Nmap discovery - specifying port ranges?

I've found Nmap ping sweeps (TCP SYN) very useful to discover machines
that are up, but specifying port ranges doesn't seem to work. When I
try "-PS1-1024" I get:

"Bogus character in supposed number-list string. Example of proper
form: "20,80,65532""

Does anyone know if there is a way to specify port ranges w/ the ping option?

Also, anyone know what the status of the "top ports" project
(http://seclists.org/nmap-dev/2006/q3/0138.html) is?