D'Arcy from Winnipeg
Solution Architecture, Business & Entrepreneurship, Microsoft, and Adoption

Sometimes you just need to fit a square peg in a square hole...

Wednesday, January 3, 2007 11:04 PM

So, for Christmas I got my wife a Palm Treo 700wx. It's one that runs Windows Mobile 5. Now, why did I pick the one running Windows Mobile 5? Well, becuase I think its a superior operating system to the Palm of course! I mean, seriously, who in this day and age would willingly take the Palm OS over Windows Mobile? What possible scenario would drive someone into the gaping jaws of mobile death that is the Palm OS? Well, let me tell you a story...

So, my sister in law has a Palm as well...not a Treo, just a regular Palm. And she uses this software called SplashShopper which she raves on and on about. Well, my wife got really excited about this, and really wants to get it on her Palm. So this is where we encounter...

Problem #1: Our main home computer is a Mac
Hmm...active sync doesn't work on a Mac now does it? That's a problem. Luckily, there's a program called the Missing Sync that will allow you to sync a Mobile 5 device with iCal, Address Book, etc. Very kewl.

Solution #1: Buy Missing Sync
So I buy it (approx $50.00) and install it. Wonderful! Not only can this sync with the i-programs, but it can install applications as well! Well...sorta...I mean, if its a cab file, then yes. But dammit, some developers actually use MSI's for their mobile apps. Jerks. But I have a bigger problem than an  MSI.

Problem #2: Desktop Component
You see, it turns out that SplashShopper has a desktop component for entering data and managing the lists it uses. There's a Palm version, that will work with OS X and Windows, and a Mobile 5 version, which is Windows only. Windows only. Windows only. See the issue? I can't install the desktop piece...rubbish! So this leads to...

Solution #2: Parallels
Parallels is a virtualization application that will allow you to install Windows and run it virtually on your Mac. I've used VPC's in the Windows world for ages, and this is the "final" release of Parallels (was in beta before). So i fork out the $106.00 Canadian for the software. I install it, and I actually really like it! It's very kewl (i'm actually using Live Writer from within Windows Xp right now!). But...ah, there's always a but...

Problem #3: FLAKEY USB SUPPORT!
OMG, this is stupid! So, apparantly they've added USB support but its flakey and device dependant. The Treo can connect...but it never really connects to Active Sync! Even with downloading USBSwitcher and going into Serial mode, and installing SyncAlive (which apparantly I really shouldn't have to for this release of Parallels), no go. Worse still, I have to go into the terminal app and disable some Missing Sync features, because even with all listeners turned off it STILL detects the device powering on and tries to connect (which prevents my Windows session from even getting to the device...gives me a warning that another app has a lock on it). And the only way to turn the Missing Sync stuff back on is to reboot your Mac.

So that's where I'm at...I've now spent $150.00 to get a stupid shopping program working in a configuration that probably was doomed from the start. I should have just gotten her the Palm OS device instead, as trying to force WM 5 to play nice is proving to be much more of a headache than I was expecting. Maybe...maybe I should just go out, get her the Palm device...shoot...and I guess I'll just take the Windows Mobile one off of her hands...sigh....

;)

D




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# re: Sometimes you just need to fit a square peg in a square hole...

Or you could just replace the Mac with a real computer. :) 1/4/2007 3:04 AM | Paul Wilson

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