Newsflash! Palm Did Something RIGHT?!!? Almost.

Previously, I screamed:

For God’s sake, why is it ten years later and there’s no Progress Bar in HotSync?

Guess what Palm Addicts has just revealed is in the new Vista version of Palm Desktop?

hotsyncprogress.jpg

Then comes the hugely bad news about the latest change in file formats for synced data!

Now, here’s the real problem for those that make use of third-party software like Dimex, Dawn, or any other package that accesses Palm Desktop data directly; Palm Desktop for Vista no longer uses .DAT files to store your PIM data in. They’ve made the switch to using Microsoft Access databases (.mdb) to store the data. That’s a mixed blessing; your old software won’t work unless it’s updated to work with the Access databases, but because they’re now Access databases, it means that it’s likely that there will be more third-party plugins available to use the data sometime in the future. Doesn’t help you now, though.

If you’re thinking “hey, I’ve got MS Access, I’ll just open and modify the databases directly”, you might want to hold off on that, or just open it read-only for viewing. Palm is using a BLOB (Binary Large OBject) to store large amounts of data in each of the PIM applications, and to my knowledge, have not released any information about their formats. If you try to modify a record, Access doesn’t know how to handle what’s in the blob, so it may trash your data.

Who? Makes? These? Decisions?

What that tells me is that I can’t just swap via Flash drive my data between a PC and any other computer that can’t run MS Access! They’ve locked that data down to the PC! That’s what it sounds like to me. Why couldn’t there have been an option to select which file format to save the data in? Why do companies think they can just jerk their customers around like this?

Now I wonder what Palm will do for the OS X Leopard update…

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