27 June 2007

A pox on thee!

I have succumbed to the upgrade bug, but I must admit only partially. As a fan of handheld PCs, I have been looking out for a reasonably cheap HTC Universal for a while. Considering that these juggernauts used to cost an arm and a leg, it is amazing how far prices have fallen in the last 18 months since they came out. That said, they are still pretty cool devices - full keyboard, VGA screen. Most importantly though, there is a huge community out there dedicated to hacking the device, and several builds of Windows Mobile 6 are available.

Anyway, the way I see it, my h4350 is a great device for Skype, but it is always running out of memory and cannot run Skype, Messenger and Pocket Internet Explorer at the same time. Another annoyance was that the browsing experience on a QVGA screen is very limited.

So, when I received the HTC Universal, I flashed it with Midget's Windows Mobile 6 ROM (version 7 I think), then set about loading on the replacement programs - Skype, Opera Mini, and Deepfish browser. My early impressions are that the browsing experience, even using PIE is infinitely better, especially in high resolution mode, and the new Messenger with it's voice clip feature is pretty stunning. Skype also runs beautifully and looks great.

All in all I think it was a justifiable purchase, but now I need to find a role for the old iPAQ.

16 June 2007

A solution to the internet radio question

Well, it has been a while since I blogged anything, but I have been pretty busy. Since the last post I inherited a Qtek S110 a.k.a. HTC Magician from a friend who had bought it solely for the purpose of playing bubble breaker. Anyway, she lost interest after a while and I was the glad recipient of her cast off.

This obviously set me thinking about how to best use what is essentially a Pocket PC as a dedicated internet radio device. I already had the SanDisk WiFi SD card, so it was simply a question of putting it all together. Here is my recipe!

Take one HTC Magician and upgrade the ROM to the latest 1.13 WWE version. Then run the cab file to upgrade the bluetooth on your device. This enables the A2DP profile which will allow the HTC Magician to connect to a set of bluetooth speakers. I'm using a pair of Orange Acoustic Energy bluetooth speakers which currently costs under £40 from Orange. After that all you need to do is install the SD WiFi card and GSPlayer which allows you to play internet radio streams.

Voila! Internet radio is streamed via WiFi to the Pocket PC, and then via bluetooth from the Pocket PC to a pair of external speakers. The icing on the cake is that the HTC Magician is so small it is like a remote control, and you can carry it around the room to switch channels at will. Who needs a Sideshow remote when you have a Pocket PC eh?