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Ontario Technoblog

Ontario Emperor technology blog.

This blog has been superseded by the mrontemp blog
Location: Ontario, California, United States

Sometime audio artist. Email comments on this blog to the gmail account mrontemp.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Power to the People (WM5 Axim and HP rx1955 PDA SD)

Remember my list for Santa? Well, I got my Hewlett Packard rx1955, and a 1 GB SD card to go with it (to hold my WMA files), and was having all sorts of fun...until I couldn't get the unit turned on again. A soft reset did the trick, but was somewhat irritating.

After returning from an out-of-town trip, I figured I'd research this issue to see if I was the only one with an HP rx1955 power-up problem. I wasn't. The problem has apparently existed since the rx1955 was released in October, has been found in non-HP devices running Windows Mobile 5, and there apparently isn't a solution yet. Here are some excerpts from an HP forum (I've only posted a few excerpts - there are almost 200 posts in the thread):

Kevin Weeks
Oct 20, 2005 18:44:13 GMT

I just purchase two iPAQ rx1950's. After they're off for a few hours, we can't turn them back on using the power button. We have to do a soft reset for them to power back on. They seem to both work fine for a few hours, we turn them off and then it happens again and we have to reset. Is there a setting I'm missing that can alleviate this annoying little problem? Thanks in advance.


Peter Oct 26, 2005 16:18:34 GMT Unassigned

I have this problem as well, hadn't seen it before but I left it off last night with SD Card in and recharging and it wouldn't turn on again without a reset. Before this, I'd had it for about a week with no problems - though it was mostly hooked up to a online computer overnight and before I turned it on every other day.



Melissa Oct 26, 2005 18:55:54 GMT Unassigned

I just recently bought the HP IPAQ RX1955. The problem I am having is that sometimes when I go to turn on my IPAQ it won't turn on, so I need to do a soft restart. I already called HP on this problem and they said this shouldn't be happening. Well I returned it to the store and got another one and now the same problem is occuring again.

I already went into settings and checked off the setting to disable all buttons except the start button when in standby mode and that doesn't seem to help.

I called HP again yesterday regarding this problem and they told me it might be because I have programs running so I went into settings, system tab and then clicked on memory and then went to the tab running programs and click stopped all. Well that doesnt work either. The problem still occured.

I was speaking to others with the same problem and also someone that had the same problem with the 2750 and his suggestion to me was that I take the card out of the ipaq overnight and have it charge. Well that seemed to work and I had no more problems well then I put the card in today and when I checked it after a couple of hours I had the same problem. I did a soft reset and then took the card out and now I am fine. So I think it has something to do with the card being in the ipaq.

Does anyone else seem to have this problem and if so do you know if hp will have a update regarding this or any ideas to resolve my problem.


Nelson Fernandez Nov 16, 2005 15:13:17 GMT Unassigned

it's not just us...



Andy Prior Nov 30, 2005 17:39:41 GMT Unassigned

Based on lots of reading about all the models (HP and Dell) that seem to have this kind of issue - the SD card and the ActiveSync problems... My guess is the issue is rooted in the Windows Mobile 5 interrupt model... Something is blocking or not firing when it should. Given that, I'm willing to wait until Christmas... They start screwing with the threading model and don't test enough we will end up with a unit in which the SD card will work but your friggin notifications of tasks/appointments will not fire correctly or THEY will hang the system.
Here's to hoping the ROM fix is a Christmas present!


Ahmed Kamel Dec 6, 2005 13:34:04 GMT Unassigned

Tried to install the driver. At first it seamed to help. Was hoping for a miracle. But alas, Microsoft Strikes Back... For those who have not read the entire thread, this appears to be a WM5 and Active Sync issue. This is not just limited to HP pocket PCs. Add to this the great idea of removing the ability to sync to your PC over the LAN or WiFi, Microsoft has a real winner here. Thank You Uncle Bill... If anyone is reading this at HP, units are being returned left and right. Your losing sales and its costing you a painful amount of money in lost revenues and returns. Fix or demand that this be fixed immediately, and come on guys.. put WiFi sync back in. That's just nuts.


Shaun Goudy Dec 7, 2005 08:39:19 GMT Unassigned

Tried all the suggestions listed here and having some luck, it worked for 10hrs with no problems. Seems that no matter what you do you must remove the SD card if your going to leave the Ipaq off for several hours and not on charge.

Spoke to Hp today and the guy said, "yes, there is a problem". He then said,"if you leave an SD card in ANY ipaq it will drain the battery. This has been known since the Ipaq's first came out." When i asked why there was nothing in the manual he came up with, "they don't come with an SD card so the instructions are not included in the manual". Apparently it's up to the SD makers to tell you that you must not leave a card in an Ipaq.

I thought that i'd try my luck one last time and see if he knew when a fix for this problem, which is not really a problem according to him, would come out. Sometime, he said.

What a joke....It basically came down to this. Yes there is a problem, but it's not a problem and the fix for the problem, which is not really a problem, will come out...evetually.


Donald Heinkel Dec 11, 2005 08:42:30 GMT Unassigned

Joining the thread, hope I can be of some help

I have experienced the same power-related problems that everyone else has reported and have gotten the same replies that everyone else has gotten in terms of calling HP. HP didn't provide me with a date for the patch but told me that it was a known issue and one was coming.

My HP PDA experience is fairly robust as I do all the IT purchasing for my company as we have a number of HP handhelds. I can report that the bug seems to be limited to the Microsoft WM5 operating system. The HP HX2410 with WinCe 2003, that I bought in August 05, doesn't have these problems.

Having now seen the breadth of the fall-out, I have to report that I am preparing to return the 1955 and buy something with the more stable WinCe 2003 OS. New is apparently not better on this occasion. I've very disappointed, but while I am within the timeframe where I can return the unit, you can bet that I am going to rather than live with this and hope that HP or MS gets to it sooner or later. The struggle will be to find a retailer who has a unit that isn't so new that it has WM5.

The thread also includes a number of temporary fixes, some of which didn't turn out to be fixes at all. As you can guess, the one fix that does seem to work is "take out the SD card."

I thought I'd peek at the Dell thread referenced by Nelson Fernandez on November 16. Here's some excerpts from that forum:

10-04-05, 03:27 PM #1

Aximsite Major League

X51 not turning on

I wanted to see if this was a problem with all new X51's, or what percentage was experiencing this problem: Sometimes the X51 won't turn on when the power button is pressed, even though the lock switch is not locked.
Who needs drugs--I have an Axim!

Current setup:
Dell Axim X51v (WM5.0, Hardware Rev. A00, ROM Ver. A04), Vaja Vitelino Green Moss leather case, Boxwave ClearTouch Crystal screen protector, Boxwave Styra stylus, Lexar 1 GB 80x CF, PNY 512 MB SD, Boxwave miniBuds headphones, extra 1100 mAh battery

Previous devices:
Dell Axim X5 Advanced (PPC2002 upgraded to WM2003)
Toshiba e310 (PPC2002)

Last edited by rbg08 : 10-04-05 at 03:29 PM.


10-12-05, 09:27 PM #10

Aximsite All Star

Guys since I applied this hack http://www.tweaks2k2.com/portal/for...6&fromblock=yes
I have not suffered again from this issue. I applied this hack trying to fix the disappearing of my SD card but now I have noticed that I don't have any more this problem. Question to all that reported to have this problem: Do they have a SD Card plugged in the device?
Home of Tweaks2K2 and more...
Blog: http://x51v.blogspot.com
Tweaks2K2 at 33% OFF for Axim Users


12-28-05, 06:03 PM #426

Aximsite Prospect

I've joined this club!

Received my new X51V a few weeks ago. Upgraded the ROM to A04 straight away. Very impressed by the screen and the speed. Received a free 1Gb CF card from Dell so very happy. The next day the troubles started. Wouldn't power on - very strange. Turns out the battery was flat! Hmmm - must have been me. I've had this a couple of times now (including disappearing CF card). The major problem appears to be the battery just completely draining when in suspend. I've read through all these forums and many others and there appears to be a number of "fixes", depending on your device. I haven't sussed it out yet, but I will see how it goes with setting all the AS to manual first. Leaving BT on or popping out the CF card aren't good options IMHO. The other one is to try and power it right down (hold down power button option) and see what happens, but really not a good option either. I've seen theories about it drainign quicker below about 80% charge. Last night mine drained from 100% to zero overnight in suspend mode (lock key on as well). I've had the device on all day with WiFi syncing every 5 mins and it ran fine for about 5 hours before getting below 10% so I don't think this is the case. I'll let you know how Igo.

Well, I figured I'd search Microsoft's knowledge base for Windows Mobile 5. Except that they don't have a knowledge base for Windows Mobile 5. Here are the results of my search of the Windows CE 5.0 knowledge base for "power SD":

There are no documents that match your search for "power SD"

I performed a blog search, and ran into this item from David Sayed:

We all knew that around the corner there would be phones and other devices that natively run Windows Mobile 5 and now the wait is owner. I've been playing with two: the HTC Universal (aka i-mate JasJar) and HTC Tornado (aka i-mate SP5). This entry will focus on the SP5....

Physically the device is nice. It is the right size (not much larger than the SP3i or a Sony Ericsson T610) and just right for a phone. There are plenty of genuinely useful keys: one that brings up the Comm Manager menu (turn on or off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, IR and start a sync). I've heard complaints about the power button, but am finding it fine....

Onboard memory isn't very generous at just 64MB ROM and 64MB RAM. Once you've synced email, appointments and have loaded a few programs, you're done. So that's where the memory expansion through a mini-SD card comes in. This card is located under the battery, so I will be shopping for a 1GB mini-SD card (less than $100) and will try to store email and programs on it....

Wonder how the power button will work after the SD card is installed? Perhaps it will; one post claims that this only happens to some Windows Mobile 5 devices:

There have been several posts in various forums about Windows Mobile 5 devices needing a soft reset to turn on. I know this isn't a WM5 issue in particular because it isn't all devices. Neither my K-Jam or JasJar have this problem. I have heard it reported about some Dell and HP devices though. Have you experienced this?

Yes I have...

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Carmi Levy on Picking Blackberries

Carmi Levy has issued a press release:

U.S. Patent Office Ruling Frees Wireless Sector, Signals End of Frivolous Lawsuits, says Info-Tech Research Group

LONDON, ON, Dec. 21 /PRNewswire/ - Info-Tech Research Group, the leading
IT analyst firm for mid-sized companies, says that the U.S. Patent and
Trademark Office's rejection of the five patents that are at the heart of a
lawsuit that has threatened to shut down Research In Motion's BlackBerry
service will once again return wide-open competition to the wireless e-mail
"The USPTO announcement sends two strong messages to the wireless
market," says Info-Tech analyst Carmi Levy. "The first is that predictions of
BlackBerry's imminent demise were highly premature and unnecessarily
inflammatory. The second is that life will get tougher on companies whose
business model consists of using patents to sue successful vendors instead of
competing for clients and markets."
If this ruling holds, NTP would have no basis for further action against
RIM. This could impact the pending U.S. District Court case in Virginia.
Judge James Spencer had earlier ordered both sides to hammer out a settlement
that could have seen RIM pay NTP upwards of $1 billion in damages.
"This ruling pulls the rug out from under NTP's court case, " says Levy.
"The rejection of all five patent claims takes the wind out of NTP's sails."
This case was widely viewed as a precedent for future litigation in this
space. Within the last month, Visto has sued Microsoft for violating its
mobile e-mail patents, while Inpro has initiated proceedings against RIM in
British court for intellectual property violations.
"If the original NTP/RIM lawsuit is ultimately tossed out of court,
other cases that were riding on NTP's coattails will have less chance of
success," says Levy. "The end of litigious frivolity could be upon us."

About Info-Tech Research Group
With a paid membership of over 25,000 worldwide, Info-Tech Research Group
is the global leader in providing information technology research and analysis
to the mid-sized enterprise market. It is North America's fastest growing
full-service IT analyst firm.

Carmi Levy is available for interviews at (888) 670-8889 or via e-mail at

SOURCE Info-Tech Research Group

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

NexID Biometrics (or, how to get the New York Times to announce the establishment of your company)

A couple of weeks ago, articles began appearing that talked about how fingerprint reading devices can be spoofed. Here's an example:

Clarkson University Engineer Outwits High-Tech Fingerprint Fraud

By: Clarkson University
Published: Dec 10, 2005 at 07:45

...Biometrics is the science of using biological properties, such as fingerprints, an iris scan, or voice recognition, to identify individuals. And in a world of growing terrorism concerns and increasing security measures, the field of biometrics is rapidly expanding.

"Biometric systems automatically measure the unique physiological or behavioral ‘signature' of an individual, from which a decision can be made to either authenticate or determine that individual's identity," explained Stephanie C. Schuckers, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Clarkson University. "Today, biometric systems are popping up everywhere – in places like hospitals, banks, even college residence halls – to authorize or deny access to medical files, financial accounts, or restricted or private areas."

"And as with any identification or security system," Schuckers adds, "biometric devices are prone to ‘spoofing' or attacks designed to defeat them."

Spoofing is the process by which individuals overcome a system through an introduction of a fake sample. "Digits from cadavers and fake fingers molded from plastic, or even something as simple as Play-Doh or gelatin, can potentially be misread as authentic," she explains. "My research addresses these deficiencies and investigates ways to design effective safeguards and vulnerability countermeasures. The goal is to make the authentication process as accurate and reliable as possible."...

"Since liveness detection is based on the recognition of physiological activities as signs of life, we hypothesized that fingerprint images from live fingers would show a specific changing moisture pattern due to perspiration but cadaver and spoof fingerprint images would not."

In live fingers, perspiration starts around the pore, and spreads along the ridges, creating a distinct signature of the process. Schuckers and her research team designed a computer algorithm that would detect this pattern when reading a fingerprint image. With the new detection system integrated into the device, less than 10 percent of the spoofed samples were able to fool the machine....

These and similar articles got a lot of airplay throughout the media, most of whom reported what had already been reported. But the New York Times added some information that I hadn't seen before (emphasis mine):

In a study, researchers at Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y., tested 66 fake fingers to see if they could outwit biometric devices, which identify individuals based on the physiological properties of their fingerprints or other body parts. The fake fingers went undetected more than half the time.

"Even if it comes from Play-Doh, the scanner has no way of knowing that. It is just taking a picture of an image," said Stephanie C. Schuckers, a Clarkson electrical and computer engineering professor who helped lead the research. "People in the industry are aware this is an issue."

The results, published this year in the IEEE: Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics journal, highlight a potentially huge vulnerability....

Dr. Schuckers hopes to introduce new technology that can detect pore perspiration patterns to prevent the biometric devices from being fooled. She has started a company, NexID Biometrics, to start licensing it next year.

The referenced study is as follows:

Time-series detection of perspiration as a liveness test in fingerprint devices

Parthasaradhi, S.T.V. Derakhshani, R. Hornak, L.A. Schuckers, S.A.C.
Bioscrypt, Inc., Markham, Ont., Canada

This paper appears in: Systems, Man and Cybernetics, Part C, IEEE Transactions on
Publication Date: Aug. 2005
Volume: 35 , Issue: 3
On page(s): 335 - 343
ISSN: 1094-6977
INSPEC Accession Number:8507021
Digital Object Identifier: 10.1109/TSMCC.2005.848192
Posted online: 2005-07-25 08:17:26.0

The NexID Biometrics web site is at www.nexidbiometrics.com. According to various pages on the website:

NexID Biometrics, LLC, was formed in December 2005 by four partners, Bojan Cukic, Lawrence Hornak, Michael Schuckers, and Stephanie Schuckers. Through their collaborations over eight years, the team has extensive expertise in the biometric field, in addition to being experts in related areas of computer science, electrical engineering, statistics, and biomedical engineering....

Recent reports, corroborated by research, have demonstrated that biometric devices can be spoofed by fairly straightforward means. Several methods have been suggested to make spoofing of these devices more difficult. One such method is liveness, i.e., a determination of whether or not the biometric is measured from a live source. We are developing liveness and other anti-spoofing technology which can be readily incorporated into existing commercial devices. Our approach is primarily software-based and utilizes the biometric information itself. Thus, it requires no additional hardware while maintaining system performance....

Needless to say, the blogosphere is covering this also - everything from The Sweating Guide linkorama to Engadget/The Raw Feed to Tactile Tech to The Esoteric Macrocosm to Emergent Chaos. And perhaps some of these bloggers used a laptop with a fingerprint reader. Now we have to wonder if Emergent Chaos really WAS Emergent Chaos...

P.S. For more information on sweat, see How Stuff Works.

Friday, December 09, 2005

More free wi-fi

I've told Santa that I want a Hewlett Packard rx1955. But I don't want to pay a monthly fee for wi-fi access. I may not have to:

Kurt Peterson knows how to pick his Wi-Fi. "I go anywhere I can get it for free," he says. "Why should I pay? Enough people do it for free."

Peterson, a Los Angeles union organizer, has been spotted, laptop in hand, cellphone dangling from ear, at a Panera Bread store near Los Angeles International Airport.

Panera, like Schlotzsky's Deli, Krystal restaurants and other independent cafes, libraries, parks and a growing number of cities, offers free wireless Internet access. No strings attached.

The trend marks a major change from well-publicized efforts by companies such as Starbucks, Barnes & Noble and FedEx Kinko's as well as many hotel chains. They offer Internet "hotspots" at many locations for a fee ranging from $4 to $10 a day. Have a Wi-Fi laptop? You can access the Internet in seconds - after you fork over your credit card payment, register and sign in....

Stephen Staats, who runs a health care staffing firm, makes a point of visiting one of the Panera outlets when he's in Los Angeles. "I come here every day I'm in town because I love the free Wi-Fi," he says. "I have my own little office in a booth."...

Wififreespot.com has listings for all 50 states, and separate pages for airports, hotels, RV parks and campgrounds, and vacation rental properties. Hotspot-locations.com and wifinder.com also have global locations.

Neal Yanofsky, executive vice president of the 773-store Panera Bread chain, can't say for sure if he has sold more sandwiches since adding free Wi-Fi service in 2004....

Other chains that offer free Wi-Fi include Diedrich Coffee, Apple retail stores and the EZ Lube auto service chain in California. And most independent coffee houses offer free Wi-Fi to try to lure business away from national chains such as Starbucks....

In California, downtown areas of Long Beach, Hermosa Beach and Culver City have free Wi-Fi. Austin, Cleveland and Spokane, Wash., have Wi-Fi zones, and Philadelphia is building a Wi-Fi system for the entire city....

Be careful when using Wi-Fi in public. If you're doing anything more sensitive than checking e-mail, wait until you get home, says [JiWire CEO Kevin] McKenzie, whose firm sells $39.95 software to make surfing the Wi-Fi web in open cafes more secure.

Still, companies such as Starbucks tout the security - and reliability - of their networks as one reason consumers should pay for access. These companies will continue to appeal to the business traveler who wants consistency, says Jim Sullivan, who runs wififreespot.com.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Free SMS Services

It's difficult to find sources of free SMS services, other than what I already found. I pretty much keep on running into the big three (or the big two plus the little one):

Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc., as well as the smaller 4Info Inc., are now offering text-messaging search features that allow users to send a query to the search engines via text message and receive a reply within seconds.

The three work in a similar fashion: To use the service, a user sends a text message with the search request to the five-digit number for YAHOO (92466) or GOOGL (46645) or 4INFO (44636).

4INFO tries to be unique in some ways. For example, if you text "pickup" or "pu," you can receive all sorts of pickup lines:

If I received a nickel for everytime I saw someone as beautiful as you, I'd have five cents.

I wonder what our children will look like.

Excuse me, do you have any raisins? How about a date?

Trust me, this list was edited extremely.

Among the more useful services is the hotspot service. Here are the results for "hotspot 91761":

201 S Plum Ave.
Ontario,CA 91761

Soft Touch Car Wash
5246 Riverside Dr
Chino,CA 91710
Car Wash

(2/2)Ontario Chamber of Commerce
421B North Euclid Avenue
Ontario,CA 91762

1107 East 4th Street
Ontario,CA 91764

Reply w/'m' for more

Why Too What?

What is wrong with this picture?

From: gtservices@govtech.net [mailto:gtservices@govtech.net]
Sent: Wednesday, December 07, 2005 1:53 PM
To: [me]
Subject: eGov News Brief 05.12.07

Yes, I know that this date is contained in an electronic mail message subject and not in a database. Still, I'm disturbed that a technical publication is using two digit years. Or is that not a problem any more?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Here comes the Sun

From a Sun press release:

MENLO PARK, CALIF; November 30, 2005 - Sun Microsystems, Inc. (NASDAQ: SUNW) today announced two landmark moves in the battle to create the software platform of choice for the next-generation of the Internet. First, having seen tremendous momentum with the Solaris Operating System (OS) as free and open source software, Sun is making the Java Enterprise System, Sun N1 Management software, and Sun developer tools available at no cost for both development and deployment and further, is reaffirming its commitment to open source this software. Second, Sun is announcing that it is integrating all of this software along with the Solaris OS into the Solaris Enterprise System, the only comprehensive and open infrastructure software platform available today.