Florent Pillet has released Palm Buddy, a $20 Macintosh shareware application that gives PalmPilot owners greater options for working with the data on their handheld organizers. Unlike the built-in HotSync software (which synchronizes data between the Palm device and your desktop computer) Palm Buddy establishes an open, active connection with the PalmPilot. This enables you to view the directory of files on the Pilot, install applications from the Finder via drag & drop, perform a full backup of all the Pilot's data, and restore previous backups. Palm Buddy also features a plug-in architecture that, in its current incarnation, translates text files into the AportisDoc document format for reading on the Pilot.
If you've recently installed the Palm 2 MB Upgrade for your PalmPilot, Palm Buddy offers a partial workaround for the software glitch in the upgrade card's ROM that plagues Mac users (see "PalmPilot Upgrade Card Problematic for Mac Users" in TidBITS 435). Since the problem prevents Mac users from installing new applications via the HotSync feature, you can use Palm Buddy to load programs directly and maintain backups of their data files. The downside is, although you can create backups of the data files belonging to the Pilot's built-in applications (such as the Address Book), Palm Buddy doesn't synchronize the PalmPilot files with the desktop files. So, changes made using the Pilot Desktop software likely won't transfer to the PalmPilot the next time you try to use HotSync. Palm Buddy is a 990K download.