Macintosh users who have upgraded their PalmPilot organizers using the new Palm 2 MB Upgrade card are discovering a potentially serious problem when synchronizing their data. The user-installable upgrade cards, which allow PalmPilot owners to upgrade to 2 MB of RAM and version 3.0 of the Palm OS, contain a software defect that, in conjunction with the current Mac Conduit Manager software, prevents synchronization of any data except that of the built-in Palm applications (such as Date Book and Address Book); consequently, other programs cannot be installed on the PalmPilot using the Macintosh software. (For more about the PalmPilot, see the series of TidBITS articles at the URL below.)
The source of the problem is essentially minor: an internal library file was incorrectly marked for backup, so when that file copies to the user’s Backup directory, it stalls the backup process and results in a failed HotSync. Unfortunately, the software problem exists in the upgrade card’s flash ROM; currently, there is no way to update the flash ROM, which means Mac owners experiencing this problem must replace their upgrade card. Sources indicate that new upgrade cards incorporating a fix will be available sometime in July.
Mac owners of the upgrade should contact Palm’s Customer Relations department at 888/619-7488 to be added to the list of users who will receive updated cards when they become available. In the meantime, several users have suggested using Connectix’s Virtual PC to run the Palm Desktop 3.0 software (which is now available for free as a 9.3 MB download from Palm’s Web site) under Windows 95.
Although this problem hasn’t yet made its way to Palm’s support pages, Mac users experiencing other synchronization problems (especially with G3 machines and Macs based on the Tanzania motherboard design) should check out Palm’s HotSync help notes at the URL below.