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loading files on your Palm


Team Firefly
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Looking for a program to load the logs and pages with waypoints and descriptions onto my Palm. I have found alot in the search files on PPC but doesn't seem like anything for palm.I have been trying to get the mobility reader on the geocaching site to work on my Palm and can't figure out how to download the pages to the Palm. I downloaded the program and that is as far as I got. I go to a site and how do I get it to download the pages?

 

May the GPS be with you.

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Well, up until a week ago I was using MobiPocket to put the files on my Palm device but then I discovered "Spinner". Spinner and I'm hooked !

 

Mobipocket is a simple install and doesn't need a conversion but with Spinner, the search is so much easier and the display is great. Even has "Nearby Caches" at the end of each log.

 

You need 'Plucker' so you can put the html files of the cache pages on your Palm but the instructions GPX Spinner Help

There are helpful links on the page. These people have done a great job! ;)

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Yep, GPX Spinner and Plucker are the way to go, assuming you are using windows and you are a paying member. If you use a Garmin with MapSource, EasyMPS is also a good program to use. Here's the details...

 

Get Plucker at

http://www.plkr.org

 

Get GPX Spinner at

http://www.gpxspinner.com

 

Get EasyMPS at

http://www.iancowley.co.uk/caching

 

Install all on your PC. I find that it helps to put a shortcut to GPX Spinner on my desktop because you have to drag-and-drop. HotSync your Palm device so that the Plucker Reader is on your device. EasyMPS is just a program (no installer), so just unzip it in a directory somewhere (I use C:\GPS for reasons that I will elaborate on later).

 

On your "My Account" page, create a "Pocket Query". Pocket Queries are a Premium service, so you have to be a paying member to get them. Create as many as you need, just make sure to choose the "EasyGPS GPX Format" in the "Formats" section of the Pocket Query options.

 

When you get your email from Groundspeak, save the file whose name is something like 12345.gpx in a place that's convenient. I choose C:\GPS because it's short and sweet, so I will use that in this example.

 

Drag and drop 12345.gpx onto the GPXSpinner icon you've placed on your desktop. In the C:\GPS folder, you will now have a file called 'spinner.gpx' and a folder called 'cache'. We'll focus on spinner.gpx for a few moments and worry about the 'cache' folder later.

 

The GPX file has been Spinnerized to modify the cache names and waypoint symbols according to rules you can define. The defaults out of the box are pretty good, but if you want to know more, go to "C:\Program Files\GPX Spinner" and look for spinner.ini. The instructions in the file are pretty straightforward.

 

You can now use EasyGPS to open spinner.gpx and download to your GPSr. If you use Garmin MapSource, you can open the GPX file in MapSource by dragging and dropping spinner.gpx onto EasyMPS and then pressing the "Open in MapSource" button. There's probably a similar solution for MapSend.

 

Now you have the data in your mapping program and on your GPSr. Now for your Palm. For this, you use Plucker.

 

The folder called 'cache' inside C:\GPS contains a bunch of web pages. GPX Spinner does a great job of indexing the caches according to who placed them, their type, whether they have travel bugs, proximity to one another, etc. If you open 'cache\index.html', you will see a nice web site with all sorts of useful information indexed in many different ways. I strongly suggest that if you use it, consider contributing to Lil Devil's war chest so he (Devil, you are a 'he', aren't you?) will feel encouraged to continue.

 

In a nutshell, Plucker is an Open Source version of AvantGo. Not exactly, but for the sake of this discussion, it's a good enough analogy. I'll forgo editorializing on open source because it's a useless Holy War, but suffice it to say that Plucker isn't always the most user-friendly solution. The Plucker Desktop helps keep "fools and children" away from the ugly details, but they are right there, beneath the blue and white surface.

 

Launch the Plucker Desktop. You will need to create a "channel". A channel is essentially a web page that is Pluckerized and turned into a Palm Database that can be read by the Palm reader. To create a channel, press the "Add a new channel" button (the first on the left). Give the channel a name, like "My Caches". This is how the database will appear on your Palm, so if you want to have more than one set of caches on your Palm, give them unique names. After giving it a name, you will configure the channel. On the first tab of the channel configuration, you choose the source of the channel. Press the radio button labeled "A local file" and put "C:\GPS\cache\index.html" in the edit field.

 

Change to the "Limits" tab. The first option is to tell how deep to make the links. What this means is how deep from the first page do you want Plucker to follow links to other pages. If you set this number to high, the program will never stop or create a really large file that is so large it can't be transferred to the device. If you choose too small a number, none of the really cool indexes in the pages made by GPX Spinner will work. I choose '3' most of the time. This generally makes about an 800K PDB from each channel. Also useful to know if you are using an older serial-connected Palm. Also consider the 'Stay on Host' option. This prevents accesses to any web page outside the server being Pluckerized (i.e. your computer). I find this useful to keep the database clean of extra junk, but you won't get maps, icons, etc. from the geocaching web site. Also look at the options on the 'images' and 'Output options' tabs if you find that useful.

 

Now it's time to create a place to store the database by pressing on the 'Destination' tab. The destination is your Palm Device. Press the 'Add Handheld' button. Find your HotSync user name in the dropdown list. Choose the additional options that make sense for your situation. Press OK to choose a Destination device and then press OK again to get out of the channel configuration.

 

At this point, I would suggest that you quit the Plucker Desktop and start it again. I've had some odd bugs pop up after creating channels.

 

Choose the channel that you just created and press the "Update Selected Channels" button. This is the fifth button from the left. If everything is configured correctly, you will see a window pop up that shows the progress of the conversion. If you are on an average PC and didn't set the limits too high, the conversion process should take 2-3 minutes. One of the goofy things about Plucker is if you move the mouse around over the progress window, it will appear to work faster. It doesn't really, it just updates it's progress more often. If you are the type that likes to watch water boil, then move your mouse around. There's a lot of work going on behind the scenes here, so be patient.

 

When Plucker is done, assuming everything went alright, you are ready to HotSync. Put your device in the cradle and press the HotSync button.

 

After the HotSync is complete, launch the Plucker Reader on the device. You should see the name you chose for your channel in the list of databases. If you don't see the list, press the 'Folder' icon in the upper left to get a list of databases.

 

At this point, you've got good, usable data on your Palm and your GPSr. Remember that only a few levels of links are going to be operational, so you may find links that don't work if you dig down too deep. Other than that, it's a pretty good solution and it saves a lot of paper. Just don't drop your Palm in a creek while you are caching like an unnamed Geocacher I know. Fortunately, he works for Palm and has a stack of these things lying around.

 

Good luck.

 

-E

Edited by TresOkies++
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My choice is neither spinner or cachemate.

 

I download 500 caches at a time. Cords to the Garmin 76 and cache descriptions to the Palm. Takes about five minutes.

 

1. Obtain "gpx" file from Pocket Query (a membership is only 3.00 a month)

 

2. Place that file in a empty folder containing only "GPX2HTML" (its free)

 

3. You now have "Easy GPs" file and "Html" files.

 

4. Use the easy gps to load your Garmin or that M one.

 

5. Highlight "index" in html file and convert to Plucker. (yes you need plucker)

 

6. Result is "index html" Click on this with Hot Sync running

 

7. Plug in the Palm and hit the sync button.

 

Its amazing.

 

wingryder

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Put me down as a CacheMate user. Yeah, it's a few bucks, but I think it's worth it.

 

I think the unregistered version now allows some imports. The older versions wouldn't allow you to fully evaluate the program since you couldn't load it from file. I only tried Spinner/plucker once but it ate up more memory and I didn't like the display.

 

Keep in mind that what you have with Spinner/Plucker is static pages. CacheMate is a database which allows you to edit, update, log, catalog and sort and find nearest cache to current location. Stuff I find hard to believe that Plucker could do.

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I have to agree with the cachemate users, i started off with this program as a "well it's only a couple of bucks, so what the heck..." and have watch every option, complaint and comment address and added by the author. I have NEVER seen such support for a piece of software (HEY GATES, you listening!)

 

Buy it and you won't need anything else...

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What type of palm would you recommend for using Cachemate (used from pawn shop or Ebay)

I think most any Palm that meets the OS requirements of CacheMate will do. You might prefer a monochrome display as it will be lighter on the batteries and less likely to wash out in sunlight.

 

Obviously 8mb of memory will hold more caches then 2mb.

 

Yes, a IIIxe would work well. There might be an issue about older OSes and search, so a newer unit might be preferred.

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Thanks Geckogeek, I was looking around at some local pawn shops for a good deal and saw the IIIxe. Doesn't seem too bad for $45! Whatever I get, it has to plug in to puter via USB, as I have only one serial port and it is dedicated to my GPS! I will look some more; I have never used a PDA so I am unsure of what I'm looking for. I won't use it for anything other than caching, so I don't need the top of the line!

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Given the following;

1) Computer running Win 98 with more confusion than competency.

2) Magellan Meridian with competency gradually replacing confusion.

3) Three adult children wanting to know what to get their parents for Christmas. (The source last year of the GPSr)

What should I wish for?

a) The optimum. "Forget the grandchildren's college fund, think how happy you'll make your mom and dad".

 

and B) The adequate. "Don't spend too much, you've got a lot of people to shop for, but this would be nice".

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Whatever I get, it has to plug in to puter via USB, as I have only one serial port and it is dedicated to my GPS!

The IIIxe comes with a cradle or cable (Radio Shack was closing out cables at $5 if they got any left...) that connects to the serial port. Not sure why you need to dedicate your serial port to GPS full time. As long as you shut down the Palm HotSync program except for when you need to load the Palm, the two should be able to share. Cheaper then buying a PCMCIA card or USB to serial adapter.

 

I belive that Handsprings tended to connect to the USB.

 

The one issue about used Palms that that some people tended to wear out the digitizer and it would be flaky. Not sure how you'd asses that until you learned to write in Graffiti.

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Wouldn't I have to plug and unplug each one depending on which one I wanted to use?

Correct. But you probably aren't using your GPS when you load your PDA. Typically you'll download the info and upload to the PDA at home. Most GPSs don't work that well indoors. So the GPS doesn't need a "live" connection just then. Kinda of a hassle if you then want to turn around and upload the waypoints to the GPS, but that's life. :D

 

Uh, and digitizer?  :(

That's the ability of the PDA to sense what part of the screen you are touching. If that goes wacko it's like having a flaky mouse on your PC - frustrating.

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Yeah, crawling down there to plug and unplug the cable would be a bummer.

Thanks!

Oh, I thought you had a laptop with one port. Your options:

 

1) Use a extention cable so you can swap cables at table level

2) Install a switch box so you can switch between devices

3) Install another serial port (ISA, PCI, whatever your PC has available)

4) USB to serial adapter.

 

and

 

5) Continue to crawl under the table. :(

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I have a Sony CLIE (Palm 4.1) and use Spinner and Plucker. I have recently been hearing good things about CacheMate. Can someone help me understand?

 

Is CacheMate a replacement for the Spinner/Plucker pair?

 

I know that CacheMate also allows one to make notes and preserve them while on the hunt. Does it back up that information to some sort of PC database?

 

I currently use a spreadsheet on the PC to track hides and finds. Does CacheMate provide a more convenient mechanism?

 

The cost of experimenting with another piece of software can far exceed the purchase price!

 

Thanks in advance,

 

Team Geo-Jedi

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Yes, CacheMate is a replacement for the Spinner/Plucker combo, with added features (nearest cache search, log database, etc.).

 

The two databases that CacheMate maintains that would need to be backed up (main cache database and cache types list... there are several others for which backup copies are pointless) are backed up as PDB files when you do a Hotsync.

 

The question of CacheMate being "more convenient" than your spreadsheet would depend on the information you're tracking, and how you have it organized, compared to the way that things are laid out in CacheMate. The program does allow storing of caches that are found, not found, and ones that you own. Those are standard categories... you can create others if you wish.

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Can CacheMate work with multiple GPX files?

 

If I want to use CacheMate for a history of all my finds/hides will I be able to combine multiple GPX files and manual entries so that I can handle archived caches?

 

Will CacheMate let me read old logs?

 

Is the PC tool to convert the GPX files to a PDB equivalent to the Plucker Desktop, or is it more like the Spinner tool.

 

One of Spinner cool parts is the changing of cache type. Does CM do this?

 

BTW, this was a topic of discussion at a recent SoCal Geocacher's event. There were a couple of rave reviews for CM.

 

Team Geo-Jedi

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I currently use a spreadsheet on the PC to track hides and finds. Does CacheMate provide a more convenient mechanism?

I guess it depends on what you mean by more convenient. One of CM's failings is that there is no desktop utility to work with the database and sync it. Once you transfer the data to the Palm, you're kinda stuck doing all the manipulation on the Palm after that. (Or re-importing data)

 

It would be nice if CM had a desktop utility that worked like the Palm desktop - you can do your datebook on either platform and sync. The Palm is great for "on the spot" but the big monitor and keyboard makes the PC a good heavy editing tool.

 

Or did I miss a feature? (I still haven't got around to loading 3.0....) Since the database is backed up during a sync it sounds like it should be do-able.

 

All said and done, CM is a field-updatable caching database. Spinner/Plucker is webpages. I think CM is better and with the rapid rate of improvement is pulling away from S/P.

Edited by GeckoGeek
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CM allows you to read the old logs, hints etc if you choose to tewll it to load them on your Palm.

 

Basically, you get a pocket query in GPX format as per your specification, you launch the PC application, you choose which caches you want on your Palm (I have had over 500 at one time for about 1.5Mb but that was just playing around.

 

When synced, Cachemate merges the caches you selected with any in its database, preseving your logs, updating old logs etc.

 

All CM fields are text that you can alter if you wish, so you can add, delete or change info o nyour Palm as you wish.

 

Caches can be imported or exported as Palm Memos to a simple template.

 

It will sort caches by distance from a cache, or from a position given by a GPS if you have acabe to link your palm to a GPSr

 

In all, very quick, very clever and very well done. Well wort hthe pitance it costs.

 

BTW I use a PalmIIIxe upgraded to Palm OS 4.1 and due to a Serial port crisis on the home PC I use a non-branded USB ot Serial converter that looks like a brick to upload data to my GPSr. It seems to work faultlessly.

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