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Developer: The Price:
  • $10
The Pros:
  • Zips and Unzips
  • Easy to use

The Cons:
  • Only Unzips to device RAM

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HandZipper 1.1.2 Review
By Edward Green
4/8/2002


Overview
Zip files are one of the most common methods of desktop file compression and most downloaded Palm software comes ready zipped to reduce download time. HandZipper offers limited compression and decompression of Zip files on VFS-enabled Palm handheld.

Getting Zipped
Zipping files already in your handheld's main memory is as easy as selecting a few tick boxes. Once you have decided which files to compress, hit the Zip button and a dialogue box pops up offering a choice of two compression levels and for a name for the archive. The compression levels are straight forward: either zero compression or about 60% of original size.

This size reduction was born out in tests; 5.2 MB of files on my Clié were archived into a 2.8 MB Zip file. This Zipping operation did take several minutes however, and cannot be interrupted.

Only files in device memory can be archived; files on your memory card are unavailable.

Getting Unzipped
The Unzip operation is as straight forward as zipping. You can Unzip files created by HandZipper, or install other Zip files directly to your memory card.

Here, however, is HandZipper's main limitation; Files can only be unzipped to the handheld's main memory, they can't be unzipped onto the memory card. HandZipper recognizes files which aren't standard Palm file types and, although it tells you they are there, it doesn't let you do anything with them.

Adding Zip files to your memory card is straightforward; On your PC simply drag the file into the Palm install tool and it will install onto your memory card at HotSync. Software can be downloaded in Zip format, copied onto a memory card and then unzipped and installed into device memory, although the unzip operation can take some time.

Uses & Limitations
The main use I can see for HandZipper is as a back-up utility. It lacks many features of other back-up software, although it does offer excellent compression, and a archive format that can be directly uncompressed on a desktop machine.

A second possible use is for the maximization of memory card space. Infrequently used software or files can be zipped to almost half their original size and stored on the memory card. For applications that use large files such as Acrobat or Teal Movie this is a definite advantage. However, HandZipper also disappoints in this area because it can only unzip into device memory, limiting the user to a file no larger than free RAM.

It is also worth mentioning here that some Palm Applications create filenames that are illegal on desktop machines, PowerRun for example uses "**", which cannot be unzipped under windows.

Conclusion
HandZipper is easy to use and stable. In the future, when Palm e-mail applications can receive attachments and save them to external memory, or perhaps when HandZipper can unzip a wider range of files straight onto a memory card HandZipper will become invaluable. At the moment, however, it feels a bit like a solution waiting for a problem.

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Very useful for software installation

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/8/2002 1:01:16 PM #
I registered this a long time ago, because it's nice to be able to keep zip files of my favorite software on my card in case I need it. If I don't have much time, I can also transfer a zip file directly to my card and then work with it later.
Scott
HandEra moderator

Palm Infocenter Review Wave

Ronin @ 4/8/2002 3:05:40 PM #
This recent wave of hardware and software reviews on Palm Infocenter is very welcome. I especially like the fact that the reviews are diverse (i.e. software, hardware and literature) and are from diverse reviewers with different perspectives.

Is this a conscious attempt to broaden the content of the site or is this wave just stuff that has been in the pipeline for awhile (I note that this is a review of HandZipper 1.0 when I believe the current version is 1.1.2).

Either way keep up the good work and the more info, the better.

RE: Palm Infocenter Review Wave
Ed @ 4/8/2002 3:50:22 PM #
We've always had a few people writing reviews for us. Heck, Rob Zach has been working on the site longer than I have. But last month we had a big backlog of products that needed reviewing and it was more than I could handle. So Ryan and I asked a few new people to step and and take care of it for us.

I'm glad you think it has worked out well. I agree so you can expect to see more reviews from them in the future.

> I note that this is a review of HandZipper 1.0 when I believe the current version is 1.1.2).

The review is of the most recent version. Sorry, I was thrown off by the developer's site. All the documentation is for 1.0. It isn't until it comes time to actually download the app that you find out it it s 1.1.2. I've corrected the review.

---
News Editor

What would really be nice...

Altema @ 4/8/2002 3:11:47 PM #
Would be if there was a way to download zip files from the internet directly to your palm expansion card. That way, you could download and install applications from PalmGear without your desktop using this app. I accidently clicked on a zip file some time ago while surfing, and my browser downloaded it to my palm RAM. Crash, bang, reset.

I did find a related feature in McFile that is neat; If you receive a beamed file when McFile is open, you can choose the save location. Great for beaming native jpegs directly to your card.

RE: What would really be nice...
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/8/2002 4:15:26 PM #
If you have an expansion card for your Palm, the palm desktop install tool lets you choose the location - the card or the RAM. I bet you were not paying attention to the install tool when you downloaded the PRC.

RE: What would really be nice...
big_raji @ 4/8/2002 4:30:14 PM #
OMG!

Maybe you weren't paying attention to the comment you replied to. :)

He was surfing on his PALM. He downloaded a zip file from the internet on his PALM. It crashed his PALM.

No install tool involved. Heck, no PC involved.

---
If you sing in french while hopping on one foot, the evil birds won't come out of your bathroom mirror.

RE: What would really be nice...
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/9/2002 9:15:43 AM #
The only solution which comes into my mind about downloading and installing software archives wireless is when the file is a prc-package. The software Combiner does this. It produces a selfextracting .prc file containing all necessary databases and files. I know a software site in Germany is publishing sometimes these kind of files. They also have a webclipping application which contains a Palm software called "downloader". With this you can go online, download these .prc archives and unpack them directly on your Palm. Would be great if this would work with ZIP files as well...

I only have a link with a description in German, I know there used to be something in English but I'm not able to find it anymore :(

http://pdassi.de/showstory.php?st_id=34

Here's a FREE Compression/Decompression utility

jonecool @ 4/8/2002 4:28:01 PM #
I've used PCompress for the past three or four years. I had a few e-mail exchanges with the Author that he should publish this on PalmGear. I don't think he ever did. Anways, it's an awsome tool, completely free and you can even download the source code for it...

http://www.jump.net/~syenne/pilot/pcomp.html

*Note-If you like it, be sure to drop him a note and let him know. Also, ask him to publish it on Palmgear :) It's really a great utility.

RE: Here's a FREE Compression/Decompression utility
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/28/2002 2:05:47 AM #
I use pz to compress eBooks to read on a plane, store rarely used applications, do backups of config files, the uses goes on. pz is freeware too.
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