Secure File PDA Backup for Palm
and Pocket PC
Posted August 2004 by
By Tanker Bob
Are you a victim of the dreaded hard reset?
Do you cringe at the mere thought of your battery dying? The vast
majority of Palm OS users never experience these thrills, but beta
testers and early adopters more than make up for the difference.
Either way, it’s
best to be prepared with a regular, full backup of your RAM. MDM sets
itself apart in the backup market by offering a literal Plug-and-Play
functionality with a combination hardware/software solution for both
Palm OS and Pocket PC platforms. This sounded too good to pass up
a chance to see for ourselves, so MobileTechReview.com took Secure
File PDA Backup for a test drive.
The hardware part of the solution used a 64 MB Hitachi Multi-Media
Card (MMC) in the package we received. This provides a wide sphere
of compatibility on both Palm and PPC devices, but not the better
performance of a Secure Digital card. Formatted for this function,
the MMC holds 61 MB of data, of which the included software occupies
3.8 MB. That leaves 57.2 MB to hold the backup set. I tested on a
Palm Tungsten|T3, which has 52 MB of user RAM. Thus the secure backup
card had more than sufficient space left to backup my packed T3.
Judging by the file list on the card, it supports English, German,
Spanish, Italian, Portuguese (I think), and French. Although I point
out below that Backup Plus supports the new T3 and TE PIM database
structures, it does not support the full 320x480 screen of the T3.
The Palm OS backup program bundled with the card turned out to be
an older version of Botzam
Backup 1.1 (version 2.04 is current as of this writing). One
unique feature of Botzam Backup appears in its use of plugins for
both encryption and compression. The provided security uses TEA
(Tiny Encryption Algorithm) encryption, a powerful yet small
cryptographic routine. An RLE
(Run Length Encoding) module provides the compression capability.
The help file warns that the use of compression may result in a longer
time to backup your data. The program automatically requires deleting
the existing backup set (if it exists) any time either of these options
is changed. I advise planning ahead. This software does not support
multiple backup sets. Subsequent backups after the initial run are
incremental, backing up only changed files to same time.
The Basic mode starts up as the default,
and performs a complete backup of the RAM contents minus the a68k
files under OS 5, which the system will recreate upon restore anyway.
The Restore button performs a complete system restore. The context-sensitive
menu system offers little customization in this mode. The context-sensitive
help explains all the settings in every tab. This context-sensitivity
in the menus and help provide just what the user needs to know when
they need to know it—a very nice touch.
The Selective tab brings up the opportunity to
allow users to select the files to be backed up or restored. Simply
tap on the dots on the left side of the display to toggle selection.
The context-sensitive menu allows selecting all or none, deleting,
beaming, full backup/restore, and removing orphans.