December 4, 1998: David Pogue, at a Palm Developer Conference

One day during the summer of 1996, I walked into Metrowerks in Austin and picked up a box containing a US Robotics Pilot 5000 and Metrowerks Codewarrior for Pilot. It was behind the front desk with a sticky note on it that said, "Eric Cheng." That summer, I wrote Pocketsynth, which started as a coding exercise to learn how to write software for the Pilot. Pocketsynth went on to be praised by many palm "experts" as one of the best programs written from the Palm. Of course, since then it has been far surpassed by slicker programs, but it was the first Pilot program that made extensive use of sound. I also wrote a .wav file player during that year, but I never released it.

Pocketsynth has been unsupported since 1998, but is still available for download as donation-ware. What that means is that if you like the program and end up using it, you're welcome to send me money through paypal. :)

Pocketsynth is NOT related to PDA Musician's product, which is called Pocketsynth Pro for Windows CE.


Download Pocketsynth:

Pocketsynth is now distributed fully registered! You can make a donation if you feel like supporting me in my programming efforts.

Note that Pocketsynth will work on older Palm devices, but NOT on current Palm devices!


Also, try Playlist, a third-party Pocketsynth song player.

Downloadable songs:

"Almdudeldei", (c) by Heinz, (Juerg Reimann), 10/27/96

PocketSynth Rev. Changes

Version 1.24

- fixed tempo bug (4x too fast)

Version 1.23 - 10/31/96

- fixed metronome-close tempo redraw bug
- scroll up/down buttons now always change octave
- fixed scroll arrow redraw bug
- fixed compose bug (writing over new grafitti-entered songs)

Version 1.22

- fixed Preferences/Paste command key conflict

Version 1.21

- minor cosmetic changes
- fixed high-note (past high E) bug

Version 1.2

- added tempo to song format (<txxx>, where xxx is the new tempo)
- tempo can be "composed" by tapping the word "Tempo:" or the numeric tempo representation
- option to turn off preserve dotted note option -- during composing, dotted note toggle will turn off after entering a single note
- current song persistence - no more interrupted composing sessions!

Version 1.1

- fixed octave 4 bug
- pageup/pagedown buttons change octaves if song field is not active
- added a rest button for easy composing with rests

Version 1.0 RELEASE

-Added "clear" and "select all" menu options for easier cutting and pasting of songs
-Insert position moves to first error location if song format is wrong
-scroll bars STILL do not draw correctly, but they work fine

Version 0.92

-Fixed fast metronome bug
-Added tempo measuring feature (using scrollup/scrolldown buttons)
-Added Recording (composing) of notes from keyboard
-Fixed memory bug

Version 0.91 - 9/03/96

-Changed tempo UI in main and metronome forms
-Added beats/measure and beat frequency options

Version 0.9 - 8/30/96

-Added Simple Metronome
-Scroll Bars in Song Field now work (still do not draw correctly, though)
-Added undo command

Version 0.84 - 8/16/96

-Added cut/copy/paste commands
-Added 2600HZ tone (write in Graffiti area - punc. shift + b)

Version 0.83 - 8/13/96

-Added Pen Tracking (play multiple notes by dragging)

Version 0.8 - 8/13/96

-Initial Release



- Play frequency accurate notes on keyboard by tapping or writing
- "Compose" mode for easy input of songs
- Sophisticated string-based song format
- Playback at various tempos
- Save songs via cut and paste and the memopad


- Graphical and audio "ticks"
- Customizable beep frequency
- Customizable beats/measure setting
- Tempo measuring via tapping hardware buttons


"Your app is great fun! One of the best Pilot apps yet ... Ah, I could go on for hours. Nice app." - Darrin Massena, 8/14/96

"Great! When this gets rolling, I'll have everything on my Pilot that I used to tote a DTR-1 around for." - Roger Felts, 8/14/96

"Hey Eric, great job with PocketSynth. I actually didn't think what you did was possible because the hardware was too primitive, but I guess I was wrong." - Joseph Henry Schwendt, 8/16/96

"I think ver 0.9 will be in Dolby Surround or THX Pro ;-)" - Craig Froehle, 8/16/96

"I love your program. I am a composer for film & television and a dedicated Pilot freak (got the first one in Southern California.)
Pocket Synth is great - I'm glad you added the cut & paste. Now if we could only SAVE songs!<G>" - Steven Orich, 8/27/96

"First off, let me say what a wonderful program you wrote! I can see that you probably own shares in a battery company, cause I'm gonna be sucking down the power now that I'm going to be using the speaker so much :-) ... Thanks again for a terriffic program!" - Greg McMullan, 8/16/96

"Just wanted to let you know how great i think your app is. Keeps getting better." - Scott R. Andress, 9/01/96

" As an aspiring musician, this has come in really handy while on the road with my band. It helps me tune everything from my Bass and Electric Guitar, to my Clarinet. I've composed music on it, and even used it in a studio session as a full synthesizer. Your PocketSynth is the greatest thing for musicians!" - Scott Savage, 9/29/96 Leader Guitar/Vocals ~ Euphoria


MorseCode is completely unsupported.  I wrote in two hours as a quick exercise (I was feeling rusty).  Bear that in mind before sending me email... :)


Translate text to variable-speed morse code!

Rev. Changes

Version 1.0 4/17/97 RELEASE

[download morsecode v1.0]