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InnoPocket FlashPlus CF Adapter Review
By Robert Zach
6/16/2001

Hot on the heels of my last review of the InnoPocket FlashAdapter comes the InnoPocket FlashPLUS review. InnoPocket did it, they answered my "major gripe"!

InnoPocket bested their first offering and addressed the concerns on the basic FlashAdapter. The plus can now truly be called a SpringBoard module - it's Plug 'N' Play!

Specs: Compatibility: Visor Prism, Platinum, Edge, Deluxe
Handspring SpringBoard v1.1
Palm OS 3.1 and 3.5.2H
4, 8, 16, 32, 64 and 128Mbyte Compact Flash Cards
Size: (54 x 57 x 7.5mm) Weight: 15g

This device is so simple to use; To use the FlashAdapter just drop it in the SpringBoard slot the software and drivers are installed and ready to go. Pull the adapter out, and the same files are removed. The two screen shots below (gotten by selecting "info" from the built-in launcher app) illustrate the file sizes and versions of the utilities installed when the FlashPlus is slotted in.

As the next two screenshots demonstrate, full SpringBoard compatibility is now available - you can see what's on the FlashAdapter (not on the CF though) module and applications on the Adapter show up in the launcher (and the Category selector) pre-pended by a symbol.

As an added bonus, the Adapter also includes CSpotRun on the Adapter. This application is a DOC reader that allows you to read DOC files directly from the CF card.

About the only question unanswered about that hardware at this point is; "Does the FlashAdapter contain Flash". That is, can the drivers and CSpotRun be updated on the adapter. I know, I know, settle down.

Well with the hardware now squared away I focused more on the software. I tried many read/write/delete operations to/from CF/RAM. In fact so many that I ran the Prism's batteries way down. I was nice prompted with a warning stating that CF operations with battery under 14% may cause data corruption on the CF. I promptly put the Prism back in it's charger! ;-)

So looking more as FAFileMover I decided that I really like the ability to sort. And there is a preference to allow this behavior at application start. Simply select the primary sort as "info" and then the secondary as "size" and you can find those big apps that may be better served off CF (I moved all the big games off my Prism and onto CF for the occasional use).

But here's where I started nit-picking. I don't like the bytes vs. "K" display in the browser, I'd rather personally just see everything in Kilobytes. Also, I think there really needs to be a display of free memory both on the CF and in RAM. Several times I selected several items in CF to move to RAM only to be notified halfway through that there was not enough available free space - why not tell me this before I attempt the operation (this is especially important when you are moving an app that has several associated databases - they all HAVE to fit for the app to work).

I do like that fact that after performing an operation on multiple selections the selections are NOT cleared. This makes "moving" apps simple. Since there is no explicit MOVE function, you can perform a multiple select, then a COPY followed by a DEL - the selections are not cleared between the MOVE and DEL operations, making for an easy MOVE function.

The next thing I'd like to see from InnoPocket is support for running apps directly from the CF card. I believe the makers of the MemPlug (SmartMedia Adapter for the Visor are onto this with the PiDirect application due on June 15th).

Finally, I'd like to see support for Palm's VFS API. At this point the limitation is really a Handspring issue; my Visor doesn't run a version of PalmOS that has VFS nor is there an OS patch that makes it available. Others, like HandEra have written their own software to the spec. Having VFS would allow applications like BackupBuddy VFS functional - making CF a viable means for instant Visor backup and restore and eliminating the need for any type of external software or HotSyncing. In this scenario all I'd ever need is an InnoPocket FlashPlus - Visor owner bliss!

Overall, this is an exceptional product and InnoPocket has been really burning away the midnight oil in the engineering department. Congratulations to InnoPocket, and thanks for so quickly releasing this product!

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VFS is coming!!

josh @ 6/16/2001 12:01:24 PM #
Just wanted to let you know that Kopsis the writers of FAFilemover has announced that VFS will be added to his software sometime this summer. This will allow running files right off the card for all users of FAFilemover.
RE: VFS is coming!!
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/18/2001 6:02:20 AM #
VFS has capabilities distinct from AutoCF and PiDirect. VFS support by itself will *not* provide the ability to run apps off the card. Apps will need to be rewritten to take advantage of VFS capabilities. If CF adapter VFS is written to Sony Clie and m50x specs, MSMount may be able to provide AutoCF/PiDirect-like abilities.

Upgrade from CF Adapter

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/16/2001 5:07:58 PM #
Is there an upgrade path for those of us who bought the InnoPocket CF Adapter? Or do we just throw the old one away and pay full price again?


RE: Upgrade from CF Adapter
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/17/2001 12:35:55 AM #
yes,

it's called eBay!
seriously


Web page too wide

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/16/2001 5:09:33 PM #
Why must this page be so wide that even when zoomed on a 1024x768 monitor one has to scroll right to read everything?

Even better than making it smaller, MAKE IT SENSITIVE TO THE WINDOW WIDTH! Most pages on the web automatically adjust the page width depending upon the size of the browser window (with a set minimum). We're not talking ultra-futuristic technology here, folks!


RE: Web page too wide
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/16/2001 6:11:54 PM #
yeah it isnt hard. all you have to do is leave out the pre tags.

RE: Web page too wide
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/17/2001 12:53:56 AM #
It IS, it's only because the images.

RE: Web page too wide
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/17/2001 11:56:39 AM #
yes the images do mess the width up a little bit.

I made this page be the right width at http://www.stormpages.com/phs/palminfocenter.html maybe ED can take some thing from it.
(the page is mius the images)

Yes, drivers and apps can be updated

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/17/2001 2:13:48 AM #
"can the drivers and CSpotRun be updated on the adapter"

From the horse's mouth:


From: "David J. Kessler" <dkessler@k...>
Date: Wed Jun 6, 2001 5:19 pm
Subject: Re: Where is FileMover 1.4?

For the near term, whenever we release a new version
of the FAFileMover software, we will also release a
"flash installer" app that will program that version
into the flash in the Innopocket FlashPlus module.
So, for example, when we release 1.4.1 (1.4.0 is on
the modules now) with a fix for the >64MB problem,
Registered FlashPlus users will be able to download
an app that updates the module flash to version 1.4.1.

We'll continue to do that as long as our software is
the only software in the module. In the future, if
Innopocket decides to license additional applications
to include on the module, then we will work with them
to figure out the best way to manage updates to the
flash image.

One last thing I should mention is that our software
has been carefully designed so that you can install
updates to RAM and they will overide the software on
the module. This should allow FlashPlus owners to try
out development releases without the risk of trashing
the working software on their module :)

--
- Dave Kessler
President - Kopsis, Inc.
http://kopsisengineering.com


RE: Yes, drivers and apps can be updated
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/17/2001 2:39:07 PM #
Thank you to whoever added this juicy tidbit!
This is exactly what I was hoping was true.

-Rob Zach

Cheaper source in the US

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/17/2001 2:20:50 AM #
MatchBook Products has made arrangement to resell the FlashPlus for $42 + $3 shipping. They expect to ship by the end of June.

http://www.matchbookdrive.com/


So is it rewriteable flash memory?

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/17/2001 8:49:14 AM #
So is it rewriteable flash memory?

RE: So is it rewriteable flash memory?
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/18/2001 4:28:18 PM #
Yes, rewriteable.


?

yunn @ 6/17/2001 11:36:49 AM #
what is VFS ?
pls advise.
RE: ?
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/18/2001 4:28:38 PM #
Virtual File System, I believe.


Exceptional ?!

Anon @ 6/19/2001 8:50:19 AM #
I can't believe anyone would call such a kludge an exceptional product! It is amazing what Handspring users put up with & how they jump for joy when such non-miracle happens. This kind of products have been in development for quite a while yet they still don't:

1) provide any transparency to RAM based apps
2)allow running of apps from CF
3)have adequate file management
4) provide essential backup or restore etc.

This is compounded by the non-upgradability of the OS to support VFS. IMHO, Handspring users have been shortchanged from the start. The above is primitive compared to what can be done on the TRGPro or HandEra. The TRGPro with AutoCF has been able to do all of 1,2,3 & 4 plus a lot more for more than a year. Now the Handera can do even more. Even in its infancy (before AutoCF), the TRGPro was never so retarded.

RE: Exceptional ?!
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/20/2001 11:45:37 PM #
The reason I and many other did not buy the TRG products is that you could not go to a store and put one in your hands and try it out. Maybe I'm not adventurous, but that is something I like when I put a few hundred $$ down.

RE: Exceptional ?!
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/27/2001 9:31:41 AM #
If TRgPro is such a great device why is it only doctors and nurses are using it? I would like to see you turn your TRGPRO into a cell phone or pager. The Visor can (or have the potential) to do everything the TRGPro can do..plus!

RE: Exceptional ?!
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/4/2001 9:47:49 PM #
I believe backup (your gripe #4) is possible with the JackBack software available when ordering from Matchbook for an additional $10.

CSpotRun bug

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/20/2001 11:47:22 PM #
I just got my FlashPlus today and there seems to be a small bug with the CSpotrun. If you move your files to the card and then copy them back again, sometimes they won't be loaded properly into CSpot. Not a big deal, the whole point is to have everything on the card.

I do wish a better reader would access the cards. Nothing against CSpot, but it is rather primitive. No bookmarks even. I guess that is why it was so easy to modify.

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