Input issues on the MightyROM for the HTC Touch Pro

I’ve been having various issues on my hacked Sprint HTC Touch Pro. It seems to be getting progressively worse, which is extremely frustrating. It’s really making me lose faith in the Windows Mobile platform, regardless of what is actually to blame in this circumstance.

I’m working on a MightyROM install from ~May 2009, so at most 3 months stale. At some point, there began to be lag upon text entry when sending SMS messages. It would take about 200 milliseconds to respond to text input from the keyboard, and the lag mounted with extended input. At the beginning I was able to finish typing an entire text of ~130 chars meanwhile it was only about halfway done displaying what I typed. More recently, it has further issues; sometimes when I input, instead of outputting the character I type, it outputs the same character over and over. No idea why, incredibly frustrating.

Another main issue this device is having is that sometimes the keyboard will stop working altogether. Only a soft reset is able to restore functionality to the keyboard. Pulling my hair out.

I saw a MightyROM update that said:

Text Lag Removed.
This was done in the previous release, although comes with a warning, therefore I shall explain. While in “Threaded-SMS” mode, previously you would see your 0/130 text count in the top left of the screen. It has been noted that this is the reason for texting lag. The counter has been removed and you will now notice that texting lag has been completely resolved. Small price to pay for a responsive keyboard.

I’m really hoping this fixes BOTH of my issues. It might make this device usable again. I just installed this new version of MightyROM, so we shall see.

Edit: Confirmed problem #1 is gone. Problem #2 appears to be related to a loose ribbon cable, which essentially means (fixable) poor device design.

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HTC Touch Pro on SERO

So to say that my HTC Mogul (PPC 6800) was broken would be a huge understatement. I was optimistic of the phone for awhile, but eventually I just became sick of it freezing. At least twice a week it would require a soft reset, and in the interim all texts and phone calls received would not be recorded. Twice I even had to do a hard reset, because I could not get the device to power on. Even with the aforementioned ROM hacks applied, the device was really faulty.

So I was looking for an upgrade in late January, and I found that Sprint was sending HTC Touch Pros (PPC 6850) aka the HTC Raphael as replacements when you utilize their self service phone replacement program, because they were low on PPC 6800 stock. The only stipulation is that if you don’t have their TEP replacement program (with monthly fee), you’d have to pay the $55 replacement charge. This was not a problem for me, I bought the phone refurbished on eBay anyway a few months back. So I initiated the replacement order.

I received the phone on January 21st, surprised to find out this thing came with a crapload of accessories. My Mogul came with literally just the unit, battery and stylus. The device is VERY sleek, and the best part is that it hasn’t yet crashed after being on for 5 weeks now. The technical specs of this device are quite impressive, I can see why it goes for $300+ with two year contract. The 640×480 pixel screen is probably the most impressive feature; you just don’t see that kind of resolution on such a small device very often. I use this phone a lot now, way more than I did the Mogul.

Here are some of my favorite apps:

  • Real Dice Poker for Texas Hold’em. Good when you’re bored.
  • Pocket Scrobbler for listening to streaming music on the go or while working out (and it even Scrobbles to my last.fm profile).
  • Dashwire, still a very amazing synchronization tool for Windows Mobile phones. It made my transition from the Mogul very convenient — less than 5 minutes.
  • ShoZu, FINALLY a way to geotag photos and auto-upload to Flickr.
  • NuevaSync, FINALLY a way to 2-way synchronize my Google calendar and phone on demand. It uses the exchange protocol and syncs instantly. Very impressive.

Honorable mentions:

  • MusicID, play audio into the microphone and it will tell you what song it is. Seems to be about 75% accurate for radio songs, pretty impressive.
  • Google Maps mobile, once upon a time this would have been my #1 app, but it seems to be lacking in functionality these days. While it is apparently the best freeware GPS manager out there, it has some non intuitive controls and actions making it pretty frustrating overall.
  • Pocket Youtube looks amazing on this device, although somewhat laggy. I’m not sure if it’s because of the video processing required, or the network latency. Probably a combination.
  • Teeter, a G(ravity)-Sensor utilizing app. The only decent G-Sensor app out there for Windows Mobile tat this point, while the Apple store is full of them. I suspect as Windows Mobile phones start to have G-Sensors standard that these apps will become more common. Definitely a fun game.

Here are some pics, click to go to the set:

Overall, I am very impressed with this unit.
Rating: 9.8/10 at the price I received it.
At retail price, it is much less appealing. Suffice it to say I would not have purchased this device if it cost me over $300, but I think that speaks more of me than the phone :).

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How to make the Sprint HTC Mogul not crash

When I first received my new phone and reviewed the HTC Mogul, I found that the frequency that the device crashed was “pretty annoying”. Well I had loaded it up with lots of apps that ran in the background, some apps I didn’t need that uncleanly uninstalled (and has registry item missing messages), some items that turned on whenever a data connection was available, etc. The thing was a hog. I’m sure it consumed the full amount of RAM available on boot.

Eventually the device came to crash once a day or more. Then the phonepocalypse happened, while I was on a road trip with some buddies, the phone decided to not turn on at all. Soft reset after soft reset, it would get to the BIOS screen, then never proceed to the WM6.1 loading screen. I really thought that the device was fried. Fortunately, I hard reset the device (meaning erase all data and restore to factory defaults, and it was able to boot again. All was not lost. (All data especially wasn’t lost thanks to dashwire, man that app is rad for Windows Mobile devices.)

So I decided to give DCD’s trimmed mogul ROM a try. Following the instructions the entire install took less than an hour. All of the files that were required for the install are available from his repository of files, of course. From a software fully updated (from HTC.com) factory reset device, I installed NueSPL 3.47 by putting it on my MicroSD card and running it. I then ran “dcd_titan_3.3.4.exe” from my computer with Mogul attached via USB. It took care of the rest. Once the install process finished, I installed “dcd Sprint Carrier 20081020.cab” from my MicroSD card by putting it on there, installing it, then going to Settings => Connections => Update PRI on the phone, which allowed it to provision the device to be on the Sprint network.

All is now well, it has been about a week without needing to do a software reset, and without crashing. I have been avoiding some obvious culprits as I previously noted:
* too much ram utilized (The trimmed rom really helps here.)
* not using the slide out keyboard (I found that this was causing the crash many times. No idea why.)
* letting the battery get too low (A fresh install really helps here.)

I noticed that the wifi still doesn’t work, so that is definitely a defect with this particular phone, not the model as a whole.

So in summary, for the low amount of RAM on the HTC Mogul, a slimmed down custom ROM is absolutely the way to go to make it stable.

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Direct Email to Text for Sprint

For work I currently use a {my sprint username}@sprintpcs.com email which forwards an alert to my phone in the form of a text message. It’s annoying, because it doesn’t tell me the content of the message, only that I’ve received one and who sent it. I found out awhile back that Sprint was discontinuing this service, which sucked (I thought).

Today I found a similar better service: {10 digit cell number}@messaging.sprintpcs.com, which will send a text to the phone with the first 160 characters of the email, because that’s the limitation of the text-messaging protocol. It’s not perfect, but it’s a great substitution for a service that is going away.

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Sprint Sero: Great Plan!

Wow, Sprint’s SERO plan is a great deal. I got the idea from Tom, who originally got a slick deal on a nice phone and a cheap monthly.

So I pursued the SERO plan for myself. I really could care less about the phone I use, and I’ve had enough gadgets in my pockets through high school and college to make me infertile for life, so I figured a cheap, low power emitting device was the way to go. I had originally decided to go with the free model phone from Sprint. After some more investigation, I changed my mind. I realized by paying $50 initially for a phone, I could make money on it in rebates, and that’s in fact what happened.

Here’s the skinny on my Sprint payments so far:
Signup for the Sprint SERO plan, including Vision (internets, lol), unlimited mobile to mobile in the Sprint network (big deal, I don’t know anyone on Sprint), unlimited nights and weekends (9PM on), 500 anytime minutes. $0 setup and $30 monthly.
$100 refundable “poor credit” deposit. Refundable after one year.
$50 for the Sprint LG Fusic LX550 Phone. Mixed reviews, but it’s a small flip phone with more features than I’d use.
-$200 rebate for the LG Fusic, found on Amazon. They say it has to be submitted with a new plan and 2 year contract, which it was. I just don’t have to pay $200 to buy it from them.
-$75 rebate from Kellogg’s, found on their box.
-$25 for saying someone referred me. When you sign up with Sprint if you say someone referred you within a month of signing up, then both you and the person who referred you get a $25 visa debit card (able to receive 12 referrals per year).

I was looking for a good deal on a cell phone, and this is about as good as it gets, I’d say. I don’t have any complaints about the service, or the phone yet.

Edit: BTW, Contact Me if you want to use me as a SERO referrer :).

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