Nov 10 2010

Crud Scraper

Category: Windows MobileChrisM @ 8:41 pm

A lot of mobile companies will pre-install applications that add value (in their eyes) to your mobile if you purchase their subsidised branded version of the phone. Often referred to as bloatware (as the programs are often not incredibly useful (especially to power users), they take up storage space on your phone’s internal memory, and if they are run at start-up, also consume RAM). If you find yourself with an AT&T network branded Touch Pro 2 (I think they re-brand it as a Tilt 2), Crud Scraper will help remove any applications you really don’t want any traces of.
Whilst you can sometimes simply remove these programs yourself through Windows Mobile’s “Remove Programs” option found within the Settings window, there are a couple of problems with this method. Firstly, not all programs are displayed in this list, and secondly, using this approach can still leave behind files (so space is still wasted) and entries in your phone’s registry. Crud Scraper knows exactly what AT&T have added beyond the stock Windows Mobile ROM image, so it is able to properly remove all traces. Whether you want to remove a game that you know you’ll never play or a digital banking program that doesn’t integrate with your account, Crud Scraper will help to properly remove them. People have been asking the author to create the required XML files to assist in removing crud from non-AT&T phones, but I couldn’t see any such updates just yet.

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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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Nov 05 2010

Who Said What?

Category: WordPressChrisM @ 10:11 pm

We are already onto the W of plug-ins that are used across my different sites. So this review will be one of the last in this series. For anyone more interested in Windows Mobile applications and tweaks, I realised recently that I’ve not put any up for a long time, so those will most likely be the next series here at
Anyway, back to the plug-in… Wizzart – Recent Comments is a more versatile replacement for the Recent Comments widget that was recently integrated into WordPress. If you know more than me about CSS (I’m pretty sure AlexC is well past that point already!) you can define the rules for this widget, or if you are more of a point, click and hope sort of person, the widget admin area opens up some basic options.
You can obviously decide how many comments you want to display, as well as how many characters should be included (useful if your theme’s sidebars’ width mean the default character count often ends up with a word left trailing on a new line by itself). You can decide whether just comments should be displayed, or whether you also want to include recent pings and trackbacks (when WordPress is informed of links to your posts, be they internal or external).
If you wish, then only comments from the current category of the post you are viewing will be presented (if you write about amateur radio hardware and also snowboarding, then you may only want comments relevant to each topic displayed by default).
Finally, it is Gravatar enabled, meaning that if the comment author has a Gravatar account, their chosen profile picture will be displayed. WordPress populates this field with a random image if you have selected that option (check the Discussion option page).
If you are 100% happy with WordPress’s own Recent Comments widget (or simply don’t use it), or perhaps you have all your blog entries set to no comments allowed, then obviously this plug-in isn’t for you, otherwise, take a few minutes to check it out.

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Sep 08 2010

From Towers To Zombies

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 12:44 am

This is a general request for help. Does anyone own “Tower Wars: Time Guardian” on a Windows Mobile device? It is a pretty good Castle Defence style game, but I am stuck in Campaign Mode on the American Civil War level. I have tried quite a few combinations of weapons, but always seem to have lost by around the third level. I’m not asking for a complete break down of the necessary placements to win the whole level, I’d just really like to have a good solid base to experiment with, rather than play the same three waves over and over. Before any smart arse tells me to google for this sort of information, I have tried, but no joy so far. Whilst we’re on the topic of games in the Castle Defence genre, make sure you give Asgard Defence a try sometime, apparently also available for WinMo, though I’ve got the PC demo. Quite addictive. Obviously nowhere near as cute as Plants vs. Zombies, but then again I don’t think they are supposed to be the same beyond the basics of strategy planning and shooting things.

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Sep 07 2010

Present Time – A Little Delayed

Category: Anna's Photos,PersonalChrisM @ 10:08 pm

Delayed in two senses. When Nick came up to Evesham (btw big congratulations to him for recently passing his driving test!) he bought the Christmas and Birthday presents that we had not been able to open due to being in Kazakhstan at the time. Even though his son Jack was about to be born, we really appreciated him making the effort and making sure we had some more time together (he also had a job interview in Cheltenham, so the timing was perfect). The second part of the delay? The video of this evening was posted a little over a month ago. I have been very slack recently at posting to this blog, other than occasional tweets. Now that PockeTwit (my preferred Windows Mobile twitter client) isn’t working due to OAuth being required for logins, the site has been quite bare recently. I am hoping to put up a few more posts by the end of the week, and if I can just create 36 hours in a day, I might even manage to post more next week 🙂 Oh, 12th of March is the date these photos were taken, which reminds me, I need to check if is still pulling these posts in automatically, and also start manually embedding those videos that don’t make it across.

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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 26 2010

Bloated Memory

Category: Windows MobileChrisM @ 10:42 pm

I am currently installing a lot of (freeware) applications on my phone (an HTC TyTn II/Kaiser) trying to see which might be of interest when Irina and I get our new mobiles. If any of the programs cause real problems and make the phone buggy or sluggish with the touch screen interface, I’d rather have to do a hard reset and re-install on a device I’m already happy tweaking, and then have a final list of stable apps for the future, than risk mucking up the new models, if and when I find incompatibilities with resource hungry applications. Having read 151 pages of a 162 page thread over at regarding the device I would like to upgrade to (an HTC Touch Pro 2 (effectively a TyTn III)), I haven’t managed to find any insurmountable problems or quirks that are new to me. I have installed Andriod on the TyTn II to get an idea of what other handsets have to offer, but for the next couple of years, I am happy to stick with Windows Mobile 6.x . I don’t believe my new phone will be able to run Windows Phone 7 properly, Android still is a little immature for me (in terms of OS development), and I’m about as likely to get an iPhone as Bill Gates is to profess a love for all things Mac.

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May 07 2010

Compilation Of Videos From B-Day Party

Category: Friends,Kazakhstan,VideosChrisM @ 7:25 pm

As all the videos were taking up the whole front page on this blog, and contained a few dud, four second long accidental recordings, I decided to compile them into a couple of posts instead.
It was a family friend’s birthday party at the Attila restaurant in Astana, and there was food, drink, dancers, music and an MC, as usual.
Oh, the titling of Qik videos (on the site) is totally screwed up again, most of the videos have the title from the previous clip, and virtually all of them lost these (wrong) titles when tweeted. Combine that with the jerky 320×240 video, and you can see why I’m still looking for an alternative Windows Mobile based live video streaming app…

Shots from outside the Attila (as in Attila The Hun) restaurant, here in Astana…

Irina’s Dad toasting the Yuri Constantinovich – the birthday boy 🙂

People dancing

Golka! (People chant this at weddings to encourage the bride and groom to kiss, a little bit like when the priest/vicar says “the groom may now kiss the bride” during a wedding ceremony). This was a reference to when Yuri and his wife got married many years ago.

Here we had an example of Korean dancing from some local enthusiasts (Yuri has Korean heritage, Kazakhstan has a wide mix of nationalities making up it’s population)

His Mum toasts Yuri

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Jun 19 2009

Hurricane With Windows Mobile 6.1

Category: Personal,Windows MobileChrisM @ 1:17 am

For any UK readers, you’ll also find it listed as an Orange C550 (HTC often sell their models on via other networks, and so often each model has a lot of alternative names).

Anyway, despite the down direction on the joystick being a little wonky, since installing WM6.1, I’ve grown to like the phone again. I have learned that EITHER using WM5torage (a tool to enable the phone to be used as a mass storage device, thereby avoiding the need to install ActiveSync on a PC first) OR OMAPClock (a tool to overclock (or in my case attempt battery life improvement by underclocking)) on this particular model, with this particular ROM (selang09’s wm 6.1 – a breeze to install thanks to ubrdave’s helpful instructions here) caused some sort of corruption, leaving my phone convinced that all EXEs were not valid Windows CE applications! I’m assuming it was the underclocking that did it somehow. Anyway, lesson learned, phone NOT bricked, so re-flashed it, and carried on guessing what some of the included Chinese language programs do.

With 6.1 installed, I was able to start using apps that required .NET CF 3.0 or above, like PockeTwit, though live access to the camera does seem to not be possible – don’t know if this is a hardware limitation that the developers haven’t been able to work around, or whether this is related to the non-standard ROM I’m using. I’ve yet to try Barcorama on the Hurricane (a barcode scanner application), but I can imagine the ever present security guards in Kazakh supermarkets getting their knickers in a twist if I attempt any price comparisons/uploading 🙂

Here is a quick screenshot of how the phone looks right now, I miss the ability to easily add/remove components from the equivalent of the today screen, compared to the Kaiser with its WM6.1 Pro, but I haven’t yet had to fall back to my v.old Sony Ericsson K700, so I can’t really complain. Editing homescreens on WM2003SE involved plugins and XML files for the main config, so I’m hoping I can bluff my way through customizing the interface a little in the future.

Orange C550 HTC Hurricane Windows Mobile 6.1

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Jun 15 2009

having knackered phone a coupl…

Category: TweetsChrisM @ 12:27 am

having knackered phone a couple of weeks ago,decided to risk backup phone by upgrading from windows mobile 2003se to 6.1 . testing pocketwit

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