TiBR Pro Reader v1.48 & TiBR Converter for Palm OS

Reviewed by: Howard Carson, July 2004, send e-mail
Published by: inDev Software, go to the web site
Requires: Palm OS version 2.0 or greater, 120KB free memory
MSRP: $9.95 (TiBR Pro only, TiBR Converter is free)

TiBR Pro is a small, powerful and functional Palm OS document (PalmDoc) reader. It's especially useful when fed by documents created with TiBR Converter installed on any handy PC. TiBR Pro also handles zTXT and plain text files. With more and more people using handheld computers (Palm OS PDAs in particular) for everything from business to home management and all tasks in between, being able to quickly convert files for use in a fast, easy to use reader on the PDA should be viewed as a good thing. inDev Software provided us with TiBR Pro for review, but including information about the company's free TiBR File Converter companion program seemed to make a lot of sense.

We tested TiBR Pro on a Sony Clie TH55, a Sony Clie PEG-N760C and a Palm Zire 71.

I dug out my old slide rule the other day while cleaning out some storage boxes. Of course I had forgotten how to use it. So I searched the web for some instructional material. After saving the resulting web pages for future reference I used TiBR Converter to change them into a Palm Doc, then HotSync'd the file to my PDA. Very handy, and I can now refresh my slide rule knowledge while munching a sandwich at lunch. As a matter of fact, since receiving TiBR Pro for review, I've converted dozens of web pages into text files for use on my PDA. The TiBR Converter does a reasonably slick job of removing all the graphics, tables and other junk as it analyzes the HTML and extracts readable text. Nicely done.

TiBR Pro and TiBR Converter make an excellent, purpose-built pair which are both easy to use, offer clutter-free user interfaces and do exactly what they're supposed to do. We found that the reader itself was particularly easy to use as well and did a good job with large files. The very biggest files we tried - up to 2MB - tended to present problems to the Sony TH55's variable rate processing and to scrolling speeds in TiBR Pro. In particular, reaction to the jog wheel ended up being about the same as the reaction in Palm Reader when viewing similarly large documents. We were pleased to note that file buffering seems to be handled well in TiBR Pro, with clean screen redraws (no left over garbage from the previous page) even when viewing large, cumbersome files. The Zire 71 seemed to do slightly better when scrolling large files.

Cons: TiBR Pro does not automatically display a list of all loadable files, meaning you sometimes have to hunt and tap around your storage card. The TiBR Converter did an excellent job of converting HTML and text files into PalmDoc format but does not actually dump the files into the Palm Install Tool for later HotSync - you have to manually add the converted files. The full screen toggle option does not work properly in with the Sony TH55's virtual graffiti area - you have to tap to the beginning or end of the document to force the tool bar to reappear after switching to full screen mode. On the other hand, the tiny tool bar uses so little space that full screen mode on the already large (320x480) TH55 is of little benefit. The full screen toggle worked perfectly on a PalmOne Zire 71 and a Sony PEG-N760C. TiBR Converter failed to fully reformat lines in some files, leaving extra carriage returns littered throughout some documents. Reorienting the screen for landscape viewing did not properly display the beginning of some lines making them difficult to read. The progress display only tells you what percentage of the current document has been viewed rather than the current page/total pages.

Pros: Loaded with hidden features such as support for Weasel hyphenation bases enabling grammatically correct line breaks for many languages. We especially liked the ability to load German, French and Spanish documents and access AbsoluteWord's reasonably priced RoadLingua translation databases without leaving TiBR Pro - very handy if you're into that sort of thing or have the need to review foreign language business or research documents on-the-fly. Excellent search capabilities within documents - fast operation. Despite a couple of display reformatting problems we still loved the Orientation function which lets you display documents in landscape mode (which for some people makes many documents easier to read and understand). Clear text rendering, good font handling using FontBucket if its installed, versatile bookmarking. If you regularly use your PDA to reference information documents of any kind, and if the cost or size of RepliGo and Documents To Go are too much for you, TiBR Pro v1.48 is a powerful reader that will help you quickly get at information in all sorts of PalmDocs and text files. Recommended.

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