iPhone launch

O2 Xda Orbit

So … it would appear that the new Apple iPhone 3G was launched today. (That’s obviously not a photo of the new Apple iPhone 3G above, or even the old one. That’s my O2 Xda Orbit running Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.)

I didn’t know that until today. Until I started reading folks’ posts (called tweets) on my Twitter stream, and watching videos on Qik.

It would appear that the Worldwide Apple Cult™ managed to keep that news well and truly hidden from me. Well done!

Our man in Milton Keynes

Documentally … well, documented the day fabulously well. From getting up to arriving at the Apple store in Milton Keynes, standing in line, being served, going to the Apple store loo (!), and at one point even had one of the Apple assistants holding the camera while he unwrapped the Apple iPhone packaging — the man’s a genius!

Okay, I’ll qualify that last sentence. He’s not a genius simply for unwrapping a box. That could have been done by a simpleton.

No, there was an inclusiveness in that Apple adventure today in his Qik videos, that reflected something of the excitement and camera-derie (sic) of the day.

I watched a couple of other videos on Qik today, of folks standing in other queues, outside other Apple stores, in other towns and … well, they were probably about as embarrassing to watch as they were to make: no-one wanted to speak with the poor fella with the camera.

This is my favourite Qik post — cutting to the chase — this is the moment that the boxed Apple iPhone 3G became Christian’s. I love the cheer! The Apple Cult™ as one.

What’s new?

So, what’s all the fuss about? The new Apple iPhone 3G has:

  • 3G network connectivity so you can surf the Web
  • Built-in Global Positioning System (GPS)
  • Install 3rd party applications
  • ‘Push’ email, contacts and calendars with Microsoft Exchange

Wow! Cool! I can see you’re already impressed.

My Microsoft Windows 6 powered O2 Xda Orbit mobile phone has had three of those facilities for … well, since I bought it in April 2007, and I don’t want the fourth: Push email. I’m happy to synchronize it with Microsoft Outlook 2003.

Meanwhile, back in St Andrews …

My colleague Kevin came into work today with — can you guess?

That’s right, it was a new Apple iPhone 3G. Oh, sorry, did I not tell you? Apparently the new model was launched today.

He got the last one in St Andrews. Of course, when I say “the last one” I also mean the eighth one in St Andrews.

He wasn’t even intending on getting one. He just happened to pass The Carphone Warehouse on Market Street and decided to join the small queue that was already forming.

A few minutes later the manager emerged from the store and said,

Good morning potential customers of St Andrews in Fife. Thank you for your patience. I can announce to you, the consuming public of this Royal and Ancient Burgh, that we have a grand total of eight new Apple iPhone 3Gs.

So if I may, I shall ask the first eight customers who have formed this orderly and polite queue outside the shop window of my shop to kindly step inside and off with the rest of you, to your daily routines.

My best wishes to you should you quest further afield in search of this technological wonder which, if you ask me, has three out of four of the built-in functions of the O2 Xda Orbit a telephone that came onto the market over one earth calendar year ago.

And that was it. Those eight lucky fellas got their hands on a shiny new Apple iPhone 3G.

Well, seven of them did. The guy at the front of the queue, who’d been there since 5:00 am and who had been thoughtful enough to bring with him a wicker chair unfortunately hadn’t been thoughtful enough to bring with him his wallet!

I think the official and international response to that is: D’oh!

… and finally

This coverage of the launch, which happe… what do you mean the launch of what?! This coverage of the launch of a new kind of chocolate washing powder in New York City was brought to my attention by the splendid Sizemore:

… and rudely

And for those of you who like to read rude words on the internet, like ‘bum’ and ‘squelch’, there is always Maddox’s review.

This was brought to my attention by a visiting consultant today. And I thought I spent too much time on the internet!

The paragraph that made me laugh the most was:

[The iPhone is] not three devices in one any more than my laptop is you morons. Using Jobs’ loose definition of what constitutes a separate device, technically my laptop can be considered 8 devices in one:

  1. A clock
  2. A calculator
  3. An “Internet communications device”
  4. A phone (I can make voice calls with my modem)
  5. A pornographic media storage device
  6. A video player
  7. A word processor
  8. And an “iPod” (see below)

Text truncated on device

O2 Xda Orbit in cradle

The problem

Here’s something that I found annoying a few weeks ago, until I found a hack: when I have particularly long text notes stored in my Outlook tasks and then synchronize them with my Windows Mobile 6-powered O2 Xda Orbit phone/PDA I discover that the notes are truncated. I get this message at the foot of notes:

[Text truncated on device]

Which is really annoying, because I track a lot of projects using these notes, and on a couple of occasions I’ve lost notes that I really needed to refer back to.

The hack

After a search on the Web I discovered on the PocketPC magazine forum that there is a hack to get around this. The forum topic is ironically called “Active Sync MS Mobile 2005 Truncated Contacts Issu”.

  1. Download and install a Registry Editor for Windows Mobile — I used the demo version of Resco Explorer 2007.
  2. Open up your Registry and apply this hack: [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\ActiveSync] “BodyTruncation”=dword:00005000.
  3. Switch off the screen, then reboot the PDA.
  4. Wait 3-5 minutes after rebooting to absolutely make sure that the Registry has been updated.
  5. That’s it … when you next sync your PDA you should be able to sync longer notes.


Disconnected wire

Got home from the carol service last night (more about that in a future post) to discover that we had no telephone or broadband connection: no dial tone.

A quick call to BT Faults (0800 800 151 — omit initial zero if calling from a mobile phone) revealed that the problem lay at the exchange, and wouldn’t be fixed until today sometime (Wednesday). I pray that they do reconnect us quickly.

Still, a courteous service from BT with friendly support staff.


Our phone line was reconnected at 10:50, with a courteous call to Jane from Team BT to pass on the good news.

Leaving answerphone messages

Something that I’ve learned fairly recently is how to leave good answerphone messages.

In the past I’ve always left messages like this:

Hi, it’s Gareth Saunders here … blah blah blah … interesting message here … please ring me back on 01234 567890

The problem with this is that my telephone number is at the end. So if the person listening to the message doesn’t manage to write it down in time he or she has to listen all the way through the message again just to get that important string of numbers.

I now leave messages like this:

 Hi, it’s Gareth Saunders here on 01234 567890 … I’m telephoning about blah blah blah … interesting message here … please ring me back on 01234 567890

I’ve stated clearly:

  • who I am
  • my contact telephone number
  • what the message is regarding
  • the actual message
  • my contact telephone number again

It’s taken me a while to get into this new habit but it seems to work for folks.

O2 Xda Orbit desktop cradle

O2 Xda Orbit phone in cradle

When I first got my O2 Xda Orbit I decided to get a desktop cradle so that my shiny new phone could sit upright, alert and ready for me to answer a call rather than slumped lazily on its back.

However, I struggled to find one that was guaranteed to work with an Xda Orbit, and any that claimed to didn’t back it up with photographic evidence — they only had photos of the HTC P3300 sitting comfortably in its new desktop home.

Keep it in the family

It would appear that the Xda Orbit is a variant of the HTC Artemis; other models in this family are:

  • Dopod P800
  • Dopod P800W
  • HTC P3300
  • MDA compact III
  • Orange SPV M650
  • Xda Orbit

but some users claimed that the location of the USB port on the base of these machines was slightly different from model to model and so while the cradle might work for one machine it wouldn’t work for another. I don’t know whether this is true or not.

What I bought

In the end, having read quite a few reviews, I took someone’s advice (and a gamble) and ordered what claimed to be a “O2 Xda Orbit desktop cradle” from Discount Sat Nav on eBay for about £4.99 + P&P. Bargain!

And to my delight it worked! … as demonstrated by the photograph above. In fact, I now have two: one for home, the other for work.

It would appear that there are two models available: one with a spare battery charger or one without. Mine also came with a USB cable and an A/C adapter cable for quicker charging.

Where to buy

Here are the locations that I’ve found that sell this kind of cradle:

  • eBay UK (from £4.99 + P&P)
  • GPS for Less (£13.98 + P&P)
  • BoxWave (from US $32.95 + P&P)

I hope that’s helpful to someone.