Big Bubbles (no troubles)

What sucks, who sucks and you suck

Converting Psion Audio Files

I’m putting this down here because it’s taken some non-trivial web searching to find an answer:

I needed to convert some audio files (alarms) from my Psion Series 3a to my spiffy new Series 5mx. PsiWin allegedly does this for you, except it didn’t in my case - probably because PsiWin is The Worst PDA Sync Software In Existence. (I haven’t tried all the rest but I find it hard to imagine anything less useful, unless Palm HotSync randomly corrupts files.) If you want to know why Psion is no longer a player in the PDA market, look to PsiWin.

Besides, I use Linux. After much fruitless Googling for Psion sound converters, etc. (typical thread: “use PsiWin!”), I had a wander to the SOX home page in case there was a later version that understood the Series 5/EPOC 32 audio format. I had 12.17.3 installed but lo and behold, 12.17.4 can read and write “Psion Record app” files! It assumes they have .prc extensions, although I haven’t seen any official recognition of this as standard. But it definitely works; I converted my three WVE files to PRC in three commands and they play fine on the Series 5.

Mini-review of the Series 5mx for any Psion owners who want to upgrade one last time (cheap refurbs available from Clove Technologies and Pinnock Organiser Services): * It doesn’t seem much faster, probably because the extra horsepower is soaked up by the more complex software. * Physical size is about the same. * You need to hammer at the keys with a concerted effort to ensure each press is registered. * Keyboard layout and shortcuts have changed subtly but significantly from the Series 3. The Psion Key has gone (partly replaced by a Function key that works as a kind of second shift key and is required for many of the symbols). CTRL-E exits an app. Comma is next to the space bar. This and the physical response are enough to be a real pain. In lieu of practice, I still much prefer the old S3 rubber mat. * Navigating To-do lists in the Agenda is both easier (you can jump to the top or bottom of a list) and harder (pages flip over two lists at a time). * There are new apps such as a dedicated Contact manager. However, there’s nothing to convert a database containing addresses to the format this uses. * I assume it’s possible to navigate without the stylus but I haven’t looked up the required shortcuts yet. (Using fingers is one shortcut - to a very greasy screen.) * Display isn’t as bad as everyone makes out, certainly not enough to justify all the moaning. I haven’t yet needed the backlight in daytime. * 16Mb and CompactFlash support is nice. Proper batteries are nicer (anyone want to buy a Revo, as-new?).