Short Nerd Chief

Posts Tagged ‘Blackjack’

My new phone – Moto Q9h

Posted by Fred on December 12, 2007

phone_motoq9h_att_alt4.jpg

I finally broke down and replaced my Blackjack with a new Moto Q9h. The BJ was a nice phone, but it had some serious issues.  AT&T is apparently never going to release the WM6 upgrade. I was starting to get a lot of dropped calls.  Signal strength was bad – no signal in places where my wife’s Moto Razr V3 had a nice signal. The keyboard was fine for basic use, but bad for long e-mails.  So I got the upgrade via Premier ($149 after rebate).  Some early thoughts off the top of my head after a few hours of use:

  • The GPS didn’t work with either Google Maps or Windows Live Search out of the box.  I know there’s a hack to enable the GPS, but I haven’t tried it yet.  Bah humbug to AT&T for trying to get me to pay for Telenav.
  • For some reason, PhoneAlarm never reports the battery as full.  It’ll show 100% for a few seconds, and then it immediately drops to 80.  Not a huge deal, but annoying.
  • There doesn’t appear to be an easy way to adjust ringtone volume.  The BJ had a handy volume rocker on the side.  The Q appears to only have an in-call volume control, but maybe I’m missing something.
  • I miss the Blackjack’s battery charger, which allowed me to keep a battery charging all the time.  The Q only includes a power cord, so I can only charge the battery in the phone.
  • I like the Windows Mobile Bubble Breaker bug, which sends out only balls of the same color for a long time. High score, yippee.
  • Actual phone performance seems good, as with all Motos.
  • Finding a case for the phone+extended battery is going to be an issue.

Overall, I like it.  It’s an improvement over the BJ.  I’m off to DC again tomorrow, so I’ll be interested to find out (a) how the battery life is and (b) whether I can get a signal between Ashland and Fredericksburg on the train.

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Workaround for Gmail IMAP/WM problem: use FlexMail

Posted by Fred on December 5, 2007

Update: the workaround is no longer necessary, as Google has fixed IMAP for WM users.

I recently complained that Gmail’s IMAP implementation is broken in Windows Mobile (original rant and renewed complaint).  This is true if you are using the default messaging application, and appears to be true in WM5 and WM6.  However, if you pay $30 to WebIS for FlexMail 2007, it works.  There was some suggestion in the WebIS forum post about the upcoming FM 4 beta that FM didn’t work either, but I tried the current version just to be sure.  Compare the default messaging application to FlexMail:

wm5_default.png vs.flexmail.png

It’s not a great solution – you shouldn’t have to pay $29.95 for basic messaging functionality – but it works.  It also means I now blame both MS and Google for the mess that is IMAP on WM5.

If you do use FM here’s a couple of tips.  You can’t enable SSL in the default Gmail template.  Use the template, but before you synchronize, edit the Gmail settings (from the Folders tab, click Menu >> Settings >> Accounts…).  Under Incoming Server, make sure the port is set to 993 and check Use Secure Connection.  Click the Settings… button and check the SSL boxes under Protocol.  I also checked the TLS box, but I’m not sure that’s necessary.

A bigger problem is that you can’t edit the check mail settings until you can access the Server Folders options, and you can’t do that until FM has synchronized once.  Unfortunately, FM will default to downloading all of your Gmail (in my case, that’s 4,000 messages, which is still a lot of data even downloading only the first 5K of the message body).  So what I did was start the synchronization and canceled once it was receiving messages.   Now go back into account setup, and under Incoming Mail, click the Server Folders button.  Scroll down to Inbox and select Menu >> Download Details…  Change it from all mail to only new messages, or set it to only download messages from the last x days (I picked 7).  There may be an easier way to do this, but this is what worked for me.

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Google is taking over the mobile world (kinda, if you’re not using WM)

Posted by Fred on December 5, 2007

Scoble says that Google is taking over the mobile world, and wants to know if you are getting sucked in too.  As I said in a previous post, I like Google’s mobile offerings and I use Google’s mobile offerings, but virtually all of them have serious problems under Windows Mobile on my Blackjack.  HTML messages under Gmail IMAP are blank.  Google Reader still crashes the default browser if you try to mark all messages as read.  The My Location feature in Google Maps doesn’t work.  Now I see that not only does it not work, it will never work on the Blackjack, Moto Q or Treo 700W, supposedly because these phones do not “support the APIs (application programming interfaces) Google requires to find cell towers.” Perhaps this is a problem with the hardware, but PhoneAlarm SP reports some sort of location information (Settings >> Profile Extras >> Options >> Location).  Right now, I’m at 10800-10018, but I have no idea what that means.

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The Blackjack II Sucks, Moto Q better?

Posted by Fred on November 29, 2007

I know I said I’d never buy a BJ II just to get WM6, but I’ve been seriously reconsidering.  I had to go into the AT&T store (to swap a blue RAZR I got via Premier for a pink one), and the shiny new toys were calling.  Plus, MS just officially released the update to Office Mobile, and I’d love to have HTML mail.  So I started thinking about new devices.  I like the smartphone form factor better – the Tilt is nice, but huge.  The obvious choices are the BJ II and the Moto Q9h, which are roughly equivalent in price.  The BJ is familiar, so I was leaning that way, but I’m dissuaded after reading Omar Shahine explain why the Blackjack II Sucks.  Omar hates the crappy battery life, and that the screen comes on whenever a new email arrives, thus making battery life even worse.  Since Richmond got 3G service a couple of weeks ago, by BJ I battery life has been horrible, so I’d hate to see it get worse.  But this was the kicker:

Internet Connection Sharing is removed from the ROM. Gone, bye bye.

AT&T has always hidden ICS, which allows you to use the phone’s data access via USB without paying for tethering (Omar actually pays for tethering, so it’s even worse for him).  But the file was still there, in the Windows folder.  You just had to make your own Start menu shortcut.  Now, apparently, it’s gone completely.  I use ICS on occasion when Wi-Fi isn’t available.  It’s a very handy feature.  It’s not fast, so I’d never use it over Wi-Fi, even Wi-Fi that I have to pay for, but there are times when there’s no Wi-Fi, and such times are few enough and far enough between to make it impossible to justify adding a cellular data card to my plan.  The Q9h apparently has ICS (hidden, of course).  So if I do upgrade, AT&T made my choice for me.  Hear that Samsung?  Your benighted carrier partner just lost you a sale.  I’m sick of being nickel-and-dimed to death by AT&T just so they can push their overpriced add-on services (data tethering, GPS, etc.).

If anyone has experience with the Moto Q on AT&T, I’d love to hear it.  Reviews have been fairly positive so far.

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Microsoft shows off Windows Mobile 6.1, AT&T users would settle for WM6

Posted by Fred on November 29, 2007

Engadget Mobile says that “today Microsoft showed off the next version of Windows Mobile at their annual Mobius conference.”  A handshake NDA prohibits those who saw it from saying much more, but it’s apparently an update, not an upgrade.  Call it WM 6.1, not WM7.  That’s all well and good, but I still want to know where the WM6 upgrade for my Blackjack I is.  How ’bout it, AT&T?  Think you can manage the upgrade you promised long ago before MS releases the next version in Q1 2008?  Didn’t think so.

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