A good springclean will help your Palm

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 30 May, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 May, 2000, 12:00am

I have been using a Palm V for a little less than a year now without any problems - until about two weeks ago, that is. I used to use it for everything from the usual Palm applications to sending and receiving e-mail and reading documents.

However, recently the device started acting crazy. Sometimes it just wouldn't come on. Other times, the applications I would try to launch would not start up.

Instead, other applications would be launched. In other cases, my normally flawless data entry would not be recognised.

No amount of resetting or re-alignment using the Digitizer in Prefs has helped.

Luckily, all my data is backed up on my PC, but recently even the regular Hot Syncs keep getting interrupted for no apparent reason. Short of getting a newer Palm, do you have any suggestions? MIKO KANAZAWA Causeway Bay, Hong Kong It isn't very difficult to damage a Palm. The very nature of the device - its portability - puts it in harm's way rather a lot. The device is quite robust, yet if you have dropped it or got it wet, its operations could be adversely affected.

That said, I have been a Palm user for many years and am not unfamiliar with the symptoms your device is suffering. Almost without exception, this sort of thing happens when my Palm gets low on memory.

The Palm V comes with what I now consider to be a paltry two megabytes of memory.

For me, the memory killer has been AvantGo, which lets me download newspapers off the Internet and read them on my Palm. It takes up about half a megabyte of memory.

Every time my Palm starts acting up, I set about cleaning it up. The first to go are stacks of e-mail. I generally move my e-mail from my PC's Outlook Inbox to an offline folder, which clears e-mail from my Palm's Mail program the next time I Hot Sync.

When that isn't enough I start deleting programs.

The last time this happened, I discovered there were quite a few programs and documents that I hadn't used in months, so off they came.

To delete an application, when on the Applications page, tap Menu and select Delete. From the list that pops up, select the application you want to remove and tap Delete.

I usually repeat the process until I have freed up about half a megabyte of memory.

If your Palm still keeps acting up, you should take it for a thorough check-up.

Even if removing applications fixes your problems, consider giving your Palm a memory upgrade, perhaps up to five megabytes.scmp.com. Questions to Tech Talk will not be answered personally. Technology Post reserves the right to edit letters.

Larry Campbell is publisher of SCMP.com. The opinions expressed in this column are his own. E-mail comments and questions to techtalk@