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Flash cards: how to effectively use them under PalmOS

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Anonymous
September 20, 2004 2:06:31 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot (More info?)

I recently bought a Sony Clie PEG-TJ37, a really excellent PDA, to replace a
Handspring Visor Platinum. Because expansion RAM cards were so expensive
for the Visor, I never got one. However, I now have a couple of
MemorySticks for my Clie (64 and 512 MB - the latter full of MP3s :)  ) to
play with.

I'm finding a lot of difficulty finding how to use the flash memory
effectively. I know some programs run fine on cards and others don't.
Currently I have quite a few Handmark games (Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit,
MagicDogs solitaire, their chess game), AvantGo, WordSmith, and use NetFront
and PapiMail for web browsing and IMAP/POP email, plus some other games
(Frobnitz for Infocom/Inform games e.g.).

How can I effectively use the flash card to minimize my RAM usage? I'm
really struggling to find useful information. I don't even clearly know
what will run from flash and what has problems. The only useful thing I've
done so far aside from putting MP3s on them is to have the built-in camera
app store the pictures on flash.

I can't be the only one who has trouble with this. :) 

Thanks!

Jim
Anonymous
September 20, 2004 8:37:01 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot (More info?)

On Mon, 20 Sep 2004 10:06:31 -0600, Jim MacKenzie had this to say...


> I recently bought a Sony Clie PEG-TJ37, a really excellent PDA, to replace a
> Handspring Visor Platinum. Because expansion RAM cards were so expensive
> for the Visor, I never got one. However, I now have a couple of
> MemorySticks for my Clie (64 and 512 MB - the latter full of MP3s :)  ) to
> play with.
>
> I'm finding a lot of difficulty finding how to use the flash memory
> effectively. I know some programs run fine on cards and others don't.
> Currently I have quite a few Handmark games (Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit,
> MagicDogs solitaire, their chess game), AvantGo, WordSmith, and use NetFront
> and PapiMail for web browsing and IMAP/POP email, plus some other games
> (Frobnitz for Infocom/Inform games e.g.).
>
> How can I effectively use the flash card to minimize my RAM usage? I'm
> really struggling to find useful information. I don't even clearly know
> what will run from flash and what has problems. The only useful thing I've
> done so far aside from putting MP3s on them is to have the built-in camera
> app store the pictures on flash.
>
> I can't be the only one who has trouble with this. :) 
>
> Thanks!
>
> Jim

Any program that interfaces the OS (alarms, hacks etc) or interfaces the
Hotsync Manager need to remain in RAM. All others can run from the card.

--
Hope this helps.
Jim Anderson
( 8(|) To email me just pull my_finger
Anonymous
September 20, 2004 10:51:13 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot (More info?)

Jim MacKenzie wrote:
> How can I effectively use the flash card to minimize my RAM usage? I'm
> really struggling to find useful information. I don't even clearly know
> what will run from flash and what has problems. The only useful thing I've
> done so far aside from putting MP3s on them is to have the built-in camera
> app store the pictures on flash.

Hmm, I'm pretty sure that almost any app can run from the card. The
reason is, when you launch an app from the card, the system does
something a lot like this:

1. Is the PRC already in RAM as well? If so, just run that
and skip all the following steps.
2. Copy the entire PRC to RAM.
3. Run the PRC from RAM, just like it was installed there
to begin with.
4. When the app exits, remove the PRC from RAM.

Now, when the app is in RAM and running, it may be creating databases
or adding records to databases and things like that. But, that shouldn't
be a problem since, when the app exits, only the PRC is deleted and
not all the other associated data. (In that sense, it's very different
from what happens when you use the launcher to delete an app from RAM.
When you do that, all the associated data is wiped. But if the system
is just deleting its temporary copy of the PRC, then it leaves around
all the other stuff that the app may have created.)

The only thing that you may find a little odd is that if you move
the flash card to another device, then the app will be present on
the card, but none of the app's data is on the card (in most cases).
This is because most apps just write their data to RAM like they
always did before flash cards were added to Palm OS. So if you move
your flash card over to another Palm device, then in most cases it
will be like running the app for the first time on that other device.
(Arguably, this might be a better behavior anyway...)

To make things a little more complicated, some apps now support flash
card stuff explicitly, so you can put your data directly onto the card.
For example, the photo app you're using seems to do that. But in those
cases, it's usually pretty clear what's going on, because the fact
that the flash card is being used is usually exposed through the user
interface so that the user of the app is aware of that.

Clear as mud? ;-)

- Logan
Anonymous
September 20, 2004 10:51:14 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot (More info?)

"Logan Shaw" <lshaw-usenet@austin.rr.com> wrote in message
news:BEF3d.9787$Gn3.1298@fe2.texas.rr.com...
> Clear as mud? ;-)

Actually, very helpful. This makes a lot of sense. So, basically... I
should install apps to the PDA normally, then copy them to the flash card
using the file copier that Sony provided - and things should work fine (as
long as the flash card is in the PDA at the time)?

I can see flash cards being very useful. I could have a ton of ebooks or
articles to read on a moment's notice. I could have Infocom's entire
library of text adventure games. :)  A 64 MB card is dirt cheap and should
hold a lot of software.

Jim
September 21, 2004 1:11:29 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot (More info?)

"Logan Shaw" <lshaw-usenet@austin.rr.com> wrote in message news:BEF3d.9787$Gn3.1298@fe2.texas.rr.com...
> Jim MacKenzie wrote:
> > How can I effectively use the flash card to minimize my RAM usage? I'm
> > really struggling to find useful information. I don't even clearly know
> > what will run from flash and what has problems. The only useful thing I've
> > done so far aside from putting MP3s on them is to have the built-in camera
> > app store the pictures on flash.
>
> Hmm, I'm pretty sure that almost any app can run from the card. The
> reason is, when you launch an app from the card, the system does
> something a lot like this:
>
> 1. Is the PRC already in RAM as well? If so, just run that
> and skip all the following steps.
> 2. Copy the entire PRC to RAM.
> 3. Run the PRC from RAM, just like it was installed there
> to begin with.
> 4. When the app exits, remove the PRC from RAM.

It's that step 4 that's a killer. Surely that means that most times when the
app is launched, step 1 is guaranteed to fail.

There are certain apps that you really don't want to move to a card, in
particular things like third party launchers, alarm handlers, or anything
that might get called "in the background" by PalmOS. Some apps will
register with the operating system to be notified when certain events
occur, like an alarm going off, and in this case PalmOS launches that
application without you knowing about it. Some apps register for
notification of some very general purpose events like any pen tap on
the screen (TealScript or GraffitiAnywhere are examples of this) and
if you try to move them to a card then the result would be unpleasant.

Typically things like games should be just fine or any other app that really
doesn't ever get invoked "in the background" while another app is
running. Also note that you will use more battery power if you have to
copy the prc to RAM every time it is launched.

My strategy is to leave as many of my apps as possible in RAM (in fact I
have everything in RAM) but keep all MP3s, ebooks and jpgs on the
card.

- Julian
Anonymous
September 21, 2004 3:18:58 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot (More info?)

Jim MacKenzie wrote:
> Actually, very helpful. This makes a lot of sense. So, basically... I
> should install apps to the PDA normally, then copy them to the flash card
> using the file copier that Sony provided - and things should work fine (as
> long as the flash card is in the PDA at the time)?

You could do that, or the Palm Desktop should allow you to change the
target so that the PRC is synchronized straight to the card.

Also, you should keep in mind what Julian said about apps that stay
resident and do stuff behind the scenes. That was a very good point
that I hadn't thought of. Thankfully, most apps don't do any resident
stuff so most of them can run off the card just fine.

Another thing to be aware of is that when you select Copy from the menu
of the built-in launcher on Palm OS 5 devices, there is a settings button
that brings up a dialog. This dialog has a checkbox called "copy
applications only". If you leave that unchecked, when copying from RAM
to the card, the device will copy other data beside the PRC. To me,
the best thing is to check this checkbox so that only apps are copied
and not their data. The data created by an app is usually quite small,
the process is simpler if only the PRC is being copied, and it should
be faster if the data is always in RAM.

> A 64 MB card is dirt cheap and should
> hold a lot of software.

64 MB is a good size, although I would be tempted to go with 128 MB or
256 MB since they are not *that* much more expensive. On the other
hand, the 128 MB one I have in the Tungsten|T still has 97.3 MB free...

- Logan
September 21, 2004 12:46:51 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot (More info?)

"Logan Shaw" <lshaw-usenet@austin.rr.com> wrote in message news:CzJ3d.11505$Qb.6212@fe2.texas.rr.com...
> Jim MacKenzie wrote:
> > A 64 MB card is dirt cheap and should
> > hold a lot of software.
>
> 64 MB is a good size, although I would be tempted to go with 128 MB or
> 256 MB since they are not *that* much more expensive.

I agree with Logan. Also note that when you put a 64MB card into your PDA
it doesn't give you 64MB storage, the manufacturer's figures are misleading
(I forget exactly why, there have been lots of threads on this) but the end result
is that a 64MB card will actually give you about 60MB of storage, or maybe
even slightly less. I'd say go for at least 256MB. I have a 256MB and it's
half full, and that's with lots of ebooks, 4 jpg images and 5 MP3 tracks ripped
at 96kb (they're unlistenable at anything below that unfortunately). I have no
apps stored on the card (well, one that is 10k).

- Julian
Anonymous
September 22, 2004 8:03:15 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot (More info?)

Jim MacKenzie wrote:

>
> How can I effectively use the flash card to minimize my RAM usage? I'm
> really struggling to find useful information. I don't even clearly know
> what will run from flash and what has problems. The only useful thing I've
> done so far aside from putting MP3s on them is to have the built-in camera
> app store the pictures on flash.
>

I use Zlauncher to maximize the use of flash RAM. ZLauncher creates a
special directory /palm/programs/zlauncher/apps/. In this directory you
can create other directories, each for every application that consists
of more than one files or you want to hold its databases in the card
too. You move the files of these applications to .../apps/... directory
and then create a shortcut of the main *.prc file to ram. The files are
backed up to card when the application ends. In fact most of the times,
an application in card with a shortcut in RAM can hotsynch too.
Anonymous
September 24, 2004 10:43:28 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot (More info?)

On Mon, 20 Sep 2004 10:06:31 -0600, "Jim MacKenzie"
<jim@dusykbarlow.sk.ca> wrote:

>I recently bought a Sony Clie PEG-TJ37, a really excellent PDA, to replace a
>Handspring Visor Platinum. Because expansion RAM cards were so expensive
>for the Visor, I never got one. However, I now have a couple of
>MemorySticks for my Clie (64 and 512 MB - the latter full of MP3s :)  ) to
>play with.
>
>I'm finding a lot of difficulty finding how to use the flash memory
>effectively. I know some programs run fine on cards and others don't.
>Currently I have quite a few Handmark games (Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit,
>MagicDogs solitaire, their chess game), AvantGo, WordSmith, and use NetFront
>and PapiMail for web browsing and IMAP/POP email, plus some other games
>(Frobnitz for Infocom/Inform games e.g.).
>
>How can I effectively use the flash card to minimize my RAM usage? I'm
>really struggling to find useful information. I don't even clearly know
>what will run from flash and what has problems. The only useful thing I've
>done so far aside from putting MP3s on them is to have the built-in camera
>app store the pictures on flash.
>
>I can't be the only one who has trouble with this. :) 
>
>Thanks!
>
>Jim

Get PowerRun, it does all the messy stuff for you, copies to the card
card, brings it in, launches it and then saves it. Get it from
Palmgear or the like.
Anonymous
October 12, 2004 6:33:34 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot (More info?)

In article <5IH3d.49563$hZ3.4804@fe2.news.blueyonder.co.uk>, "Julian" <nospam@nospam.com> writes:
> Typically things like games should be just fine or any other app that really
> doesn't ever get invoked "in the background" while another app is
> running. Also note that you will use more battery power if you have to
> copy the prc to RAM every time it is launched.
>
> My strategy is to leave as many of my apps as possible in RAM (in fact I
> have everything in RAM) but keep all MP3s, ebooks and jpgs on the
> card.

I store a LOT of "memo"s on my PDA. Is there any way to put them on the
card?

And not really card related, but I can set security (hide, ask, show) on
many apps, but not on PHOTOS, and it would seem not on anything saved on the
card. Is there any way to hide photos, or to secure anything saved on the SD
card?

Bob Kaplow NAR # 18L TRA # "Impeach the TRA BoD"
>>> To reply, remove the TRABoD! <<<
Kaplow Klips & Baffle: http://nira-rocketry.org/LeadingEdge/Phantom4000.pdf
www.encompasserve.org/~kaplow_r/ www.nira-rocketry.org www.nar.org

26-October, 2001: A day that will live in infamy
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