Lifedrivedoc.com began as a place to talk about the Lifedrive. It soon became apparent that it was much more than that. Since moving on from my Lifedrive, I am engaged in more avenues of technology. That technology has intersected with my professional life - Medicine as well as my social life.

As noted above, the blog is about a lot of things in relation to technology. If you are looking for Lifedrive related material, I am currently dividing the blog so that those searches will be easy for you to find. Most of them will be pre 2007, that should help. Additionally, if you are looking for the links that used to be on the left border. They will be back up in a different format soon. I do enjoy reading about new things to do with the Lifedrive, so you can feel free to let me know about those. I will also post those on the site.

If you are having trouble getting an RSS Feed, click on the feed link below or type this into your reader: http://feeds.feedburner.com/lifedrivedoccom


Friday, February 24, 2006

NEWS: University of Virginia School of Medicine offers PDA Requirements

The University of Virginia School of Medicine offered a PDA guide to its medical students. A very interesting part of the recommendations was found near the end with their thoughts on other Palm Devices:

"The Lifedrive has a lot of reported bugs and is large and expensive."

How's that for objective?

While I agree that the Lifedrive is buggy, there are some things that decrease the "bugginess" of the device.

First of all, the software that is being downloaded should be in physical ram and not running from the disc drive. That gives you essentially 32mb of "real" memory to work with before you drift into the neverlands of the additional 32mb of virtual ram afforded by the disc and which imparts the ubiquitous slowdown seen by all devices eventually.

However where I find the Lifedrive to be superior is in the memory of the Lifedrive itself. Although buggy, if you use the drive and an accessory SD card, you will find that the storage is superior to almost any device out there. Additionally, running programs from an SD-ULTRA card is almost akin to running it from the native 32mb memory. That is to say, it is like having 1 gigabyte of ram to play with.

Nevertheless, kudos to UV for at least having the courage to actually provide Palm Pilots (I noticed the Windows CE and Mobile systems were not on the requirements list). They even provide a subsidy for the "required" device.

A further foot note to those in the Windows camp......, well perhaps, it would be better to let the UV-ites tell it themselves:

"How about Pocket PCs?

In the fall of 2005 we purchased and evaluated side by side the current models from Palm and Dell. (Dell is seen as offering the best Pocket PCs at the moment.) The features and functions are almost identical on the two platforms, as Microsoft and Palm have copied each other's successes. But we found several shortcomings in the Pocket PC:
They are generally more expensive for the same features compared to Palms.
The battery life is shorter.
They require rebooting more frequently than Palms.
They are larger than equivalent Palms.
They don't work well with Macintosh computers.
While the Pocket PC platform is getting closer in parity to Palms than they were in the past, there was no advantage that we could find in buying a Pocket PC, especially given the higher cost. As a result, we no longer recommend the purchase of Pocket PCs for medical students. If you have a Pocket PC, staff members may not be able to assist you in installing or troubleshooting applications

I cannot believe the openness that this recommendation implies. It is refreshingly bold. The U pulls absolutely no punches in its recommendations and pans. We will be keeping a lookout for more open discussions such as this one.

Feel free to click on the title to take you to the University of Virginia's website.


Small Pause.....

To those of you who have written to me asking about the apps for Mobisystems, HandBase and my all-time favorite, Smartlistogo, please be patient. I have been looking for a good place to host the files. Free is always preferrable, but we did look into a paid hosting service to increase file accuracy.

There is a test site that is not currently online but still in beta testing. Additionally, I will probably begin writing my own apps - as I have done - and getting others to add to the growing list, as I hope. Another possibility is to ask the program developers, Mobi/Hand/Dataviz to host the files and just point a link to them. I am particularly interested in seeing the number of downloads per application and I think that they may be better suited to do this.

As of today, I am looking at Google's new offering due to the fact that they are offering 100mb of free space. This is much greater than a few of the paid sites that I have been looking at. If Google allows HTTP or FTP downloading and file hosting, then I think that I will have no choice but to migrate there and save a few pennies in between.

Since the files will be predominantly free, I think that advertising from the page may pay whatever other bills may be accrued.

If anyone has any other ideas on this matter, please feel free to drop me a line.



Saturday, February 18, 2006

Schematics for ALP (Access Linux for Palm) Shown at Linuxdevices.com and a Question

Linuxdevices.com was gracious enough to publish the schematics of the newly announced ALP (codename for future software ?Palm 7.0). Very very interesting schematics.

Palm OS will remain as an emulation model, but the exciting thing is that Java will be built into the SYSTEM, thus allowing for 3rd party "native apps." Can you imagine replacing these apps from the applications module and using the User Space for other things?

The kernel looks solid - that is as solid as a schematic diagram can confess - and it would appear that they are taking into account a lot of 3rd party applications. Are you drooling yet?

However there are a few questions; one of which is very important:

Will ALP (Access Linux for Palm) serve as the new operating system for all Palm Devices or will it only serve the telephony market, such as the Treo line? (See the right lower side of the diagram where it mentions "GSM/GPRS/EDGE/UMTS, Wifi, Bluetooth etc."

If it is only for mobile telephony, does that mean that we will have to put up with the experimental COBALT on the other devices?

Conversely and obviously more exciting is the true question:

Will all future products feature telephony and possibly VOIP and will older devices be upgradeable?

A whole weekend to ponder the news from Barcelona.


ALP or GULP? A New Operating System Finally !!!!!

It won't come until next year, but Access annonounced this week that they are releasing SDK's for a new operating system based upon the Linux Operating System.

Only two words to respond to this one: ABOUT TIME !

This should be welcome news for high end Palm users. The idea is that the new system will have a smaller footprint than the current one, but upon reading a few specs this week, I am begining to wonder if this may be the case.

That the PalmOS portion of palm, which does not exist anymore since the purchase by Access, is changing to Linux, seems to bear a very interesting resemblance to Apple and its OS X ventures. Apple was very successful at this and since late last year I have begun to notice that Palm is going in the same direction. Similarities are getting more and more interesting. The Palm stock is going up - probably secondary to the Treo for the most part and the declaration of a stock split - symbolizing a bullish sentiment from the company itselfp; the announcement of new products to come and now the move to a new operating system that could put an end to the speculation of "when will Palm OS 5 come to an end?"

The worry about Palm is legitimate, leading to even one of the biggest shareholders of Palm to state that the company should sell itself (or seek strategic alternatives). My suggestion to him is to sell his Palm stock and join Carl Icahn over at Time Warner and raise a ruckus over there!

Palm is moving in the right direction FINALLY. Linux is the way to go! It is something that should have been done a long time ago instead of attempting to pull a Microsoft job of draining every last cent out of the OS 5 operating system (ie. Windows ME ). The present OS is not capable of dealing with the demands of the new hardware. Almost everyone wants true multitasking ability, something that the present OS does not offer. NVFS (the file system used by the new Palms - Lifedrive, Tungsten X, Treo 650) is a fantastic advancement for Palm. The nonvolatile nature ensures that your data remains intact even if the battery is cleared. However NVFS works with FAT-32, the disk system that runs on our PC's. The problem is that although this is fantastic for people like myself because I do not have to hotsync since I do not load a lot of new files, but spend most of my time backing up data files the ability to do this via my SD card is great. However the 3.6 g Lifedrive is not as nice. After using the filesystem to load files directly to the Lifedrive, it does not run programs directly without crashing routinely and becomes more unstable when it is used for anything other than media file storage.

This is where Linux will be a welcome alternative. Linux was made for multitasking. It is in every flavor - SUSE, REDHAT, etc. Additionally, the Linux filesystem is ENVIABLE. It is one of the most stable and with Open Source software it is constantly kept up to date. It has fantastic fileserving ability and ....did I say STABLE ! I have used it and it is fantastic.

Access plans to use a Browser type system for the GUI, something that may be akin to the Explorer motif used in Windows. However the beauty may be a little dampened by the fact that the current PALM OS programs "appropriately written" will run on an emulator atop the linux backdrop. The current Apple move to Intel is showing a little strain with this strategy, since they are using an emulator to convert their Motorola driven programs to Intel. This is an extra step that slows everything down. In terms of the Lifedrive this could become unbearable with its already slow disc access. With Linux it is my hope that even with the 4g Lifedrive, there will be a way to keep the entire operating system in memory and all vital files in memory without having to access the hard drive, thus ending the delay. Additionally, it is my hope that the Lifedrive will stop crashing with an operating system designed for both multitasking and file access -- which could mean running files from the Lifedrive itself and maintaining stability.

With Linux's incredible Open Source community, I believe that we could see the emergence of some of the GREATEST software products to ever come out of the Palm community. Graphic intensive GUI's and apps never before imagined. The ability to print directly without having to purchase separate printing programs, ie. built into the system; wifi, bluetooth and VOIP. Not to mention Google/Google Maps etc. The world of Java is finally here with this operating system. IBM's JavaMobile is a fantastic piece of software that really takes into account the handheld environment. It is prominently featured in the Access Linux package.

In short, the time has come for Palm to move on to the next level and I believe that Linux is the answer. There will be problems at first, there always is, but Access appears to be moving in the right direction to preserve the Palm OS (Incidental note is made of the fact that there are Windows emulators running on Linux already present on the PC. It would only lead to expectation that this could be done for Windows CE and Windows Mobile. In other words, you could possibly run two operating systems on your Palm in the future - just a thought ) !







More to come.


Monday, February 13, 2006

Palm finally getting the point !

I think that Palm is finally begining to get their act together, recognizing where their greatest level of support is coming from. Today, Palm announced that they will be joining with Microsoft to deliver health care solutions to the PALM 700W.

Although this says little for the Palm Operating system in the statement, a trip to the Palm Healthcare Solutions page tells a different story. A large listing of top notch software for the Palm Operating System with very nice links. Additionally, there are timely articles on the subject at hand, including electronic prescribing and special registration areas for special offers and events.

Yes, I finally think that Palm is begining to understand that the medical community has stuck with them through thick and thin and we are all looking forward to the emergence of great products.

An incidental note is made today that the company offered a 2:1 stock split with the price of the stock at around 36/share. A very bold move indeed and one that suggests that this company expects great things over the next 2-3 years.

http://www.palm.com/us/solutions/healthcare/ Or click on the title.