Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Nostalgia: Use Palm infrared keyboard with Android phone

I am probably the only person interested in this sort of thing, but in case anybody has an old PalmOne infrared keyboard and for the sake of nostalgia or convenience or whatever wants to use it with a newer device, I wrote up instructions on how to interface the keyboard via Bluetooth.

Talking of nostalgia, doesn't the phenomenon suggest that there is something not quite ideal about our current relationship to the past? The past is really real. So why feel nostalgia, when our past actions and experiences are really real? In heaven, perhaps, our memory will be so vivid that our past lives--transformed in a hindsight illumined by the beatific vision--will be fully present to us.


Dagmara Lizlovs said...

I really feel nostalgia when I see my old Texas Instruments calculator and my old manual type writer from my college days. Yes the one I had to type 3 page double spaced essays on with three carbon copies. There was a backspace key, but you had to use white out on the original and the carbon copies, wait for it to dry and then type again. Cutting and pasting was accomplished with scissors, tape and re-typing. Then we did all of our computer work with punch cards. That was fun. One typo and you had to re-type the whole card. Then you had make sure all your cards were in the exact order. These cards were kept in the exact order by putting them in computer card boxes. If you were an undergraduate, this card box would be short because your program would be about 200 cards or less. If you were a graduate student you had a very long box which contained a program of at least a thousand cards. You were really screwed if you dropped that and got the cards mixed up because that was your thesis! Then you stood in line at the card reader. Then you fed your cards in. If you missed a typo your printout would tell you and you had to type your punch card all over again and you would get in line for the card reader and run the deck of cards through it again. Or you waited for your job to run. Only then will you know if you had you had a programming error. Trouble shoot error, retype cards, get back in line for the card reader. The good old days! They were so much fun! I miss them!

Austin said...

Hi Dr. Pruss,

I apologize for my ignorance since I'm not very familiar with a lot of your work. But does your comment "the past is really real" indicate that you hold to a tenseless understanding of time?

If so, I wonder what the odds of getting you and someone like William Lane Craig (who holds to a tensed understanding of time) into the same room for a debate/discussion on the topic. Part 1 could be which theory is correct, and Part 2 could be how does our understanding of time affect the case for Theism/Christianity.

Any thoughts? I know you and Dr. Craig are both very busy.


Alexander R Pruss said...

I do think all times are on par reality-wise.

But Bill Craig surely also thinks the past is really real. That's central to the argument from no-actual-infinity to finite-past.

Alexander R Pruss said...


Much more satisfying to delete a line of code by throwing it in the trash, though.

Alexander R Pruss said...


Regarding the calculator, I recently gave my daughter my Casio FX-7000G. Apparently it was the first graphing calculator. I got it when I was a year older than she is now. Works great still (needs a paper shim to keep the batteries in place, that's all).

elerouxx said...

I'm trying to get rid of my iPaq 3950 and the PalmOne keyboard, but something compells me otherwise. Today, the only use I have for the iPaq is to play Commodore 64 games on an emulator put into the SD card - and compatible SD cards from the past are hard to find also! The iPaq takes long time to charge and the battery lasts about one hour gameplay. In other words I am surrounded by Nostalgia :) Maybe I just keep these things as relics.

Regarding the keyboard, I wonder if there would be a way to tear it apart and somehow attach the keys circuit to a simple usb-keyboard controller and usb cable, like from a cheap usb keyboard. The PalmOne is outdated, but its keys are top quality - hard to find such crafting in nowadays bluetooth keyboards.

Alexander R Pruss said...

You could stick in an Arduino, and bit bang the line going into the IR emitter to read off the data, and then pass the data to USB, either with a USB shield or just bit banging. (I remember seeing an Arduino bit banging USB library on the web.)

Or you could use an xmega like I did. The xmega can read irDA protocol data very nicely (you can use the code from my Brainlink firmware) and it can pass it off either to a USB shield or a Bluetooth module. The only problem is that if you want a HID module (rather than something that requires special drivers, as in my hack), Bluetooth HID modules aren't that cheap.

Pep Si said...

Hi can we imagine an app to add irda keyboard to HTC one m8 or other smartphones having irda?

Alexander R Pruss said...

Presumably, yes. The keyboard sends data over irDA, and you should be able to modify my driver to retrieve this data from irDA rather than bluetooth. Source code is here: https://github.com/arpruss/p1keyboard

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