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HTC 8125 Hacking July 2, 2012

Posted by stuffilikenet in Applications, Geek Stuff, Uncategorizable.
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in which Our Hero attempts to use SDHC cards with his Cingular 8125, Windows Mobile 5 phone, a.k.a. WIZ100 or HTC Wizard.  A harrowing tale of suspense, long hours in front of a monitor reading the forum at xda-developers.com, eyestrain and terror at the thought that I may have to flash the ROM altogether.

So, first I tried to simply hack the system with a bunch of different SDHC hacks, which in fact killed my SD card reading ability entirely.


Well, I don’t really love this phone anyway, except that I had it hacked up pretty much the way I wanted it except for the 2Gb limit to my SD storage (see previous AD2P post, below and KanaFlash and Spanish FlashCard App). So, I figured I might as well look at replacing the ROM with something a little more modern with SDHC support baked in…like Windows Mobile 6.5.  Good idea, right?

Oh, gods.

This is an enterprise fraught with undreamed-of perils.  First, CID-unlocking (the phone from ATT, so I can load whoever’s ROM I want) and all this involves.  I need to do this if I have G4, but not if I have G3.  I could have sworn I had G3 yesterday when I was fooling around with the SDHC stuff, but today I seem to have G4.  Ugh.  I can tell I do because my IPL and SPL (bootloader stuff) is 2.25.0001—the three zeros mean G4.

I could have sworn there were two zeros there yesterday, and I wrote it down in my notebook which I left at work…grrr [I checked; it WAS two zeros then].  Anyway, these details are hugely important, since I could brick this puppy (and have a great excuse to get a nice, new phone) by using the wrong loader, image or both.  I live in fear, since there is no extant FAQ on just how to do this, and these details count.  However, there is a forty-five page forum thread on this topic at xda-developers.com.

I should finish reading it about August, I think.

So, here’s what I know:

Device Model Cingular 8125, CID WIZCNG01, DOC G3 / G4, ROM Date 2006 11 May, IPL/SPL 2.25.0001, ROM Version, Radio Version 02.25.11, OS 5.1.195, Build 14928.2.2.0, Protocol version, ExtROM version

If it’s a G4 phone, then I need to unlock it from CID using the IMEI number under the SIM card, and a for-pay utility here.  Then I could load the ROM I got here [turns out I can use a different IMEI that I also found at xda-developers.com], assuming it is a G4 which uses a different ROM loader than the G3–no small difference, that.  Once again, masonry is a real possibility.

You would think that a clear-cut version of what is now very old technology would be apparent;  no my brothers, not one malenky bit. Ancient technology such as this (ca 2007) is best not messed with.

Exciting update: I hard reset it, and got my (old) functionality back…a mixed blessing.  In the meantime, I found that I can pre-pay ATT $25 a month for 300 minutes, unlimited texting and unlimited slow data, so that’s one thing I’m going to do Real Soon Now.  And pay full price for a nice Android phone, for which I can also write my little programs, albeit in java.

Had to get this all off my chest, as it ate a great deal of my (limited) attention for a while.

A2DP With My Windows CE HTC8125 Phone March 11, 2012

Posted by stuffilikenet in Geek Stuff.
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The BlueTooth stereo stack for A2DP isn’t installed and therefore stereo BT headphones won’t play stereo from your media player (use GSPlayer, it’s much friendlier than the MS product, and free) even though you can use normal microphony and such for phone calls. It just doesn’t  work with my HTC8125 (rebranded through ATT as Cingular 8125).  As you know, Microsoft stopped supporting this OS years ago, and never did make a fix for this.  Some hacker somewhere did, and if you look forever on Google, you will find it (cheat and use xda-developers.com and rapidfiles.com).  You are looking for two files named a2dpfix.cab and zoa2dp_113.cab and these instructions:

Connect your phone with ActiveSync, when its done click explore. drag and drop these two files to that folder (extra points if you know your way around the phone to do this without me telling you how). Go to your phone and click File Explorer from programs. If you don’t see those two files at the bottom then click the My Documents folder and you should see them there. Click a2dpfix.cab first and when it installs, reset your phone(tiny reset button next to your camera button). Repeat with the zoa2dp_113.cab file, and reset again. Install your headphones and you should see a new profile….stereo headset…make sure that’s clicked and setup your BT normally.

All this is necessary because my mp3 players keep getting their jacks destroyed by me carrying them around all the time…no ruggedizing for actual activities, like walking.

Not that I’m cranky about spending DAYS finding this solution.  I wouldn’t want you to think that.

Amazon Moto G Play Phone January 19, 2017

Posted by stuffilikenet in Applications, Geek Stuff, Science, Star Trek Technology, Toys.
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People in the know (i. e., my readers) are aware that I take my phones seriously, and have for three smart phones now. Well, smart-enough phones, I guess.  I mean I had an HTC 8125 ancient creaking phone with one of Microsoft’s many, many failed phone operating systems (are they really up to FOUR commercially-failed systems, and about to go for FIVE?), which did some things I needed in a phone: calculator (never used it, but could have), texting (would have used it but did not…not sure that it could, now that I think on it), took [execrable] photographs (look back in this blog far enough and you will find them, along with scathing reviews of the image quality) but at least ran the flash card app I wrote for it, among others (my writing them would not have been necessary if MS has anything like an app store.  Just sayin’), and played my beloved audio books during my [endless] commute.1

Still, it was not the optimum device.  My next phone (Samsung Galaxy S3 i9250) was a considerable improvement, in that the camera focused closely enough to copy text.  It ran Android apps mostly without complaint (even ones I had written myself), texted my children and played Bluetooth music and audio books without complaint, even after having survived several cracked glass incidents (to be fair, I never did repair the glass.  It looked like a vandalized cathedral when it finally died). It was a vast improvement, and I cried bitter tears indeed2 when it suddenly stopped letting me make telephone calls.

Now I have the aforementioned Amazon Moto G Play phone, and I must say it is an improvement on my previous experiences (except for the annoying notifications.  How the #$%^&* do I turn them off?) in speed, in reception and in sound clarity (although not volume).  The camera is much better (see recent postings about the weather, blue jay invasion, etc.) and the Android version is 6.0, which is 1.7 better than previous.  And it was cheap: $99 for the phone with advertising, $149 without.  I have been unable to figure out how to replace the bootloader to get rid of the advertisements (which would violate my agreement and would be Bad And Wrong), but it works so well I don’t care at all.

EXCITING, HORRIBLE UPDATE: can’t root the phone to use adb wireless.  This is totally bogus.

EXCITING, HORRIBLE UPDATE 2: phone has taken to dying suddenly for no apparent reason. Motorola “service” has extensive threads about this, with no resolution other than to mark the incident “closed”–which sets off a bunch of complaints. This would be a publicity disaster if Motorola cared. Me, I’m going to find a different manufacturer. I like Samsung phones, but they seem to be going to non-removable batteries, which I will not tolerate.

1Not sure that’s the longest run-on sentence I have ever written, but Baron Bulwer-Lytton must feel somewhat threatened in his cozy grave.

2Mostly because I had spent a fortune on it.  Don’t fear; this story DOES have a happy ending.

Spycam File Transfer December 14, 2014

Posted by stuffilikenet in Applications, Awesome, Geek Stuff, Toys.
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Here’s a scary little proof of concept: an Android smart phone (HTC One XL) with the ThruGlassXfer app on it is held facing the laptop screen so that the phone’s primary camera can clearly read the displayed QR codes.  The codes change rapidly, since they reflect  an encoded file being transferred by light—no connection required.

Displaying binary data as a QR code required encoding the file using ThruKeyboardXfer (TKXf) which in turn required a USB HID keyboard, attached to this theoretically non-connected computer by emulating a keyboard.

A Blast of Coffee, Please December 2, 2014

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Brain, Toys.
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From Big Mouth Toys on Amazon.com .

Phone Magic September 4, 2012

Posted by stuffilikenet in Uncategorized.
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I hate my WinCE phone, an HTC Wizard from about 2006 or so.  It’s old, slow and parts on it are broken (little useful bits like the phone earpiece, the charging port and headphone jack.  You know, things that make it a telephone and not an electronic brick); it has only 2GB of storage (although that was a great deal in 2006); and WinCE is no longer being supported by Microsoft, which has probably upset developers a lot more than me.  It only had tepid support in any case, which is why phone makers are currently reluctant to build Windows Phone 8 hardware except Nokia, which is now partly owned by Microsoft.  Another thing I strongly dislike is my AT&T plan, which is based on bad assumptons by me of how much my family talks and costs more than twice what I think it is worth.  I should have fixed this as soon as the plan expired, but shopping for phones and phone plans is a swampful of alligators.  And Burmese pythons.  And confusing as hell.
One thing I do like about my WinCE phone is that I have all the tools I will ever need to write little apps for it, which I have done (to my satisfaction, at least). In the sidebar you will find a category for them; see what I mean by simple?
So, my happiness in PhoneLand now has three requirements: low-cost data/voice/text plan, robust hardware and the ability to write little apps if ones I need do not become available.  I thought about the iPhone (because the wife and kids like them, and they have lots of apps that look pretty cool on TV), but the minimum requirements for writing apps is learning Objective C on a Mac, which I do not own.  $1100 for a learning platform is out of the question, over and above the iPhone cost which isn’t cheap either.  So, this pretty much leaves me with an Android phone, but whose?
It turns out that there are only a few multiband phones [allowing the owner to change phone companies without buying a new phone] around, presumeably because the people committed to buying them in quantity are the same phone companies that would like to lock their customers in at high rates for very long times.  I have already been down that road, so no thank you.  Besides, buying a contract data plan from ANY carrier is a big money-losing proposition, as I have discovered.  Also, the latest version of the Android OS is usually not part of a phone company’s priorities–they need to keep costs low, and don’t want to support lots of different OSes.  Can’t blame them.
I ended up getting a Google Galaxy Nexus, a multi-band GSM phone with the latest Android operating system on it (actually, it OTA updated itself the second day I had it…close enough).  The Nexus is multiband so I can switch from AT&T to T-Mobile and back depending on who has the lowest cost, best coverage or whatever.  It’s now my choice.
It seems that T-Mobile offers a $30 per month pre-paid plan with 100 minutes of conversation and unlimited (slow) data and texting.  I bought it at Walmart, which is where you get this plan, not through T-Mobile’s website or stores.  You can also buy a $0.99 SIM card through the website, but I forget what that gets you, as I went with the prepaid thingie I already mentioned.  AT&T offers something similar, although I think it’s $50 per month for unlimited talk, text and data.  Not much of a saving for me, and I don’t talk all that much, so there.  Nyah.
Anyway, it’s a predictable amount of cash per month, so I’m OK with it…now to see if I can get AT&T to give up my previous telephone number, and T-mobile to take it.
EXCITING UPDATE:  yeah, I got it. Now I can resume being unhappy about ATT service, pricing and the annoying Bluetooth interference when handing off between towers.

In a related note, my stepdaughter is starting engineering school and OMG the books are heavy, filling a backpack and a side back.  Together the books weigh about half her weight..she’s getting a tablet as soon as I can manage it.  Must be a ten-inch tablet, because the illustrations need to be clear.  I will be reporting on the state of tableture soon enough for you, my (few) loyal readers.