Friday 27 November 2009

Phone upgrades and iGadget digs

Trendy toys and business tools

The other day, my pastor’s son was showing off his phone and was all so excited about the features and things he could do with his phone. I did not really have an earful before I said; I used a phone not a toy.

He had an iPhone; now, I have nothing against Apple technologies, you need pioneers, mavericks and daring-do to change the marketplace – Apple does a good job with bringing innovative and sometimes technologically appealing products to the market, they create trends and force competitors who have been at the game longer to do better with their offerings.

If you get my drift, I do not want to be locked into proprietary products with monopolistic contractual agreements that make me stand out as trendy but almost foolish at the same time.

In prison and seeking solitary confinement

If my point has not be driven home about the concept of iPhones being trendy though conceptual toys whilst my HTC Touch Diamond 2 is a business tool, having a mobile phone contract is as hard enough as being in prison, then some smart people go to the governor, beg, queue up and the proudly show off that they have been able to obtain solitary confinement, yes, the iWhatever user is in solitary confinement.

Solitary confinement is indeed, independent, individual, and maybe incredible but an innovative way of separating the maverick of disruption from the pool of assumed conformity which in itself represents a kind of freedom many a Granny Smith eater never enjoys.

With the alliteration of I’s all over the place that cannot that will not gather with the We’s that make society in the quest for being different, in any country, if a network fails, my phone can roam, if your iPhone network breaks you have a very expensive iBrick, it is like having your glorious Bugatti breakdown on the motorway – who is showing off now?

I think I have made my point about why there is the well worn saying of the Mac being the best thing to wear to keep you dry in the rain. No funny comments will be entertained, if you have a counter-rant, put it in your blog and backtrack to mine.

Upgrades and charades

So, I decided after church on Sunday to upgrade the ROM of my HTC Touch Diamond 2 (codename HTC Topaz) phone from Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.1 to Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.5. Thankfully, I had a phone HTC was willing to upgrade, my old HTC P3600 (codename HTC Trinity) did not get a ROM upgrade from Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 to Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.0.

I suspect there were quite a few features in that phone that put a reliable upgrade beyond the engineering department of HTC, I am not bitter; the phone served me well for almost 30 months.

What I cannot understand about the provider agreements and contracts in the Netherlands is I cannot get anyone to give me a phone with English as the core language, but I can get an online mobile phone shop in the Netherlands to get me an English phone, negotiate the contract with my provider and still have it cheaper than if I walked into my provider’s shop on the high street.

That is how I got both my HTC Trinity and my HTC Topaz phones in UK English. When getting a phone like this I have always invested in getting decent programs for security, maintenance and backup.

Tools and utilities

For security, I use Carty Studio’s Ultimate Theft Alarm; it binds my SIM to my phone and if another SIM is inserted and not registered, it sends SMS messages of the SIM identity and of all calls made to a designated phone. Since my landline can receive SMS messages, I do not need another phone to make a trace of my mobile.

I also use a number of tools from the SPB Software House as SPB Pocket Plus and SPB Backup. The SPB Backup program is quite good, especially when you need to do restores. SK Tools is a good mobile phone maintenance utility that includes the ability to tweak components of the phone and edit the registry.

So, I first backed up my phone to the mini-SD Card in my phone which has a 16 GB capacity and then downloaded the ROM upgrade. I could not use the European version of English because my serial number was not accepted.

I switched to the UK HTC site and after keying in my serial number which was present on the phone packaging rather than having to dismantle my phone and look under the battery, I got the 170 MB file which was 10 times faster to download from Asia than Europe.

Where is my graffiti?

I hooked up my phone to my Microsoft Windows Vista system which was running the Windows Mobile Device Center application and started off the ROM Upgrade Utility. In about 30 minutes the upgrade was done and the phone ready to run on Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.5. (WM65)

The first thing I noticed was that the Block Recogniser stylus input option had disappeared, I have been doing Graffiti since the Palm Pilot/HandSpring days and some faceless apparatchik had decided to take it out of WM65.

After surfing the net and finding out that all sorts of tweaks were necessary to get that feature back, I almost repented of my folly, I was also not keen on having to reinstall a good 20 bits of software and utilities I had with WM61.

So, I upgraded my version of SPB Backup and started the restore, it noticed the ROM had been upgraded and offered the ROM Upgrade Mode option with a checkbox to Overwrite Existing Files.

I unchecked the box and restored, the phone came back up but with bit missing, some programs were restored and others crippled, so I returned to the Restore process and chose to Overwrite Existing Files.

On a resetting the phone, I had all my applications from WM61 restored and Block Recognition available as the default text input system without the need to change it each time I reset the phone as I did with WM65.

Online storage of phone data

I am still getting round the new features in WM65, but I can say getting SPB Backup was more than a good investment, it was a wise one.

Since mobile phones now contain more personal and social information than diaries and address books of old, backing up the data is critical, so not only do I synchronise the phone with 2 systems at home, it is now synchronised over the air to where with my Windows Live account I can store my address book and data, view that information anywhere without my phone and restore it to a compatible phone if need be.

Obviously, one needs to find a balance between the paranoia of someone accessing your data online and the self-importance of thinking everyone is really interested in seeing your data. I think in some ways Microsoft services are nominally secure enough and really phones are not for critical data like bank accounts, credit card numbers or such pertinent personal information.

In the worst case, you can decide what you want backed up and what should remain on your phone, however, the online storage of phone data is not only useful it is necessary for the times.


iPhone - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

HTC Touch Diamond2 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

HTC - Products - HTC Touch Diamond2 – HTC Topaz - Overview

HTC - Products - HTC P3600 – HTC Trinity - Overview

HTC Corporation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

HTC Touch Diamond2 UK - Online PDA shop where I got my deal for a UK phone in the Netherlands

Apple Inc. - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Windows Mobile - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Carty Studios - Ultimate Theft Alert v3.5!

SPB Software for Windows Mobile (Pocket PC, Smartphone, PDA), Symbian, iPhone

SKTools features

Graffiti (Palm OS) Block Recogniser - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia