Palm Pre

I finally got a Pre. It seems pretty sweet so far. (And the keyboard is great. Anyone you've heard complaining about it is crazy.) However, there are some things I have yet to figure out. That's where you come in, dear Lazyweb...

  1. I got incoming mail working (POP3 SSL, self-signed) but I can't get outgoing (SMTP TLS, PLAIN AUTH, self-signed) to work. Mostly the only error message I get is a red exclamation mark. Yesterday it was occasionally saying that I had the wrong password, which isn't true, but I can't tell how to get the Pre to show me, like, a debug log or anything.

      Update: Fixed: Turn off smtpd_helo_required.
  2. I have only a single mail server, but I have several email addresses. How do I select what to put in the "From" field of particular outgoing messages?

  3. Where is the "mark all messages read" command? Where is the "delete all messages" command?

  4. It does Google Chat, which means it speaks Jabber. How do I tell it to use Livejournal as my Jabber server instead of Google?

  5. Is there a way to set a different ring tone for text messages?

  6. I wish to have an archive of my phone's IM / SMS logs on my desktop computer. How?

  7. I wish to have an archive of my "Notes" on my desktop computer. How? And absent that, what happens if I lose my phone? Do all my Notes vanish? Because the docs seem to say that this mysterious "backup" business that it does to is for application settings only, not data.

  8. Maybe I missed it amongst the whopping three games in the app catalog, but where's Bubbels?

  9. I gather there is not yet an (outgoing) ssh application?

Things I have discovered:

  1. To make self-signed certs work, first you have to copy the certificate file to the Pre (drag it out of Keychain Access onto the Pre mounted as a drive) and then run Device Info and select Certificate Manager from the menu to import and trust it. The error message for "you didn't jump through hoops to authorize a self-signed cert" is "SSL error, check the date and time."
  2. As I said above, "Notes" on the device are apparently not synched anywhere accessible, and aren't visible on the file system. This led to the question of "how do I get my old notes into the phone?" Copy and paste only work with text fields, not the contents of mail messages or web pages. The only way I could think of to move my existing notes onto the device was to put them in dummy events in my calendar, then cut-and-paste from those calendar text fields to the Notes app. WTF.

  3. There's no way to delete all those built-in apps that you don't care about, like "NASCAR". But you can drag them to the very last page of the app list so that you never have to see them.

  4. The web browser doesn't scroll to #anchors on URLs. WTF. Though for this to be the first "WTF" I found about the web browser is kind of amazing.


  1. If you don't use Google Mail and Google Calendar, you need Missing Sync. That seems to be the only way to sync your Mac's contacts and calendar to a Pre without entrusting all of your data to Skynet.
  2. Missing Sync apparently syncs all of your calendars, even if you've told it only to select some of them. This means you probably want to unsubscribe from the gigantic SonicLiving iCal feed right now. It also ignores the "don't sync old events" option, and syncs absolutely everything back to the dawn of time.

  3. Missing Sync doesn't sync contact photos. Instead, it takes all your contact photos from Address Book and puts them in a photo gallery called "Contact Photos". That's, uh, useful.

  4. Missing Sync uses wifi to sync contacts and calendars, but requires the phone to be put in USB-drive mode to sync music and photos. THE DUMB, IT BURNS.

  5. Missing Sync is still flaky as hell. In fact, I might fairly categorize it as "only hints at the possiblity of barely fucking working at all". It may cause me to give up on my thus-far-complete unwillingness to create a Google account. But I sure hope not.

    For example, every now and then it chooses to take a subscribed calendar feed in iCal, copy it to the phone, and then copy it back to iCal as a regular calendar. And then the next time around, Missing Sync freaks out because now there are two calendars in iCal with the same name.

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32 Responses:

  1. pnendick says:

    I'd love to have experience to share but that Palm Pre of yours is a rarefied beast here(UK) indeed. Glad to hear it's not as bad as all the iPhone apologists with thousands of dollars left owed to AT&T are making it out to be. And I'm looking forward to hearing if it actually works out to be useful for you...

  2. robotdevil says:

    Got the Pre yesterday, love it. So far these things bugged/interested me:

    1) clipboard state not always reflected by menu state (e.g. paste disabled, but can still use O+v on keyboard to paste)
    2) symbol entry not allowed in web forms (e.g. if you need \). You get the UI, but selecting items does nothing. I worked around this by keeping that symbol in my clipboard, since I don't use it that often yet.
    3) doesn't work with exchange at work (grabbed folder names and that's it). Hoping this is because I need to get a cert on it.
    4) weird hidden UI features. for example, if you have an app running and it's taking up the whole screen, you can drag up (as if to dismiss the app into the card view), but keep doing that, and the app bar that is visible at the bottom will follow your finger. You can move your finger back and forth before releasing to pick one. Seems like a lot of unnecessary work, but I have a feeling I'll get used things like this to move around faster.
    5) the charge/USB connector looks incredibly fragile. I wanted to get the touchstone because it's neat, but now I just want to get the touchstone so I don't fuck the connector up with daily use.

  3. dr_memory says:

    I gather there is not yet an (outgoing) ssh application?

    Not yet, but in the interim if you've got an ssl-enabled webserver where you can set up ajaxterm, the Pre's web browser can apparently handle it quite well. Hacky, but there you go.

  4. You might want to look here; some guys have found a ROM image in a recovery tool, reverse-engineered it and figured out how to get root on it and start hacking its (JavaScript-based) apps.

    • jwz says:

      In what way did any of those questions suggest to you that a sane solution would be "get root and start hacking Javascript"?

  5. jkonrath says:

    #1 - You using port 587? Can you move to 485?

    #3 - There isn't one. You can swipe-delete from the inbox, but yeah, that sucks too.

    #5 - There isn't. (See also #3)

    No complaints about the keyboard keys, but the slide feels a little mushy - I'm always wondering if they keyboard is 100% open or 97% there. (If that makes sense - probably not.)

    • jwz says:

      #1: 587? It's SMTP TLS, so it's 25, but I've also tried 2525.

      Yeah, I wish the spring on the slide was a little stronger. I sometimes accidentally slide it a bit when putting it in my pocket, which unlocks, which is bad.

      • giantlaser says:

        Traditional SMTP ports:
        25/tcp is unencrypted but with STARTTLS optional, for reception as well as authorised relaying. STARTTLS may or may not be required for authentication (but it should be!).
        465/tcp is SSL on connect, typically only for authorised relaying.
        587/tcp is STARTTLS required, for authorised relaying.

        That's the way I've got it set up on my domains. I use 587 to avoid annoying ISPs who redirect SMTP.

        • jwz says:

          Well, it's my server and it does unencrypted on both 25 and 2525 and requires STARTTLS before AUTH. This all worked fine on PalmOS.

          • giantlaser says:

            And you can reach your server on 2525/tcp? IE- any chance the Pre's traffic to 25/tcp is being intercepted by your ISP or wireless provider?

            • jwz says:

              I could reach it just fine on 2525 from various other places, including from a Treo on Sprint, so I don't see why that would be different with a Pre on the same network. (I tend to use 2525 instead of 25 since most random wifi connections one finds out in the wild block 25, either on the router or the upstream ISP.)

              All that I'm seeing logged on the server, sometimes, is:

              postfix/smtpd[31585]: warning: XX.XXX.XX.XXX: hostname verification failed: Name or service not known
              postfix/smtpd[31585]: connect from unknown[XX.XXX.XX.XXX]
              postfix/smtpd[31585]: lost connection after AUTH from unknown[XX.XXX.XX.XXX]
              postfix/smtpd[31585]: disconnect from unknown[XX.XXX.XX.XXX]

              But I don't even see that every time: I tell it to resent the message, and it comes back 2 seconds later and says "credentials rejected, update your password" but I don't see another connection on the server from that same IP. Which doesn't make any sense.

              Right now the phone is connected via wifi, which means it's coming in via the same NAT as my iMac, which is able to connect to the same port just fine. But I've seen the same lossage with wifi off and coming via Sprint's network.

              Also, as far as I can tell, the Postfix debug_peer_list and debug_peer_level options do exactly jack shit.

              • jwz says:

                Yeah, tcpdump says the fucker's not even connecting.

              • giantlaser says:

                I've never used those Postfix options. Postfix will log every connection, so if you aren't seeing some of them, they aren't arriving.

                The "lost connection after AUTH" may indicate an AUTH method that the Pre cannot support (causing it to drop the connection). IE, LOGIN, PLAIN, CRAM-MD5, SPA, whatever. The Pre probably supports only one of these, most likely LOGIN or PLAIN, so make sure Postfix is offering both.

                If I'm barking up the right tree, add this to
                broken_sasl_auth_clients = yes

  6. lirpa_j says:

    Hi, I don't post often...

    Re: #12. You can delete apps. I deleted NASCAR off the bat. Unfortunately I can't tell you how I did it because the phone's been returned. RTFM?

    Loved the Pre, I am a die-hard Palm fan. I am an ATT subscriber, and Sprint's service is horrible by comparison. Going to give the new iPhone a spin.

    The google sync with the phone is awesome. Get gmail already! It's quite efficient at catch-all reply-to's.

  7. artkiver says:

    Why use missing sync, really? Just treat google as your missing sync. Sync iCal/Addressbook to google, google to pre.

    Is that different than ical/addressbook to missing sync, missing sync to pre?

    Google r evil? So is missing sync; but you're also -paying- for it (and not just in money, it also blows chunks).

    Addressbook needed some stupid hack to allow the sync to google w/o owning an iphone by creating a dummy plist iirc; but since the pre already does fakery magic for itunes syncing (oh gawd, itunes evil!) maybe it already creates the needed fake plist entry and you get the magic checkbox in addressbook preferences. iCal sync to google via caldav or ical iirc.

    Anyway just postulating on syncing issues since I don't deal with any of those headaches not owning a pre, and no longer using addressbook or ical (android + tehg00gl3z is fine for me, private things don't belong on networked computers anyway; networks are for sharing resources, not private things).

    I really really wish google had pilfered the Pre team. In many ways the Pre is more of a google phone than android. Android is trying to be what the sidekick wanted to be, while the Pre is what the iphone wanted to be.

    Every contemporary phone makes me want to punch the dumb. Worse is better? God fucking damnit all. Worse is also just fucking worse.

    • artkiver says:

      Oh, you were also once asking for an OSX alternative to iTunes since I was bitching about that.

      Look at Plex ( it's the slickest port of XBMC, plays flacs oggs, whatever the fuck else other stuff; and also integrates with itunes/iphoto/etc. nowadays if you have trouble getting away from the beast. Embrace and extend or something.

    • jwz says:

      If you don't see the difference between "moving my data from the computer in my house to the phone in my house over a wire that is also in my house" and "do that but only by giving a multinational corporation a copy of ALL OF MY DATA on drives that I do not own or control" then there's something deeply wrong with you.

      • vordark says:

        giving a multinational corporation a copy of ALL OF MY DATA on drives that I do not own or control

        You know, I have normally intelligent friends (one of which fixes computers for a living) that never see this as a bad thing. It's something in the water, I think.

      • artkiver says:

        Oh, I clearly see the difference between the perception of local syncing and OTA syncing; but that's a narrow view of the actual picture.

        For the sake of playing devil's advocate though; is there really much difference between evils short of one being convenient and without financial cost, and the other being cumbersome, having a poor track record of doing what it was designed for and also costing you money out of pocket? (Albeit I believe you griped about missing sync in the past, so maybe you're used to dealing with paying for its brokenness).

        As far as the multinational corporation having a copy of your contacts and calendar; I gotta say I think you're somewhat deluding yourself. You're talking about syncing to a cell phone that is accessible wirelessly via yet another (I guess Sprint is only national) corporation. If they or any well funded organization wants your data, they can get it off the phone with minimal effort. After 9-11 there was a DHS project called MIRT (mobile international remote tap) that you won't have much luck googling for. think of it as CALEA++. But that combined with other anecdotal stories of agencies with every commercially produced cell phone and private remote exploits for them; and well let's not forget how many math Ph.D's the NSA employs. Well, paranoia only goes so far. As a friend at RSA said who worked with an ex-NSA person "For the first year of working for the NSA you only think they're watching your every move. After the first year, you -know- they are."

        At the end of the day though, do you need to worry about big brother? What are they doing to influence your daily life anyway. By comparison, I'm sure you know as many people at google in secops as I might; and they've got a pretty good track record; and let's face it most google employees have drank the koolaid as far as "don't be evil" goes. Since IPO'ing and being at the behest of shareholders I'm sure it will continue to gradually go in the shitter. But for now? Their products tend to work and work well, without glaring operational bugs let alone security issues (don't get me started on things like the blackberry; but even removing missing sync from a system years ago was never entirely successful short of blowing away the OS).

        FWIW, I know at least one occasion of a celebrity photo leak having come from an insider with the cellular carrier; and in general question the ethics of underpaid overworked cell phone employees. By comparison I've had trouble even getting any kind of privacy information out of friends @ google with regards to people who have sent things to my inbox beyond what was already provided in the headers.

        If you feel more secure using missing sync to your wireless phone rather than doing some TLS over the air syncing to google; I doubt any of this has convinced you otherwise. But I really don't think you're buying yourself anything in terms of real security for the tradeoff of a lighter wallet and inconvenience. I really don't know where the all of your data on your local drives comes in; you're not installing google search on your mac. Google has a -way- better track record than Apple when it comes to security too (the number of things trivial fuzzing has revealed in spotlight over the years is not unremarkable).

        C'mon love little brother winston! ;)

  8. rodgerd says:

    Oooh, I've been hoping you'd get one, so I could get a decent review of the Pre (i.e. not fawning or "It's not an iPhone so it must be shit").

    Glad to hear there are ways, however crufty, of syncing locally instead of with the Internet.

  9. allartburns says:

    Missing Sync is some of the worst software I've ever paid for. It caused me no end of grief with my XV phones, and part of the reason I went for the G1 was that I could sync w/o using Missing Sync. That is, I actually tried to avoid having to use Missing Sync ever again when picking my phone.

    I ended up creating a google account solely for sync. I don't give out the account info, I don't get mail there, etc, etc, and it seems to work ok.

    • jkonrath says:

      Seconded - I don't know if you use it on a Mac, or if it's my particular machine, but I had immense problems with the server/daemon on my Mac going stale and creating a small army of zombie processes. My daily sync process involved an elaborate chain of ps, grep, and sudo kill to wipe out everything, then count to ten, then restart.

      Even more annoying was when I had a sidekick (go ahead, laugh it up) and wanted to sync it with a Mac. Markspace used to write a Missing Sync for it, and then inexplicably stopped selling it. But if you asked TMobile or anyone on the net, they would tell you to rush out and buy a copy of Missing Sync. And I think the misconception that they offered a solution stopped anyone else from writing one. (That and the sidekick is generally used by gay teenage wizards, so maybe the demo market isn't doing much syncing.)

  10. afresh1 says:

    Just an FYI, Palm got around to posting where to ask questions:

  11. xrayspx says:

    That part implies that you had self-signed SSL certs working on the Centro with either VersaMail or Sprint Mobile Messaging, which looks to be a million times better than Versamail?

    Prompted by this post, I started googling, but the only thing I found was a Windows utility that you can use to push a cert after hard-resetting the Centro. What are us Mac people to do?

    I think I gave up on mail on the Centro because it wouldn't pick up any IMAP folders except /inbox unless I move all my stuff under /inbox. That and SSL didn't work anyway, but if I can make SSL work with self-signed certs, I'll redouble my efforts.

    Or I just give up and buy a Pre.

    • jwz says:

      I used Snapper Mail on Treo and Centro, which was a lot more reliable than VersaMail. And, had a checkbox for "always trust server".

      • xrayspx says:

        Thanks, I'll play with the 30 day trial, by the end of which I hope to have a Pre anyway. Thanks for the review from the perspective a current Palm user. The keyboard in particular looked just fine to me as a Centro user.

        Nothing can motivate me to go to a Sprint store, at least in my area, but as soon as they offer it on the site, this thing's in my pocket.

  12. rane500 says:

    We Mac users get screwed, I gave up in utter disgust on Missing Sync on a prior phone - total waste of money. I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I learned my E71 can use iSync with a quick driver install from Nokia.

    15) I never found any way to stop that. I would also have double entries show up in the phone or in iCal, events deleted on one system would not delete properly in the other, and in the end I had to stop syncing calendars - making the whole exercise pretty pointless.

    16) That may be a problem with current Pre support, my Audiovox contact photos were imported properly - although there were some that were occasionally ignored altogether.

    18) I gave up on it in the end, but I did see steady improvement in the program as a while during the time I tried to use it. It seems the developers are at least working constantly. Not that that helps in the end.

  13. drstein says:

    I have a nice new HTC MyTouch 3G (T-Mobile/Google) and I am also unable to send email.
    Unfortunately, the fix that worked for you has not worked for me, and I am unable to find any answers from the T-Mobile forums, Android devs, app devs, etc. I see other folks running into the same issue but there are no answers. At all.

    Rather frustrating. At least my old iPhone was able to take a self signed certificate and IMAP-SSL/SMTP-TLS .... Just Worked. :|

    It seems that Android cannot deal with self signed certificates. (It also seems incapable of simple shit, like remembering my Wifi network password. ARGH.)