Windows Mobile 6 for BlackJack is out. Clearly, it took me buying a BlackBerry for this to happen. Haha.
I’ve been trying to wait patiently for The New AT&T to release Windows Mobile 6 for the BlackJack. They’ve done so for the AT&T 8525, but have yet to do so for both the BlackJack and Treo 750. I think they’re close — the impending release of the BlackJack II is probably the holdup — but I couldn’t wait any longer.
Then, I found this thread on HowardForums — and jackpot. In about 20 minutes (5 of which were required to find my syncing cable), the ROM flash was complete. Before you knew it, the AT&T 3G startup screen appeared — and bam. Windows Mobile 6 on my BlackJack. And folks, it is sweet. Continue reading
I’ve finally put some work into the BlackJack this weekend, and posted the results in a Facebook photo album.
The most relieving thing about these changes is that the terrible “Cingular 3G” whooshes and swooshes that play when the phone starts up and shuts down no longer run. It was hella loud and annoying hearing those sounds, so it’s a relief they’re gone. (Anyone with a BlackJack can attest to this.) Without the fancy animation, it seems like there’s a bit of a perceptible performance increase, too.
I decided to take the newly acquired space to create the sweet “Jared W. Smith Central Communications” logos, as seen in the Facebook album. You’ll also find that I’ve modified Samsung’s popup homescreen and color scheme, mainly to fix the colors (and eliminate the TERRIBLE red menu text). It’s actually coming together quite well…
SCORE! BetaNews has some great news: The BlackJack is getting Windows Mobile 6! That’s fantastic, fantastic news. That was a major reservation of mine when I was debating whether to buy it or not, so I’m sure glad that my investment will be protected. :)
- I survived the first day back from Spring Break. It was altogether uneventful; with only one class on Monday and Friday, it’s not too bad. Today is really going to be the first real test.
- My BlackJack’s case came in. I’m not sure if I’m sold on it yet. While the fit is snug, and works fine with the extended battery cover, it seems to bury itself fairly deeply into the case. Seems like this case is meant more for a Q, which is just ever so slightly wider than the BlackJack.
- I just finished going through the entire Ryan Farish catalog tonight. It’s going to take a LOT of Incubus or some other band to knock him off the top of my last.fm charts this week.
- I might have something nifty to announce later today — it all depends on a few lingering outside factors. I’m hoping I’ll be able to, though. (No, I’m not running for president. I…erm…can’t. :))
- I think I’ve successfully tired myself out enough to go to bed now…and wake up in three hours. Yay.
Catch you all later today…
On Monday, at about 11:45 am, my Samsung BlackJack arrived at my door. Eagerly, I ripped the box open and pulled everything out. I was pleasantly surprised to see my BlackJack had shipped with the extended battery in addition to a standard battery (the initial models shipped with two standard batteries, which are pretty much inadequate, especially in 3G areas). I saw that the 3G SIM card was already in the phone…and I’ll tell you what, getting that standard battery cover off is a bear. Every time I do it I feel like I’m going to break the phone in two. Thankfully, the extended battery uses a different cover (which works perfectly fine with the standard battery to boot). This does add a centimeter to the thickness of the device but it actually makes it easier to hold.
I shut off the MPx220 and fired up the BlackJack about 10 minutes later, hoping it would activate. Nope. I had to run up to my cube at work real quick and give Cingular a ring. The CSR on the other end was very helpful in getting it going (including straightening out some lingering weirdness on my account that occurred as a result of my upgrade). After activating the phone, the first thing I did was shut off 3G roaming — there’s no need for the phone to waste battery trying to find a network that doesn’t exist in Charleston yet. Here’s hoping that 3G gets to Charleston soon, especially since Verizon’s had their high speed (and inferior, IMO) EV-DO network here for a few months now.
The phone is brilliant. It sounds great — much better than the MPx220 does. I can actually hear it in a crowd or on the street. The MPx220 was impossible to hear in those situations without doing some epic maneuvers involving pushing the phone against my ear as hard as I can. The push e-mail from the College’s Exchange server works flawlessly, and my Gmail account — where most @jaredwsmith.com emails end up — does just as well. Battery life is decent right now, considering I’m currently conditioning the batteries and really giving the device a workout in determining its strengths and weaknesses. So far, I definitely can identify the three-button unlocking and lousy Bluetooth stack as hangups. But other than that, so far, so very, very good. I’m extremely pleased with it.
BlackJack users should seriously have a look at the wiki at i607.org. The information there has proven invaluable thus far. My big thanks to Mark Percival, maintainer of the wiki, for gathering and keeping that info together.
This brings us to earlier Tuesday night. I was getting restless at home and decided to venture into Charleston for a bit for dinner. I ended up at Yo Burrito on Wentworth Street, and sat in the absolute last seat in the bar (underneath a shelf!). I then proceeded to order a mason jar margarita and a burrito (as is my protocol there). I then proceeded to read the latest news and such on the BlackJack, and just went about my business.
On the opposite end of the bar, these girls — two of them, to be exact — were kind of looking at me wondering “hmm wtf is this guy doing?”. I could tell because we would exchange glances every once in a while (flirtation? possibly). It was fun and interesting and stuff. Then, a salvo was fired that I least expected — the bartender stopped by and gave me a note one of the girls had written. It was epic, and can only be seen in pictoral form:
The text reads: “You’re Our Fish of the Sea – XOXO. PS What are you doing on your BB?” Included was a sugar cookie, shaped like a fish. It was brilliant, and cute, and certainly the most interesting note I’ve ever been passed…ever. I let about 10 minutes or so pass and I talked to the girls briefly, one of which was so embarrassed (which she shouldn’t have been — it made my night, it really did) that she couldn’t turn around and face me. I don’t think they expected me to come over and talk to them for a minute. Hehe. It wasn’t over yet, as I bought them their next round and then had the bartender pass another note back with my phone number on it. ;) I met up with them as I was leaving and took a picture. It was a good time, and really kind of shook up a mundane evening. So, ladies, if you’re out there, thanks. (And call me, too.) :)
Afterward, I met up with Mel at Mistral and hung out with him and his friend Gordon for a bit. Hanging out with Mel is always a great time, and I’m glad we were able to hang out tonight. He’s got a show on Sunday at the Map Room at 8 that you probably shouldn’t miss — he’s been getting heavy into electronica these days, and he’s actually got an album called .red coming out Friday, which showcases this totally random and excellent artistic bout. Check out his MySpace for more.
I’m out folks — I can’t believe it’s already Wednesday into my spring break week. Ridiculous. Ahh well…peace for now!
I went to bed at 9PM Sunday night…and awoke at 1AM. I wanted to stop my music, but I got into an IM on Windows Live…and yeah. I’m still up. I did some assorted Flash work, and also found my state tax return came in today. Additionally, the Samsung BlackJack I ordered Saturday will be arriving sometime today. :) I got an e-mail from Cingu — erm — The New AT&T™ with the terms of my renewed contract, and it seems they kinda messed up my order (I wanted them to drop my Media Works bundle in favor of the data connect plan). I’m going to have to deal with that. The phone should be sweet, though. More on that in a later post.
So, for the first (and possibly last) time this year, I’m watching First Outlook on The Weather Channel, and I am extremely disappointed that Bob Stokes is filling in for Jen Carfagno…because hey, Jen Carfagno is a babe. LV.
I went up to my parents’ house on Sunday, and my dad and I went through the latest Consumer Reports, which is a big car issue this month. We were both shocked that not a damn one of the so-called American automakers actually produce their vehicles in America. They’re all farmed out to Mexico and Canada. It’s amazing how many more so-called imports are actually built here (including the Toyota Camry). It’s just strangely ironic, isn’t it?
This week will be in stark contrast to last week in terms of stress: I’m on Spring Break, and I managed to land this week off from work. Thus, I’ll be sparse in cyberspace (though I still have a ton of e-mail to catch up on from the whole busy crush). Good, good times.
So today marks thirty years of marriage for my mother and father. Pretty impressive, I must say. We went out to dinner tonight (I was a half hour late after passing out in my reading chair upon my arrival home — oops) and had a great time. I couldn’t be more thrilled for them — thirty years is a long time.
On a side note, there’s nothing quite like a bacon-wrapped filet from Longhorn. I rarely eat steak these days (in sharp contrast to two years ago) and so this was a real treat.
Aside from the lovely dinner, today was a very weird day. I rolled out of bed, still suffering from writer’s block on the paper, and put it on hold. The full deal isn’t due until next month — the professor just wants milestones (I don’t really blame him). I just couldn’t wrap my head around it just yet. It’ll come to me in time — and hopefully well before the March 22 due date. ;)
Work brought along its own sets of challenges — namely server hiccups that prevented me from getting a lot done for an hour and a half. There’s nothing more frustrating than the lovely Windows networking stack (and this is in Vista, too — some things seem to never change) causing system lockups because my home network drive became unavailable off and on throughout the day. Dreamweaver, which I have to do a lot of work in for the IT pages, went haywire and I was about to smash it with a ten megaton uber-brick. Here’s hoping tomorrow is a smidgen more productive.
One thing that I’ve come to really love in the last couple days is something called Outlook Anywhere — known in geeky technical terms as Exchange RPC over HTTP. This is a complex system that basically permits me to use my account on the College’s Exchange server in Outlook 2007 at home just as if I was connected in the office — WITHOUT establishing some sort of VPN connection. It works by routing the Exchange calls over HTTP via the Outlook Web Access server. It’s bloody brilliant. Typically I’d have to log into the Outlook Web Access server and have a very clumsy, limited interface to work with my Exchange calendaring and e-mail. Now I can use the full capability of Outlook 2007 (really, a dream to work with — it’s easily the best Outlook ever) at home. It even downloaded all my categories for my flagged e-mails and tasks. It’s quite awesome, and I can finally properly synchronize my phone at both home and work with the same server.
Speaking of phones…the announcement of the Motorola Q9 makes my decision over getting the Blackjack in a few weeks not so crystal-clear. The Blackjack isn’t getting Windows Mobile 6 as an upgrade (at least not as of now), and the Q9 has that. The Q9 also can do 3G data at double the speed (the Blackjack does 1.8 Mbps while the Q9 is capable of up to 3.6 Mbps) and…well…it’s Motorola. I know with the Motorola I will get good reception in most places that the Samsung is sorely lacking, and I know Motorola will have a competent Bluetooth stack (another weakness exposed in the Blackjack). These are two things that are pretty important to me. The keyboard on the Q9 appears to kick the Blackjack and original Q’s ass as well. One thing is for certain: I am in a bind here. Should I wait, or should I just go for the Blackjack now? I do like Samsung — I used an N625 for several years and thoroughly enjoyed it — but some of the things I’ve heard about the phone are starting to make me take pause.
What’s the song for the day? I’m not sure. There were a lot of songs. I do believe it will be yet another Incubus cut — “The Warmth” has been stuck in my head pretty much all day, and thus got several plays on the iPod today. It’s a great song.
Microsoft has officially announced Windows Mobile 6 today. All indications are that it is a home run in terms of reliability and usability over previous versions of Windows Mobile. T-Mobile Dash users are lucky, too — they’ll get an upgrade. Sadly for those who own or are looking to own a Samsung BlackJack (like myself), there are no indications that an upgrade will be available.
So what do I do now? I want to upgrade my phone to the BlackJack, but now that it appears WM6 isn’t coming to the hardware, I’m really feeling as if I should hold out until the end of this year to upgrade my phone. This is disappointing and may — and you know, I think it should — ignite quite a firestorm in Samsung and Cingular’s direction. The device is only four months old; why not offer an upgrade? Hell, I’d gladly pay for it, and I know I’m not the only one. Sadly though, this is a cell phone carrier we’re talking about here.