Archive for August, 2010

Palm Touchstone

August 11, 2010

For those who don’t know – you connect microUSB to the Touchstone and “dock” the phone (it sticks magnetically) on it to charge, for wireless charging. WebOS (OS on Palm Pre) is Touchstone-aware in the sense that it will act differently when the device is connected to a Touchstone.

I didn’t think it was worth $100, or $80, or $60, down to $20, but eventually I wanted to be able to mount my phone in my car in a GPS-like position, since it is sometimes my GPS and music player as well. I also wanted to be able to effortlessly put it on to charge before starting to drive, instead of fumbling for the cable and opening the slot on my phone, which usually slows down our group (I tend to be the driver) by a few seconds. I caved in to this $20 deal but the back cover was another $15! (usually $20 after tax!) Lame. It came with a dual port car charger too, which is quite interesting.

It’s a Verizon branded charger, with a microUSB output *and* a USB port. I connected the official Palm USB cable to the USB port, and the other end to the Touchstone. That way I could choose between charging my phone via Touchstone wirelessly, or use the car charger’s wired output, without disconnecting the Touchstone setup. Good to go, right?

Wrong. No charging is done with the Touchstone. People have said that you need a high-current (1 A) charger to use it properly. So I experimented.

  1. Palm wall charger with Palm USB-microUSB cable, direct to phone – works (duh)
  2. Car charger microUSB, direct to phone – works (duh)
  3. Car charger auxiliary USB port with Palm USB-microUSB cable, to touchstone – does not work (no!!!! and hence the debugging begins…)
  4. Palm wall charger with Palm USB-microUSB cable, to touchstone – works (okay, the Touchstone works, and so does the cable…)
  5. Car charger auxiliary USB port with Palm USB-microUSB cable, direct to phone – works (okay, the aux port works…)
  6. Car charger microUSB, to touchstone – barely fits, and… works!

This setup hasn’t been working for a few weeks and I’m finally getting around to it (avoiding spending my time with my friends though…) but this is quite frustrating. Each of the individual components work, but there’s something wrong with connecting the car charger’s auxiliary USB port to the Touchstone. I really like this car charger too.

I don’t see anything interesting in /var/log/messages.

For now, I have the car charger’s aux output hanging around to my cup holder (since it works), and the car charger’s regular output going to the Touchstone. It’s a squiggly wire so it’s sorta bulky and in the way but it’s not too bad.

On the audio side of things, I have a splitter and 2 male-male audio cables. One goes to the Touchstone area (if only the Touchstone itself had audio output and wireless audio…) and one goes to my cup holder.

So whether I decide to charge my phone on the Touchstone or wired near the cup holder, I’ll have both power and audio jacks available. I really should’ve done this a week or two ago.


PayPal fees

August 5, 2010

PayPal WILL CHARGE a fee if you use a card.
PayPal WILL NOT CHARGE a fee if you use cash/your bank account.

If the transaction is a PURCHASE, PayPal will not show you the fee involved (if there is one.) The buyer is abstracted from the (potential) fee and the seller will have to pay it (if there is one.. ie if you use a card.)

If the transaction is PERSONAL, PayPal will ask you if you want to pay the fee or let the other person pay it. There’s no abstraction here, because PayPal assumes you know the other person because it’s a personal transaction. Once again, this is only relevant if there’s a fee involved, which occurs if you use a card. If it’s cash+personal, no fee box will prompt at all.