Palm Code v1.01

Revision History

v1.01: First official release version. (i)nput category replaced with (g)rafitti and (k)eyboard categories.

v1.00: First version of Palm Code released for comments in the Flipside forum.

Inspired by other preference enumeration systems such as Robert Haydenís Geek Code, Palm Code is a means for PalmOS users to disseminate their palm-related views and preferences in the form of a block of text code. Palm Code demonstrates how a user feels about various features and aspects of PalmOS devices, their uses, and even their views on some of the more influential companies which have influenced the platform.

Palm Code consists of a standardized series of letters representing categories, features, and issues. At the end of each category letter, the user adds character modifiers which denote his or her views on the particular category, feature, or view. The end result is a userís PalmOS Ďworldviewí at a glance. Users can incorporate Palm Code into their email signature files, or even use Palm Code as a tag line to their posts to online discussion forums (those of you who spend time at PIC can probably envision how this could cut down some unnecessary flaming in the discussion threads ;-).


Classifying oneself according to the code system is a lot like filling in a multiple-choice questionnaire some responders may have problems strongly identifying with one of the preset answers offered. While figuring out your own code bear in mind that the descriptions associated with each answer level should be interpreted more for the spirit behind the response, rather than every aspect the literal statements. In addition to encouraging flexibility in self-classification, the Palm Code incorporates some common tried-and-true modifiers which make it easier to fit an individualized response into a somewhat arbitrary framework. The modifier codes are:


Place after a rating, this symbol indicates that the not very exact, or a somewhat borderline classification.


A second parenthetical rating after a category indicates crossover ranges, where the first rating is accurate most of the time, but the second rating is more accurate in certain situations.


A question mark indicates the responder isnít familiar with the topic of the category or has no views or experience from which to comment.


Placed after a category letter, this indicates that the user declines to comment on the subject.


This symbol, used only to modify the user type category, indicates that the user participates in this category as a paid professional (probably only relevant for responses ĎBí and ĎD,í though if you feel you have a good case for applying it to another category, by all means go for it ;-).

User Domains

The first segment of Palm Code begins by identifying some basic user information. To the obvious beginning character of ĎPí users may add an additional descriptor which shows what general type of user best describes them. Users may also add how many years they have been using PalmOS to the end of this category.


The Ďaverageí consumer: Users who aquire a PalmOS device on their own with the basic goal of organizing and entertaining themselves.


The business/professional user: To such people their handhelds are primarily a work tool.


The student: Such users mainly rely on handhelds to help them with their studies.


The gadget junkie: PalmOS handhelds are such cool devices that such people need no further rational to use them.


The developer: This user is as interested in writing software for PalmOS devices as he/she is in using them.


The medical professional: For them, having Fireviewer images of EEG readouts could mean someoneís life or death!


The vertical market user: People who have very specialized setups that may help them control production on a factory floor, or analyze Giraffe blood in the Serengeti.

Specs, Features, and Usage

The next twelve categories allow users to weigh on several of the frequently-debated attributes of PalmOS devices:

Form Factor

f-- I could carry a Palm VII in my shirt pocket all day and wouldnít mind a bit

f- As long as it isnít a total brick, Iím happy.

f I go for a good balance between size and features.

f+ I prefer the sleeker Ďexecutiveí designs.

f++ The thinner/lighter the better!

Battery Life

b-- I use my PDA in short bursts throughout the day 2-3 hours is plenty.

b- I recharge every night, so 4-5 hours is fine.

b My PDA gets moderate to heavy use, and 6-8 hours gives me a few days before recharging.

b+ I uses my Palm day and night, and NEED at least 10 hours between charges.

b++ I avoid glitzy screen options, turn off Beam Receive and underclock 2xAAA= >1 month!



p-- How much power does it take to check your schedule? I underclock to save juice.

p- A 16MHz Dragonball handles all my PIM needs.

p The 33MHz Dragonballs are about the perfect level of power.

p+ Dedicated multimedia coprocessors and/or higher range Dragonballs are the way to go.

p++ I want desktop power in my pocket give me ARM!

Operating System

o-- Iíve never needed any features which arenít in OS 2 or below

o- OS 3 meets all of my needs nicely.

o I donít see any reason to upgrade from OS 4.

o+ I wonít buy a new device that doesnít have OS5.

o++ OS 5 is just a stepping stone, I want OS 6 or beyond!


m-- I canít use more than 70% of my <=2M!

m- I think 8M is enough to get by.

m 8M is slightly small, so now I like to reclaimed some flash memory.

m+ Between various types of memory, I have 32-64M on my device.

m++ I figure that with 16M, flash, and a 1gig card I should be set for a little while ;-).

Virtual File System

v-- I honestly donít see the need (see m--).

v- Whoa this stuff is far too crufty to use!

v I use VFS, but mainly for backup/ long term storage.

v+ Many of my apps live on a card and are mounted via my launcher.

v++ I use multiple cards, put almost everything on them, and now have 1-2M free on my device! 


g-- I never got the hang of Grafitti and rely on the virtual keyboard or desktop hotsyncís for most data entry.

g- I really need third party enhancements such as Fitaly, WordComplete, or Tealscript to make Grafitti practical.

g I use a stylus for light input, but prefer another input method for the heavy stuff.

g+ I use Graffiti for most data entry needs.

g++ I can write in Grafitti faster and more accurately than most people can type!


k-- I canít conceive of ever needing a keyboard for my handheld (see g++).

k- I can see the appeal here, but donít want to add the cost/bulk to my setup.

k I use a keyboard occassionally, mainly when I have large ammounts of text to enter.

k+ I usually carry a keyboard if thereís any chance that Iíll have more than a few paragraphs to write.

k++ Iím ready to give up Grafitti altogether in favor of a good integrated thumboard (see g--)


r-- The classic 160x160 is plenty of pixels for a PDA.

r- High res. text looks great, but Iím concerned about battery drain/slower refreshes.

r High res. is nice, but definitely a luxury feature.

r+ After seeing 320x320, I canít go back to low res.

r++ Iíve got to break out of the square give me virtual graffiti areas!


c-- 4 shades of gray work fine for PIM displays.

c- I donít need a color PDA, but 16 shade grayscale makes graphics look a little nicer.

c Color is neat, but Iím not sure itís always worth the tradeoff in battery life.

c+ Greyscale is so 1990ís give me at least 8-bit color to make things interesting.

c++ 16-bit is an absolute minimum check out these vacation snapshots.


n-- I use my PDA entirely as a standalone device.

n- Hotsyncing to a desktop computer is all the connectivity I need.

n Iím satisfied connecting to the Internet via a landline modem/host computer.

n+ Connecting via a cell phone meets my needs for on-demand wireless access.

n++ I need a dedicated wireless connection (preferably 3G).


t-- Iíll keep my cell phone and PDA separate, thank you!

t- Integrated devices are intriguing, but involve too many compromises.

t I look forward to the next crop of PDA/phone hybrids, and may make the jump.

t+ I really like my combo unit, and couldnít go back to carrying two devices again.

t++ Iím convinced that all PalmOS devices will feature telephony some day.


a-- Everything I need came in the box.

a- Iíve bought some small add-ons such as screen protectors/styli.

a About the only aftermarket product you need is a good carrying case.

a+ After investing a few hundred in the PDA, why skimp on cases and travel chargers?

a++ My ever-growing collection of accessories ranges to the exotic/bizarre. 


e-- Itís an organizer, not a Gameboy!

e- Besides the productivity functions, these devices make good eBook readers.

e I like to have a few games loaded, and perhaps some pictures and a map or two.

e+ Music/voice recording are a definite plus.

e++ I NEED quality audio, and like to be able to view video files on my device.


Movers, Shakers, and Other Major Players

Now we come to the really contentious section! The final four categories allow users to rank what most people currently consider to be the most influential PalmOS device manufacturers. Expect this section to grow as the ever-changing landscape of the market expands.

Palm Solutions Group

P-- Palm is an irrelevant dinosaur who watched their market pass them by.

P- Palm is on shaky ground, but it looks like theyíll pull through and continue to compete.

P I think Palm is doing ok, but in the volatile Handheld market nothing is written in stone.

P+ Palm continues to be a force to reckon with in the handheld market.

P++ They were the first, and they will continue to be the best.


H-- Handspring has abandoned its loyal customers to become a phone manufacturer.

H- After such a promising start it looks like their innovation is drying up.

H Handspring makes compelling products and has a shot at solidifying market share.

H+ Handspring is a great company which continues to evolve the PalmOS platform.

H++ Handspring has the core talent behind the original Pilot and will eventually rise to the top.

TRG Pro/Handera

T-- Lack of distribution and no color devices has doomed this company

T- Handera has great potential, but doesnít have the business know-how to cash in.

T Handera makes a niche product which inspires a small but loyal following.

T+ Handeraís innovations move the Palm platform forward.

T++ Handera makes some of the platformís best-engineered handhelds.


S-- I donít trust Sonyís mom-standard expansion format and graphics APIís.

S- Sony devices are flashy, but the product line turns over too quickly.

S After a lackluster start, Sony has gone on to produce some good products.

S+ Sony has become a cornerstone of the PalmOS platform.

S++ Sony simply makes the best handhelds ever.

Usage Examples

PB$(C)5 f b+ p++@ o+ m++ v++ g+ k r+ c++ n+ t- a+(++) e++@ P H! T S+

or alternatively:


Version: 1.0

PB$©5 f b+ p++@ o+ m++ v++ g+

k r+ c++ n+ t- a+(++) e++@ P H!

T S+