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a little Pilot grayscale image viewer


Spec is a small (9K) application for the Pilot palmtop computer, which displays greyscale or black & white images on the screen. If an image is larger than the screen, it can be scrolled into view using the pen; and a toolbar provides palette and image controls.


Spec is freeware; it may be distibuted freely, but not sold or included in for-profit collections without permission from the author. This page is the Spec home page, and will always have the most up-to-date information. To download Spec, click on one of the following: (Macs) (others)

Current Version: 2.1 (April 19, 1998) -- See the Release Notes.

You may also wish to download some sample images:


Spec can read image files in Image Viewer format (which can be made or obtained according to the next two sections of this document). These are Pilot database (".pdb") files.

Install an image file just as you would install any other Pilot database or application. (I recommend Mac users get SimpleInst if you don't have it yet; it's much better than 3Com's installer.)

When Spec is launched, it scans your Pilot for any Image Viewer files. If it finds any, they are copied into Spec's own database, and the Image Viewer file is deleted.

(Note that Image Viewer's internal database is not touched -- the above only applies to freshly installed images, not ones already read by Image Viewer.)

Spec can also read files in Sweetheart format. But since Sweetheart doesn't import its images as Image Viewer does, Spec ends up deleting the Sweetheart file out from under it. In short, you can't neatly use Sweetheart and Spec together -- but there should be little need to, except when comparing the two. (In that case, always run Sweetheart first!)

To scroll the image, simply drag it around with the pen. Note, however, that it won't let you drag the image off the screen; it will stop scrolling when it can go no further.

You'll find a toolbar on the bottom of the screen; most of the buttons there affect the shades of gray used between black and white. The leftmost two buttons adjust brightness, and the next two buttons adjust contrast. Next is a button which inverts the palette, creating a "negative" of the image (rarely useful, but sometimes fun). The "i" button presents info on the current image, and also provides access to a delete button.

The next-to-last item on the toolbar is an indicator showing the current image number, and how many images are in Spec's database. Click the left side of this indicator, or press the page-up key, to switch to the previous image. Click the right side of the indicator, or press page-down, to switch to the next image.

The little arrow at the end of the toolbar is used to collapse the toolbar into a tiny unobtrusive thumb in the bottom-left corner, to maximize your viewing area. To bring the toolbar out again, just click the thumb.

Creating Images

Mac users can create images with either the ImageViewer Plug-In for GraphicConverter, or Raw To PDB.

PC/Unix users can get tools to create Image Viewer files from the Image Viewer web site, and the files so created will work just fine with Spec.

You can also use Snapshot to capture screen images, which can then be viewed with Spec.

Image Archives

The Image Viewer Gallery contains some files ready for use with Spec. has some, too.

Known Bugs & Limitations

Spec only displays 1-bit and 2-bit images in the original ImageViewer format. Images in the new 4-bit format will be ignored.

Spec is rumored to crash with large compressed images, but I have not yet reproduced this problem.

Spec sometimes crashes under version 1 of PalmOS, and other times seems to work OK. Your mileage may vary.

About the Author

I got my Pilot in December of 1997 and immediately fell in love with it. I've been a programming as a hobby and occasional occupation for many years, mainly under MacOS, and I plan to develop lots of great software for the Pilot. I have too many projects, which I prioritize mainly on the basis of user feedback -- so please register your interest below if you see something you like.

My home page has links to other apps I've written, handy C and C++ classes, my research tools, and my main Pilot page, containing other Pilot goodies.

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Last Updated: 7/19/99 . . . . . .