Comments on: Review: WordSmith 2.0

Blue Nomad recently released a new version of its word processor, WordSmith. This new version stands head and shoulders above its rivals, thanks to its excellent new FineType fonts and good support for Microsoft Word. Full-time News Editor and part-time reviewer Ed Hardy takes a look at this new app.
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Best word processor for PalmOS

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/2/2001 2:58:52 PM #
That is, if you have a color screen. The fonts on my Visor Prism look wonderful. The only disadvantage that I see is that if you use the FineType fonts, you cannot display color text (for obvious reasons).

One note about the review. I have had no trouble converting MS .doc files into WordSmith files. Perhaps you may want to double check this.

RE: Best word processor for PalmOS
Ed @ 8/2/2001 3:21:12 PM #
Geez, I forgot that's a Mac-only limitation. I'll go fix the review. Thanks!!

News Editor
Palm Infocenter
RE: Best word processor for PalmOS
tychay @ 8/2/2001 3:28:15 PM #
That is because Ed, like me, uses a Macintosh for presonal computing. The manual shows that while the Mac version only synch's RTF, the Windows version synchs both Word and RTF (as well as adds a menu to Word). Not important for me since I use AppleWorks when editing documents on the Macintosh--I no longer synchronize on my PC since Palm support for Mac has greatly improved. Documents To Go synchronizes Word on both platforms as well as Appleworks and the like---not surprising as DataViz's main business was Mac<->PC translators.

On the other hand, with MacOS X, Rich Text Format has become the de-facto file format for the built-in text editor (TextEdit) which has replaced SimpleText. This allows you to skip conversion. I'd imagine there are a lot of freeware and shareware editors out in OS X that use TextEdit's code and have rtf save/restore built in. As Macintosh's become more unix like this area will grow because people will be using more non-proprietary formats and taking advantage of many open source libraries for the Linux/FreeBSD with minimal port.

Some other things that might be noted about WordSmith is that the synchronization isn't "true" (I believe, I don't use WordSmith... just tested it out). Bascially it resolves conflicts by having the Palm file always overwrite the desktop, or so the manual said (my memory may be slightly faulty). In a way it makes sense because how do you merge a text file that really doesn't have a concept of "line by line" (a la Unix diff/rcs/cvs).

Finally the teleprompter/autoscroll features on Wordsmith is very different from the autoscroll feature built into other Doc readers. Other doc readers will scroll line-by-line probably because they can't write off screen with built in fonts. Wordsmith does a smooth scroll (with cleartype on, didn't test otherwise) that is a joy to read with this feature turned on.

This is an excellent product.

Take care,


terry chay Righteous Travel Deals in Record Time

san jose, ca, usa

RE: Best word processor for PalmOS
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/2/2001 4:26:21 PM #
Actually, not all other DOC readers do a line-by-line scroll. Both Smoothy and Qvadis Express have smooth autoscroll functions, which I agree makes for much easier reading.

RE: color and finetype
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/2/2001 5:26:19 PM #
You actually can use color fonts with WordSmith and finetype fonts. You just can't use the high resolution mode of the finetype fonts. This is where the color is used to smooth the fonts. Turn off high resolution in display options and you can use color..


JeepBastard @ 8/2/2001 6:17:56 PM #
This is the one product that I would say is worth over $20 for the palm. There are a few products out there that redefine what the Palm can do. This is one of them. I complain often about the high price of palm software, but this is one is a keeper.

This program seemlessly lets you work with word documents on your desktop and work with existing memos on your palm. This app makes all your documents ledgible. THe full screen function and complete control of the fonts lets you read documents easily without squinting.

In fact, I find it easier to write in graffiti when the output is larger.

This application should be a default app. Palm should Lisence it and it should come with Palm OS.

I highly recommended it. I cannot write enough good things about this app. Buy it. Nowwwwwww!


RE: Wordsmith
mikecane @ 8/3/2001 10:00:55 AM #
What device are you using it on?

Getting bloated?

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/2/2001 6:37:33 PM #
I have to dissent. I own Wordsmith, and it's remarkable what Blue Nomad can make a Palm do, but:

(1) It takes up a lot of space on the Palm, just for the app.
(2) The way it uses memory buffer -- unlike every other DOC reader I've tried -- means that you need something like 600k free to open a 250k file. This is very bad; I never have much free RAM on my Palm.
(3) It's almost unusably slow as a DOC reader when the doc is an ebook or of any substantial length.

I don't need formatting often, if ever. My solution: iSilo as a reader, and miniWrite as a text editor. Lean and spare and quick.

I agree. Is this app really necessary?
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/2/2001 7:45:52 PM #
Do you REALLY need formatting text on your Palm???

RE: Getting bloated?
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/2/2001 9:17:16 PM #
Do you REALLY need formatting text on your Palm???

YES, I do.

RE: Getting bloated?
red_vette @ 8/3/2001 2:32:27 AM #
>>(1) It takes up a lot of space on the Palm, just for the app.

Then buy a PDA (like the Visor) with expansion memory. Unless you are stuck with an older model (understandable since a new one requires $$$), memory issues these days really are irrelevant. I don't feel any effects of bloat in the least.

>>I don't need formatting often, if ever.

I do. I word process. I create documents on my Visor that I'm going to eventually print. I create documents on my PC that I want to further edit while on the road. I've gone through two years of grad school with just my Visor and the Stowaway and haven't had to lug a laptop around.

Who needs formatting? Probably 99% of us do. Thanks, Blue Nomad.

RE: Getting bloated?
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/3/2001 9:41:35 AM #
Yes thanks BlueNomad!

This product is a students best friend!

It has saved me having to either purchase a 2nd hand laptop (with failing battery life, screen and keyboard, etc...) or an expensive new laptop that is not cost effective at all for simple wordprocessing!

WS2 with its footnoting feature means that I can (and have) typed whole assessments using my Palm IIIx and a PPK.

RE: Getting bloated?
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/3/2001 5:17:28 PM #
I agree. While this is admittedly a FANTASTIC product, I have been unable to use it several times on my Palm Vx due to memory constraints. And don't tell me I need a new unit. Mine is just fine, thank you very much.

I use QuickWord. Granted it isn't the "word processor" that WordSmith is, but but as a "Word-connected" DOC editor, it really can't be beat. I click on a huge ebook file and it opens in just a couple seconds. WordSmith makes me wait, and wait, and wait, and...

Really, that's my only complaint with WordSmith. Fix that, and I'll buy it.

Love It

Cedric @ 8/2/2001 10:13:55 PM #
I use my Palm Vx the way people here at my school use laptops. This is sort of by choice. My family can't afford to buy me one. But I saved up and got a used Vx and keyboard. Use it for email, games, and I do homework on it. I write lots of papers with WordSmith. Its great. I really like that they gave free upgrades because I could just barely squeeze through buying 1.0.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that some people really need all the cool stuff WordSmith does.

RE: Getting bloated?

altema @ 8/3/2001 11:53:45 AM #
While large, I was pleased that the new features did not double the size of WordSmith as I've seen in other cases. I was concerned about the size of the app at first, but had to decide between giving up the space, or finding myself in a situation where a text editor was not enough and I would have to sync with my laptop just to finish up the document. I struck a compromise and used JackFlash to move WordSmith to flash memory. All the formatting capability comes in handy when I spend all day in a meeting or seminar, and someone else needs a copy or report immediately. I don't have to sync to "dress it up".

As far as the necessity of extra memory needed for opening documents, this is actually the better of two choices: 1. Have four 500k docs take up 2Mb with no additional space needed for opening. Or 2. Have have four 500k docs take up 1Mb with another 250k needed to open the docs. The latter choice seems to work better, as you can fit more docs on your Palm, and you will never have more than one doc open at a time (at least in this version). I have not had any speed problems, even with large ebooks. To the contrary, it runs faster than the first version of WordSmith, and did not struggle at all with my largest ebooks like a few of the other ebook readers I've tried. And this is on the 20Mhz IIIc, even with FastCPU turned off (please no jokes about my optional shoulder strap and hernia belt!).

Removable media support should have been added, as I can think of few uses which would serve removable media better than ebook libraries. The FineType really comes into appreciation with ebooks. My eyes used to get tired after about 45 minutes of reading standard text. With WordSmith, I can go on for a couple of hours.

The fonts were a little confusing at first, as the display font list and the formatting font list were different. The display fonts are loaded via a utility on the PC, and the formatting fonts are pulled from your actual documents. This was workable after I found out the different sources and how to manipulate them. BTW, you can grab your display fonts from your Palm backup folder and email them directly to your Mac friends. If you decide to delete any display fonts from your Palm, use another utility other than the standard Palm delete function. I did this and selected one font, only to find ALL the display fonts deleted. The next time, I used the delete function of JackFlash to delete a font, and it was smart enough to delete only the chosen font.

As a final note fo those who run WordSmith from JackFlash; if you ever hard reset your Palm and do a retore using the regular Palm backup files (by setting the counduits to overwrite the handheld), you will need to delete the extra copy of anything that was stored in flash BEFORE running the duplicated app. After this kind of restore in JackFlash, you will find two entries for apps which were in flash - one in flash and one in ram. Delete the copy in ram, but NOT the related DB's when JackFlash asks at the confirmation screen, and you'll be all set.

it's fabulous

ajf @ 8/3/2001 12:37:40 PM #
i cannot speak highly enough of blue nomad and what they've managed with wordsmith. i wrote my entire masters' thesis on my palm, and only used a desktop for final formatting and footnoting -- and now i wouldn't even have had to do that.

it's a beaut. i don't bother carrying a laptop when i travel anymore, and i travel a LOT.

Yeah but,...

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/3/2001 11:47:00 PM #
I hate to be the wet blanket here, but I'm currently hauing issues syncing a particular doc over to my PC and there customer service is polite but nearly useless. Anybody haue a decent amount of experience using this app that can help me resolve a hotsync issue? Please email me ->
RE: Yeah but,...
Altema @ 8/5/2001 10:56:10 PM #
I'll drop you an email and see if I can be of any help.

RE: Yeah but,...
aahthit @ 8/6/2001 1:14:30 AM #
That would be great. It seems to be only 2 docs in particular that have this problem. I've made sure that the "sync" box is checked but they still generate an error message. Any and all help would be appreciated!

RE: Yeah but,...
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/23/2001 12:14:14 PM #
It may be a compression problem. I was getting error messages trying to read files produced elsewhere I had opened in wordsmith. It turns out wsmith synchs by default in a "compression" mode that other programs can't read.
so far the best i have done is uncheck compression on each document.
i have asked wordsmith how not to synch in cmpression onto the desktop....

RTF support

I.M. Anonymous @ 9/24/2001 4:25:56 PM #
As a Linux user (don't have Windows in my PC) I wonder if Blue Nomad intends to give up RTF support to concentrate on MSWord.

Format conversion to a non-proprietary format such as RTF is welcome, as many word processors in severar platforms support it.

Indeed, I dream of the day when data interchange will be based on open formats, *NOT* on proprietary software.

RE: RTF support
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/2/2002 2:31:45 AM #
you sort of can, it's called html, plain text, xml :)


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