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MemoWare Help - FAQs & Tips  
Q: What does 'PDA' stand for?

A: PDA = Personal Digital Assistant - a general term used to encompass electronic organizers and handheld computers.

Q: I just HotSynced a document I downloaded from MemoWare and now I can't find it on my PDA. What's going on?

A: Most files available at MemoWare require you to install additional software on your PDA in order to view them. For example, DOC format files require that a DOC reader application be installed before you can read DOC documents on your PDA. A list of the various file formats that documents come in here at MemoWare, as well as the applications needed to view them, can be found on these pages:

So, determine the type of files you download from MemoWare (it tells you this in the 'Formats' column, and you have to click on the format name (e.g. DOC) in order to download a file). Or, see the tip below on determining which format a file is in using a text editor. Then, visit the website of one of the reader applications for that type of format (listed at the File Formats page), download one of the reader programs, and install it on your Palm. Then, if you have already installed one or more documents onto your PDA, you should be able to read them. If not, go ahead and install the documents after loading the appropriate reader program. If these instructions don't seem to help, email me with additional details about what you're doing

Q: I don't have a PDA. Can I use MemoWare's document files on my personal computer?

A: Yes, some of the document formats can be read on PCs running Windows, MacOS or Linux. Notice what format each document you want is in, then go to the Help: File Formats page to see if there are Windows, MacOS or Linux reader programs available for those formats.

Q: What do the colored checkmarks mean in the document listings?

A: The checkmarks indicate which of the three platforms presently supported by MemoWare (Palm OS, EPOC, and Pocket PC) a particular document can be used with. This is determined by the "format" of the file (see Qs above), for a given format may be supported on some platforms but not on others. For example, there is at least one DOC reader program for each platform, so a colored checkmark would appear under all three columns for any document in the DOC format. You can check to see what application you may need for your device based on the file format by looking at the appropriate help page: PalmOS, EPOC, or Pocket PC.

My PDA runs on Palm OS, but it isn't a Palm (i.e., it's a Handspring, Sony, HandEra, etc.). Can I use any documents on the MemoWare website?

A: Yes, you can use any documents denoted as being compatible with Palm devices (blue checkmarks under the Platform column).

What's a .pdb file? What's a .prc file? Are they different?

A: PalmOS uses data files that are given the extension .pdb regardless of their format. For example, a DOC file of MacBeth might be called macbeth.pdb, and a an ImageViewer map of Chicago might be called chicagomap.pdb. (.pdb stands for Palm DataBase). The other extension, .prc, is usually reserved for PalmOS applications (i.e. programs), and it stands for Palm Resource Code. However, some DOC data files are named .prc as well. For example, the MacBeth document may also be called macbeth.prc. No file formats other the DOC format use .prc files for data files (I know this is confusing, but I had nothing to do with it). So, if you download a .prc file from MemoWare, it's most certainly a DOC file. If you download a .pdb file, however, make sure you notice what format it's in before you Hotsync (see the previous question for more info on this).

Tip: Determining what format a .pdb file is in

You can open .pdb or .prc files with a text editor like Wordpad and you will see, near the beginning of the file, the Type and Creator codes of the file. For example, if the .pdb or .prc file contains the text "ToGoToGo" near the start of the file, it's an iSilo file. You can also use Windows Find File to search for PDA files of a specific creator or type. For example, if you want to find all the iSilo documents on your PC, go to Start->Find->Files or Folders and search for files containing the text string 'ToGoToGo'. (This great tip was provided by Javier Bonet and Mark Worthington). I've compiled a short list of Type/Creator codes for some PalmOS document formats found here at MemoWare, as follows:

  • TEXtREAd = DOC
  • DB99DBOS = DB (Database program)
  • vIMGView = FireViewer/ImageViewer
  • PmDBPmDB = HanDBase
  • InfoINDB = InfoView
  • ToGoToGo = iSilo
  • SDocSilX = iSilo 3 (newer version of iSilo)
  • JbDbJBas = JFile
  • JfDbJFil = JFile Pro
  • Mdb1Mdb1 = MobileDB
  • DataPlkr = Plucker
  • DataSprd = QuickSheet
  • TEXtTlDc = TealDoc
  • InfoTlIf = TealInfo
  • DataTlMl = TealMeal
  • DataTlPt = TealPaint
  • dataTDBP = ThinkDB
  • TdatTide = Tides
  • ToRaTRPW = TomeRaider
  • BDOCWrdS = WordSmith

If you run Win95/98/NT, you can use the pdbhdr utility from Richard Hartman to determine the Palm database name, creator code and type for .pdb and .prc files. Or, if you are a Linux user, Hasan Umit Ezerce has crafted up a simple shell script that will tell you what file format a .pdb file is. You can download doctype (doctype-1.2.tar.gz) here, and command-line execution is in the format doctype [path/filename.pdb].

I have the right reader program, but I can't view document files that are supposedly in a format that the reader program handles. What's going on?

A: A few problems might exist. First, make sure you have the latest version of the program you are using. Some reader programs have been updated to create a new file format, so newer document files may not work with older versions of the reader program. Second, make sure that you are using the correct program with the document you installed. See the first Q&A above. Third, if the program you are using is shareware and you haven't registered it yet, it may have a limitation on the number of documents you can see at any one time. Try either using a different reader program or visiting the website for the one you have currently installed to see if it does this prior to registration.

Q: What does the M symbol mean?

A: Items marked with the M symbol are documents that can only be found here at MemoWare. We have made special arrangements with the copyright holders of these documents so that we can offer them here in PDA formats.

Is there a Adobe Acrobat PDF reader for PalmOS devices?

A: Yes. Adobe has released Adobe Acrobat Reader for PalmOS. Alternately, you can convert the PDF files to DOC format files using one of the Acrobat-to-DOC converters listed at Help:Creating Files, and then just use any DOC reader to read them on your PDA.

Tip: Problems "unzipping" archive files

According to Charlie Combs Orme, there is a bug in the Mac version of ZipIt that prevents it from unzipping a .zip file containing more than one archived file. In fact, ZipIt will even corrupt the .zip file, preventing any other software from being able to uncompress the .zip file. So, MemoWare recommends that you download a FREE copy of the latest version of Aladdin Systems' decompression utility for your operating system:
    Windows: Aladdin Expander 5.0 for Windows 95/98/NT 4.0
    Mac: StuffIt Expander for Mac
    DOS: UnStuff/PC for DOS
They all handle .zip (Zip), .sit (StuffIt), and other compression formats, and they're FREE.

If you want to "unzip" files from the web on the fly for use on your PalmOS device, check out PalmZIP. It works great even from a PalmOS web browser!

Why documents with .exe extensions don't work?

A: Netscape 4.x sometimes renames downloaded document files from their appropriate extensions (usually *.prc or *.pdb) and changes them to *.exe - PLEASE rename the files you download to *.pdb, as there are NO *.exe document files in MemoWare's archives.


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