Monday, 4 July 2005

Synchronising a Palm Tungsten T3 with a Power Mac

There is one thing I have wanted to do since I got my : sync my with it so that I would get all my address book and calendar data on the Mac. So I brought my cradle back from the office tonight to see what I could achieve.


Breaking all geek customs, I decided to before attempting to do anything. I shall probably burn in geek hell for all eternity for that cowardly act but here is what I found:

  1. palmOne article on how to sync a Palm device using iSync,
  2. Apple article on how to sync a Palm device using iSync,
  3. palmOne article on how to sync a Palm device over Bluetooth with iSync,
  4. Apple article on how to sync a Palm device over Bluetooth with iSync.

Lo and behold, not only did I have documentation on how to sync my Palm but also how to do it over , feat that I had never managed on my work laptop. Full of hope, I got going.

Install Palm Desktop for OS-X

The very first step is to install the Palm Desktop. I downloaded version 4.2.1 for Mac OS-X. The installation was quick and easy, as is normally the case on a Mac. I opened the application to find a calendar, address book, todo list, etc. that were completely empty, as expected.

Sync using the cradle

The next step was to sync the Palm with the Palm Desktop using the cradle. In theory, I just had to plug in the cradle into a port, put the handheld in the cradle and press the HotSync button. In practice, this is exactly what I had to do: it work first time. So far, so good.

Set up iSync to work with the Palm

Having done this, I wanted to set up to synchronise with the handheld so that the information would end up in standard OS-X applications like iCal, rather than Palm Desktop. The reason for this is that I can then use this information with tools like and it is generally better integrated.

At this point, the documentation found earlier proved essential. Well, at least the Apple documentation[2] because the palmOne documentation[1] is incorrect: iSync needs to be configured to support the Palm before its conduit can be enabled. This is explained in step 2 of the Apple documentation. This step also disabled the standard Palm conduits that have the same function as the iSync ones so I didn't need to do it manually, contrary to what the palmOne documentation says.

Once this hurdle past, either of the two documentations was correct. When all was done, I synchronised the Palm again, iSync sprang into action and my data was uploaded into iCal and Address Book. I discovered when doing this that iSync has a safeguard requiring you to confirm the operation if more than 25% of the information in iCal or Address Book is to be updated, which was the case considering both were completely empty.

At this point, I had my Palm sync'ing with the Mac, the same way as my work laptop so I had the essentials sorted out. Everything beyond this would be nice but not essential.

Sync over Bluetooth

We, as in us the unsuspecting public, have been solved Bluetooth as the magic solution to connect devices wirelessly and exchange data easily without having to deal with all those pesky wires. My experience so far has been that the Palm Tungsten T3's implementation is so flaky that I haven't yet managed to do anything useful with it. I hoped I would be proved wrong.

So I eagerly read through the palmOne[3] and Apple[4] documentation on how to get the whole thing to work over Bluetooth. Neither of them explain very well how to connect the two devices together. But as I had done it in the past and both see each other as trusted devices, it should have been no problem. Except that neither iSync nor Palm HotSync Manager seemed to recognise that my Palm could be synchronised with anything when accessed over Bluetooth. As far as those tools were concerned, my Palm didn't exist, even if the Mac itself recognised it. Well, it sort of recognised it in the sense that it was aware of its existence as a Bluetooth device but believed the Palm had no service that it could use, not even simple file exchange.

Considering I had had a similar problem with this Palm when trying to connect it to my work PC over Bluetooth, I assumed it was the Palm being flaky and looked around the palmOne site to see what I could find. I found that I could apply a ROM update. I decided to give it a try.

The first attempt got me the very unhelpful message: The application cannot be launched because it is missing localization information.

Digging a bit on the palmOne website, I found that I had forgotten to install the localisation overlay file. The file TT3Update.prc was not enough, I also needed TT3Update_enUS.prc. Fair enough, second try. This time I got the message: The ROM on this device has already been updated.

At this point, I decided to go and have dinner and forget about synchronising my Palm over Bluetooth. At least for today.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am having the same exact problem with the same exact equipment. Did you ever figure out how to sync over bluetooth? Please email me if you did: ironclint(at)