Dave Vieglais vieglais at UKANS.EDU
Sat Dec 4 22:17:50 CET 1999

Palm Pilots are eminently programmable.  But they only have a few (2-8) meg of RAM depending on the model.  So, they'll never hold a very large data set.  There are a few options- upload an appropriate portion of the dataset to the device, carry the data with you in a format that can be easily loaded into the Palm Pilot, or provide the device with a connection to another device that stores enough data.  There are several wireless solutions available, with transmission ranges from a hundred or so feet to a few miles, to global (cellular or satellite).  A custom solution (custom software, off-the-shelf components) could probably be worked out with a laptop as base station, radio modem for connectivity, and a happy Palm Pilot/ windows CE user in the field.  Add a GPS, a database back in the base station, and a bunch of field observations could be collected quickly and easily, with one point of data entry.  Add in a couple more data collection devices- and capture quantitative information at the same time- temperature, humidity, canopy gap fraction, even fish-eye photos (if you're into that sort of thing)...

Sounds like a fun project to me.  The real key is datasets that are readily interoperable- that's what XML can provide.

Dave V.

> *snip*  I've got to catch up on my back reading ...
> But I saw this and *had* to respond!
> >
> >Example 2:  Say I want to run NaviKey on my Palm Pilot*.  
> The device has
> >limited resources and I would prefer to use very small files 
> if at all
> >possible.
> >
> >As you say, these problems will all go away someday.
> >
> >Best,
> >
> >-Noel Cross
> >
> >*I only wish it were possible -- A few people have actually 
> asked for this
> >capability, as it would be handy to use such as program in the field.
> >
> It's probably not that far off.  I found the program that Larry Morse
> first did for interactive specimen identification before I 
> entered Grad
> School.  It takes 64K to run.  (At the time it probably had a limit of
> 64K for data too -- and that stretched the limits of the 
> computer.)  Most
> of your hand-help calculators have a memory of at least 64K now.
> How programmable *is* a Palm Pilot?
> Susan Farmer
> sfarmer at goldsword.com
> Botany Department, University of Tennessee
> http://www.goldsword.com/sfarmer/Trillium

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