The DaggerWare FAQ

1. The 3Com PalmPilot
2. DaggerWare Basics
3. General Program Information
4. Dinky Pad
5. AppHack
6. HackMaster
7. Miscellaneous Hacks

1. The US Robotics PalmPilot

What's this PalmPilot thing? It's a small electronic organizer created by Palm Computing and marketed by US Robotics. It's about the size of a deck of cards. It's completely pen-based, utilizing a touch-sensitive screen and the Graffiti system for handwriting recognition.

Why's it so cool? Its coolness comes from four primary factors. 1. It's so small, you can put it in your shirt pocket and forget about it, unlike a Newton. 2. It's got a very well-written operating system, PalmOS, resulting in very snappy response. 3. It synchronizes with desktop programs at the touch of a single button. And 4. it's programmable -- through the base station, you can load new programs to supplement the ROM code.

Where can I get one? You can pick them up at local electronics stores, like Circuit City and the like. Also, you can mail order them direct from US Robotics. Several models are now available. The original Pilot 1000 and 5000 can still be gotten, and are a steal when combined with the new 1 meg Pro upgrade card. The newer PalmPilot Personal and Professional have a newer version of PalmOS and include backlighting.

I want more info than you can possible include here! Then go to Calvin's PilotFAQ site, which conveniently indeed has more info than I can possibly include here.

2. Daggerware Basics

Who's responsible for this junk? That would be Edward Keyes, the programmer. He cut his teeth on the ZX-81 Sinclair, then moved up through the VIC 20, the Commodore 64, and the IBM PC before finally finding the Macintosh, the BeBox, and of course the PalmPilot. Now he's a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, doing supercomputer simulations of large-scale structure formation in the universe.

What's with all this "we" stuff? Isn't DaggerWare just one guy? Consider it a royal we. Actually, DaggerWare also encompasses several beta testers and programming collaborators. But yeah, in the end, it's just one guy.

Where can I get one of those daggers? The dagger featured in our logos is the Warbird Fantasy Dagger, designed by famous knifesmith Gil Hibben. In actuality it's about 15 inches from its razor-sharp point to its solid metal skullcrusher pommel. I got mine from a local shop, but online you can find it at the Knife Center on the Internet for about $80. Be warned, though, there are several variations out there, differing in the curvature of the blade: the double-edged dagger is featured in our logo, but the single-edged bowie knife is also cool.

Um, isn't it illegal for you to steal Gil Hibben's dagger design for your logo? Uhh, next question please.... Consider it free advertising, Gil!

3. General Program Information

Where can I get a plug-in to download your files? Some Web browsers are rather overzealous in suggesting that you need a plug-in when all you really want to do is stuff the file raw onto your hard drive. If your browser gives you any lip, just slap that "save" button and ignore it. No plug-ins are needed -- no decompression, no nothing. We just give you raw .PRC files, ready to install the instant you get them.

When are you making a Mac version of <program X>? All my software is completely Mac-compatible, in that it can be installed to your PalmPilot from a Mac. I will have a Mac desktop version of Dinky Pad written and released about 30 seconds after USR updates their crappy Mac desktop software to support plug-in conduits.

Are your programs OS 2.x compatible? Yes, indeed, they are. The only program of mine that needed to be updated was MenuHack, and the new 1.2 version works on every Pilot or PalmPilot model, old or new.

4. Dinky Pad, the graphical notepad application

What's the deal with the whole name thing? Well, the program started out in its alpha version as Dinky Pad, a name I just made up off the top of my head. Unfortunately, the alpha was leaked and thus the public found out about the name. With the first public beta, the name was changed to "Nota Bene", a Latin phrase meaning "note well" or "pay attention". Sadly, another company already had that name registered, so for the second public beta, it was returned to "Dinky Pad". The name isn't all that bad, as the connection to Digital INK is very evident.

Hey, genius, what about <insert random feature>? A lot of features are being worked on for the big Dinky Pad 1.0 update. If what you want doesn't show up in that version, you need to start pestering Adobe to make PilotPhotoshop instead of asking me.

How's this virtual canvas thing supposed to work? Just press the hardware scroll buttons. New white space is automatically added to the top or bottom of the image as needed. A proportional scroll bar pops up in the right margin while scrolling to tell you where you are in the virtual canvas.

The Memory applet reports three times the number of records I really have! This is a feature, not a bug. Dinky Pad stores each image spread across two records, and the text note in a third. This allows you to edit each of them more efficiently, with less memory shuffling involved. Sorry about the miscount, but there's no way around it short of creating a dummy database with the proper number of empty records.

How do I get my images onto the PC? Use Pat Beirne's DinkyView application. It lets you extract images from the DINKYDAT.PDB backup file that Dinky Pad creates during a HotSync.

DinkyView needs some files. Where can I get them? Pat Beirne's DinkyView uses the Visual Basic runtime library (Visual Basic is a little known application that I think is put out by the same company that did DOS back in the 80's -- whatever happened to them, anyway?) The two files are the VBRUN300.DLL run-time library, and the CMDIALOG.VBX dialog file. You can get them both from the Dinky Pad page.

I can't find my DINKYDAT.PDB file! Normally, it'll be in your C:\PILOT\USERNAME\BACKUP directory, but due to a bug in some older versions of the HotSync routines, only the first 32 databases on your Pilot get backed up -- and after all the ROM ones are taken care of, that means only about half a dozen 3rd party apps. If you have a lot of other apps on your PalmPilot, and have installed Dinky Pad lately, it might be at the end of the queue and thus not getting backed up. The only known workaround is to delete and then reinstall all the other apps you can to push Dinky Pad towards the top of the list. Newer HotSync versions fix this, but have other incompatibilities.

5. AppHack

I loaded the APPHACK.PRC file, but it doesn't show up in the Application list! AppHack is not a freestanding application, but a system extension file that must be installed and deinstalled with HackMaster. You have to have HackMaster to use it.

Is this dangerous? Probably not. Sure, it patches a big routine in the Palm OS system software, but I haven't had any reports of undeserved crashes, or any data loss at all. The absolute worst that can happen is a soft reset.

What happens if you set a new app and then delete that app? Nothing happens. AppHack detects the situation, and resets the entry back to the default.

I set a new app, then tried to jump to it, but the dialog said the old app still was set. AppHack doesn't save changes to your application assignments until you hit the "done" button or switch to a new button. It's generally a bad idea to try to use an extension while in the process of configuring it, but AppHack tries to handle the situation as gracefully as possible.

Is it really true I can delete AppHack and the changes will still work? No. This was true for the 0.1b version of AppHack, but the new version must remain in memory at all times. In fact, deleting it and then trying to use it will cause a big crash. Don't delete it without uninstalling it from HackMaster first.

How do I get AppHack to launch an app with just one button press? Just set all six sub-apps to the same thing in the control panel. If AppHack detects no ambiguity, it'll go ahead and launch the app straight off. The "set all to top" button is provided to expedite this process.

6. HackMaster

Is this dangerous? Not if you use it right. A poorly-written Hack can seriously screw up your system, but if everyone plays by the rules it's as safe as installing a system update patch from Palm.

I installed one Hack, and it prevented another Hack from working! Hacks have to cooperate for multiple ones to coexist on the same trap. The order in which the Hacks are installed makes a big difference. If you find that Hack A is preventing Hack B from working, install Hack A and then Hack B on top of it, so B is listed before A in the HackMaster list.

I want to write my own Hacks! If you're a relatively experienced PalmPilot programmer, you too can write system extensions under the HackMaster model. Have a look at the HackMaster API and have fun.

Can I delete HackMaster after installing and configuring my Hacks? Theoretically, yes, if you absolutely need the extra few K. However, this will prevent the automatic reinstallation of your Hacks on a reset, and will delete the Hack registry. To change your Hacks you will have to reinstall HackMaster and perform a soft reset to clear out active Hacks from memory before trying to do anything in HackMaster.

7. Miscellaneous Hacks

How do I register <insert misc hack>? You don't. The miscellaneous hacks are freeware, since I would feel way too guilty to take any money considering the relatively small amount of time I've put into them.

So how do I get notified of new and revised misc. hacks? Just register for HackMaster. That registered user list will be notified of all new Hack files that are released.

Clicking at the top of the screen doesn't drop down a menu with MenuHack. MenuHack only drops down menu bars for those apps that (a) have a menu that's active, (b) have a title bar, and (c) have the title bar at the top of the screen. If an app doesn't have these characteristics, MenuHack won't do anything. Also, check for the following common mistakes: (a) not having HackMaster installed, (b) not turning MenuHack "on" inside HackMaster, or (c) not having version 1.2 or higher on a PalmPilot model.

Don't see your question here? Well, then ask our crack DaggerWare staff at tech02-at-daggerware-dot-com. If your question isn't totally out of left field, it'll probably show up in the FAQ. After all, on the internet, "frequently" asked questions don't have to be.

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