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Computerized Herd Record and Analysis System
 

Solutions to common questions about the Palm CowCalf.

The Palm CowCalf Software program is designed to be exceptionally easy to use, yet a powerful tool for collecting field data, and the data can be easily downloaded into CowCalf5 on the PC.

What are the steps to get data to the Palm and back again?

Once the CowCalf5 and CowCalf5 Palm software has been installed on both the PC and PDA, you are ready to download your herd data to the Palm device. Start up CowCalf5 on the PC and open the herd you wish to download to the PDA. Select the production year that you wish to download to the PDA from the Year drop down menu. Click on the PDA drop down menu and select Export to PDA. A screen will be displayed identifying the number of records to be exported. While this screen is still up, press the Hot Sync button on the Palm to sync (download) data. Once the sync is completed, click on the button "Click when Hot Sync is Complete" to close the export window. Your herd data should now be on the Palm. You are now ready to use the Palm to collect data, which means you will make changes as necessary to the data on the Palm.

It is recommended that you Hot Sync the Palm with your computer periodically, (even nightly if you are making a lot of updates) to download your changes to the PC. Each time that you Hot Sync, all the data on your hand held PDA will be automatically backed up to the PC. So if the Palm loses its memory, everything can be restored from the PC by simply Hot Sync-ing again.
After each Hot Sync, you should go to CowCalf5 and import the changes into the database. The updates to CowCalf5 from the PDA are made when you import the changes to CowCalf5. When you start CowCalf5 up, you will receive a message that informs you of any Palm records that need to be updated. If there are records to be updated, click on the Update Records button.

Note only the records that have been changed on the Palm will be updated.
NOTE: It is not necessary to export the records to the Palm after importing the records to the PC, as the records should be the same. If you sync each night, the number of records that the PC will say need importing will increase, as all the updated records on the Palm will be dumped each time. This is not a problem, and shouldn't cause any problems unless you are also modifying the same records on the computer. If you are making modifications on the PC as well as on the Palm, then you would need to export the data to the Palm after you finish modifications on the PC to get the latest revisions on the Palm.


Can I use the CowCalf5 Palm software without CowCalf5?

The CowCalf5 Palm software is designed to work exclusively as a data collection program for the CowCalf5 Computerized Herd Record and Analysis System. In order to utilize the Palm software you must first have your herd inventory entered on the desktop CowCalf5 software. Then you download the records to the Palm to download the yearly production data. The CowCalf5 Palm software does not currently give you the ability to add new cow records, but you can add new calving (calf) records.

A stand-alone program called Cow & Calf Records for the Palm is available for user who wish to collect cow production data, but do not wish to purchase the CowCalf5 Computerized Herd Record and Analysis System.

Can I have more than one Palm collecting data on a single herd?

It is possible to have multiple PDA's collecting data for one herd. When you are finished exporting the production year records to one Palm, simply sync the other Palm prior to closing the Export to PDA window.

After making the changes on the Palms, come back and sync the first device with the computer. After syncing the first device, start up CowCalf5 and import that data into CowCalf5. Then, after shutting down CowCalf5, sync the second PDA. When finished syncing the second Palm, go to CowCalf5 and import that data into CowCalf5. If you want both (or all) PDA's to have updated records, then you must export the database from the PC back to all PDAs after importing the last PDA's data.

Can I have multiple Palms collecting data on different herds that are in the same computer?

Yes. Each herd in CowCalf5 is identified by a herd number. That herd number is retained in the Palm software. So, as long as the herd number doesn't change, the identity of the individual records will be retained. It is not recommended that one Palm synchronize with more that one computer.

What kind of Palm do I need to utilize this program?

What are the hardware requirements for the Palm?

Any PDA that is running Palm 3.5 or higher operating system, with at least 8 Meg RAM. This would include almost all Palm devices. We have had great luck running the software on the Palm I705, M125 and M130’s, which is an older model Palms with 8 Meg RAM. Though the software utilizes less than 1 Meg total memory, we have encountered some memory problems running the software on Palms with 2 Meg RAM. We have not tested it on PDA's with 4 Meg RAM. CowCalf5 Palm doesn't require any of the advanced features found in the higher priced Palms, which includes features like wireless internet and email, although CowCalf5 Palm Software will run properly on these machines also.

NOTE: The term Palm and PDA in this document refers not only to Palm brand PDA's but also any other brand PDA that is running the Palm 3.5 or later operating system.

Can I use the CowCalf5 Palm software on a Windows CE device?

There is a seperate Windows CE CowCalf software program that has the same capabilities as the Palm software called Pocket CowCalf. To install Pocket CowCalf, download the file WinCE.EXE from the CowCalf5 downloads page. You will need to know which processor your pocket pc uses, in order to install the appropriate software. In order to run the Pocket CowCalf software on your Win CE device, you will also need a program call Appforge Booster, which you can purchase from www.Appforge.com for a fee of around $25.

How much does the CowCalf5 Palm Software cost?

There is no charge for the CowCalf5 Palm software for current CowCalf5 owners. The cost of the CowCalf5 program is US $500.

Can I customize the fields that show up on the palm?

To limit the amount of data that is transported between and stored on the PDA, only a limited number of fields are exported. As such, only the fields that are visible on the Palm are utilized. Future versions of the program may address this issue.

What can I do if I wish to collect data on fields that are not on the Palm?

There is no way to add more fields to the PDA software, but the Comments section can be used to store any additional information that you would like to collect about an individual animal. The comments on the Palm are added to the comments on the individual animal in CowCalf5. If an individual has comments, the Add Comments button in CowCalf5 will change to View Comments. The information stored in the comments field can then be manually transferred to other fields.

How often should I synchronize my Palm with the computer?

Since information stored on the Palm is in memory, and not on a permanent storage media like hard drive, this data may be lost if the Palm's batteries die or the Palm loses power for more than a couple of minutes. It is extremely simple and quick to back up the Palm and all the data stored on it. It is suggested that the Palm be synchronized each evening with the PC. Synchronize more often if there are significant changes made to the Palm data that you do not want to lose.


When I sync the Palm and PC, the herd data doesn't get copied to the Palm?

What can I do? When synchronizing with the Palm, the CowCalf5 database will automatically start up allowing for data to flow. If this is not happening, then most likely, the CowCalf5 Palm software is not full installed on the PC. To correct this problem, follow the instructions below.

  1. Reinstall the CCPalm.EXE program. Be sure and reboot the computer after installation.
  2. You can verify a complete installation by looking for the HotSync icon in the lower right. Right-click on the HotSync icon and select Custom. If CowCalf5 Palm synchronization software is installed correctly, a CowCalf5 conduit will be listed.


I get an error log message when I sync the PC and Palm, what does it mean?

You need to view the error log to see what function failed, because the error log will identify the failing operation. The most common error is:
Synchronizing CowCalf5
- pda database
Database error
Error 8038 Cannot open host table 'pda' at DSN 'cowcalf'.

This particular error happens when the PDA table located in CowCalf5 on the PC is already populated with records. The synchronization process, writing the records from the PDA to the PC, requires that the table in the PC be empty prior to writing. If it is not empty you will receive this error, and no records will be written from the PDA to the PC. To correct this error, follow the instructions below.

  1. Start up CowCalf5.
  2. Click on the PDA drop down menu and select Erase PDA Database. Shut down CowCalf5.
  3. Re-sync the Palm with the PC, and the problem should be fixed.

How do I configure the Palm software to utilize an EID reader?

The Palm CowCalf software currently supports the connection to three different EID readers, the TekInd EID Sled, the Y-Tex Bluetooth EID Reader, and a .Destron (Digital Angle) EID Reader. To enable an EID reader, simply start up the Palm CowCalf application, and on the main menu, click on the Menu Button (located below the Home button is the Graffiti Area of the screen). This will display the Main Screen Menus. Click EID, and choose the appropriate EID Reader. The palm will automatically initialize the reader for use. Then within the CowCalf program, simply click on the label or menu that specifies the EID reader or Second ID to read a tag.


How can I find a cow or calf without scrolling through all the ID’s?

When you are on the list of Cows or Calfs, you can write the first letter/number of the animal in the graffiti area, to get the list to automatically scroll to the first animal with that number, write additional letter/numbers of the ID will further scroll to the animal in question. When the animal ID is displayed, simply click on it to Edit that animals record.


How do I handle Twins?

If a cow has twins, then enter the first calf in the original calf’s sheet. Then Click on the Menu Button (below the House button). This brings up the menu on the Calving Sheet. Under the Edit Menu, click on the Create Twin button to create an additional twin record to enter the second calf. You will notice that when either calves are displayed on the screen, there is a Twin button in the upper right hand corner of the screen. Clicking on it toggles between the two twin calves.

 

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