Archive for Gadgets

Extend Blackberry ring time

I have a Blackberry Pearl 8900 on O2, I’ve had it a while now.

One big gripe I had with it is that the ringer doesn’t last long enough.

By the time I’ve pulled it out of my pocket, taken it out of it’s pocket, and assessed whether I want to answer the call, it’s already too late, especially if I’m in the middle of doing something else.

So, I can’t expect it to be perfect, but surely the ring time can be extended or increased? Here’s the solution…

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No Message Alerts Problem on Nokia N95

A couple of weeks ago I noticed that the alerts for text messages has mysteriously gone missing and completely stopped working.

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Motorola V3X Review

I HATE this phone, here’s why… Read the rest of this entry »


How to unlock a Samsung E720 mobile phone

I found this out because Orange sucks.

It costs £20 to get your phone unlocked by Orange and the only way to do this is to contact them by phone, and the only way to contact Orange’s Customer Services is to call 150 from your handset or call 07973 100150. What if you’re deaf? What if your handset is broken? What if you cannot call mobile numbers from your landline?

This is why Orange sucks. Naturally, I didn’t pay orange a penny.

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PSP firmware and homebrew

I decided to go all out, and purchase possibly the best media device out there. The Sony Playstation Portable.

Don’t get me wrong, the thing that appealed to me most about the PSP was the fact it could connect to the internet via WIFI.

My first question was “I wonder what else this can do”.

After a quick search I began to find lots of details on the PSP, including details on homebrew applications.

I soon discovered that the homebrew software would only run on certain firmware versions of the PSP.

I checked out the firmware version on my PSP and discovered it was running firmware ’2.50′.

One thing I quickly learned was NOT to upgrade to the latest 3.11 firmware provided by Sony using the Network Update. In fact if you wish to use any homebrew software ever, its recommended that you do not upgrade past 3.03 of the regular firmware provided by Sony.

I also discovered that someone under the name of “Dark_Alex” had written a homebrew firmware known as “open edition”, which is effectively a modified version of the official sony firmware.

I discovered that to install the very latest (which is 3.10 OE A’ at the time of writing) I needed firmware 1.50 installed on my PSP. I discovered that the reason for this is that this firmware is the most flexible, known in the PSP homebrew scene as the golden firmware.

I began investigating various “downgrading” methods. It seems that there is only one way to downgrade from firmware 2.50/2.60 and that is to own an unpatched version of “GTA: Liberty City Stories”, which contains firmware 2.00, which you can downgrade to. Unfortunately I do not have this game.

I discovered that there was another way. I could use a game I have which contains firmware 2.71, and downgrade using an auto installer from that firmware to firmware 1.50, this was the best option.

The game I used was called “The Ark of Napishtim”, which contained “PSP Update ver 2.71″, that allowed me to upgrade from firmware 2.50 to firmware version to 2.71.

Once I had 2.71 successfully installed I simply located a copy of “Downgrader2.71FULL.exe“, run this and follow the on-screen instructions. (PS, the part that talks about the red screen, if you don’t get the red screen, restart your PSP and keep trying, it works eventually).

Once I had successfully downgraded to firmware 1.50, I was able to use “3.10 OE-A Winstaller.exe” to upgrade to the latest open edition homebrew firmware.

The great thing about the open edition firmware is it allows you to run any PSP homebrew software under the latest firmware by putting it in your regular GAME folder, or as the 1.50 firmware by placing it in a folder named GAME150. This also means you are always able to downgrade from the latest homebrew firmware to firmware 1.50.

The next thing to do was to upgrade to 3.10 OE A’ (rev A2) homebrew firmware, which has some minor bug fixes. Its simply a case of downloading this, extracting, placing the directory in the GAME folder on your PSP/flash card, and running it on your PSP.

Also see for more information on PSP firmware and homebrew. They have some fantastic graphs and more useful information.

Thanks to this I was able to try out the following homebrew software:

  • PSP Radio – I have so far been unable to connect this to my WIFI
  • PSPVNC – This thing is great, I can view my PC from anywhere in my house!
  • Pimp Streamer – This thing is amazing! You can stream your media from your PC onto your PSP

One thing I must point out is that I DO NOT support or promote piracy, if you like the games buy them.

Piracy is the reason Sony has locked down their recent firmware so you are unable to run homebrew software. It’s a real shame that Sony’s paranoia about piracy means that PSP owners are unable to write or use homebrew software applications on devices that run the latest firmware.

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Despite my problems with purchasing mp4 players in the past I decided to purchase a new one.

This time I found a good one from a reputable website that sold items from China across the world, instead of eBay.

This device is also known as the Black Hawk MP4 Digital Player or mini Play Station Portable or IHTOOM personal media player.

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Siemens CX65 Review

I bought this on the 20/08/04 for £179.99, which actually seems quite a lot for such a phone, but it was not bad at the time for a brand new unlocked phone.

Siemens CX65 Mobile Phone

I decided to get this phone as I had a Siemens ME45 before and that was great for it’s time.

In my opinion, this phone had a very stylish design. It was one of few non-flip phones on the market as they appeared to be becoming the norm. I have always been under the impression that like small convertibles, they are girlie.

The features I particularly liked when I purchased this phone were the custom polyphonic ring tones, vibrate, IRDA, build-in camera for photos and video, navigation joystick, integrated antenna, loudspeaker, “dynamic lights” for alerts, full colour display, video playback, silent mode and the ability to sync with Microsoft Outlook.

At the time of it’s release cameras were begining to become established in phones and were now the standard, as such this phone even came with an optional flash which plugged into the bottom. Quality of photos and video is reasonable.

Obviously it also came with standard features such as SMS, MMS and Internet/WAP, oh and of course the ability to make and receive calls.

As you can tell, this phone is pretty feature-tastic, the only thing it is missing from it’s elegant design is bluetooth. To begin with this didn’t matter as no one had bluetooth either, but as more and more phones came with bluetooth as standard, this phone got left behind.

Regardless, this is a fantastic phone. One of the best things is the navigation. Finding anything was easy, and once you were in it, it was easy to use. Text messages supported T9, which was really simple to work with, compared to other phones.

I also loved the management options such as copy and paste, and the phone number highlighting so you can dial a number you are sent with ease.

One of my favorite features was the dynamic lights. These are used when you receive a missed call or a text message to continually alert you that you have to attend to it, without continuously releasing a distressing noise like other phones, otherwise known as silent alerts. You are able to turn off the dynamic lights feature.

This phone also comes with some useful applications such as calculator (which is difficult to use), calendar, notes, task, dictating, stop watch, count down, unit converter, alarm clock, media player and all sorts of other software functions I would probably never get around to using, but at least I know they are there.

Another great feature of this phone was its ability to run java. This meant you could easily get hold of, and install new applications and new games to extend the possibilities of this phone.

Although this phone has quite a bit of storage space, for some strange reason, it could only seem to manage 100 text messages on the phone, and the standard 10 on the sim card. I never worked that out.

One thing I did find useful, was the ability to sync with outlook. Although to begin with the software that came with the phone wasn’t very good, Siemens released new software which was far better. Also the data connection was serial not USB, this meant your power was drained very quickly.

The benefit of this though was that I was able to use SCMxx, which is command line based communication software which I used for sending text messages from my computer without having to type with my thumb on my phone or use bulky software.

However, I think this is going to be the last Siemens I buy, and is almost definately the last of its kind, as on 07/06/05 Siemens AG (Siemens Mobile) announced it was being bought by BenQ (formerly Acer), but it all spells trouble for me, and as far as I can see it is a struggling company, and is having difficulty competing in today’s market. It is only a matter of time before its is bankrupt.

Conclusion: This was a great phone and simply lacked bluetooth, it’s time to move on.

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Txt Spk iz Gr8

From a very early age I have been taught to write the English language correctly, I try and carry this trend over when I’m on the internet.

However, over the years a new language has developed based on English, which I’m sure everyone is familiar with these days, it’s commonly known as SMS language.

It appears that it originally came from bulletin boards and chatrooms particularly the ones that are popular on the AOL network and is, therefore, sometimes called AOL speak.

The main reason why this language came about over the years is that kids began sending text messages to each other via their mobile phones, however the problem lies when they wish to send a message longer than 160 characters, this would span over two or more messages, meaning more costs. As you can probably imagine, kids soon got the idea that you could type a message quicker by using this language and keep costs down by keeping your message within the 160 character limit.

Although this is probably information you already know, recently, questions of whether using this type of language should be acceptable or not have come up.

To begin with I agreed with the majority of people who said English is English, we should use it correctly. However I began to think about where English actually came from, and how evolution has turned English into the language it is today.

I do agree that when people write articles, reports and such it would be probably be best if true English was used, however who are we to say that this new language is not acceptable in today’s modern world, after all it is us who created the need for it, and it is us who encouraged it.

I think over the next few years we will be forced to accept and embrace this new language as part of every day life, as an extension of the English language, that is of course, unless it has already happened.

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Getting your mobile unlocked

I get asked quite often if I know how to get a mobile phone unlocked, so this is my experience…

I was given a Motorola V525 as the original owner had an upgrade. They are on the vodafone network, and I am on O2.

When I put an O2 simcard in the phone it asked me to “Enter Subsidy Password” (other phones may say “Enter Special Code”), I tried a few random numbers (probably about 15 by the time I had finished), and the phone locked up. Displaying the following: “Contact Service Provider”, and it will not go away.

However, there is a solution I found at:

Q: I keep getting the following prompt on my Motorola after I insert another sim card “Contact Service Provider” ?
A: That means wrong unlock code has been entered already!
(This message appears after many wrong subsidy or special code entry)
Power on phone and wait between 30 min to 8 hours till Enter Subsidy or Special Code
message appear again! (Please note that phone should be powered on during this time).

I left it turned on, and charging over night, and came to it the following day, it asked me for the unlock code.

After reading this forum I discovered that you CANNOT unlock the Razr V3, or V525 or any other Motorola simply by providing someone with your IMEI code.

As far as I can see there are only THREE ways around this:
1. You need a datacable (~$10) and MotoPhoenix ($25) — It seems this guy here has achieved it using a datacable and some choice software…
2. Contact your phone carrier/operator or service provide (O2, Orange, Vodafone, T-Mobile, etc) and ask them for the unlock code, like this guy did.

They will ask you for the following details:

Mobile Telephone Number:
Customer Account Number:
Full Name:
Full Address:
Date of Birth:


3. The third way involves using buy methods, such as buying from ebay, or, but as these methods are completly untested (by me), and they don’t tell you how it works, I wouldn’t advise them.

I used method 2, and after a few emails back and forth, and a phone call from the previous owner, I was provided with 2 unlock codes and told that one of them would work.

I have since then used the same method again with Vodafone ([email protected]) for a Motorola V3X, this time I simply put a request for the unlock code, and provided them with the details (as above), within 3 hours I had a reply from them, as follows:


Good Afternoon Mr. XXX,

Thank you for your email to Vodafone about the network unlock code (NUC) you requested. I’ll be happy to assist. Your NUC is as follows:



I hope this information is of use. Please contact me if you require any further assistance.


Best wishes,

Neil Breeze
Vodafone Customer Services

This worked no problems, so I sent an email back to them congratulating them on their quick response, which makes a change.


4GB Mp4 Player ebay Scam

Just before Christmas, I decided I was going to get an MP3 player for my girlfriend as she wanted a new mp3-player, as her 40gb one was too much and now old, so she was looking for something with around 4gb or 8gb of storage space.
A friend suggested there were tuns of 4GB MP4 Players on ebay, I questioned him and said, I wonder why they are going so cheap, his reply was thats because there are so many. I figured something wasn’t quite right, but as the sellers had over 98.99% positive feedback I figured it seemed like a half decent deal.

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