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Filesystem Problems with the Treo 650s

CmdrTaco posted more than 9 years ago | from the early-adopters-always-get-the-shaft dept.

Handhelds 289

Kaisa Tarasov writes "It turns out PalmOne's new Treo 650 is shipping with a major problem that's causing first adopter users and developers to cancel their orders in droves. The new Treo, along with the Tungsten T5, utilizes a new FAT based nonvolatile file system. Not only is the new system much slower, as the data has to be loaded into a SDRAM chip before running, but in this filesystem PalmOne switched from using directly addressable storage, to storage addressed in 512 Byte blocks. This has caused many files to swell in size - up to 500% in some cases (such as the address book). Users, already flustered with the small 23 MB of available memory, when trying to sync their old data onto the new device are discovering that their old data does not fit on the new Treo. What does PalmOne do?"

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i h8 niggers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10881304)

fucken niggers in tha NBA
assaulting white ticket holders who pay their salery

fucken black animails

Re:i h8 niggers (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10881345)


What do they do? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10881305)

Easy. Palm should write a efficient 512 byte FAT block mapping layer.

I know, I know! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10881313)

What does PalmOne do?
File for bankruptcy?

Re:I know, I know! (2)

SenatorOrrinHatch (741838) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881362)

Lets just hope they release all their documentation and open source their OS and drivers before they do, so that at least their hardware will have some use in the world.

Otherwise, we may as well just throw them straight in the recyclotron. My next palmtop will have a full strength OS, either a true windows box (like the OQO) or a linux box from Japan.

Re:I know, I know! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10881367)


Re:I know, I know! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10881412)

Don't forget to misremember that it was Microsoft's anti-competative practices that put them out of business.

Re:I know, I know! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10881776)

+1 Funny.
But you really need to fudge your misrecollection a little further.
See, Beelze-Bill forced them to use a big, FAT filesystem, so that, as soon as Mr. Softie's government holdings expand from the DOJ today, to include the PTA (hooray), Mr. Softy can sue PalmOne, ensuring ascendency of wince, or pocketpuke, or whatever new moniker they toss on their product to change its diaper.
Less trollifically, I hope that the Palm Desktop's hard-disk formats stay the same. I realize that asking for interoperability amongst desktop PIM applications is rather an extreme request. Please just keep the file spec constant so the DIY community can DI,I.

Ouch! (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10881316)

Who gets fired for this? Q&A? The engineers? Managament?

It's too bad that such a glaring problem got missed in production. Hopefully they will be able to fix it.

Re:Ouch! (4, Insightful)

baywulf (214371) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881350)

It should be the management getting fired because if it was successful you would see quotes praising the leadership effort of the management in making the project a success. Since they are calling the shots and credit they should take the blame.

Re:Ouch! WRONG (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10881447)

"It should be the management getting fired".

It should, but unfortunately nowadays "management is another form of politics". In this era, presidents/management take the glory for flasely labeled "Mission Accomplished" and hard workers or people who gave their entire lifes for their jobs get sacked for the failure of the management/president.

I have seen it many times.

Re:Ouch! (0)

nomadic (141991) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881492)

And because this is slashdot you never blame the engineers or programmers, even if they do an incredibly lousy job.

Re:Ouch! (4, Insightful)

baywulf (214371) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881578)

I have no problem blaming engineers and programmers. I just belive management should go along for the ride. They have to take the good with the bad. If they got $50K bonus for "successfully guiding the development of product abc" they should be fired for "majorly screwing up product xyz"

Re:Ouch! (4, Insightful)

Simon Lyngshede (623138) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881433)

Firing people isn't always the solution.

Re:Ouch! (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881561)

But to some its the easiest solution....

It should be managers (2, Interesting)

jinushaun (397145) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881795)

They ultimately approve the specifications, so they're responsible for why the filesystem is the way it is.

Evil (-1, Troll)

captain igor (657633) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881321)

Not use fat because it's evil?

Evil or Funny (-1, Offtopic)

southpark_kenny (832964) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881341)

Evil or Funny, It depends on your point of view Fat Bastard []

an excellent product (5, Informative)

pbrinich (238041) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881327)

I think this new item is a bit too negative. I just upgraded from a 600 to a 650 and I think it's a great product. I didn't even know about any of the filesystem "issues" before reading this news. While, I guess this may be an issue for some users, I have not had any problems myself. Also to note:

- the 650 loads programs at least 3 times faster than the 600 from my experience (likely due to the faster processor, but still!)

- the 650 has 4X the resolution of the 600. It can be argued that the 600 should have had 320x320 to begin withy, but either way, it's worth the upgrade by itself.

- Also, one of the benefits of the new memory is that you don't loose data when you loose power completely. Making the removeable battery system feasible.

- Finally, it's the first sprint phone (to my knowledge) to have bluetooth. I love my jabra :)

Well, just my $.02, I thought palmOne was getting a little too harsh of a rap, the 650 is a very good product in my opinion.

thanks for replying, PalmOne. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10881369)

you horrific shill.

Re:an excellent product (2, Insightful)

IO ERROR (128968) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881476)

I dunno what PalmOne does, but I go shopping for another PDA.

Re:an excellent product (3, Informative)

MadBiologist (657155) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881477)

Second phone from Sprint to have Bluetooth... they released the Sony Erricson t608, but only through Telesales, and it sucked... so it may be better to say that it's the first good Sprint phone to have Bluetooth :)

I have a treo 600, wtf did your post have to do? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10881570)

Uh, as a treo 600 owner, and I love it, your post sucks. This is potentially very important information as well as an interesting discussion to many wearable computer developers.

Nice blow job, boy, where can I get in line?

Re:an excellent product (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10881610)

you don't loose data when you loose power completely

F---ing illiterate.

Re:an excellent product (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10881637)

learn how and when to spell LOSE, for the love of God!

Why does everyone seem to have so much trouble with this?

If I had the means, I would LOOSE a million evil pedants upon you in order that you LOSE this annoying misconception!

PS. If I get someone calling me a looser, I shall be very much put out!

Re:an excellent product (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10881685)

It's your stupid motherfucking language that should be fixed, you asshole!

I think PalmOne is right (4, Interesting)

aldoman (670791) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881328)

I think that PalmOne is right in choosing to use a block based filesystem. There is obvious limits on the the old method, and while this has some problems, from what I gather they could easily solve them by instead of having each contact data in a seperate file, moving it to one file (or having a 'zip folder' which could expand and look like a normal folder when opened).

The main problem is that PalmOS is looking very dated compared to WinCE and Linux, and it's going to require serious pain that I don't think PalmOne can take to modernize it fully. This is just one step.. think how much it's going to hurt to get proper multitasking in etc...

Re:I think PalmOne is right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10881368)

The main problem is that PalmOS is looking very dated compared to WinCE and Linux

LOL!!! Have you ever used a Linux based handheld/palm/smartphone? It's unstable like Windows ME!

Re:I think PalmOne is right (5, Informative)

DoctorPepper (92269) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881415)

I don't know, I've owned one Windows CE device and two Palm OS devices, and I have to say I much prefer the Palm OS devices. Longer batter life, clean simple interface, easy to use and understand.

Re:I think PalmOne is right (1, Informative)

RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881505)

"Longer batter life"

This is simply not true anymore. It may have been true in the days of the Palm III, but it's not true anymore. Many PocketPC devices will go for 12 hours of *continuous* use. The Treo 600/650 is good for less than 8.

"clean simple interface, easy to use and understand"

This is highly subjective.

Here's why PocketPC devices make Palm devices look dated:

- Multitasking
- A *real* FAT FS for the entire device; not the "half-and-half" split of FAT and the proprietary Palm FS
- Lots of memory that can be used by programs. Even the new Tungsten T5 only allows around 5MB of heap. PocketPCs can use 64MB+.
- High-res. 320x320 or 480x320 may seem high, but the new high-res PocketPCs have 640x480 resolution; that's more than double the resolution of the Treo 650.
- Speed. The Treo is decent, but new Pocket PC devices use the XScale at 600+ MHz.
- Graphics. Many new Pocket PC devices have hardware accelerated 2D chips from ATI or Intel. This lets them play back high-resolution video without dropping frames.
- Sound. Every Pocket PC ever made can play MP3s and WMAs. Every Pocket PC has removable flash storage. Since these capabilities existed from the start, they are implemented in a standard way. Every app can take advantage of them. Many Palm apps still aren't high-res, and those that are frequently don't take advantage of the soft input area on some Palm OS devices. Every Pocket PC has a soft-input area.

Re:I think PalmOne is right (1)

Malfourmed (633699) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881638)

Many PocketPC devices will go for 12 hours of *continuous* use. The Treo 600/650 is good for less than 8.

Are the PocketPC devices also running as cellphones? If not, the comparison is hardly apt.

Are you trying to troll? (4, Insightful)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881715)

Man, at least try to compare apples with apples rather than apples with oranges.

Even if you figures are true, which I doubt, "most PocketPC devices" are just PDAs, where as the Treo 600/650 is a phone/PDA combo. What that means is that when you're not using a PocketPC directly it consumes no power but when you're not using a Treo 600/650 directly, it's still consuming power because it's communicating with your mobile phone network.

If you want a fair comparison, use a Tungsten C/E/T3/T5 as your example, not a Treo.

Comparing a Treo to "most PocketPC devices" and then attacking the Treo's battery life is like comparing a swiss army knife to a screwdriver and then saying that the screwdriver is better than the knife when it comes to unscrewing something.

Resolution is another area where you conveniently forget to compare like with like. Of course the Treos don't have 640 by 480 resolution screens: they have built-in keyboards in a similar (if not smaller) form factor, so they hardly need any area for you to write in, do they?

Some of your other points border on ridiculous too. Every PocketPC ever made can play MP3s and WMA files? So what? Every Palm model made in the last two years plus (apart from the cut down, dirt cheap $99 Zire 21) can play MP3s too. Are you really suggesting that playing music on a Palm is a problem?

And as for the size of apps, wow. Again, I'll take your word on the actual numbers but are you really saying that 5MB isn't big enough for any application that you'd want to run on a PDA?

Re:I think PalmOne is right (3, Insightful)

ForestGrump (644805) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881510)

i agree with you.

I started off with a pilot 1000 with 128k of ram.

Then it was a palm V with 2 meg. Wow, 2 meg was ALOT.

Then this summer i got an axim x5 basic. When buying it I thought, gee 32 meg. I'm moving from a 2 meg Palm V...what the heak am I going to do with 32 meg?

So when I first start playing with it, the multi tasking thing got me confused. I was used to one program at a time. Ok, so I figured that multi-task thing out. But to add insult to injury, it would RANDOMLY CLOSE running programs.

Now I know 32 meg of ram is NOT ENOUGH. Geez, I never realized how different the Palm and Windows Mobile architectures are.

But after reading this, I'm glad I went with Microsoft. (yes, I'm glad I went with M$ in this case)


Re:I think PalmOne is right (4, Informative)

BenjyD (316700) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881453)

Each piece of contact data is not in a seperate file, they are each a seperate record in a database. In the past, each database record took up (size of record+8) bytes. It looks as if that it is now (size of record+8) and round up to nearest multiple of 512 bytes.

All the current applications for PalmOS use the database way of accessing files. So there's no real workaround for it, except rewriting applications to combine records into one and use their own database access wrapper.

This will affect the program I develop for Palm OS too, as it stores small (~100byte) macros in seperate records of a database.

Re:I think PalmOne is right (1)

back_pages (600753) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881503)

I think that PalmOne is right in choosing to use a block based filesystem. There is obvious limits on the the old method, and while this has some problems, from what I gather they could easily solve them by instead of having each contact data in a seperate file, moving it to one file (or having a 'zip folder' which could expand and look like a normal folder when opened).

That's a very informative comment. (I can't be bothered with reading this article about something I don't and won't own.) The summary was very uninformative in saying that storage is addressed in 512 byte blocks, oh the horror!

This problem seems pretty clearly one of software implementation rather than a file system flaw - of course this is Slashdot. Thanks for the information, though.

Other news (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10881330)

In other news:

L33t hacxor hacks Treo and installs Loonix

ARGH (4, Interesting)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881331)

Dammit, yet another possible replacement for my Kyocera 6035 proves to be insufficient.

I was hoping for the 7135 to drop in price, but Verizon outright pulled it instead.

None of the current batch of smartphones appeal to me in design. They're all more PDA than phone, the Kyos were EXCELLENT phones. I *need* tactile feedback when dialing my phone, and all of the current smartphones use on-screen dialing.

Re:ARGH (1)

what about (730877) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881372)

Why not having a look at Nokia 9500 ? Maybe it is closer to what you need. Nokia 9500 []

Re:ARGH (4, Funny)

mordors9 (665662) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881376)

Hmmm, it says it is slower and has less space, what's not to love.

Re:ARGH (4, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881405)

I went from a Kyocera 6035 to a Treo 600, and I've been extremely pleased - smaller, but not too small (like many phones), smarter, but not too smart (like a palmtop PC with all its problems), acceptably good Internet connection, color, stereo music, 1GB SD cards, camera, keyboard + stylus, yeah! I might not go for a 650 so fast, since they're delaying PalmOS6 (multitasking), and skipped the 1.3Mpxl camera (though the new VGA camera seems much better). But this FAT issue seems fairly trivial, especially with 1GB+ SD cards and Bluetooth. Maybe the next iteration sometime in 2005 will have all that, plus the hirez camera, plus EV-DO/EDGE WAN (>130Kbps, up to 1.5Mbps) which is the threshold for the mobile multimedia terminal the Treo 600 almost became.

Frankly, I chucked my 6035 beneath the wheels of an oncoming train to stop it (the phone, not the train :). Its many bugs and inconsistencies made using it like shaving with a nicked razor. Treo 600 reinspired my love of Palm - once again, Pilot is my co-god!

Re:ARGH (1)

datastalker (775227) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881544)

The Treo 600 offers a choice of on-screen of keypad dialing. You are not forced to use on-screen dialing by any means.

Re:ARGH (1)

gellenburg (61212) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881603)

May I highly reccomend taking a look at the new Blackberry 7100. I switched from my Tréo 600 to the BB 7100 because first and foremost I wanted a phone, and the 7100 is an awesome device. Bluetooth, speakerphone, web browsing (and not just WAP - even supports swf flash files). Definitely worth taking a look at and it's very reasonably priced, too. My only gripe is no SD card slot but I'll live.

Motorola MPX (2, Informative)

DoorFrame (22108) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881822)

It's not quite out yet, but the Motorola MPX [] looks like it's going to be a great combination of PDA and phone. It's got a snazzy dual hinge clamshell design which will allow it to open vertically to function as a phone, and then open horontally to function as a Pocket PC PDA.

It's supposed to be out sometime in the next three or four months.

What to doN (1, Flamebait)

palad1 (571416) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881332)

What does PalmOne do?

apart from sucking and cancelling orders? Well, not much beta testing I would say.

I'd rather not be their Q&A manager...

What fat? (1)

datadriven (699893) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881343)

fat is so ... 80s, they should have used something a little more modern like reiserfs.

Step backwards into a FAT hole (4, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881354)

Why move from the major innovation of *all database storage* backwards to a FAT filesystem that even Microsoft doesn't use anymore? The way to get compatibility with prepackaged Flash storage that unwisely stuck with the ancient FAT system was to include a Palm DB wrapper for the Flash legacy filesystems. Yet another reason Palm should open their PalmOS source, so manufacturers can make it work across platforms, and Linux hackers can make Palm a GUI mode as we take over computing.

Perhaps it makes some things easier... (4, Interesting)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881423)

One advantage I could see is that the FAT filesystem is well understood and supported by a lot of things - it might make it much easier to mount the device as portable storage and make direct modifications.

Reason (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10881361)

It's obvious that PalmOne started using a larger FAT cluster size to enable their OS to map and recognize greater mass storage sizes, like maybe SD or MMC cards over 1GB. Granted it's inefficient, but that's the same life we live in the PC world, it just doesn't matter with multi-GB mass storage.

According to the specs, this thing can take SD/MMC cards, so if these people have a need to store everything under the sun, why don't they shut their cunt mouths and buy some memory?

What do we do?..... (2, Funny)

Shikoten (649057) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881370)

We die

Re:What do we do?..... (2, Funny)

the_skywise (189793) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881444)

>sigh I'm probably the only other person that's going to get that quote...

Re:What do we do?..... (2, Funny)

belarm314 (663118) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881563)

No, you're not the only other one.

What do they do? Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10881371)

They take it up the ass as usual for thier lousy testing procedures.

I'm tired of Palm devices being buggy out of the
box (and I say this as a long time Palm user and a former contractor).

I want to use and like the platform, I really do. But thier devices have always been behind the curve on technology, and even that older stuff never did really work right on the first try.

These newest problems should surprise exactly no one.

Amen (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10881640)

Palm has been underwhelming ever since the IIIc.

They're caught in this terrible "Do I want to be an organizer or a pocket computer" conundrum, and they're starting to do neither very well.

So we have PocketPC which sucks or we go with Palm which produces sucky hardware (in 2004, they have no WiFi solution. Welcome to 1997, Palm).

Between MS and Palm, they'll kill the portable computer market for sure.

FAT (4, Funny)

vijayiyer (728590) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881387)

Ah, FAT. The cornerstone of any modern operating system...

Re:FAT [Off-Topic] (5, Funny)

ThePhilips (752041) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881559)

You do not know what you are talking about.

Another day I have heard screams in computer room. I went there just to find my friends literally laughing to death. They were trying thru laughing point to the screen of WinXP with error message.

As soon I have taken a look at screen - I have joined them laughing to death under table.

"Invalid MS-DOS function"

For sure, we had over-reacted, due to couple of M$ Zealot who tried to persuade development department that WinXP is complete rewrite of Windows from scratch. And it has nothing to do with MS DOS.

As a person who switch to Linux & Apple long time ago I find bit fuzzing insistence of some companies on using technology from 80s. If you haven't noticed, all external hard-drives are shipped formated with FAT.

No-one yet came out and proposed read-write file system for hard-drives supportable by all OSs. File systems are not standard - I'll love to see OpenGroup/POSIX/ISO having standardize some file system in order for interoperability between OSs. Just like it was done for CD/DVD media.

P.S. Message in our case was showed when one guy tried to delete file with name 'nul' with Explorer. Who remember DOS times - it is reserved name which is presumably impossible to give to a file. Some tools do allow to create/delete files with such name under WinNT/friends.

A Fix? (1)

Temfate (753891) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881391)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but this sounds like a software patch fix here. Change the block size, or re-write the fs manager. One way or another a software patch would accomplish a fix to this easily.

Re:A Fix? (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881670)

Re-arranging the FS on a drive whilst being booted off it is um... rather challenging to do.

What does PalmOne do? (2, Funny)

Mike Rubits (818811) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881397)

If it's anything like me, it'll go home and cry.

Treo 650 Scam on eBay (5, Informative)

bumbobway (111020) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881408)

Given this scare with the 650, I did a search on eBay to see if people are unloading their treos. What I found was a lot of listings for people selling COUPONS to get the Treo 650 at a discounted price of $349. I noticed that some people were obviously mistaken and bidding upwards of $300 for this coupon, rather than the actual device. Does anyone have any information on this coupon?

Re:Treo 650 Scam on eBay (5, Interesting)

bumbobway (111020) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881431)

Re:Treo 650 Scam on eBay (3, Insightful)

Ianoo (711633) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881488)

Because people are stupid and don't read item descriptions properly? A fool and his money are soon parted. I'd hate to see the face of the guy who's paying $215 for this coupon when he gets it in the mail!

Re:Treo 650 Scam on eBay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10881517)

I'll sell you one for $348...

Re:Treo 650 Scam on eBay (2, Informative)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881527)

It's a common scam done with anything some crook thinks will sell. It's all fully disclaimed but that will not stop some state prosecutions.

Re:Treo 650 Scam on eBay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10881557)

This is a common scam on EBay. I've seen people bid $100+ on a list of websites that sell Powerbooks. The trick is in the phrasing of the title. Then again, I wonder how many of those bids are from shills and how many are real...

Palm Reach Out to The F/OSS for Help? (5, Interesting)

Levendis47 (90899) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881417)

Call me wacked but sometimes the best way to wipe egg (or in this case, a whole omlette) off your face is to ask someone to wipe for you (eek...).

Palm could reach out to the OSS community for help in dealing with this...

1) Rapidly turn around a six-month trial developers kit and a limited-licensed SDK for OS development.
2) Make it extremely easy to find/download/bootstrap.
3) Setup a contest... List the top five major issues/flaws in the software at any given moment with corresponding prizes for the individual/team that develops a viable solution for a given issue/flaw.
4) Filter solution entries though a rapid in-house QA and system testing process.
5) Release patches in "leap frog" pattern (i.e. say four-month cycles overlapping for bi-monthly update releases).
6) Build and distribute a Palm Desktop conduit for System and Application updates. Call in "pa1m OneUpdate Utilities" or such.

Just an idea... Run with it at will...

I have a Treo 600 that I waited for two update cycles to occur before I bought... I've been burnt by Palm and WinCE before. And while I loved Handspring products, I can't think of a single one that didn't have some odd problem (shiver, the Visor Edge...).


Re:Palm Reach Out to The F/OSS for Help? (1)

tasinet (747465) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881674)

There's one thing... PalmSource (And not palmone, palm source is responsible for the operating system ) is ecstatic about being as closed-source as it goes.
For example remember how long palms didn't have wifi because they wanted to write the drivers themselves.
So a turn to the OSS community would be very unexpected IMHO..

Geia sou leventi!

I KNOW, I KNOW!! (1)

Bonk_Keith_Akins_on_ (776999) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881424)

Call EA Games and ask to borrow some of their slaves to help recode their OS =D

Free iPod!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10881428)

They should give you a free 40 gig iPod to store the obese address book records...

Where is the other 20 GB stored? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10881435)

The link says there is 32 MB RAM and 256 MB flash (the non-volatile files system). But we also know there's 20 GB of storage.

So the real question is, how is the 20 GB stored?

They imply all data fits in the 256 MB of static RAM, but that's ridiculous, and they're not charging enough for 20 GB of static RAM.

reiserfs (4, Interesting)

wotevah (620758) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881448)

They should have licensed reiserfs. It uses a block system but small files can share a block: [] .

You can get a special license to include it in your own proprietary OS.

Re:reiserfs (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10881581)

Palm hates Open Source software. Last time I worked them, they opted to spend $100k+ for a proprietary Windows-based bug-tracking system instead of open-source Bugzilla (and Bugzilla covered their requirements better).

What does PalmOne do? (2, Insightful)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881465)

Adding an extra couple megabytes to the built-in storage would solve any upgrade problems. As for slower access, I think it's worthwhile considering it makes the memory non-volatile, don't you?

Do Do (1)

hkb (777908) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881470)

What does PalmOne do?

From the look of things, they go the way of the do do. Their serious lack of smart choices has really put them behind the Windows Mobile devices.

They don't listen to their customers. They STILL haven't released a PalmOS Cobalt device after what... a year? They're still using a crappy, old, severely limited, non-multitasking operating system that's getting its ass handed to it by the infamous Windows CE for god's sake.

They have great hardware (well, I consider the Tungsten C the penultimate in PDA's right now)

Re:Do Do (2, Insightful)

ccage (742617) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881489)

I see where you're coming from, but I think Palm and PPC are just really different animals. PPC is robust and can do all sorts of things, but is a truly lousy organizer. Palm is a great organizer, but really doesn't do other things that well.

As a developer, I traded in my Palm for a PPC a few years ago -- mainly because I was embarassed when a client would ask me a question about the organizer functionality (which I'd never used). After a year of it, I couldn't stand it anymore and happily switched back to a Tungsten E. I realized that I just don't care about my PDA being a remote control, running SQL Server, or having a thumbprint scanner. I just want a good organizer!

Now for enterprise situations where you're developing for them -- different story.

Re:Do Do (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881572)

I just went from a Mako to a Tungsten E & I'm completely in love with it. the only thing I miss about the Mako is the Thumboard & the full version of Nethack.

PS My Tungsten makes for a good remote control too!


Re:Do Do (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10881573)

You say you consider the Tungsten C the "penultimate" PDA?

As you must know since you used the word, the word "penultimate" means "next to last." The Tungsten C is the next to last PDA?

If you really think the Tungsten C is the next to last PDA that will ever be manufactured, then pray, do tell us, which PDA do you think will be the LAST one ever manufactured, and why?

Do you have some inside knowledge on an impending Skynet-like event which will prevent the future manufacture of any PDAs?

Geez, and to think, I had started to LOSE faith over the LOOSE usage of language on slashdot.

Thanks for coming along and restoring my ... something.

Re:Do Do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10881705)

My Tungsten C has been very disappointing. The form factor and that is nice, but the case is more fragile than it looks. Add to that the buggy OS (what the hell do you do with a web browser that crashes the OS every time you try to type in a URL???), and I am not a happy camper.

Bad testing all round... (4, Funny)

ccage (742617) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881471)

I know that at least two of the major cell phone manufacturers provide beta test units to their employees. Even though you hear of some problems being corrected (like a camera whose lens protruded too much and was easily scratched) there seem to be 10 major problems for every one corrected. Are the employees just not USING the devices? Or are the companies just not listening?

At least Palm isn't alone:

- How could the original Nokia nGage get into consumer's hands with the game cartridge located UNDER the battery?

- Why didn't Motorola figure out that their beautiful smart flip phone had to run for more than an hour or so on a charge?

The list goes on...

Re:Bad testing all round... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10881502)

apple should buy palmone and fix it up, make it simple, and bring back mac os suport. Also we need a mac os pda cause it would rock!

Eating the dogfood (4, Insightful)

ratboy666 (104074) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881553)

Actually, the employees typically DON'T use the devices.

I have engineered features for a set-top & tv box -- and I don't have (probably never will have) that tv.

I have worked for computer companies whilst never owning ANY of their product.

I have just done some engineering work for a printer company, and while I *have* in the past owned the vendor product, I will never own this particular product (and, indeed have never SEEN the product).

I have worked with a major graphics board company, and, though I do own several of their products, I was never given one to "home test".

In other words, the engineers put in the features, but we DON'T actually "eat the dog food". That job is left to Product Managers who probably don't care, and Marketing who probably doesn't either (make sure it meets the requirements).

So, if a "one-hour battery life" was in the requirements (or worse, no mention of battery life at all), that's what gets delivered.

And the justification? The employees/contractors won't BUY the stuff (why would we?); the company feels it is too expensive to build extra prototypes -- and besides, what does the employee know anyway? Stick to engineering; that's what we pay you for.

Does lead to Dilbert moments, though.


Stupid Stupid Stupid... (1)

Mean_Nishka (543399) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881497)

Why do manufacturers always do jugheaded things like this? It never ceases to amaze me how people can take what should be killer app products and cripple them with 'features' or release them to market with limitations that ultimately make them undesirable. I'm glad I didn't rush out and preorder this one.

Just the other day engadget featured a bluetooth wireless speaker adapter [] that incidently introduces a delay that causes audio to get out of sync with the video.

We don't need no stinking file system (2, Insightful)

mysterious_mark (577643) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881504)

As Palm developer I've never found the lack of file system to be a problem. Moreover the siplicity and compactness of the DB system is quite desirable. The best thing about Palm OS is that it is simple and robust. I tend to think that the file system got added because other operating systems have such.


FAT? (2, Insightful)

kasperd (592156) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881512)

Who says they use FAT? The linked article does not mention FAT anywhere. Besides FAT is just not a good choice. Other file systems like reiserfs have been carefully designed to avoid the slack problem being described here. Of course it could easilly have been avoided by not storing all data in a bunch of small files.

Just about anything would have been better than FAT. The minix file system is simpler and more efficient, but it doesn't help on slack. Reiser is more complicated, but does solve the slack problem. I don't know if they really need any journaling. It is quite easy to come up with a file system, that is better than FAT, and even one that is simpler and solve the slack problem. It is builtin, and there doesn't seem to be any need for compatibility with anything else.

FAT Files (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10881524)

Am I the only one who finds it ironic that a file system called FAT cause files to swell up in size, I mean come on, they should have seen that one coming.

Simple... (3, Funny)

Philzli (813353) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881526)


The flashmem suppliers use it... (1)

Monf (783812) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881529)

they probably use fat because that's what all the products that use flash memory use, cameras, etc...

plus, Hey! FAT is phat! (not)

Not As Big an Issue as it seems (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10881540)

I am a expert handheld reviewer and I have to say that its shocking to see what a poorly presented and researched piece this is. Are the real editors sleeping in on sunday morning?

While the lower addressable amount of memory is disappointing this is not a major issue, and I think this article is WAY too over-negative. Sounds like the submitter has some sort of bias on palmOne and the new Treo.

How can people be returning units in droves when only a few hundred have shipped!!!!

Only the most hardcore techie is even going to notice this sort of filesystem procedure, it is not a bug but a symptom of the Non volatile memory architecture.

Give me a break, The Treo 650 will do just fine.


My Ass (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10881683)

" I am a expert handheld reviewer"

That's like saying you're an expert in masturbation.

So is everybody who owns a handheld device and uses it.

Palm OS vs. Copland (5, Interesting)

TimmyDee (713324) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881592)

As I've been monitoring the discussions of the 650 at TreoCentral (I'm thinking about getting one myself when the GSM version comes out), I couldn't help but thinking that PalmSource and PalmOne seem to be in a position very similar to Apple a few years ago. I know, they're two separate companies where Apple was (and is) one and their new OS is actually off the ground, but bear with me.

A few years ago, Palm/PalmSource probably realized that their OS wasn't going to cut it in the New World of modern computing. They were making the transition from 68k processors to the StrongARM/Xscale series much like Apple made the switch from 68k to PowerPC. All arguments aside, I'd say this was the right thing to do for both companies, but it left them in a bit of a predicament -- legacy code. The only option for both companies was to develop an emulation system so the old could be run on the new. They both work really quite well, but everyone knows you can't run on a hack forever. The time to break with the old had come.

So, Palm decided to start developing Cobalt and Apple started to develop Copland. Preemptive multitasking, protected memory, better multimedia handling -- the calls to arms were the same. Yet where Apple failed with Copland, Palm didn't. Sort of.

Copland was a nightmare. Years of legacy code had turned the Mac OS into a bunch of spaghetti and for some reason the Copland developers thought they could use that spaghetti and bake a tieramisu. It didn't work. Drained of billions of dollars sunk into development, Apple started shopping around in 1996. They looked at BeOS (to what degree of seriousness is a matter of debate) and NeXT and some others, thankfully settling on NeXT. Palm, too, had likely started from the bottom up, found themselves a bit stuck, and then stumbled across the devalued Be, Inc. Purchasing Be, they gained huge strides in the multimedia area and were on their way. They also created PACE, an emulation environment similar to Classic in our beloved Mac OS X, for all that legacy code.

Cobalt should be a runaway success like Mac OS X is. But it's not. You could say that Cobalt is like Mac OS X when it was new. Everybody thought it had great promise, but even Apple was afraid to use it because it just wasn't finished. Now, I'm not sure how "unfinished" Cobalt is at this point, but it could be in the same boat. There are also issues of licensing fees (which I hear are significantly higher for Cobalt compared to Garnet) that cause the analogy to break down a bit, but for the most part it holds.

So in the end, Palm OS 5 is starting to look a lot like Mac OS 9. It works well, but man does it have its problems. Adoption of Cobalt will be key, but PalmSource needs something killer to drive that. It's a shame for PalmSource/PalmOne that they didn't pick up Dominic Giampaolo with the Be acquisition, but I'm also a Mac user and I'm sure glad he's on our team now.

Not good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10881700)

"So in the end, Palm OS 5 is starting to look a lot like Mac OS 9."

Mac OS 9 was horrible. It had all the stability of Windows 3.1 once you loaded apps in it.

My son's imac still has OS 9 loaded on it, and he still complains because once a night it locks up.

OS 9 stayed around 18 months too long.

Duh! (1)

kid_wonder (21480) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881596)

to storage addressed in 512 Byte blocks. This has caused many files to swell in size - up to 500% in some cases

This is news for nerds. Don't you think we figured that out as soon as we read the 512 blocks - or did you just need to juice the story up?

I swear this place is turning into my local news, with all the pomp and circumstance...

Jeez. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10881611)

This is amazingly stupid.

Whoever thought of this deserves a swift kick in the ass.

Where's my HD-based iPod iPDA?

What does PalmOne do? (1)

lycium (802086) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881614)

stop hiring tards.

Will break existing applications (2, Interesting)

iamacat (583406) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881648)

On regular Palm devices, you can read from and write to database records directly. It goes something like this:
MemHandle mh = DmQueryRecord(db, recNum);
void *p = MemHandleLock(mh);
MemSemaphoreReserve(true); // write-unprotect storage memory
// Do some access to database record here
MemSemaphoreRelease(true); // Restore protection
Granted, MemSemaphore calls are undocumented and Palm asks you to use DmWrite to update a database block instead. The trouble is, Palm devices used to have 36K(!) of regular heap and for recent ones it's around 256K. And C++ compiler wants like 30K for each program/shared library (which is another sorry tale) for virtual functions, exceptions and jumps between 32K segments that you need to partition your code into. Finally, say your database record is a list of stuff >36K and you want to sort it. Imagine how good 2 DmWrite calls to do every record exchange will be for your performance and code readability.

So if you want to do some good stuff in your program, you just allocate "database" pointers and use them as your regular heap. I doubt it would for with Flash on Treo 650, since it will not even know which records are dirty. Even if they still support these calls, performance of your heap being swapped out to flash in 512 byte chunks would be dreadful.

The trouble is, programs that needed to use MemSemaphore calls are probably the ones that do something worthwhile. Try business applications, 3D games, VM-based programming languages... They are going to cripple the most cool programs written for their platform. Should have just included a rechargable backup battery just enough to swap out RAM on power failure.

Who has 22,000 contacts on their phone? (5, Informative)

jdb8167 (204116) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881651)

If you read the threads, this isn't something that is going to affect most users. This guy is trying to put 22,000 contacts on his phone. It is taking up over 11 MB. Not good but we are talking an edge case here. I can't believe that this is a normal usage pattern for a phone!

I have about 100 contacts on my phone and I don't know who many of them are. They were added during business meetings or various introductions. How can anyone keep track of 22,000 contacts?

The supposed problem with the Treo 650 seems to be completely overblown from what I can see.

Forest for the trees? (1)

rfunches (800928) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881657)

Between this and the Halo 2 problems, this sounds like quality control and alpha/beta testing has become more focused on complex, obscure problems as the products themselves have become more complex. You'd think that a filesystem bloat of this size would be caught pretty quickly, but if the people breaking the software/hardware are so busy looking at relatively minor issues, they might not think to try something as simple as doing a sync with an almost-full Treo. It's like the tech who spends an hour taking a computer apart to find out what the problem is, to realise that it won't turn on because it's not plugged into the wall.

in other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10881671)

PalmOne lays off Treo 650 developers and are hired as slashdot moderators making it even more useless...

Wow, a NEW filesystem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10881679)

So what is this FAT system. Wow, 16 bit FAT tables...

I don't think this would slip through the cracks before release.

most likely, palm sees the light at the end of the tunnel, and its an oncoming train for the Palm

Well add some memory then... (0, Redundant)

Stumbles (602007) | more than 9 years ago | (#10881787)

What's the big deal here and why is everyone moaning. Don't ya get it? It's marketing and engineering to make you buy upgrades/memory plugins, etc. Ya'll should be used to this sort of thing. Microsoft has been doing this for years. New OS needs more RAM, needs more powerfull CPU, needs bigger hard drive, etc.
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