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.

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.

Upgrading my O2 Xda Orbit to Windows Mobile 6

Windows Mobile 5 compared with Window Mobile 6
Before and after: Windows Mobile 5 (left) vs. Windows Mobile 6 (right)

I’d read a few days ago that O2 would be offering a free upgrade to Windows Mobile 6 so yesterday I went in search of such delights, and lo! as it says in the good book: seek and ye will find: software update for O2 Xda Orbit only

Browser caveat

Except, it doesn’t warn you in the Bible that if you’re trying to download the Windows Mobile 6 upgrade from the O2 website you can’t use Mozilla Firefox, it has to be Internet Explorer (or, oddly, Opera).

I spent ages entering my Xda Orbit’s serial number again and again only to be told that the serial number was wrong. I tried it again a little later in IE7 and got straight through to this page: O2 Xda upgrade page on HTC website, where I was able to download the 44.7 MB upgrade file.

Installation preparations

Installation was thankfully very simple and straight-forward. Here’s what I did to prepare for the upgrade:

NOTE: I’ve updated the link to the download as it doesn’t appear to be available anymore; I hope that helps (and that it’s the right file as I now no longer have my Orbit) — 8 October 2011.

  1. Download the software upgrade (Zip, 89 MB) for O2 Xda Orbit only
  2. Deactivated Co-Pilot 6 using these instructions (PDF, 28 KB)
  3. Connect the O2 Xda Orbit to my PC and synchronize with Outlook using Windows ActiveSync 4.5 (for Windows XP or earlier — Windows Vista does its own thing).
  4. Run the installation file, which is called RUU_Artemis_O2_UK_3.4.206.2_4.1.13.28_02.67.90_Ship.exe

Here’s a walk-through of the installation screens while upgrading from Windows Mobile 5 to Windows Mobile 6.

Step 1: Welcome

Welcome to the ROM upgrade utility

Not exactly a quiz this screen: just understand that this installation will wipe clean the Xda Orbit’s memory (but NOT any MicroSD card that you may have installed). That’s why it was important to sync with Outlook before the installation.

Tick the box to say that yes you want the software to purge the phone/PDA of all its sins, then click Next.

Step 2: Instructions

Follow the instructions

Aha! Instructions:

  1. Connect the PDA Phone to the USB cable.
  2. Establish an ActiveSync connection with your PDA Phone.
  3. Disable the standby and hibernation modes on the host PC.
  4. Make sure Main Battery has a charge greater than 50%.

If you’ve completed those steps then tick the box. The third instruction is quite important: the last thing you want to do is have your PC go into standby or hibernation midway through the upgrade.

Tick the box, click Next.

Step 3: Current ROM version

Current information about your PDA ROM

The application then checks the Xda Orbit and gives feedback on the Operating System ROM version found.

On my machine, running Windows Mobile 5 it found:

Image version: 1.25.206.2

Click the Update button

Step 4: New ROM version

New ROM version

Next the application tells you what OS ROM version it will upgrade you to:

Image version: 3.4.206.2

Click Next.

Step 5: Confirmation required

Confirm you are ready to update

After all that information, you are now finally ready to update your Xda Orbit’s OS to Windows Mobile 6. This screen simply tells you what to expect:

  • The PDA Phone is prepared for the update process.
  • The progress bar is displayed on the host PC and on the PDA Phone.
  • The completion screen is displayed on the host PC.

If that all sounds fine click on Next.

Step 6: Update in progress

Progress bar

The dialog window is now replaced with a non-closable progress bar window. (I tried to capture the shot at 45% but it was just too quick for me.) As indicated, the progress bar also appears on the Xda Orbit.

Step 7: Update complete

Congratulations! Your ROM update is now complete.

After a few moments the dialog window appears again indicating that the planets have aligned, there is once more a star over Bethlehem leading wise men from the east and the update to your PDA Phone’s OS has completed successfully.

First impressions

My first impressions of Windows Mobile 6 (WM6) are that it appears to be running a little faster and is more responsive and stable than WM5. It feels like Windows Vista’s ‘Mini Me’, with a more pearl-like Windows logo and some tasty Web 2.0-esque gradients.

Sadly the enhancements to Office Mobile don’t appear to have been in the areas that it could have most used them. For example, I still find the Tasks application unnecessarily complicated (for different views) and limited; Calendar still doesn’t have the flexibility of Pocket Informant or indeed of the Psion Agenda application from 1999!

One new-comer to Windows Mobile 6 is the inclusion of Windows Live, which now integrates with Windows Live Messenger. But be warned: if you don’t logout of Windows Live it will not shut down and will constantly attempt to connect to the Web via GPRS which could prove to be costly.

On the whole — niggles with Windows Live aside — I’m very impressed with Windows Mobile 6. I still don’t think that Office Mobile has a patch on the Psion EPOC R5 operating system applications (found in the Psion 5mx, Revo(Plus), Psion 7 or netBook) but that’s a topic for another blog post.

Recommended software

As it stands I’d say a newly upgraded Xda Orbit with Windows Mobile 6 is a pretty good mobile phone. But by adding a couple of commercial applications from SPB Software House it suddenly becomes an incredibly good one:

  • Spb Mobile Shell
  • Spb Phone Suite

Thanks to …

With considerable thanks to the folks at Xda Developer’s Forum for advice, and XDA-Orbit.com for just being there!

Screen capture software for Windows Mobile 5

Windows Mobile screenshot

Here’s a quick, easy and free application for taking screenshots on your Windows Mobile 5 device: Ilium Software Screen Capture.

As the website says:

Using Ilium Software Screen Capture takes just six simple steps:

  1. Start the program on your device
  2. Use the Options menu to define the key you want to press to take your screenshots
  3. Leave the program open – do not hit the Exit button yet
  4. Take your screenshots! (If you have sound on, you will hear a camera “click” noise when the screen is captured)
  5. To stop the program, open it again and hit the Exit button
  6. Find your screen captures in the My Documents folder on your device

Hardware keys

Screenshot of buttons assignment in WM5

You can easily find out which keys are which in Windows Mobile 5 by going to Start > Settings > Personal tab > Buttons.

On the Xda Orbit I’ve assigned Button 5 (Camera) to Screen Capture, as it seemed most logical to me: it’s for taking a picture!

Off to IWMW2007

York skyline, showing York Minster
York skyline, showing York Minster. (Photo from York Musical Society.)

At lunchtime today I’m heading down to York with one of my colleagues from The University of St Andrews to the Institutional Web Management Workshop (IWMW) 2007 at The University of York.

Assuming that I can get my wireless setup properly there (unlike at the IWMW last year — mind you I was using my Psion Series 7 which couldn’t quite cope with the amount of security thrown at it!) I should be blogging from there, and may upload a photo or two to Flickr if I get the opportunity.

So it should be business-as-usual at the geeks’ conference!

New rules

I have some new rules for this residential conference, that I’m going to try to stick to:

  • Only one bag
    I usually end up taking far too much stuff on residentials, so this time I’m taking just one bag: my laptop-rucksack. Everything that I want to take has to fit into that; it’s the SAS approach!

  • Convergence technology
    I need to take as few gadgets as possible. So given that my O2 Xda Orbit phone covers GPS, WiFi, Calendar, Contacts, Phone, and Camera this is the first residential that I’m not taking a digital camera or a Psion PDA (sorry old friend!)

  • Online applications
    Wherever possible use online applications to manage resources that I might want to share with others or access at work after the conference without copying data from PC to PC via memory stick, e.g. files, email, bookmarks, RSS feeds, etc.

Wish me luck!