Palm Hotsync with Outlook 2016 — update

Hi everyone,
Quick update on the Palm Hotsync Outlook 2016 patch.

First, It’s been over 5 years since the initial revision of the patch was released. The fact that I still get asked about it and getting support requests is amazing.

Second, I have a patch working for Outlook 2016. I do not own Outlook 2016 or any of the Office 2016 suite yet, but I have verified the patch working with at least one beta tester.

I am planning on releasing not only the 2016 patch, but an updated, universal installer and some other information in the next few weeks.

Unfortunately, I cannot promise an actual timeline for this. I plan to have a manual patch and instructions available by this weekend and a download link on my site. I am extremely busy with other life things, but know how much this means to a dedicated user base of Palm devices. I promise I will have it together soon. If you REALLY need to get Hotsync working with Outlook 2016, please feel free to email me or something and I will get you the beta patch I have.

Also, expect a new video soon explaining the universal installer and how it works.

That’s all for now. Enjoy!

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A christmas skit

Props required: Large backdrop, Stable cutout, manger cutout, Mary & Joseph cutouts, Baby Jesus cutout. Bible cutout, Large star cutout (lighted), cutouts with words as described. Cross vertical beam, cross horizontal beam, crown of thorns cutout, spear cutout, words cutouts,
Props should be decorated in such a way that they can be reversed and turned into a scene representing the open tomb, Jesus risen, and possibly Mary & Martha at the tomb, or whatever depiction you see necessary. Each part ends up being a puzzle piece. Keep the cross up while converting everything, as it is still a part of the message, but remove the spear, the crown of thorns, and then words.

[Scene: Two microphones\pedestals. Students may either have the lines memorized or have them on scrolls to read. One microphone\pedestal on each side of the stage. The backdrop is a large black wall or curtain with which to hang things on. As the students read or recite their lines, other students take and place the items described onto the backdrop. One side of the backdrop will contain the images depicting Christ’s birth, one side Christ’s death. The backdrop should be visible aside from the readers at the sides of the stage, so all can see. (Picture a large flannelgraph, but made of cardboard or wood).]

One : The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. (Isaiah 9: 2) [Hang up lighted “STAR” over black backdrop stage left]

Two: He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. (Isaiah 53:3) [Hang up tall beam over black backdrop, stage right.]

One: For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. (Isaiah 9:6) [Put up outline of stable on stage right]

Two: Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, (Isaiah 53:4) [hang up crossbeam]

One: And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6) [Hang up placards over stable with these sayings]

Two : yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. (Isaiah 53:4) [hang up crown of thorns on cross]

One: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. (John 1:1-2, 14) [Hang up visual representation of the Bible inside the stable]

Two : But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5) [hang up spear, spikes]

One : In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. And everyone went to his own town to register. (Luke 2:1,3) [hang sign over stable, “BETHLEHEM”]

Two: We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; (Isaiah 53:6)[Hang sign over cross “SIN”, “DEATH” “Temptation”]

One: So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. (Luke 2:4-5) [ add Mary & Joseph to manger scene]

Two : the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:6) [ Move SIN to the cross]

One : While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:6-7) [ Add manger, baby ]

Two : he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:12) [Hang “IT IS FINISHED” on cross]

One : (Smiles at TWO, he has warmed up to this new style of Christmas reading.) For unto us a child is born, (Isaiah 9:6)

[During this part of the reading, students start re-arranging props. Back side of the props will be painted to represent the open tomb, lighted star will be put inside the tomb to light it from the “inside”]

Two : But he was pierced for our transgressions, (Isaiah 53:5)

One : unto us a son is given, (Isaiah 9:6)

Two : he was crushed for our iniquities; (Isaiah 53:5)

One : The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; (Isaiah 9:2)

Two : the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,

One : on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. (Isaiah 9:2)

Two : and by his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)

One : The word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. (John 1:14)

Two : He was crushed, he was pierced,

BOTH : and he rose again. [“Open” the tomb, turn on light again]

adapted From

Concept behind fixing x64 sync.

So, I’m going to share my concept here, and see if it does flesh out. If I don’t have time, hopefully someone else can be inspired by it and try and poke it. (That’s how I came up with the patch in the first place. Seeing someone else’s fix to the problem, looking at it, deciding there was an even better way, and actually fixing that)

Here’s the basic concepts:

Hotsync plugins have two main parts: The file, and a registry key.

The file was the easy part. It just checks for the specific version numbers, and calls it good.

However, there’s two problems when you’re running Office in x64 mode.

Problem 1: the Palm Hotsync files will be in Program Files (x86) and Office will be in regular Program Files. If it’s looking for a specific Office file in a specific location, it won’t find it, due to sandboxing of x86 programs to maintain compatibility.

Problem 2: The registry has a separate section for x64 and x86 apps.

What we know: Hotsync looks at a version number in outlook.exe itself. How? That’s the way the patches that inspired my patch worked. People would hex-edit outlook.exe to change the version number and that would fix it (Until Windows Update updated Outlook).

Knowing this, the assumption can be made that there is a possibility that it either has problems seeing the version number in x64 versions of Outlook, or it cannot see Outlook at all. I’m still looking for a program that would allow me to walk through a program’s steps, one-by-one until it’s done what it needs to do, but I have a feeling that is part of it. I’ve never actually looked at the whole contents of the Hotsync Conduit file either, so there could be a hard-coded path in there, or other problems.

What else we know: It doesn’t work with Office Click-To-Run apps. This further strengthens my belief that it could be something to do with file paths. I will have to dig into this more, but since I don’t use CTR apps, it’ll be a bit more difficult. Maybe at a future date.

How to test things:

For file paths: install Office to a custom path and see if it still works. If it does, then we know it’s looking for a registry key, if it doesn’t, then we know it’s looking for a file path. (I’m hoping it’s a registry key, because otherwise it would be a mess to deal with logistically, along with also being a million times worse from a programming standpoint). If it is a registry key, there are a few things I would need to test.

For registry keys: Is it a specific key it is looking for? If it is looking for something like Path_to_Exe, it should be simple enough to just create a new key pointing to the x64 key.

If it is something more complex, it will take quite a bit of debugging.

I’m going to use a program that detects registry changes between runs, get Office installed, and then install Hotsync and the plugin, and run a scan after each install. Compare registry edits made and start hunting. I believe there is a systernals program that would allow me to see direct registry accesses by different programs. This would be useful to see where Hotsync is reading to when it starts and see if it’s looking for specific keys.

After doing the initial run (In a VM), I’ll do another run after installing Office in a different file path. Hopefully finding the location keys. One of these keys should hopefully help me locate what Hotsync is looking for.

That’s all the ideas I have right now. If I find more, I’ll add them.

Update on self, etcs.

It’s been over a year since I last posted an update to this blog. I should probably update that.

I’ll just do a simple timeline of events that should help people out, and the next few posts will be hopefully semi-regular.

May 2014: Graduated college, Concordia University, Seward NE with a bachelors degree in Secondary ELA education, and a bachelors degree in Computer Science.

June 2014. Married the love of my life. At this point we’d been together for nearly 6 years.

Late-June 2014. Traveled the US with wife, visiting Chicago (O’Hare specifically), the SF Bay Area for 2 weeks, Houston TX (for a layover) and then driving from MSP to Detroit to see The Wizard Of Oz on stage and see family.

July 2014. Got a job in Fargo, ND, spent month packing stuff. Rescued a kitten from step-father-in-law’s farm.

August 2014: Moved in, started teaching. Absolutely wonderful students at the school. Made tons of memories that school year.

October 2014: 6 years of being together with my now-wife. I had pneumonia so we didn’t do much (And my parents were over too, that was nice)

March 2015: Contacted T-Mobile again about the 810 mess. Expected (and got) nothing at that time. Was offered choice of a 635 for free, a 925 refurb for $50, or $150 off a HTC M8 with Windows. Didn’t like those compared to the 810, so didn’t do anything.

Late-March 2015: Microsoft announces Windows Insiders for Mobile. Lumia 635 is one of the phones able to test immediately. Contact T-Mobile to see if that free 635 offer is on the table. A day of email-tag and finally a phone call, and different rep says notes mention a M8 with Windows, but says free on their end. Also got to keep the 810. M8 showed up, didn’t like it, sold it on eBay, bought an 830.

April 2015: Gave 810 to little brother. Stopped bothering T-Mobile about the 810. Great phone, but the 830 is better. 640 replaces the 810 now featurewise, so no reason to keep fighting.

Late-April 2015: School situation doesn’t work out. Job hunt initiates.

May 2015: Summer starts, school hunting starts.

Late-May 2015: Job offer received and accepted, requires relocation. That’s fine.

June 2015: 1 year wedding anniversary. Make plan to travel to location of new school and see the sites. That was cool.

July 2015: acquire new housing. Finish packing.

Late-July 2015 (last 2 days to be exact): Move. Both sets of parents help. Siblings from my side help. Was good weekend.

August 2015: New school year starts. Smaller school, great kids.

September 2015: Got a dog from local shelter. Two days before we were to adopt him, he got attacked by another dog. He spent 4 weeks at a local vet getting patched up, but since we hadn’t officially adopted him yet, we only paid $150 for adoption. He is doing great though, and as of today has no stitches and shows no signs of complications. I’ll detail his saga in a later blog post.

Now (October 2015): Life is good. Some days it can be hard, but for the most part every day has a positive experience or three.

Sorry for taking so long to update. I have quite a bit to update on my site.

Palm pulled the downloads from their site, Another version of Office is out (2016), and I am very close to fixing x64 builds of Office with it. (I’ve figured out what might be blocking it, I just need to have enough free time without other responsibilities to actually dig out my Palm collection and test stuff.)

Hopefully I can provide some useful info, and document my life, married life, our pets, and the area a little bit better. Blogging is therapeutic after all.

Why I turned down a free upgrade to the Nokia Lumia 925 from T-Mobile.

If you’ve followed me on social media, you’ve probably seen how upset myself and others have gotten that T-Mobile has been rather… silent in terms of the reasons behind the abandonment of the Lumia 810. Unlike most people though, I’ve spent more time than I probably should have trying to pry an answer out of T-Mobile.

I finally got one.

Their current response, from their executive support response team (From the Office of the President, of all places…) was that there’s an incompatibility somewhere that causes it to have issues with the T-Mobile network, OR that Microsoft requested the software to not be sent out to the device. One of the two (The first one makes sense, but I haven’t gotten an answer yet about Lumia Cyan, only Lumia Black)

Their resolution: They send me a Lumia 925, I send them my Lumia 810. I declined. Here’s why:

First, on the surface, the Lumia 925 sounds like an amazing device. And for someone who’s only had a cheap Android smartphone, or who has had the Lumia 521, it’s a huge step up. For someone like me who’s had the Lumia 810, it’s actually a step down. I’ll break down what you miss out on switching from the 810 to the 925 (and what you gain)

Processor: Both sport the same 1.5ghz MSM8960 from Qualcomm, so no improvement there.
Camera: Both sport the same 8MP Camera, but the Lumia 925 has OIS advertised (Lumia 810 has it when using the Nokia Pro Cam app)
Network connectivity: Both sport the same set of junk to connect to T-Mobile network (No surprise there.) Both support WiFi a/b/g/n, BT4.0LE, etc.
Storage: Lumia 810: 8GB Internal, SDHC (Possibly SDXC) slot. Lumia 925: 16GB\32GB fixed. With WP8.1, Lumia 810 can actually out-perform the Lumia 925 in the storage department.
Battery: Lumia 810: 1800mAh Removable battery. Lumia 925: 2000mAh internal battery. While it seems like the 925 is better, after a year or so of heavy use, you’ll be wanting to replace that battery. Ones for the 810 are ~$5 for an official Nokia one, or $15 for a 2800mAh replacement battery that doesn’t require an extended case.

Now for the ONLY spec that is actually (marginally) better on the Lumia 925: Display. Lumia 810 has a 800×480 4.3″ display. Lumia 925 has a 1280×768 4.5″ display.

Oh, Wireless Charging? Lumia 810 has an internal pogo connector, and a replaceable back to add wireless charging (Able to put the guts of the wireless charging onto a standard back so that you’ve got a slim wireless charger). Lumia 925: You’re stuck with external pogo connectors and a shell that clamps on it. It’s either case OR wireless charging.

So what’s the reason I declined a free Lumia 925? There’s no real upgrade for me. Yeah, I could get a slightly larger display, but at what cost? I’d lose internal wireless charging, SD support (Which I use a TON, especially since a 64GB SDXC card is now ~$30) and I’d lose the replaceable battery. My current one is nearing the end of it’s lifecycle, and I have a new 2800mAh pack on it’s way (Shipping takes a long time from overseas, but the brand is trusted, and the extended battery they make for the Samsung Galaxy S4\S5 has tons of good reviews on Amazon, so I trust them). I love that I can pop the phone open without voiding my warranty, and that the backs are available in Black, Red, Cyan, and Grey, just in case I get bored with Black, or want a second back for some reason. What would I gain? Official software from Nokia (Not much use right now thanks to Developer Preview) and a larger display. Not worth it.

Still waiting to hear back from T-Mobile about the Lumia Cyan update and what their plans are for it. Might be good news in the future.

Dealing with a digital legacy

A digital legacy is a strange thing. My generation, the group of people who were born in the 80’s and 90’s, the ones who grew up while the internet was growing up, will be the first generation who will seriously have to deal with the idea of a “Digital Legacy”. Sure, we weren’t the first ones on the internet, but we are the first kids on the internet. And kids on the internet do stupid things.

Picture this: The year is 2004. My 12 year old self sits down with my parent as we fire up the family computer, and dial in to a Juno ISP server. It’s my birthday, which in my family means I can finally get an e-mail address. This is _big_ news. We had discussed the different email providers at length prior to sitting down at the computer. We had a Juno email account, but that wasn’t really that great, as you had to use their proprietary email client which hadn’t been updated for Windows XP yet, so it didn’t work quite right on the family PC. However, my dad had started using Yahoo, and it just made sense to get the same. I sat down, and was faced with the most important task that I could ever be faced with: Picking my email address. I tried my initials, but that was too short. I tried something longer, like CNWacker, which was taken. Being 12, my creativity stopped there in terms of emails using my name, and I jumped right into the next best thing: stupid nicknames from school. So I typed in “pizzaboy” and it was taken. So was Pizzaboy2. Pizzaboy192 however, was available, so we proceeded to sign me up, and my first ever email address was pizzaboy192@yahoo.com. The joy was shortlived, however, because Yahoo’s sign-in page broke while I was creating my account. I never got to use that email for anything. I gave up waiting, went to Hotmail, did the same process, and thus Pizzaboy192 was born.

That was almost 10 years ago. Ten years of me making the bad decision to use the same username on everything I could ever think of. Back when I was 12, I thought I was awesome with that username. I started claiming it everywhere. Turns out that someone already had that username on Runescape, and AOL Instant Messenger, but I haven’t found any other sites so far where I haven’t been able to use it.

A lot happens in ten years, too. I went from a stupid 7th grade student, to a high school student, to a consumer of higher education, and am now roughly a month away from graduation and a job as a teacher. And I still use pizzaboy192. But why?

At first, the decision was a simple one. If my email was pizzaboy192, why shouldn’t my username on a forum or another website be the same? Between getting that email address and signing up for MySpace, only two and a half years had passed. Social networking wasn’t something for a workplace, it was for recreation. My employer wouldn’t ever need to see my MySpace Profile, so why should I care what I name it. Then Facebook came up, and I signed up with my same email address. Each time a new social media site, forum, or website asked for a username, I freely and foolishly tossed in pizzaboy192, and hit enter. 9th grade me wasn’t very smart. Or 10th grade me, or 11th, or 12th. In 2009 I signed up for twitter, and in went the username. Facebook added custom profile URLs, and in went the username. I really hate to admit to it, but I had no shame hiding behind that username, right up until I started doing semi-professional development.

But by then, it was too late. I had built up a web presence. My Facebook profile had my friends, it was all set up. I didn’t want to ditch it. My Twitter profile had somewhere around 4,000 tweets. I didn’t want to start over. I had accounts on all the major websites, I was still using my Hotmail email address regularly (I still do) and I had become invested. My digital footprint was turning into a legacy. Heck, if you peck that username into your favorite search engine, the first result is my website, pizzaboy192.com, followed by the downloads page which made my username somewhat useful, my twitter account, my Reddit account, etc. What happened?

I made a simple software patch, posted it to a few websites dedicated to said software, and then used my email and social accounts as a simple way for tech support. By the time I had realized how stupid I was for investing in a single username, it was too late. Heck, the Google Analytics shows that the top 10 referrals are nearly all based from that patch.See, All but 1 are patch based. It was too late to abandon ship. I used my username, and now it used me.

I still will stick with it. It has become my digital legacy. I have a domain, I have a blog, I use the username everywhere, because I can. What I once felt some shame in, sharing it with a whole group of teachers, I now embrace. I use it as a teaching opportunity, telling students that I have in my classroom that what they do online will follow them forever. (Heck, I have emails going back to 2007 in my Outlook profile, and I know there are older ones hiding somewhere). It may have started out as a stupid nickname from eating too much pizza at a grade school dance, but it has become something strangely useful. I’m scared what the next 10 years of my digital legacy will hold, but I can predict a few things:

Wedding pictures, pictures of my kids, pictures of my classroom, probably lots of pictures. Some more blog posts here, there, and everywhere. As social networks pop up, I’ll still use the pizzaboy192 username, because why not. I have a professional email address or four, I have a professional twitter account (With TWO tweets! Yay!) and I’m slowly trying to be a little more professional in how I act, but I can’t hide from the fact that my username is everywhere, so I might as well embrace it.

T-Mobile to Lumia 810 Owners: “Buy A New Phone”

Yeah. That’s what T-Mobile is currently pushing.

I apologize to anyone who follows me on twitter for seeing me constantly complain at them about this, but it is complete BS. I emailed Stephen Elop, the (ex) CEO of Nokia’s Devices and Services about this, who put me on the fast track with their customer support. I talked to an amazing rep at Nokia named Macy, and got all sorts of information. I wish I had been smart and recorded the call with Google Voice, but I forgot. Macy was kind enough to provide me with information like “Nokia has the update available” and upon asking further, I was told “We have been trying to work with T-Mobile on this issue, and are actively trying to have the update released for the [Lumia 810] but T-Mobile is the one currently blocking the update. Our hands are tied.”

The furthest I’ve gotten with T-Mobile on the issue? “Buy a new device”. This is Verizon level BS at it’s finest. I honestly regret suggesting T-Mobile to my parents as a carrier now. The only difference between Verizon and T-Mobile at this point is the cell service quality at my parent’s house, and the fact that they’re not the ones that deal with customer support. This isn’t the first time they screwed us over either. The week we switched, T-Mobile actively lied to us about how to get our family moved over, and tried to charge us an extra $170 because of it. We got it sorted after a month of back and forth, a few very long phone calls, and a call to the bank to tell them to hold all payments to T-Mobile until it was resolved because money kept flowing their way.

I’m giving T-Mobile one last chance though. WP8.1 is on it’s way. If T-Mobile blocks this update too, then it’ll just be proof at how pathetic T-Mobile is to try and get people’s money. We switched because they seemed like the were a carrier that actually cared. They save our family a substantial amount of money per month, but if that means they feel they’re justified in screwing their customers over because they sell OTHER devices that they still support, that’s wrong. At least Verizon was up front about how much they were screwing you over.

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