Bring Your Palm VII To ShmooCon This Weekend

We’re not even halfway through January, and already the conference season is upon us. This weekend, Hackaday will be attending Shmoocon at the Hilton in Washington, DC. I’ll be there getting the full report on Russian hackers, reverse engineering, and what the beltway looks like with an ice storm during morning rush hour.

What’s in store for Shmoocon attendees? The schedule looks really cool with talks on something like inline assembly in Python, tools for RF reverse engineering, manufacturing and selling a U2F token, emulating ARM firmware, and so much more. Want to attend Shmoocon? Too bad! Tickets sold out in less than 10 seconds, and we’re totally not going to talk about the BOTS Act at all. If you’re clever you can still pick up a barcode on Craigslist for $300-400, but I wouldn’t recommend that.

As we did last year, Hackaday is going to have a lobbycon with Dunkin Saturday morning at 08:30, although which lobby is still up in the air. Check out the Hackaday Twitter for a few real-time updates. This is a bring-a-hack event, and I’ll be showing off how to add 18dBi of gain to a standard ESP8266 module. Show off what you’re working on and get a donut.

29 thoughts on “Bring Your Palm VII To ShmooCon This Weekend

          1. They are actually replaceable (in Tungsten T3 it is plain Li-ion, I replaced it once with a store bough battery, do not remember the exact part number, it involved just disassembly and simple soldering. the battery protection board stayed original).

        1. I’d be interested in that article if you ever think of something. I can’t bear to throw away my Tungsten T (with a dead battery) but I really can’t think of anything to do with it. I still haven’t got over the trauma of finding my Tandy TRS-80 Pocket Computer ruined by leaking AA Alkalines.

    1. I still daily a Centro with an extended battery, but aside from that and a couple used-up and almost-dead Treos, only have a Handspring Visor as the other working PalmOS device in my house.
      wait no, I have an Alphasmart Dana Wireless. now there’s something I’d love to hack a proper esp8266 onto, the inbuilt WiFi is atrocious.

  1. My Palm T|X still works (surprisingly, I thought the battery would have killed itself by now, but it still holds a charge, and, again surprisingly, it holds it quite well…) and I actually use it for some things. Of course, it won’t/can’t connect to the two routers I have in my house :/… But since I learned Graffiti (and this has the better Graffiti 2) a long time ago, I can still putter almost as fast as I can with Swype on my Note Edge, without the issues of autocorrection. (I learned two days ago that I had to put “bitch” into my dictionary, as I kept using it in a SMS to my grown son, and found out that it wasn’t in there, and the text had zero sense to it. I probably should have just called him up and bitched at him that way…) I can’t get the 64-bit drivers to work under Windows 10, but I have a wall wart and another cable that allows me to charge the thing without the drivers (a big mistake on Palm’s part for that crap I think), but I’ve got a bluetooth dongle, and I can sync with that, if a bit slower than over the cable.

    I’d love to be able to download my Google Calendar and throw it onto the Palm, but the conversion programs I’ve tried have the desktop software saying that the file isn’t in the correct format. And I can’t see any reason why it isn’t. Sigh.

    1. I’d love to see someone add WPA/PSK2 capability to the WiFi on PalmOS 5 devices. Supposedly the hardware is capable of it and Palm wrote the software to do it, but for unknown reasons never released it. Without that, the only ways to connect to WiFi with them is with an open AP, WEP or WPA/PSK.

      I was hoping that Dmitry would do PSK2 for Palm but he didn’t. He has made all of his Palm Powerups software freeware at so if you’ve wanted to have SDHC support, mod the ROM on your T|X, LifeDrive or other models that have flashable firmware (alas, not the Tungsten E2 so the defective calculator* can’t be fixed on the early release) or upgrade a LifeDrive to a larger than 4 gig Compact Flash and increase its “RAM” size, it’s all freebies now.

      For a home network you could use a dedicated AP daisy chained off another router, running WPA/PSK and a MAC address filter so that only your specific devices are allowed to connect.

      One thing the E2 can be used for is a very long playing music machine. One reviewer gave up waiting for the battery to die after twelve hours playing MP3s with the screen off. There are higher capacity aftermarket batteries that can fit inside the E2. Use Dmitry’s utility to put a 512 Gig CF into a LifeDrive and increase the “RAM” space to 64 or 128 meg (don’t go over 256 meg, it doesn’t work) along with his SDHC and FAT32 drivers and you have a portable jukebox capable of holding a lot of music.

      *Yup, defective. There are certain calculations on specific numbers for which it gives the wrong answer. The second release fixed it. For the early ones with the defect you can run the calculator app ripped from the T|X ROM. Some other apps included in the T|X ROM can also be run on the E2.

      1. I had a Sony Clie with a 320×320 colour screen and a 66mhz Dragonball, that thing was amazing for emulators, but the buttons were awkward.

        Later i had a Treo 600 smartphone, that was much better for games. i remember i played through and finished Links Awakening DX completely for the first time on that thing (i had never finished it before then)

        There used to be an “elite” style 3d space trader game called Void, it was free and i spent most of my time playing that.

        1. Might’ve been better off with a Gameboy Micro (it’s a Gameboy Advance) and a Supercard full of ROM images. Super portable. I ought to replace the battery in mine before they stop making them, it’s easy to replace, Nintendo thoughtfully used a single normal screw on the battery cover. The rest are all Torx or Tri-wing or whatever. Though even pound shop screwdrivers come with bits for those nowadays.

  2. I have a Palm IIIx and an AlphaSmart Dana, which is like a giant Palm III or V in terms of hardware, plus a 560×160 display, dual SD card slots and a decent keyboard. Also it emulates a USB keyboard so you can upload text documents by having it “type” into notepad or whatever editor you like.

  3. My Palm m505 color still works, last I checked it. I did replace the battery a couple years ago. I was amused that changes in lithium battery tech had increased capacity greatly since the original purchase date.

    1. They’re great. Except if your OPL program crashes, there’s no way back without removing the battery. And then bang go all your saved contacts, notes, everything.

      Still, a work of genius for it’s time.

      1. Agreed. I would just about kill for a copy of the schematics (doubly so for a readout of the PAL chip’s config), TBH… I can tell you that most of the chips inside are Hitachi — and that the trace routing is absolutely INSANE. Seriously. It’s two double-sided boards, and traces hop 3-4 times between sides to go anywhere. I started trying to reverse engineer it, and gave up after a half hour because, even with a straight pin through the vias, I couldn’t keep track of what trace went where. It’s mental.

  4. I have a Handspring Visor Platinum (I wanted a Pro, which is just a Platinum with 2x the RAM) with an adapter and 128 meg CF. The adapter also has a small amount of flash memory, into which I put a few apps.
    I also have a Tungsten E2, modified with a higher capacity battery after the original died.
    My last Palm before getting a Samsung Epic 4G Android phone was a LifeDrive, which got modded with a 4 gig CF after its Microdrive suddenly died.

    What got Palm in bad odor with their customers was pre-release models of the LifeDrive were sent to reviewers with a Seagate 5 gig drive, which had a decent amount of cache and a higher internal data transfer rate than the 4 gig Hitachi drive in the shipping version. The Hitachi drive had a slower internal transfer speed and even worse, a paltry 128K cache.

    Reviewers lauded the LifeDrive’s speed and video playback capability. Then when they got their hands on the shipping version with the much slower microdrive, the knives came out. Tasks the pre-release models handled easily were extra slow to impossible. That bait and switch operation cost Palm dearly. They should have made the 5 gig an option, at a slightly higher price of course. I suspect a lot of microdrives from iPods and Rio Carbon players ended up swapped into LifeDrives, even if limited to 4 gig total by a simple copy of the partitions from the Hitachi drive.

    1. Ah, microdrives were a weird little diversion on the journey of portable storage. Prices and mechanical manufacturing at just the right spot to make tiny hard drives worthwhile. For the couple of years til flash zoomed ahead exponentially. Or maybe logarithmically, for the hardcore pedants.

  5. I still have my palm VIIx and since I don’t have my serial hotsync cradle anymore I use a z22 as a pseudo conduit. I Greatly appreciate if anybody has any information on how I could make my palm VIIx usable again

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