Archive for July 2009

Canadian Copyright Consultations

22 July 2009

Copyright law is back on the government’s front burner and you can bet that the big players have hold of decision-makers big ear. If you care about copyright — and if you read, listen, watch or think, you should — make some time to get involved!

See the Government of Canada Copyright Consultation web page at

Freerunner Buzz-fixed — a few days in

13 July 2009

Just a quick update on the Freerunner since it returned from SDG Systems where it was buzz-fixed. I flashed OM2009 to the phone and set up bind-home and have been too busy to think about the phone since. And the good thing is that I haven’t had to think about the phone since. It just works.

The default ring is fine. I make and receive calls and SMS. Call volume is good, call quality is good. Notifications are fine. At last (for now at least) my Free phone seems also free of troubles.

In the bigger picture, Maddog Hall posted some very interesting news re talks with the University of São Paulo, Brazil about their possibly getting involved in a very beneficial way with the OpenMoko/Freerunner community. Fingers crossed!

Freerunner Buzz-fixed

8 July 2009

My Freerunner returned yesterday from SDG Systems where it was buzz-fixed. It doesn’t look like there has been progress on the notification issues with Android on Freerunner, so I opted to flash OM2009 to NAND.

First I tried flashing just the kernel and root filesystem, but it wouldn’t boot. So I flashed the u-boot from the same source as the kernel and root fs. After that the phone would boot.

Never content to leave well enough alone, I checked the GSM firmware version and found that it was moko-8. Moko-11 is recommended so I used the micro-sd method for flashing the GSM firmware. That left me looking at a white on green login prompt. I didn’t get the green d_o_n_e message.

On first boot following, GSM failed. Shut it down and it wouldn’t boot at all. It would get as far as “Starting hardware abstraction layer ….” then appeared to power off. No poking or tapping would elicit a response. But maybe it was just resting. After several attempts it booted. However after a long while it once again said;

“can’t init service GSM:
Message did not receive a reply (timeout by message bus)”

which is followed by a chain reaction can’t init Gprs, TopBar, Audio, SIM, SMS. I’ll try flashing GSM firmware again.

I tried the micro-sd method of flashing the GSM firmware again and once again was left at a green login prompt. So I went through the steps to flash the GSM firmware the geek way and ended up with

“(fluid, version 3) ok
Checksumming (269 * 8kB = 2152kB): ok
Flash Detect: (0xEC, 0x22A0) Samsung K5A3240CT ok
Program: (0 sectors, 0*8k=0k) () ok”

which is supposed to mean that I’m trying to flash the same firmware version as is already there. So, reboot….

And it works! Oh happy day!

Now to set up bind-home and that’s enough playing with phone for today. 🙂

W233 Renew Voice Memo Update

3 July 2009

If you happened to catch my first post on the Motorola W233 Renew (June 5) you’ll know there was a question of whether or not the phone could do voice memos.

Fido’s website said that the W233 can do voice memos, but I could not find that feature in the W233 menus. So I called Motorola and after quite a while on the phone was told that the W233 can not do voice memos.

So I phoned Fido to suggest that they correct the information on their website. After quite a while on the phone Fido told me that the W233 can do voice memos, but that it is a hardware feature not a service feature so I would have to call Motorola to find out how.

So I phoned Motorola and after quite a while on the phone was told that they would get back to me. That never happened.

So I emailed Motorola on June 28. The next day I received a reply from Motorola which said, in part, “The feature is not available in the menu of your phone.”

That got me wondering whether the hardware was present to do voice memo, but not the software. Might software be available in future? Or — and here’s where I’ve been spoiled by my Openmoko Freerunner — could a user add their own software? Perhaps this phone could run a python interpreter? So I posted my new questions to a Motorola users forum at A very friendly support forums manager named Mark soon replied that he would contact the product team and look into the voice memo question. I await further news there.

I also emailed Fido with an excerpt from the email from Motorola and again suggested that Fido correct the information on their website.

Today, July 3, I got an email back from Fido saying that my email has been forwarded to their website team and that the info on W233 features will be updated.

So there it sits. I’m a bit disappointed that the W233 can’t do voice memos. It will be interesting to see what response comes on the Motorola user forum. I’ll be very surprised (and pleased!) if there is any way for an owner to add software to the phone.

I learned a bit about the cell phone business too. I always thought that if a phone had a capability you got that capability when you bought the phone. Not so! Your phone may be crippled by the carrier you get service from! From a W755 thread on the Motorola forum (Mark again, he must be a busy guy);

“Unfortunately Verizon restricts the transfer of pictures and ringtones via USB cable. The drivers you downloaded are for charging via USB and are used in conjunction with Motorola Phone Tools. Motorola Phone Tools usage is restricted to Contact and Calendar connectivity only per Verizon’s restriction. You must purchase ringtones directly from Verizon or use MMS to send them to your Email address.”

Such evil! Imagine if there was truth in advertising. “We’ve crippled some of your phone’s built in capabilities in order to pick your pocket better. Thank you for choosing Verizon.”

The more I learn, the more I like my Freerunner.