Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Dell we still have problems!

Dell, we still have problems.

Yes, I installed the latest A04 ROM and I have suffered from the SD Card disappearing issue, the fast battery drain (the battery gets very hot) and the no responding Power On button (soft reset needed to turn on the machine). So Dell, you still have not fixed any of these issues in this ROM.

Monday, November 21, 2005

New ROM Released

New ROM Released.

Dell has released a new ROM A04 that can be downloaded here. Do not waste your time creating a backup because you wont be able to restore it.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Some very good tips

Some very good tips

If you are complaining about how slow is your X51v/X50v WM5 device you should read this thread at Axim Site.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

WM5 all you need to know.

WM5 all you need to know.

One of the forum members of the Axim site has prepared a compilation of some very good articles about WM5 that I believe everybody should read (Link).

Friday, November 11, 2005

Microsoft Security Initiatives

Microsoft “Security Initiatives”: Security or just Business?

A few weeks ago I wrote an article called “Windows Mobile 5 Snafu” published originally at WM5fixsite.com and later at this site under the name of “Houston, We have a problem”. In that article I was talking about how Windows Mobile 5 did not “see” MUI files if the “Security Prompt” feature of the OS was activated. At that moment I did not have enough information about what Microsoft did in WM5 so I assumed that it was a bug. Today I know that as usual what seems to be a bug is in reality a new feature of this Operating System. Let me clarify something here, I still think that it’s a bug. Why? Because when you are permitting to run or install any application by Answering YES to that prompt, that authorization should be passed to MUI files needed by that “user authorized program”. But according to Microsoft, quote: “On Smartphone 2002, MUI files did not require signing. With Smartphone 2003 and moving forward, MUI files need to be signed along with the other required binaries (EXE, DLLs, and CABs).”   And this applies to Windows Mobile 5. When an application is signed the Operating System will not ask you for authorization to run/install any application and the application is going to be able to read the MUI file. If the application is not signed the OS will ask you for authorization but no matter what you answer was, the OS wont let the application read the MUI file because this one is not signed.

MUI files (Multilingual User Interface) files are used to keep different sets of objects that can be retrieved during the load process of the application. That allows programmers to select the proper language to be used in the executable or to choose the proper configuration to be used according to conditions present in each individual device. The requirement of signature in MUI files tells me that Microsoft thinks that MUI files could be used by Viruses to attack mobile devices. So this requirement is understandable but if you are allowing users to install applications that are not signed you have a bigger risk than when you let users decide what to install or run in their devices so to me does not make any sense to authorize the executable and do not authorize the MUI file.  

But this is just a minor problem taking in consideration that no too many programs use MUI yet and there is some ways around this issue that can be used by developers as long as “Microsoft Security Initiatives” are not implemented fully like in SmartPhone devices.  And I say this because many Pocket PC users do not know what is going on with SmartPhones. Let’s take the Motorola i930 currently sold by Nextel in USA. This phone is completely “application locked”. What this means? This means that those owners can’t install anything that has not been digitally signed by Nextel. To get an application signed by Nextel the author has to submit that application for an approval and paid for the signature. The cost of the signature in the case of Nextel is unknown to me yet but taking in consideration what others Microsoft’s partner ask, the amount could be within $300 to $2000 depending of how many times you are allowed to sign that same program. This explains why Nextel has signed only 18 applications so far and why i930 owners have started an Online Petition to decertify this SmartPhone.  I don’t know what do you think about all this but from where I’m from there is an old saying “If you see that the house of your neighbor is on fire, you better start checking yours because it could be the next one”.

But I know how we all humans are. Why to worry about something that has not hit us yet? Well, to think in this way is completely wrong. We have seen how this “Security Initiative” affects MUI files but I’m sure that many VGA Device Owners are looking for versions of ozVGA and SE_VGA to use in their new Windows Mobile 5 devices not knowing that these two applications have been affected for almost the same issue.

In Windows Mobile 5 as we already know “only drivers signed with a privileged certificate (regardless of the device's security policy) can be loaded during the boot process.”  Well, the DLLs used by ozVGA and SE_VGA were extracted from a QVGA ROM and in the process of extracting these files they lost the so-called “privilege signature”. These DLLs contain the images for mainly the majority of the buttons used in the OS and if they can’t be seen/used by the OS because they are not signed all these images are not seen/shown when users have applied all changes needed to the OS to change the screen resolution using ozVGA and SE_VGA.

There are many people looking for a work around but believe me, I have been looking for a solution to run Tweaks2K2 in the i930 of Nextel since that phone was released to the market. Beside to have legally signed all files there is not any way to go around the problem. Do you think that authors of these two applications will pay several hundred dollars to have their FREEWARES signed? Do you think that an application like Tweaks2K2 will be “approved” by Nextel?

I know that some users have found a way to use the DLLs with ozVGA. They have used a privileged certificate from the developer’s tools to sign the DLLs and then they have installed that developer’s certificate in the device where they want to use these DLLs. This means that from that moment anything signed with that certificate will be able to do in these devices basically what ever it wants to do. In another words, Microsoft has pushed users to fully open their devices to any attacker.

Now my main question to Microsoft is: How good is a security system that pushes users to do things like this? Is really this security system good for users or it’s just another way to make money? I’m sorry Microsoft but this is my honest opinion about your “Security Initiatives”.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

X51v Mysteries

X51v Mysteries
Here is a brief recount of my experiences with the X51v. I called the X51v Mysteries because it's very hard to tell exactly what's causing some of the issues present in this device. 
The today screen add-in from Resco (the battery meter on it) causes the battery to drain fast making it very hot. Another Add-in with this same problem is the Top Bar Battery Meter of SPB Pocket Plus. The weird thing is that SPB PP has a battery meter in the Today Screen add-in and that one does not cause any problem. 
I have read somebody with the battery draining issue saying that he was using Magic Button, I'm assuming that he was using too the battery meter of that program, but I have not confirmed this one.
BTW, if you are using a program to close not minimize applications, then Resco File Explorer will not cause any problem at all as long as you don't install the Today Screen Launcher. I have been using Resco since day one I got my x51v and I do not have any problem beside the Battery drain issue that I fixed not using the Today Screen Add-in. I have the SD Card disappearing issue once every 8 or 9 days. I using the Today Screen Launcher of SPB Pocket Plus without any problem too by like I said, not using the Top Battery Meter Bar. It seems to me that the "Device not Turning ON"  issue could be relative to this battery meters problem too or may be to something relative to the way you are syncing and charging the device. I use a Sync-Charger USB Cable, never use the Cradle. I remember that I had the Not Turning ON issue only the first two days when I was using the cradle. But at that time I was using too the Today Screen Launcher from Resco. So it's hard for me to say what really fixed that problem between not using that add-in or not using any more the cradle.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Error Reporting

Error Reporting

It seems a good idea to help Microsoft reporting the error that we are getting in the daily use of our devices with Windows Mobile 5 but… That slows down our devices up to the point that it’s almost impossible to use them. And this issue is currently worse due to the fact that many programs have not been converted or properly tested in this new OS.

So… If you want your Pocket PC running faster just disable this feature going to Start/Settings/System/Error Reporting/Disable and pressing OK. I did it as soon as I got my x51v and believe me; my device is running a lot better.