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THOUGHT: The good, the bad, the cab or how to screw up your phone
Posted by Arne Hess - on Monday, 01.09.03 - 08:30:00 CET under 09 - Thoughts - Viewed 6796x
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Yesterday evening I've updated my daily PPCW.Net i-Mate to the recently released PPCW.Net i-Mate ROM update and as with every Pocket PC and Smartphone updates - it's completely erasing all data from your device - similar to "format C:" on your PC.
While the update process went well (normally, if you do everything as described the update shouldn't went wrong anyway) and after such an update you have to install all files, apps and programs on your device again.

Normally this isn't a big deal. If the applications you are going to install came with a PC .exe you can simply select them from ActiveSync again.

So far so good - so far the theory. As I've mentioned several times before, I'm always trying to install as much applications on storage cards as possible (doesn't matter if it is Pocket PCs or a Smartphone) to keep as much memory available to run the applications as possible. Currently I'm using a 128 MB SD card with my Smartphone and I'm using around 10 MB for programs.

Unlike ActiveSync installations on Pocket PCs the Smartphone always asks you during the installation where to install the current application and you can select "Phone" or "Storage Card" which is - from my point of view - pretty convenient.
So I went on to select all the applications I wanted to install on my i-Mate. A big mistake!

The process how this installation works is the following:

  • ActiveSync copies the cab files (a kind of compressed self executable files) to a dedicated directory on your Smartphone.
  • Here all these files are stored and extracted, one after one.
  • Smartphone will asks you where to install the application and copies all extracted files either to "IPSMProgram FilesFile_Directory" or to "Storage CardProgram FilesFile_Directory"

So far so good - again but what I've completely missed - until yesterday - is the fact that your cab files are extracted on the device itself - doesn't matter where you want to install it later.
The result was that I've copied to many cab files via ActiveSync to the phone and the memory of the device became pretty low because all cab files was stored on the device in "IPSMWindowsAppMgrInstall" and the current application which should be installed was extracted on the phone as well. The i-Mate warned me about the low memory but it was continuing with the installation and ran into a loop like: "Warning - Memory Low" -> "Installing Application" -> "Warning - Memory Low" and so on...

The ugly fact is that you have no option here to interrupt or stop the installation process and if you think removing the battery would interrupt it your are right - but it also interrupted the phone from working anymore because removing the battery in this stage is like switching off your PC during an installation!

When I've switched on the phone again the phone stayed on the boot screen which forced me to hard reset the phone! Argh... :-(

So if you also go to install you applications after an update - don't make the same mistake to select all applications in a row but select a few only to provide the phone enough memory to install it. Otherwise you might run into this loop as well which will force you to hard reset your Smartphone as well. And this takes time...

Cheers ~ Arne


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