Posts Tagged ‘Windows Mobile’

FAIL: Microsoft “My Phone”

Monday, June 1st, 2009

Microsoft apparently feels the need to offer a Windows Mobile equivalent to MobileMe, but of course the Microsoft version will have the advantage of that legenday Microsoft reliability.

I just got this email from Microsoft (click for a larger image):

My Phone Email Message

And here’s what I got when I tried to visit the My Phone Web site.  You can click through to see the full-size image, but I’ll tell you what it says and save you the trouble: “The Microsoft® My Phone service is temporarily unavailable due to system maintenance.  Please try again later.  We apologize for the inconvenience.”

My Phone Web page

AT&T Tilt continues the tradition of crappy Windows Mobile phones

Monday, October 27th, 2008

So, I know that I said that when my phone contract expired I was going to switch to PalmOS or BlackBerry, because the software on the AT&T 8525 (a.k.a. HTC Hermes) was so sucky.

But when push came to shove and I needed to buy a new phone (because I dropped the old one for the nth time and the LCD broke), I looked at all the options and decided, despite my misgivings, that I was going to have to go with the Tilt, AT&T’s Windows Mobile 6.1 replacement for the 8525.  Here’s why:

  • As cool as it is, the iPhone is ruled out because tethering my laptop to the network through my phone is a non-negotiable feature, one that the iPhone doesn’t offer (well, it does if you jailbreak it, but I’m not willing to jailbreak a phone paid for by my employer and make myself dependent on features that the vendor doesn’t support).
  • PalmOS and Blackberry are both ruled out because none of the AT&T PalmOS or Blackberry OS phones support 3G.  Given how heavily I use the network through my phone, EDGE-only is simply not an option.  There are other reasons, too, but this is the biggest one.

(I’d love to go with the Google Phone, but it’s not available yet from AT&T and I don’t know if an unlocked T-Mobile Google Phone would be fully functional on the AT&T network.  Even if it would be, I’m sure it would take me a buttload of time to make it work, and that’s time I don’t have.  Really, I just want to be able to buy a PDA Phone from AT&T that does what I need out of the box and doesn’t suck.  Is that too much to ask?  Apparently, yes, it is.)

And so, although my gut was telling me that I was not going to be happy, I went ahead and ordered the Tilt.  “How bad could it be?” I thought to myself.  “Surely in Windows Mobile 6.1 they will have addressed the stability problems in Windows Mobile 6.0, right?”  Yeah, right, pull the other one.


I am *so* switching to PalmOS or BlackBerry when my Windows Mobile phone contract expires…

Monday, March 10th, 2008

What kind of idiot designs a phone so that when it updates your clock for daylight saving time at two in the morning, it lets out a loud chime to let you know about it?! Did I really need to be woken up at two in the morning because my phone was so proud of itself that it just had to share?

To add insult to injury, when I turned on the backlight of the phone four hours later and looked at the time in the corner of the screen, it was still an hour off… I had to reset the phone to correct it.

Fixing “ghost alarms” in Windows Mobile

Wednesday, January 9th, 2008

A common complaint of users of Windows Mobile devices is “ghost alarms.” One manifestation of this problem is when a periodic alarm scheduled by the clock application keeps triggering even when it has been disabled in the application, such that there appears to be no way to make it stop. Another manifestation is when multiple notifications pop up for a single alarm, such that the alarm sound plays over and over and you need to click “Dismiss” repeatedly to get rid of all the alarm notifications.

The most common recommendation I found on the Web and in the microsoft.public.pocketpc newsgroup for getting rid of the ghost alarms was to perform a hard reset on the device, i.e., to clear all memory and restore the device to its factory default settings. This is unacceptable to me since it takes a significant amount of time for me to reinstall all my applications and restore all of my configuration settings each time I have to do this, so I keep searching for other solutions.

I finally discovered that Windows Mobile has a “notifications queue” independent of individual applications that generate notifications, and that sometimes periodic notifications get stuck in this queue even when they have been “disowned” by the applications that originally generated them

I found two tools that can fix this problem. One of them, MemMaid, can be configured to run automatically on a daily basis to clean up problems with the notifications queue, and is therefore probably the right tool to use if this problem recurs for you on a regular basis. The other tool, SKTools, comes with a whole bunch of other tools for cleaning up, optimizing and tweaking the behavior of Windows Mobile, so it’s probably a better bargain if you don’t need to clean your notifications queue automatically on a regular basis.

I must say that I think it’s unfortunate that people have to pay money for tools to fix problems caused by bugs in Microsoft code. Microsoft should provide tools to do this for free, or they should fix the darn bugs.

Turning off startup animation and sound on an HTC Windows Mobile phone (AT&T 8525)

Wednesday, January 9th, 2008

After AT&T acquired Cingular, they released a software upgrade for the 8525, one of their Windows Mobile devices. In the upgrade, they added an extraordinarily annoying boot-time animation to the phone. When you power on, you see an animated picture of the Cingular “flying bars” and then the AT&T logo. It wouldn’t bo so bad if it weren’t for the fact that there’s also an extremely loud sound that plays with the animation. AT&T has never adequately explained exactly what you are supposed to do if you want to turn the phone on in a theater or some other public place requiring quiet, or perhaps just to turn it on in the morning without waking your spouse.

While digging through the registry on the phone in an effort to fix a different issue, a discovered how to turn off the animation and sound, so I thought I’d share this information in case it might be useful to other people.

Using a Windows Mobile registry editor such as Mobile Registry Editor (free; google for it), Resco Explorer (commercial), or SKTools (commercial), find the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\HTC\StartupAnimation and change the value Enabled from 1 to 0.

There is a value Volumn in the same registry key which I thought might be useful for changing the volume of the sound, but I tried various settings for it with no effect.