once made $28 billion dollars.
posted by ikkyu2 at 8:03 PM on October 4, 2005

I'd like to piggyback on this question; I just got a Treo 650 and was wondering what apps were most useful/cool/fun.

(and loquax, I got my VersaMail to work with GMail just fine. Drop me a line if you'd like a hand.)
posted by Vidiot at 8:12 PM on October 4, 2005

Oh, and second AvantGo. I got an old Palm Vx off eBay several months ago so I could do just that; $20 bought me a device that was great for newspapers on the subway.
posted by Vidiot at 8:13 PM on October 4, 2005

I also recommend Vindigo as a traveling app. You can download city guides for wherever you are going and get hotel, restaurant, nightlife info including directions and reviews - plus my personal favorite - the public restroom locator - sweet!
posted by garbo at 8:27 PM on October 4, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for the thoughts so far - Vidiot, feel free to horn in (if you can get my gmail working, I've sent you an email!).

Work just dropped this in my lap, and I guess I feel the same way you do bonaldi (and ikkyu2). I'd like it to be an easy to use mini version of my desktop, but it doesn't really look like it has the power to do that. AvantGo looks good, I'm in the middle of setting it up. Are there any better document viewers or media players/picture viewers that are better (or smaller) than the defaults? Poking around on the palmfreeware-type sites is a nightmare of information overload. Mapopolis and the dictionary site look good too, thanks for the links Dobbs.

Thanks again.
posted by loquax at 8:28 PM on October 4, 2005

Response by poster: After taking a look at Avantgo (which is pretty good, if limited), is there any way I could download any old site to view on the palm? Like, say, Metafilter?
posted by loquax at 8:40 PM on October 4, 2005

For organization / info mgmt freaks, the killer app for Palm is not AvantGo, it's DateBk5. It runs my life.

Beyond that, it's all 2nd tier stuff for me. SnapperMail, Planetarium, CryptInfo, and my phone's kickass integrated voice functions.
posted by intermod at 8:42 PM on October 4, 2005

posted by Wet Spot at 8:45 PM on October 4, 2005

Best answer: The Today plugin is free. Card Export will allow you to access the memory card as a Windows drive. For time management stuff, I like Agendus. For the Treo, get Chatter Email - proper push email over IMAP.

And, best of all, SCUMMVM will let you play all those old Lucasarts games. It's about the only thing I use my old Palm for now.
posted by blag at 8:46 PM on October 4, 2005

Whoops! That would be BigClock!
posted by Wet Spot at 8:46 PM on October 4, 2005

I still have my original Vx from 2000. I was already a damn good Boggle player but that thing made me utterly unbeatable.

In those days I used a cable to hook it up to my cell phone and did all kinds of networking that way. I was a blazing Graffiti-ist back then so it was actually practicable for me. Somehow it doesn't seem all that appealing any more.

Can't be bothered to sync up much either. Mapopolis and AvantGo rocked hard back at the turn of the millennium. They probably still do, but I wouldn't know; I only make the Palm talk to the computer on the rare occasions when I get motivated to load up another seven or eight books to read.

Otherwise it's a fancy address book and note pad.
posted by tangerine at 8:48 PM on October 4, 2005

Wow I can't believe I clicked on that link. I was nervous for a second there. :)
posted by meta87 at 8:48 PM on October 4, 2005

Best answer: PDAs? Oh man, I remember those. I had a IIIxe, a Vx, a m500, and a Tungsten T. I was basically the reason Best Buy stopped selling extended warranties on PDAs.

Um, lemme see. Hit PalmGear and see what their current Top 50 and Essentialls are.

I used 1-2 Convert (unit conversion), MobileDB, BigClock, Agendus, Plucker, GEDstar, uhhh... AvantGo, but they suck now that they're trying to make money... BugMe (great notepad replacement)... Get an eBook reader of some sort... I used Documents To Go quite a bit... And Ultrasoft Money was great...

Man, that branch of technology pretty much hit a wall didn't it? Carrying around a PDA would almost feel retro to me now.
posted by keswick at 9:10 PM on October 4, 2005

Dopewars, you have to get Dopewars.
posted by oddman at 9:22 PM on October 4, 2005

What's a good ebook reader?
posted by Vidiot at 9:23 PM on October 4, 2005

Second intermod's DateBk5.
posted by dobbs at 9:36 PM on October 4, 2005

Vindigo is the killer app for Palm devices.
posted by bshort at 9:46 PM on October 4, 2005

Best answer: tcpmp is a free video player that can pretty much play any video file. its definitely the coolest app i have loaded on my treo.

not sure if tungsten E has an SD slot or not. i guess if it doesnt then this is not much use.
posted by joeblough at 9:58 PM on October 4, 2005

Best answer: loquax, I haven't seen your e-mail show up yet (and I'm on my notebook, not my Treo!). So here's how I got my VersaMail to play nice with GMail -- hopefully your mileage won't vary too much:
In Gmail, go into Settings. Click on the "Forwarding and POP" tab. Enable POP and make the selections on how you want it to work. Click on the "Configure mail client" link. Scroll to the bottom and click on "Other." (This will give you the information you need to configure your Palm.) Click "Save Changes."

In VersaMail, go into Accounts, then choose "Account Setup." Name the new account (I use "Gailm", oddly enough). Set "Mail Service" to "Other" and "Protocol" to "POP." Fill in your Gmail username and password. Confirm your Gmail e-mail address. Set your "Incoming Mail Server" to Set your "Outgoing Mail Server" to

Go into "Advanced" settings. Incoming Server settings are port 995, use secure connection/SSL, but not authentication/APOP. Outgoing Server settings are port 465 or 587 (I use 587), use secure connection/SSL and authentication/ESMTP. Fill in your username and password again, and you should be set.
N.B.: This is all much easier than it looks; I'm not terribly computer-savvy and it took me about three minutes.
posted by Vidiot at 10:13 PM on October 4, 2005

I agree that getting web pages onto the Palm and always having something to read, for free, is the killer app. But I no longer use AvantGo and can't imagine doing so every again.

I use the open-source Plucker, which is also useful as a reader of text files.

It doesn't attempt to do the download and the syncing at the same time, like AvantGo, it has a fully-featured desktop client for Windows and Mac which downloads the content (it can be scheduled) which you transfer, much more quickly, on sync.

There's a Java version which can get into password-protected sites by piggybacking on your browser cookie file.

Oh, and the best hack I know for Palms, if you write using handwriting recognition, not the keyboard, is to replace that awful Graffiti 2 with the original Graffiti.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 3:02 AM on October 5, 2005

Best answer: For reading websites/RSS feeds offline: Sunrise desktop is an app that stays running on your machine and updates websites and RSS feeds periodically through the day. There's even a right-click "send to sunrise" plugin for firefox. You use Plucker to read them.

FitalyStamp is a great keyboard to replace the stupid graffiti entry system. It takes a bit of practice, but it's worth it.

pTunes seems like the best mp3 player.

Planisphere is an interactive sky chart program that displays the sky as it appears right now at your location.

And if you want to fiddle around with music, there's Bhaji's Loops, a tracker program.
posted by stokast at 3:15 AM on October 5, 2005

AmbroseChapel: I've been meaning to replace Graffiti2 with the original Graffiti ever since I bought my Zire 71. I had heard it could be done, but hadn't found instructions. Do you have any pointers?
posted by dnm at 5:50 AM on October 5, 2005

I use my treo 650 every day.
It's mostly a place to read books (I really like Deepreader).
There are *ahem* places to get legal and less so books on the internet
My calendar and all my GTD stuff is there as well (and I need frequent sync'ing for those).

I could feel comfortable being at a client's for a day without my laptop (email in this case).

Make sure you check out delicious for palm

take a look at the treo links there too - there was a "top ten things on my treo" meme going around for awhile.
posted by filmgeek at 6:22 AM on October 5, 2005

There's a cunning little app called Open which very simply stores the opening hours of businesses, etc. This is very keen for places like libraries which may have different hours on different days of the week.

If you're a student or if you have multiple tasks due for multiple projects on a regular basis, try Due Yesterday.
posted by Dreama at 6:54 AM on October 5, 2005

Best answer: -Download my gmail/hotmail messages (I have "versamail", but it seems to be useless)

See Vidiot's post above. Versamail is not useless.

-Sync things in a logical way between my home PC and work PC - Can I pick and choose which contact/calendar folders I sync with outlook, for example? Are there any tips or tricks to this?

The Palm should come with conduits that let you sync with Outlook, but to pick and choose which Outlook folders you sync with I do believe you'll need to pay for Intellisync.

-Somehow use a rational application to sort photo/music/movie files, something like vlc player or the like for the palm - does this exist?

The Tungsten E has small enough memory that managing many MP3s, photos, and movies isn't a problem for most folks. Like any Palm app, you can assign each photo/MP3/movie to a "category." All the MP3 programs let you create playlists, too.

-Can I use it as a hard drive? Is there any way for Windows XP to recognize it as such?

The LifeDrive can be used as a hard drive, recognized by Windows XP. Your Tungsten E cannot. However, check out ZBoxz, which lets you "sync" PC files onto your PDA at one location, and then sync them off at a different location. (This is useful only in limited situations; if you have a hotsync cradle at home and work, for example).

-Any other suggestions for little games or other cool apps?

Look at for good free software. Many computer games from the '80s and early '90s have been ported to Palm; SimCity used to be a favorite of mine.
posted by profwhat at 7:23 AM on October 5, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks again all, some great suggestions, I have some neat things now, even though I have a feeling I won't be carrying it around with me at all times.

As for the versamail stuff, thanks for the help profwhat and vidiot - I'm not sure why my email didn't get through, but I tried the steps suggested and it didn't work. If I used SSL for incoming mail and tested the connection through the palm desktop, it claimed that SSL connections were not supported, or something like that. Conversely, if I turned off SSL, it was not able to establish a connection. I'm guessing it's some sort of a local problem, what with routers and firewalls being what they are, but if you have any idea what it might be offhand, it would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks again.
posted by loquax at 8:16 AM on October 5, 2005

Response by poster: stokast: plucker and sunrise are fantastic - exactly what I was looking for, thanks!
posted by loquax at 10:39 AM on October 5, 2005

kMoria for your Rogue-like fix on the go.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 10:39 AM on October 5, 2005

There's older advice here (where I wrote a long response I won't duplicate.)

Your Palm is as useful as you make it. For me it's most useful as the canonical place I store notes, phone numbers & addresses, appointments. For it to be useful as a canonical repository, though, you do have to carry it all the time.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 11:05 AM on October 5, 2005

I sorta miss my palm now.

I find that the killer app for me, ultimately, was as a reminder alarm for odd, one-off meetings on campus.
posted by craniac at 12:34 PM on October 5, 2005

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