What better way to test the MemPlug's performance than to use it. So, I proceeded in playing around with the various software applications that the MemPlug came with. The first is PiBackup. Since I have a habit of not changing the batteries until the very last minute, PiBackup is just what I've been looking for. So, I fired up PiBackup and tapped the backup button. Then I waited while the program scanned my Visor and transferred all the information onto the SmartMediaTM card. I was using about 6 MB of the total 8 MB of internal Visor memory, so the process took awhile. According to the user guide, since this was the first time I did a backup, it would take around 25 minutes. They weren't kidding around, it did take around 25 minutes to complete the entire process. The subsequent backups won't take as long but it also depends on the amount of information that has changed since the last backup.
Next up is PiMover. This handy little application allows me to transfer files to and from the internal memory and the SmartMediaTM card. When I first ran it, I was presented with a list of files/directories on my SmartMediaTM card. I could switch from Visor memory to card memory very easily. I could also copy, move, and delete files with a tap of a button. In addition, I could create directories and rename files. I transferred a 1.5 MB file from the internal Visor memory to the memory card to see how fast the transfer rate is. It took about 1 minute 45 seconds, which means around a transfer rate of 1 MB per minute. PiViewer is useful if you also use your SmartMediaTM card in your digital camera. It allows you to view JPEG images directly from the card itself. Luckily, I have access to a digital camera that uses SmartMediaTM cards. I also have a floppy disk adapter so I can transfer JPEG files directly to the memory card. Even if you don't have a Visor Prism, PiViewer still works with the other gray scale Visor models. The quality of pictures on my Visor Platinum are decent. However, there is no doubt that Prism owners will have a much better experience here.
gMovie is probably the best application included with the MemPlug. Earlier, I had recorded some movies of my friend's birthday using a FujiFilm FinePix 4900Z (look for the review on this soon). So what better way to test this than to convert those movies into gMovie files. I fired up gMovie Maker and selected the files I wanted to convert and set the various properties of the movie (size, color, frames per second) and where the final files should be saved. Then I clicked on the convert button and off it went. The process is fast, and you can convert multiple files at once. After that, I then had to install the files using the Palm install tool. A hot sync later, and I was good to go. Now, I could play the movies on my Visor's internal memory directly, or transfer the files to the memory card and play them from there. The movies looked ok in my Platinum's 16 shades of gray, but I would love to see them in color on the Prism. PiPrefs basically just has options to get information about the SmartMediaTM card. You can also format the memory card, and change some preferences about gMovie. Nothing really spectacular. Not one time during all this did any of the applications crash on me. Actually, my Visor Platinum has been pretty stable since I bought it. Over-all, the MemPlug performed rather well, except for the file transfer rate, which I thought could have been higher.
>> Applications & Value/Pros & Cons