Friday, September 30, 2005

Houston, We have a bug!

Houston we have a bug!
Originally published at

Windows Mobile 5.0 has arrived with great new features, and as usual, we are getting new bugs.

    Owners of this new operating system for sure have noticed that every time they run an application for the first time, the OS warns about the “un-trusted” origin of the program. An application has to be digitally signed to be qualified as “trusted,” and in order to obtain this credential; the author has to pay huge amounts to Microsoft's partners in charge of this business. Microsoft's idea behind this diabolic mechanism is that the Electronic Signature serves as warranty to users that the program is free of bugs and viruses and designed to be used in devices that use Windows Mobile. Unfortunately, the amount of money required in this process is more than what the majority of freelancers can pay. And freelancer are 80-90% of all authors currently in the market. This is the main reason why users are asked by the operating system for permission to continue with the execution of programs.

    But this is not a major inconvenience. You are asked for the permission to run the application, and when you click yes, you are never asked again the next time you run the same program, because the operating system keeps track of the application name, size and time stamp of the executable. If any of these parameters change, you will be asked again the next time you run the exe if you authorize this “new” program or not.

    At this point, I'm sure you are asking yourself that what is wrong with this process? Well, with Windows Mobile 2003, Microsoft started to implement a new method to handle the creation of programs that are going to be used by people that speak different languages. The new method is called “Multi User Interface” or just MUI. And this is how it works: all labels that are shown in the different screens of the program are saved in a resource file with extension MUI. In that way, you can have a MUI file for different languages. In the name of the file you specify the language using a code. Let say that you have a program called EXAMPLE.EXE and an accompanying MUI file for English and a MUI file for Spanish. The MUI file for English has to be called EXAMPLE.0409.EXE and the MUI file for Spanish is going to be called EXAMPLE.040A.EXE. If you plan to distribute your program in Spain, let's say, you will include in your installation the EXAMPLE.040A.MUI file and your EXAMPLE.EXE. You can even include in your installation all your MUIs, and the executable and the operating system will use the MUI file according to the language used by the operating system installed in the device.

    The MUI files can be used too for a very different matter: if you have a program that was initially designed for a QVGA machine and you want to use it in a VGA machine, you can tell the operating system that this program is going to use the real resolution of the VGA Screen 480x640 by creating a MUI file with a HI_RES_AWARE flag on it. Thus, when the operating system sees the flag, it will not apply the so-called “double pixel” feature that makes possible to use programs designed for QVGA in VGA machines.

    Ok, but again, what is the problem with all this? What is Windows Mobile 5.0 doing wrong? Well, when you are asked to authorize an “un-trusted” program that use one of these MUI files and you have previously authorized it, the operating system apparently includes the name of the executable in its authorized list but it does not include the MUI. As a result, the executable can't see the MUI file and of course, it won't work in the expected manner.

    This bug is very easy to replicate in case you want verify my claim. I have prepared a tool called MuiTest.exe that can be downloaded here. When you run this program having the Security Prompt feature activated, you won't be able to see the yellow flower in the center of the screen (second image below).

Security prompt activated.

Same MuiTest.exe with security prompt deactived.

Here is the security warning dialogue.

    Is there a work around for this problem? Yes. Unfortunately the only way around the issue at this moment is through the deactivation of this security feature using the SetSecurity.exe program or having all programmers that use MUI files sign their applications with Microsoft. What do you think is easier?

    At this point I'm asking myself a simple question: Did Microsoft know about this problem and released the OS in an attempt to push freelancer to have their application signed? It's a possibility.

How to deactivate the Security Prompt

How to deactivate the Security Prompt

Dell has configured the Axim X51v using the new capabilities of Windows Mobile 5 to ask for permission every time that an un-signed application is ran. This could cause some problems with some applications that are described in this article at PocketNow. I just have posted at my How To forum the explanation of how this feature can be deactivated.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Tweaks2K2 for PPC Finalist!

For the Second Time this year the Board of Experts of SmartPhone & Pocket PC Magazine has voted Tweaks2K2 .NET for Pocket PC to be among the best in its category "System and Registry" in Pocket PC magazine's Fifth Annual Best Software Awards.

WM5 compatibility database

WM5 compatibility database has put together a simple site called where the end-user will be able to track which of his favorite programs can run under the new OS, while developers will be able to keep end-users informed of when an WM5 compatible update will be issued.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

X51v Software Compatibility List

X51v Software Compatibility List

I have tested the programs in this list personally. The list has 3 sections: Working, No Working and No Fully Working. When a program is included under No Working that means that I have found problems that did not let me use totally or partially that program making it no usable. When a program is listed in No Fully Working that means that some features of the program are not working but the program still usable. These are my favorite programs, this is not and wont be a list of all programs that works in the X51v. Highly Recommended programs are shown marked with a *  (Note: some links are affiliated and you are helping to support this page when you use them)(If you are an author of one of the No Working program and you believe that it’s a mistake, please contact me at ctitanic at


No Working

No Fully Working

Friday, September 23, 2005

X51v Recommended Accessories List

Recommended Accessories List

This is the list of accessories that I own myself or I had the opportunity to test. I do not recommend here any product unless I’m sure of it’s quality, so if you are a vendor do not send me any request to post your product link here unless you are willing me to test it first.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Screen Protector

Screen Protector (Recommended)

BoxWave has released a ClearTouch Crystal Screen protector for Axim X51v. I have been using for more than a year one of these protectors in my hx4700 and I would recommend all X51v owners to buy this “must have” accessory for their X51v.

Real Power OFF has arrived

Dell has implemented in its Axim X51v a unique feature for the first time seem in a Pocket PC: A Real Power OFF.

This feature will allow users to completely turn off the device thanks to the use of persistent memory by the new Windows Mobile 5. Though this will increase the battery life, users should keep in mind that clock events such as alarm and reminders wont work once the device is off.

The System Clock is kept working all time.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

X51v Video

X51v Video

CNET just has posted a video of the X51v here.

Extended battery for X51v

Extended battery for X51v

Confirmed, the X50v and the X51v use the same extended battery (Dell Part Number 310-5965 – 2200 mAH).

The 2200 mAH seems to me very bulky compared with the 1800 mAh made by Mugen Power

X51v has been released

X51v has been released

Yes, it has been released today. You can place your order here.

In another hand, you can read some good reviews at:

MobileTechReview (very good Battery Life comparison with the old X50v)

Monday, September 19, 2005

Dell Axim X51v Owner's Manual

Dell Axim X51v Owner’s Manuals

The Owner’s Manual for the Axim X51v has been release at Dell Support Site.

WM5 will give you at least 25% of battery life.

WM5 will give you at least 25% more battery life.

According to Mike Calligaro, member of Microsoft Mobile Team, the fact that Windows Mobile 5 use Persistent Storage to keep the data safe in your Pocket PC will give you from 25% to 50% more of battery live.

“when we shut you down because your batteries were "critically low," they were still 1/4 to 1/2 full.  Why?  Because, if the batteries ever fully died, it would be catastrophic.  You'd lose your data, and that's, in our opinion, one of the worst things that can happen.  So we made a requirement and held our OEMs to it.  The requirement was that, at the point where we decided the batteries were "critically low," they had to still have enough power to keep the RAM charged for 72 hours.  The idea there was that you could discover that you were out of power on Friday on the way home and you'd still have your data on Monday when you got back to your charger.” – Mike Calligaro says.

“A typical battery holds 1000mAh of charge.  128M of RAM takes about 500mAh to stay resident for 72 hours.  64M takes about 250.  This is why you never saw a 256M WM 2003 device.  It would have run for a minute then decided its batteries were critically low.” – He added.

So taking in consideration the above explained, we could see from 25% to 50% more of battery life depending of your current amount of RAM.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Why 64 MB of ROM Pocket PCs are not upgraded to WM5

In theory, it is possible to install WM5 in a 64 of ROM Pocket PC but practically it will leave you with a few MB to install your applications and you will end complaining about it.

Lets check this screen shot taken from a X51v with WM5:

256-195.01=60.99 MB (this is actually what the OS used).
So 64 MB - 61~= 3 MB. Just the installation of PI will take half of that number.

And this is considering that your OEM is not installing anything for you. That's where the 12.84 MB are going in that Screen shot. According to some jasjar users they have uninstalled some of the applications installed by the OEM making more room in ROM. I'm assuming that we will able to get back part of these 12.84 MB as well.

The Fujitsu-Siemens has offered a WM5 upgrade for the 718/20 series. These series only have 64 MB of ROM and recently they have postponed the upgrade. Could be this the reason? In these Pocket PCs WM5 will have to be reduced and some applications like WMP could be not installed in ROM something that already have been done in other OS upgrades.

To me something is very clear from the above analyzed numbers taken from the X51v screen shot and compared with the numbers published by Jasjar owners. Even if the upgrade becomes available for owners of machines with 64 MB of ROM, these owners will be forced by the lack of free ROM to buy other Pocket PCs with more ROM very soon after the upgrade. In fact, it seems to me a bad idea to upgrade these machines.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Dell revealed release date

A Dell Tech Support Agent has revealed the release date for the Axim X51 series: Monday, September 19, 2005. The news was published in this thread of AximSite, a community of Axim Owners. According to the same source, these are the key features of this series:

· Persistent Storage – Helps prevent loss of data in the event of a power loss
· Music/Video/Pictures – Windows Media Player 10 supports numerous file formats, turning the PDA into a “Swiss army knife” for mobile multimedia content
· New User Interface – more intuitive faster access to data/apps
· Improved productivity applications – Word and Excel enhanced, PowerPoint viewer now native
· Improved Active sync – faster, more intuitive

Differences between X50/X50v and X51/X51v:
· Operating System – X51/X51v includes Windows Mobile Version 5.0 (X50/X50v had Windows Mobile 2003 2nd Edition)
· Cradle/Cable - X51 416MHz ships with a sync cable (X50 416MHz included a cradle)
· Memory - X51v has 256MB ROM memory (X50v had 128MB ROM)

Axim X51v Environmental Data Sheets

Dell has published the Axim X51v Environmental Data Sheets. (PDF)

X51v could be released next week

According to news published at eWeek, Dell is preparing everything to release next week the Axim X51v. If that’s true, Dell will hit the market before HP with the first Pocket PC running Windows Mobile 2005, something that will cost HP a good % of the market.

Friday, September 16, 2005

x51v Screen Shots

HI!PDA, a Chinese website has posted some screen shots from a x51v in their forum. You can check an English translation by WorldLingo here.

The most important piece of data there is this screen shot:

From the 256 MB of ROM users will get only 182 MB. And from 64 MB of RAM only 25.68 MB.

Monday, September 05, 2005

x51v Forum in Axim Site.

The Axim Site opened a few days ago a Forum for the Axim x51v. This site is well known in the Pocket PC World and the fact that this forum has been opened tells me that the release of this Device by Dell is close and that the rumors about the existence of this Pocket PC are real.

Win a free copy of Tweaks2K2

Win a free copy of Tweaks2K2 or any other of my programs by letting me know when the Dell Axim x51v becomes available for sale.

All you have to do is post a comment here at this site with the link to Dell Store.

The first person to post the link and his/her email is the winner.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Pictures of the Axim x51v

The last week somebody posted the first pictures of what seems to be the Dell Axim x51v in Axim Site but a few hours later those pictures and the whole thread was deleted by the Site Administration.

Somebody pointed me to where a few pictures still available and I have recovered some from my own cache folder and here they are:

Screen Shot of WM5.

This new device apparently will look the same as the Axim x50v. According to the source one of the differences between the x50v and the x51v is that this new device will have 256 MB of ROM and Windows Mobile 5 preinstalled.


Welcome to my blog about the Dell x51v.  

In the past I have opened web pages for every Handheld that I have owned. I started to do that with my Casio Cassiopeia e100, and then I did it for my Jornada j720, my Toshiba e740, my h2215 and the latest hx4700. But recently I have discovered the comfort of this blogs hosted by and I have decided that this is the way to go with this unofficial support sites for these handheld devices. Thinking about to buy one of the x51v as soon as they become available for sell I decided to start this new blog about these devices.