synchronization of data with a PC of pdb file

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  • Sidney

    Sidney - 2009-11-04

    My first take is this is exactly the product I have been looking for to put my SuperMemo functionality on my iPod Touch.  I have over 10,000 cards on French grammar and vocabulary that I would need to transfer.  I can't wait to drop my Palm E2 dans la pubelle, but I have to say I am confused by the information available to effect the transfer.
    1) The project page states "Supports synchronization of data with a PC through a web server, and import of Palm databases" yet the documentation only shows functions that run under Unix.
    2) The page on the "Transmit" function

  • Sidney

    Sidney - 2009-11-04

    continuation: 2) The page on the "Transmit" function refers to a Java application which does not seem to be available. Question: What is the projected date of availability - early or general
    3) Use of style sheet is fabulous. Will the palm dbd conversion include a replication of the SM templates for each of the categories?

    thanks. It looks great but more information would be appreciated.

  • Christian Hujer

    Christian Hujer - 2009-11-04

    Hello sidneyf,

    on your questions 1) and 2) the Java application is currently undergoing a final test/debug phase on Windows. It already runs fine on Linux and Mac OS X. The release date I currently target is Sunday, 2009-11-08 (this weekend). As soon as it is available, the documentation will be updated accordingly.

    I don't know details about the palm db conversion, so your question 3) will be answered by mkussinger or ndegendogo in December, I guess.

    Cu :)

  • Sidney

    Sidney - 2009-11-05

    Hi christianhujer, 

    Thanks for your speedy reply.  I will look forward to the release of the Java application this weekend.  Hopefully at that point I will be able to answer my own question 3.  Much obliged.  - Sidney

  • Christian Hujer

    Christian Hujer - 2009-11-05

    Hi Sydney,

    sorry that my answer might have rosen false hopes. This release of the Java application will not (yet!) feature a conversion / import of Palm db. If I remember correctly, there somewhere is a perl script in the subversion repository that can preform such a conversion.

    Future versions will feature such a conversion.

    I have no Palm DB file to write such an import myself. If however somebody would supply me with a bunch of files, a few small ones, a few big ones, this could speed up the implementation of the import filter.

    Cu :)

  • Sidney

    Sidney - 2009-11-06

    Hello christianhujer,

    No false hopes were raised.  I fully expected that I would have to use perl scripts to converts my pdb files to sqlite before they can be transfered to the iPOD Touch.  I am working to set up a Perl environment with the necessary modules SQLite, Encode, Palm etc. on the PC to effect the conversion as shown in It's looks straight forward but it is a bit of a challenge for me since I am not a Perl programmer.

    What I am hoping for this weekend is that elegant Java application as described in the doc that will transfer my converted pdb files from my PC to the iPOD.   Once on the iPOD it will be obvious to see if the SM templates were converted to the K. style sheets along with the SM palm pdb's. It is essential for me that the SM Template get converted to the HTML style sheets in Karatasi iPhone.

    But please don't hesitate to add the conversion function to the JAVA app.  I can certainly supply you with as many Palm PDB's as you like. Just let me know how I can transfer them to you. 


  • Sidney

    Sidney - 2009-11-10

    Any news on the release of the Java 0.1.0 Server module?  It is still list on the site as "under test." I am so ready to get off my E2 that I would take a test version at this point.  Is there a target for a new release date? 

  • Sidney

    Sidney - 2009-11-16

    I decided I couldn't wait for the Java server so with the help of a CGI savy friend and my wife's Mac,  I transfered some multiple thousands of cards from Palm pdb  to my iPod touch. Here is some feed back:

    * Fabulous job. All the functions of SM are now available on Karatasi/iPhone.  The interface takes advantage of the iPhone functionality - its looks good and feels great. 
    * The use of HTML Style Sheets is a huge advance over the Palm SM templates..  I now have full control over the presentation plus I am no longer limited by the size of the card.  That allows more update directly on the hand held device without going back to CSV feeds to make changes. (FYI: some of my cards are large with multiple cloze occurances to accomodate some rather complex French grammar rules.)
    * Everything transfered pretty well with, I would guess, about 95+% accuracy. The style sheets preserved the SM Templates at least for field order, paragraph alignment , and bold characters. Font color and size were lost (color=black size=4), though it was easy enough to add those font characteristic to the HTML. Some paragraph breaks were also lost as were most apostrophes in French word combinations like «l'homme». The french character «oe» was lost.even though it exists on the iphone keyboard.
    * Even though I have arrived and fallen hard for Karatasi, I would still like to see the Java module for the PC.  Right now I am limited on database backups to the Mac.  The install of the of the CGI stuff for the PC is essentially undocumented since all the doc is for a Unix environment (SUDO).  I could fudge my way through the PDB to SQL, perl transfer without much help, but setting up the CGI environment on the Mac was way beyond my technical level and I am totally unclear how you would do this for the PC. A user friendly translation and transfer mechanism would make Karatasi, far and above the leader in flip card technology.
    * The one thing I miss from the Palm: an UNDO command.

    Thanks, it's great.

  • Sidney

    Sidney - 2009-11-29

    undo is available on the iPhone/iPod Touch.  Shake the device and tape the UNDO button.

  • Christa Runge

    Christa Runge - 2009-12-01

    Hi Sidney,

    congratulation for helping yourself and getting it running, and: sorry for the delay with the Release for the Java version.

    Christian had planned to release a beta three weeks ago, but just then his PC crashed badly, and he still suffers from this crash.
    Unfortunately we have still a major issue in the database backup with Window systems (see tracker 2907141) but we hope to fix it on this weekend.



  • Nardo

    Nardo - 2009-12-08

    Jambo pamoja, habari zenu?

    Hello together. Well first, really great App.

    I was a long time user of the Palm SuperMemo, but now I'm tired of taking the Palm AND the iPhone with me. I could import your demo-database (swahili) into the iPhone using FTP and could play arround with karatasi. Really nice work.

    Now I tried to convert my own SM-Swahili-DB into the sqlite format. Or better saying, I tried to find the description, how to do with your perl script. Until now I did not find this description. Can you tell me, where I could find the detailed descrition? Do I need a Webserver for this and what kind of?

    Thanks alot.

    Asante sana na kwa heri



    EDSA DS - 2009-12-16

    Hi, I have several thousand cards on the subject of optometry to import. However I've hit a wall at the PERL stage. I have never come across PERL before, and have downloaded a program called Strawberry PERL but I am presented with a DOS style command prompt and the instructions given to me tell me to navigate to files and install modules. I have spent a few hours trying to work out how on earth to do this, unfortunately this seems to be far beyond me. DOS commands don't work and the programming language is completely alien to me!

    Could someone please provide a detailed description of how to get through the PERL steps please? (I can use either PDB or CSV, but all i essentially am trying to do is turn them into a KDB file)

    Alternatively, what is the format of the karatasi KDB file? If i could open the file in notepad and edit it that way to contain my card info then I will (especially if it bypasses any complex PERL stuff!)

    Any help would be greatly appreciated



    EDSA DS - 2009-12-16

    Is the fact that im trying to do this on a PC going to make this more difficult? And if so, is there any workaround?

  • Mathias Kussinger

    Hi Matt,

    it might be true that using Windows makes it more difficult, mainly because we are using a OS X and Linux for development, and Windows only for testing. The goal is to get rid of the Perl stuff and add it to the Java application, but that takes much time.

    The first question is: What kind of data do you have?
    Do you have an existing Super Memo database with the extension .pdb? Then use to convert it into a .kdb file.

    Or a text file with the questions and answers? Then:
    - use a spread sheet  like included in OpenOffice (7 columns: category, data 1 - data 6; each card is one row; coded as UTF8, not Windows native encoding).
    -- fill it with data
    -- export it as .csv file
    -- convert it using into a .kdb file
    -- import it with the Java application

    I can help you with the conversation if needed.


  • Sidney

    Sidney - 2009-12-17

    I have posted detailed instructions for converting Palm SuperMemo files (.pdb) to sql (.db) for use with Karatasi under Windows at the follwoing site: 

    You can view this documentation online (however the screenshots are blurry) or download a MS Word file.  All the software used in this conversion is free except for WipZip.  I hope the Karatasi community will find this helpful.

  • Christa Runge

    Christa Runge - 2009-12-17

    Hi sidneyf,

    thanks a lot for your detailed instructions on Perl installation and the on conversion of Palm SuperMemo files. I am sure it will help the community, especially the Windows users.

    I am currently updating the online manual and try to improve it also for the Windows environment.

    Regarding the Web server for the database transmission, I have good news: the Java application is now available for download as version 0.1.0 beta. We have tested it, and are planning to release it on this weekend. The application supports the database transmission, so that it is no longer necessary to go through the Apache server.

    Among the features planned for the future is the data import from other formats.



    EDSA DS - 2009-12-17

    This is very useful, thankyou. I'd been using Strawberry Perl which certainly makes things a lot more difficult! This is much appreciated :)


    EDSA DS - 2009-12-18

    Any idea how I could convert unicode text? This doesn't appear to be supported by the conversion programs

  • Mathias Kussinger

    which one of the conversion tools?

  • Mathias Kussinger

    Can you send me an example that i can try around a little bit?
    Should be easy to add.

  • Sidney

    Sidney - 2009-12-19

    Good news: I was able to backup my Karatasi files on my iPod Touch to my Windows7 PC using the just released Java module on the first try!

    Bad news: After the first connect, I could no longer see the user interface on my screen.  It seems to have stopped communicating with both my desktop as well as my Touch. I can see it running in background using the Systems Manager, but no sign of it elsewhere. I tried to reboot, but no luck. The Touch just goes into connecting mode and then just hangs.  Suggestions?

  • Christa Runge

    Christa Runge - 2009-12-19

    Hi sidneyf,

    1) for the iPhone, there is a switch in the application preferences, its name is "keep state". Switch to OFF, then the next time when you start the karatasi application it will restart with the top-level menu (list of databases). Unfortunately you see an empty list now - don't panic, just press the 'i' button and go back (or exit the application and restart). Now the application should work as usual.

    2) Regarding the crashed communication: can you please give more details? Which screen was blank - the Java application or the iPhone? We would like to reproduce and fix it, as it sounds serious.


  • Sidney

    Sidney - 2009-12-19

    Hi Christa,  That's was a lightning quick response, thank you.

    1)  I made the change on the iPhone (in my case iPod Touch) that you suggested.  I am not sure what I was fixing there, but it worked exactly as you described. The only change that resulted after the switch of  "Keep State" to the "Off"setting  was in the order on my data bases as listed on the iPhone screen changed. The first shall be last.

    2) When I got the message this morning  that the Java module was available, I installed the Java runtime library from Sun and downloaded and unzipped  the Karatasi Java module.  A double click on the Java executable (.java) brought up the user interface.   So far so good. I was able to figure out the parameter changes on the iPhone and proceeded to do a sync.  Perfecto.   

    But than I noticed that my user interface screen on the PC was gone, disappeared.  The Java module "karatasi-java-0.1.0-beta4" was shown to be still executing according to the Windows "Start Task Manager" (Ctrl-Alt-Del), but there was no graphical display.  All that is hapening on the PC.

    Karatasi on the iPhone seems t running fine, but when I attempt to sync with the PC,  the iPhone just hangs "connecting…" and eventually times out.  It's like something in my enviroment changed after the first execution of the Jave module.  I am running Windows 7, but am not aware that Java would run any differently under this particular OS.


  • Christa Runge

    Christa Runge - 2009-12-20

    Hi sidney,

    we are glad that your iPodTouch is running again. The switch in the application preferences is kind of application reset, if the application is in bad or inconsistent state.
    Regarding the synchronisation: the Java application does not run in the background like the cgi scripts; you must launch the application every time and then press the 'start' button before you can transmit the databases.

    We have some more questions:

    1) Do you remember if you have selected another database storage path in the karatasi settings? (menu File / Settings).
    we managed to reproduce a very bad behavior after doing so on a Windows system (see our trackers #2886194 and #2917873).

    2) Could you please try to start the Java application via command line from the Windows console? The command line is:

    java -jar karatasi.jar

    It will then print all logging entries to the console. If it crashes it prints an exception trace.

    By the way: do you have access to IRC chat?
    You can meet us on the channel #karatasi at


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