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2003-12-09: "Tungsten E Freeware & Resources"

This is a great little device. I picked one up duty free on a business trip to Croatia for 145 in Dixons, which was even better than the Amazon price at the time.

I've had the Palm for about a month now. I think these devices have just hit the right price performance ratio to make them worthwhile. Previously they seemed overpriced for a gadget that's really just an electronic filofax - nice if you can afford it but actualy just a geek/fashion thing. Now they're turning into very capable little general purpose computing devices.

The Tungsten E comes with 32MB RAM and a 144 MHz processor. That's fast enough to never seem slow, and enough memory to store a considerable number of documents, images, utilities and so on. Most document readers and creators use compressed formats, and SD memory cards are fairly affordable.

Here are the free applications and services I use regularly:

This is an offline document reader for palm e-books (DOC format) and it's own compressed file format. You need a Windows (or Java) desktop utility, which spiders web sites, downloading copies of their contents and converting the HTML into plucker format, with working links within the doc. You can then browse the 'plucked' content at your leisure. I use this for tutorials, reference material, etc.

There's also Jpluck, which can also pluck RSS feeds!
All Hail Plucker by Chris DiBona -- Plucker is an offline reader...think Avantgo without the annoyances.

This is a commercial service that's similar to Plucker. You subscribe to 'channels' which are automatically updated when you sync the Palm. You can make Plucker do this too, to pluck say BBC News or whatever. It's free for up to 2MB of content, beyond that you have to pay.

This place is full of mediocre to good Palm apps. Some of my favourites are...

A freeware diagram drawing tool. It couldn't be easier to use, to create a box you just draw a box on the screen, and it turns it into a neat little squared-off box. You can change the box style, put text notes in the boxes and link the boxes by just drawing a line between edges - all nice and neat. It does just what you want, and no more.

VDI Image Viewer
The main web site is This is a simple zooming and panning image file viewer - ideal for downloaded map images. It's a windows app that installs the Palm client for you and converts image files. Unfortunately the images aren't compressed (maybe a little), and you can't store the files on a memory card. Still, it's very useful.

Space Trader
This is an Elite clone, but without the 3D space combat. Instead it uses a very simplistic combat method, the main meat of the game is trading between worlds and pursuing missions. A nice little game.

Palm Wars
There are several games with this name. This one is a bit like RISK, but on a network style map of nodes and links. I play it far too much.

These are my favourite apps. I've also looked into free software development options and web sites. I'll try and write up some of what I've learned in the near future.


Greymatter manual
Philip's Old Home Page
Simon and Zhao's Pictures

December 2003