Quickies: S360, Treo in France, Backdrop GC v2.0

The current version of Mark/Space's The Missing Sync, which lets Macintosh computers use Sony handhelds, doesn't work with the new S360. According to a company spokesperson, they are working on a new version that clears up the problem which sould be available in a few weeks. -Ed

Handspring and SFR (Groupe Cegetel), a French provider of mobile communications services, have announced that they will jointly distribute the Treo line in France. It will be available at the beginning of April at retail stores throughout the country and Handspring's French webstore. -PR

Twilight Edge Software has released Backdrop GC 2.0, a new version of its wallpaper software for 160 by160 color Palm OS devices. It allows users to install a FireViewer format image as a background screen that will stay in place while other applications run. The new version adds support for full-color foregrounds on 16-bit color devices, as well as improved app settings controls, and OS 4.1 compatibility. It costs $16. It also requires TrapWeaver, which is $5. Hi-res color Sony devices will be supported in an upcoming separate product, called Backdrop HR. -Josh Freeman

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You also have to buy TrapWeaver.

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/20/2002 9:32:36 AM #
...which also bumps the price up to 21 bucks.

BAIT..... (and switch) :(

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/20/2002 9:49:58 AM #
Tell more please.

RE: You also have to buy TrapWeaver.
Ed @ 2/20/2002 10:04:18 AM #
Thanks, I missed this requirement. I updated the article.

News Editor
RE: You also have to buy TrapWeaver.
GregGaub @ 2/20/2002 10:59:21 AM #
Why? Because it's essentially a system hack, but they didn't want to follow the HackMaster convention for doing it (or couldn't, I guess), so they're requiring TrapWeaver to help make sure people's Palms aren't crashing every time they switch apps. TrapWeaver helps makes sure system traps don't interfere with system operation. A good hack manager, such as the freeware X-Master does a good job of this already. I wish they had just made this BackGround thing a normal hack, 'cus then people could use whatever hack manager they want (such as freeware X-Master!) and not have to buy extra software to bolster the stability of Backdrop.

RE: You also have to buy TrapWeaver.
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/20/2002 11:32:12 AM #
Interesting... I haven't heard mention of trapweaver in a few years now and had assumed xmaster or tealhack made it obsolete. Thanks for the info.

Forground not full color

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/20/2002 12:12:16 PM #
The forground colors are actually limited to 256 colors on a 16-bit device, but that probably looks pretty much like full-color anyway. I wish they had better forground color support for a iiic. I get one color only for forground which doesn't look too good. Even 16 colors would make a huge improvement. I know, I need to upgrade....

RE: Forground not full color
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/21/2002 4:30:36 PM #
The IIIc is 12bit and because it runs OS 3.5 it is only compatible with 256 colors. (OS 3.5 isn't 16bit compatible itself).

TrapWeaver clarification from the author

jfreem1 @ 2/20/2002 5:37:45 PM #
I apologize for not being clearer in the Backdrop documentation: While Backdrop requires TrapWeaver's system patch protection to be installed before it will run, TrapWeaver does not have to be registered in order for Backdrop to work. TrapWeaver is included for convenience, just as HackMaster is with some hacks - both of these programs are fully functional even if you haven't paid the shareware fee.
Although TrapWeaver is to Backdrop as HackMaster is to hacks, TrapWeaver and HackMaster are rather different. HackMaster was developed as one way for system patches to be installed without conflicting with each other. In order to take advantage of this protection, you have to write your patches in the form known as a hack. While your hack is then protected from conflicts with other hacks, it is still vulnerable to patches which have been installed by applications or drivers that were not written as hacks. These types of patches are also vulnerable to each other.
TrapWeaver protects patches similar to the way that HackMaster does, but it extends this protection over the entire system, so that all apps that patch traps, and not just hacks, are stabilized. Unlike HackMaster, though, TrapWeaver is not an extension manager; It does not install hacks or patches for you - it just sits there waiting to protect the patches that get installed by other programs.
If TrapWeaver seems to have disappeared off the radar, it's only because it gets updated very infrequently. System patching on Palm OS 4.1 is done exactly the same way as it was back on Palm OS 1.0, and the design of TrapWeaver has changed very little since its inital release in 1998. I would argue, however, that it's just as, if not more, important today, where, along with many more apps, there are more add-ons, such as springboard modules and keyboard drivers, which may install patches.
Even with Backdrop installed, your decision to purchase TrapWeaver should only be based on its own usefulness to you. If you don't feel that it improves the stability of your device when working with system patches, you don't have to register it. If you hardly ever use hacks or programs that install patches, and only have it on your device to run Backdrop, you don't have to register it. On the other hand, if you are using hacks or patches and can see a noticable reduction in system crashes, I humbly ask that you pay the shareware fee for the benefit you are receiving.
I would've liked to have written Backdrop to use the HackMaster protocol, as that would've saved me the effort that went into writing TrapWeaver, but unfortunately, it simply was not possible.

Josh Freeman
Twilight Edge Software

What about Missing Sync for Mac OS X??!!

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/20/2002 8:32:52 PM #
Markspace haven't even posted a notice about the present EXISTENCE of Palm Desktop for OS X yet, so I don't know what that means for a full OS X version of Missing Sync.

How hard could it be, really? It's a subclassed USB driver, right?

In any case Markspace should get on the ball with an announcement: we Clie users are getting pretty antsy...



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