Technical Difficulties from on Top of the Mountain
2006-01-18
  No help at all
While my new laptop is very nice out on the road, and having a working battery makes it possible to even use it on a plane; there just isn't really enough space to open up and be comfortable with a full size screen and keyboard. So I'm still using my Treo quite a bit for reading, playing games, and watching movies. Unfortunately my wife also wants lots of things to watch when I leave on trips, so she's stolen my high capacity 2GB card. I used to have several of the smaller cards, but on a trip last year I managed to lose several of them and trying to get the hotel custodial staff to look for something that's less than one inch square, as thin as a piece of cardboard, and the same color as a bed spread is next to impossible.

4gb sd Looking online I discovered that the 4GB cards are actually around, though not from any major players. The prices aren't that unreasonable (though others might argue that a data card costing almost as much as a Treo is by definition unreasonable). And the added benefit is that I'm always short about 30 or 40MB to get that last episode or movie on the card, so while I can fit 2 shows on a 1GB card, I can fit 5 shows on a 2GB card, and 11 shows on a 4GB card. Actually I'd probably use 1GB for my music collection, and the rest for shows/movies; avoid un-necessary card shuffles, and possibly prolonging the time till I lose my next SD card.

The only problem is, nobody else is using them yet, and I can't find anything that says that they'll work. The universal oracle Google just points me at six month old discussion board traffic where third hand knowledge was being traded around were the general consensus (if you can call it that) was that it wouldn't work. Of course someone pointed out that the Life Drive is 4GB, so maybe the Tungsten T|X would at least understand it. Then someone made some bizarre statement about how SD 1.1 doesn't have enough pins to do 4GB and there's going to be a SD 2.0 spec with more pins to support larger formats. (I hate it when you run out of pins). I called my gizmo friend at Palm Source, but he didn't have any idea. So finally I broke down and put in a support request to Palm themselves. This is what I got back:

palm logo Subject: Palm Support [Case ID #: 911350]

Thank you for contacting Palm Technical Support. My name is Edmund and I will be addressing your inquiry about support for the 4 GB SD card.

I understand that you would like to know if the Palm T|X and the Treo 650 will support the full capacity of a 4 GB SD card. We have tested 2GB SDIO, MultiMediaCard and SD expansion cards with these devices and can say that they will work in these devices.

We hope this issue has been resolved to your satisfaction.

HuH? Did I miss something? Did the part of the email where they actually answer my question with a yes, no, or we'll know the answer by X get lost or eaten by yahoo mail? Do I dare even attempting to reply to this message to explain that they have not answered my question by any stretch of the imagination?

So not wanting to be the most macho man on the net (I spent $300 on a SD card that doesn't work!). I decided to punt and just get a 2GB card. Also, since I was short on USB card readers I decided to splurge and get a PCMCIA card reader which would sit in my laptop all the time, ready at the waiting for when I needed to shuffle files around. I had had a prior bad experience with an off brand reader (only recognizing cards 512mb or smaller, yuk) and so I spent the big bucks and bought the SanDisk model, thinking to myself, there's no way a Sandisk Ultra II 2GB is not going to work in a Sandisk reader.

Surprise.

windows xp error Cannot copy the file you were trying to copy.
The drive cannot find the sector requested.
So it seems like it will acknowledge that a 2GB card is there. It will even copy files onto the card while it can find a block in the lower 1GB. But as soon as you cross the line---splat. The product information didn't know about this, the FAQ didn't even recognize the question, tech support didn't know about it ... finally level 2 support looked up sector in the index for their book of seldom used arcane knowledge. Yup, there it was. 2GB cards don't work.

To their credit, Sandisk did offer to fix the problem. Their solution? They would exchange my 2GB card for two 1GB cards. Argggggh!

I feel kind of like I'm living the Google Quote for today:
Genius might be described as a supreme capacity for getting its possessors into trouble of all kinds.
  - Samuel Butler

 
Comments:
The problem with the 4GB card is the file system. Once you go past 2GB, you have to switch from FAT16 to FAT32, and that requires a different file system driver. The Treo 650 only has the FAT16 driver, although newer models (LifeDrive and TX) have a FAT32 driver.

If you look at treocentral.com, some hackers have pulled out the FAT32 driver and backported it to the Treo 650. However, that use isn't supported by Palm.
 
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