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.

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Palm Settles Xerox Lawsuit. Can We Get Graffiti 1 Back?

It has been reported in Forbes this morning that Palm paid $22m to settle the patent infringement suit brought by Xerox. One wonders whether this will allow Palm to improve upon Graffiti 1, the simple, yet reliable input system that was ubiquitous in all of the Palm devices, including the beloved Tungsten.

Graffiti 2 is cumbersome on the Lifedrive and I would love to see the return of the old Graffiti 1 system in place. I was able to complete sentences a lot faster. Presently, I find myself returning to the onboard virtual keyboard for anything substantial. An updated Graffiti 1 system would be very much welcomed.


Monday, June 19, 2006

Dr. Bikshandi creates a lean PDA.

Akin to the Origami mystique discussion, a physician in India claims to have created the first lean PDA for medicine. The device is apparently centered around preexisting hardware and is devoid of the bulky applications and proprietary restrictions that have closed the doors on progress thus far.

The article, published in India's Healthcare Management Express , would seem to be someone's reach for the spotlight if it were not for a few important facts. Dr. Bikshandi is a well respected Trauma Critical Care Specialist. Secondly, he actually presented a working model of the device to the Royal Society of Medicine in London! That's right, no vaporware here! A real, dedicated device. One would think that a picture or two would have evolved from this meeting, but alas, there are no pictures, but a lot of questions. According to HME, the device has the following characteristics:

1. Basic PDA functions: Calendar, Contact/Address book, meeting alerts and e-mail.

Obviously, until we see a working example, it will be difficult to comment on it. But it is nice to see some innovation still finding its way into the standalone PDA.

(Originally written in June, 2006).

Friday, June 16, 2006

MobiSystems Releases OfficeSuite 7.0

In what can be seen as an eagerly anticipated update, Mobisystems released OfficeSuite Classic and OfficeSuite Pro 7.0. In the Lifedrive community, Mobisystems has been a breath of fresh air in the Office Suite market, designing a product in Office 6 that worked right out of the "box," without the need to download updates or additional software to make it work on the Lifedrive. They introduced a filesearch system that was as much a copy of the windows explorer model that one could have and then gave away 4mb of ftp space per user to upload and download files. Now, version 7 has a few perks added to a product that almost appeared to be too good to be true.

First, they have reportedly sped up the file opening times which were significantly slow. They have maintained support for the usual office file types in native mode - DOC, TXT, RTF, XLS, XML, and CSV file formats, but surprisingly absent in the list is .ppt or the native powerpoint filetype. The RTF format is a nice one to have since you no longer have to use Word to type or import and send documents. You can now use WRITE which comes with Windows. Alas, there is no native support for the open source formats ---yet!

They have introduced predictive text in the word program and have provided 6 free language dictionaries - English, German, French, Spanish, Italian and Dutch. They also have a windows desktop companion to ensure that your documents are up to date - according to Mobi. Most of the time, I keep my files on an sd card in the event of a fatal crash, but this is still a good option for verifying and updating the files that are in memory.

There is now a direct print feature that supports printing from the Word document directly. This will require that PrintBoy is installed however. Charting is provided in the Excel product with -- according to Mobi -- excellent duplication of charts both from the desktop Excel program to the Mobiproduct and vice versa in native mode. I will be downloading this to verify that this is the case over the next few days. This will truly be a significant step for Mobi if this works out as stated.

They continue to use the Explorer type filesystem which I believe is one of the best ever. It is so intuitive and the addition of the ftp directory as part of the explorer type directory is seamless, logical and functional.

If there is a concern for the new product it is the new dependence upon third party vendors. Mobi 6.0 was a fantastic product because it incorporated a few unique additions that set the product apart -- the filesystem, ftp storage, crisp, clean and accurate rendering of documents without modifying the files and instant compatibility with the Lifedrive. Where there were weaknesses, Office 7.0 seems to be the correction factor -- Speed of opening files, printing from documents and the new direct native .PDF support.

Where the concern lies is in the latter two. They have apparently conquered the file opening speed problem (again, I will be testing this to see if this is truly different). But they are relying on third party vendors for the latter two issues. They are requiring that PRINTBOY is installed in the Lifedrive before the files can be printed. For me, I have not gotten Printboy to work on my Lifedrive despite the numerous times that I have tried. Infact, I gave up on this solution months ago and turned to saving things on an SD Card and opening Write, Word or OpenOffice to print it out. Hopefully there is a resolution to this particular problem.

Secondly, they are relying on an "opensource" third party program from Metaviewsoft called PALMPDF. This is a port of a previous program called XPDF, which is the original opensource pdf reader. More about this can be read here -> PalmPDF/xPDF. In a few comments on PalmAddict, many bugfixes were done in a version of PALMPDF published in february, which represented version 1.1. In November just 3 months prior version 0.8 was discussed in PalmAddicts. Metaviewsoft, located in Germany is doing what amounts to be a wonderful job in trying to get the Palm OS to work with PDF files and giving away the program, but I think that this is still a beta product and with the constant updating still appears to have issues. Metaviewsoft has released only free copies of the program, but this may change once the final product is released. Again, I am not criticising them for what they are doing, I think that this is a good idea for all to have this company create a standalone product like this, but I have some reservations about a major company such as Mobisystems taking a chance on beta software to be a part of their product. I think that I would have had more confidence if I knew that Mobi was creating the printing and native pdf software to run flawlessly with their products.

With this as the only flaw that I have noticed, I will be purchasing Mobi's updated package over the next few days and because it is a core product of mine, I will be giving a review of my experiences over the next few weeks. The pricepoints for the product are listed below:

Basic Office 7 (Docs, Spreadsheet, Slides, OfficeSuite Desktop and Font Convertor) $39.95, Upgrade $ 14.95.

Professional Office (
Docs, Spreadsheet, Slides, Database Professional, Paint, OfficeSuite Desktop and Font Convertor) $69.95, Upgrade $ ??? (Possibly 14.95).

An incidental note is made that the version of OFFICESUITE is 7.5. It would appear that they have been working on this one for quite a while. I am very excited to try out this new piece of software and I will be certain to send updates of my experiences.