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DateBk4 for the Palm OS Platform - Frequently Asked Questions

Installation Issues

Compatibility Issues

Upgrades, Other Versions, Future Releases

I have a great idea. How about adding support for...

Problems, Bugs, "How do I..." and Odd things

Installation Issues

Why am I having trouble loading DateBk4 - HotSync often fails and hangs...?

If you have a PalmPilot (V-2 OS), most likely you have a problem with memory fragmentation. Remember that even though you may appear to have enough total memory, it may still be too fragmented to load a large application like DateBk4. Try running a defragger (such as Deskfree's Recycle - see documentation). Memory fragmentation is no longer a problem with the Palm III and subsequent models, but with earlier models, a defragger may be necessary. The manual has extensive advice on how to address this problem. 

If you are experiencing this problem, make sure that you have no other programs actively running on your desktop as it is possible that the hotsync process can timeout if other applicaitons are stealing too much time.

I just installed DateBk4 but it says the 45-day trial period has already run out - what gives?

The only way this can happen is if one of the three situations below has arisen:

  • You previously loaded DateBk4 more than 45 days ago (or someone else did) - the 45-day trial period is a one-time deal.

  • You set the system date forward or backwards, installed DateBk4 and then reset the system date to today.

  • You have a corrupt version of datebk4 (download a fresh copy from: http://www.palmgear.com/applications/dateBk4.zip)  

The program only complains on the last half of each month, so if you encounter this problem you would be best off waiting to the first of the month at which point you will get a full two weeks to do the evaluation. DateBk4 has a separate trial period from DateBk3, so you get a full 45-day trial period even if you are currently a registered DateBk3 user.

If you have registered and paid for DateBk4 and are waiting for receipt of your permanent registration code, but get this message when you enter your TEMPORARY registration code, then the problem is that more than 75 days have elapsed since the program was first installed. The temporary registration code only adds 30 days to the original 45-day trial period. Your permanent registration code typically arrives within 3-5 days after your receipt of the temporary registration code. 

Now that I've loaded DateBk4, can I get rid of the regular Datebook application?

No. The built-in datebook application is stored in ROM (Read Only Memory) and cannot therefore be removed. The only downside is that when you do a Find, the built-in datebook application will also insist on searching the same database, but no harm is done by that. Note that if you start the search while DateBk4 is running, DateBk4 will ALWAYS search the Datebook database before the built-in datebook application. Warning: If you have a flash ROM, you might think that you can remove the Datebook application, but if you do that, the Datebook database will NOT be HotSync'd, so we suggest you do not do this. It would also crash your system if you unchecked the option to have DateBk4 handle alarms (since the Rom code would try and launch the Datebook application that no longer exists). Note that unless there is a way of actually freeing up memory (FlashBuilder merely masks the built-in application - it does not remove it), there is little advantage in doing this. At this time, there is an application, EditRom, which apparently has the capability of removing built-in applications while leaving a small stub to maintain the CreatorID of the original database so that hotsyncing proceeds normally. As of 20-mar-2001, it is not known if this application is out of beta, or whether it has been officially released. You can check the various Palm Software archives to see what the current status is for it.

Can DateBk4 run in flash ROM?

Yes - many people run Datekb3 out of Flash Rom. If you have FlashBuilder or FlashPro, you can load DateBk4 into part of the 750k or so that is unused in the Palm's Flash Rom. But do NOT put the DateBk4DB preference database into ROM - it is frequently updated and must therefore remain in RAM.

I just got a color device, but I can't see any colors - why?

Colors can be applied to individual appointments or ToDo's by going into the DETAILS dialog, tapping on the FONT/Color selector and then selecting a color from the color palette. Colors can be assigned to categories in all four databases - appt, addr, Todo and Memo - for Appointments and ToDo's, select the item from the CAT. menu. For Addr/Memo categories, tap on SELECT CATEGORY in the split-screen menu (menu icon at top left). Tap on the [P] (profile) button to the right of the category name, and then tap on the Font/Color selector to set a default color for that category. There are other uses of color as well in Datebk4 so download the 85 page manual and search for the word color to see all the other places where color is used.

Note that the Font option in the EDIT menu which sets a default font for ALL appointments and integrated ToDo's does NOT display the color palette as it would make no point really to set a default color for all appointments and ToDo's. 

I have a Handspring Visor and loaded dtbkplusstub.prc but my Visor instantly crashed, why?

You inadvertently corrupted the dtbkplusstub.prc program itself. Most likely you are a NetScape user as it appears that only NetScape users have this problem. I suspect that Netscape is defaulting unknown file types to text and as a result ends up wordwrapping the file which of course instantly corrupts a binary file. Make SURE that this file is treated as a binary file type.

Is there a program to edit the icons displayed in the monthly view - are there icon collections?

There are now over a dozen icon editors available for DateBk4. You can always search the software archives at Palm Gear (www.palmgear.com) or you can try these:

Joby Icons by Andres Platonoff C, available from www.jobyland.com
ICON Editor by Shuji Fukumoto, available from www.wakuwaku.ne.jp/shuji/soft/IconEditor
IcoEdit available from: http://www.kagi.com/maple/
DBICED by Intertron software available from: http://www.inertron.com/palm/index.html
Icon Editor for DateBk4 by Toshiaki Yamazaki available from http://www.mapletop.com/  
Excel Macro Icon Editor by Leo Steindl available from: http://www.gorilla-haven.org/pimlico/iconedit.xls

There are also several websites which have icon collections. We ran across these sites recently which had icon collections:



Also check software archives at PalmGear as there are often other icon collections listed there.

Are there any plans to incorporate color icons?

This would not be quite the benefit it might sound on the surface, because implementing color icons would cause the loss of a useful feature in DateBk4 on color devices - namely the ability to color-code icons based on the event or category. For example, if you had your spouse's schedule (presumably kept in a separate category) displayed with a default color of Blue, then when you look at the weekly view or monthly view with icons, you could instantly tell your appointments from your spouse's because the icons assume the color of the category. Color icons could not convey that information.

So the next major release of DateBk4 will continue to support the older style monochrome icons for those that make use of the color inheritance, while adding support for color icons. The number of icons will also be increased at that time from 52 to 255.

How do I get the icons and/or Timezones installed?

There is now a simple utility that installs both the icons and the timezones for DateBk4. It is called dbSetup and can be downloaded by clicking here.

Save this program in the C:\PALM\ADD-ON directory. Then go to: START | PROGRAMS | PALM DESKTOP | PALM INSTALL TOOL and run the installation program. Click on the ADD button. Select dbSetup.prc from the directory, then click on DONE and click on OK. Then hotsync to transfer the program to your Palm Organizer. Tap on dbSetup in the main application screen and tap on the INSTALL NOW button to install the icons and timezones (if you don't want one of them, just uncheck the checkbox). After you do this, you can then remove the dbSetup program from your organizer as it is no longer needed.

Make sure that you do NOT delete the two memo pad records that dbsetup creates: DateBk3 and WORLD TIMEZONES as these two memos ARE used by DateBk4 for its data file to implement these two functions. Note that for compatibility with DateBk3, the memopad record is STILL called DATEBK3.

I'm using a UNIX desktop to sync my PalmPilot, using pilot-link (or do not hotsync). But I don't seem to have a HotSyncName - how can I get one so I can register your software?

Follow these steps:

  1. Set PalmPilot in HotSync cradle
  2. invoke install-user program, specifying serial port and HotSyncUser name as argument, like:
    % install-user /dev/pilot HotSyncName
  3. Tap HotSync button
  4. Remove PalmPilot from the cradle and check registered HotSyncName, with menu: Options|Register Software in DateBk4.

Alternatively, you can download the freeware application: Palmname.prc (available at most Palm Software archives) and install it on your Palm and that will allow you to set a UserName. 

I registered DateBk4 but now for some reason it says it's unregistered and telling me the 45-day trial is over

This will only happen if the DateBk4DB preference database (which is where your registration code is stored) is deleted. To fix this problem, just re-enter your registration code from your original registration. If you no longer have a copy of that, send a request to software-orders@palmgear.com and ask them to send it to you again.

DateBk4 runs great on my Palm Organizer, but I don't see the icons and combined ToDo views on the desktop

DateBk4 is a program for the Palm Organizer, not your desktop. DateBk4 is 100% compatible with any desktop program that synchronizes with the built-in  Datebook application so you will see all your data normally on the desktop, but you won't see some of DateBk4 special features, such as icons, time-zones and categories (although categories are now supported by PocketMirror and DesktopToGo with MS Outlook and GroupSync also supports categories as well). 

Where can I get the manual/documentation on DateBk4?

There is a 85+ page manual on DateBk4 that you can download/print/read from:


This file is in PDF format and can be read with Adobe Acrobat Reader - a free application available from www.adobe.com and in wide use by many software companies for their electronic documentation. Chances are that you already have a copy of Acrobat reader on your desktop.

How do I make the Datebook button bring up DateBk4 instead of the regular Datebook application?

A dialog appears when you first run DateBk4 (or whenever it has to rebuild the preference database) asking you if you want DateBk4 to be the default datebook application and run when you tap the Datebook button. If you responded NO to that question initially, then as noted in the alert, you can simply go into the PREFS application (main screen with all the icons, tap on PREFS), tap on the popup list at top right to select BUTTONS and then select DateBk4 in the popup list next to the datebook button. This is a standard Palm OS function that allows you to have any button run any application (see also note, however, about DateBk4 using these buttons to open up split-screens). 

Compatibility Issues

Will DateBk4 work with the Palm Desktop and other Desktop Software?

Yes. DateBk4 uses the IDENTICAL Databases to the built-in Todo and Datebook applications, so BY DEFINITION it is 100% compatible with any desktop or server application that properly synch's with the standard Datebook and Todo Databases in the Palm Organizer. The only known incompatibilities involve the optional use of categories in the datebook database in conjunction with the application JetPilot or the desktop app DayTimer2000. Categories are a STANDARD feature of ALL Palm OS database, irregardless of whether the associated application chooses to make use of them or not. JetPilot does not use the Palm OS API to read the datebook database, but instead reads it in binary mode and then gets confused by the presence of categories which it is not expecting. If the program is revised to use the Palm OS API that problem will be eliminated. Some users of DayTimer2000 have reported a problem where it gets confused and ends up duplicating events. This may just be a common bug as is often seen with early versions of conduits (early versions of PocketMirror had the same problem), but appears to be specific to using categories. Some problems have been reported with CompanionLink although this appears to be due to a flaw in that conduit encountering some unusual, but perfectly legal entries in the Datebook database. Some users have reported a problem with DateBk4's link tags in the note field in conjunction with Lotus Notes (possibly Notes is thinking these links are for it and it does not perform proper syntax checking, or?? This is still under investigation).

There are no other known issues at this time

There are advanced features in DateBk4, such as categories, timezones, alarms on ToDo's and appointments spanning midnight which are typically NOT supported on the desktop either because the desktop lacks that functionality, or because the conduit does not know how to map the functionality. We were pleased to see that both Chapura and DataViz have released versions of their conduits (Chapura: PocketMirror <V-2.0.2>, Desktop To Go V-2.501 <build 120>) which support DateBk4 categories with MS Outlook and hope to encourage other conduit writers to provide similar functionality. DateBk4 categories are also supported by GroupSync.

Is DateBk4 compatible with the new V-4.0 Palm OS,  - are vibrating/flashing alarms supported on M500/M505?

DateBk4 runs on all versions of the Palm OS from 2.0 to 4.0 and will be updated for OS releases beyond that. DateBk4 has extensive support for the use of color and implements all the new OS 3.5 features such as masked events, Command Bar, etc. The current V-4.0e does support the vibrating alarms and Flashing LED"s on the M505. Note that the preference settings to use these two new features are in the DateBk4 Alarm Preferences dialog and not the standard system preferences. V-4.0e corrects two current problems with the V-4.0 Palm OS - the last icon on the line in the day view acts "dead" and does not respond to a tap (a Palm OS bug), and navigating through the 4-month view can sometimes cause a chunk overlock error (a backwards-incompatible change in the Palm OS).

Note that DateBk4 handles the Vibrating and Flashing Alarms itself in conjunction with the standard alarm manager, and not with the new Attention Manager of V-4.0 (which is incompatible with all Prior OS releases). Since it is not possible to support both the Alarm Manager and the Attention manager at the same time (there is not enough space in the first 64k segment), at this time, only the Alarm Manager is used and DateBk4 operates the Flashing LED and vibrating alarms at the same time the normal audible alarms would be generated. So don't expect the operation of DateBk4 to be identical to the manner in which the built-in datebook application handles alarms under OS 4.0.

Is DateBk4 compatible with the new Handspring Visor Edge?

Yes. But Handspring's flashing LED alarm feature is NOT Palm OS compatible and requires proprietary code to support it, so it is not supported at this time by DateBk4. 

Is DateBk4 compatible with the new Kyocera QCP-6035 Palm Phone?

Yes. But there are a few anomalies that have been reported due to some conditions that only occur on Kyocera's implementation of the Palm OS: #1 The popup list on the New button disappears as soon as it is drawn. This has been corrected in the V-4.0e maintenance release. #2 the graffiti command stroke window also disappears (also fixed in forthcoming V-4.0e)). #3 there appears to be some issue with alarms that I'm waiting for more information/confirmation on (alarm does not go off if flap is closed? - apparently there is some custom hook in Kyocera's datebook app to handle this? Finally, the problem of the DateBook button not properly cycling through the views occurs in the regular datebook application as well and is a bug confirmed by Kyocera tech support. Some Kyocera users are reporting problems with erratic digitizers - this would not be a DateBk4 problem.

Is DateBk4 compatible with the Samsung SPH-I300 Palm Phone?

Yes. However, there is an issue with V-4.0 due to DateBk4's use of the Palm OS Notification Manager which apparently causes the Samsung phone to fail to respond to the buttons for the phone and voice-activated dialing. This appears to be a flaw in the Samsung OS as the notification manager is a standard palm OS feature and no other Palm device has this problem. Right now, you can download V-5.0 in final release form from http://www.PimlicoSoftware.com/datebk5.htm. V-5.0 sidesteps this problem by implementing the alarm silencing of other apps in a totally different manner. 

Is DateBk4 compatible with the Handspring TREO?

Yes. However, there is an issue with the placement of the Datebook+ button which, unlike any other Palm OS device, has its default position now on the Second button. This can cause some issues when you attempt to cycle through the views using the datebook button. At this time, we recommend that you download and install DateBk5 which at this point can be downloaded from: the DateBk5 web page. V-5.0 has the ability to completely remap any of the four buttons to any function, thereby sidestepping this problem on the TREO. In the main preferences panel in V-5.0, tap on the VIEWS tab and change the entry in the popup list to the right of the DATE button to read 2 (for the 2nd button) rather than the normal 1. You can then define which of the other 3 hardware buttons (if any) are to be used for opening up split-screens.

Is DateBk4 compatible with the new Handera 330?

Yes and in fact DateBk4 makes great use of the high resolution fonts in the second weekly view (starting with V-4.0e). If you are seeing strange drawing problems, make sure that you have the SYSTEM PREFERENCES set for SCALE TO FIT mode, as if you use the top left/center options, the screen may not draw properly in certain circumstances (viz. alarms). The high resolution font is optionally enabled in the second weekly view with the 'Cond./Alt. Font' option in the PREFERENCES dialog of that view. When checked, DateBk4 will use the high resolution font to display seven lines per day in the weekly view and three lines per day in the two-weekly view. But there are a few cosmetic display issues due to the non-integral scaling (1.5x) on that device. DateBk4's icons and some other bitmaps, plus vector-drawn items are a bit distorted by non-integral scaling. However, this does not affect the performance of the program and is largely a cosmetic issue. At this time, there are no plans to support the resizable graffiti area as that would require extensive code changes.

V-4.0e has extensive support for the Jog Wheel (much more than in Handera's own modified, standard DateBook application).

There are two known flaws/anomalies in the Handera Palm OS: the last few items on the OPTIONS menu in DateBk4 are not immediately accessible (the menu just closes up without selecting an item). To access those items, tap on a menu item HIGHER up in the options menu and SLIDE the stylus down to select an item. Handera has already fixed this problem and the fix will be present in the next OS release. There is also a problem with the buttons on the bottom row sometimes getting overwritten by items in the Day View table. This is also a bug in the Handera OS and their latest OS release fixes most (but apparently not all) of these issues.

Is DateBk4 compatible with the new high resolution (320x320) screen on the Sony PEG-N710C/T615?

Yes. Since the screen is exactly twice the size of the regular Palm Screen, pixel doubling of legacy apps is guaranteed to work fine. Starting with V-4.0e, there is limited support for the high resolution fonts on this device. The higher resolution font is used to improve the 4-month display and also to provide considerably more text in the weekly views. The high resolution font is optionally enabled in the second weekly view with the 'Cond./Alt. Font' option in the PREFERENCES dialog of that view. When checked, DateBk4 will use the high resolution font to display seven lines per day in the weekly view and three lines per day in the two-weekly view.  Forthcoming 5.0 of DateBk5 adds support for hi-rez font in the list view.

Note: Due to a flaw in Sony's original documentation, V-4.0f does not recognize the T415 or T615 Clie's as high resolution devices. Also, due to a flaw in Sony's implementation of the Palm OS, the T415/T615 are not recognized as devices with a flashing LED and vibrating alarm. DateBk5 sidesteps both of these problems, so you may want to download that version if you have one of these devices. http://www.PimlicoSoftware.com/datebk5.htm

Note: Detailed technical documentation has not yet been released on the forthcoming (as of 15-apr-2002) N70 device which apparently has 320x480 resolution. Until such time as the device has been released and technical documentation is available, it will not be possible to speculate on just how much advantage DateBk5 will be able to take of that device, but at the very least, the existing Clie support is expected to work on that device...

Is DateBk4 compatible with language hacks for Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Hebrew.... etc.?

Yes and No. The initial release does have some support for non-Roman languages and in particular you must check the option Display uses non-Roman Chars in the Preferences item of the Options menu in the second weekly view in DateBk4 to ensure that character strings are output as a single unit as there are optimizations for Roman characters that interfere with the special hacks that display non-Roman characters. There are also a few minor usability issues regarding accented and non-Roman characters in searching through the addressbook database. Further support will be forthcoming in subsequent maintenance releases. DateBk4's use of color in the day view is NOT necessarily compatible with right-to-left reading language hacks that force right-alignment on all text in Palm OS fields and tables, although Hebrew is now supported in this area. This issue may also be addressed in a subsequent maintenance release.

Can DateBk4 read the Franklin Covey Task List instead of the regular ToDo's?

No. The Franklin Covey Task List is stored in a proprietary database, the format of which has not been published (to the best of my knowledge). It is not clear that reverse-engineering of their database format would be permitted and even if it were, it would require a completely separate version of DateBk4 to manage it.

But all is not lost. What you may find useful is the idea of using ToDo CATEGORIES to store the various Franklin Priorities and assign a default icon to each category to identify those TODo's wherever icons are displayed. A DateBk4 user, John G. Faughnan (who has an excellent web page on the Palm) has provided these bitmaps that you may incorporate into the DATEBK3 memo that contains the icon definitions. 

A1 006692f292970000
A2 006791f794970000
A3 006791f791970000
B1 00e692f292e70000
B2 00e791f794e70000
B3 00e791f791e70000
C1 00e6828282e70000
C2 00e7818784e70000
C3 00e7818781e70000

Why don't I see alarms and repeats on tasks from Outlook (or links from Outlook)?

Because these items are NOT synchronized from the Outlook database to the Palm database. DateBk4 merely uses whatever data is present in the Datebook and ToDo database. Since the native database has no method of storing alarm or repeat information on ToDo's (and no linking information in the Appt database), you will not see this information in DateBk4. If you set this information in DateBk4, it will make the round-trip through Outlook without losing anything, however. 

How can I extract journals if I have a MAC?

Yes. DateBk4 user Jan Erik Moström has written a program that will extract the journals on a MAC running either the Palm Desktop or Now Up-To-Date. Information on this is available at: http://www.mostrom.pp.se/info/palm/scripts/scr0001.html.

Does the Jog Dial on the Sony Clie work with DateBk4?

An emphatic yes! V-4.0e has extensive support for the Jog Dial (much more than in Sony's own modified, standard DateBook application). You can select items in the day and list views and pop up notes, links, details on the item, select days in the month, 4-month and yearly view and popup the list of items on that day, etc.

Upgrades, Other Versions, Future Releases

Can I be a beta tester for Datebk4 or future releases?

Yes. Click on the navigation link at left for the mailing lists and sign up for the DateBk4 Beta mailing list (the second of the two lists). You will then be notified about the beta test. The only requirement to be a beta tester is that you be a registered user of DateBk4. 

How can I tell what features have been added to a new release?

At the start of the user manual on DateBk4 is a comprehensive description of all the new features in the current release.

Are there versions of DateBk4 in languages other than English?

Not yet and there is no official release schedule for non-English versions of DateBk4 at this time, however, they are only about 8-10 weeks away if all goes well. We expect to first release German, Japanese and French. We suggest that if you are interested, you should sign up on the mailing list so you will get notified when those versions are released. German and French are likely to appear before Japanese (which requires programming issues to be addressed as well as just the translation issues).

V-3.0u, however, is now available in French, German, Spanish, Italian and Japanese. Only the English and French versions have full documentation - the other languages have FAQ's in the language. However, since the operation of DateBk4 is so similar to the built-in application, and since all dialogs have help tips (the 'i' at the top right of the dialog window), this should not be a problem for many people.

DateBk4 has suddenly become unregistered and says the trial period is over, why?

There are two possibilities here:

  1. Your registration code is no longer in your DateBk4db preference database - most likely because this database was deleted or not restored after a backup. If DateBk4 finds this database missing, it automatically regenerates it, but without your registration. If this is the case, just re-enter your registration code into the REGISTER SOFTWARE dialog of the OPTIONS menu in any view.

  2. You have changed your HotSyncUser name. Your registration code is specifically tied to your HotSyncUser name, so if you change it, you will need to get a new registration code.  You can request a new code from PalmGear (www.PalmGear.com) but this will take a few days. The quickest solution is to just reset your HotSyncName back to its original value:

The following procedure will allow you to change your HotSync Name without affecting anything you have installed on your Palm Organizer:

1. Run the Palm Desktop application
2. Select USERS from the TOOLS menu
3. Tap on your HotSyncID in the list to select it
4. Tap the RENAME button.
5. Type in your new/correct HotSyncID now very carefully
6. Tap OK to return to the USERS Dialog
7. Tap OK to exit out of the USERS Dialog
8. Exit out of the Palm Desktop Application
9. Do a regular HotSync - this will copy your corrected name down to your Palm Organizer.

You will now be able to insert your original registration code.

Note:: on a MAC, you will need to make this name change in the HotSync application itself rather than the Palm Desktop Application, but the steps will be similar to the one's above!

Note: Changing the user name does have some consequences if you're a user of Pocket Mirror though - nothing syncs afterwards. As it turns out, there's a Note folder added to Outlook called Pocket Mirror. The note contains the user name as it was originally set up in the Pilot. Deleting the note and then having Outlook overwrite the Pilot fixes things. There's a note about it at the Chapura web site. 

All my preference settings in DateBk3 seem to be now lost, why?

DateBk4 is a completely separate program from DateBk3 and has its own set of preference settings which are not compatible with DateBk3. In the same way that DateBk3 maintains separate preference settings from the built-in datebook application, DateBk4 maintains separate settings from DateBk3. So you will need to re-enter all your preference settings including information in Category profiles (such as icons, show/hide etc.). 

What do upgrades cost and is the upgrade to Datebk4 free?

Datebk4 is priced at $24.95 with an upgrade price of $10 for existing, registered DateBk3 users and $15 for existing, registered weekview users. V-5.0 of DateBk4 to be released in April of 2002 will be a free upgrade for all registered DateBk4 users. Not all major upgrades are guaranteed to be free. However, in those cases where there is an upgrade cost, there may be, for a limited time following the release, a free, automated upgrade system which you will be able to use IF you can provide the specific information in the Pimlico registration database (check with the Pimlico Home page to see if such an arrangement is still available). Note that neither Handspring's Datebook+ application (present on all Handspring devices) nor the built-in datebook application (present on ALL Palm devices) qualify for any special upgrade pricing. Special upgrade pricing is specifically for users who had previously purchased Pimlico Software products.

How do I get on the notification list - I haven't been notified of some releases?

If you are a registered user of DateBk4, you will not be notified of releases unless you specifically sign up for the DateBk4 mailing list. You can do that from the DateBk4 web page.  This is a user-managed list - so you can change your email address, or remove your name whenever you want. I intend to do a one-time mailing to all registered DateBk4 users reminding them of this fact as this is a change from past policy. With the ever-increasing amount of unwanted email, I prefer to have an opt-in mailing list rather than send out hundreds of thousands of notifications, many of which may not be appreciated for whatever reason.

I have a great idea. How about adding support for...

A desktop component for DateBk4?

Obviously this can be done, but it would not be a case of just 'porting' the software over to Windows. A windows desktop (which of course would leave MAC users with no solution) is a totally different environment: a huge difference in screen size (25-100 times the area), method of control (keyboard vs. stylus), Operating system (Palm OS Vs. Windows), Filing System (FAT/NTFS Vs. Palm databases), available memory (16+ times larger). These differences are so great, that it would be necessary to write an entirely new application from scratch. And of course, what people really want is what they already have (Palm desktop, Outlook, ACT, Franklin Covery, etc.) with all the DateBk4 niceties as well. It's not clear that many people would give up their familiar desktop to use something quite different just to get those few small features in DateBk4 operational on their desktop. Palm has recently announced an extension API for the Palm desktop which MIGHT make it possible to achieve this goal within the environment of the Palm desktop.

A checkbox in the Alarm Dialog for ToDo's

This is a common question. So why ISN'T it done? Because of the way the Palm OS works - when an alarm trips, the alarm handler actually runs in a separate 'thread' from the main DateBk4 code - so in some sense, there are two separate tasks both trying to access the datebook database. Since the main thread already has the datebook database open for R/W, the alarm thread cannot also open that database for writing.  So if a checkbox was present, DateBk4 could not write to the database but would have to somehow save the request for later processing by the other thread. Note that you can tap the EDIT button (which re-launches DateBk4 in a new thread with the item selected in the details dialog where you can mark the item as done. This workaround takes far, far less code to implement. Most likely this issue will get addressed in a future release when considerably more memory is available on Palm devices.

The Clie's small font in the Day View

Support is not likely to be added in the Day View at this time as DateBk4 supports convenient in-place editing of appointments and Sony has not provided any support for use of high resolution/small fonts in Palm OS tables. This could possibly be hacked in some way, but since future releases of the OS will provide proper Palm OS API support for high resolution screens, DateBk4 will most likely wait for Palm to release that support rather than kludge some dubious workaround to try and accomplish this. As a current workaround, consider using FontHack in conjunction with some specially designed Clie fonts that some third party providers have developed.

The resizable graffiti area in the Handera or Samsung devices

Handera does provide documentation for the resizable graffiti area, while Samsung does not release any internal documentation (although some enterprising hackers have already reverse-engineered the necessary instructions to support it). The problem is that with a huge application like DateBk4, it would require a huge amount of additional code and effort to support this functionality on the Handera. The resizable graffiti area is only accessible in the high resolution mode, which means that DateBk4 would have to run the entire screen in high resolution mode in every dialog/screen where the resizable graffiti area was needed. At this time, there are no immediate plans to support this feature. Obviously if Palm chooses to provide support for this functionality in the Palm OS, DateBk4 would support it.

The new Attention Manager of OS 4.0

Since DateBk4 has to run on all versions of the Palm OS, it needs to support the Alarm Manager and not the Attention Manager (which was a new feature in OS 4.0). Due to Palm OS limitations, there is insufficient room to include support for both the Alarm Manager and the Attention Manager, so a decision was made to just support the Alarm Manager. Note that the Flashing LED/Vibrating alarm features of Palm OS 4.0 are supported, but in DateBk4's alarm preference dialog rather than the system preference dialog. Most likely a future version of DateBk4 subsequent to forthcoming V-5.0 will only provide OS 4.0 compatibility and could therefore utilize the Attention Manager without any compatibility issues.

The Handspring Edge's or Samsung phone's vibrating alarm

Both Handspring and Samsung are OS 3.5 devices and since the Palm OS did not provide support at the OS level until OS 4.0, both companies chose proprietary implementations for their alarm enhancements. As noted previously, Samsung does not document the functionality needed to access this feature (although some enterprising hackers have already reverse-engineeredit). Handspring has not officially documented the Edge's alarm either (although they did release some sample code on a support forum some time ago). At this time, DateBk4 only supports the alarm enhancements that are part of OS 4.0.

Silencing alarms when I go into a meeting

First, there are hacks available that will silence ALL alarms on the Palm device and also for a selected period of time. Second, you can of course turn off the alarm sound at the System Preference screen. Third, you can change the profile for each category within DateBk4 to be displayed silently or completely ignored (you could then save it as a "quiet" view that you could easily invoke). Finally, by tapping on the NEW button (with the option selected to display all features) you can select NEXT ALARM which will alert you to the presence of an alarm that might go off in the meeting.

Problems, Bugs, Odd things

Why does the system date sometimes fails to advance on my Palm Organizer?

This is a known flaw in the Version 3.1 Palm OS that runs on Palm IIIx, IIIe and V organizers. This problem has now been acknowledged by Palm Computing and has NOTHING to do with any third party software. 

There are conflicting reports from Palm Computing about this problem. Sometimes, Palm claims that the date slipping problem has now been fixed in an OS V-3.11 update - You can download the update from Palm Computing's web page on this: www.palm.com/custsupp/downloads/upd311.html
You will need to do a hard reset and then install this upgrade. 

A new problem has appeared -- the alarm does not sound unless my unit is powered on. Why is this?

This is a known flaw in the Version 3.1 Palm OS that runs on Palm IIIx, IIIe and V organizers. This problem has now been acknowledged by Palm Computing and have NOTHING to do with any third party software.

This problem has NOT been fixed. Palm Computing does know about this issue. A discussion with some OS programmers at Palm indicates that the problem is caused by the Palm OS thinking that the battery level is much lower than it really is. As a result, the Palm OS thinks there is insufficient power to turn the machine on or ring the alarm and intentionally avoids doing that as a power-conservation measure.

It appears that this is less likely to happen if you keep the batteries charged up (which is probably why Palm V users see this less often as they tend to top up their Lithium Ion battery all the time). A soft reset will temporarily "fix" the problem, but it will come back. OS 3.3 definitely has the same bug. Hopefully, Palm Computing will release an OS update fix for it at some point in the future. If you do a soft reset, make sure the batteries are FULLY CHARGED first.

My alarms are erratic - sometimes they go off, sometimes they don't or DateBk4 crashes shortly after displaying an alarm, why?

Most likely this is a problem with a hack. The problem can be due to a bug in a hack, a hack that consumes too much stack space, or some other unspecified interaction problem which may not necessarily be a flaw in the hack itself, but rather just an irresolvable, incompatibility problem. To see if this is the problem, do a WARM RESET (hold the up button while poking Reset). This prevents the Reset message from going out to all loaded applications (in particular, Hackmaster will not see the reset and will therefore not reload all the hacks). Run for a while to see if the alarms are now running reliably - they probably will be. Add your hacks back in one by one until you find the culprit. Any alarm that plays around with the timer or the clock is a likely candidate for causing the problem.

There is also a serious bug in all versions of the Palm OS relating to alarms: under low memory conditions, the application underneath the alarm dialog may be told to redraw its screen but without access to all that application's memory and that can easily crash the application below. There is no workaround for this problem and no available solutions at this time. There is also a further problem with alarms in OS 3.5 that has not been resolved - but neither of these problems are likely to be seen during normal usage.

I'm getting duplicated Alarms, why?

After a hotsync or reset, the built-in datebook application is run by the palm OS to reset its alarms. Normally this is not a problem as DateBk4 will override the Datebook alarms. However, if the next alarm was entered on the desktop, the datebook application will sound its alarm and DateBk4 will not be aware that this has happened. To avoid duplicate alarms, just make sure that you run DateBk4 immediately after you do a hotsync.

If you have a Handspring Visor, you may be getting duplicated alarms from the Datebook+ application as versions of DateBk4 prior to V-4.0d did not know about that application. If you are have a Visor Deluxe or other Visor running OS 3.1H, you can solve this problem easily by installing the Dtbkplusstub.prc application in the DateBk4.zip archive and that will completely silence the DateBook+ application. Do not install this stub with Visors running OS 3.5 or later (Prism, Platinum, Edge, etc.) as it will have no effect.

If you have a Visor Platinum or Prism, you will need to make sure you are running at LEAST V-4.0d of DateBk4 as earlier versions did not know about DateBook+ and would not silence its alarms separately. You will still need to run DateBk4 after every hotsync.

My ToDo/Addr/Memo buttons no longer run those apps while Datebk4 is running - why?

This is covered in a preference option in the PREFERENCES dialog that you reach through the Split-Screen menu (Tap on the menu icon at the top left). Note, however, that if you leave DateBk4 in control of those buttons, you can STILL access the original application assigned to that button by simply pressing the button twice, quickly (you can also adjust the time between key presses to do this by a preference option at the bottom of the dialog). But if you uncheck this preference option, you can still open the windows by tapping on the split-screen menu icon and selecting the database you want to open.

The Datebook button does not cycle through the views as documented - why?

There are two possibilities here: (1) you do not have the BUTTON USES preference option (PREFERENCES, Day View) set to cycle through the views (highlight all views you want to cycle between, or (2) you are using AppHack and have not programmed all the secondary key presses to also invoke DateBk4.

Why does the monthly view not show untimed events?

It does - but you have to set the preference item in the monthly view to display them - just like the regular datebook application. DateBk4 now defaults all these settings to on.

Why does the monthly view not show icons associated with categories or timezones?

It does - but you have to set the preference item in the monthly view to display them. Go to PREFERENCES and check the box: Show category/timezone icons

I keep on getting the same icon on all my appointments (or ToDo's) even though I don't assign one?!

This means that you have assigned a default icon to either your default creation category or timezone. First go into the CAT. menu and tap on Appt Categories (Show/Hide Category in earlier versions of DateBk4) and then see if that icon appears to the left of UNFILED (or if you use categories, your default creation category). If there is nothing there, go to the OPTIONS menu and tap on Set Display Time Zone and see if you have any icon attached to a timezone. When you find the icon in either case, tap on it to bring up the ICON dialog and then tap the REMOVE button to remove it.

I have timezones installed but the system clock did not change when Daylight Savings changed?

The timezone feature does not automatically change the system clock when Daylight Savings Time changes. There are hacks that will do that if you need it, or you can just set two yearly alarms to remind you of that change. The new V-4.0 Palm OS now supports timezones and future versions of DateBk4 will take the timezone information from the Palm OS so it will be up to the Palm OS to handle this (which is where it should be handled anyway).

Why are time bars being displayed in the day view even though the option to display them is unchecked?

That is intentional. Time bars are ALWAYS shown if there is an overlap of events on that day, even though the preference option is unchecked.

Why does the week number always display as 0 or display the wrong number?

Either you picked a custom week number and failed to update it for the year 2001, or you inadvertently switched from Palm Std.# to the Custom week number by mistake. Go to 2nd weekly view, Options menu, Preferences, Select Palm Std. or toggle Custom and specify the starting week for the year 2001 and 2002. Palm Std. matches the built-in datebook application, but may not necessarily match the week number that you wish to use (which is why there is that custom option). In particular, Palm's do not follow the same algorithm as Psion PDA's for setting week numbers.

Why does the day in the weekly and monthly views flash rapidly and then slow down (or stop blinking altogether)?

Because it is supposed to! By blinking rapidly, it gains your attention. However, it is visually disturbing to have it continue to blink at that rate, so after one second it slows down to a gentle blink rate. If you don't like that, you can double-tap the graffiti area (as if you were writing a period) and that will toggle the display between blinking the date and just reverse-highlighting it).

Aaargh!! - ALL my appointments have DISAPPEARED (or only appear when I tap the screen)!! What happened?!?

This crops up quite frequently. Chances are that you have selected a single category for display and forgotten about it, so all the "hidden" appointments are just in a category that is not currently set for display. Pick Appt Categories (Select Category in earlier versions of DateBk4) from the CAT. menu and the tap on ALL in the popuplist. All your appointments will now "magically" re-appear! Also, if a new year has just started, remember to look in the correct year (!)

If you have just upgraded to V-4.0e from an earlier version of DateBK4 it is possible that the preference item that selects the history database has inadvertently got set. This is very obvious as the day view will show the legend OLD on what is normally the NEW button. If this is the case, tap on SELECT DATABASE in the CAT. menu and then tap on CURRENT to display the normal database. If you are using saved views, you may need to call up each view, change this preference setting and then re-save it.

Aaargh!! - ALL my ToDo's have DISAPPEARED!! What's happened?!?

This also crops up quite frequently. If the ToDo's are visible in the regular ToDO application, then the only issue here is that you have overlooked a preference option for displaying them.

Go into TODO PREFERENCES in the OPTIONS menu of the DAY VIEW and make sure that the three checkboxes on the line that starts out Hide: are UNCHECKED. Then go into ToDo Categories in the Cat. menu to make sure that every ToDo category has the number '5' next to it - indicating that ALL priorities in the range 1-5 are to be displayed. You should now see all your ToDo's.

Aaargh!! - Some of my preference settings keep on disappearing or changing!!!

Saved views will be the issue here. Almost EVERYONE who uses Saved Views fails to realize the full ramifications of having ALL the preference settings saved and restored when a view is invoked. This includes preference settings for OTHER views and global preference settings, and even the definitions of category names. Make sure that any time you make a permanent change to some preference settings that you update your saved views to include those changes.

All my events have shifted by some number of hours in the database - what happened?

This is not a DateBk4 problem. The following Q&A is quoted verbatim from Palm Computing's own FAQ's on the Palm Organizer:

Question: I do some traveling and I usually change my laptop PC's regional time zone settings according to where I am. I have noticed, however, that whenever I change the time zone on my computer and I check my Date Book on Palm Desktop, several strange things might happen. The times and dates of some of my events will have been shifted strangely, some of my repeating events will have simply disappeared, and there are sometimes discrepancies between the events in the Date Book on my 3Com® connected organizer and the Date Book on Palm? Desktop. What is going on?

A: Changing the time zone in the Windows Regional Settings on the PC that you synchronize with is not recommended. Doing so can cause unexpected results with your Date Book and To Do List information on both your Palm Desktop software and the organizer that you synchronize with.

Changing the time zone in your Windows Regional Settings to its original setting (that you would normally use your organizer with) should reverse the adverse effects.

When traveling, it is recommended to change the time and date on your 3Com connected organizer to synchronize with your local time zone, and not the time zone in the Regional Settings for your Windows computer.

Why do I get "Unnamed" entries the Addressbook database - or why does it not find entries when I use graffiti?

You have a bad preference setting. Go to the split-screen menu (menu icon at top left in the day view), select PREFERENCES and then uncheck the box with the legend: Addr DB is sorted first/last. That option should only be selected when you are using a third-party addressbook replacement program that has the option to sort the database that way (the built-in addressbook does not have the option to do that).

I can't sync the Datebook database - the desktop crashes on the Datebook conduit

There is a known bug in the Palm Desktop for Windows that can cause corruption in the end date of repeat appointments. Such corrupted dates instantly crash the HotSync conduit (usually with a fault in the DATSCN.DLL module). If this happens and you have not yet overwritten the good version of your database on your Palm Organizer, you can trivially solve this problem by just setting the datebook conduit to overwrite the desktop and hotsync. If you have inadvertently destroyed the only good copy on your organizer, your best bet may be to try the Datebook Repair Tool offered by another party: http://oetiker.ch/dtbrc.cgi 

If  you are using some other desktop PIM and conduit software, download dbScan, install and run this application and let it remove any errors that you may have in your organizer database (you will probably have to disable the datebook conduit temporarily to get dbScan installed). After dbScan indicates the datebook database is clean, try having your Palm Organizer overwrite the desktop. If that does not correct the problem, you should contact the vendor of your conduit software and/or desktop PIM for further assistance.

I'm getting duplicated events on my Palm, why?

Duplication of events is always a conduit issue, as it is your conduit software that duplicating events, not DateBk4. Duplication of events is most common with third party conduits and desktop Software - there are virtually no reports of this ever happening with the standard Palm Windows software. First, contact the vendor of your conduit software and make sure you are using the very latest version as this problem is a common bug in early versions of conduit software. Second, you should be aware that if you set an alarm on an event in MS Outlook and acknowledge it, that will mark the event as having been modified. If that event is then touched in any way on your Palm organizer, it will then duplicate as the conduit will think it has been modified on both platforms since the last hotsync. Remember too that floating events get modified every day on your organizer as DateBk4 changes the start date of the event, so any modification to a floating event on the desktop is guaranteed to cause the conduit to duplicate the event. It is possible that more intelligent conduits in the future will address these particular type of problems. If you have a massive number of duplicated events, look for the program UnDupe, available on most shareware archives, which is designed to remove duplicate records.

Why is there funny stuff (like: ##@@@@@@@) in the Note Field:

This is normal if you look at an event on the desktop or in some other application. Information is encoded in the note field to track information for each event (Category, Icon, timezone, float/done, appt spanning midnight, etc.). It is hidden of course in DateBk4. See page 82 (Appendix C) of the DateBk4 User Manual for technical  information on the tag formats. This is the ONLY way that DateBk4 can add functionality beyond that provided for in the Datebook database while still maintaining 100% compatibility with the Datebook database and all third party applications that use it. Links are also stored in the note field and will appear something like: [LINK A 1234,e4F3].

If you want to avoid seeing these tags, you will need to refrain from using those DateBk4 advanced features that cause the tags to be generated. The features that require the use of tags are: Custom fonts · custom alarms · custom colors · advances · timezones · categories · appts spanning midnight · floating events · icons · links.

How can I speed up the start of DateBk4?

On startup, DateBk4 has to scan the entire Todo database. Some people never clean up their todo database and may have hundreds of completed todo's that have never been archived. We suggest that you archive off the older todo's to keep your todo database smaller. If the Todo database has only 50 or todo's, for example, DateBk4 only takes about an extra 1/4er of a second to start up. Note that V-3.0 of DateBk4 allows you to delete Todo's that are older than a specified date. Second, run DateBk4 immediately after you do a hotsync, to get the SORTING message out of the way. Third, use the Floating Advance Time feature in OPTIONS | MORE PREFERENCES to trigger the scan during the early morning hours when you are asleep - that way you will NOT see it when you power on your PP first thing in the day. Also, starting in split-screen mode with the addressbook open can take more time if you have an exceptionally large addressbook database.

Why is the Datebook database searched twice and is there anything you can do about it?

When you do a global find, the Palm OS runs every loaded application (including the built-in applications) to search their database. Since DateBk4 and Datebook point at the same database, the database is searched twice. You can prevent this behavior with the useful program FindIgnoreHack available at PalmGear (www.palmgear.com). This can also be used to prevent the ToDo application from searching the database as DateBk4 will search both the Datebook and ToDo databases.

I ran dbSetup to load the icons, but I don't see any, why?

The display of icons in DateBk4 views is typically a preference option. So tap on the menu button, tap on OPTIONS and then tap on Preferences (More Preferences in the Day View) and check the box for the display of icons.

I can't run DateBk4 because I get: Bad Icon String.  DATEBK3 memo record has syntax error in icon strings at #a

This just means that you inadvertently or intentionally modified the DateBk4 record in your MemoPad database and have now corrupted the precise syntax required in that file. If you cannot quickly see what is wrong on the specified line, press the MEMO button and just DELETE that memo and you can then at least run DateBk4 (if you have difficulty doing that, just poke the reset button with a pin and then delete it). Then use the dbSetup.prc application that is in the ZIP archive (or download another copy from the DateBk4 web page and run it to re-create the icon (and timezone if desired) memopad records.

I get: "An unexpected system problem has appeared" when running DateBk4

This indicates that the DateBk4Db preference database has been corrupted somehow (failed hotsync, partial deletion, accidental overwrite, etc.). To recover, just delete the DateBk4DB database from the main app screen with the icons and run DateBk4 to create a new default database. After doing that, you will need to re-enter your preferences into DateBk4 and also your registration (if you are registered user). 

How can I get a special event to show up first in the monthly icon view ahead of others?

Well in theory there is no way to do this, but in practice there is a clever trick: repeat events always appear BEFORE non-repeat events, so if you mark it as a repeat event, it will appear before untimed non-repeat events and floating events. How do you do this? By making it a daily repeat event that ends on the same day it starts. You can save this as a template to make it easier to insert in the future! Note that the current release of DateBk4 now supports the coloring of the day numbers in the month and 4-month views - just set a bold font on the item whose color you want to propagate to the day number.

Why am I having trouble getting to the day view by double-tapping a cell in the monthly view?

The problem is caused by having a very large number of ToDo's in your ToDo database. There are people who have never purged their ToDo database and are surprised to find hundreds (for some people, thousands) of old ToDo's that they forgot about because they don't display completed ToDos'. The problem is that when DateBk4 pops up that list, it has to scan the entire TODo database to find out which ToDo's would legitimately appear on that day and since the ToDo database is not sorted chronologically, it has to be a brute-force, linear scan. This obviously takes up a lot of time - and in some cases, so much time that the second tap cannot arrive quickly enough to be considered a double-tap. The solution is to either:
(a) purge your ToDo database of ancient ToDo's and get it down to a manageable size, or
(b) Go into the PREFERENCES dialog of the year/4-month view and UNCHECK the box: INCLUDE TODO'S IN POPUP LIST as that will eliminate the time delay caused by scanning the ToDo database. That preference option affects the year, 4-month and monthly views.

I am having trouble storing beamed events from the regular Datebook application- why?

Most likely, you have your insert pointer in an event. If you do that, DateBk4 is not able to close the Datebook Database and since the regular Datebook application will grab the beamed event, it is not able to store the event (and rather curiously does not even bother to put up an error dialog indicating the problem!). Just tap elsewhere on the screen so that no item is currently selected and the beamed events will be received normally.

Can I put the start and end times in different timezones - like for an airplane flight across time zones?

No - you can only associate one time zone with an event. For a flight across timezones (about the only place you would even ever use such a feature), you can either:

(a) put the start/end times in a single event and then change the zone to ALL TIME ZONES, so your airplane times are ALWAYS shown at the correct local time (probably the best solution), or.

(b) separate out the arrival from departure into two separate events and place them in their own respective zones.

Keep in mind the usefulness of the ALL TIME ZONES assignment when you are not interested in knowing the native time of an event. For an airplane, if you think about it a bit, you'll realize that you only ever want to know the local times (i.e. when do I need to get to the airport by, and when should someone arrive at the destination to meet me).

How do I schedule an event that repeats on every other day of the second-to-last week of every month that has a new moon in the first two weeks of that month, (but not if there is a lunar eclipse in that month)?

In Datebk4 only, press the UP and Down Buttons simultaneously while stroking the Kanji character for the Moon in the 17th pixel row from the top of the repeat dialog, then press all four silkscreen buttons for 273 seconds and a dialog will open allowing you to enter this event (Be sure to check the box saying 'skip event if new moon coincides with lunar eclipse'). And time it carefully as if you hold the buttons down for more than 275 seconds it causes a hard reset and engages the normally unused stepup transformer that converts the 3v AAA output into 440V at 10 amps which can cause a bit of a surprise to the unsuspecting novice).

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