The Treo Zombies

Faintly distracting, but ultimately unsatisfying, ad for the new Treo, where people walk across an intersection doing different things depending on what feature of the Treo the ad is pumping. I have a couple of questions:

  • Why do none of these people ever look left and right before crossing the road?
  • Why is there no traffic?
  • Why if this is about the Treo, is only one of the characters sporting anything that could remotely be a headset?
  • Why is no one talking on the phone? (Maybe they read this alarming report)
  • Why have I wasted a good 10 minutes of my life watching this ad and writing about it when I already have a Treo?

Palm’s Lame ‘Solutions’

This is another one of those tips that won’t help you unless you happen to be in a very specific pickle. That said, it also carries a general health warning: The more complex you make your computer and gadget set-up, the more you’re on your own.

If you’re synchronizing your Palm OS–Treo with Microsoft Outlook, you’re asking for trouble. After a while you’re likely to get the following error:

Outlook Calendar
OLERR:03-005E (0xca470057)
– Recovery Sync
Outlook Calendar synchronization failed

where nothing in the calendar gets synced. Even Palm’s own help page on this isn’t very optimistic:

This issue is under investigation. Since OLERR errors can be caused by a wide range of factors, we have developed a number of solutions at this point.

This is techie speak for ‘no, we don’t know what’s going on either.’ And the ‘solutions’ they offer aren’t the kind of thing you could do while the kettle’s boiling. One includes a step 8:

Open each of these items and give them an and date. This can be far in the future, such as the year 2050.

Another way of saying: You could be up all night changing each calendar entry individually for entries that are going to be around longer than you are.

Needless to say, none of these options worked, though they might for you. But here’s what I suggest:

How to Fix Outlook/Treo Calendar Synchronization Problems

  • Find out whether the problem comes from your Palm/Treo or your Outlook first. To do that move all items from the Outlook Calendar into a new calendar and then trying syncing. If you’re still getting an error then the problem’s with your Palm. If you aren’t getting the error, then try restoring calendar items in chunks until you hit the problem. (More complete steps here; don’t forget to back up first.)
  • If the problem is with your Palm, delete the calendar data there (which you’ll lose, unfortunately.) Do this by installing a free program called FileZ from nosleep software and finding the Calendar database file, CalendarDB-PDat. (You might want to back up your Palm first using another free backup program called BackupMan. In fact, you should have this one anyway.)
  • Having deleted the database file, trying syncing. It worked for me.

This isn’t the only way to solve the problem, I’m sure, but it’s probably the quickest. Bottom line: These things are never easy, but should be. Shame on Palm, for example, for hinting their synchronization software just may not be good enough by concluding, after several ‘solutions’ to the problem, that:

If none of the solutions above resolves your OLERR problems, you may wish to use a third-party synchronization solution for your Outlook information.


Treo 650 Spontaneous Reboot When Sending SMS Messages

Here’s a tip that’s completely useless for anyone who a) doesn’t have a Treo and b) hasn’t had their Treo spontaneously reboot when sometimes sending SMS text messages. As I couldn’t find this solution elsewhere, I thought I’d post it here for now.

  • Go to the home page of the Treo and in the ‘App’ menu select Delete…
  • Scroll down the list until you find Messages Database. (You’re now going to delete all your past SMS messages, but it’s a small price to pay.)
  • Delete it.

Your Treo should work fine now.

An Idiot’s Guide To Prepaid GPRS

Further to my earlier post about GPRS traveling woes, I asked Syd Low of AlienCamel to offer his thoughts on the subject. He’s something of an old hand at the game.

For the last two years I’ve gone “on the road” to the Alps. My journey goes through Asia, then Switzerland and finally Austria. In 2004 I had a Treo 600 and this year a Treo 650. I’ve used GPRS with prepaid SIM cards in five countries will almost perfect success to stay in touch with friends and colleagues using IM and Email.

In Europe, I usually look for a mobile shop at the airport or train terminal. Zurich airport is great – all three carriers are there -Swisscom, Sunrise and Vodafone. Just wander in, buy a card and you’re on your way in less than 20 minutes. When you return the following year, you just need to get a recharge card and you’re away in 5 minutes. In Asia and Italy, I found that all carriers have shops in the main street. Venice and Verona for example have Vodafone shops conveniently located among the shops and resellers everywhere. Same deal – quick and fast transactions. In Austria where there’s not much competition, the most convenient place is the post office where you can get A1 prepaid cards. Recharge cards are available at supermarkets.

The Treo 650 auto configures to all of these networks and there’s no need to manually make any setting changes. Just put the sim card in and everything just works. I’ve only had a minor glitch with A1. For a few days I couldn’t get GPRS coverage – not sure if it was my phone or the network high in the Alps.

Life would be a lot simpler if there was a carrier that did global roaming with fair rates, but I think it’ll be a blue moon when that happens. Until then, get yourself a little case to get a sim card for each country.

Thanks, Syd.  Oh and here’s a picture of his SIM-card stash:


Squeeze More Out Of Your Gadget

 If you’re trying to get more out of your PDA, phone, Treo or whatever, here’s the blog for you: MobileWhack.
MobileWhack is a repository of hacks, hints, tips, tools, stories, news, ideas, and wishes for and around the mobile device you’re actually using. The raisons d’etre are to be useful, to inspire, and to delight.
Actually there’s some useful stuff in there. A post yesterday, for example, explains how to use your Treo 600 as a wireless modem.