visorcentral.com >> Products & Reviews >> Modules
|Mon May 15, 2000 - 1:24 PM EDT - By James Hromadka|
Do the alarms from your Visor annoy others when you are in a meeting? Would you rather have a visual alarm instead of an audible alarm? Do you like flickering lights? Then check out the TaleLight Springboard module from Tech Center Labs, a company that has already made light attachments for other Palm-compatibles.
The TaleLight is similar to the Backup module in that they have a similar size and weight. The TaleLight fits flush with the Visor (except for the bulb), so users should have no problems with any carrying case. The light only sticks out 1/16" and also should not present a problem inside a case. The hard cover that comes with the Visor fits quite nicely over the module when on the back of the Visor. Unfortunately, the TaleLight uses a gaudy yellow sticker that really detracts from the stylishness of the Visor.
Contrary to other Springboard modules, the TaleLight is not plug-and-play. You must install HandMute, a Hackmaster extension, to be able to use the TaleLight. Hackmaster is shareware and costs $5 to register. If you alread have HM, this doesn't add anything to the cost of the TaleLight, but for new users, this is a hidden cost of the TaleLight.
Once you have HandMute
installed and activated, any time there is a non-system sound, the sound
is muted and the TaleLight flashes for the duration of the sound.
The red light is fairly bright and easy to see, and doesn't seem to drain
the batteries too much when the silent alarm goes off. However, you
will need to make sure that your carrying case doesn't prevent you from
seeing the light. One "gotcha" with HandMute is that you have to
remember to disable it before you remove the TaleLight module from your
Visor. Here is the warning from the
"WARNING! You must de-activate HandMute before inserting other Springboard modules. Otherwise, when HandMute is triggered it will send a "reset" signal to your Springboard, which is normally only received when the Springboard is first inserted. If your Springboard receives this signal at another time it could behave unpredictably. This should not be catastrophic, but the author of HandMute will not be responsible for any damage or loss of data caused by your failure to turn off HandMute before installing other Springboard modules. "If you don't want the hassle of remembering to disable HandMute, you can buy AutoHandMute for $5 so the hack is automatically disabled/enabled when switching Springboard modules. I think that this is a shoddy way to put out a Springboard module, where the hardware and software must be installed separately, and the software side is handled by a 3rd-party that charges for something which should have come with the module in the first place. One of the most appealing aspects of the Springboard technology is plug-and-play, which the Talelight out-of-the-box is anything but. To make the TaleLight plug-and-play requires spending another $10, making the total cost come to $39.95.
Something else that I find disappointing
is that programs that work with other light devices do not work with the
TaleLight. One of the first applications I installed on my original
Palm III was Tricorder, which can blink the lights of other Tech
Center Labs devices but does nothing for the Visor. Hopefully
the HandMute driver will be modified to allow the TaleLight module to work
similarly to other light devices by Tech
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