July 1, 2009

Read DRMed MobiPocket eBooks On Palm Pre

Filed under: Groundwork — mikecane @ 11:11 am

Thanks to Twitter, I was informed about this new eBook development and invited the person to write this guest post. Thanks, Jonathan!

E-book Reading on PalmPre: MotionApps Classic Plus Mobipocket is a Winning Combo

As a longtime PalmOS user, I’ve been very happy using my Palm handhelds as e-book readers. I have (and have read) more than 200 e-books (many from Baen’s free library, others purchased in secure Mobipocket format from Fictionwise) on my Palm T|X (especially after I used the PowerSDHC driver by Dmitry Grinberg to add a 16 GB SDHC card to my T|X). When I received my new Palm Pre last week, courtesy of Palm’s Real Reviewer program, I was skeptical whether I would be able to completely switch from my T|X to the Pre, given how little software has yet been released for the Pre, especially in the e-book reader world (only the Shortcovers online reader is currently available). Happily, one of the very first apps released for Palm’s new WebOS is MotionApps’ Classic (a PalmOS emulator running on the Pre), and I was able to run Mobipocket Reader with little trouble.



While Classic’s emulation is not perfect, and it’s limited to a 320×320 screen (unlike the 320×480 available on the T|X), I was pleased to find out not only did Mobipocket Reader work on Classic, but it even generated its own Secure Mobipocket ID, allowing me to redownload and read my secure e-books from my Fictionwise bookshelf. Installing Mobipocket was a bit of a challenge (since it comes with an installation program rather than simply as PalmOS PRC and PDB files, I had to unpack and install each file separately — which you can find here), but once past that step and after I’d copied my e-books to the ClassicApps\eBooks directory of my Pre in USB Drive mode, I launched Classic, started Mobipocket Reader, and a quick rescan of my library brought my books up.


Classic runs PalmOS apps relatively smoothly, and the issues it still has with animations and sounds do not impact on Mobipocket Reader. Page navigation is a bit clumsy (the Pre’s notifications often bump up against the bottom of Classic’s virtual 5-way navigator, making it difficult to advance pages that way), but after I’d set Mobipocket to accept screen taps as page advance commands, that problem went away.


Classic itself is not cheap (the registered version is $29.99), but it essentially replaces carrying around two PDAs, one for WebOS and one for (most of) the PalmOS apps one still needs. For me, being able to continue reading novels at the checkout counter, doctor’s office and other waiting areas, and to have access to secure e-books even when offline, makes Classic’s price almost worth it for those benefits alone. That it can run almost all of my other PalmOS apps is just gravy. (It also means, by way of shameless self-promotion, that Pre users can read the Mobi version of my new free e-booklet on managing smartphone business/legal risk, Shooting from the Hip, after downloading it here!)

Prof. Jonathan Ezor, Touro Law Center (aka @Prelawyer and @ProfJonathan on Twitter, and Palm Real Reviewer).

June 21, 2009

Cut Palm Some Slack

Filed under: Groundwork — mikecane @ 10:58 am

An update on the early access program and the SDK.

There’s a hue and cry over the webOS SDK not yet being available to all.

This is what I posted at Palm’s Developer Blog:

I suspect Palm is caught between these tensions:

1) webOS 1.x is not final. We’ve seen Comments in code that seems to reflect that.

2) webOS 1.x will have at least one more — if not two — OTA updates that will greatly change APIs.

3) With those APIs being changed, it would create a hellacious developer support situation for Palm.

4) The bottom line of that would be wasting the time of developers and possibly alienating them too.

It is hard to be patient and I find the delay odd too, but I suspect the above is what is happening behind the scenes.

It’s incredible to see people comparing the less than a month old Palm Pre to the several years old Apple iPhone, comparing webOS 1.x to iPhone OS 3.x, comparing the App Catalog to the App Store.

For all the current shortcomings and unfinished bits of webOS, I think its full potential won’t be realized until the SDK has been released and coders start taking advantage of it.

But that’s not to say Palm itself won’t keep adding to webOS too.

I tweeted to Palm last week that I expected a webOS update last week, most likely on Wednesday — the day Apple was making the iPhone OS 3.0 Update available — to blunt some of the iPhone’s impact. (Unfortunately, Search Twitter is wonky and I cannot retrieve this tweet to link to it.) The update came on Friday instead, the day iPhone 3GS was released. I then tweeted to Palm to debug faster. (Another tweet I cannot retrieve.)

Palm has a lot on its hands. Not just the current Palm Pre, webOS, and dealing with the beta expansion of the SDK program, but also working with carriers for whatever follow-up webOS device is coming (such as the rumored EOS).

Cut Palm some slack, give them some time.

Here’s one thing to look forward to. Once the SDK released, there will be hundreds — if not well over a thousand — apps in the App Catalog by the end of this year. Developing for the Pre should happen with a speed no other smartphone platform can currently match.

June 10, 2009

The World’s First Jailbroken Palm Pre?

Filed under: Groundwork — mikecane @ 3:39 pm

The always-tuned in @cimota is at the — pardon the expression — Apple Worldwide Developers Conference and he clued me into someone with a hacked Palm Pre.

The guilty part is @stroughtonsmith. Here he is touting on himself in Twitter.

He begins innocently enough:




And then it gets dramatic:


And he apparently gets some Booos from iPhone priests for his heresy:


But he sallies forth:




Here it is:



He does! Look:


He’s busy:


He’s finishing:


And he’s done:


See this:


It looks innocent enough. But don’t be fooled!! He’s part of the nefarious #paddyinvasion — programming wizards from Northern Ireland who have snuck into this country to steal our precious bodily fluids and dominate the world with their mobile programs! Have fear!

This time next year, we could all be standing on line to buy the O’Pre!

June 8, 2009

First eBook App For Palm Pre: Shortcovers

Filed under: Groundwork — mikecane @ 10:57 am

I have a keen interest in eBooks, so I’ve been anticipating what eBook reading programs would be available for the Palm Pre.

The first one is now available: Shortcovers!

Here are two screensnaps:



This will be available only via the Palm Pre App Catalog, so send your Pre there now!

Leave some Comments to let everyone know your experience.

April 30, 2009

Personal Cloud Computing

Filed under: Groundwork — mikecane @ 9:55 am

Wayne MacPhail posted this video on YouTube that I find very exciting. It’s a demo of the PogoPlug. I’d heard of this but it didn’t capture my attention until I saw his demo. Watch this:

Demo of the PogoPlug

For those who have squawked about the lack of storage card slot on the Palm Pre, consider what you could do with a terrabyte hard drive of your own goodies accessible wirelessly!

April 3, 2009

My Palm Pre Lust Hits The Red Zone!

Filed under: Groundwork — mikecane @ 6:05 pm

I’ve been busy with other things so have only just now begun to catch up on the flood of new Palm Pre videos generated by its appearance at the CTIA.

And the second video I hit pushed my Palm Pre Lust Pedal through the floor.

Look at this!


I’d heard of the MotionApps Classic PalmOS emulator but dismissed it out of hand because I figured all it would do is run third-party apps. That is, it wouldn’t contain the native apps — Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, and Memos.

But that screensnap shows that it will!

Oh. My. God!

I can just move all of my current LifeDrive stored data over to the Palm Pre and be in business immediately!

This is not insignificant to me.

I have close to a decade of Calendar information.

I have over 300 Contacts.

I have several hundred Tasks (mainly as reference).

And — wait for it! — I have a whopping (as of right now) two-thousand seven-hundred and sixty-seven Memos.

All of that information I depend on every day.

It’s the loss of that which accounted for my hesitation in getting an iPhone, despite the fact I wanted one. What good would it have been if I still had to drag around my LifeDrive? Why carry two devices?

I hoped against tremendous odds that Palm itself would see the wisdom in shoving Classic PalmOS into the Pre, even as they constantly played coy about that possibility.

And now I see that Palm has done The Right Thing.

Apparently they’ve granted MotionApps access to OS-level hooks the majority of webOS developers won’t have access to (at least not immediately). And even beyond that, they’ve apparently given MotionApps a license to use their own Classic Palm apps!

This is an EPIC Win!

But wait! That’s not all the Win for me. I can now also use two Classic PalmOS apps: SmartDOC (which goes back to Palm OS 3.x!) and MiniWrite. Both of which I also use every single day.

All of this has absolutely cleared the road for me to get a Palm Pre. I have zero hesitation now. I can wind up carrying one device that contains two of the best functional paradigms ever produced for a pocketable device: Classic PalmOS and webOS.

Here is the Phonescoop video I snagged the screensnap from:

I originally saw this at the MyPre post, where Chris Davies pronounced:

Our suspicion is that this is more a useful boast – “look at all the legacy software you have access to!” – rather than something most people will actually use.

Oh Chris. You are soooo wrong!

March 4, 2009

The Twitter Lifeline

Filed under: Groundwork — mikecane @ 9:00 am

I was a huge Twitter skeptic.

But then I came to believe. As have others.

Twitter can break news stories. It can also monitor a crisis. Or spread a false rumor.

And Twitter can also be used to help save lives:

British snowboarder Rob Williams dies despite Twitter rescue campaign

Twitter and iPhone help find lost skier

Twitter has to be in the Palm Pre.

February 23, 2009

Bluetooth Keyboard, Palm. We Want!

Filed under: Groundwork — mikecane @ 9:48 am

It’s still a constant source of frustration to me that the iPhone cannot work with a Bluetooth keyboard. Apple has its own gorgeous Bluetooth keyboard that just weeps at night from not being to interface with the iPhone. It weeps, I say!

Hackers have gone so far to create proof of concept videos such as this one:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about "apple_bt_keyboard_4_iphone_01 on Flic…", posted with vodpod

At least two Comments at that site cry Fake! And it could be.

But the point is, Palm, we want the Pre to work out of the box with the Bluetooth keyboards we already have. Yes, we know you want to make money with your own keyboard later on — but give us the goodwill first to use our own. I’m sure your keyboard will be better — and we’ll buy it. But in the meantime, we want to type.

Let all the blogs bloom on Pre Day One with posts that begin, “I’m typing this post with my Palm Pre and a Bluetooth keyboard!!!”

February 21, 2009

CSS/HTML/JavaScript: What’s Possible?

Filed under: Groundwork,Video — mikecane @ 6:32 pm

Not being a coder of any sort, nor really a techie of any sort, I still wonder just how Palm’s webOS gambit will work out.

So I keep my eye out for things that illustrate the promise of webOS.

And tonight I came across Appcelerator’s Titanium.


I don’t know how applicable it is to what Palm is doing, but this video seems to offer a great deal of promise for what’s possible with the tools used to develop for webOS:

On The Buzz Radar: Spotify

Filed under: Groundwork — mikecane @ 2:43 pm


I heard about Spotify several weeks ago and went to its home page, only to learn it’s not (yet) available in the U.S..

Spotify wikipedia entry:

Spotify is a Sweden-based proprietary music streaming program, which allows instant listening to specific tracks or albums with virtually no buffering delay. Music can be browsed by artists, albums or created playlists as well as by direct searches. Although it is not possible to save the streamed music for use outside the application, a link is provided to allow the listener to directly purchase the material via partner retailers.

Spotify provides the transfer of soundfiles via internet through the combination of server-based streaming and peer-to-peer technology (P2P) involving the listeners themselves (see also: mesh networking). Even with slow internet connections, there are no great delays when playing music. An internet connection of at least 256 kbit/s is recommended, as the bitrate of the stream is up to approximately 160 kbit/s. The sound files can be played on demand, as if they were installed on the hard disk of the user. Songs are cached on the client computer to prevent wasting bandwidth by streaming the same songs over and over. The audio codec used is Vorbis.

So far, Spotify only works on desktops (well, notebooks too, I’m sure). I’m not techie enough to know if its reliance on P2P for the underlying distribution structure means it requires a persistent broadband connection and would therefore be unable to work with hop-on/hop-off clients via WiFi. I don’t see any software for smartphones listed, so perhaps this is marooned at desktops.

Here’s an interesting article about Spotify and the future of music:

Let me clarify. There’s a good chance the iTunes Store could be toast, a veritable sideshow. Because soon, the majority of people will not own their music, they’ll rent. And they’ll be happy to do so. True cheapos will pay in advertising, those with more sense than time will pay. But nobody will bother paying by track to own in an evanescent format, they’ll just want to stream.

I think that will very much depend on the price and selection.

Contrary to the history of digital hardware, “analog software” has a tendency to be in the hands of those who are greed-driven instead of — for lack of a better term — “improvement-driven.”

Just look at the history of pricing for CDs, magazines, books, movies, and even cable TV. If those had mimicked the Silicon Valley model of constant improvement, we’d be whizzing along with the fastest Internet connections on the planet — both wired and unwired — and enjoying all “content” (a word I very much dislike) in digital form at pennies (or even fractions thereof) per sip.

We still have a long way to go to get there.

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