elf's Visor Reflections

Handspring Visor History

I've always dreamt of having a pocket computer ala Star Trek; exquisitely slim, with a colour display and infinite memory.

I bought a Handspring Visor Deluxe (Ice) on Aug 15th, 2000 (I bought 2 actually; the second one was a gift for my sister who is a clinical pharmacologist and uses it as a portable reference for drug databases). Cenk Bilgen (now in the US), a colleague was the first in our group to purchase a Visor (Ice) and after playing around with it, we just HAD to get one; my other colleague, Jason Naughton also purchased (a Graphite) Visor which he dropped (breaking the LCD) and replaced with a Visor Platinum because he couldn't wait for it to be replaced.

The first application I searched for, was Solitaire. I found and installed Patience by (surprisingly!) Keith Packard, one of the X demigods; it's free and the source-code is available (something that is the rule rather than the exception in the Unix world).

On Sep. 19th, 2000, Handspring announced the Prism which is thicker than the Visor. This prevents the clamshell cover to not fit on the back-- little things mean a lot.

On March 12, 2001, HS announced the Edge a 0.44 inches thin metallic Visor with a sled that fits on the back to allow SpringBoard modules.

On February 11, 2002, HS announced the Tréo Communicator (phone/PDA hybrid). One model had a keyboard and another had Graffitti. Now the Graffitti model is history.


On December 11, 2002, after two years of owning a Visor, I wrote a retrospective which includes the Top-10 requirements for my replacement PDA. The response was overwhelming positive with no dissenting opinions. This surprised me greatly.

A New Friend

On March 4, 2003, I bought a Sony SJ33 Clié. I decided to start a more detailed journal about my experiences.

Useful Palm Links

I use my Visor mostly for reading e-books, tracking appointments, remembering procedures, jotting down ideas, remembering books I want to buy, offline surfing (ever since I installed plucker (Feb.2001)) (and playing solitaire, of course). This is a list of links I have found useful:


A list of applications currently installed or at one time installed on my Visor; (Tue May 22, 2001 I have pruned the list of software greatly to only include apps that I'm still using).

Software without URLs can be located by searching Google with the name of the software and the word "palmos".

AlphaFonts (font collection for FontHack) · BatteryHack (display shaded battery and voltage in launcher) · BibleReader (with free Old and New Testaments of KJV & ASV bibles) · FireViewer · Font Hack · Flip Hack (just to be different than the proles · use the Visor sideways or upsidedown) · HackMaster · XMaster is the feature-loaded free replacement ·, IrChat · McPhling (A must-have! Task-switcher hack that obsoletes the launcher) · Patience (Solitaire; replaced by Vexed (below)) · PocketChess (learn chess) · Plucker (offline web browser and HTML doc reader) · PrefEd (prefence editor; delete orphan files) · SecureMemo (memopad with 156-bit encryption) · ShapeFall (Tetris) · StopWatch · Uptime (track battery & backlight usage) & Runtime (graph battery usage) · Vexed! (this game will drive you crazy) · Z'Catalog (a better beamer).

Luis Fernandes, elf@ee.ryerson.ca

Last modified: Wed Jan 08 14:28:18 2003