A Brief Primer to Recovering Lost Photos Article

Studies have shown that 67.89% of gadgeteers own digital cameras, and that
99.8% of my studies have been conducted on a Ouija Board. Nevertheless, I’d
wager a bunch o’gadgeteers own digital cameras, and I’d further bet more than a
few have lost photos to corrupted media – whether the camera (or operator)
accidentally deletes those precious shots, or has happened twice in my case, the
camera ate my digital homework.

I’m not an expert, but I’ve unfortunately had some experience in the matter.
My experience is limited to smartmedia and my Olympus 340 & 360 cameras – I have
not tried any of this on other media, though it should work the same.

Smartmedia (and I believe the other digital media) are essentially treated as
funny floppy disks. In fact, smartmedia is also referred to as SSFDC – solid
state floppy disk card. To your computer, it is
basically a disk. I have experienced what I believe are the 2 situations you can
face – either you can access the media and your information is basically gone
(which is good!), or you can’t even access the media (bad, boo, hiss).

In the event you can access the media, the question becomes – what happened?
If you had a surge or even a bad block, the files may well still be present, but
the FAT tables may be damaged. I’ll explain. As with all things computer, data
(like your photos) are stored as 0’s and 1’s. The computer (and media) doesn’t
know what it is, nor does it care. The FAT (File Allocation Table) basically
says, "This chunk of data belongs to this file, that chunk to the other file" –
in other words, it maps out your media. As long as the media has not been
erased, by physically writing 0’s and 1’s, your data is still there, even if it
can’t be found yet. There are manual ways to look at the media (WinHex comes to
mind) where you can find the start and stop of blocks of data, look for the code
standard to all jpgs (a crazy hexadecimal string which I don’t remember by
heart), and then you can basically cut and paste the data – voila, instant file
restore. Or you can use software that does this for you.

I have a full blown version of photorecovery software from LC International.
You can download a demo of their award winning software
here:
http://www.lc-tech.com/photorecovery.asp
I have found them to be very
helpful and well meaning.

Other software to consider include photorescue from
http://www.datarescue.com which seemed
to work better, and finally my favorite, a FREEWARE program DIR (Digital Image
Recovery) from
http://home.arcor.de/christian_grau/dir/index.html
. It is the freeware
software which prompted me to write this brief article, to give credit where it
is due.

In a nutshell, my most recent failed smartdisk died while looking at photos
in the camera (hey, I’m not THAT ugly!) – I didn’t have my PRC at home, so I
downloaded the demo from datarescue – that tantalizingly found and showed 199
photos on my screen. For $29, I could upgrade to the full blown program and
actually save the photos – tempting! But I knew I had a full, legal copy of PRC
at the office, so I brought my card reader to the office (as the PRC folks
stressed you get best results with a USB reader over a flashdisk or pcmcia
adapter) – anyway, I used PRC at the office and it produced 179 found photos –
not bad -but where was my other 20? I copied my PRC (only about 639k) onto my
ipaq, and then uploaded to my home computer – plugged in the USB reader – and
sure enough, it found 179 images, but I could view none. Huh? I tried again
after a reboot – this time it found only about 154 – defiantly not going in the
right direction – plus I couldn’t even view them, and the computer crawled to a
halt. To be fair, my home machine is a Pentium II 386 notebook, and the office
machine is a Pentium III – perhaps the code is processor specific? Datarescue
again found the 199 photos, but I was feeling very cheap.

Okay, back to the office. This time I burned the 179 found photos from PRC
onto CD for transport back home (hey, who has 64 meg of memory free on their
iPAQ? Not me!) – anyway, as I searched the web a bit more, I stumbled upon the
freeware program dir. When I tried it back home, it effortlessly found all 199
photos and saved them to the hard drive. There are very few options with DIR, so
it is basically fool proof. I never did get PRC to work well at home.

Photorescue also worked seamlessly, but also had a few minor additional
features, such as the ability to dump your card onto the hard drive – so you can
play with the log file and leave the card alone.

Finally, I did try Easy Recovery Professional Edition, and found it
unsuitable for these purposes – while I BELIEVE Easy Recovery will help with
damaged floppies and hard drive partitions, it didn’t do much good for finding
files – nor did it have powerful configuration options.

Okay, so far I have spoken about a card you can access. If you can’t access
the card (like I couldn’t with my first smartmedia card) then your choices are
more limited. Programs like winhex (and for that matter, PRC and DIR) look for
the media, and open it as valid media. I could not access my first damaged
smartdisk with winhex or any other program. I eventually formatted it and pulled
the card out quickly, hoping to at least establish some file structure the
computer could access but without losing all data. No good – when winhex did
finally work, I had a completely blank card. Photorescue has a feature that lets
you choose a physical or logical drive – a logical drive would be, say, drive D
if you partitioned your hard drive into C and D. PERHAPS if I used the physical
drive feature, I could have forced a read of the smartdisk, but I really think
that bad boy was long gone.

General tips for photo recovery/restoration:

1) Don’t do anything to the media – using, formatting, etc. will diminish
your chances of recovery
2) Don’t use checkdisk or scandisk unless you’ve made a backup of your data –
and they probably won’t do what you want anyway
3) Try the freeware program dir first – if it works, you got free photo recovery
4) If DIR doesn’t work, try photorescue and/or prc’s demos – if they work, shell
out the bucks for the program
5) Regardless of your success, at some point consider chucking that media – if
it died once, it could die again.

Good luck, and remember – if it’s important, take a film camera as well!!!!!

 

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74 thoughts on “A Brief Primer to Recovering Lost Photos Article”

  1. Palm claims that the MP3 player “Requires expansion card, sold separately”. Are they just recognizing that there isn’t room for many songs without add-on memory, or is there really some special add-on hardware needed?

    Also, does the RealOne™ Mobile Player play only MP3, or can it also play WMA or AAC?

  2. Do all the Palm supplied apps seamlessly handle the change in screen size and orientation? How well do third party apps handle these?

  3. From other reviews I have read…

    If the program supports it, it will switch from 320×320 to the 320×480 and back again. However, this MUST be coded by the programmer, else it won’t make a difference. 🙂

  4. You didn’t say anything about it but the new version of Documents to go creates native Word and Excel files. It’s functionality far exceeds anything on the Pocket PC. I bought the T3 and am very impressed with it but the slider bugs me. I just bought a T2 several months ago so I guess it’s going on E-bay.

  5. I have read that you cannot store MP3’s in the built in memory but I haven’t tried it. I have an ipod so I could car less about MP3s on my PDA. There are other Palm MP3 players that are better and with more features than the Real Player.

    Originally posted by jiraffe
    [B]Palm claims that the MP3 player “Requires expansion card, sold separately”. Are they just recognizing that there isn’t room for many songs without add-on memory, or is there really some special add-on hardware needed?

    Also, does the RealOne™ Mobile Player play only MP3, or can it also play WMA or AAC? [/B]

  6. The screen on the T|3 I tried in the store looked kind of “watery” to me. What I mean by this is when I touched the stylus to the screen, the screen behaved like a laptop LCD does when you push your finger on it.

    I have never seen this on any other PDA. Does your model do this, Julie?

    Great review as always.

  7. Julie wrote:

    “Calculator, Expense, Hotsync, Note Pad, World Alarm Clock, Voice Memo – Remain unchanged from previous OS versions.”

    I have noticed the following changes from previous versions:
    – the calculator, when the slider is extended shows the calculation history on screen as a running list;
    – the Note Pad supports full screen;
    – the Voice Memo button when pressed while the Voice Memo program is running will toggle betweent the card category and the All category.

    As to the requirement of a card to play MP3s, the Palm OS does not support such files in internal RAM, these files are only supported if stored on an external media such as a expansion card. This is true for MP3s, OGG/Vorbis, JPEG and even native Word files that are support by DocsToGo must be stored on an expansion card.

  8. I was really excited about this device too… but the horrible battery life is extrememly disappointing and seems like a trip back in time to the bad old days when colour palms first came out…

    One of the things I loved about my Vx was that I can leave it alone for a month and it would still work.

    Unfortunately this issue became the deal-breaker for me…. guess I’ll wait some more

  9. jiraffe:
    That is correct, you can’t store MP3’s in the Palm’s internal memory. I think the problem lies in the file system. Palm really doesn’t let you easily get into the guts of the file structure. RealOne Player supports MP3s and RealAudio files.

    As for how well different applications support the full screen mode and / or rotating, I had no problems with all the programs that I tested. Like aybara said, the programs have to be written to allow for the full screen mode. Otherwise, they just show up in 320 x 320.

    tthiel:
    The updates to Docs-to-Go are great. I really like the fullscreen rotate feature. Judie is green with envy as she wants that for her Sony CLIE NZ90. As for the ability to read / write native Word and Excel files, I agree that this is a major step in the right direction. I have read, but not verified that there is still some work to be done as far as ’round tripping’. By that I mean, if you copy a Word or Excel file with lots of special formatting to the PDA, edit it, and then copy it back to the PC, you’ll lose some of the formatting. I ran out of time during the review and didn’t try this myself. I really need to do that.

    forrester:
    The screen on my T3 eval is not ‘watery’. However, you can barely see the stylus depress when you touch the screen. When the stylus depresses, it does not alter the image on the display.

    Ronin:
    I totally missed the fullscreen Calculator feature you mentioned! Cool! 🙂

  10. The slider bugged me alot at first but I was so impressed with this device that I bought one anyway. Now it’s going back. I just find the slider too annoying and the battery life is to short. Too bad. Its a major advancement in many other ways. I just couldn’t justify the $430 with tax when I just bought a Tungsten 2.

  11. Other reviews indicate that the battery life is slightly better than a T/T2, provided you don’t use Bluetooth a whole lot. And what of the AC adapter? Does that not mean that you can travel with it and use the unit plugged in (as many do with a laptop)? I keep saying to myself that I need Wifi, but in fact I have never used it. How important, in your view, is it? radleyp

  12. I’m really glad to see that Palm’s finally gotten the virtual screen gimmick working. Great for those of us that go for reliability in one’s gadgets.

    I will *never ever ever* buy a Clie. Absolutely never. They’re as unstable as WinCE for me – I’ve had demo units crash on the store shelves! Sony seems to subscribe to the idea of “throw in the feature now, actually get it RIGHT later”, and while that might work for someone who wants a new toy, I actually need to get serious work done with a PDA now and again. (shock!)
    (There’s also my paranoid fear of Sony as a corporation and the whole Memory Stick proprietaryness issue, but those are really secondary.)

    Handspring had similar issues. My Visor, with or without Springboard modules within, would crash constantly. Constantly. It got to the point that I kept missing appointments because I couldn’t trust the thing. 😛

    Whenever I’ve bought from Palm, however, I feel like I’m getting something that’s not going to explode on me. My m130’s crashed, oh, maybe three or four times in the six months I’ve owned it so far; I had similar reliability (if a little better) with a Palm III, a Pilot 5000, and a PalmPilot Professional upgrade (anyone remember those? 🙂 ). My Visor crashed that often every *week*. One Clie (the NR70V, if I recall correctly) crashed almost that much for me (twice) in LESS THAN ONE HOUR.

    Of course, Windows also loves to explode around me, and even Linux can’t handle the sheer level of entropic bit rot essence that seems to surround and enfold my person. But that just means I need devices that are that much more reliable.

    The point of all this? The fact that Palm’s coming out with the T3 suggests to me that they’ve finally got virtual graffiti stable enough that I might actually be able to use it sometime. That’s pretty damn cool, if you ask me. 🙂

  13. Originally posted by radleyp
    Other reviews indicate that the battery life is slightly better than a T/T2, provided you don’t use Bluetooth a whole lot. And what of the AC adapter? Does that not mean that you can travel with it and use the unit plugged in (as many do with a laptop)? I keep saying to myself that I need Wifi, but in fact I have never used it. How important, in your view, is it? radleyp

    You can not plug the AC adapter directly into the PDA. It actually plugs into the cradle.

    WiFi is important to me because I have a WiFi network setup in my home and the office in which I work.

  14. Not speaking for or against either Sony or Palm, everyone I know with a Clie has had no problems with them. And I had to keep returning Palm Vxs to Palm until the 4th one worked (except for the fact that the digitizer never remained stable).

    I think both Sony and Palm produce pretty good, but not great, quality PDAs.

  15. I’ve heard that the RealOne player is stored in the ROM now. Yes?

    Are there any conflicts with it and, say, AeroPlayer? Have you tested any other audio player on the handheld?

  16. One more query. On a Sony it is possible to “mount” the Memory Stick, as I am sure you know. You open the unit in MSImport, and the MS shows up on the desktop as a “removable disk” drive. I can then drag and drop files from my hard drive to the MS. Is there such a feature on the T3, or is hotsyncing the only way to transfer data? radleyp

  17. onestar:
    Yes, RealOne player is now in ROM. I haven’t tested Aeroplayer or Pocket Tunes with the T3, but I doubt if there are any conflicts. I had all three installed on my T|T at one time…

    radleyp:
    The T3 doesn’t come with an application that will allow it to function as a card reader, but I think I recall seeing such an app on PalmGear…

  18. I had the chance to play with a Tungsten E today (I persuaded someone else to buy one, then installed it for them) and I must say it’s fantastic.
    This is a total home run for Palm. This is their best feature set, for the price. Anyone who was considering a Zire 71 but didn’t want/like the gimmick of a camera can now get exactly what they need for $100 less.
    I predict these will fly off the shelves this holiday season.
    It’s basically the best reason Palm has come up with yet to upgrade from your old Palm V/Vx etc.

    I hope a review is forthcoming soon – apparently i couldn’t wait until there was one to post this message.

    Hope no one minds 🙂

  19. Sorry. Either I’ve not been getting enough, or played to much Quake, but when I was reading your review I couldn’t help reading T|T as…um…well….tit.

    Great review, but makes for some funny reading out loud. T|tillating even.

    e.g. first opened the box and removed the T3, I thought it looked thinner and felt smaller than my T|T.

    or: In hand, it feels solid and comfortable and has the same heft as the T|T, which I like.

    or: It makes my old T|T look murky and tiny.

    Sorry. That was neither here nor there.

  20. Julie,

    Given that the T|3 is a bit longer than T1 or T2, will there have to be T3-specific cases made for this device or will the T1/T2 cases work for the T3?

  21. I can understand being bored of the slider. But for those of us that do not carry purses the extra space it creates in your pocket is invaluable. Especially since I carry my wallet, GBAsp, TT, cell, a pen, keys and spare change all in my pants pockets.

  22. From your Tungsten T3 Review:
    “For me, the perfect Palm OS PDA would be a T3 that doesn’t hide half of its face under a slider mechanism, has 128mb of RAM, WiFi and a better battery.”

    Have you looked at the Tapwave Zodiac Z2?

      Anodized aluminum housing
      200MHz Motorola i.MX1 ARM9 processor
      ATI Imageon W4200 graphics processor
      128MB of RAM
      320×480 with soft graffiti
      Bluetooth.
      Built-in stereo speakers,
      2 Secure Digital/MultiMedia Card (SD/MMC) slots
      2 Li-Ion batteries (16 hours estimated life)

    And it retails for $399!

    Tapwave Website

    PDABuzz Preview

    Palm Infocenter Story

  23. Its too shiny, the buttons are lousy, and it does not have a universal connector. I was not impressed.

    Originally posted by forrman
    [B]I had the chance to play with a Tungsten E today (I persuaded someone else to buy one, then installed it for them) and I must say it’s fantastic.
    This is a total home run for Palm. This is their best feature set, for the price. Anyone who was considering a Zire 71 but didn’t want/like the gimmick of a camera can now get exactly what they need for $100 less.
    I predict these will fly off the shelves this holiday season.
    It’s basically the best reason Palm has come up with yet to upgrade from your old Palm V/Vx etc.

    I hope a review is forthcoming soon – apparently i couldn’t wait until there was one to post this message.

    Hope no one minds 🙂 [/B]

  24. I’m now the owner of a Tungsten T3, my fifth PDA since 1995 (the first was some sort of Sharp date-book). I’m quite impressed with the T3. To give you a sense of what kind of user I am, let me say simply that I stick to the core Palm applications, a doc reader, MyBible (five distinct Bible versions!), a time-card keeper, a dictionary (PocketLingo), and SmartList, perhaps some games. With 28 MB left over, I’ll explore some other applications, but as you can see, I keep it mainly for data.

    This replaces my Sony Clie T615C, which replaced my Palm Vx, which replaced my Palm V–the last two PDA’s were purchased in quick succession, so I never really used the V.

    My first impression when I saw the T3 was, gee, it’s smaller than my Clie. That was a pleasant surprise. The T3 has a nice feel, a great screen, and a great new operating system.

    51 MB of usable space is plenty for my use. The battery is adequate. But the main selling point is the screen. I absolutely refuse to switch to a Pocket PC–I simply own too much Palm software to justify the switch–but I was just sick of the small screens of most Palm OS devices. I was looking at the newer Sony’s, but I really don’t need a digital camera, especially at 1.3 or 2.0 mega pixels; I didn’t like the keyboard on the Sony’s (I use an collapsible keyboard); and the twirly screen seemed a bit too delicate. The price tag on the Sony’s was also a major turn-off (yikes!).

    I think the tortoise is winning out. I actually used my Palm Vx for about two or three years, well in the the color-screen revolution. (I still use it as a back-up PDA and think it the smartest looking PDA ever). The T3, at $399, is just the king of PDA’s. Really, folks, if I’m going to spend $600-$700 on a PDA I might as well buy a cheap laptop!

    The slider is actually quite cool. I really like having a full screen and large buttons, which coupled with the slider leaves the unit quite compact and functional. I have some difficulty pulling it out of the charger as the slider usually opens up, but if I pull from the bottom everything is fine. I like that when you open it up, the unit turns on.

    The T3 is plenty fast. Running MyBible, the T3 simply flies.

    If you want a PDA, the T3 is the unit to buy. I haven’t been this enthusiastic since the Palm V/Vx.

    P.S. When and why did they change to graffiti 2?

  25. Too shiny? I was looking at the screen, not the color – and besides, can things really be too shiny? 🙂 And I like the new iteration of the central control but – updown/leftright center much nicer than say the Zire series, most sony’s (lousy buttons indeed). Truth is, i dont think they’ve EVER got the buttons perfect, but these, i could live with.

    As for a universal connector – Palm have been screwing around with their connectors since the palm v – i wasn’t as surprised as you too see a change, however, its nice to have just a usb cable – at least its a (cheaply) replaceable item.

    Originally posted by tthiel
    Its too shiny, the buttons are lousy, and it does not have a universal connector. I was not impressed.

  26. As regards buttons on the Tungsten series, they rock. I never realized how much I hated the Sony buttons until I bought the T3.

  27. Well here is something I discovered – you can hold down on the silk screen buttons and up will pop a screen and you can select the “button” or application that you want to have launched based upon that silk screen button. It changes the icon and then your good to go so besides being able to adjust the “hard” buttons you get to map the 4 silk screen buttons in each corner.

    Cool touch!

  28. Julie,
    I have a Clie 70Nx and the following apps works at 320×480 mode
    but does not with the T3. Can you also confirm or do I have to get the correct Palm version?
    1) BugMe
    2) Repligo
    3) iSilo
    4) Memo Plus
    5) TealDoc
    6) Mobipocket
    7) Neocal
    8) Contact4
    9) BDcity
    10) Many games eg Billiards, etc.
    Obviously quite anxious to get these Apps working on the T3 at full screen mode as they did wonderfully with the Clie NX70.
    The Clie has a Flash Player – what about Palm ?

    It would be nice to do a comparison of what the T3 can do vs the Clie NX. One Big plus is the landscape mode for the T3.
    Anyway, I am enjoying both these machines.

  29. Originally posted by Patrick Ng
    [B]Julie,
    I have a Clie 70Nx and the following apps works at 320×480 mode
    but does not with the T3. Can you also confirm or do I have to get the correct Palm version?
    1) BugMe
    2) Repligo
    3) iSilo
    4) Memo Plus
    5) TealDoc
    6) Mobipocket
    7) Neocal
    8) Contact4
    9) BDcity
    10) Many games eg Billiards, etc.
    Obviously quite anxious to get these Apps working on the T3 at full screen mode as they did wonderfully with the Clie NX70.
    The Clie has a Flash Player – what about Palm ?

    It would be nice to do a comparison of what the T3 can do vs the Clie NX. One Big plus is the landscape mode for the T3.
    Anyway, I am enjoying both these machines. [/B]

    I inquired with few software companies and as the T3 is a new release, some programs are not yet ready for the full screen mode, but a few indicated that they will release full screen versions too. I guess the Sony and Palm full screens operate differently.

  30. Sorry Patrick, I can’t test out the applications that you listed. The T3 that I have is already boxed up and ready to go back to Palm.

  31. I bought a TT3 during a long wait at the airport on Friday evening.

    Currently a TT1 user I was attracted primarily by the improved on-board memory; improved screen and performance were also factors.

    My first impressions are these:

    Good things:

    – as noted elsewhere the screen is superb vs the TT1; even with the brightness turend right down to conserve battery it is still better
    – the minimenu at the bottom of the screen is very useful
    – as far as possible I will work with the slider in, to which end the write anywhere option on the mini menu is a big help
    – the Bluetooth on/off on the mini menu is also good, but I will still use Peter Easton’s BtToggle which is even easier as it turns Bt on/off as required

    Things which annoy me:

    – Palm Reader does not recognise when the slider is in so the bottom portion of each page and the reader menu is hidden; in short, you must have the slider out to read
    – the side recesses into which the old plastic screen used to clip have gone which means my favourite Covertec case no longer works
    – I have grown very used to the short/squat form of the TT1 and find the increased length of the TT3, especially with slider out, rather clumsy

  32. Hi all,

    Since Julie has the T3 packaged and almost out of her hands, I am asking the question to all that have the new T3: When the T3 is closed, can you choose to have the virtual graffiti area open itself up while the slider is closed?

    I am asking this question since it would make sense to me to save having to slide open the unit for every little thing, as opposed to smaller screen resource but being able to graffiti short sentences at (fast) will.

    Thanks for all possible answers.

  33. I’m very impressed w/ the T-3:

    Construction is solid (not wobbly or loose). The slider is firm – much firmer than the T-1.

    The screen and colors are the best I’ve seen in any handheld.

    For the first time, upgrading from the T-1 to the T-3 was easy, complete and totally painless. I was utterly amazed by this.

    I do like the slider because it reduces the overall size of the unit whilst allowing for a larger screen (portrait or landscape) if necessary.

    Graffitti 2 takes a little getting used to, but it’s easier than the original.

    The extra memory and the free software that comes with the unit are excellent.

    Bluetooth works well with my cellphone so I can easily download emails and surf the web.

    All in all, the T-3 a first rate unit at a very reasonable price and I highly recommend it to everyone.

    I had been interested in the new Sony (UX50), but found it way too expensive and also it requires the docking unit for charging. I found its screen and text somewhat small. Nevertheless, it is a snappy looking unit.

  34. Cornelis:
    When the slider is closed, you can not view the virtual grafitti area. BUT, you can now write grafitti anywhere on the screen, so you really don’t need to open the slider unless you really want to.

  35. Yes, since you can write anywhere, I don’t open the slider every time I need to write, which is quite cool: full screen (closed slider), no graffiti area–just great.

  36. Take the Zodiac, shave off about an ounce, and you’ll probably have something close to Julie’s perfect PDA. I know *that* would be my perfect PDA.

  37. how about the SD card discussion at Palminfocenter. It appears that the Tungsten series fries sandisk sd cards and maybe other brands

  38. :rolleyes: That’s interesting about SanDisk cards. I just bought a T-3 and it fried (??) my SanDisk 256MB card – disabled it totally, everything lost, unable to reformat. I thought something was wrong with the card, but perhaps it was the T-3. I’m using an older SanDisk 64MB card and it works well, so far…

    Any details about what causes the problem? Is Palm going to fix it? Which cards work with the T-3?

  39. I have a sony clie 665, and I must say I’ve been pleased with it. Are the new Palms superior in some way? I too felt that Palm abandoned its Palm V users with that digitizer defect that Palm never admitted to nor repaired. If one were buying another PDA, as for a friend or relative perhaps, would you get one of these new Palms, or a sony 665-like device…?

  40. Julie,

    You mentioned that your flip cover would lie flat on the unit. This will resolve itself after a few days of use. Once the leather “hinge” softens up, it will lie flat just fine, as mine did.

  41. Originally posted by robertj49
    I have a sony clie 665, and I must say I’ve been pleased with it. Are the new Palms superior in some way? I too felt that Palm abandoned its Palm V users with that digitizer defect that Palm never admitted to nor repaired. If one were buying another PDA, as for a friend or relative perhaps, would you get one of these new Palms, or a sony 665-like device…?

    I used to have the 665. I went to PPC because you could get a large color screen in a small device.

    Features the T3 has that the 665 doesn’t: larger screen, better video playback, SD slot (vs MS), audio recording, faster performance, more software in ROM. The 665 is thinner and weighs a little less. If you have run any specific system hacks that you need, you should see if there are equivalent DA-apps (OS5 will run DA apps, but not system hacks).

    I switched back to Palm with the T3. I’m very happy with it. What I originally considered to be the T3’s biggest drawback has turned into one of my favorite features: the slider. It allows for a large, hi-res screen + functional button layout in a small package. It’s implemented extremely well on the T3 thanks to the fact that it displays more than 320×320 when closed. So the menu is always visible, allowing you to quickly change orientation, toggle on-screen input, check status, search, and go home. And being able to turn the device on and off with the slider is a great option.

    The battery life has been fine for me, though I got the low-battery warning one night after a day of unusually heavy use (I was still able to use it without any problems). Just so I won’t have to worry about it, I picked up a cheap USB charge/hotsync cable and AA-battery-charger on Ebay.

    My only concern is with the reports of SD problems. My Lexar was manufactured by Panasonic, so I’m probably not affected… however, I have my card write-locked until more information becomes available. It’s not actually a big inconvenience as my laptop has an SD slot.

    If you get an SD-equipped device, avoid Sandisk cards.

  42. Too shiny in that it looks unprofessional and colletcs fingerprints like crazy. Bushed aluminum would be better. lack of a universal connector is an unforgiveable marketing decision by Palm used to get people to buy higher end units. Their connectors have not changed that much and Palm made a big deal about how the UC would be a standard for years to come. They lied.

    Originally posted by forrman
    [B]Too shiny? I was looking at the screen, not the color – and besides, can things really be too shiny? 🙂 And I like the new iteration of the central control but – updown/leftright center much nicer than say the Zire series, most sony’s (lousy buttons indeed). Truth is, i dont think they’ve EVER got the buttons perfect, but these, i could live with.

    As for a universal connector – Palm have been screwing around with their connectors since the palm v – i wasn’t as surprised as you too see a change, however, its nice to have just a usb cable – at least its a (cheaply) replaceable item. [/B]

  43. OK, I changed my mind:) I bought a T3 from Office Max for $350 and also get a $40 gift card which brings the price to $310.00 I can sell my T2 on e-bay and get close to that.

    Originally posted by tthiel
    The slider bugged me alot at first but I was so impressed with this device that I bought one anyway. Now it’s going back. I just find the slider too annoying and the battery life is to short. Too bad. Its a major advancement in many other ways. I just couldn’t justify the $430 with tax when I just bought a Tungsten 2.

  44. Some asked earlier: “When and why did they change to graffiti 2?”

    It was the result of a patent infringement lawsuit with Xerox.

  45. I think Palm is doing themselves and their customers a bit of a disservice with accessories for this device.

    In stores that I have seen (CompUSA, BestBuy, OfficeMAx, OfficeDepot, Staples, Circuit City, and RadioShack), the T3 has been on sale but no T3-specific accessories have been available.

    What is worse is the TT and T2 accessories are almost always marked “For T-Series Handhelds,” which is misleading, since the size of this device is different from the others, something that will undoubtedly cause some headaches for both consumers and the stores having to handle returns.

    I, for one, would like to be able to walk into a store and get everything I need for my handheld in one place, rather than having to buy a case and screen protection online, wait for them to arrive, and then go to a store and buy the PDA. I guess I could just order all 3 from Palm, but I like buying from a brick-and-mortar store.

    Maybe I am weird. Just my .02.

  46. Keyboards, styli, and other add-ons made for the Tungsten line work with the T3. The only accessories that you would need to look at for fitting right would be cases. 😎

  47. Having owned and used a Palm T3 for nearly 2 weeks…

    It rocks for a start!! Having owned a Palm III, V, Vx, Sony NZ90 and now this, I still think the Vx was the best device – for shear lightness, length of time between recharges, but this is close (without even taking into account all the extra functionality). Its only drawback is battery consumption. But when you look at why it consumes battery – stuff you just didn’t have in the Vx world, it hard to really knock and easy to work around as below

    Pluses:
    – I love the slider: a bigger screen when you want it, a small compact device when you close it (and yes I did open and close it about 30 times in a row with no problems!)
    – all the old apps work great in full screen mode (memo, notepad, contacts, calendar, tasks)
    – the virtual graffiti/keyboard screen works great. You can set it up in one of 3 modes: a keyboard, the classic old Palm graffiti screen mode and a new mode called wide which has capitalized letters, uncapitalized and numbers as 3 separate columns. I’ve just left mine in keyboard mode which lets you just forget about graffiti!
    – the new toolbar along the bottom works great
    – the slider works great (you can even set it to power on when you open it and power off when you close!)
    – SD cards are no problem. Check out Costco for 256mb cards
    – one handed navigation with the buttons works well
    – nice solid stylus
    – blowing the 4k limit on Memo. You can slap much bigger docs into memo now (I think limit is 32K now). Very noticeable. Means it really is useful with the Palm keyboard (the ultra thin keyboard also has a universal adapter and works great with the T3. It doesn’t have any batteries while the wireless keyboard has a battery. I don’t even notice the ultra thin keyboard in a jacket pocket – so it lives there now)
    – the new security app allows you to assign buttons on the device for unlocking and it masks the sequence. It also provides encryption options e.g. delete all private records if 10 consecutive failed attempts are made to unlock the device

    Drawbacks:
    – third party apps which don’t support the higher resolution i.e. above 320 x 320 will bring the virtual keyboard/graffiti area up e.g. Bejewelled or Avantgo. Switching back to a built in Palm app will require you to click on the bottom right hand corner of the screen to lower the virtual keyboard, when the slider is open (which is what you must do to get at the virtual keyboard/graffiti area up) . However if you were just switching between the built in palm apps and any other apps which support the full screen mode/slider open mode, none of this would be a problem: the virtual keyboard/graffiti screen will stay down
    – yep if you want to listen to MP3s, with screen brightness cranked and play graphic intensive games its going to burn through battery. Solutions:
    1. Battery conservation: turn screen brightness down as far as you can tolerate (shouldn’t be a problem it really is a bright screen), turn off Bluetooth (turn on when needed), set RealOne (the bundled MP3 software) to blank screen after 30 seconds, etc
    2. Grab a travel charger: leave your travel charger at home or work (whichever is your secondary location) and take it with you when you travel. If you’re going to hit the MP3s heavy your going to need it. If usage is light your definitely OK for a few days at a time: I’m consistently heavy so I don’t really know how long it would last on light usage! The Palm universal adapter charger plugs right into the T3 (i recharge many a night this way)

    The only bit of software I had some early hiccups with was RealOne (any heavy users of RealPlayer probably aren’t surprised!). Whn I get round to it I’ll probably look for an alternative.

    Grab the security app that Palm has posted for this (http://www.palmone.com/us/support/downloads/tungstent3/security5_update.html)

    Avantgo doesn’t display full screen on the T3, but given that Avantgo updated their software for the NZ90 I would expect they will do the same for the T3.

    Man: they got this right. I’ve gone from Sony NZ 90 to this. If you don’t care about the camera, and you do care about quality of integration of hardware and software then the Palm is way superior. Unfair to knock Sony when they got their device out 6 months ago, but, Palm has learned and has just got this right.

    John M

  48. johnm,

    Thanks for the oh so useful post. The added information left me with two new questions.

    When the unit is slid down to compact size, I assume the Graffiti area is hidden down below. Is this correct?

    Starting with the T3 is in 320X320 mode (slid in), then switching from a hires+ app to an old app, and then switching back to the hires+ app, and then sliding out (to 320X480 mode), does the hires+ app fill the full screen without the Graffiti area?

  49. To answer your two new questions, hopefully :

    Yes, when the unit is slid down to compact size the Graffiti area is hidden down below i.e in effect underneath the 4 app buttons and navigation button

    Starting with the T3 is in 320X320 mode (slid in), then switching from a hires+ app to an old app, and then switching back to the hires+ app, and then sliding out (to 320X480 mode), does the hires+ app fill the full screen without the Graffiti area? I just tested this (started with the built in Tasks app, switched to Bejewelled, switched back to Tasks then slid out the slider: and yes it was in hi-rez mode i.e. full 320 x 480!!.

    A twist on this if you repeat this but you start out with having last used the Grafitti area, just before closing the device, if you then repeat this you will end up with the grafitti area when you open up the slider at the end of this sequence.

    Curious. I certainly find thegrafitti area isn’t annoying like it was on the NZ 90 i.e. the darn grafitti area was always popping up when I didn’t want it and there was no nice way to keep it down (i asked Sony support as well).

    John M

  50. as far as I know any type of user is buying a computer or a pda for ONE reason :
    USE SOFTWARE !!!!
    and what surprises me (once more) is that all the reviews about the new T3 seem not to care about this.
    So let’s say it, MOST OF THE SOFTWARE are not taking advantage of the main feature of this new model : the big screen (480*320)!
    And we all know it ‘s gonna take a big while till they do (many of them will probably never)
    If I could read in a review that AGENDUS, SMARTLISTTOGO, MIND MANAGER, etc, almost ALL of the soft I use, don’t work on he T3 big screen, even if they DO work on a SONY big screen, I’d never buy this marvellous low battery model.
    in addition AGENDUS for Windows does’nt work at all with the new adress database design, Launcher X gives a fatal exception, FUN SMS is crashing sometimes, and my mind also…
    PLEASE, INCLUDE THE MAIN SOFTS IN YOUR REVIEWS….

  51. As with software on any operating system, poorly written software will crash. Hacks and other poor quality Palm software can make a Palm as bad as a PC! A better question to ask might be “I want to use X software on Y device, does anyone have any experiences with this?”

    Regardless software installed on my Palm T3 (which I’ve used enough to know works well or not):

    Avantgo, Bejewelled, Calc, Calendar, Card Info, Contacts, Documents to Go, Expense, Hotsync, Keyboard (for ultra thin keyboard), Memos, Note Pad, PalmReader, Photos, RealOne, Shadow, Solitaire, SunCompass, Tasks, Tide Tool, World Clock

    RealOne is a bit dubious (as all Real software I’ve ever touched). It works OK, but when I get time I’ll look for something else, I will: partly prejudice agaisnt the general quality of Real’s software

    Lexar SD cards appear to be fine, I don’t think I’d purchase a Sandisk SD card again (some early poor experiences)

    Shadow provides some T3 enhancements released by Palm to developers (AppSlipRotate v1.1 and StatusBarLib.prc). I’d suggest staying away from these till Palm officialy releases them: my Palm does does a couple odd things since installing them (artifacts being left on the screen)

    RealOne is the only software which has casued a reset to be required on my Palm.

    Hope this is useful
    John M

  52. Julie,

    You wrote:

    For me, the perfect Palm OS PDA would be a T3 that doesn’t hide half of its face under a slider mechanism

    And I agree completely that this is the most annoying feature of this machine, adding two more steps to every use. Moreover, the mechanism tends to decay — I know from my Tungsten T. It must add weight, definitely thickness, and also cost.

    The dream would be very close to the form factor of the Tungsten E, with the virtual Graffiti area. On the latter, I agree on saying “Finally!” Microsoft got it right from the earliest “Palm-Size PC” as they used to be called.

    The concept of input panel is gradually making it with the Clie NX80, the Garmin, and now the T3 (in addition to the now defunct Handera). Four machines and four incompatible ways of implementing it. Four mostly undocumented ways also, to make our life as developers more difficult — and Costly. We finally made it for Fitaly on the T3 (not on the Garmin):
    http://www.fitaly.com/board/palmfitaly/posts/4076.html

    (Yes life is simpler on the Pocket PC side where we can target an operating system and not incompatible machines.)

    Back to the T3 after this digression, a minor annoyance is that side button that is so easy to push in my pocket (yes women may carry it in a bag but men are more likely to have it in a pants pocket where the button will get accidentally pushed and drain the battery). Here the Clies with their lock button have done it right.

    Jean Ichbiah
    Textware Solutions
    http://www.fitaly.com

  53. I would be concerned if the slider decayed over time, but it works well on my T3 (1 month old). I actually think its a bonus: the device is small for portability (so I can carry it easily on a belt clip) but can be easily be lengthened. Plus you can set it to power on with lengthening, so that reduces turning the device on to just 1 step

    There is a software setting under Prefs on the T3 (Prefs->General->Keylock), which can be set to off, automatic (when handhold is turned off) or manual (press and hold power off for 2 seconds). Personally – and I carry my T3 everywhere – I haven’t had a problem with it, so I haven’t bothered using Keylock

    John M

  54. Quick question on video playback,

    how nice is it? im after a pda mainly for video playback (video is my main industry) so if I have to encode for it, thats fine (as it comes from uncompressed sources, so its not re-encoding)

    can this unit handle 320x480x25/30fps playback? (Mpeg1 is fine)
    I dont mind losing heaps of space for the video, so the less compression the better.

    is it truly full screen playback? (so hopefully I can get a pixel for pixel 320×480) I cant find any info on playback specs, video res’s etc.

    cheers

    James,

  55. I personally think that video on any Palm device so far (I’m anxious to see the Zodiac) is a horrible experience. Granted, I’ve only viewed movie trailers and short snips through Kinoma. I found them to be no where near as smooth and crisp as video on a current generation Pocket PC.

  56. Hmmm, I haven’t tried video on it. If you want to point me to a video clip you think would be a good test, I’ll try it and report back

    John M

  57. and before you install the Palm T3 update…
    1. disable AvantGo before you back up (i.e. otherwise you risk blowing the daily 2mb limit and hence AvantGo content won’t come back unitl you next sync on a subsequent day)
    2. Disable security or know that you will have to reset it i.e. if you have set the device to lock every X minutes of inactivity (that is you have the T3 Palm security update installed) then this will be disabled
    3. I’d backup your hotsync log if you want to keep it. It appears, but I haven’t bothered to verify this, that this update may hose your hot sync log. It appears to leave you with a blank hotsync log.

    All easy to workaround. I must admit I’ve never seen a Palm OS update this big. I wonder what other fixes they’ve quietly hidden in this!

    All works well with this update: apart from the above minor suprises I didn’t notice anything else. I’m not a big SD card user so I don’t really have a sense of how its changed things in this area (the primary intent of this update).

    Enjoy!
    John M

  58. I am about to buy a T3 for replacing my good old day Palm IIIxe. I am very concerned about the battery life of T3. Could anyone here give me real use experience on that? (please be specific with number of hours…)
    Thanks,
    :confused:

  59. Hmm.. seems interesting. I just got the T3 last nite!!

    For me, the ability to close the T3 and put it in my lab coat or even
    my back pocket (w/ aluminum Proporta case) is key.

    The Zodiac looks a lot like the old Sega game system, doesn’t it?!
    Also, seems a bit big & bulky? Anyone have some exact
    dimensions and comparisons with the T3??

    Originally posted by Gendou
    [B]From your Tungsten T3 Review:
    “For me, the perfect Palm OS PDA would be a T3 that doesn’t hide half of its face under a slider mechanism, has 128mb of RAM, WiFi and a better battery.”

    Have you looked at the Tapwave Zodiac Z2?

      Anodized aluminum housing
      200MHz Motorola i.MX1 ARM9 processor
      ATI Imageon W4200 graphics processor
      128MB of RAM
      320×480 with soft graffiti
      Bluetooth.
      Built-in stereo speakers,
      2 Secure Digital/MultiMedia Card (SD/MMC) slots
      2 Li-Ion batteries (16 hours estimated life)

    And it retails for $399!

    Tapwave Website

    PDABuzz Preview

    Palm Infocenter Story [/B]

    😡 😡

  60. Maybe stupid question..
    How exactly do I “disable AvantGo” ???

    It sounds like I need to reformat my SD card? I have to move a bunch of DocToGo files to my T3 Handheld, then do the T3 Update, and then reformant? Any tips before I do this?

    Thanks!

    Originally posted by johnm
    [B]and before you install the Palm T3 update…
    1. disable AvantGo before you back up (i.e. otherwise you risk

    All works well with this update: apart from the above minor suprises I didn’t notice anything else. I’m not a big SD card user so I don’t really have a sense of how its changed things in this area (the primary intent of this update).

    Enjoy!
    John M [/B]

  61. > Hello,
    > a few questions.. I’m using a Tungsten T3 and
    > plan on getting a 256 or possibly even a 512 card.
    >
    > I have used JFile in the past for keeping track of
    > patients of mine, and surgical procedures log. Is it
    > possible to have a database program where there is a
    > drop-down field listing procedures. I click on the
    > procedure, and then automatically, a numeric code for
    > that particular procedure is filled in to another
    > field? I know this can not be done with JFile. I’m
    > thinking of trying HanDBase, but I want to know for
    > sure before downloading a trial version and cluttering
    > my computer and Palm with it. Also, are these database
    > records easily searchable using the native FIND
    > command?
    >
    > Also, I’d like to enter A LOT of text into my PDA.
    > I’d like it to also be easily searchable. Right now,
    > I’m starting with DocToGo. I’m doing a lot of
    > cut/paste
    > from a CD that contains a 4volume reference text. It
    > would also be helpful to get some of the pictures,
    > line
    > drawings, graphs, etc.. I was wondering if it would be
    > easier to do it all on my computer in MS Word and
    > convert it into a huge eBook or an Adobe PDF? I think
    > for search purposes, having it broken up into hundreds
    > or even thousands of smaller topics/chapters might be
    > more versatile and searchable? What do you think?
    >
    > Anyways, thanks in advance for any input. Your site if
    > great!!! Take care and Happy Holidays.

  62. Late to the party, but figured I’d add my comments. 😀

    The T3 is my most recent PalmOS PDA in a long line going back to the Pilot 5000. And I think it’s a real winner. I’ve had mine since 9/26 (yes, prelease date) and have been extremely pleased with it performance. The only minor annoyance is the battery life, but I’m usually close to a power outlet and can charge up right away. For the rest of the time, I’ve just purchased a Power to Go Sled on ebay. I’m getting about 4 hours of uptime (based on Battery Graph) and that’s with the brightness at about 20%, beam receive on & a lot of BT activity (SMS, WebPro connected to my T610).

  63. Originally posted by JYewMD
    [B]Maybe stupid question..
    How exactly do I “disable AvantGo” ???

    It sounds like I need to reformat my SD card? I have to move a bunch of DocToGo files to my T3 Handheld, then do the T3 Update, and then reformant? Any tips before I do this?

    Thanks! [/B]

    Right Click on the Hot/Sync icon.
    Goto Custom
    Find Avant Go in the list of operations, double click and disable it.

    Avant Go synchronization will be skipped for one Hot/Sync operation and will then re-engage.

  64. Originally posted by viqsi
    [B]I’m really glad to see that Palm’s finally gotten the virtual screen gimmick working. Great for those of us that go for reliability in one’s gadgets.

    I will *never ever ever* buy a Clie. Absolutely never. They’re as unstable as WinCE for me – I’ve had demo units crash on the store shelves! Sony seems to subscribe to the idea of “throw in the feature now, actually get it RIGHT later”, and while that might work for someone who wants a new toy, I actually need to get serious work done with a PDA now and again. (shock!)
    (There’s also my paranoid fear of Sony as a corporation and the whole Memory Stick proprietaryness issue, but those are really secondary.)

    Handspring had similar issues. My Visor, with or without Springboard modules within, would crash constantly. Constantly. It got to the point that I kept missing appointments because I couldn’t trust the thing. 😛

    Whenever I’ve bought from Palm, however, I feel like I’m getting something that’s not going to explode on me. My m130’s crashed, oh, maybe three or four times in the six months I’ve owned it so far; I had similar reliability (if a little better) with a Palm III, a Pilot 5000, and a PalmPilot Professional upgrade (anyone remember those? 🙂 ). My Visor crashed that often every *week*. One Clie (the NR70V, if I recall correctly) crashed almost that much for me (twice) in LESS THAN ONE HOUR.

    Of course, Windows also loves to explode around me, and even Linux can’t handle the sheer level of entropic bit rot essence that seems to surround and enfold my person. But that just means I need devices that are that much more reliable.

    The point of all this? The fact that Palm’s coming out with the T3 suggests to me that they’ve finally got virtual graffiti stable enough that I might actually be able to use it sometime. That’s pretty damn cool, if you ask me. 🙂 [/B]

    I’ve had just the opposite experience. Every single of my Sony PDA’s have been rock solid, and have never crashed on me. They may’ve run slower than others with some of the background software I run, but they have never out-and-out crashed. All of the PalmOne models I’ve tried have been nothing but headaches. I started with the Tungsten series. Three of three T|Ts had dust under the screen and/or dead pixels, two of two Tungsten|Cs had problems with light coming from the bottom of the screen and keyboard issues, and all of the four different display models of the T|3 I’ve seen in four different stores all have an annoying screen whine to them.

    Now, with Sony pulling out of the US PDA market it looks like my choice for an upgrade are limited. I was going to wait until this fall to see if Sony came out with a new model with Bluetooth. I use Bluetooth all the time to share data and “stuff” with coworkers, and the WiFi in the TH55 is not a practical solution for me. I also don’t care for the TH55 design. The TJ series don’t have a very user friendly jog dial/jog wheel layout (no f**king back button!), and the UX50 does not have a portrait screen mode, or use the standard T series connector (I have two additional cradles).

    Right now with very few non-PalmOne Palm OS PDAs out it looks like my choice is with the Tapwave Zodiac or with, well, with the Tapwave Zodiac.

  65. For those who are really desperate to store MP3 files on your PDA’s internal memory let me tell you there is a very handy program I found 3 days ago and has worked perfectly for my new T|X, it’s called Card Export (can be found at http://www.softick.com). Once you install the file, you can immediately store whatever file you want on your expansion card and the manually pass it to the internal memory with a file manager (most of us have one). The tricky part is that you don’t have to hot sync, you just plug your PDA into the USB terminal and your PC will emule it as a USB flash memory. Once you copy the files you need (MP3 for instance) you just move the files from your expansion card to the internal memory, as simple as that. This way you don’t even have to carry a USB flash memory with you, since your palm will work the same way. Just give it a try, you won’t regret it!

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