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Dell Axim X50v Device Spotlight

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Settings for MobSync Tue Sep 20, 2005 2:21 pm
As mentioned earlier, I have started using MobSync to backup data on my Pocket PC device, the X50v. I use it to backup the data in Built-in Storage, the data on my SD card, and the data on my CF card. While there are many options, I thought I would show you how I have it configured for my needs.

Settings for MobSync

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User Guides Tue Sep 20, 2005 2:21 pm
I just finished up two articles. I thought you might like the links. Enjoy!

Converting a DVD using FairUse Wizard LE
I have been in search of the simplest and easiest way to take a DVD and make a video that is viewable on a portable device, such as a Palm OS5 device or a Pocket PC device. So far in my search, I have come across a very simple way to take a DVD and make a video that is viewable on a handheld that only requires approximately 242 MB.

Listening to 1SRC Podcasts on a Palm Device
I thought I might share the various ways you can listen to the podcast on your Palm device. There are several ways to do, and they fall in two different groups. One group involves downloading the podcast to your computer and transferring the podcast to the Palm. Another group involves wirelessly downloading and/or streaming the podcast on your Palm.
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Good Deal on a SD Card Tue Sep 20, 2005 2:19 pm
Ever since I have been using my PDA to watch movies and to listen to music, I am always looking for good deals on external memory cards. I have also been paying closer attention to the performance of external memory cards because the speed of the card makes a huge difference when transferring movies and music. Even if you do not watch movies or listen to music using your PDA, faster memory cards can help improve the performance of almost any application that accesses your external memory. Today, I came across a Kingston - 512MB Elite Pro SD Card for $35.99 with rebate ($47.99 without rebate). The rebate is limited to two per household. The speed rating of the Elite Pro SD Card is 65x, which is comparable to the Sandisk Ultra II (60x - corresponds to a data transfer speed of ~ 10 MB/s). Currently, I have a 32x Lexar SD Card that works great, so I imagine 65x would be even better. The deal lasts through February 14, 2005.
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Good Deal on Compact Flash Card Tue Sep 20, 2005 2:18 pm
I came across a Kingston 2GB Elite Pro CF Card for $117.99 with rebate ($147.99 without rebate). The rebate is limited to two per household. The speed rating of the Elite Pro CF Card is 65x, which is comparable to the Sandisk Ultra II (60x - corresponds to a data transfer speed of ~ 10 MB/s). I picked one up myself, and I am very happy with it. The deal lasts through the end of February.
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More on Memory and Software Installation Tue Sep 20, 2005 2:17 pm
You have four possible locations to install software on the X50v assuming you have a SD card and a CF card. I have listed the four possibilities in an effort to help users decide where they want to install their software.

Main Memory (64 MB)
Main memory is the fastest location for software to run. While you can install software in the main memory, this is also the memory that is used for applications to run. Thus, the more software you install in main memory, the less memory you have to actually run the applications you have installed. If you lose power to the X50v, you will lose all the information stored in main memory.

Built-in Storage (128 MB)
This is the next logical location to install software. This is internal memory inside the X50v that acts as an external memory card. Unfortunately, read/write access is really slow for this memory. It is even slower than external memory cards. Unlike main memory, you will NOT lose the information stored in built-in storage if you lose power to the X50v.

External CF Card (Up to 12 GB)
If you have an external CF card, you can use it to install software. Actually, you can use it to store a lot of information. This would be very suitable for music, pictures, and videos. While the cost of 12 GB is very cost prohibitive for most people, it is available. Lower capabilities are available for much less. As mentioned before, read/write access is very good. It is not as fast as the main memory, but it is much better than the built-in storage. Speed differences are especially noticeable when running large applications such as TextMaker, PlanMaker, and Acrobat Reader. Of course, you will not lose the information on the external CF card if you lose power to the X50v.

External SD Card (Up to 2 GB)
If you have an external SD card, you can use it to install software just like an external CF card. You can use it to store a lot of information. While you are limited to 2 GB capacities for external SD cards, they are still very useful for music, pictures, and videos. As with an external CF card, read/write access is very good. Actually, it is slightly faster than an external CF card and much faster than built-in storage. Speed differences are especially noticeable when running large applications such as TextMaker, PlanMaker, and Acrobat Reader. Of course, you will not lose the information on the external SD card if you lose power to the X50v.

Some Things to Consider

Some software works best installed in main memory. These software titles include today plug-ins and device drivers for keyboards. I think Microsoft Money, eReader, and Microsoft Reader are other titles that do not want to work installed anywhere else. To be sure, I would check with the vendor of the software you use.

If you are thinking about installing software on external memory cards (SD or CF), you might want to consider how often you swap out the cards and what applications you need. If you swap out your memory cards often, you might consider installing your software using the built-in storage. It is slow, but you will always have your software available to you no matter what external memory cards are being used.

External SD cards are used in more PDA's than external CF cards. It is very popular among other Pocket PC devices as well as most devices from PalmOne. Even if a device does not have an external CF card slot, it will usually have an external SD card slot. I believe future devices will stick with external SD card slots, although I do believe that external CF card slots will remain an option on high-end Pocket PC devices. I say all this that if you purchase an external SD card, you are more likely to be able to use it with other devices now and in the future.

Anyway, just some things to consider.

My Experience
I am not an expert, but I have tried several different options. After trying several different things, I have a few recommendations.

Keep main memory as free as possible. Only install the necessities here such as today plug-ins, device drivers, and any other software that has to be installed here. Install everything else somewhere else (i.e. built-in storage and/or external memory). Keep the memory available for running applications. This will keep things running smoothly.

If possible, run large applications using an external memory card, preferably an external SD card (i.e. Adobe Acrobat Reader, AvantGo, PlanMaker, TextMaker, etc.). There is a very noticeable speed increase using an external memory card instead of the built-in storage.

My Setup
I have listed each memory location available and how I use it.

Main Memory: I have installed Microsoft Money, eReader, Wisbar Advance 2, and the keyboard driver for the PalmOne universal wireless keyboard.

External SD Card: I have installed all my other applications here including Adobe Acrobat Reader, AvantGo, BetaPlayer, BetaPlayer Intel 2700G Plugin, BibleReader+, Cerience Repligo, Resco Explorer 2003, Resco FTP Add-in, Resco Picture Viewer, Resco Picture Viewer, Resco Registry Add-in, SoftMaker PlanMaker, SoftMaker TextMaker, SplashData Splash ID, and WebIS Pocket Informant.

External CF Card: I put all my data on an external CF card. This includes documents, spreadsheets, pictures, music, and video files.

Built-in Storage: I have created a folder called 'Software Backup'. I have copied all the software from my SD card to this folder. This gives me the ability to copy software to another external SD card just in case I need to run the software with another external SD card INSERTed. I also have a folder called 'Document Backup'. I copy critical files from my CF card to this folder just in case. Last but not least, I have file attachments for my e-mail using built-in storage. This setting can be found in the Messaging application (Tools -> Options -> Storage).

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A02 ROM Update Tue Sep 20, 2005 1:42 pm
Dell has released a system update utility for the Dell Axim X50 and X50v. The update includes the A02 English ROM image for Windows Mobile 2003 SE. I have included some links below. The Aximsite link takes you to a thread that provides plenty of information about the update including a lot of users that have already gone through the update experience. To be sure I maximized my benefit from the update, I followed Dell's recommendation to re-install everything after I performed the update. My update for the X50v went without a hitch even though it was a lengthly process. Here are a few things to note when performing the update.

Before I start, I would like to note that this is why I would only choose to support Palm devices. Updating the ROM for the X50v is a difficult process that can be overwhelming for the average handheld user. I have never had to go anything as involved as this with a Palm update.

Windows 2000 and Windows XP
Sorry, but the upgrade utility only supports Windows 2000 and Windows XP. In addition, you will need your USB cardle and power to the cradle in order to proceed with the update.

Registration Information
From past experience, I have learned to keep a list of software in SplashID with all applicable registration information. Of course, you can use SplashID or any other application just as long as you record all this information in some form or fashion. I take this a step further by actually storing the software installations in a dedicated folder on my PC. I will keep this folder updated whenever I download the latest version.

Backup everything. I mean everything. If you have not already, you should develop a habit to backup your device regularly. I use MobSync to backup everything on my CF memory card, my SD memory card, and the Built-in Storage memory. Then, I use the provided backup utility with ActiveSync to backup the main memory. Finally, do not forget to back up the folder that ActiveSync uses to synchronize files between the PC and the handheld. To locate the folder, just go to the settings in ActiveSync for files. Better safe than sorry.

Note for SplashID Users: Be sure to backup your database on your desktop. If you reinstall all your applications as recommended by Dell, this will save you some trouble.

The Dell utility walks you through the update process, including saving the current ROM. Be sure you save the current ROM to your computer. After the update, you will need to hard reset your device. Be sure to take the Dell out of the cradle before you hard reset the device.


You have two options in restoring the software on the device. The first option, as recommended by Dell, is to re-install the software on the X50v. The second option, which does work, is to restore the backup you created before performing the update. While it does work, there is some functionality that you be missing. One feature alleviates the problem when you accidently hit the wireless button and it enables/disables the wireless connection. The update changes this behavior by requiring a second push of the button before it proceeds to enable/disable the wireless connection. The feature is not available if you choose the second option not recommended by Dell.

Restore (Recommended by Dell)
Before synchronizing the X50v, go ahead and delete the partnership on the computer using ActiveSync. I am not sure if this is necessary, but I like taking extra precautions. On the X50v, you will need to rename your device if necessary. By default, it is named Pocket_PC. If you want or need to change it, go to Settings -> System -> About. Then, go to the Device ID tab to rename your device. Now, you are at the same point you were when you first got your device. Well, you are one step ahead, you have your registration information, your software, and your backups. Now, it is just a matter of re-installing all your software.

Restore (Not Recommended by Dell)

Before synchronizing the X50v, configure ActiveSync to operate manually. In ActiveSync, go to Options -> Schedule. Under Desktop Schedule, change selection to manual. Now, place the X50v in the cradle. Restore the backup you created before you began the upgrade. You will need to soft reset the X50v. After the rest, you can configure ActiveSync back to operate continuously. In ActiveSync, go to Options -> Schedule. Under Desktop Schedule, change selection to continuously.

Aximsite Forum

Update for Dell Axim X50v

I will go ahead and put the link to the update for the X50 - QVGA.

Update for Dell Axim X50

Happy upgrading,
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Memory and Software Installation Tue Sep 20, 2005 1:40 pm
I got a question here regarding the storage. So far I only installed apps to main memory, I am wondering is it a good idea to install apps to the ROM? What type of software should I install into ROM, main ram and external card?I only have abt 10MB RAM left for program installation.

With my limited experience, most applications can be installed using Built-in Storage or an external card. Since I swap external cards often, I install software using Built-in Storage since it will always be available no matter what external cards I use. If you have an external card and do exchange your external cards often, you will get better performance installing the software to the external card than you will using Built-in Storage, especially if you have a fast external memory card.

As far as external memory goes, I recommend any of the following compact flash memory cards:
  1. Lexar CompactFlash Card - 1GB - 40X speed
  2. Lexar - 1 GB PRO 80X Compact Flash W/WA
  3. SanDisk 1GB Compact Flash Ultra II - 60X
and these SD cards:
  1. Lexar 1GB Secure Digital 32X Memory Card
  2. SanDisk Ultra II 1GB Secure Digital Memory Card - 60X
Note: I have not personally tested each type.

Of course, there are other places and other capacities available (256 MB up to 4 GB for CF, 256 MB up to 2 GB for SD), but I find these are very fast and worth the extra expense. I also recommend the Extreme III cards from Sandisk, but I have not researched prices. I have just reviewed the impressive specifications on Sandisk's web site.

By the way, I thought I would add a few more thoughts on memory for the X50v. One, the X50v accesses the memory on the SD card faster than on the CF card. Two, most handhelds have a SD card slot while many do not have a CF card slot, so you might be better off putting your money into SD cards. That way, you can use them for other or future devices.

Also note, if you purchase the higher speed cards, they usually come with a lifetime warranty while the lower speed cards usually just come with a five-year warranty. Anyway, just some more food for thought.

Take care,
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MobSync and MightySync Tue Sep 20, 2005 1:37 pm
After trying MobSync and MightySync, I would have to recommend MobSync. Even though it is free, MobSync has more options. I like the detailed log file. In addition, I like the ability to choose three synchronization types: (1) Synchronize both ways, (2) Computer overwrites handheld, or (3) Handheld overwrites computer. I think you will like the other options as well.

Take care,
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Synchronize Data on External Memory Card Tue Sep 20, 2005 1:36 pm
Well, I came across a need for my X50v. I wanted to synchronize my data on my CF card and on my SD card with my computer. I wanted to do this for two reasons. One, I wanted to backup the data on both memory cards. Two, I wanted to be able to quickly open the files on my computer without manually copying the files from my X50v to my computer before I opened them. Since ActiveSync only allows the "My Documents" folder in main memory on the X50v to be synchronized with my computer, I wanted something more. I found a nice program called MobSync that allows me to do this. It is free and has many different options. I found a shareware solution for six dollars called MightySync. On the surface, both seem to work well. I am leaning to MobSync because I prefer the user interface, and the different options available. I reserve to make any type of recommendation until I get through looking into them deeper to see what happens with different scenerios (i.e. changing out CF card, etc.,).

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Converting DVD's to View on the Dell Axim X50v Tue Sep 20, 2005 1:35 pm
I plan on using my pda for video playback frequently. I read that you played 'Shrek' on the pda and it looked great. The file size you listed as about 650 MB or so?
Have you had any luck reducing the final size of the video and still retaining enough video quality to make the viewing enjoyable?

Update (02/13/05): I have published a guide at 1SRC that describes this in much better detail. In addition, I figured out that you do not need DVD Decrypter, so the process got even easier.

Guide at 1SRC - Converting a DVD using FairUse Wizard LE

I have been playing with video for quite a while. Now, I am not an expert in any way, shape, or form. However, I have been in search of the simplest and easiest way to take a DVD and make a video that is viewable on a portable device, such as a Pocket PC device. So far in my search, I have come across a very simple way to take a DVD and make a video that is viewable on a Pocket PC that only requires approximately 242 MB (i.e. blank 256 MB memory card). You will need three pieces of software. For the Pocket PC, I recommend the following:

Desktop: DVD Decrypter
Desktop: FairUse Wizard
Pocket PC Device: Betaplayer

All three titles are freeware, but if you find they work for you, I encourage you to donate to the developers for their hard work and long hours.

The first two software titles are installed on the desktop. The third software title is installed on the Pocket PC device. I will explain the basic process of taking a DVD and making a video viewing on the Pocket PC. I plan on putting together a more detailed process with screen shots, but this explanation should get most people where they want to go.

Some notes before you begin:

1. You will need approximately 12 GB of free hard drive space on your computer. This varies on the DVD.

2. You will need approximately 242 MB of free space on a SD or CF card. A blank 256 MB card will work. You can make due with less if you are willing to live with a lower quality video. Of course, the more space you have, the better quality you will be able to achieve. I find 242 MB works well, and this gives me the ability to put multiple movies on higher capacity memory cards (i.e. 2 movies on a 512 MB card and 4 movies on a 1 GB card).

3. You will need approximately three hours to complete the process. The time I quote is based on my computer (2.8 GHz Pentium IV with 512 MB of RAM running Windows XP Home Edition). Depending on your machine, it could take less time or more time. Fortunately, most of the steps can run without you being there or can run in the background.

Conversion Process:


2. Run DVD Decrypter

Select correct mode to use for the FairUse Wizard. Use the menu to do so (Mode -> ISO -> Read). You will need to note the destination ISO file displayed on the main screen. Then, click on Decrypt (DVD to hard drive button). This takes about 40 minutes on my computer, but runs pretty good in the background. I am able to do other low intensity tasks like surf the Internet or check e-mail. Your experience may vary, so you might decide to do something else while your computer chugs away. Plus, it will take longer if the computer has to multi-task.

3. Run FairUse Wizard

From the main screen to the screen, just click Next. You can modify all the same parameters later.

When you are asked create a project, it does not matter the name or the folder of the project just as long as they are both there and valid. Click Next after filling in the appropriate information.

Next, it will ask you to select a DVD drive. This is where you will Browse for the ISO file created by DVD Decrypter.

Next, it will list the available "chains" on the DVD that you can select from to create a movie. Obviously, the "chain" with the longest duration will be the one you want to select. Select and click Next.

Now, FairUse creates an index that can take a while to process depending on the length of your movie. On my computer, the process takes approximately 15 minutes or less. This index helps synchronize video and audio.

After the index is created, a screen will be displayed where you can crop the video. I use the Auto Set, and then I adjust Left, Right, Top, and Bottom adjustments manually. Once you get everything like you want, click Next.

Then, it will ask for a field combination. Most of the time it needs to be IVTC mode, but you can just click on Auto Detect. After making the selection, click Next.

Finally, the final screen is displayed before the DVD is converted. This is where you can make all your adjustments. For a good conversion that will fit on a blank 256 MB memory card, change the file size to 242 MB and change the audio bit rate to 96 Kb/s. There are a bunch of options available, but something you may want to note is the video bit rate at the top of the screen when you change any of the settings. The video bit rate you are able to handle is highly dependent on your device. Most devices can handle a 200 kbps bit rate video and a screen size close to 320x240, but my experience is very limited. Of course, the X50v has a 624 MHz processor with a graphics accelerator that can handle VGA resolutions at 1500 kbps using Betaplayer. All I can say about this is, "Wow!!"

Note: The same process will work for a Palm OS 5 device that can run MMPlayer, but you will have to pay attention to screen size and video bit rate on the final screen before you convert the DVD (similar to way you would handle a lower end Pocket PC). To play it safe, stay around a screen size of 320x240 or less and a video bit rate of 200 kbps or less. You might even take the audio down to 48 Kb/s. Unfortunately, I have not done a lot of testing on the Palm platform using this process.

Well, you are almost there. Wink Now, you just need to kick off the conversion process by clicking on Next. Now, go off and do something else, like sleep. This process takes approximately two to three hours on my computer for a two hour movie. During this process, it will make three passes: a video, an audio, and then another video. After it completes, you will have an AVI file ready to transfer to your Pocket PC. As with DVD Decrypter, runs pretty good in the background. I am able to do other low intensity tasks like surf the Internet or check e-mail. Your experience may vary, so you might decide to do something else while your computer processes the conversion. Plus, it will take longer if the computer has to multi-task.

4. Copy AVI file to the SD card or CF card in the Pocket PC

After being away or doing something else for a while, the FairUse Wizard should have succesfully converted the DVD to AVI file in the folder you specified for the project. Just copy this to the SD card or CF card in your Pocket PC. You can do this via ActiveSync or via a card reader. Note: A card reader is much faster.

By the way, you can view the movie on your computer to check the conversion before taking the time to copy it to your Pocket PC.

5. Play movie on Pocket PC via Betaplayer

Now, it is just a matter of queuing up the movie in Betaplayer. I think you will be pleased with the results.

Best regards,
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