Feb 26 2008

Gilbert Goodmate on a WM6 Device

Category: Personal,Windows MobileChrisM @ 8:29 pm

Just got round to installing all the applications and games I have on my old (mostly broken) iPAQ 2210 over onto my HTC TyTn II (originally known as a Kaiser). I’ve run up against a few problems, with some old games informing me that I need to have a device with at least Windows Mobile 2002 before I’m allowed to run the program. As the device has Windows Mobile 6 (at least 3 major versions more recent), this error message is erroneous 🙂 I have yet to find a way round this issue, however I did manage to sort a problem I encountered with updating some programs. I don’t remember having this problem on the old PDA, so I can only assume that perhaps the WM6 environment has caused things to go wrong. When attempting to update an application, sometimes all files are removed, instead of only those that will actually be updated. When you have separate updates (like having small updates from 1.0 > 1.02 > 1.03 > 1.04) instead of one leap (1.0 > 1.04), this can lead to a lot of critical files dissappearing.
Rather than giving up, I decided to think of a way of having a fully updated program installed. As an example, Gilbert Goodmate (if you’re old enough to remember the Monkey Island series, you’ll know its genre) exhibited this strange behaviour. So, I installed the main program, copied the directory contents to a separate temporary directory. Installing the next minor update caused lots of files to disappear, however it did cause the updated files to be placed in the original installation directory. So, copying this new version of the directory to another new temporary directory, I continued until all updates were installed. I then copied across the oldest temporary directory to the install folder, and repeated until the last temporary folder to be copied across was the latest update. This then left me with a complete, updated installation, at which point I could delete the temporary folders. Hope it helps someone out there…

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Dec 03 2007

My Main Christmas Present

Category: Personal,WiFi,Windows MobileChrisM @ 3:01 pm

I just wanted to show my readers a demonstration of my next toy 🙂
It is called a HTC TyTn II and will be replacing some of my current equipment…

My current phone (an Orange C550 (a rebadged HTC Hurricane) which crashes and some buttons no longer work all the time.
My current PDA (a HP iPAQ 2210) with a non-functioning directional pad, faulty USB socket, a snapped battery cover and it also crashes.
GPS unit – my current one no longer gets a fix on satellites.
The TyTn II also has a built-in camera, which should be an improvement over my current phone’s. Though without a flash, I don’t think it will be completely replacing our current digital camera.
Anyway, have a play with the demo below, you can spin the model around, slide open the keyboard and tilt the screen.
Continue reading “My Main Christmas Present”

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Aug 02 2007

PDA App #3 – PocketNav

Category: Amsterdam,Personal,Windows MobileChrisM @ 5:05 am

When my iPaq had to be hard reset last week, I took the opportunity to try out some alternative applications that I’d previously downloaded, but not got around to testing just yet. One of these was PocketNav. Unlike the two previous pieces of software I mentioned, this has nothing to do with travel, WiFI or GPS; instead it is a task switcher/ender replacement system. One of the problems with my 2210 is there is not much memory left for day to day usage, after the bare minimum has been installed to the internal storage section. (Unlike more recent Windows Mobile 5 powered PDAs, one block of RAM is dynamically split between storage and system.) I install as much as possible to the SD card, however some utilities are required before the OS can access external memory cards, and others are simply too slow to be stored anywhere other than the faster internal memory. Newer models have non-volatile memory specifically for program storage, which has the added benefit of the PDA not losing all its configuration if the battery should completely die.
Anyway I digress, apologies; one problem with closing programs on a PDA is that although they dissappear from the screen, they still reside in the memory. The reason for this approach is that when you next need to use the program, it is already present in memory, and therefore is almost instantaneously presented to the user. As is often the case with my digital accessories, I prefer to retain a little more control (if something works, it only proves you haven’t tweaked it enough 😉 ) over how they operate. PocketNav provides a way to permanently close applications that you do not want to stay resident; you then have more memory instantly available for the other programs you do want to keep or start running. PocketNav places a shortcut icon next to the clock in the top right corner, from which you can access a list of the programs/windows currently in memory. This also provides a simple task switcher. If my hardware buttons were not already re-assigned to directional duties (my d-pad no longer works) I could simply use the iTask app that Hewlett Packard install as standard to switch apps, however, previous to installing PcoketNav I had to return to the desired program’s shortcut to bring it to the foreground again.
One thing I noticed is that the shortcut icon disappeared when some programs covered it, however selecting the Windows Mobile 2002 style of shortcut icon bypassed this issue.
Anyway, I’ll report back on how things went after Amsterdam, when I will get a chance to test this program ‘in the field’ in more real life like conditions.

Once more this post is not sponsored, nor are there any affiliate links, I just hope someone finds the information useful.

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Jul 30 2007

iPAQ Issues

Category: Amsterdam,Friends,Personal,Windows MobileChrisM @ 3:59 am

I previously mentioned that a trip to Amsterdam has been planned, so I have been loading up my PDA with useful software.
Or rather I tried to. Unfortunately, it has a dodgy internal connection (or eleven or twelve); the control pad does not work, and the ability to sync is also an issue.
The first problem I have bodged by re-assigning my hardware buttons as left, right, up and down. However the second issue requires me to repeatedly slot the iPAQ into it’s cradle, until ActiveSync starts playing ball at both ends…
Anyway, I’m still playing with TomTom, trying to get a Netherlands map installed, but I at least have the basics covered with GPS, so should ChrisD and I find ourselves lost next to a random canal, I will at least be able to say with some confidence that we need to walk in a certain direction for 1250 metres to get back to our apartment 😉
Right I’m off to find out what else (software wise) can be put to good use; I also need to keep an eye on power requirements as the 2210’s battery has definitely seen better days.

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Jul 20 2007

Things Are Improving

Category: Personal,Weather,Windows MobileChrisM @ 4:49 am

OK, so the memory card has been mostly sorted now. After using four different data recovery programs, I remembered I had a fifth, archived on a DVD somewhere. It was last used about this time in 2006, when John had a CF memory card from his camera, that his old work had botched a recovery job on. It worked then, and for the most part, it worked today. I now have all the files back, the only small issue is that around a quarter of the directories have a numerical name. However, given that the only problem this will present is with shortcuts not working on the iPAQ, I can check said shortcut’s properties, to find the correct directory name, rename the numbered directory to its original name, and all should be sorted. At least until the iPAQ fries the card again. Needless to say I shall be keeping the recovered files on the hard drive, and probably on a CD as a backup for the future.
The rain has helped to cool the air down a bit, and a small breeze is blowing into the room, so overall, I’m a little closer to being a happy bunny than a few hours ago.


Jul 20 2007

Not A Good Evening So Far

Category: Personal,Windows MobileChrisM @ 2:53 am

We have the issues with PPP servers that I mentioned earlier. Now, my iPAQ has decided to delete EVERYTHING that was stored on my SD card. Not the end of the world I thought, annoying, but I will just use one of my file recovery applications to restore them all, make a quick backup, and then put it back in the iPAQ…
So far, three programs I have tried claim there is nothing on the card at all, and the fourth program, which is only marketed as for recovering lost images, does not recover any filename info, nor directory structure. Anyway, something is better than nothing, so I am trying this out, and we will have to see what happens next 🙁

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Jul 17 2007

For Steve – iPAQ Basics

Category: Friends,Personal,Windows MobileChrisM @ 3:44 am

In a similar vein to the previous post for Alex’s bro, this post is being written as a friend needs some help, and I am too appalled at the thought of typing it all into a messenger window, only to need it again in the future. I hope some other random person will one day find this post through a search engine, and find the contents useful. For anyone else, please indulge me a moment, normal random postings will resume shortly 😉

Firstly, some basic terminology / concepts to get a grip of, before proceeding.

PPC – For the purposes of this post, PPC can be safely assumed to refer to a Windows Mobile powered Pocket PC, such as an iPAQ.
RAR or ZIP files – These can be safely opened on your PC. See later for details.
EXE files – These are normally installation programs that will use ActiveSync to install a program for you automatically, the next time you plug your PPC into it’s cradle or USB lead. However, occasionally, you will find an EXE file that produces an error on your PC, when you try to run it. It may state something like ‘Not A Valid Win32 Application’. If this is the case, don’t despair, it is simply a program meant to run directly on your PPC, not your PC
CAB file – do NOT ever open or extract these files on your PC. In that path heart ache does lay. Follow instructions below.
Sync – for the purposes of this post, any mention of sync refers to you plugging your PPC into your PC. Whether it be via a cradle, USB lead, bluetooth or WiFi (if you have an old version of ActiveSync, before such usefulness was disabled), the end result is the same – the little circle in your system tray, that belongs to ActiveSync, should eventually go green, and stop rotating.
Anyway, back to the main reason for this post – how to install programs…

Open ONLY RAR or ZIP files on your PC :
Extract them somewhere temporarily (don’t delete until you know for certain program is working, not just as a demo, if you have ‘purchased’ a full version)

IF, and ONLY IF the extracted files is a CAB, then copy it via to your PPC (see below)
Always check the included documentation, but you can normally leave any other files on your PC – TXT NFO DOC files etc

How to copy CAB files?
Either eject your SD memory card, and put it in card reader in your PC, then copy the CAB file as you would any other type
OR plug your PPC into it’s cradle or USB lead, make sure ActiveSync says Synced or Connected. Right Click green circle icon in your PC’s system tray, and select ‘explore’ OR open the ActiveSync main window, select the File Menu, then ‘explore’
In either case navigate to My Windows Mobile-based Device (or words similar), then Storage Card, then copy the required file(s) as you would to any other directory or drive, such as a memory stick.
What now? Now open your favourite file explorer program on your PPC, navigate to the SD card, and THEN you can open the CAB file. It will install the program semi-automatically for you. When given a choice between the internal memory or your SD card, there are two factors to consider before deciding which location is best. In almost all cases, a large program should only be installed on the SD card. If the program is small, but is not needed often, or not likely to require fast transfers to operate normally, again install it to the SD card. If the program is something that will automatically load each time your PPC is started up, or is very small AND needs fast transfers or access times, ONLY then install to SD cards. Other may argue with this approach, but over time, you will find a few programs that give you no option as to where they will be installed – leave your PPC’s internal memory for those times. Also, the internal memory is dynamically split between storage space and operating memory. As a rough analogy, imagine you could use some of your PC’s 2Gb of RAM as a storage area (yes a RAM Drive before any geeks giggle and point). Now imagine you filled that 2Gb with crap you didn’t need very often. There would be little space left for anything interesting, such as large buffers or game playing resources.

If you happen to have found a PPC EXE file within your extracted RAR or ZIP file, copy them in the same manner as I mentioned above, except you will need to create a directory for the EXE file somewhere on your PPC first. You can dump it anywhere, but it makes it easier to spring clean / trouble shoot an issue if each application has its own distinct directory.

If the file you have is a normal PC EXE file, then when you run it, the program will actually copy and run the CAB file it contains for you automatically, the next time you sync your PPC.

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Apr 24 2007

System Specifications

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 4:14 pm

When describing technical issues, I’m often called upon to supply the specifications of my IT equipment.
This post has been put together so I can easily refer people to the pertinent information…

System Specifications – PC

Intel D945 PVS Motherboard with 10/01/07 BIOS
Intel P4 660 3.6 GHz CPU
2 Gb RAM (2 X 1Gb 667MHz DDR2)
Asus 7900GT – PCIe x16 256Mb Grfx card – on Forceware 97.73
BenQ FP91V 19″ , Subini S-6811T 8″ & Sony KDL 40W2000 40″

NoName 550 Watt Twin Fan PSU
APC ES 525 Uninterruptable Power Supply – battery knackered
other UPS must update details here
Innovision EIO AP1680 PCI ATA133 RAID Controller (ITE IT8211 based)
Seagate Barracuda ST3320620AS 320Gb 7200rpm 16Mb Cache SATAII
Seagate Barracuda ST3160023A 160Gb 7200 rpm 8Mb Cache PATA-100
Maxtor DiamondMax Plus8 40 Gb PATA-133
Buffalo External 80Gb PATA/USB
WD External 250Gb PATA/USB
2 x Lite-On SHW-16H5S DVD-RR
EIO USB2 & Firewire PCI card

NetGear router – UPDATE
SafeCom IC+ 56K Ext. Modem (SEMT-5600)
TDK Bluetooth v1.2 Adapter (TRBLU03)

Logitech USB Cordless Trackman Trackball
Genius Keyboard – KKB-2050HS
XFX Executioner Dual Impact USB Gamepad (PSX-like force feedback controller)
Logitech Formula Force GP Force Feedback Steering Wheel & Pedals

Sony Ericssion K700i (used as a Bluetooth Remote Control/Phone for UK SIM card)
PC Line PC-100 TV Card – TV tuner/RCA/S-Video/InfraRed input (Based on Phillips 7134 chipset)
Genius VideoCAM Look WebCam
Canon DC080W (3Mp Digital Camera)
Microsoft Fingerprint Reader (Model 1033)
HP 1513 MFD
Various USB Thumbdrives

Redundant Spares
SafeCom SWAMR-54108 ADSL Modem/Router/AP – Now with Mother-in-law
D-Link 604T ADSL Modem/Router/AP – Now with Mum
Origo ASU-8000 USB ADSL modem
D-Link DWL-G122 USB2 Wi-Fi 802.11g Dongle
D-Link DGE-528T 1GBps PCI LAN Card
SafeCom USB 11Mbps WLAN Dongle – Now with brother
Nisis DV Cam 2 (Rev.1) – Photo, Video & Webcam

Software & Services Used :
Win XP Pro SP2 – All updates applied
No-Ip (Dynamic IP pointing)

System Specifications – PDA/PPC

iPaq 2210
240×320 Display
Intel PXA255 CPU
64Mb RAM
OS – Windows 2003 Mobile Edition (WinCE 4.20)
1Gb SD Card
11Mbps CF Wireless Card
GPS – 16 Sat
Broken D-Pad – 4 hardware buttons re-assigned to navigational duties

System Specifications – SmartPhone

Orange SPV C550 (HTC Hurricane rebadged by Orange UK)
OS – Windows Mobile 2003 for Smartphones (2nd Edition)
GSM & GPRS, triband 900/1800/1900 MHz
2.2 inch screen 240×320 pixels TFT transflective LCD, 64k colours
Camera 1.3 Mp
TI OMAP 750 Processor
64Mb ROM, 32Mb RAM
2 Gb Mini-SD Card
GPS – 16 Satellite
TomTom Mobile5, Battery Monitor, CellTrack, TCPMP, SmartVNC, GPRS Traffic Monitor, Smurf, Doom, GNUBoy, PicoDrive, NES Emulator, Worms World Party

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Dec 08 2006

This Week, I Have Been Mainly Using

Category: Personal,WordPressChrisM @ 3:51 pm

OK, as promised a long, long time ago, here are all the Plugins & Widgets used on this site. Some links are not directly to the author’s site, as a few domains have expired, or their servers are too flakey to rely on…

About Me – A wonderfully simple, does-what-it-says-on-the-tin widget.

Adhesive – This plugin’s effect will be familiar to forum readers, as it keeps a particular post ‘sticky’ at the top of the page, rather than naturally slipping down the page as newer posts appear.

Akismet – This is wonderful! It has prevented me from having to manually check almost 100 spamming comments so far. There are alternatives, and other approaches, but it has certainly saved me a lot of grunt work…

All Consuming – This is responsible for showing which books I’ve read recently, and which I’m currently reading. I noticed a bug/feature in an earlier release, and the author kindly gave me credit for noticing how to fix the error. This problem has now been solved properly, but it was good to see my thoughts actually helped someone…

Auto-Hyperlink URLs – If I forget to assign a formal hyperlink to an internet address, this plug-in tries to help.

Commenter Spy – not quite as scary as it sounds, just gives me a shortcut to find the approx. geographical location of a commenter’s IP (or more accurately, their ISP).

GetWeather – The 3 weather reports on the right hand side of each page are generated from this plug in.

IM Online – As in I’m online and IM (instant messenger). Shows whether I am connected to the internet with Windows Live Messenger and Skype.

King RSS Widget – WorkInProgress – will edit my post once I’ve used this plugin properly.

King Text Widget
– VERY, VERY useful widget. It allows you to basically convert any script or normal plugin into a widget. Currently used extensively on this site, at least until ‘proper’ widgets are found for each purpose.

Manage Me – Makes managing multiple posts/comments a lot easier in the admin area for this blog. (Author’s relevant post used to be found at http://www.stilglog.com/wordpress-plugins/manage-me/ , but site is down, as of 10/04/2009 at least)

No Ping Wait – Currently disabled for trouble-shooting purposes, but this plugin allows me to carry on working immediately after Publishing a blog entry, rather than waiting for a response from each service I ‘ping’ to inform them of a new entry here.

Simple Cache – Prevents identical data from being constantly reloaded. As an example, the weather report for Cheltenham, Swansea & Astana aren’t likely to change every 5 minutes, so this plug in checks the last time the data was retrieved from GetWeather’s servers, and if it was recent, will simply serve the cached data.

VideoPop – This allows me to post videos with a simple pop-up player, rather than requiring people to know too much about file types etc.

WhoLinked – Displays which sites link to this one.

Word Stats – This allows you to easily post (& automatically update) the vital statistics of your blog. It can be downloaded from Google.

Zap_NewWindow – This one makes sure that if a reader clicks on a link in one of your posts, the site will open in a new window, so you don’t lose the reader. There is an annoying pop-over ad at his blog right now – close it, then close the new window/tab to see the real text.

Sidebar Widgets – Without this, none of the widgets mentioned above would work!

The theme currently used on this blog is Ainslie Johnson’s Chameleon 1.1.

Oh, and btw, this post’s title refers to a Fast Show quote, in case it makes no sense to some people…

OK, having compiled this list, I remembered a couple of things I wanted to try out, so you can now add the following two to your list of things to check out if/when you have a WordPress blog…

Inline Ajax Comments – This means you can check the comments on a post without leaving the main page. Took me a while to trouble shoot the insertion of two simples lines of code. I finally realised that the ‘Show Comments’ text would only actually appear under posts that already had a comment! (Used to be found at http://kashou.net/blog/inline-ajax-comments/ , currently the whole site just appears to bring graphic up)

WordPress Mobile Edition – Trying to view this blog on a PDA or SmartPhone just takes too long (GPRS speeds not being that great in Kazakhstan at least) & results in a difficult page to navigate (even with a good browser like NetFront on a PDA), so I decided to give this plugin a try. It seems to work like a charm, picking up both IE & NetFront on the iPAQ…

24/2/07 Update

Do Follow – Allow commenters own sites to get the juice they deserve :>
PostPost – A way of automatically adding content (in my case adverts) after your posts. (Also has a lot of other options available)
WordPress Related Links – I’m still not 100% on whether to keep this one or not. It adds links to related sites at the end of my posts. Will have to monitor sometime, and check it isn’t just earning someone else a lot of money from my drivel :>
Google Sitemaps – I’ve had this installed since the first day this blog existed, but never got round to using it for some reason. As I had to re-create all my article web sites, and so re-submit their site maps, I decided to give this plug in a go.
Cloudy – Finally, a plugin & widget that does what I need, without having to remember to edit some PHP next time I wipe a file accidentally. The word cloud you can now see on the right, in the second column, is the result.

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