Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Classic Running Smoothly Since Latest Palm Pre Update

Much has been made of the latest Palm Pre webOS 1.04 update closing an email hole which allowed the installation of homebrew apps while at the same time exposing the device to a serious security threat. But one thing that I've noticed as a user is that Classic hasn't crashed once since the update. It turns out that this is no coincidence. The update also addressed the stability problems that Classic was suffering. It also changed the Classic installation folder back to the ClassicApps/Install folder. This is the same folder which had been causing many of the "blue screens" in Classic.

While it's nice that they fixed the blue screens, I had gotten used to using a second folder ClassicApps/PALM/Install to install software into Classic and now it doesn't work (this folder can and should be deleted by anyone who is running Classic on their Pre). This is no big deal in the larger sense—in fact it's a relief since it was confusing to have two install folders (one of which could cause Classic to crash) was confusing. But it would be nice if Palm had some sort of release notes in their update app explaining the reason for the update and that it was going to change the default behavior of one of their apps. I think that MotionApps has been working hard to communicate with the user community even if some of their attempts leave something to be desired. But Palm has a special responsibility as the gatekeeper to the Palm Pre and to webOS to work even harder to keep its users informed and something as simple as including a "What's New" blurb for OS updates in their Update app would go a long way in fostering better user satisfaction—providing a link to Palm's support page where you can eventually drill down to a brief explanation of the current update is not enough in my opinion.

On a positive note, Classic's increased stability has given me more confidence to install more PalmOS apps. Here are some apps which I've tried:

Bang!: Display is completely corrupted and the game is unplayable.
DateDiff: Runs well.
Documents to Go: Runs reasonably well. Docs to Go is a pretty complex application with numerous components so it's hard to tell which problems are a matter of incompatibility or of missing files. This is an app which really needs to be ported to webOS.
Haemoncrules: Runs well
Progect: Runs well.
Shortcut5: Runs well and I would love to see a utility like this one for webOS.
Statcoder Cholesterol: Runs well.
Stopwatch: Runs well.
TouchTetris: There seems to be some minor corruption of the graphics while the blocks are falling and this game is decidedly lo-res but otherwise it plays better on the Pre than it does on most PalmOS devices in part because of the Pre's finger-optimized screen.
Tricorder: Runs well, sound is very loud.

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