ScoutPalDB FAQ

ScoutPalDB is presently in Beta. This means that we are continually adding features to it.
We believe that we are on-track for a final product that meets everyone's expectations.


(Equipment Basics)

  1. How do I use a scanner with ScoutPalDB?
    1. Scanners are input devices, just like a keyboard. They send bar code digits into a host device, just as if they were tapped in from a keyboard. Scanner support is an issue that is not directly connected with ScoutPalDB or ScoutPal Live. Your bar code scanner needs to be setup so that it can send bar code digits into any program that is running on your PDA or PDA/Phone device.
    2. Instructions for identifying and scanning book and other merchandise bar codes can be found at http://www.scoutpal.com/db/howtoscan  We recommend that all new users review this page regardless of scanning experience.
    3. If you are getting a lot of Scan Errors please refer the FAQ for how to deal with Scan Errors, below.
       

  2. a:How does ScoutPalDB work, and what information will I see when using it? b:  Will ScoutPalDB lookup anything other than ISBN books?
  3. Can I buy a Pocket PC and scanner from ScoutPal?
    1. * Sorry, we currently do not have sources for new PDA equipment.  *Occasionally we can offer complete Pocket PC and scanner packages. The PDA and scanners are brand-new, with manufacturers warranty. If you buy a full package from us, we get everything setup for use with your ScoutPal subscription, so when you get it you can just open up the box, learn how to turn it on, and then go out scouting. Plus, we include a free SD memory card and a card reader (for easy subsequent database updates), as well as free priority mail shipping within the USA.
    2. Alternatively, you can use hardware that you may already have or plan to purchase somewhere else, as long your equipment meets the ScoutPalDB hardware compatibility requirements. The Hardware and Compatibility requirements page (scroll down on the page) includes directions on how and where to find used PDA's and scanners, new and used, in the general internet marketplace.
    3. Click to learn about important differences between scan engines inside all types of scanners!

    Listed below are links to "Getting Started" instruction sheets for PDA/scanner combinations, as we typically set them up. These guidelines may apply to equipment you set up yourself, or equipment we set up for you.


  4. a: I bought a Scanfob from ScoutPal (or somewhere else.) How do I set it up with my ...

    b: I bought an Omni-II and Scanfob somewhere else. What's the best way to set it up?
    ScoutPal does not require that you use equipment purchased from us; but if you do, our package includes accessories and all required drivers licensed and installed, all setup for use with your ScoutPal subscription -- and we ship it for free. (Insured Priority, USA only.) If you bought Omnia-II package equipment somewhere else we recommend that you set it up the same way we do, you then can use and follow our "Getting Started .. Omnia-II" instructions above. ** Click this link to view and print the checklists we use when setting up our Omnia-II with Scanfob package. There's also a condensed command sheet for pairing a Scanfob with SerialMagic Pro (Windows Mobile devices) or with Serial Magic Gears (Androids.) **


  5. Can ScoutPal show me how to operate my computer to download, copy and install the ScoutPalDB files?
    (I have my own compatible PDA and I want to get it setup with ScoutPalDB and/or I need to update the database, but I am not very good with computers.)

    Yes, we can login to your computer and operate it by remote control to show you how to do basic computer and PDA operations like downloading and copying files. Please call us at

    We also have a collection of YouTube videos (produced by ScoutPal and others) that demonstrate elementary computer and Pocket PC/SD card file operations. We understand that, although most procedures you will need to know are not hard to do, they certainly can be complicated by the unexpected. :)

    Or, you can call ScoutPal for further instructions to mail your PDA system to us, and we will set it up for you for a flat fee which also covers expedited and insured return shipping back to you.


  6. I use an Apple Mac (or some other non-Windows) computer. Will I be able to setup and use ScoutPalDB on my Windows Mobile PDA?

    ScoutPalDB is a Windows Mobile application which depends on access to supporting installation and usage data written to a data card that can only be properly and reliably written and maintained with a Windows host computer. ScoutPal is not a party to the marketplace and technical disputes between Windows, Mac, and other operating systems; but the good news is that Windows computers of all shapes and sizes can be found at astonishingly low prices on craigslist, Goodwill, resale shops, etc.; oftentimes for under $20!!!

    You'll only use the Windows computer to download and write data to the card, initially, and for subsequent database updates. After updating the data card, you can put the Windows computer away and out of sight. Everything else takes place on the PDA. The Windows Easy Update procedure is easy to set up, and it's fast and simple to operate. Windows computers can be found at astonishingly low prices on craigslist, Goodwill, resale shops, etc.  Any old, clunky, funky Windows computer you can find will work fine. Specifics of brand, form, memory, age, speed, etc., won't matter as long as it meets these elementary conditions:

    1. Its Windows operating system is Windows XP or later. (Anything earlier would likely be a museum curiosity.)
    2. It can boot up and browse the internet - a WiFi or wired internet adapter doesn't matter, and you can use any brand browser.
    3. It has a USB port for a card reader, or a built-in card reader.
    4. It has at least a miniscule 3-4 gigabytes of free disk space for setting up and using the download procedure. (See video 1-a .)

    Again, you'll only use the Windows PC to update the card. Everything else takes place on the PDA. The rest of the time you can, if you wish, just put the Windows computer in a box and hide it away in a closet.


  7. How do I use a scanner with ScoutPalDB?
    1. Scanners are input devices, just like a keyboard. They send bar code digits into a host device, just as if they were tapped in from a keyboard. Scanner support is an issue that is not directly connected with ScoutPalDB or ScoutPal Live. Your bar code scanner needs to be setup so that it can send bar code digits into any program that is running on your PDA or PDA/Phone device.
    2. Instructions for identifying and scanning book and other merchandise bar codes can be found at http://www.scoutpal.com/db/howtoscan  We recommend that all new users review this page regardless of scanning experience.
    3. If you are getting a lot of Scan Errors please refer the FAQ for how to deal with Scan Errors, below.

  8. What bar code do I scan?

    Please visit http://www.scoutpal.com/db/howtoscan/, it explains how to find and identify and scan the correct bar codes.


  9. How do bar codes work and can I customize my Socket scanner?

    For advanced users, or if you have otherwise been directed by tech support, visit: http://www.scoutpal.com/db/barcodes-and-socket-scanners.htm

    If you are getting a lot of Scan Errors please refer the FAQ for how to deal with Scan Errors, below.


  10. Will ScoutPalDB display results from other sites, like abebooks.com?

    This information is available through the ScoutPal Live interactive real-time lookup service which is included with every subscription type. You can add an optional "Fetch" button to the lookup display to get a real-time ScoutPal Live lookups, as long as your PDA has an internet connection through a WiFi hotspot or Bluetooth Dial Up Networking (DUN) internet connection through a cell phone, or if you have a Windows Mobile Pocket PC phone with internet service.

    The ScoutPalDB settings screen has an option to enable the optional single tap to Fetch full ScoutPal Live lookup results. ScoutPal Live can be configured to include Edition Info, Abebooks.com/title entry results, as well as a "details drill-down" option for offering particulars: fulfillment channel (FBA/3rd party), condition description, and seller feedback.


  11. Can ScoutPalDB alert me with a sound whenever something meets my price and/or rank criteria?

    Visit the template center to learn how ScoutPalDB lookup results can be customized.

    As described in the Feature Notes page, you can also control how the error conditions Not-found, Checksum, or Invalid are handled with regard to sounds emitted and operator interactions. Please to the FAQ on this page regarding scan engine errors for more detailed instructions.


  12. I want to use a Bluetooth headset with a template that beeps, but I can't hear any media sounds on my mono Bluetooth headset.

    Some Windows Mobile devices (typically pda/phones) will only play audio files through a stereo Bluetooth headset. Phone calls may work with your mono headset just fine, but nothing is heard when a media file is played by ScoutPalDB or by the PDA's Media Center application. Some ScoutPals have told us that they were able to use this free utility to route stereo media playback to a mono Bluetooth headset. (Run it *after* you have paired the headset, not before.) Treo 750 users have reported success following this procedure. Disclaimer: These are not ScoutPal products, use them at your own risk.


  13. I pressed a button on my PDA, and now the screen is sideways. How do I get it back to its normal orientation?

    Tap Start / Settings / System / Screen, then choose the orientation desired, then tap ok. Watch Video

    You can disable whatever button may be currently setup to rotate the screen: Tap Start / Settings / Personal Buttons. Watch Video


  14. When I right-click on a .zip (compressed) file, there is no Extract All choice.
    Instead, the right-click menu has a WinZip (or WinRar or some other) choice.

    All versions of Windows have a built-in compressed zip file extractor -- it's not necessary to have a third-party commercial program installed for this function.

    If your computer has one of these programs installed (typically WinZip or WinRar or 7-Zip), it may have come as Trojan-horse payload from another download, without your knowledge. Beside being uninvited, these programs usually disable native Windows support for handling compressed (zipped) files, forcing you to use them instead. They may also demand that you purchase a license to use them, a ransom of sorts. To free your computer of this, you will need to uninstall the offending program, then restore Windows built-in support for zip files. Since this is a common problem, steps to fix it can be found on the web:

    1. Use your Windows control panel function to uninstall the offending program.
    2. Restore Windows Extract by following directions as published by various sites on the web.
    3. You may additionally need to remove the WinZip .zip association, per Microsoft and/or restore the default Windows .zip association.
       
    (Alternatively, you can install and use a free PDA program that can unzip files directly within the PDA: Download the HTC_Zip .cab install file, put it on your PDA's storage card, then, on the PDA, tap on it to get it installed to the device. Now, whenever you update the ScoutPalDB database, you'll put a raw, untouched newly-downloaded copy of the database update spdb2.zip file on the PDA's storage card, replacing the old file. Then on the PDA, tap on it to unzip its contents using HTC_Zip as shown in this Video. )

    Disclaimer: These are not ScoutPal products or procedures, use them at your own risk.


  15. My PDA's bar code scanner attachment is producing a lot of Scan Errors that interrupt my scouting. What can I do about this?

    Be sure that you do not have the Autoseek option enabled: Tab Settings at the bottom of the main ScoutPalDB screen, tap the Misc tab, and ensure that the Autoseek option is not selected. Autoseek is intended only for users without a scanner who will be manually typing in only 10 digit ISBNs, not EAN-13 ("978" codes) or UPCs.

    The Scan errors on screen option suppresses pop-ups for scan errors like smudged bar codes that generate invalid checksums, for those that prefer that mode of operation; use with caution as you will not get a positive alert of a failed scan.

    There are sounds and actions that occur after each scan, depending on the scan/lookup outcome and settings--Found, Not Found or Scan Error. This is the behavior for the default settings:

    1. Found/Not Found
      Two sounds: A beep or other sound (as configured in the scanner driver), then a click when the results display.
    2. Scan Error
      An Alert box pops up and the standard Windows "alert" sound is emitted. The operator will need to interact with each scan error message, before proceeding with the next scan. A Scan Error will come about if the scan engine or the bar code graphic itself produce a result having a misplaced, transposed, or omitted digit; this is known as a "checksum" error. A scan error is serious enough that the operator needs to be made aware of it. The user can choose either Retry or Cancel. Retry allows editing of the existing on-screen digits; Cancel clears them out for another scan attempt.

    It's important to understand that Scan Error conditions are not under the control of the ScoutPalDB program, and that checksum or otherwise invalid ISBN/UPC errors should not be common unless something is wrong with the scan engine or its operation, both of which are related to the Scan Engine type in use: Imaging or Class 2 laser. Scan Errors are more likely with an "imaging" style scan engine. This is because imager scan engines have ambient lighting requirements, they also require operator training and practice in order to fully and properly capture bar codes reliably. Practice is the key to learning how to avoid scan errors with an imager. If Scan Errors are routinely occurring with a Class 2 laser scan engine, the engine's internal firmware may need to be reset as instructed at http://www.scoutpal.com/db/barcodes-and-socket-scanners.htm

    Some users may prefer that they not have to do anything specific on the PDA screen in order to continue scanning after a serious Scan Error. To address this, there is an option on the ScoutPalDB "settings" screen, under the Misc tab -- the option is labeled: "Scan errors on screen".

    If the “Scan errors on screen” option is selected, a checksum or other read error will no longer pop up an alert box. Instead the PDA will sound three distinctive but short clicks and display the error message directly on the lookup results screen. This provides an audible and visible signal to the operator that there was a problem with the bar code scan and a screen tap or interaction is not required in order to continue, however novice users are advised to keep the default Alert Box behavior until they are familiar with using their scan Engine.

    There is also a way to customize the sounds emitted after a scan or manual entry of an isbn/upc that is found, not found, or has a scan error. Each sound for each condition can be any sort of sound effect wav file compatible with your PDA and there are thousands of wav sound effects available on the internet; however, because of the way scanner drivers work, it is not possible for a PDA program to know that a scan effort has simply failed to capture any sort of bar code at all.

    Enabling custom scan sounds is simple: The program looks for wav sound files in a folder named "beeps". This beeps folder needs to be in the same location as the database files. The sound effect file names are "found.wav", "notfound.wav", or "scanerror.wav". If an appropriate sound file exists in the SPDB2\beeps folder, then that sound will be played instead of the default click(s). A sample collection of sounds gets included within each SPDB2 update download. The file manager path to the sample sounds folder is: sd card\spdb2\cab\release notes\beeps

    The sounds can be replaced with other sound effects, as long as the replacement file gets named on the card correctly (as appropriate to the function) and it is in a wav format compatible with the make/model of the PDA in use. For additional instructions and tips regarding sound file substitution procedures, refer to Section (C) in the SP Template Gallery web page: http://www.scoutpal.com/db/templatecenter/

    As always, whenever changing ScoutPalDB configuration options (database updates, adding/altering files, etc.) you will need to tap Settings /OK after making changes, so the program gets notified of the change.


  16. My scouting setup was working fine but now after scanning I get an error message that freezes up the PDA, requiring a soft-reset. What's the typical fix for this?   (note: this condition is also a symptom of an attempted improper update using a non-Windows computer.)

    This can happen if database files or other aspects of the card become corrupted, so do this:

    a) If you're using a template, put a backup copy of it (the file spdbtemplate.htm, and any custom sounds it may use) on your computer. If you don't know what this step is describing, that's OK, you probably aren't using a template and you can skip this step.

    b) Put the card in your computer and format it in order to clean out any damaged files. Depending on your version of windows, Open "My Computer" from the desktop, or click Start / Computer. You will see the card as a removable drive letter, just like you use during updates. Right-click on the card and format it. Then update the card as you normally do. If you use the recommended and nearly automated "Get Updated" procedure, it will ask you a few more questions than usual. (It's OK, the updater is just surprised to see an empty card, so simply answer the questions yes and/or hit enter to continue past them.)

    c) If you backed up template file(s) in step (a), copy them back to the card. Again, if you don't know what this step is describing, you don't use a template and you can skip this step.

    d) Put the card back in the PDA and soft-reset it. Start ScoutPal, tap the word settings on the center at the bottom of the screen, tap the Database tab, then tap the [Find it for me] button*, then tap [OK]. (You should always do this procedure after each update anyway.) Then scan a bunch of merchandise to be sure the original problem is resolved.

    * If the [Find it for me] button puts question marks in the path, there's a more serious problem, perhaps a worn-out card. You may need to contact us for additional support.


  17. I'm getting an error "database open failed" or "Can't open the database file" or "The database can't be opened at this location".  How is this fixed?

    Usually, all you have to do is re-seat the data card, then tap Settings/Database/Find it for me/OK to restore the path to the Database File Location, as demonstrated in our video #31 .  If that doesn't work, it could be you have a device with an unusual card name (like for example, a Socket SoMo with a card named "micro-SD") and you will need to manually set the path to the Database File Location. If that doesn't work, please review the SD Card notes on the Equipment Basics page and/or follow the diagnostic procedures given in step 4-A in the detailed ScoutPalDB setup instructions.


  18. I followed Video #1a to setup the Easy Updater tool, but it's not working. What are the typical issues, and how can they be repaired?

    (Some Windows computers will hide file name extensions, like ".zip", ".bat" and ".exe".  It's okay if you don't see these extensions when you look for the file names referenced below.)

    If an "extract all" option was not offered to you while following Video #1a on your computer, it's recommended that you repair Windows so that it operates properly and as it was designed (per our FAQ #14, above), as your computer may had its built-in Windows file extractor function altered or damaged by some other program.*

    If you do choose to use an alternative method to work with zipped/compressed files, be sure that you have un-compressed (un-zipped) copies of each of the three executables delivered in the downloaded zip file/folder placed together inside an ordinary folder created by either you, or your unzipper program. To maintain compete control, we recommend that you create the new, ordinary folder yourself, and then use your unzipper program to put the executable copies in there.  The recommended folder name for your finished tool folder is "ScoutPal Updater", but you can use any name you wish.  Once you have the three executables (getupdated.bat, unzip.exe, wget.exe) residing in an ordinary folder you should definitely delete the downloaded zip file so that it's out of your way and you won't be tempted to try to use it during subsequent updates.

    Remember, the download is simply a delivery package, it's not the tool itself.  Its contents must get pulled out and copied over to an ordinary folder in order for everything to work.  A common issue is an attempt to run the getupdated.bat primary function from within the zip file folder.  This won't work because it must have the other two supporting functions residing in the same ordinary folder as the getupdated.bat function itself.**  A typical error message from an attempt to run the getupdated function from within the zip file folder or some other improper location, instead of from it's proper unzipped folder is:  "Access is denied. ‘wget’ is not recognized."  Another possible issue is that you may need to tell your anti-virus or firewall program that the functions of the Updater are to be used unfettered, particularly unzip.exe and wget.exe:  Double-click each of them and, if interrupted, take the steps needed to approve them.  Typically, with most anti-virus or firewall programs, you'll check/un-check an option that tells your computer you want it to always let the programs run. When unzip.exe and wget.exe are properly approved, you will see a brief black flash after double-clicking each of them.  The flash confirms that they were able to run.

    * Alternative to unzipping the tool's download:  At the bottom of the last screen of the Easy Updater you will find a short set of instructions that tell you how to set up an Updater tool without the use of any sort of unzip/extract/uncompress function or program.

    ** Once you have your Updater folder and functions working, you can't just simply drag the getupdated.bat function out of the plain (not zipped) Updater folder and expect it to work from wherever you drop it. But, a properly made shortcut to the getupdated function will work fine. So if you wish to have a way to kick off the update process without opening the Updater folder first, do this: Right click on getupdate(.bat), select copy, then right click in a destination (for example, the desktop) and select Paste Shortcut, not just Paste.


  19. (general pricing questions)

    Our subscription pricing and rules are simple, please review our Terms of Service


  20. What is the pricing schedule if the same business is using ScoutpalDB on two PDAs?

    A ScoutPal Add-On subscription (for family members or employees) is half price, at $14.95/quarter (3 mos.)