How to clip cool arcade/pinball pages to your Palm OS PDA using Plucker

First of all you have to use Plucker. I know a lot of you are using AvantGo because it is easy (it is) and many others are using other programs but TRUST ME: Once you give Plucker a try, you'll delete them all and convert everything for Plucker (I did). Why is Plucker so much superior? The app itself is smaller than all the others, it is multi-platform (clip-side), it does color better than all the others, it's clipped pages are smaller than all the others (2 options for PDA compression PLUS something no others have: fully configurableable link exclusion during clipping stages), it is OPEN SOURCE and FREE, it is regularly updated and supported with new features and bug fixes, and it works AWESOME. Well what are you waiting for? Click here to download a copy and install it RIGHT NOW!!!

OK, in an attempt to make this as painless as possible for new Plucker users, I am going to assume you are doing your doing your web clipping from a Windows OS computer. If you fall into that 85% or so then I'll do ALL the work for you. Just follow these steps (if not the steps and files will be pretty similar but some directories and commands may differ slightly):

  1. Download the package labeled "Windows ME/NT/98/95 version" and install Plucker on your PC.
  2. Download and extract it into your C:/"Program Files"/Plucker directory. This automagically creates databases for creating these Plucker PDB documents from these pages:
    1. "m3capcom" (~5K: Marvin3m's Capcom pinball repair pages)
    2. "m3pb2000" (~376K: Marvin3m's Williams Pinball 2000 pinball repair pages)
    3. "m3_wpc" (~2433K: Marvin3m's Williams/Bally WPC pinball repair pages)
    4. "m3_sys11" (~423K: Marvin3m's Williams System 11 pinball repair pages)
    5. "m3_sega" (~1566K: Marvin3m's DataEast/Sega pinball repair pages)
    6. "m3_sys80" (~???K: Marvin3m's Gottlieb System 80 pinball repair pages)
    7. "m3_bally" (~545K: Marvin3m's Bally/Stern pinball repair pages)
    8. "m3_em" (~224K: Marvin3m's Early E-M pinball repair pages)
    9. "arcahome" (~10K: Arcade @ Home pages)
    10. "vgpinouts" (~226K: Wiretap arcade pinouts)
    11. "vgswitch" (~205K: Wiretap arcade DIP switch settings)
    12. "dfwpins" (~531K: DFW Pinball locator including rulesheets for all the games! Trivially adaptable to any other location; this page is a global database)
  3. For each of the ones you want to use, edit the "plucker.ini" file in its directory and change the "user=Gregg Woodcock" line to be "user=<your HotSync ID>". For the ones you won't be using, delete the entire directory.
  4. Clip the pages from the web and install them on your PDA. To do this simply execute the DOS command 'C:\"Program Files"\Plucker\monthly.bat' (to do all of them) or be more selective and use the command 'C:\"Program Files"\Plucker\runsync <database_name as indicated above> for just 1 document at a time (the sizes above are the spaces required on your PDA to install).
  5. HotSync and enjoy!
  6. OPTIONAL: Schedule a task to periodically re-clip the pages re-install the PDBs because they will undoubtedly be updated from time to time. To assist you, the zip you extracted in the previous step also includes a "monthly.bat" file. All you need to do is schedule this to be run once a month (or however frequently you like). In Windows 98 you do this using the Maintenance wizard. Start by clicking Start, pointing to Programs, pointing to Accessories, pointing to System Tools, and then clicking Maintenance wizard. Then just follow the steps.
  7. OPTIONAL: The other key thing to maintain is the "exclusionlist.txt" file for each document. They all work great now but as the web pages grow, additional configuration will be necessary to properly prune the PDBs so you'll have to either do it yourself or come back here every now and then and re-install the file (repeating from step 2 above).

Now some of you may want to know more about how the "plucker.ini" files are configured for each document and why some PDBs are so much larger (WPC and Sega) than others after they are clipped. The reason "m3_wpc" is so much larger than all the rest is because I have a Visor Prism with a 16M springboard and I clipped that one (only) in FULL color (as indicated by the "bpp=8" parameter in its "plucker.ini" file). If you want it to be smaller (black-and-white) like the others, just change this to "bpp=1" like the other files have and it will be about the same size as they. I did a similar thing for "m3_sega" but for a much better reason. The Stern web pages' service bulletins were converted from PDA to FULL COLOR GIF (instead of black-and-white or 4-scale gray). So if one uses "bpp=1" they are all unreadable (and I, for one, want to be able to read them). Therefore "bpp=2" is used which makes them just barely readible (and also bloats the PDB file considerably). Sure would be nice if they were reconverted in black-and-white or, even better, OCRed to plain text! Other than that everything else is clipped in black-and-white (bpp=1) and looks GREAT (while taking up a minimum of space).

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