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webOS Quick Start Guide

Current: PalmOS 1.4.5

Palm Pre Plus: webOS | Support | Forums
Useful Resources: PreCentral App Gallery | webOSInternals | EverythingPre | webOSRoundUp

Here are my notes about setting up the Palm Pre Plus with webOS. I've been a Palm user since the first one in 1996 and finally made the switch to the Palm Pre Plus. Obviously not an early adopter in this case, and while I'm certainly interested in the open Android platform, I wasn't ready to go that route and abandon my old trusty palm system that's kept me going for all these years, performing well. Yeah, I know it's "lagging" in the industry some (although a lot of it is hype, too), but just recently HP paid about $1.3 billion for Palm, so it's not going away with that group behind it, and webOS tablets have already been secretly leaked. I'm certainly not into the iPhone scenario as I'm not a fan of rabid proprietary closed systems fan (although I have to run some Windows setups, too, to be able to assist my clients) that tell me which apps are good enough (or non-competitive enough) for me. And besides, PalmOS is built on top of Linux, my favorite OS for numerous reasons. Unfortunately, this stuff mostly isn't built for that, and Evolution still doesn't have a sync with the Palm devices, so I'm using it with my Windows computer. Go figure.

Anyhoos, I'm really excited about what this little handheld computer can do for me. And it has true multi-application capability as well as works for my on-the-go handheld PDA. Finally down to one device (although I have another PMP for audio/video, another story). Latest news is that they'll be upgrading the Pre to WebOS 2.0 which is currently only available on the just released Pre2.

Starting Clean

I'm starting with a clean load of the latest webOS on the Palm Pre Plus. Because I purchased these used, I had to reset the devices (interestingly, both previous users left their data on them and mailed them to me) and to make sure the latest OS was on it. Even if you have upgraded to 1.4.5 via an over-the-air update, if you planned to load the Navit app on it (or some others), then you'll have to update it as described in their documentation, or, better yet use WebOSDoctor if you're wiping it anyways -- and you'll need to have it connected via USB to deal with the Preware app. You can always keep it upgraded using the Updates app (at least mostly and usually). And don't forget to backup your profile with the Backup app (which is set to run daily by default), if you're not starting clean. See what the Backup app backs up.

If your device needs a restarting, see the 6Ts to get your webOS phone working again. My fave is the Triple-togget restart (hold power, slide ringer switch 3 times).

Preware App

Everyone should install the Preware app for homebrew applications. This gives you access to all of the available software instead of just what is listed through the Palm Apps catalog (which includes some free software, too). There are thousands more in the Homebrew application and many are free. Unfortunately, it's a little tricky to get it setup, but not horribly hard. It uses the webOS Quick Install app, a java application that requires you have a recent version of Java. I recommend doing this right away because it requires going into Developer Mode (and then you should turn it off in a similar way).

Advanced Preferences

I install both Advanced Preferences (for App Launcher and for System Preferences). Unfortunately, Advanced Preferences conflicts with almost any other Preferences Hack, so if you want to use it, you'll have to forgo all the others. However, it does work well and give extra preferences across the device. (Extra app/launcher pages, page naming, titles, re-arrange apps, and much much more).

Wi-Fi

Use the wi-fi. It's faster and will use less battery than the 3G network. Or so I've been told. It's certainly faster.

Overclocking

If you want to overclock the Palm, check out the Govnah app and look on WebOSInternals for related info about using it.

PalmOS Applications with Palm Classic Emulator

An old PalmOS veteran like me? Then you'll also want to install Palm Classic Emulator to run those old PalmOS favorites. Unfortunately it costs, but at least you won't have to buy those old apps again. I guess it's like running the Palm developer emulation app, but in the WebOS. Quite interesting. Does this mean I can run in Classic the old WebOS launcher application that was available for awhile (until Palm made them pull it) for the old PalmOS. Unfortunately MotionApps, the Classic Emulator maker, and Palm had a falling out (apparently due to non support of it in webOS 2). MotionApps is no longer actively developing it, but has turned the code and such over to Palm. We'll see what they do with it.

Applications

Apps that I've installed and are playing with:

  • Preware - the App Catalog for homebrew applications
  • AP Mobile - news aggregator for AP; includes local news capability based on location
  • PreCentral News - keep up on Palm news and apps
  • Zcorder - voice recorder
  • GoodFood - reasonable number of food suggestions
  • Navit - GPS that works without 3G access (like standard auto GPS), unfortunately metric-based, but works, albeit quirky
  • Moon Info - moonrise, moonset, waxing, waning, full, new, and more
  • NOAA-METAR - short immediate weather data for multiple locations
  • No-Nonsense Weather - local weather for a few days quick and dirty
  • Weather Dashboard - quick check on temps/sky for today and tomorrow
  • Re-Weather: Quick view of Today/Tomorrow for multiple locations
  • Sabre-Ultimate - my light sabre app to duel the dark side
  • Beat Box - a drum machine
  • HTK303 - syth app, limited
  • miniPiano - just what it says, for my daughter to play with since she plays
  • SongWave - song making app, limited
  • Art of Glow FREE - fun device to draw colored tracers on your device
  • Moo - animal sounds
  • Sudoku Lite - decent Sudoku app. Still like my other sudoku on PalmOS with many more puzzles than this limited one.
  • Angry Birds Lite - fun, although I don't understand the hype, but it's fun
  • Cosmic Nitro, Rednecks v Aliens, Radiant Lite (Space Invaders clone), Mazer, KSChess, Arachnophilia Lite, MineHX, SkyBox, Maelstrom
  • SuperNES Emulator - and I'll be looking to load some of the other emulators, too, soon, including MAME and more
  • Terminal - what Linux geek doesn't need/want this
  • Network Tools - ping, traceroute, etc., somewhat Superfluous with Terminal, but easier, too
  • jLight - the front screen flashlight app (there are other more featured ones out there, but when I need it, I need it)
  • LED Torch - back LED flashlight app (the camera flash)

I'll be looking for better:

  • Video - I formerly used Core Media Player on the PalmOS and want that, too, for WebOS
  • Messenging App - not messenging yet, but will soon

Synchronizing Calendar, ToDo, Tasks, Memos, Notes

You can sync with the cloud of course. You can sync with Google Calendar and Contacts.

For the PDA, I'm an old Outlook user (actually, I was a Sidekick fan until Outlook and Act! and others put them out of business). I'd love to move to something else, but this works well (I don't use it for email, however) for it's usage. When I can sync from Evolution to my Palm easily, then I'll be ready to switch and abandon the last vestiges of Microsoft applications that I'm willingly using. So, to sync, I'm using Chapura PocketMirror for WebOS which uses Chapura SyncManager on the desktop and it's sync application on the phone (found in the Apps Catalog, along with it's companion Notes and Tasks applications) and syncs via wi-fi. Interestingly, SyncManager pings its home server "to setup the connection" (and presumably deal with licensing and usage information) but "all of the data is passed between the Palm and the desktop and NOT the Chapura servers." Yeecchhhhhh! There was The Missing Sync, but it sounds like software that wasn't ready for prime time based on most of the reviews I found and read (although I liked how it could sync other data -- albeit via USB and not wi-fi). There was another called CompanionLink, but it was USB sync only, and I was trying to free from the tether. I'm not a cloud data user. And especially not with the corporation that holds 85-90% of the data of cloud users and then shares it with other "authorities" as they (not you) deem fit.

FWIW, I used the BodyGuardz protector (aka Skin). Overall I'm impressed (made from the same material that protects the front of vehicles from bouncing stones), but it will likely take two of them to install the first time you make the attempt. I did the back first (thinking it would be easier and if I messed up, I'd rather mess up the back than the front touchscreen) and had to redo it (perhaps I stretched it in spite of being careful). I did the front second and it worked much better and I had no problems. Because of this, BodyGuardz actually sends you two of these for just such an event - but I was hoping to use one set for both phones.

Synching Music, eBooks, Photos, Files and More

I'm working through all of this. Be patient.... Meanwhile, use Palm's recommended methodologies.

Enhancement Requests

Yes, as good as it is, it's lacking here or there. I know I'll find more as I use it more.

Voice Dialing

This device's biggest lacking component is a voice dialing and announce application. This should have been built into it from the get go. The last couple of dumb phones I've had have this, and since I talk on the phone while driving a bit, I certainly could use this. Pulling over to dial and such as well as see whom is calling me is annoying. I haven't heard that this was fixed in 2.0. Interestingly the Navit app does voice. Did I mention that not having voice dialing is a severe oversight by Palm?

 


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