Holiday Programming

One of the iPod’s more dubious but highly geeky features is the ability to store addresses, appointments, and notes just like a PDA. The iPod’s lack of any decent way of entering text means you can’t enter anything so you still need your Palm (or Outlook if you are Palmless) to actually enter all the info. So that means you need a way of dumping the info from the Palm (in my case) to the iPod.


I was disappointed to find there weren’t many choices, but one I found on Palm Gear is called Palm2iPod which installs as a button in Palm Desktop that instantly exports all your Addresses and Appointments to the iPod.

I liked that so much I was the first to post a glowing review, but asked that the author consider a future upgrade to export Memos as well. Memos are where I keep all kinds of important snippets of information I want to be able to remember and one of the things that makes a Palm indispensable.

To my surprise the author wrote thanking me for my review and told me he was working on just such an upgrade (making me glad I didn’t take any stars away on my review for not being able to do that).

But by then my mind had started working and it’s hard to turn off. So I wound up writing a Visual Basic routine that will take a memo archive generated by Palm Desktop and chop it into a bunch of text files in folders named for categories.

The memo archive, in text format, has each memo separated by a blank line, a zero, another blank line, then the category name, and then another blank line. By default memos display on the Palm based on the content of the first line of the memo.

What seemed very simple turned out to be a real pain. I had to learn to read text files into Visual Basic and then save text files. I was going to do it character by character but decided to do it line by line using the Line Input function. Maybe character would have worked better . . . Anyway, I got it working but I couldn’t create folders and VB6 help is horrible. So I created my own folders for each of about 12 categories.

It was nice. I thought I’d post it on Palm Gear and iPod Lounge, but I worried because I knew people would complain about creating their own directories.

So instead of searching Help I searched the internet and found some old VB code snippets that would create directories! They were industrial strength too, able to create all the directories in a path (e.g. in c:\main\sub1\sub2\note.txt it would create main, sub1, and sub2 directories) but also not generate an error by trying to create a directory that exists already.

Great idea, but the code was old and it didn’t work. But it got my poking around some more in VB6 help and I found the MkDir function. Now I was off and running again. And by the end of New Year’s Day I had a new program that would export all those memos directly to an iPod that would be hooked up and it would even remember what drive letter your iPod is and where you usually put your Memo archive.

Try it out for yourself at my web page.

After getting this to work I wrote to the Palm2iPod writer, Maksim, to let him know he could use my code if he was interested but I didn’t know how to get it into Palm Desktop and the Line Input function seems to delete all tab characters which a couple of my memos used to make pseudo-tables. He wasn’t interested but said he would have something out soon that would do Memos and ToDo Lists. So I doubt I’ll submit my program to PalmGear and iPod Lounge since his will be better and available soon.

2 thoughts on “Holiday Programming

  1. Well, I couldn’t resist sharing Memoparser with others so I signed up for a developer account (free, of course) with http://www.palmgear.com and posted it. They approved it today and it has been downloaded 11 times already. Hopefully the guy who wrote palm2ipod won’t mind though my program doesn’t compete with his. I thought that when he releases his new version that will export memos and as long as his is free I would take mine out of circulation. I would just hate for someone with a new iPod to have to write their own program to get memos downloaded.

    Here’s the link to my Palm Gear entry:

    http://tinyurl.com/2wqkw

  2. Now it’s up to 80 downloads. They had it on their “New and Updated Software” page for a little while but now it is off of that page so the downloads will slow down a lot.

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