Updated April 2001 - in need of
It's a question that seems to be popping up
more and more these days - "I used to use a Psion Series 5 or 5mx but now have
a Palm organiser and wish to transfer all my information. How should I
Also common is "I use an ultra-light Palm in conjunction
with a Psion Series 5mx or Series 7. How can I transfer information backwards
There are a number of reasons why a Palm PDA makes a lot
more sense than a Psion Series 5/5mx or Series 7: Size, weight, cost,
robustness, clearer screen, quantity of available software, better desktop
synching, etc. Of course, there are two reasons why the Psion is better, in the
keyboard and larger screen, but if you can live without these then the Palm is
often a better bet. (I'm excluding the Psion Revo from this simplistic analysis
as it doesn't have a backlit screen, ruling it out of contention for most
Note that if you intend to keep both platforms going
simultaneously then you need to think carefully about how you accomplish the
degree of synchronisation you need. The use of a desktop-hosted synchronising
solution will probably work with care (e.g. via PsiWin and Microsoft Outlook,
perhaps with plug-ins such as IntelliSync or PocketMirror), although I have no
experience of these except that such a complex multi-platform synch is unlikely
to be trouble free. You can, to some degree, do most of what you need using
infrared beaming, although you'll have to make the Palm the 'master', as most
of the possible beaming operations only work in one direction 8-(
(though see the utility plbeam for a solution to this)
||Contact information under EPOC can't be beamed
'en-masse', so I'd advise the procedure below.
If you intend to run both
EPOC palmtop and Palm organiser at the same time, it's far better to use the
procedure below to get information on the Palm and thereafter make that
your 'master', periodically deleting your EPOC \system\data\contacts.cdb file
and then beaming your contact set across to the EPOC device in one huge
infrared block. Note that EPOC Contacts is very slow at importing and that
your palmtop will appear to freeze for a minute or three after the beaming
To go from EPOC to Palm as a one-off exercise,
Use standard synchronisation tools (e.g. PsiWin, Outlook, etc.)
to get contacts onto the PC and then out to the Palm.
contacts one at a time (if there aren't very many of them) to the Palm
Export all your Contacts as a single VCF (vCard)
file, copy it over onto the desktop and then import it directly (by
double-clicking on it in Windows) into Palm Desktop version 4.0 or later. This
should work, although I had problems when trying it in
Use the C2F utility to
export all contacts to a delimited text file, then copy the file over to a PC
and import it into the Palm Desktop (click on 'Address', then use 'File |
Import'). Then HotSync as normal.
NB: If you have a Series 5
'classic', without the Contacts app, you'll need to export from your Data
address book in text delimited form, as described immediately above and
Generic EPOC databases (e.g. Book/video collections,
etc.) need to be 'Exported as text file', choosing suitable delimiters (which
will probably depend on the sort of textual information in your file itself,
i.e.quote and comma characters). Either reimport this text file into Palm
Desktop (if you want the info in your Address Book) or import it into a PalmOS
third party database application using their supplied import tool.
To export from a Palm OS database, use the
conversion tool supplied with your Palm application. This will export as either
a tab or comma-delimited file, which you'll be able to easily import into
This is slightly more limiting. When working with
both devices, make the Palm the master, as you can beam appointments and To Dos
one at a time directly from the Palm into the Psion Agenda (but not the other
Take a look at VCAL, from
FreEPOC, which lets you perform a one-way
export of all Agenda entries into a generic file for import into Palm
Apart from this, you need to use desktop tools to
achieve proper synchronisation. To go from EPOC to Palm, one possible solution
is to use one of PsiWin's synchronisation filters to get your appointments into
a PC-based PIM (e.g. Outlook) and then use PocketMirror (on the Palm Desktop
CD) to HotSync the information through to your Palm's Date Book. To go the
other way, just reverse the process.
All a bit of a hassle though, you might find it
easier to either enter appointments, To Dos and anniversaries manually or to
just accept that Agenda/calendar information exists only on your main PDA
(which is always with you).
The Palm organisers don't come with a spreadsheet,
alas, so you'll have to go third party here for sure, and use Microsoft Excel
as the intermediary.
Despite the cost, I'd recommend
CES's Quicksheet or
iambic's TinySheet, both of which have
transparent two-way synchronisation with Excel on the desktop.
If you're determined to keep your sheets on both
handheld platforms, you'll be severely restricted in terms of formatting
flexibility and functionality - the two stage conversion process will weed out
everything but the simplest spreadsheet constructs.
One limitation here may be the 4k restriction for
Memo Pad entries under PalmOS. There are also no styling or emphases of any
kind. To get more, you'd have to go third-party, into something sophisticated
such as WordSmith.
There are various ways of getting text onto a
- If the amount of text is small (1k or less),
insert it into a Contacts entry's Note field and beam it across to Address
Book, where it can be copied out to Memo Pad or similar.
- If between 1k and 4k, use PsiWin on the desktop
to convert your EPOC Word files to plain text and then paste them into Memo Pad
entries on Palm Desktop.
- If more than 4k worth and you can live without
formatting, do the PsiWin conversion as above and then use MakeDocW or any
other DOC conversion tool to make a compressed Palm OS DOC etext, which can be
viewed in any number of free and shareware viewers. In addition,
CES's SmartDoc and
QED allow full editing of these
- If more than 4k and you want to keep basic
styling and formatting, your best bet is WordSmith or
DataViz's Documents To Go Professional.
Your desktop intermediate format can then be Microsoft Word or Rich Text
Format, with the Palm OS application maintaining much of your rich text
Your only option here is to go down a tortuous email
synchronisation route. I know there are people who have got all this working,
but for every one of those, I've seen ten who've wasted hours fiddling
Best advice is to just use the Palm or Psion for
occasional 'away on holiday' use, logging into your POP3 mailbox using a
standalone email client (such as MultiMail Pro on Palm OS, now part of Palm's
Mobile Internet Kit) to check for urgent items. Trying to synchronise and
maintain full email operation on a keyboardless PDA is strictly for masochists.
And trying to keep two PDAs synchronised to a desktop's email system is
probably nigh on impossible!
You'll want Jotter information mapped to Palm OS's
Memo Pad. About the best that you can do, long-winded though it might seem, is
to paste essential information into a Data file and then use the techniques
above, finally importing from a delimited text file into Palm Desktop's Memo
Pad module. PsiWin offers a Jotter to text conversion, but this doesn't really
||Simple OPL programs can be very roughly
adapted into the most similar PalmOS Basic-like environments, with
NS-Basic. You'll mainly be just taking
your algorithms and redoing the application from scratch, though.
Photos, doodles and sketches can all be converted
via PsiWin to standard Windows BMP format and thence into
Fire Viewer or Album to Go formats via
their respective desktop import utilities. Screen size may well be an issue
If your sketches are very simple and you have access
to a Palm m100, note that the new Palm OS Note Pad application can provide a
quick way to get black-and-white doodlings on the Palm backwards and forwards
to the desktop and into other applications.
|Third party applications
Luckily, virtually all EPOC third party applications
and games have equivalents on PalmOS, though many are slightly simpler and more
restrictive, usually because of lack of keyboard or screen
Hope all this is useful to you.