Scientists To Use Palms on Arctic Expedition

The staff members of the German mobile computing magazine Palmtop-Pro were asked by a group of scientists to suggest the most efficient data collecting tools for their next trip to the Arctic, scheduled for June. The magazine proposed the Palm platform together with a handful of top Palm programs for the research expedition, including BugMe!, TinySheet, and WordSmith.

The scientists will be using BugMe! to handwrite notes and sketches directly on the screens of their handhelds, beam them to colleagues, and set reminder alarms. They will be using TinySheet on their specially-designed Palms as one of their reporting tools for the data captured during their expedition.

WordSmith was chosen for its RTF compatibility. Boris Michael von Luhovoy, publishing editor of Palmtop-Pro, said "On a expedition out of reach from any outside help you have to rely on working solutions which are proven and have a perfect history. That's RTF. Conflict with data means that the scientist's data could be corrupted or lost - incurring millions of dollar going irreversibly down the drain."

All in all, seven Palm applications and a handful of other Palm solutions were selected for this journey.

To enable the scientists to use the handhelds in the sub-zero temperatures of the Arctic environment, the Palmtop-Pro consultants have not only disassembled each of the devices and filled the interiors with special polymer fibers that can withstand 90 degrees below zero (Celsius), but fitted an electrical and computer controlled heating inseam in a watertight "OtterBox" PDA case.

The expedition will be on the Polarstern, a large-scale floating laboratory considered to be the most important tool in Germany's polar research program. It is equipped for biological, geological, geophysical, glaciological, chemical, oceanographic, and meteorological research and houses nine research laboratories. It spends almost 320 days a year at sea and has completed more than 25 expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic since it was first commissioned in 1982. The ship has at most a crew of 44 and offers work facilities for an additional 50 scientists and technicians.

On the Web:

Special thanls to Kaerrie Simons, Kevin Doel, and Tamara Hinds. - Ed

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I.M. Anonymous @ 5/15/2001 9:42:57 AM #
Great story - where is the Palmtop-pro magazin sold in the US?

David Goldstern

RE: Polarstern
Geo @ 5/15/2001 1:38:57 PM #
The magazine and its Web site seem only available in German ( language in Germany. If you use Google to look it up they have a new translation item, but online attempts at translating are usually pretty funny. :)

Polarstern in english
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/16/2001 12:13:19 PM #
The link to english text the icebreaker Polarstern is to be found on:

Theres also some funny text of a most northern Palm-Bar opening on the vessel:

RE: Polarstern
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/19/2001 2:43:00 PM #
For all german speaking visitors:

Die Seite:
wurde mit vielen weiteren Informationen upgedated

A update in english of the above mentioned page of the icebreaker "Polarstern" is coming in the next days.

wordsmith link doesn't work

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/15/2001 1:41:36 PM #
The link for WordSmith and for BugMe are both .net I think they should be .com and WordSmith is spelled wrong.

RE: wordsmith link doesn't work
Ed @ 5/15/2001 1:46:56 PM #
Thanks, you caught me in the middle of editing the page. It is finished now.

News Editor
Palm Infocenter
RE: wordsmith link doesn't work
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/15/2001 1:58:36 PM #


altema @ 5/15/2001 4:31:09 PM #
I'm curious about which model they selected, and also wondering they would select a spread sheet application which take up more memory and has no graphing or charting capacity. Seems like MiniCalc would have worked better.
RE: Details
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/15/2001 5:05:42 PM #

We selected 5 Palm IIIc which where totally disassambled and fittet with a electrical heating system mounted in a undistructable Otter box.
Also 2 Symbols are making it to the Arctic.

We selected TinySheet from iambic for the expeditions spreadsheet as it has small footprint, is rock solid and - and thats very important for us a extreme responsive team behind.

For Wordprocessing we choose Wordsmith / and for Taskmanager shadow /

The complete list of software heading to the Arctic can be found on:

The hardware:

Boris von Luhovoy
publishing editor
Palmtop-pro Magazine

Ed @ 5/17/2001 11:45:29 AM #
Boris, I don't know how much information the scientists will have to be entering but did you recommend any external keyboards? In a rugged environment, I would suggest the GoType over the Stowaway. It is better able to be used in places where there isn't always a flat surface to set up on and the GoType has far fewer moving parts to get gummed up.

News Editor
Palm Infocenter
no keyboard in Arctica
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/17/2001 4:58:37 PM #

In heavy gear with three thick gloves worn over in a ice storm dragging a sledge on a stiff towel and watching for hungry polar bears, a keyboard is unpractical. Any additional thing like a cable, once fallen in the snow or ice, is furthermore most surely lost

In Palmtop-Pro magazine 24 you find that the scientists have to drag themselves a heavy sledge with a lot of instruments over the ice in a extreme environment. This is so cold that any metal had to be avoided (thick covered) on the outside of any gear as human fingers freeze under low temperatures immediately on any metallic surface. . So we had to firmly attach the Palms to the heavy coats by laces.

We turned for data entering and management to a very special Freeware software: "Cybertracker" developed for African Nationalpark troopers and bushmen, (read details after scrolling down in English on the programm(er) Louis Liebenberg and his awarded project on: enabling virtual illiterate people entering the most complex data by only typing on a icon. This seemed to us perfect also for university professors then.
Icon approach is the only practical and simple solution given the enviroment.
Cybertracker-software enables anybody, no matter which nationality literate or ilitterate, to enter and manage even the most complex data, including automatic GPS data attachments to the data itself.
The Icon approach helps also a lot if you have a multilanguage research team to service with a Palm.
We worked (as always) with the developer together and run a multipart workshop on Cybertracker in our magazine – so we are quite familiar with the software.

Palmtop-Pro Magazine

RE: Details
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/18/2001 4:46:06 AM #
You can see the first three pages of the article in the current Palmtop-Pro magazine edition showing the scientist / correspondent Dr.Christian Haas (with a scientific gear to be moved on a sledge) as well as some screenshots from "Cybertracker" on:


. @ 5/15/2001 9:11:31 PM #
don't forget to have exciting games with their palms during spare times.
RE: game
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/16/2001 12:50:12 AM #
proposals of the best games for the Polarsten scientists on there PalmIIIc's to:

We shall install the winners;-)


game selected for expedition
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/18/2001 3:30:18 AM #
The Palmtop-Pro consulting team of the polarstern expedition proudly announces one of the most efficient recreation tool accompanying the scientists to arctic:

Blue Nomad's Mines for the PalmOS.
It is in color and will help the scientists stay in a good mood.


RE: game
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/18/2001 10:32:23 AM #
If you are looking for a real great color game for your Palm , have look at V-Rally it΄s a fast and funny race game with the best grafik on a mobil unit .

official Arctic game
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/18/2001 1:07:14 PM #
V-Rally is comissioned - going on board;-)

Frozen LCDs?

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/15/2001 10:24:12 PM #
Okay, maybe it's because I use the old Palm III-style screen, but wouldn't the touch-sensitivity and screen contrast decrease to an unacceptable level? You can insulate the handheld, but the screen still has to be accessible.

K. Tran

RE: Frozen LCDs?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/16/2001 12:44:23 AM #
We used a special plastic foil which remains benable at very deep temperatures from Caddilac plastics which is used in space and aeronautics to cover the LCD from outside - additionally we replaced the screen lighning with a heatpack.

Detail fotos can be found in the Palmtop-Pro magazine edition 23 - the magazine is available by internet.

Boris von Luhovoy

RE: Details @ 5/16/2001 11:38:45 PM #
Thanks for the information, and best wishes on your project. TinySheet lets you scroll in any direction using the hard buttons, which would help anyone wearing gloves or mittens. WordSmith is an excellent choice, and for games, Zap!2000 in color is truly amazing. It takes up 188k, slightly less than TinySheet. You might be interested in a small desk accessory called ClockUpDA. With NO overclocking, it will make the IIIc benchmark at 188%. You can use the overclocking feature to put the device past 200%, but you will need to back it down when hotsyncing or using an external serial device. It takes up a total of 10k, and it's free.

Paul Campbell

More Details
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/17/2001 2:09:36 AM #
Hi Paul!

When coming to consulting an expedition we are true purists.
No tricks, no stunts no spoiler. Thanks for your idea with overclocking anyhow.
On the other side - your good advice with Zap!2000 is honestly considered as valuable recreation software going to the pole.

We had a lot of unsuspected problems to fit – but our true problem consulting the Polarstern Crew was besides to choose the exact right software programs and adapting of the hardware the given soft & hardware enviroment itself.

We where unable to find an industrial A/D circuit exact and robust enough for the Palm anywhere in the world – believe it or not. After a decade of C/D players a hard to take blow – but sadly true.

That high quality A/D piece connextable to a GPS and a Palm was absolutely essential for the scientists for collecting the data.

Only a very tiny, high level A/D circuit with robust software would able to supply / convert all needed data (temperature, GPS data, communication e.g.) in the tough army quality standard requested by the Arctic scientists. If we could not have proposed a running system to their standard – they would have gone back to their PC / Laptop driven systems.

So as we could not find the hardware - we had to construct it ourselves from ground up. Just to find out shortly later, that also the (commercial or free) available software for A/D procedures where not good enough fo us.

Jarosch & Haas – a specialized company in Austria / Vienna after constructing the A/D hardware, had to write the program for that piece as well. All as free donation to support the scientists. Like we have done our consulting for absolutely free to show our dedication to the solutions of enviromental problems.

You can see and buy the very "Super A/D Arctic Wandler" which can be used in any industrial field where extreme precise data collection is needed, available directly from the constructor Jarosch&Haas under:

Boris von Luhovoy
THE magazine for mobile professionals
(sorry chaps – in german only)

RE: Games

Jean-Philippe @ 5/17/2001 2:53:35 AM #
I do not wish to get political here but I think ''Sub Hunt'' would be a good starting point for games...
The official "Polarstern" Games
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/22/2001 12:30:50 AM #
It was a hard fight and I had to step in in my capacity as publisher to clear the field in order to select the winner - to be named the official "Polarstern Game"

The winners are the totally simple but absolutely addictive "bejeweled" ant the classic "shoot em up in space" zap2000


Joshua @ 5/17/2001 10:00:48 AM #
Hey, someone on here said that they wanted to know what kind of Palm they are using-IIIc. I have one too! Hope I helped! And, just in case anyone here needs help, e-mail me at I am sure to help!
IIIc & help
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/17/2001 10:15:15 AM #
As further than 75 degrees you have no normal communication anymore we installed on board the vessel an Orbcom Satellite transceiver.

We shell invite betatesters in about 4 –6 weeks to start helping us to check if the pictures from the Arctic can be brought not only to our dedicated Arctic internetsite ( but well readable to palm IIIc's worldwide.

Watch our page ( for a announcement and invitation to betatesters.


I want one too!!!

SLASHER @ 5/17/2001 1:10:43 PM #
Is it possible to customize my handheld as the scientists have done, and if so, how much would it cost?

RE: I want one too!!!
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/17/2001 2:46:14 PM #
It is possible to change a Palm 3 , 3e , 3x or 3xe into a sheltered Palm with a 0,5MM Polycarbonat display foil build in a Otterbox with waterproof switches .IR window an a seriall 232 connector on its back . But there are many changes on the main board to do , we have solder a lot of kabel on main board to the waterproof switches an thinks liks this . This special one have heatfoil and sensors behind the display and a unit to control the display temperature .
A normal 3xe without displayheat foil a in modell 2000 Otterbox , RS 232 connector and holder for two AA battery cost 750$
It is possible to integrate a GPS unit in the Box . It is protected against dust , water and shocks . All switches include reset are outside and waterproof .
So this is my part.

For science mesures with a A/D connector and special software visit our electronics expert . He had devlop a very small A/D connector , it is small like a 9 to 25 Pin connector and takes it current from the Palms battery , with GPS and temperature support and he develop the software for your requisition .
More infos in the next release Palmtop Pro 24
Palmtop Pro


I.M. Anonymous @ 5/18/2001 3:40:02 AM #
This story is truly moving.
I believe many people want to have a look at the "arctic" version of PalmIIIc. Especially, for those who Kaizo(modify in Japanese) Palm, that pictures must truly be some treasures.
If you do not mind, would you like to unveil some pictures?


Akira Tsuneduka


Arctic Palm pictures?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/18/2001 4:06:59 AM #
You find the pictures in our Palmtop-Pro Magazin edition 23 in all stages of preparation – the magazine is available online via:
(Sorry – in German only)

Nevertheless Thomas is preparing a internetsite with some pictures – we shall notify the folks visiting this forum as soon as the page stands.


RE: Pictures?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/20/2001 7:53:36 AM #
New Pictures are next week available . We working at the temporarily final version . This is the unit with temerature controlled display with the size of a cigar box Otterbox Mod.3000 parallel the new pics of the small version without heatpack in Mod.2000 box for use at temperature over +6°C / 42,8°F .
If you not a scientist it's the perfect solution for play games at the pool -:)
The Arctic Palm is a 3xe , the display of the 3c is not usefull in the shining daylight in the arctis . For the small version it is possible to use a 3c with the option to use AA batterys or larger akkus .
Thomas Wildschrei
Contibution Editor
Palmtop Pro

RE: Pictures?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/20/2001 9:09:30 AM #
WOW - sooo cool. What's about a space version of this modified Palm!?

Space & explosives
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/20/2001 5:03:15 PM #
The space is quite a easy task.

The earth is luckily more complex than space – in every matter – without going into politics.

We are currently considering to try a Palm to be used in industries which may be used in explosive endangered environments – that’s a very tricky one – but with a little luck and help, probably we are able to take that hard nut.

Any interested series company, association interested in supporting our task in that field – pls. Come come forward and contact me:

RE: Pictures?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/21/2001 4:09:32 PM #
The new "Protected Palms" are covered to use in explosive endangered environments , weet surroundings , the main board , display and touchscreen are protected in a special gel also no air inside , nothing can be compress , nothing can expand . We will inform about the tests , temperatures , deep of dive , low-pressure , drop resistants .
Thomas Wildschrei
Cntribution Editor
Palmtop Pro

palm connector

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/7/2002 1:59:20 PM #
Can anybody tell me where I can purchase the 16 pin male connector for a palm.
I need it for a new development
Walter Bloechle

Palm use in humid, wet conditions

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/9/2002 4:56:26 PM #
I use a Palm IIIx as a data recorder in high humidity, wet conditions in the southeast U.S. Any advice on sealing/protecting the IIIx? Also, I have been using the DeLorme Earthmate as a GPS receiver, but find it awkward, any alternatives?


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