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A chat with the CF Adapter Guru

Tue Feb 20, 2001 - 10:15 AM EST - By Mark Pierson


Benefits of CompactFlash

[Mark]: What do you see as the benefit to this type of module, especially with the other various storage formats available?

[Dave]: CompactFlash technology itself really doesn't hold any huge benefits over the other storage formats available (SmartMedia, MMC, SecureDigital, MemoryStick, etc.). However, CF has been around the longest, so there are a lot of Visor owners who already own CF cards. SmartMedia has a nicer form-factor, but if someone has a CF digital camera, being able to use the same CF card in the Visor is pretty cool!

The biggest benefit is that because the design of a CF adapter is so simple, people can actually build one themselves for less than $20! And commercial adapters will be available at prices less then their SmartMedia or MemoryStick counterparts.

[Mark]: Was this your first attempt at PalmOS programming? If not, what else have you done?

[Dave]: FAFileMover was my first attempt to develop a commercially viable PalmOS application. I had written some other tools before this for my own personal use. One that comes to mind was a little program to restore custom low battery threshold levels after a soft reset. Those types of tools really don't utilize very much OS functionality, but they're a great way to get your feet wet.

When working on the FlashAdapter driver libraries, the lack of experience writing for the PalmOS really wasn't much of an issue. Aside from the intricacies of writing a PalmOS shared library, the drivers really don't make much use of the PalmOS. FAFileMover was a very different story, but for our "first" PalmOS user application, I think we did ok.

[Mark]: Once the FlashAdapter project started, did you ever have the feeling that you wouldn't be able to see it through to completion?

[Dave]: No, finishing was never really in question ... just how long that might actually take. Since all of the development has been done in addition to a regular full-time work load, it was very difficult to work to any kind of a schedule or get a very good feeling for when things might actually get stable enough for a commercial release.

[Mark]: Was the software development difficult?

[Dave]: When I started this project I thought "the hardware is so simple, why hasn't someone done this yet?" Now I know :) The development of the drivers was quite a bit more difficult than I expected, but the real surprise was the amount of work that went into FAFileMover itself.



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