Manual for Pane 1.2.1

Pane is © 2000-2002 Gert-Jan Vons

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This is version 1.2.1 of Pane, a PalmOS application that will remind you of anniversaries and other special events. Pane stands for Palm ANual Events by the way.

The latest version can be found on the PalmGear web site, and in case you experience download problems, you can find it on my personal web site as well.

You can distribute this program freely. If you find any bugs or have other remarks, please let me know.

Pane's main features are:



Pane runs on all PalmOS devices with PalmOS version 2.0 or higher. In order to install Pane on your handheld, you need 45KByte of free memory.

It has been tested on a Handera 330 (PalmOS 3.5.3) and a PalmIII (PalmOS 3.3), and with emulated Sony CLIE devices, Visors, and PalmOS 4.x.


Known Problems and Limitations



Installation of Pane is easy, just install it like any other PalmOS application. You can overwrite an existing version of Pane, your preferences will be preserved.



Before you remove Pane from your PalmOS device, remember to clean the Date Book first!


Address Book

This group of settings defines how Pane processes the Address Book records.

Setting Description
Select Custom Fields

You can select any combination of the Address Book's four custom fields.

The section How to specify events in the Address Book explains the expected format of these fields.

System Date Format Displayed is the systems date format, clicking the "Change..." button will open the system preferences panel. Note that changing this setting will change it for all applications installed on your handheld!


This group of settings specifies when and how Pane does its work.

Setting Description
Check Time This specifies the time at which Pane does its work, i.e. scanning the Address Book, displaying any reminders, and alerting for today's events.

The same time is also used for timed events in the Date Book.

Display Date As This configures the format used for the date column in Pane's main view.
Remind <N> days in advance When enabled, Pane gives you an advance notice a couple of days before the event actually occurs.

The reminder is always handled by Pane.

Use Pane Alert If enabled, the actual alert for the day's events are displayed by Pane.
Use Date Book Alert If enabled, the Date Book event will have an alarm associated to it. Timed events will use Pane's Check Time, untimed events always alert at midnight.

The advantage of using the Date Book alert is that it gets hotsynced to your desktop, so that Palm Desktop, Netscape Calendar, or any other application will display it and possibly can alert you on-screen.

Date Book

This group of settings specifies how Pane interfaces with the Date Book.

Setting Description
Create Events Pane can update the Date Book automatically when needed. If you don't want events to be inserted in the Date Book, set this to Manual.

In all cases, you can force an update (or remove all Pane events) using the "Update Date Book" menu.

Event Type A timed event will be like a normal meeting, and will be displayed at the configured Check Time.

An untimed event we be less "invasive", but an associated alarm will go off at midnight.

If Date Book is open during update Pane runs in the background when it checks for new events. When it discovers something new, Pane will also try to update the Date Book when needed. However, the Date Book may be open at that time, making it impossible for Pane to update it.

Pane can either postpone the update (it will be done the next day, or when you open the Pane application yourself), or it can close the Date Book before doing the update.

Note that this is a best-effort thing, it won't work if the Date Book application also needs to display an alert message.

Date Book sync-ed with Netscape Calendar Netscape Calendar imposes some constraints on Date Book events (see below for more information about this), and Pane must know about it to avoid warnings from Calendar.

When installing or upgrading Pane, it will automatically enable this option when it detects the presence of NCSetup on your handheld.


How it works

Every day at a user-configurable moment (default 07:00), Pane will run through the event list, and display an alert both for the day's events as well as reminders for future events. If the Address Book has changed since Pane last looked at it, it will be rescanned first. If needed, DateBook events will be created automatically as well (if so configured).

If the Address Book is open when Pane runs, it will not be scanned. If Pane needs to update the Date Book but the Date Book is opened, Pane either cancels the update (and try again the day after or when you enter Pane), or it can close the Date Book before updating it.


How to specify events in the Address Book

Pane expects that at least one of the Address Book's custom fields contains one or more event descriptions, separated by a comma. Each of these event descriptions should end with a date, and may have a comment that describes the event.

If the exact year of an event (e.g. someone's birthday) is not known or does not apply, use a question mark or leave the year out altogether. If a potential event has no date, it is skipped.


Let's assume that you know someone named John Smith, born 31/3/1973, who is married to Martha, born 24/6/1972. They got married January 5th 199-something, and have a son named Billy of which you don't know the birthday. Assuming also that you renamed one of the custom fields to "Family", the Address Book record for John Smith should then contain:

	Lastname: Smith
	Firstname: John
	Family: 31/3/1973, Martha 24/06/72, wedding J&M 05/01/199?, Billy

Pane interprets this as
Event Date
John Smith 31/03/1973
Martha Smith 24/06/1972
wedding J&M Smith 05/01

If you have a separate Address Book entry for Martha (she has her own e-mail, work- and mobile- phone numbers, etcetera), you could still list the family members in her entry as well:

	Family: husband John, Billy

Since there are no dates, no entries will be added to Pane's event list.

You can also add an entry to your Address Book for national holidays, like

	Last name:
	First name:
	Company: holidays
	Events: Valentine's day 14/2, Christmas 25/12, Boxing day 26/12

where "Events" is again one of your custom fields. Leaving the last name and first name fields empty gives a nicer view in Pane:

Event Date
Valentine's day 14/02
Christmas 25/12
Boxing day 26/12


How dates are interpreted

The order of the year, month, and day values as used in the Address Book entries should be the same order as specified in the PalmOS preferences panel. Pane will complain if a date looks wrong, it only allows 29 February in leap years for example.

Note that a date with a 2-digit year yy is interpreted as if yy < 31 then 20yy else 19yy. If you really intended the year yy, specify it as 00yy.

Also, Pane considers it an error if an event is more than a year in the future; this to catch errors where 2-digit years are incorrectly interpreted (i.e. year 22 interpreted as 2022 when it was intended to mean 1922).

Date in Address Book Interpreted as
2001/1/5 2001/01/05
01/1/5 2001/01/05 , yy < 31 -> 20yy
30/1/5 error, 2030 is more than one year in the future
31/1/5 1931/01/05 , yy >=31 -> 19yy
0031/1/5 0031/01/05
2000/4/31 error, April only has 30 days
1999/2/29 error, 1999 is not a leap year


Adding events to the Date Book

Pane creates yearly repeating events in the Date Book, starting in the event's year. If the event year is unknown or earlier than 1970, it will be set to start in 1970 (this is imposed by the Palm Desktop).

The description of the Date Book event is the same as used inside Pane, but with the year attached so that you can quickly calculate the age without switching apps.

Because all occurrences of a repeating event share the same description, Pane can only add the year and not the age (all occurrences would show the same age).

The event can be timed or untimed. Timed events will have a length of 0 minutes, and will be programmed for the same time as Pane's Check Time. This allows you to use the Date Book alarm, since the alarm for untimed events goes off at midnight which is probably not desirable :)

The main advantage of using the Date Book alarm is that applications like Palm Desktop (>4.0) or Netscape Calendar can alert you.

Once the Date Book has been updated, Pane triggers the Date Book application so that it can re-schedule its alarm if needed. Pane actually signals the application that is bound to the Date Book hardware button, so if you use a Date Book replacement, it will work fine if you made it the default Date Book application. This has been tested with DateBk3, DateBk4, DateBook+, Agenda+, and ActionNames.


Handling of private records

When the PalmOS security setting is hide or mask, Pane will not display the events that correspond to a private Address Book record. For those events to become visible, the user first has to make the private records visible through the Security application.

The Date Book event inherits the privacy setting from the Address Book record.

If you use Netscape Calendar, the NC Setup application synchronises the privacy settings like it does for all private Date Book events.


Synchronising with Netscape Calendar

If you synchronise your Date Book with Netscape Calendar, you have to tell Pane about it (the Netscape Calendar option is automatically set when Pane detects the presence of NC Setup on your handheld)

Netscape Calendar has two limitations:

To work around this, timed events will have a duration of 5 minutes, and repeating events will start in the current year so that they appear in Calendar.

Note that the events that actually appear in Calendar also depends on how you configured the hotsync start and end dates in NC Setup.

For more information about syncing with Netscape Calendar, please check the documentation that came with Netscape Comunicator. It doesn't seem to be available on the internet, but it can usually be found at C:\Program Files\Netscape\Communicator\PalmLink\Doc\Mapping.htm .


Change History

v1.2.1 2002/02/25

v1.2 2002/02/23

v1.1 2002/01/27

v0.7.2 2001/07/25

v0.7.1 2001/06/27

Development started July 2000.


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