Reviewed by: Mark Goldstein, April 2005
Published by: Simple-Palm
Requires: Palm OS 3.5 or higher; supports All Clie, Palm m125, m130, m500, m505, m515, i705, all PalmOne Tungsten series, all PalmOne Zire series with memory card, PalmOne Treo 90, treo 600/650; iQue 3600, Dana, WorkPad c500/505
You've got to love a guy whose online handle is "Hacker Dude-San" (real name: Tatsushi Yamada). This particular human, proprietor of Simple-Palm, is the sole creator of a cheerful little utility called PowerRUN. Simple is as simple does I think, so a description of PowerRUN is by definition somewhat brief. It's a small piece of utility software for Palm OS which allows just about any other installed program to be run directly from a storage card rather than your PDA system memory. If you think that means you'll be able to carry around many more installed programs on your 16MB or 32MB Palm OS PDA, you are correct. We tested and used PowerRUN for a couple of months on a Sony Clie TH55 with 32MB of system memory and 256MB Memory Stick Pro storage card), and a Palm Zire 71 (16MB system memory, 256MB SD card).
PowerRUN steps up where the Palm OS built-in storage card support steps down. For example, Palm OS does not know how to categorize programs installed on the storage card. With PowerRUN, any program you move to the storage card remains categorized, preventing the predictable mess. The point is that if you need PowerRUN, you've probably got a lot of programs installed. If the programs don't remain categorized, you'll have constant difficulty finding the one you want. A frustrated PDA user is someone who won't be using their PDA for very much longer. PowerRUN solves the problem.
Another very important PowerRUN feature is its ability to move, read and write databases. Because Palm OS programs almost always consist of an executable file and a companion database file of some sort, being able to move the whole works to the storage card creates even more free space in system memory. After the core functionality and additional database handling, PowerRUN also solves some program linking problems in Palm OS. I found that launching Address Book from within DateBk 5 running out of ZLauncher was much smoother and more reliable. No lockups, no balky tap response. Running FindWiz from the Recent Programs popup list in ZLauncher was also fine even with database intensive choices like FindWiz 3.
Best of all, once PowerRUN is installed and configured, you will forget it's there. Software installed on the storage card via PowerRUN runs immediately after the usual stylus tap or press of a shortcut key. On all of the PDAs I tried in addition to the Clie and Zire, there was only the briefest perceptible lag in program launch or program reaction to taps and other input while running. All of the software we tried, with very few exceptions noted, ran just as though they were installed in system memory. Can't do better than that.
Cons: Don't go crazy with this thing. There are a few incompatibilities. Whether or not the incompatibilities result from poor programing on the part of third-party software makers or from Hacker Dude-San is moot, but it's sufficient to say that about 80% of everything will work properly with PowerRUN. Documents-to-Go does not work unfortunately. HotSync does not back up applications which have been moved to the storage card. Palm OS 4 (and earlier) hacks which require Hackmaster or X-Master do not work with PowerRUN and must remain in main memory.
Pros: Despite a few compatibility disappointments, almost everything we use regularly seems to work well with PowerRUN. Although Palm OS 4 and higher allows you to run some programs from a storage card, replacement desktops such as Launcher X, ZLauncher and SilverScreen can't see those programs. Use PowerRUN however and your program launchers will work perfectly. If you're constantly fighting to free up system memory, installing, deleting, re-installing and so on, do yourself a favor and try PowerRUN. If you're a heavy-duty Palm PDA user with the need for far more installed utilities, productivity software and games than system memory can hold, do yourself a favor and try PowerRUN. Highly recommended.
Letters to the Editor are welcome and occasionally abused in public. Send e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org