Adventures in using my palmOne Treo 600 as a portable audio player

I found a great article on the web-site of NormSoft Inc. (producers of the Pocket Tunes audio player), which gives excellent information and solutions for taking calls handsfree and using the PalmOne Treo 600 as a portable audio player. The article is titled "Why can't I use headphones with my Treo 600? The sound still comes out of the speaker, even with headphones plugged in!". In the explanation of the problem, it gives several very helpful links and ideas on hardware that is suitable for the Treo 600.

It definitely helps solving yesterday's difficulties. All that remains is to try out my Sony Ericsson P800 stereo handsfree set and/or acquire some additional hardware...


Adventures in using my pa1mOne Treo 600 as a portable audio player

I thought it would be pretty easy to play MP3 format audio files on my Treo 600. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be the case, and especially not without spending some money.

I purchased a 512 MegaByte (MB) Secure Digital (SD) from someone on eBay, and it just came in the mail today. It may be worth mentioning that I got my card for approximately the retail price of a 256 MB SD card; eBay is great for good deals on tech.hardware. So, now that my Treo has plenty of memory installed, it's time to use it for something I really love: Listening to music.

The first challenge I tried to solve was getting the music files onto my Treo. Most of my music collection that is on my computer is in MP3 format, which is the most common and wide-spread format these days, especially with current consumer electronics now able to play it. I made a search or two on Google, looking for instructions or directions. I found a couple sets, nearly identical, recommending that I use an SD card reader/writer. I thought that suggestion was a bit of a drag, since it would involve buying more hardware. Then I realized that I had an SD card slot in my laptop, which I have never used (I've had the laptop for about a year and a half now), since I have not had any devices that used SD memory. Copying the files turned out to be pretty easy. I spent the day beating up the SD card; throughout the tinkering I was copying and deleting music in various formats. At one point, when the SD card was in my [Windows XP] laptop, I deleted a file, and it disappeared from the list. However, the file was not actually gone - it was still there, just 0 bytes in size - and a refresh or something similar would turn it up. I formatted the card to a FAT32 file-system. My Treo did not like this format, and asked to format the card itself, which I let it do. Aside from that issue, I did not have any problems copying/moving files around. I guess the required format is FAT, but I'm not really sure - whatever it is, Windows XP was able to manipulate it.

Once I got some MP3s onto the SD card, I popped the card back into my Treo 600, only to find that there was no software to play the audio files. I figured I could find some free MP3 player somewhere on the web. I was wrong again! To make a long story short, I could only find 2 items of PalmOS-compatible software:

1) RealPlayer
I have not used RealPlayer ever since I found out they were sneaking spyware into their desktop software. I don't know if they still do such a sneaky thing, but I will no longer use any of their unethically developed software, thus avoiding the issue entirely. I did read that if you install the RealPlayer .prc file, it forces installation of some other ones. Sounds to me like they are still the same old assholes.
2) AeroPlayer from Aerodrome Software
AeroPlayer is free. However, one must pay in order to use the MP3 plug-in. HOWEVER, it plays audio in Ogg Vorbis format for free.

I decided that of the only two options I found, I would only try the one that didn't attempt to infest my property with junk. Plus, I read that Ogg Vorbis is often preferred over MP3 by audiophiles, so I thought it was worth exploring. I don't mind having to convert some files when I want to make them portable.

I went to Ogg Vorbis' web-site and downloaded their own official command-line tools, which allow you to encode (oggenc.exe), decode, and do some other things with .OGG files. I spent a good amount of time encoding some full-quality .WAV files. At this point I ran into another problem. Now that I had an audio player, and audio files in a format the player would play for a long time to come (i.e. no 'shareware' trial expiries interrupting my pleasure), I found that when my Treo's screen turned off, the audio would start skipping. I'm not really sure why. I have two guesses:

  1. When the screen is off, the Treo goes into a mode that consumes less energy, and subsequently has less processing power available in this power-saving mode.
  2. The data-rate required to read the audio data from the SD card exceeds that of my Treo.

Either way, I find it completely unacceptable to have my music blanking/gapping out or skipping. My first encodes were done in almost the highest quality; I used level 9 (parameter to oggenc: -q 9), out of a maximum of 10. A couple encodes later, I was playing .OGG files encoded at a quality level of 6. I still experienced some interruptions in the output, but at least they were less frequent. I ran out of play-time, so that is the best result I could produce today. I will try encoding at quality level 5, and hope that I don't have to go any lower.

I am almost ready for the final challenge in this adventure: Putting speakers to my ears and hearing the music in stereo! My Sony Ericsson P800 came with a pair of ear-buds that also had a microphone attached (a 'hands-free headset'), so I thought that the Treo 600 would come with something equivalent, and make this last requirement a snap. Strike 3; I'm definitely 'out'. For crying out loud, the Treo 600 came with a one-budded (or single-budded?) hands-free headset! What a disappointment :-( I am out of time and energy to continue on. I conclude this adventure with my findings [so far] of hardware that will allow me to listen to audio/music in stereo on my Treo 600:

Handspring Treo 600 PDA 2 in 1 Handsfree Headset and MP3 Headphones:
Looks to be the same thing as what my Sony Ericsson P800 came with, and exactly what I was hoping my Treo 600 included. Seems to be the most expensive option...
Headset for Treo 600:
Earbuds... No microphone. No good; I want to be able to take calls 'hands-free'!
Treo Stereo Headphone Adapter:
The cheapest option, allowing me to use any headphones with the normal 1/8" (one-eighth of an inch, or 3.5 millimeters (mm)) plug, but still no microphone for taking calls 'hands-free' on this option either!

Before I buy anything, I will try my Sony Ericsson hands-free earbuds headset thingy. The jack on it is the same size as with the Treo 600...


Some of Daniel Shakhmundes' web-sites

Here is a list of web-sites I have recently developed:


Everything, from professional to abstract!

Some of my other notable work:

The Leave the Pack Behind logo, which they have been using for years.
It is visible in many Ontario universities and colleges, as well as
their web-site on the top-left corner: http://leavethepackbehind.org/

The cover design for Lev Shakhmundes' book "We Are Different - So What",
which you can see near the top and on the left side of his web-site:

My relationship with Zinio

From: Zinio Customer Support
To: d_shakhmundes@yahoo.ca
Subject: I clicked on Account Cancellations (at the bottom of your email) and it took ... [Incident: 050328-000302]
Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2005 10:56:59 -0800 (Z) (13:56 EST)

Hello, Recently you wrote to Zinio Customer Support. Below is our response, along with a summary of your request. If this does not solve your issue or answer your question, you can reply to this message.


I clicked on Account Cancellations (at the bottom of your email) and it took ...

Conversation History

Response (Lynn) 03/29/2005 10:56 AM


We received and processed your "unsubscribe" request, and your Zinio account is now closed. You will receive no further email communications from Zinio, and no further magazine deliveries.

Should you wish to reopen your account at any point in the future, please feel free to contact us.

Zinio Customer Support

Customer (Dan Shakhmundes) 03/28/2005 09:47 PM

I clicked on Account Cancellations (at the bottom of your email) and it took me to this form. This does not look like an Account Cancellation form. I find most services/companies often provide a link to unsubscribe to email. How come you make it so difficult? Is it because your software is bloated and unappealing?

Before I tried Zinio, I thought it was a good idea. Then I tried Zinio Reader, for eWeek magazine, and I did not like it. I did not like your nasty copy-protection junkware, which makes me feel like I am infecting my computer with something; with your ugly little systray icon and your bloated "Delivery Manager" running in the background. I did not like how limiting the viewer was - not much benefit over a paper copy - keep in mind this is coming from someone who dislikes paper (I just thought that Zinio Reader sucked so bad...). I will not try Zinio again (not so soon, at least), just as I now refuse to use RealPlayer ever since they put Spyware in there. From a software developer and programmer stand-point, I think Zinio is poorly written/implemented, and a poorly executed idea/concept for software.

Now, if you don't mind, I'd like to cancel my account, the intention for which I clicked the link you provided. I hope your "Account Cancellations" link was not some sort of deceptive tactic...

Question Reference #050328-000302
Choose Magazine Title: Magazines
Sub-Product: eWEEK
Category: Unsubscribe Me
Date Created: 03/28/2005 09:47 PM
Last Updated: 03/29/2005 10:56 AM
Status: CL: answer sent
System Type: Windows XP

Daniel Shakhmundes' Brock Notes

This semester's courses:

PHIL2P13 - Indian Philosophy
PHIL2P17 - [German Philosophy of] Chinese Philosophy

I am thinking of posting/publishing the rest of my university notes, but just thinking about it...


Adventures in maintaining FreeBSD

portupgrade is finally done... That was definitely no less than two solid days of building/compiling! It is nice to finally run my favourite apps (Novell Evolution, Gaim, and Firefox) again, and KDE 3.4.0 has some noticeable improvements over the 3.2 series (yes, it has been about a year since I did a proper upgrade on Spiral). Most notably, is the inclusion of the KOffice office applications. I tried opening an OpenOffice Writer (.sxc) document in KWord, which seems to have worked quite well. The only thing that may not have worked/rendered, was a page border, but I did not spend much time verifying the possible issue (I have an essay on the Buddhist Dharmapada/Dhammapada to finish!).



by Soulfly

Album: Prophecy

Lyrics copied from LetsSingIt.com on 2005-03-27

What is wrong with humans from beginning of creation
Brutal dem a never gonna change no I
Father give dem life dat dem turn to sufferation
Politics dem worship in dem rage
They will never make to rule my life
No matter what takes I'm breaking their breaks
With Jah love humanity survive
No matter what takes I'm breaking their breaks

Moses, Moses where are u?
Please! Show up tell the children what to do

Father of creation
Give me inspiration
Father of creation
Give me inspiration
(is armmaggideon time)

What is wrong with humans from beginning of creation
Brutal dem a never gonna change no I
Father give dem life dat dem turn to sufferation
Politics dem worship in dem rage
They will never make to rule my life Ready Aim Fire

No matter what takes I'm breaking their breaks
With God love humanity survive
No matter what takes I'm breaking their breaks

Moses, Moses where are u?
Please! Show up tell the children what to do

Father of creation
Give me inspiration
Father of creation
Through da sufferation

In this world that seems so lost
Are we warriors, are we not?
So many battles I have fought
So many more, I'm a soldier of God
Men against men I don't understand
Hate breeds hate in this rat race
We against you, watching you fall
Follow me know, blood of my blood

In this world that seems so lost
Are we warriors, are we not?
So many battles I have fought
So many more, I'm a soldier of God

Tribal war
Jungle law
Follow me now
Blood of my blood

Moses, Moses where are u?
Please! Show up tell the children what to do

My thanks to Kevin Wronski

Adventures in maintaining FreeBSD

Well, after I got up this morning, I checked on my FreeBSD machine (Spiral). My VNC was disconnected, and so was my SSH session... Even my ping requests were not returned, among other attempts to try and communicate with it. Spiral was still humming away, so it wasn't reset or powered-off; maybe trying to move three movies from the box [simultaneously/concurrently] while doing a "portupgrade -a" was not such a good idea... My best guess is that Spiral over-heated and seized-up, which may have something to do with it being over-clocked. So, I reduced the bus speed from 133 MHz to 100 MHz (one step slower), and lowered the clock multiplier from 12.5 to 12. I didn't like how excessively warm it was running before-hand, so it was an over-due task on my agenda; I would rather sacrifice some speed, in order to increase longevity and stability. Anyhow, I now have portupgrade churning away again. I am hoping it won't be too long before I can run Novell Evolution, Gaim, and Firefox again (I haven't yet mentioned/written that I have broken the library linkage (atk, libpangox, etc.) more than once, while trying to upgrade ports using good ol' "make [de/re]install", hence yesterday's mention of portupgrade).


Adventures in maintaining FreeBSD

Earlier-on tonight...

My list of FreeBSD graphical (GUI) front-ends or applications for managing the ports tree (installed and installable programs), as of 2005-03-26:

Barry: http://www.student.uni-oldenburg.de/frerich.raabe/barry/

pib: http://www.freshports.org/sysutils/pib

BPM: http://www.meowfishies.com/bpm.rhtml

portsman: http://portsman.berlios.de/

Later-on that same night...

I should have just made sure that sysutils/portupgrade was up-to-date, and have been using that all along...
Ministry responds to fear of Islamic schools becoming 'incubators of hate'
by Juliet O'Neill, The Ottawa Citizen


Attacks on Jews up 47%, B'nai Brith says
More private homes a target
Canada sending mixed messages

This article was originally on the Toronto Star's web-site. Registration may be required to view the article there.


Mar. 16, 2005. 01:00 AM

OttawaCanada's international reputation is being damaged by a steady increase in attacks on Jews and Jewish cemeteries and places of worship, B'nai Brith leaders said yesterday as they released their annual audit of anti-Semitic incidents in Canada.

Citing a number of international reports on human rights and racism, Ruth Klein, national director of the League for Human Rights of B'nai Brith Canada, told reporters "Canada is mentioned with its difficulties" because of the increase in anti-Semitic incidents.

B'nai Brith recorded 857 anti-Semitic incidents in 2004, which Klein called "the highest number in the 52-year history of the audit" and a 47 per cent increase from 2003.

"The incidents have increased threefold in the last five years," she said.

Frank Dimant, executive vice-president of B'nai Brith, said Canada is sending mixed messages, and was particularly critical of the fact aboriginal leader David Ahenakew has not had his Order of Canada taken away after making anti-Semitic remarks in December, 2002.

Ahenakew, former head of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations and the Assembly of First Nations, was charged in June 2003 with publicly promoting hatred against an identifiable group after he told a reporter the Holocaust was justified.

"How is it possible that a man ... who spews hatred still has his Order of Canada?" Dimant asked. "Are we sending mixed signals to the Canadian population?

"I think that sends a message around the world that we don't have the political will to enforce some of the rhetoric we hear after anti-Semitic incidents."

Toronto saw a 28.6 per cent increase with 405 anti-Semitic incidents, "the highest number ever recorded for any city in the history of the audit," the report showed, including a two-metre high swastika being painted on the building housing the offices of a Jewish organization, anti-Semitic remarks during a student council meeting at York University and various acts of vandalism and graffiti. York Region Police reported a total of 105 hate crimes in 2004, as compared to 92 in 2003; 72 of these (68.6 per cent) were directed at Jews, 12 at the black community and three at the Muslim community.

In Canada, the number of attacks on private homes increased from 95 to 151, which Klein called particularly disturbing since it implies premeditation.

Across Canada, incidents include a Jewish home in Calgary spray-painted with the words Hitler Rules, and graffiti on a city street in Cambridge, proclaiming: Help Save The World. Kill The Jews.

Dimant said the effect on Jewish synagogues and social institutions has been chilling.

B'nai Brith called on all major police forces to create dedicated hate crime units. It urged the federal government to draft more stringent legislation to prohibit the publication of hate speech, and to amend the Criminal Code to include Holocaust denial as a hate crime.

The group called for a broader role for the Canadian Human Rights Commission and urged human rights education in schools.

With files from Canadian Press


Microsoft.com: A parent's primer to computer slang - Understand how your kids communicate online to help protect them. Published: February 4, 2005

An explanation of leet-speak: It only took Microsoft the last 10 years to sink this low. Thanks nevesis, J00 BUTT SPANKER CLIT SAQ SUCKER ASS NUGGET SHOOTER WITH CHEEZ BACON AND LETTUCE!

My Road to Damascus, by Benjamin Kerstein, FrontPageMagazine.com, September 22, 2004 - An article with an interesting perspective on politics.


CBC News: Ontario passes ban on pit bulls

What an embarassment for Ontario! Rather than creating/supporting a bill for tougher fines for irresponsible dog owners (instead of putting concentration on one breed) and developing a database of dog bite incidents, my provincial government would rather single out a particular breed. Sounds just like something the Liberals would do... They should seek advice from someone like Sheila McDonald, the director of Canadian Federation of Humane Societies, because they obviously do not know how to effectively deal with [potentially fatal] "dog bite incidents".