Tag Archives: Mobile Phone

My Phone Died – Backup Tools For Windows Mobile


Yesterday my phone, with no respect for the faith I have showed in it, collapsed. As I worked quietly away at my desk, it shut itself down, then got half way through starting itself back up before giving up.

This cardboard was more useful than my HTC HD2 yesterday

The screen I actually saw was less useful than this.

Following 10 minutes or so of incredulous ranting, I gathered my thoughts and considered my options.  I had one, really: a full reset and rebuild.  At this point I was very grateful for the backup utilities I’ve been using.

Backup Tools For Windows Mobile

Microsoft have developed a rather excellent little mobile phone backup utility for WinMob phones.  Microsoft My Phone is a free tool, capable of backing up your whole phone contents except software.  I’d recommend it for all WinMob users, because it can even backup your music and photos, whether on the storage card or on the phone memory.  It also keeps all your SMS & MMS  messages, which can be an absolute boon if you need to keep records of some of your text conversations.  If you don’t often take your personal files off the phone (which I do but you might not), this might be the only place you can find them if your phone gets nicked.

At work we run Exchange Server, so we use Activesync to make sure our phones are up to date with all emails; contacts; appointments; tasks and so on.  Since the two tools are both Microsoft, they make sure they don’t rip on each others’ toes so duplicates are avoided.


Thanks to having already used these two utilities, I managed to repopulate my phone with all the information that was on it before it had a wobbly.  Using the My Phone tool, I archived 2000 texts to the web, thus avoiding the memory problems that probably caused the meltdown in the first place.

Don’t Lose Your Software

A word to the wise…. if you install 3rd party software on your Windows Mobile device, keep the Registration Keys on record.  If (when?) you have to rebuild the phone, the software will be lost along with all other data held on the handset.  If you’re working from the storage card, that should be ok but don’t leave it to chance.

I’ve had to reinstall 2 pieces of software and have needed to punch in the Product Registration Keys for both of them.  In the worst case, you might have to pay again to use something you’ve already paid for.  Don’t get caught out.

Now What?

After an hour or so wasted rebuilding my little friend, I’ve calmed down a bit.  I think I’m ready for the abusive comments from iPhone users now 😉

How To Fit the Topeak BarXTender

Regular Readers will know that minimalism isn’t my middle name. It’s Neil: after Neil Armstrong, who walked on the moon a few weeks before I was introduced to Earth in the master bedroom of a dormer bungalow.

Why Buy a Topeak BarXTender?

I was struggling to mount my phone mount a couple of weeks ago.  I blogged about it here.  As a result, Jon came up with the idea of me getting the BarXtender.  You should buy one of these (at about £15 online) if:

  • You’ve already got too much schizzle on your handlebars; or
  • Your handlbars have too much girth for your lights and mounts.

How Do I Fit The Topeak BarXTender?

The unit is a clever bit of engineering.  It’s built to fit up the biggest handlebar or headset, and can be rotated so it will fit front-facing or left/right-facing tubes.  It also has a bar that be moved around it’s axis for finer adjustment once you’ve got the unit clamped to your bike.

The clamp part of the BarXtender contains a “belt” type metal strip which is held by an allen bolt.  You just adjust the belt strip to slightly larger than the diameter of your tube, then insert the obligatory rubber strip to stop your tube being scratched and tighten the allen bolt.  The belt is drawn upwards into the clamp housing and feels nice & strong when attached.

Next, simply screw the top half of the unit onto the clamp part, then adjust the rotation of the actual bar to suit yourself.

How Does It Look?

I much prefer my cockpit now that the BarXTender’s on.  One person (mentioning no names) commented that I’m just missing a kettle on my bike now, but I think it makes the handlebars a lot tidier, and safer, than they were before.

The Finished Topeak BarXTender Job

The completed job, with Big Light and Phone GPS Mount.

What do you think?

HTC HD2 Settling In Tests

Still Loving It

It’s been a couple of months since I got the new HTC HD2 phone, so I thought I should let you all know how it’s going. I’ve spent about £40 on gubbins for it so far and I think I’m about done, so an objecive view of the Cost Of Ownership is probably due, too.

Not my actual HTC HD2. I bought this one off eBay. Not really.

HTC HD2 Long (ish) Term Test


To make the phone fit my lifestyle, I’ve spent some of my hard-earned cash on the following:

  • Bike handlebar mount (see this post about that little thing)
  • Screen protector sheet, to stop my keys jagging it
  • Crystal case to protect it from my clumsiness
  • Car charger, to stop it dying whilst I drive
  • Windscreen mount, so I can video idiots blocking roads and see the Sat Nav.
  • 3 micro-USB cables to allow me to synch at work, at home and charge in the car

I also put the following software onto the device:

  • Cycle Computer, GPS tracking software
  • Interval trainer, for jogging expeditions
  • TomTom 7 for Windows Mobile

With all the above, I have only 3 complaints:

Battery Life

Most of the time, my phone’s on charge either at home or at work.  But in the car, even with a cheap no-mark charger on, the battery dies faster than it charges if I’m using the TomTom.  This is simply unacceptable.  I’ve had a new “official” HTC car charger delivered from MobileFun today, so it had better work or I’ll be mightily irked.

Screen Protector

In my experience, all screen protectors are rubbish.  I think I need one for those moments when I accidentally put my phone into the same pocket as my car keys, but they always make your screen look crap don’t they?  Gah.  I have no better ideas, so I put one on.

Windows Mobile

I love Windows Mobile.   I love the way it works, and the way it looks.  I love being in a familiar Windows environment on my phone.

On the other hand I ruddy hate it when it hangs.  When it hangs, boy does it hang.  Forget that urgent call you wanted to make, just forget it.  And the fact is, it hangs most when you try ot take the phone out of standby quickly, which is when? It’s when you want to use it urgently! Sort it our Microsoft.  Find a way of letting me get to the basic functionality while all the flashy, pretty, normally lovely stuff awakes gently from its slumber.  Then I will be a truly satisfied user.

To Wrap Up…

I still love my phone.  It’s the best phone I’ve ever had.  The GPS tracking and SatNav functions are particularly excellent, with the phone knowing exactly where I am al the time, even I haven’t got a bloody clue.  Thi is an absolute bonus when I’m tracking a bike ride or a jog, as it knows where I’ve been, how quickly and for how long.  To be honest, it’s a stalker’s dream if you can sneak it in your partner’s handbag…. 😉

I would recommend it to anyone, even you.  Even though you might shout at me whe you can’t make that urgent, quick call.  But you wouldn’t, because while you were shouting the phone would be slowly rubbing its eyes, scratching its gonads and thinking about waking up.  By the time it was ready to connect you to me, you’d have calmed down.

So that’s ok.

Tell ’em Phill sent you.

Cycling GPS Test

As you might know, I got my shiny new HTC HD2 last week, and promptly installed some of my favourite applications on it.

Possibly my favourite app is the GPS Cycle computer. I downloaded a new version (for free!) and installed it easily.

On Saturday, I spent the afternoon tinkering with the family’s bikes:

  • Bottle holders for the girls
  • A kickstand for one of the girls, since the other already had one pre-installed
  • New, lighter & shorter bar ends for my boy and myself
  • Towbars removed from Other Half’s & my bikes

This took me a little while.  Just long enough for it to start raining. Pah!  Nevertheless, I was already wearing my eco-ninja cycling gear, so I decided to set off regardless.  I switched on the tracker, zipped it into my pocket and off I went.

It was only a swift pootle along the canalside in the fading light, following some of the route taken by Rooley earlier that same day with his daughter.  With hindsight, it’s a shame I didn’t bump into them, that’d have been a nice surprise.  For me anyway, maybe not them 🙂

I’ve just got round to uploading the kml track that the computer recorded and I’m most impressed.  The accuracy is far superior to what I had got used to with my old Vodafone V1615 (Kaiser; TyTnii, whatever they call it) and I’ve had to do hardly any editing of spurious tracking points.

So far, I’m very happy with the new phone and this is just one of the reasons.  On the other hand, my Trusty Steed, she’s struggling.

I love ths bike, butshe's 10 this year and knackered.

My Faithful Haro, 10 this year.

She’s spending most of her last days languishing in the shed, but I don’t want to draw out her farewell, so in the interests of palliative care, I’m looking at replacing her with a newer model.  Watch this space…

Here’s the map as recorded by the phone’s tracking software on Saturday:

View Smithy Bridge First new GPS Track in a larger map

HTC HD2 First Impressions

Yesterday I took delivery of a brand new HTC HD2 at work. Everybody else in Utility Masters is having an iPhone, but as a proud nonconformist I’m plumping with the Windows Mobile option.

Why Did I Choose The HD2?

  1. I am afraid of “The Cult Of Apple“.  I don’t want to be forced to use iTunes.  I don’t want to become one of those bores who plays with his iClone all night when I go out.  I don’t want to join the self-righteous “aren’t we all creative and interesting because we follow Apple” brigade.  I love what Apple have done for design – they’re a bunch of genii (is that the plural of genius?) – I just don’t subscribe to the notion that using their products makes me, by association, a genius too.
  2. I have some Windows Mobile apps I wanted to keep.  I might blog about them some other time, but I use an interval trainer application, a GPS tracker for my bike rides, and the wonderful TomTom for windows Mobile.  I didn’t want to have to start again on a new phone platform.

First Impressions

I’ve had this phone less than 12 hours so far.  I told Dave that I loved him when he brought it downstairs to me.  I realise now that I don’t actually love Dave: that was just foolish infatuation.  I actually love my new phone.

It’s incredibly shiny and black, which I am a big fan of.  That’s why the people at Samsung have enjoyed so much of my home entertainment budget.

  • The front screen is very simple to use, and wonderfully customisable.
  • Setting up Wi-Fi and my Exchange Server details was a doddle, as was…
  • Adding a few bookmarks and…
  • Selecting my favourite people for the phone’s dedicate “People” screen.
  • Installing my apps was easier than I expected and they all work beautifully.  The GPS tracker is actually better, with extra functionality to take advantage of the phone’s better touchscreen capabilities.
  • Web browsing is is fantastic, thanks to the “pinch scroll”, nicked directly from Apple.  You see, I love Apple’s ideas, so Im glad that people outside the Cult can steal them 🙂

So far I have two gripes that have spoiled my experience a little:

  1. You only get one compatible USB cable, of the new, more fiddly type.  This is supposed to help you at work, at home, and plugged into the nifty little mains charger?  i think not.  Give me at least one more please.
  2. The phone automatically leaves everything running until you find the Task Manager and end the programs.  This will doubtless result in everything running incredibly slowly once the phone gets a few miles under its belt.  To rectify this, at the moment, you have do a soft reset by taking the back off, finding a toothpick and prodding where it doesn’t hurt.  Install a shortcut from the phone’s menu to close everything down easily, please.


I adore the phone.  I suggest you buy one, although SIM free they’re the wrong side of £500, so find a good contract provider.  Mine is on Vodafone and the prices are pretty competitive although it’s part of a group order for Utility Masters.

Tell ’em Phill sent you!

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