Today I looked for apps to replace my favorite applications on the Palm. I found a free HP48 calculator emulator that should work pretty well called m48 (it actually uses the same operating system ROM which HP released to the public several years ago, so it is even programmable though I don’t think there is any way to load programs I have already written except by keying them in a character at a time).

Also I had already bought Dataviz Documents To Go that I have used for years on my Palm when they released an iPod version last year. I updated it to the latest version yesterday and they soon announced an even newer version that isn’t available yet. Hopefully that will be free too, but it may be the last version since the people that make the Blackberry just bought Dataviz and may not want to write iOS software.

I’m still looking for a good database program similar to SmartList which Dataviz doesn’t even list on its website anymore. Apple just released a version of Filemaker for iOS, but it is $30. They also have a $5 database program called Bento, but I don’t think it will do what I want. So I’m looking at another former Palm app called HanDBase, though it is supposedly buggy and won’t let you export or import entries unless you get the Deluxe version for another $25 (the app itself is $10). TapForms is only $7 and will at least let me import the data from my SmartList databases.

I also would like an offline browser. I have been using SunriseXP and Plucker on the Palm to store my blog, movie reviews, New York Times, and other web pages on my Palm so I can read them even if I don’t have wifi (which is most of the time). I’d really like something like that that can download a page and everything that page links to, preferably automatically. RSS newsreaders seem to only get a summary of an article, not the whole thing. Instapaper gets all of the text of a web page, but doesn’t follow the links. Offline Pages does the same thing, except it also gets images, and has a “Pro” version that will get pages automatically as well as pages they link to (actually not sure about that). Unfortunately, it is only for the iPad. (Note: Later on, they made a version for iPhone/iPod, but I wound up using Browse Later which works fine)

Another neat thing I heard about was that you could download all of Wikipedia to an iPod. That would be fantastic. There seem to be three apps that do that: Encyclopedia, Wikipedia Offline, and AllOfWiki Offline. But each seems to use a processed version of the free Wikipedia dump and you have to pay each time you want an updated version of Wikipedia from them. The download is at least 2-5 GB and includes only the text of the articles, no pictures, references, discussion, or user profiles. Search is supposed to be pretty bad and requires you to enter the exact name of the article (no forwarding and no guesses; Ultra seems to have better search). Ultra is $6 (now $8) and the other two are $10 each.

And of course I need a dictionary, but I think I found one of those too called WordWeb which is free, but they have a pay version that has audio pronunciations.

6 thoughts on “Apps

  1. I use the free version of Instapaper with the associated “Read Later” browser bookmark. If you see an article you want to read later, you bookmark it, and it will come down to your Touch for later reading. Great for long articles discovered during the day. If I road Marta, I might get the paid version for more capacity.

  2. The calculator app is pretty cool. It works just like the real calculator using the same operating system built into an emulator for the iPod. There isn’t enough room for all the buttons on the real calculator so they have one screen with a just the buttons that fit and another screen that looks like a shrunken version of the real calculator. The only problem is I don’t see any way to get programs into it, so I would have to type them in letter by letter, which is pretty tedious and I don’t know that I could save them if I ever had to clear out the memory or reinstall it. Also they don’t seem to have a 50G version which is what I use now and the button layout is a little different, but it’s not a big deal and it’s a free app, so I have no room to complain.

  3. What do you want the database for?

    I have a task/notes database app called “Things”, even though it’s not called a task database.

    It’s mildly expensive at $9.99, and it syncs with a Mac OS X app that costs $49.99, but I use it for work, so work paid, and they got a great deal, based on the increase in my productivity.

  4. In the past I had a work-related database of projects that was incredibly useful, with all kinds of status information and dates on each of my projects (it would sync with a more elaborate Access database that, in turn, pulled info from some Oracle databases). I don’t need that anymore though. Now I have databases for “things” (purchase dates, warranties, serial numbers, etc.), DVD’s (so I don’t buy the same one twice), state quarters, charitable contributions, and one where I put the value of investments, bank accounts, my house, etc. at the end of the year, so I can track “worth” from year to year.

    Spreadsheets would work for most of those, but a database works a little better.

    I wound up buying HanDBase which does most of what I want and has a good support website. It’s still a little clumsy but I think a lot of that is because Apple has pretty tight control on the interface. The basic version of HanDBase ($9.99) doesn’t sync, but it does allow importing and exporting to a PC via CSV files.

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