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Comments on: Review: WordSmith 2.1.1

Late yesterday, Blue Nomad released its delayed upgrade to its word processor, WordSmith 2.1.1. Its new features include VFS support, a spell checker, a thesaurus, and numerous other small changes. It is available now for $30. The upgrade is free to all registered WordSmith owners.

News Editor Ed Hardy brings us this mini-review.

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WOOHOO! Its out!

I.M. Anonymous @ 12/13/2001 8:40:03 AM #
When was the last time so many people are so excited about a software update?

never! Now let's open up the champange

RE: WOOHOO! Its out!
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/13/2001 8:57:08 AM #
Yes, cheers to you all. Another outstanding job by Blue Nomad.

On Time!

I.M. Anonymous @ 12/13/2001 9:48:50 AM #
It sure does seem very rare to have a software company deliver on promise. Great job Blue Nomad!

Custom Disctionary Crashes Palm

I.M. Anonymous @ 12/13/2001 10:10:52 AM #
Can Anyone else reproduce this error? Open a Doc up on the Pilot and goto Options - User Dictionary.

RE: Custom Disctionary Crashes Palm
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/13/2001 10:17:04 AM #
Yes,

I have a Clie' 610. Go to Options - User Dictionary and get a fatal exception.

RE: Custom Disctionary Crashes Palm
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/13/2001 10:25:02 AM #
Same thing happens on my m505. I've reported this to BlueNomad.

RE: Custom Disctionary Crashes Palm/ And my $.02
Quik_Fix @ 12/13/2001 10:38:44 AM #
I've reported it too. Crashes my 330. I'm sure they'll patch it shortly. Oops, they just wrote me back.


"Hello Quik_Fix,

Thanks for your message, we are looking into a fix for this issue and apologize for any inconvenience. We hope to release a fix for this very soon...Make sure you have version 2.1.1. For now, if you use the
spellchecker or thesaurus, it can access the dictionary without error. You will only have a problem if you try to access the dictionary
directly from the options menu"


I also asked them why my documents with slashes "/" in the title couldn't be transferred, and I felt a little dumb when they pointed out the somewhat obvious answer:

"filenames with "/" in them are not allowed with VFS. You may be able to keep the dictionary on the card if you can figure out how to run it from there.."

The last part was in response to my question of whether the dictionary could be kept on my 330's card; it works fine so far.

Now, about the thesaurus dictionary... Ed, I thought it used the same dictionary as Spellsmith? I don't remember seeing it in the files I put on. Are you sure it's seperate?

All things considered, this programs very will implemented. Kudos to the Nomads!


...In accordance with the prophecy...

Quik_Fix
quikfix@hotmail.com

Thesaurus dictionary
Ed @ 12/13/2001 11:16:19 AM #
> Now, about the thesaurus dictionary... Ed, I thought it used the same dictionary as
> Spellsmith? I don't remember seeing it in the files I put on. Are you sure it's seperate?

Yep. Look for a file called ThesData.

---
News Editor

RE: Custom Disctionary Crashes Palm
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/13/2001 2:34:33 PM #
Do you have enough RAM available to open the dictionary up?

RE: Custom Disctionary Crashes Palm
jeremyf @ 12/13/2001 6:56:23 PM #
I just dl'ed the new Wordsmith and it's 2.1.2 !

Looks like it's been fixed.

Version 2.1.2 Features (Dec. 13, 2001)
Minor Bug fix to user dictionary


One thing I am not clear about

Ronin @ 12/13/2001 10:33:25 AM #
Your review specifically mentions that the documents saved on the card are not backed up to the PC which is true for all files saved on the card.

However, I am not clear as to whether this also means that documents that are edited from the card will not have the changes synchronized to the desktop thru the WordSmith conduit.

Could you please clear up this confusion for me?

Also one other question comes to mind. Is it possible to set a document stored on the card as read only? It seems to me that this would help address the speed issue involved in transferring large documents to the Palm's RAM at least for documents like e-books that the user is unlikely to edit. A document marked read only could be handled similar to the way that PalmReader handles e-books stored on the card which does not require the full book to be transferred to Palm RAM.

RE: One thing I am not clear about
Quik_Fix @ 12/13/2001 10:45:30 AM #
In response to your question, no. The files on the card are not synced to the desktop when you cradle-up. I think it might mention that in the manual, but I forget. I read it somewhere. The docs only sync if they're in RAM.

I don't think Wordsmith handles docs the same way as the Palmreader. WS treats them the same whether they are read-only or not; it's slow either way. You could say that when it comes to speed, Palm's got us by the Dragonballs!

...In accordance with the prophecy...

Quik_Fix
quikfix@hotmail.com

RE: One thing I am not clear about
Ronin @ 12/13/2001 11:58:44 AM #
Quik_Fix wrote:
"The files on the card are not synced to the desktop when you cradle-up. I think it might mention that in the manual, but I forget. I read it somewhere. The docs only sync if they're in RAM."

If this is in fact the case, then I consider it a significant drawback to VFS support in WordSmith. I use my Palm as a supplement not a replacement for my desktop computer, the notion that a document created on or saved to my Palm could exist completely independent of my desktop does not appeal to me at all. The steps necessary to simply print the document would be daunting, forget about changes made to a document that is accessed on both the desktop and the Palm.

Wordsmith and your laptop

Coyote67 @ 12/13/2001 11:04:48 AM #
I'm probably wasting my time saying Wordsmith is the best palm prog I have ever used. I'm sure many feel this way aswell :). Amazingly well done programs like wordsmith are necessary for poeple who have totally replaced their laptop. As a business user, whats the point of having a laptop if all the functions are there in your handheld? Infact, I prefer using wordsmith to actually word, I feel it is so much better at what it does. Its amazing what you can do with your handheld these days. I remember when I had to lug my laptop to make presentations, now I use margi's module and it works just aswell. With modem,networking addons, you really don't need laptops. Can't wait for bluenomad to release their excel alternative.

Question, programs like documents to go are either included or are free with rebates from palm,handspring,and handera. Why don't they give us wordsmith instead?

---------------------------------------
When you have a Clie shoved up your mouth, you can only talk in vowels.

RE: Wordsmith and your laptop
Coyote67 @ 12/13/2001 11:13:15 AM #
Woops, just noticed handera bundles quickoffice and sony bundles documents to go aswell. Sorry about that sony and handera people.

---------------------------------------
When you have a Clie shoved up your mouth, you can only talk in vowels.
RE: Wordsmith and your laptop
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/13/2001 12:34:45 PM #
Also, you cannot place a bookmark in a file that is on the card. This is a very important item when trying to read ebooks or large docs from the card.

Handstory can do this, and it is only 160KB! (although it has no spelling, thesaurus, etc.)

If i have merely overlooked the bookmark function on card-loaded docs, please reply to this.

thanks

RE: Wordsmith and your laptop
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/13/2001 4:20:14 PM #
The Palm keyboard comes with a demo version of Wordsmith...

RE: Wordsmith and your laptop
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/13/2001 6:57:46 PM #
Question, programs like documents to go are either included or are free with rebates from palm,handspring,and handera. Why don't they give us wordsmith instead?


I like Docs to Go. I use WordSmith too but as much as I like it doesn't integrate seamlessly with Word on the MacOS. WordSmith won't sync files saved in MS Word format. DocsToGo does. Therefore it's much handier. At least for me.

RE: Wordsmith and your laptop
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/14/2001 11:15:10 AM #
If you purchase a PPK (Palm Keyboard) from ThinkOutside (the manufacturer), for $5 more you can get a license for WordSmith and Bachmann Software's PrintBoy. Total $104.00 + shipping. ($110 in the USA)

Not a bad bundle at all, I just ordered!

RE: Wordsmith and your laptop
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/14/2001 7:06:10 PM #
>>Question, programs like documents to go are either included or are free with rebates from palm,handspring,and handera. Why don't they give us wordsmith instead?
<<

The HandEra 330 comes with WordSmith on CD.

RE: Wordsmith and ToGo
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/16/2001 1:28:30 AM #
Documents on WSmith are smaller by 50% than documents on ToGo. Also ToGo takes longer to hotsync, even if no changes are made to the docs.


"If there's a doubt, then there's no doubt."

Backups?

I.M. Anonymous @ 12/13/2001 11:43:42 AM #
You said you can't backup the files on the Expansion Card...

Doesn't bluenomad also make BackupBuddy that will allow you to backup the files on the Card at each HotSync?

RE: Backups?
Coyote67 @ 12/13/2001 12:17:52 PM #
Backupbuddy can't, but backupbuddy vfs can. Which is also free, so you win anyway :)

---------------------------------------
When you have a Clie shoved up your mouth, you can only talk in vowels.
RE: Backups?
Quik_Fix @ 12/13/2001 12:25:06 PM #
When you say "back-up on the card," do you mean back-up TO the card or FROM the card? From what I understand, Backup Buddy VFS backs up info in RAM ONTO the card. I don't think it backs up stuff ON the card to your desktop. I've only heard one program claim to sync the card with the desktop, and I think it was Docs To Go. If Backup Buddy VFS did back up files on your card to the desktop, it unfortunately would not convert them to documents, so they would just be .pdb files on your computer.

I wonder if WS's inability to sync the card is based on some sort of OS limitation, or if its just remarkably hard to implement such a thing. I bet its a bear to integrate both card-syncing AND doc conversion. If only there was a program that read genuine doc and rtf files (are you listening developers??)


...In accordance with the prophecy...

Quik_Fix
quikfix@hotmail.com

RE: Backups?
Ronin @ 12/13/2001 1:08:00 PM #
Documents To Go definite does sync changes to documents back to the desktop and creates a desktop version of any document created on the Palm whether it is stored in RAM or on the card at the time of hotsync, in fact, DTGs implementation of VFS even permits the reader (Word to Go, Sheet to Go, WordView, SheetView and SlideShow to Go) programs to launch from the card as needed. The only part of the program necessary to stay in RAM is the manager which is approximately 115k. The only significant deficit to the way that DTG has implemented VFS functionality is that it does not allow for categories when the document is stored on a card.

As far as I know there is no program that can perform an automatic backup of the data on the card to the desktop thru a hotsync except possibly the new program BlueSync. BackupBuddyVFS does not do this, it simply a utility to allow the Palm RAM data to be backed up to a card, nothing more, nothing less. BackupBuddy does not do this either nor does the backup performed by the standard Palm hotsync conduit include any part of the expension card.

RE: Backups?
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/13/2001 2:46:20 PM #
But...as I said in the original post...

BackupBuddy DOES allow you to backup the contents of the card to the Desktop...

BackupBuddyVFS is just for backing up RAM to a Card.

RE: Backups?
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/13/2001 2:51:30 PM #
Here's an excerpt from the BackupBuddy manual:

"Backup applications and data on expansion cards - checking this option allows users of Handspring Visors to backup data on Springboard modules (this does not backup TRG’s CF card). Currently, this has been tested only with the Handspring 8 Megabyte Flash Card, though it may work with other Springboard modules as well. Leaving this option enabled will not slow down HotSync's, once the initial files have been backed up. Please note that currently HotSync is not able to automatically restore data to flash cards should they or your organizer suffer a failure. For more information, please see the Restoring Data section of this manual."

If SyncWizard allows access to the SD card via a "HotSync" function, then why can't bluenomad make this happen in BackupBuddy!!!

Looks like a feature request to me...

How about it bluenomad!!!


RE: Backups?
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/13/2001 2:56:46 PM #
UPDATED INFO:

From the BackupBuddy FAQ
http://www.bluenomad.com/support/supp_backupbuddy_win.html

I have selected to backup data in expansion cards. Why doesn't BackupBuddy backup my SD/MM card or MemoryStick?
BackupBuddy isn't able to backup the SD/MM cards at this time. We are planning on adding this support and hope to release a new version with this feature. The "backup expansion cards" feature was there for use with Visor expansion modules before SD cards came out.

RE: Backups?
Coyote67 @ 12/13/2001 2:58:02 PM #
Yep, its true, backupbuddy does back from expansion cards. Just noticed the option. Sorry for the confusion guys.

---------------------------------------
When you have a Clie shoved up your mouth, you can only talk in vowels.
RE: Backups?
Coyote67 @ 12/13/2001 2:58:51 PM #
Oh crap, I am such an idiot. I'm so sorry. Backupbuddy can backup the rom and flashrom expansion cards, but not sd/mmc/ms/sm/cf memory. Once again, so sorry.

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When you have a Clie shoved up your mouth, you can only talk in vowels.
Same discussion going on in another thread was RE: Backups?
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/13/2001 3:42:49 PM #
Looks here:

http://www.palminfocenter.com/view_Story.asp?ID=2739

Looks like we're not the only ones that want this feature...C'mon bluenomad...not time to sleep after WordSmith...get back to BackupBuddy ;-)

I especially like the one comment "bluenomad ensures me there working on this. especially since bluesync beat them to it" I wonder if this is facct or speculation?

bluemonad...you listening?!

Syncing problems with Mac OS X

I.M. Anonymous @ 12/13/2001 4:14:28 PM #
Curious if anyone else has experienced problems with trying to sync documents using the Wordsmith apps (Classic or Carbon). I have tested that the Classic app works fine running in only OS 9.2.2 to sync, but neither version will sync docs running in either OS X or in Classic within OS X.

Thanks.

Where is the dictionary?

I.M. Anonymous @ 12/13/2001 6:53:40 PM #
I downloaded the latest for the MacOS (version 2.1.2) from the bluenomad website and installed it according the instructions. However there is no spell checker, thesaurus or finetype manager in the version that I downloaded. Does anyone know where I can get the version with the spellchecker/thesaurus?

RE: Where is the dictionary?
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/13/2001 10:04:36 PM #
The MACINTOSH version carries the thesaurus, spellchecker e.g. in a "Extras" folder found after decompressing the sit.
Boris v Luhovoy
Palmtop-pro magazine
www.palmtop.at


RE: Where is the dictionary?
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/14/2001 2:21:43 PM #
Thanks. The version on PalmGear does have the "Extras" folder. The version I downloaded from the bluenomad website yesterday does not.

RE: Where is the dictionary?
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/14/2001 2:47:44 PM #
Okay I just figured out what went wrong...if you do the custom install I doesn't give you the option to install the dictionary and hence doesn't install it. If you do the easy install it WILL install the dictionary but not the VFS aware application. Wierd.

Another Version out already?

I.M. Anonymous @ 12/13/2001 8:07:52 PM #
Another new version seems to be out. Version 2.1.2 is found on palm gear.

RE: Another Version out already?
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/14/2001 3:52:21 AM #
Yes, that is to fix the Fatal Error when accessing User Dictionary from the Option menu.

Running Wordsmith from a memory card

I.M. Anonymous @ 12/13/2001 8:31:09 PM #
I have great luck running all of Wordsmith from my Smartmedia card on my Prism. Here is how I have it configured:
1. Wordsmith is located in the "Launcher" directory using the latest "Launcher III" - You must have PiVFS on your Visor for this to work.
2. Make a "Shortcut" to Wordsmith in Launcher III. This allows the hotsync conduit to see wordsmith & sync the files with word.
3. Put the dictionary in your \palm\pidirect directory. It runs fine from there. If you don't have a visor with a memplug, Pi sells Pidirect for all other devices. It is fantastic!

With this setup, my syncs work great, and Wordsmith and the large dictionary take up about 6K or 7K of space on my RAM, the rest being on my Smartmedia card. There is a 7 second delay in launching Wordsmith from my memory card (probably less if I had a CF or Memplug), but this is well worth the 500+K savings. The dictionary runs a little slower (how could it be slower???) but it is not that noticable.
Doug

RE: Running Wordsmith from a memory card
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/13/2001 11:23:35 PM #
That is a great idea! But if you had a PPC, you wouldn't have to worry about that. But, for the people who do have Palms (which I assume most of you have ;), then that is a great setup. Thanks for sharing it, and you may want to check in the reading times of CF, SM, and SD, so you can get the fastest (if money is not that big a deal).

RE: Running Wordsmith from a memory card
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/27/2001 11:14:13 PM #
It's true! Right now, only Visor users using Memplug, PiVFS and PiDirect can run Wordsmith and associated dictionary and thesaurus on external cards. Saves a heck of a lot of RAM at the expense of speed. Hey, you can't have everything, can you? ;)

Yet another reason to buy a Visor?

Recent convertee

Omnitron @ 12/14/2001 8:52:21 AM #
I only got into this last month after trying all the other demo programs available. I was really impressed at the changable FineType fonts. Some documents look SO much better on the Visor on it then say DtG or Quickword. And, at least with the documents I tested, I had less problems syncing with WS.

I was able to set my system up via the MemPlugCF to run with everything on the card. PiDirect has the programs and dictionaries under control, where PiVFSmgr controls all the storage of the files. Despite a false start that required a reinstall to clear, it seems to be working fine. I do have to have the appropriate PiDirectory active when I hotsync, otherwise nothing is synced to the PC. I thought at one time that I got a card based doc file to sync to the PC, but that might have been a temporary file or wishful thinking.

This program is CHOCK full of nifty features - expect to take a lot of time finding them all. But for me it fills the need - Tied with a Landware GoType Pro keyboard, this thing functions as my Laptop. And they got it out just in time for my business trip next week. I couldn't be more thrilled. This is a 5 star release...


=============================
Mark A. Brinkman aka Omnitron
=============================

Spellcheck speed problem is software, not hardware

Altema @ 12/14/2001 5:52:21 PM #
I've been running some tests on the spellchecking module of WordSmith to see how accurate the claims of not being able to perform better because of CPU speed by the developer. Different programmers have different way of producing code, and the routines of that code, as well as the language of that code, have a large impact on the speed of the resulting application. I became suspicious of the spell checking problem right away, and my hat is off to BlueNomad for questioning it's performance in the beginning, but also for realizing that a slow-show is better than a no-show. WordSmith has been, and continues to be, my favorite.

There are many examples of similar applications to do the exact same task on identical hardware, but there can be drastic differences in speed. Back in the old days, there were two major spell checkers for AppleWorks and /// EZ Pieces. One was Apple Speller, and I think the other was Speller ///. They both worked well, but Speller /// was light years faster in doing the same task. It is important to note that both were faster than the spell checker supplied with WordSmith.

I am not familiar with the third party vendor, but they need to rewrite their code, or BlueNomad needs to look elsewhere. You can't blame hardware when your product is out performed by 15 year old software running on a retired 18 year old computer with 256K of RAM. A quick comparison is below just to rule the "It's because it's a Palm" theory. Measurements are made in Words Per Second, running on a Palm M505 with 8Mb of RAM, 128Mb expansion, and all tested applications in native RAM. Document is a 275 word memo which could be checked by both applications. All words in the document which were missing from the dictionary were added to the dictionary so the test could be completed without interruption.

SpellSmith with large dictionary: 1.8835616 WPS
SpellSmith with small dictionary: 5.3921569 WPS
SpellMan with large dictionary: 28.947368 WPS

Same document, same Palm, same CPU. Has anyone else done some additional testing? Feel free to share your comments.


Blue Sync doesn't cut it

I.M. Anonymous @ 12/15/2001 2:14:19 AM #
One poster mentioned that Bluesync allows us to backup our cards to our computer and that's great. But what people are looking for from Blue Nomad is the ability to convert the files onto their desktop, not just back them up. Bluesynce will only put palm database files on the computer. You won't be able to use them with Word.

RE: Blue Sync doesn't cut it
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/9/2002 6:28:01 PM #
It depends on the file. BlueSync is simply keeping the files on the card in synch with the files on the PC. Those files could be industry standard .JPG images which are viewable with MGI's PhotoView, or MP3 files for those lucky Clie users with an MP3 player, etc.

The cards have a standard file system. BlueSync is a natural application.

IMHO: BlueSync DOES cut it

Clie Fatal Alerts

I.M. Anonymous @ 12/15/2001 1:07:32 PM #
Is anyone else getting fatal alerts with 2.1.2? I get them when I delete a file or when pressing on the Home button to get out of Wordsmith. I'm using a Clie S320.

Too Expensive

PIC mobile user @ 3/24/2002 8:03:22 AM #
Despite all that WordSmith does as a word processor on your Palm, it is an expensive, costly, high-priced application (I am pretending I am the thesaurus for WordSmith). Once it comes down in price, to about $15 or less, then I might think about buying it. It is an application I need, but not that badly. I will wait and see if these companies have any mercy on guys who can't afford as much as the CEO of Microsoft.
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