The Palm that Time Forgot

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Review: Palm IIIc
Review: Palm IIIe
Review: Palm V
Review: Palm VII
Review: Visor Deluxe
When Apple released an update to OS 9 on April 4, users of Palm and Handspring handheld organizers received quite a surprise. OS 9.0.4, it seems, was incompatible with Apple's newest system software, causing HotSync operations on many Macs to quit without doing their job--synchronizing and backing up information between your handheld and your Mac.

Of course, it's impossible for Apple to check with the creators of every application and peripheral released for the Mac before releasing an operating system update. But Palm is a Mac heavyweight, creating the operating system for the only handheld organizers that work with the Mac OS--its own Palm line and Handspring's Visor.

After Apple's update broke the Palm HotSync, Palm apparently got tripped up by its own bureaucracy. More than a month later, Palm users are still waiting for the company to provide an update to their software that addresses the incompatibility. By removing some of the items in the Palm's Conduits folder, many people have been able to synchronize some functions--but the important task of backing up files still doesn't work.

Handspring, the company started by Palm founders Donna Dubinsky and Jeff Hawkins, was relatively quick to provide a fix (about two weeks after Apple's posting). The result is that Handspring has managed to fill the void in which Palm is still floating aimlessly -- "aware of the problem," according to the company's official statement. (In addition, the company has yet to release an updater that will bring older Palm devices up to version 3.5 of the Palm OS, the release that ships with the Palm IIIc organizer.)

The good news for Palm users is that the Handspring update--although labeled "build 10" and evidently not a final release--works with some (and maybe all) Palm models as well. The bad news is, in order to download the software update, you need the serial number from a Visor. Maybe it's time to cozy up to that friend of yours who grabbed a Visor when you picked Palm?

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