Archive for November, 2007

AT&T Tilt — Dutty TouchFlo Unlock Screen

This may be one of the most usable new parts of the Dutty TouchFlo cooked ROM for my new AT&T Tilt:

Tilt Unlock Screen

Those of you familiar with Windows Mobile 5 or Windows Mobile 6 will remember the “Unlock” button the center-right portion of the screen that you had to tap with a stylus (or, much less effectively, with your thumb while you are driving – ugh).  The new lock/unlock mechanism on this cooked HTC TouchFlo ROM works like this:

  1. To lock, simply press the hard power key on the right side of the phone.
  2. To unlock: press the hard power key to “wake up” the display, then SLIDE this button you see above from the left to the right.

Sliding is so much easier than the old “button press” method there’s really no comparison.  You can do it with your eyes closed, and it works way more often.  Locking is easier too: the old “scroll down on the home page” method is gone, replaced with a hard key.

Facebook Beacon modified due to protests

Beacon now requires explicit opt-in. It’s not an unconditional victory, as there is still no global opt-out (or better, opt-in before it even starts doing anything), but it’s a nice step and a win for the rabblesphere.

Facebook announces modifications to Beacon advertising program

AT&T Tilt – Custom ROM

I couldn’t be happier with my new AT&T Tilt. It’s an upgrade to my old Cingular 8125, and it’s:

  1. Fast
  2. Sleek
  3. More user-friendly

More on “user-friendly” in a moment. But first, I want to share my experience flashing a custom or “cooked” ROM, which I learned about via the xda-developers forum. The ROM I chose was “Dutty’s TouchFlo ROM Final 2 [Fixed]” — these things rev faster than just about anything I’ve ever experienced — and it’s a mind-blower. First of all, it has the HTC TouchFlo-style interface with finger gestures, including the Cube interface. This is somewhat similar to the iPhone and is spectacular. Second, it’s fast. Third, it looks very, very cool. Fourth, it’s even more usable than the default WM6 interface, which I was used to with my old phone.

Here’s a screenshot of my new phone home page:

ATT Tilt Dutty TouchFlo ROM

The installation was surprisingly easy. There were basically only three steps:

  1. Flash HardSPL to the phone. This is (in the words of pof):

    Same features as SSPL, but flashed on the phone and with bootloader version 1.04 (hex edited to be shown as 1.10.Oli), that is:

    • Ability to bypass signature in NBH files (friendly for cooked roms)
    • Ability to access radio bootloader (no more corrupted CID bricks)
    • Shows itself as SuperCID when doing a rom upgrade (but it internally isn’t)
    • Can be uninstalled by just reflashing a shipped SPL, so no warranty is lost

    …which of course I don’t understand. It’s basically a way to ensure safe loading of cooked ROMs. It also allows you to get back to the “stock” AT&T ROM should you ever need to return the phone.

  2. Install the cooked ROM. This comes from a 51 MB .zip file you can get from the forum link I mentioned above.
  3. Install a quick 21 KB update to fix some keyboard mapping issues. This is specific to the AT&T Tilt, from what I gather.

A couple phone hard resets (which happen automatically), and presto! you’re in business.

Let me get back to the “user-friendly” part I mentioned above. The Tilt has more buttons than the 8125, and they are grouped at the bottom, not spread out on top and bottom. It also has a scroll wheel on the left side, similar to the Blackberry, and is very usable.  It has not one, but two OK buttons — one on the front and one on the left — which is great and helps usability without the stylus.  I can’t say much yet about the actual tilting feature for which this thing was named, but at worst it’s a wash.

Next posts will deal with my experiences setting up tethering for the occasional time I might need to connect where there is no WiFi available; setting up GPS; playing with the music & video features; and hopefully much more.

Oh joyous day!

Windows OneCare interfering with AT&T Tilt connection

I just received my AT&T Tilt in the mail last night. I was able to configure it fine on my laptop (which does not have Windows Live OneCare), but when I brought it home to partner with my desktop, it wouldn’t connect. No obvious error messages, just no connection in Windows Mobile Device Center.

I uninstalled and reinstalled WMDC 6.1 with no success.

Then, I came across a help topic that said:

If Windows Live OneCare is installed on your machine, it may be blocking the device connectivity. Please click here for the steps to configure Windows Live OneCare to allow the device to connect.

This pointed me here and I was able to follow the steps and get my device partnered properly. Yay!

Is Google racist, or is CNN?

Or neither?

Check out the attached article screenshot (click the picture) and pay attention to what ads Google is serving up at the end of the article.

Rodney King CNN Article Nov 29 07

Draw your own conclusions.

C# 2.0 NULL Coalescing Operator

OK, I’m a little behind the times, but I just found out there was a neat way to sidestep 90% of the null checks I do in my ternary operators:

output = (value == null) ? "NULL" : value;

becomes

output = (value ?? "NULL");

(h/t R. Aaron Zupancic)

Using SSPI in connection strings vs. a named SQL Server user

Just ran into a little problem, thought I’d share:

My connection string is set up to use a Trusted Connection, with this value set:

integrated security=sspi

However, there are two situations where this fails or becomes problematic:

  1. In production, when web and database are on different physical machines
  2. Running unit tests locally

#1 is described here. #2 is more, um, “crampy” — you can easily enough add your local user account (in my case, <machinename>\Anthony) to the SQL Server db_owners group for your database, but is that really the best way to do it?  I suppose that in most cases the dev user account will be a local admin, and thus already have all the required permissions without any manual intervention, but that’s why I made up the term “crampy” — maybe it doesn’t feel quite right, but it won’t kill you either.

If you keep SSPI but either (a) don’t login as a local admin or (b) don’t add your local account to db_owners, you get this error:

System.Data.SqlClient.SqlException : Cannot open database "cdb" requested by the login. The login failed. Login failed for user '<machinename>\Anthony'.

A different vendor I work with doesn’t use trusted connections, but rather sets up a distinct user login in SQL Server. With that route, the problem becomes one of encrypting the password in your machine.config / web.config file. We used to do it that way, but without any encryption, thus getting the worst of all possible scenarios.

I may opt for the named-user-with-encryption approach. More later.