Robert Hanssen's "Palm Pilot"

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tps
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Joined: Sun Oct 02, 2005 3:40 am
Location: Philadelphia, PA USA

Robert Hanssen's "Palm Pilot"

Post by tps »

As a person who has written programs for Palm Pilots for years, I wanted to point out the Palm III, which Eric O'Neill said that Robert Hanssen had, does NOT have a hard drive nor a removable storage card. With the Palm III, ALL information is in RAM memory that is permanently soldered to the main circuit board. Furthermore, since retention of information on the Palm III depends on the two AAA batteries not going dead, a copy of the information is backed up on the PC when to which it is HotSynced. So, if he really did have a Palm III, it is almost certain that they could have more easily gotten the information from Hanssen's PC, since he probably didn't keep THAT in his back pocket!

From my personal experience with Palm OS devices, my guess is that Hanssen must have really had a TRG Pro, not a Palm III. The TRG Pro looks almost identical to the Palm III. It has the same form factor and can be used with all Palm III accessories, such as cradles, modems, etc. And, the TRG Pro, unlike the Palm III, has a slot for inserting a removable compact flash non-volatile memory card. I've used TRG Pros with normal compact flash cards. There are also hard drives, the IBM micro-drive was one of the first, that can be plugged into the compact flash slot on some devices. I've never used a micro-drive with a TRG Pro and I'm not sure it is compatible, if for no other reason than it might be a big power drain on the 2 AAA cells that power the TRG Pro.

I've owned the device which was the newer model after the TRG Pro, the Handera 330. It had a much better power situation than the TRG, since it could use a rechargable lithium ion battery pack, similar to the batteries used in a cellular phone, rather than the 2 AAA cells of the TRG. However, I suspect Hanssen did not have a Handera, because I believe it was introduced later than the Palm V, which O'Neill says he had, calling Handssen's Palm "antiquated".

So, what is my point? That the details that O'Neill gave, the Palm III, the hard drive, the memory card, do not add up. This problem could have been avoided had he been LESS specific. Had he used the generic term PDA, or even just "Palm Pilot", which if often used like "Coke" is used to refer to cola, he would have been completely correct. But when he specifically said "Palm III", now there are 2 problems with his story:

1) A copy of the information on the Palm III would also be on Hanssens's PC, so why the need for the drama of separating Hanssen from his Palm?
2) The Palm III does not contain a hard drive, or even a memory card, as O'Neill specifically said.
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CharlieSummers
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Re: Robert Hanssen's "Palm Pilot"

Post by CharlieSummers »

tps wrote:As a person who has written programs for Palm Pilots for years, I wanted to point out the Palm III, which Eric O'Neill said that Robert Hanssen had, does NOT have a hard drive nor a removable storage card.
Yeah, I caught that myself; I assumed he knew less about PDAs than he did about "databases," and simply assumed any device that holds information has a "hard drive." (Looking at the Tao and Nexus searching for hard drives...)

But then, I remember when my wife took a "Nursing Infomatics" course many years ago in preperation for her Masters Degree, and the instructor held up a 5.25" disc and said, "This is a floppy disc," then held up a 3.5" disc and said, "and this is a hard disc." My wife buried her head in her arms and tried to muffle her laughter...
Charlie Summers
The comments here are my personal opinion, and not the official opinion of www.bobedwards.info
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