Nov 25 2010

Testing 640px480 output from l…

Category: Anna's Videos,TweetsChrisM @ 10:39 pm

Testing 640px480 output from lower quality front-facing camera on an HTC Touch Pro2 (using PockeTwit) via Posterous

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Nov 20 2010

Less Buttons? MortButtons!

Category: Windows MobileChrisM @ 2:51 am

MortButtons – I love the design of the HTC Touch Pro2, looks a lot more modern and stylish than my old TyTnII, however the culling of so many hardware buttons is taking some getting used to. Using this program you can assign one button to bring up a master menu, from which you can select from menus of your favourite programs, your preferred task manager, or use the built in Mort task switcher. If you don’t have many hardware buttons on your Windows Mobile phone, and would like to be able to quickly access different programs, it is definitely worth checking this program out. I’ve yet to fiddle with this as much as I used it on my old device, but it should be very useful.

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Nov 20 2010


Category: Windows MobileChrisM @ 1:44 am

From GPS onto a multimedia application. This is one of the few programs I’ll be recommending for Windows Mobile phones that isn’t free. I don’t personally own a license, so obviously can only speak about my experience using it on a friend’s identical phone who did legally buy it. Anyway, the app’s name is CorePlayer and I will be writing a more detailed post on it in the future, including some benchmarks I ran comparing different Windows Mobile 6.5.x ROMs, using Sense as your UI or not, and consequently, just how much free memory effected video playback.
For now, back to the basics, CorePlayer is capable of playing back most audio, video and online formats natively. In the same way that driving a Ferrari will part the crowds in a busy street, using CorePlayer if you have only ever used Microsoft’s Windows Media Player 10.3 for PocketPC (admittedly this is still an improvement over previous WMP versions) will be a real eye opener to anyone watching your device.
Some tweaking of settings (of which there are many, you can alter buffer size and behaviour, graphic equalizer bands, vertical sync and other video tweaks & network settings) is required to get the smoothest video playback, and if you want the best possible playback, you may find you need to re-encode some videos, unless your CPU is 1GHz or the integrated GPU in your phone actually has proper drivers, unlike the HTC TyTn II / Touch Pro2.
Finally, if your budget is tight, you could consider CorePlayer’s freeware ancestor – TCPMP, I’ll write a post on that program later.

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Nov 19 2010

Tweaking Your WinMo Device

Category: Windows MobileChrisM @ 2:10 am

One thing I like about Windows Mobile based phones is their tweakability. If that isn’t a word, as Chrome’s spell check is claiming, it should be… Anyway, thanks to other people’s research, and the ability to change your phone’s registry (as with Windows based PCs), you can easily completely customize the way your phonw behaves in a lot of different situations.
One alternative to spending a long time looking up individual tweaks and getting your hands dirty in the registry is Schap’s Advanced Configuration Tool – I’ve not yet had time to play with this a great deal on my HTC Touch Pro 2, but on the TyTn II this was a life saver, in terms of not having to remember random registry locations and values for all sorts of tweaks. I don’t think the application ties in too strongly to just older WM devices, though you may find some tweaks don’t work with Windows Mobile 6.5.x ROMs.
One thing to remember is to try and only apply a few minor, or one major tweak at a time – if something goes wrong with your phone, you will want to know which option to leave alone next time. As ever, playing with the registry can lead to problems, and so you should ensure you’ve backed up any important data before applying the tweaks that are available. Most of them won’t change anything too radically, but you could occasionally find yourself needing to hard reset your phone, if you choose a bad set of options at the same time.
Anyway, I’ve boiled down the list of available tweaks to the following categories, forgive the list style, but it would take too long to try and compile them into sentences 🙂

(Many) GUI tweaks
Today screen tweaks
Cache sizes and behaviours
Power Management settings
SIP (onscreen keyboard) tweaks
Network tweaking – WiFi,3G,Bluetooth,USB
Phone call settings
GPS tweaks
Message (e-mail, SMS, MMS and system) settings
Camera tweaks
Light and G-sensor settings
Customize key mapping
Customize file associations

One final thing – once you have found your perfect set of tweaks, it is worth exporting them (as an XML file), so if you install a new ROM or have to hard reset, you can restore your phone to it’s perfect state with just a couple of clicks (the same advice as with using HTC, see previous post).

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Nov 12 2010

Stretching Screens

Category: Windows MobileChrisM @ 9:56 pm

If you had a Windows Mobile phone or PDA from a couple of years ago or more, and recently bought a newer device, it is quite likely you now find yourself with a screen that has a VGA resolution (this is four times the detail of the older QVGA standard). WVGA is just a widescreen variant of VGA, and there is also WQVGA which is a widescreen version of the older QVGA resolution.
All of this greater detail, and in some cases, different aspect ratio can mean that your favourite older programs only occupy a small part of the screen and/or don’t use full width (or height, depending on whether you physically have your phone in landscape or portrait orientation.) This leaves you with needs to apply some much needed emergency assistance to your phone if you don’t want to be squinting or cursing the wasted screen space. Luckily, a coder has already stepped into the breech and created WVGAfix – it will temporarily alter the resolution used, meaning the offending application is a lot more likely to be legible. One thing to note – if you have a Windows Mobile 6.5.x (as opposed to 6.1 or earlier) ROM installed, and use the HTC Sense interface (instead of the standard old Today screen), you will not be able to revert to standard WVGA mode without soft resetting your device, the last time I checked.

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Nov 12 2010

Translating The Basics

Category: Windows MobileChrisM @ 8:43 pm

I’m combining a couple of reviews into one post here, as the Windows Mobile applications are very similar. They both place a convenient interface for online translation services, so if you are in a foreign city, or accessing a document in a language other than your own, you can quickly get the gist of what is written.
Obviously using free automated translation services means the meanings won’t always be precise (does that phrase refer to a hot curry or a proper colon cleanser?), however they should be good enough to give you an idea of what you are dealing with. W0lf Translator has a basic interface, and will attempt to detect which language your source is in, if you don’t already know.
The other program I have installed is dV2tTranslator – which is like w0lf’s app, but you can choose one of two services to use, and has a basic text to speech option (I don’t know about European languages, but can confirm that English works, and Russian doesn’t. This may be a unicode issue, or the created MP3s might only have English rules pre-written). It also has a more modern looking interface (less Windows Mobile 2003, more HTC’s Sense, in terms of style).

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Nov 09 2010

Apps For Windows Mobile Devices

Category: Windows MobileChrisM @ 12:30 pm

I just wanted to write a couple of quick notes before I started writing Windows Mobile posts again. Firstly, the category for these posts was originally titled PDA (as I used it for iPaq related posts). The category slug is still PDA, to prevent old links from becoming broken, but I’ve changed the title displayed to Windows Mobile, as this covers all the HTC devices I’m likely to be writing about, as well as the older posts obviously.

Most of the software I shall be recommending/reviewing is will be found at the XDA Devlopers forum. You will need to register at the forum to download any attachments they are hosting directly, and before posting questions at the site, you MUST learn to search first. The site was originally set up for enthusiasts who enjoyed hacking the software and cooking ROMs for HTC devices. Although they have since branched out to other manufacturer’s devices, and now also get a lot of traffic from “newbies”, if you start posting questions that have been asked twenty times before, a frustrated member is likely to respond frostily.

All the applications/drivers/tweaks I’ll be writing about are free, unless otherwise noted. If the program is a paid for application, and written by a single person, you’ll not find me willing to help you get it for free. If you want a program that a large multi-national company makes, please do NOT visit or and search for a torrent that contains the program. Similarly, whilst NOT downloading programs for free from those sites, make sure you have your anti-virus up to date, as trojans and viruses and quite often found in some releases.

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Sep 08 2010

PockeTwit Fixed!

Category: Windows MobileChrisM @ 1:53 am

If you happen to use PockeTwit to read and write your tweets, you should start the application and make sure check for updates is ticked with the options. Re-start if necessary.
Alternatively, head on over to here to grab version 0.82a . If you prefer, just grab the CAB to copy to your device and install from here.

Because of the changes Twitter made to their authentication and application verification system, namely OAuth being the only acceptable method, we had to wait for the writer of this (FREE!!!) program to update his code. This took a while, but TBH, the program is free, works like a dream again, and matches 98% of my tweeting needs. If it had YouTube access for video uploads (like TinyTwitter that I tried to use temporarily, but also had OAuth problems with) or possibly TwitVid, I could finally dump Qik. I just checked over at PockeTwit’s User Voice Page, and someone had already requested that enhancement. Added my vote.

Anyway, once the update is installed, start up PockeTwit, goto the Settings menu on the left, and select Accounts. Assuming it is already showing your Twitter account, click on Edit Selected, and follow the on screen instructions. One other person reported a problem with OAuth verification, it might be worth temporarily changing your phone’s default browser to Pocket Internet Explorer if this occurs. No reason I can think of that this would be the issue, but worth a shot. On an unrelated note, if you get general application errors, make sure your .NET CF is up to date. (Basically 3.5 or 3.7).

Now I just need to see how easy the program will be to operate on a device without a D-Pad, like the HTC Touch Pro 2 soon to be arriving.

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Jul 28 2010

Flashing The Day Away!

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 10:50 pm

While Irina was not at home today, I spent most of my time flashing. Rather than calling the local authorities though, you should just nod and say “maladyets”.

The flashing consisted of SharpFin-ing (if it isn’t a verb, it should be) my Logik IR-100 internet radio, as well as my HTC TyTn II / Kaiser.

The internet radio has been unable to play BBC Radio on demand programs for more than a few minutes ever since April/May. Given that over here in Kazakhstan, the main reason I want the radio on is to catch up with UK based news programs and a little light comedy before falling asleep, the device was quickly losing any reason for using mains power up. I had wanted to apply a 3rd party update to the radio for a while, but whilst it was able to complete 95% of my requests without problem, I couldn’t justify risking bricking the thing. Not only is it no longer on sale back home, similar devices cost between two and five times as much, so had I cocked up and ended up with plastic box that did nothing, I’d have felt highly agrieved.
Now that the new linux components are installed and working OK, I can select different firmwares from Reciva (the company that runs the online access portal for it), play media files locally from a thumb drive, and even remotely administer it from my PC. There is only one (internal) USB socket on the motherboard, which is normally occupied by a caseless WiFi adaptor, however with a little brute force on a rear plastic grill, a USB hub that wasn’t used for anything important (only USB 1.1), and a few minutes re-checking procedures, Cygwin re-installation and telnetting, the radio has reprieved it’s binward journey. To get to this point, I did switch from Windows 7 to XP (problems with services blocking ports), at which point a different error appeared. Whilst fixing this DLL dependency problem, Anna decided to press the reset button the PC. When logging back in to XP, it appeared that the unscheduled reboot had caused a corrupt file. Luckily Vista saved the day (most likely the first and last time you’ll read that phrase without sarcasm on this blog.) Not only did the subterfuge of making the radio think my PC was a Reciva server, and so it could therefore accept my modifications, but it has proven the most stable and error free OS on my PC today. Obviously I didn’t actually boot into Ubuntu as I’m not comfy enough with it yet to try flashing other devices from it.
So, on to the second and slightly more fear-filled flashing incident today… my phone. As previously mentioned, the screen isn’t touchable in a few places due to a dodgy repair carried out by professionals back in Britain (need to contact them soon), and I was interested to find out what differences I could expect from the next phone we’re getting, which will have Windows Mobile 6.5, rather than 6.1. Given that I have a few backup phones that function perfectly well as phones, if not enterntainment/productivity enhnancing devices, I decided to take the plunge and see if I could hit two for two in terms of not killing lumps of plastic and silicon today. Skipping the usual routine of killing off processes in Windows to allow deeper access to the phone, I dumped the renamed ROM onto the microSD card, and told the phone to get on with it. No problems yet, though it is still very early days. The new interface is interesting, but I deliberately chose a light weight ROM with nearly all apps and bells and whistles removed. I’m slowly going through the process of reinstalling important apps (where simply re-creating shortcuts to the still present programs on the memory card won’t suffice), and I’ve not yet had to try and figure out how to text/call/live stream videos etc. in a rush, but I’m happy to know that the Touch Pro 2 from HTC will have this same OS version at it’s core, even if the interface will be bells and whistled to the hilt 🙂
Before I forget, welcome back home to Mum, John, Aunty Jean and Uncle Pete. Their well planned break took an early diversion, but more on that in the coming days.
Right, I’m off for now as I need to boot back into XP and re-sync contacts etc. from Outlook, so feel free to check out the rest of this page for a lot of photos and videos of Anna back when she was in Britain.

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Jul 27 2010

From Pumping To Partying

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 1:26 am

When it comes to getting fit, drinks that contain alcohol are sadly a no-no apparently. I guess that is why they don’t often have bars in fitness clubs and gyms, however the gym next door has the next best thing. If you have the money to pay the high price for membership, you can pop in before work in the morning, do some weights and swim a few lengths in the pool, head on in to your office, then return at night, as there is a nightclub there. We haven’t been back since they tried charging an incredible amount for a per person (non-refundable) deposit, in a similar manner to Royal Sports Betting Bar did, but I do like the fact that they have both virtuous and fun activities covered under one roof!


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