Author Topic: My Handheld Database Project  (Read 13197 times)

Offline Docwatmo

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My Handheld Database Project
« on: February 09, 2010, 09:26:40 AM »
I've completed the conversion of my old handheld into a long term storage database.  Only thing I don't have yet is an index system and document management system.  Will be working on that as time permits.

Here is what I have.



With Dollar bill to show size of device



Spare battery and Mini SD card with Nickel to show size.





Device is an HTC 7501.  This is the handheld pocket PC I ran for the last several years before upgrading to an HTC Touch Pro phone.  I now use the phone for the majority of tasks so I've converted this device to be simply a storage and retrieval medium.

The device in picture 1.  This device runs for 6 to 8 hours of continuous use on a single battery charge.  (I have a spare battery) I have tested it using it periodically and estimate that it will run for up to 2 weeks without needing a charge.   It is rechargeable on any powered USB port and can be charged from 12 volt automotive systems.  I plan to order a solar charger to keep with the device so that it will have basically unlimited power for long term SHTF events.

It has a Mini SD card slot, which I have 4 cards for (2 x 2 gig and 2 x 4 gig).  12 gigs is A LOT of storage space.  I have all medical data stored on one card, all personal data stored on another (Encrypted) and have been dropping PDF's like mad on one of the other cards.

I have a card container (This thing is totally Bomber) for storing the cards.  http://www.amazon.com/Pelican-0910-Mini-Memory-Protective/dp/B000W3RZ8U

I have one of these in the camera bag to hold SD cards for the camera bag,  I have one in my GPS kit with 4 cards containing the detailed topo, satellite, and aerial photograph maps of all the areas I frequent as well as base maps with top info for the entire united states.

I will be ordering one for this kit in the next couple of days along with a waterproof heavy duty bag or small clear case like this paladin mini 1010 (http://biz.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=3923513&CatId=514)   or slightly larger to contain the whole kit.

I'm emptying my laptop bag and not bothering to lug all the external hard drive's and power inverters and extra stuff that I only use once or twice a year to make room for this kit as part of my EDC gear.

Anyone who is familiar with Pocket PC windows Version 5.0 and above if you know of good indexing or file management / document management software please let me know.  Right now I have everything categorized in directories.


Offline Docwatmo

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Re: My Handheld Database Project
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2010, 09:41:32 AM »
Yes, it does have wireless and which I typically don't run unless I need to download something.  The wireless cuts the battery time down to about 2 hours.  I generally have Bluetooth, wireless and phone functionality shut off to conserve battery.  It actually is a phone also, but without the card, it will only dial 911 so it can work in emergencies.  It also has built in GPS and Delarm's (and several other downloaded) GPS programs.  Plus any software I want to run on it.  I'm thinking of adding some cookbooks and other items.  Ton's of storage space so looking for ideas of other things to put on it.  (Got the PDF blowout for my Ruger and the HAM study materials also).


Offline idelphic

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Re: My Handheld Database Project
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2010, 06:31:07 PM »
Not knowing your device,..  what happens in the event that you managed to forget to charge it?  I know my MobilePro 880 has it's main battery and a backup battery.  If both fail or are discharged, then the programs installed become vaporware.

Keeping the programs you want or plan to use, not just the data, on the SD cards could be wise.

Offline Docwatmo

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Re: My Handheld Database Project
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2010, 08:14:02 PM »
I have the applications on the SD card so I can reinstall them if the machine zeros out.  (Which it will do about 30 days after the main battery goes belly up). 

All the data resides on the SD cards also so its not volatile.  (I also have everything on the Tablet so I can reload the cards if one becomes corrupt).

The biggest problem is the encrypted SD card.  If the battery and the backup battery both die, the encryption key is lost and can't be recovered.  So I'd have to reformat and recopy all the personal data.  Not a problem as long as I still have the tablet. 

I'm still deciding between ordering the dedicated USB solar charger or building my own.  (Just like Rob_MA at this link http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=13722.msg152761#msg152761)

I have a Pelican 1150 Hard case.  Its water proof and damn near indestructible.  I'm thinking of doing what Rob did with it.  Depends on how big a price difference and what kind of wattage I can pull between the pre-built solution or a custom job.

 

Offline Docwatmo

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Re: My Handheld Database Project
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2010, 11:07:10 AM »
Thanks for the reminder though, I need to add a couple CR2030's to my list of supplies to drop in the box.


Offline DDrew

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Re: My Handheld Database Project
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2010, 06:13:00 PM »
I'm pretty familiar with Windows Mobile, as I did tech support at M$ and this was one of the products I supported. I'd rather take this discussion 'offline' for the sake of brevity, as most of the readers don't want to read all the gory details about computer software.  PM me, and we can discuss this further.  I'll be glad to help post a summary of what we did to help solve your problem, if anyone else is interested.

Best regards,

Dale Drew

Offline JGreene

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Re: My Handheld Database Project
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2010, 06:33:32 PM »
Nice, I have an HP 1950??  something like that.  Nice idea, I'll have to dust that thing off and see what it can do. 

Offline Docwatmo

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Re: My Handheld Database Project
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2010, 07:20:49 PM »
I'm pretty familiar with Windows Mobile, as I did tech support at M$ and this was one of the products I supported. I'd rather take this discussion 'offline' for the sake of brevity, as most of the readers don't want to read all the gory details about computer software.  PM me, and we can discuss this further.  I'll be glad to help post a summary of what we did to help solve your problem, if anyone else is interested.

Best regards,

Dale Drew


Sorry Drew, but ya lost me,  which problem are you referring too?  I'm guessing the encryption key issue (If you know a way to back it up, then by all means post it here for everyone). 

Thanks

Doc

Offline Orionblade

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Re: My Handheld Database Project
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2010, 08:14:13 PM »
Yes, it does have wireless and which I typically don't run unless I need to download something.  The wireless cuts the battery time down to about 2 hours.  I generally have Bluetooth, wireless and phone functionality shut off to conserve battery.  It actually is a phone also, but without the card, it will only dial 911 so it can work in emergencies.  It also has built in GPS and Delarm's (and several other downloaded) GPS programs.  Plus any software I want to run on it.  I'm thinking of adding some cookbooks and other items.  Ton's of storage space so looking for ideas of other things to put on it.  (Got the PDF blowout for my Ruger and the HAM study materials also).



Filemaker pro isn't bad for database software - they had a mobile version a few years ago, haven't checked up on it lately, but it interfaced well with their web-enabled PC version.

Offline CyborgX

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Re: My Handheld Database Project
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2010, 10:15:00 AM »
Sounds like a pretty handy device. I'd like to eventually get something like that, but I'll probably be settling on a netbook. In the mean time, I keep most of my important documents redundantly stored inside my PC, on an external HDD backup of my whole system, and on an 8GB thumb drive.

Presently the closest thing I've got to any kind of mobile database is my poor old laptop (HP Omnibook XE3-GF - 933MHz Celeron, 512MB PC133, 80GB HDD, Xubuntu 9.10)

Offline Bcudda

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Re: My Handheld Database Project
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2010, 10:06:13 PM »
First post. "Hello"
That looks like an interesting idea. I had a similar thought about though using a wiki format probably a flat file type wiki "tiddlywiki" as a place to get as much information as possible in one searchable group. Seems like a wiki is easier to open (any html browser) and cross platform. Anyone have any thoughts as to sources of info (besides the obvious HERE) and best format to organize such a project?
Love the podcast.

Offline Docwatmo

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Re: My Handheld Database Project
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2010, 10:26:40 PM »
Someone mentioned Wiki to me about a year ago and I never researched it.  Thanks for the reminder.  That would have the kind of compatibility I have been looking for cross platform.  How is it with full text searching? 

Cyborg, a good netbook (With the long battery life) would be a more powerfull solution (Particularly with an SSD hard drive).  The handheld or pocket PC models only have the advantege of size and lower power consumption.  (I would love to get my hands on one of the Sony UMPC's (Vaio UX).  All the power of a laptop/netbook in a tiny touch screen tablet form factor.  Battery isn't as good as some but its a sweet little device.

I have a Dell XT Tablet 12 inch, with a battery slice and it runs full bore for 10 hours.  As long as I could keep the battery charging, its my prefered platform, but its still the only mahine I can't get to boot of my puppy sticks. Drives me a little insane. :)


Offline xdewit

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Re: My Handheld Database Project
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2010, 06:19:43 AM »
Thank you so much for posting this! I recently bought a HTC Touchflo 3d. I am very very new to this kind of devices and trying to learn. Some how I was able to upload one of Jack's podcasts and listen to it in the park. Can't get it deleted for now...
Anyways, I am very interested in knowing if I can do similar things on this type as you are doing?
thanks!
Xant

Offline Docwatmo

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Re: My Handheld Database Project
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2010, 07:08:53 AM »
No problem, just post any questions you have and we'll do what we can to get ya going. 

(HTC Rocks by the way, great choice).

DOc


Offline Bcudda

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Re: My Handheld Database Project
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2010, 09:08:05 AM »
As to searching in TiddlyWiki http://www.tiddlywiki.com/ it has a built in search feature that will open a tiddler (their version of a category) and highlight the search term the drawback is that it doesn't jump to the search target. First impressions are pretty good, I selected all of this page and pasted it in the size went from 343.7kb to 357.9kb with the links staying functional but no images.
If this were to a public wiki I might use mediawiki ((same as wikipedia) which by the way you can download compressed +/- 2 gig).

Offline Docwatmo

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Re: My Handheld Database Project
« Reply #15 on: February 18, 2010, 10:10:52 AM »
How does it scale?  My only concern is with full text indexing, the indexing and front end may outstrip the devices ability to handle it on HPC devices.  (Ran into this problem a while back using both SQL anyware studio and Oracle 9i.  Awesome features and our Mapping/GIS database worked great on laptops and PC's but the indexing and front end tools didn't scale for the handhelds (Palm TX and WinMobile 5.0 at the time).  Ended up with a customized Java applet which we hope to replace soon as its a major pain.

Hopefully I can get some free time next week to test it out.  (My list of Wanna Do things is over full page now so we'll see what happens :)).

Doc

Offline Orionblade

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Re: My Handheld Database Project
« Reply #16 on: February 18, 2010, 12:11:01 PM »
(My list of Wanna Do things is over full page now so we'll see what happens :)).

Doc

Just a full page?

I've got three notebooks full of project junk! Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize!

Offline xdewit

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Re: My Handheld Database Project
« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2010, 02:51:06 AM »
No problem, just post any questions you have and we'll do what we can to get ya going. 

(HTC Rocks by the way, great choice).

DOc


Thanks Doc for you offering! I am curious if my HTC can do the same things as yours. I have only one small sd thing. If the difference between our phones are not that big, I will first follow your post and try to start the same things. I do have the booklet laying round somewhere...
So my first question would be: are our phones similar?
thanks!
Xant

Offline Docwatmo

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Re: My Handheld Database Project
« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2010, 05:55:32 AM »
Actually, I have 2, the 7501 in the picture I never used as a phone, just as a Pocket PC.  I also have an HTC Touch Pro (Probably the same one you have).  It runs the touchflo overlay to Win Mobile 6.  Yes it will do exactly what the 7501 can do, Only difference really is it has a micro SD card rather than the mini or full sized.  Micro's tend to be a little less durable.  So swapping them in and out of the phone will kill them off pretty quick.  (I've been through 4).  But if you keep a couple of them and back the cards up, its fine.

The screen on the HTC Touch Pro is a little small.  I use it all the time for Web access and documentation, but even with my vision which has always been excellent, it does cause some eye strain reading on the small screen.  You can zoom it and increase the text size, but if you read fast, only having a few words on the screen at a time gets anoying.

If you can get your hands on a larger device (Any pocket PC with win mobile 5 or higher will work for this project) its definitely a usability improvement.  (I am currently debating the HTC HD2 vs H2 (Winmobile HTC vs Android HTC)) It is a good compromise between the touch pro small size and the 7501's larger display.  I am looking at some of the suggested software to improve the way the data is stored and accessed, but if your just going to do like I have so far and put flat files in directories, then any old Pocket PC will do.  But some of the suggested software run's only on 6.0 or 6.1 or higher.

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Re: My Handheld Database Project
« Reply #19 on: April 14, 2010, 08:39:48 PM »
What would you consider to be a good compromise on price? I found some older HTC 6700'ish phones for 65 or 70 bucks. Would these do just as well for the budget minded?

What's a good entry level if I never intend to use it as a phone but mostly for storage of pdf's in a format that I can easily recharge with solar like this?

Offline Docwatmo

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Re: My Handheld Database Project
« Reply #20 on: April 14, 2010, 08:54:23 PM »
Any of the win-mobile devices are great for this.  The things I look for are beyond price are a memory card slot of some kind (most phones are micro SD but some are mini and some devices even have full sized SD slots).  Removable battery (I despise devices with built in batteries that cannot be changed).  And last is screen size.  The last one is more of a personal preference. I have great eyes and can use the smaller devices but I prefer a bigger screen like on the HTC.

I have a bag with 3 old handhelds (An old Jornada I used a long time ago and a dell and an hp ipaq a friend gave me when he moved out of state).  I keep them all as backup devices.  All my software runs on even the older jornada so if my HTC dies I can transfer everything to the other devices They all have standard SD card readers on them and I have several trans-flash (Micro SD) and mini SD converters so I can use all my current stuff on any of them.  Only problem is the proprietary charger on the older jornada, the ipaq and the dell both use mini usb chargers so I can charge them with any device I can use (Solar or hand cranked).


smoke63b

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Re: My Handheld Database Project
« Reply #21 on: April 14, 2010, 08:57:00 PM »
Great!
Would you mind making a suggestion for me to look at? If I wanted to spend less than $100, what would you suggest on a device? I haven't been into phones/pocket pc stuff long enough to know a dang thing about older ones. I was searching around after reading this thread and the other thread about the database with all the pdf's available stuff and it was really hard to sift through all the different devices out there.
Thanks for your time!

Offline ZenGunFighter

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Re: My Handheld Database Project
« Reply #22 on: April 15, 2010, 06:40:38 AM »
I have long advocated for this. An amazing way to store information. SD cards are tiny and hold so much data.

I have the Brunton Solarport 4.4 for charging.

The other recommendation I have is to devote some cards to entertainment. Music, movies/videos, and books/audiobooks.

www.baen.com has a bunch of free Sci-fi books for download. I just read an Andre Norton and 2 by John Ringo. Zip Html format doesnt' take up much space.

When things are crappy, it's nice to give the mind a break with some entertainment.

smoke63b

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Re: My Handheld Database Project
« Reply #23 on: April 18, 2010, 10:08:12 AM »
Thanks for that link. I didn't realize they had free books for download there!

Offline ZenGunFighter

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Re: My Handheld Database Project
« Reply #24 on: April 18, 2010, 12:16:53 PM »
Thanks for that link. I didn't realize they had free books for download there!

You're welcome. I'm currently reading Ringo's 'There will be Dragons' on my Samsung Blackjack.


Offline Fyrekat

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Re: My Handheld Database Project
« Reply #25 on: April 20, 2010, 08:17:10 PM »
I think the Samsung mini notebooks are one of the best options personally.  I have an N120 that I use a great deal of the time.  On minimum you can get about 8+ hours on battery, it has a very low charge rate (you can easily do it on a solar charger), and you can mod it quite a bit for very little.  I've got 160 GB of HDD space for now, but I can easily boost it up to 500GB in about 2 hours or less.  (I'm really REALLY careful about modding it).

Offline Docwatmo

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Re: My Handheld Database Project
« Reply #26 on: April 21, 2010, 07:43:18 AM »
For storage, I stick to either large usb Flash drives or usb bus powered hard drives.  As long as you can power the laptop.  You can power your devices. Plus they are portable and can quickly and easily be moved to another device should the primary fail.  They are also independent and can be backed up to each other for redundancy.

Never have to crack the case and mess with a good laptop to mod it that way.  Also minimizes the investment in the primary device and improves the portability of data between different computers.


Offline Orionblade

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Re: My Handheld Database Project
« Reply #27 on: April 21, 2010, 08:16:14 AM »
Yes, it does have wireless and which I typically don't run unless I need to download something.  The wireless cuts the battery time down to about 2 hours.  I generally have Bluetooth, wireless and phone functionality shut off to conserve battery.  It actually is a phone also, but without the card, it will only dial 911 so it can work in emergencies.  It also has built in GPS and Delarm's (and several other downloaded) GPS programs.  Plus any software I want to run on it.  I'm thinking of adding some cookbooks and other items.  Ton's of storage space so looking for ideas of other things to put on it.  (Got the PDF blowout for my Ruger and the HAM study materials also).




Have you thought about building an index.html page for your files?

Maybe use some frames, and just build an interface yourself quite simply. I've done this a few times with USB sticks that got unweildy. I'll have to poke around my old apps, but there was a file manager app that I had on my old iPaq... I'll get back to you on that one.

Offline idelphic

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Re: My Handheld Database Project
« Reply #28 on: April 21, 2010, 09:32:51 AM »
Quote
Maybe use some frames, and just build an interface yourself quite simply

Some pda browsers can't display frames correctly.  While your idea has plenty of merit and application, an older PDA may not display it correctly.

Offline Docwatmo

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Re: My Handheld Database Project
« Reply #29 on: April 21, 2010, 09:50:40 AM »
I did build a web interface linking to the files at first for that very purpose, but with that many documents it became unwieldy quickly and i'm terrible with updateing (Hence the need for a lazy mans auto indexer  ;D).  I could build a more robust web site but that adds to the complexity again and I still would not be diligent with updates. 

What I would like is full text indexing of file locations.  Then I can run an indexer against the directories any time I add files (Or recover from a crash or lost SD card or something) and easily be able to transfer to another device and add or remove documents and re-index at will.