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  1.    #1  
    Is there software for a Treo whose only function is to allow the standard Treo launcher to organize apps stored on the memory card into categories with all of the other apps kept in the device's internal RAM and then launch and run the app on the memory card and not in the device's internal RAM? I am not looking for a add-on launcher like ZLauncher or TreoLaunch...too many unneeded bells and whistles. I already know about PowerRun, but I would prefer to keep and run the apps on the card and PowerRun loads the apps into the device's internal RAM to run the apps. What I am lookng for is something whose only function is to allow the standard launcher to see and treat memory card stored apps as if they were on the device's internal RAM.
    Last edited by moddem; 06/06/2007 at 03:32 PM. Reason: more detail
  2. #2  
    Any app that's going to run has to be copied to RAM first.
    "Yeah, he can talk. It's gettin' him to shut up that's the trick!"
  3. #3  
    Ditto what Tom said.

    Take a look at LinkStart. It's probably the only free app that comes close to doing what you want.
  4.    #4  
    Thank you for clearing up my misunderstanding of what apps do and don't do on memory cards. While doing further research I came across this elegant technical explanation of the issue:

    Let's start at the top: launching applications. The "Home" screen on Pocket PCs is the Today screen, which gives you an overview of what commitments (appointments, tasks, unread emails) you've got on your plate today. The Today screen also supports plug-ins, installable modules that extend the Today screen's functionality. And the most popular plug-ins? Application launchers. While the Pocket PC "way" is to launch applications either from the omnipresent Start Menu or the Programs screen within, many Pocket PC users prefer to get to their most used applications from the device's "home base."

    The Palm inverts this a bit. The Home screen on a PalmOS device (accessed by tapping the house icon near the bottom of the screen) lists all of the applications installed on the device, along with the time and battery level. Applications can be sorted into categories and displayed with large or small icons. On newer devices that sport a five-way directional pad, the user can select categories and navigate and select icons without using the stylus.

    The Palm Launcher works so well that it's only been through minor revisions in the seven years Palms have been around. There are several third-party alternatives that provide largely cosmetic improvements like the Today-screen-like ability to set graphic wallpaper (ZLauncher and Silver Screen being the two most popular), but for most people, the stock launcher works just fine. How you organize it is a matter of taste and your own organizational style (My categories are Games, Media, Planner, Health and System), but there's only one place where Pocket PC users are going to need help dealing with the stock Palm Launcher. Cards.

    On the Pocket PC, storage cards (be they Compact Flash, Secure Digital or in the case of Acer, Memory Stick) are integrated seamlessly into the file system. Pop in a card and now you have a "Storage Card" folder in the root of the device's file system, along with old standbys "Windows," "My Documents," and "Program Files." You can install anything to the card that you can install to RAM (with a few exceptions, like device drivers, Today screen plug-ins and anything that sets alarms), and you can save data to the card just as if you'd saved it anywhere else (with the caveat that data on the card will not sync to the PC). It's a pretty elegant way of dealing with removable card storage.

    On the Palm, things are a little less elegant. Internally, PalmOS devices don't really have a file system at all. Instead, programs and data reside in a cross-referenced database "soup", a flat sea of digital objects rather than the hierarchical tree passed down to Windows from DOS. This database soup is more efficient than tree-based files and folders, so much so that the next version of Windows XP, code-named Longhorn, uses a similar SQL Server-based soup to power the new Windows File System (WFS).

    As long as Palms didn't have to deal with card storage, this database-oriented system worked very well, pulling maximum performance out of the early Palm devices' limited resources. As cards became more popular, Palm developed a problem. How to deal with the soup internally and hierarchical FAT-formatted cards externally?

    The solution Palm devised was to treat the card essentially as a separate unit. In the stock launcher, any applications installed to the card show up in a separate category, called "Card." The reasoning was that only transient applications would be stored on storage cards, like games or dictionaries. Cards would be popped in and out all the time, and therefore it wasn't necessary to integrate card applications into the rest of the system.

    Nice idea, but users had other plans. Only within the last year have PalmOS devices broken the 16MB limit on internal memory. While I run just about everything in internal memory on my 32MB Tungsten E and I would certainly run everything in RAM on a 64MB Tungsten T3 or 128MB Tapwave Zodiac, on a 16MB device the ability to run applications from a storage card is essential. In other words, Palm users needed a better way to manage card-launched applications than the method Palm provided.

    Some replacement launchers fill this gap nicely. Both Silver Screen and ZLauncher allow you to move applications to the card, yet still categorize and launch them along with RAM-based applications. For those that like the default launcher just the way it is, applications like TealAlias and PowerRun create "shortcuts" in memory that look just like the actual application, only roughly 5k in size. When you tap on a shortcut, the real application is read from the card and executed in memory, then deleted from memory when you're finished. If you think about it, this is exactly the way Windows handles running programs.

    Out of the box, Windows blows the doors off of Palm in file management. But with a few freeware additions, Palm catches up quite nicely. My favorite file manager is Filez, and not just because it's free. Filez does a great job of showing files/databases on both the card and in RAM, allowing you to copy or move files back and forth between them with ease. Most applications and data can live quite happily in /Palm/Launcher/ on the card, though some programs create their own directories under /Palm/Programs/. For example, the popular music player AeroPlayer can store music codecs and skins in /Palm/Programs/AeroPlayer/ rather than keeping them in internal memory. Some third party launchers also come with excellent file managers, making Filez unnecessary.
  5.    #5  
    Thanks for the heads-up aboput LinkStart. Here is a good comparison review of PowerRun, ZLink and LinkStart:
  6. #6  
    One thing some of the launchers and replacement launchers do is not only copy the app but all supporting files to the sd card also to free up more space. It'll copy all of the files into ram when launched and then either delete the files out of ram when done or copy the files back to the sd card. This behavior is controlled by the user. If there are supporting files that'll be updated while using the app it's better to copy wha's in ram back to the sd card. If they're not updateable then simply delete them.
  7. #7  
    ZLauncher and LauncherX (and others, I'd assume) will automatically write changed data back to the card when you exit the app.
    "Yeah, he can talk. It's gettin' him to shut up that's the trick!"

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