Posts Tagged 'Dash'

REDUX: upgrade your T-Mobile Dash to WM6.1

This time last year (or so), I posted an article on upgrading your T-Mobile Dash phone to Windows Mobile 6.1 – the latest WinMo build available for these phones.  While that article is still very valid and useable, I thought it best to revisit this topic with more current information, including the WM6.1 ROM that I’m now using.

I’ll be rehashing much of the info from my previous post (no sense reinventing the wheel!).  That said, this article should be able to get you from your current state (WM5, WM6 or WM6.1) to the Windows Mobile 6.1-based “EnergyROM”, which I’m liking very much.  Even better, many of the tweaks that I posted in my previous article are no longer necessary – they’re built right in!

Here we go…

First of all, this write-up assumes that you have a fully-functioning T-Mobile Dash phone operating on the U.S. network.  It also assumes that you know how to use your phone fairly well, as not everything is spelled out for you.  Lastly, this procedure may void your warranty, so please be aware of that.

What you’ll need:

  • A functioning, usable T-Mobile Dash phone (aka HTC Excalibur) on the T-Mobile network
  • Windows PC (XP, Vista or Windows 7 –> what I use)
  • USB sync cable to connect your phone to your PC
  • To download this ROM file and unzip it to a local folder on your computer.  The desktop works fine.
    (Note: you will need a RAR compatible unzip program like WinRAR.)

If you’re already confused, then this upgrade isn’t for you.  Otherwise, please continue…

UPGRADING THE ROM

  1. Turn off your phone, remove any MicroSD card you might have, and boot the phone back up again.  When the phone is fully booted (and usable), connect your phone to your PC via your USB sync cable.  Windows should recognize your phone and either 1) launch ActiveSync/Windows Mobile Device Center (pictured), or 2) see it as a removable drive.  Fine.  Things are working normally.

    winmoUpgrade01

  2. With your phone connected to your PC, double-click on the “auto.bat” file from the EnergyROM .rar file that you downloaded/extracted in the earlier steps.winmoUpgrade02
  3. The ROM update utility will start.  You should be greeted with a command prompt box telling your to “remove SD card and reboot…”.  We’ve already done this, so hit Enter (any key) to continue.  The ROM will be copied to your phone.winmoUpgrade03
  4. The screen should read “execute SPL now…”  Hit Enter one more time.winmoUpgrade04
  5. Now, hit the middle (silver) button of your phone d-pad.  The screen on your mobile phone should turn white.
  6. Back at the CMD prompt (DOS box), hit Enter once more to continue.winmoUpgrade05
  7. The GUI for the ROM updater should launch.  Keep the defaults and select any “I agree” statements when prompted.  The ROM update itself takes about 5 minutes or so.winmoUpgrade06

    winmoUpgrade07

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    winmoUpgrade09

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  8. Update successful!  After the update, your phone will reboot by itself and run some behind-the-scenes configurations, which might take awhile.  This is normal.
  9. Upon rebooting again, you will see the Windows Mobile desktop, which is followed up shortly by the “Connection Setup” dialog.  Choose your cellular operator and hit OK to apply those settings.
  10. For whatever reason, this ROM update sets your time, date and time zone quite strangely, which may adversely affect some program installs.  So, go ahead and set those settings now.  Go to START > SETTINGS > Clock & Alarm > Time & Date.
  11. Finally, your phone should be ready-to-go with the WM6.1 EnergyROM.  Congrats!!!  You can re-insert your MiniSD card, if you like.

INSTALLING THE ‘MINI OPERA’ BROWSER

Although this ROM comes with a newer version of the mobile Internet Explorer browser, it leaves some things to be desired.  I’ve found that the (free) Opera Mini browser is very nice to use on these phones, can browse most any website, and is really quite fast – even over the Edge network.

Here’s how to install Opera Mini, if you like.

  1. On your phone, select Start > Internet Explorer
  2. Click the right soft button for the Menu, and select Go To Web Address
  3. Hold the backspace arrow to delete the current text.
    (Note: to disable the XT9 predictive text, hold the Alt key + Space Bar to bring up that menu.  Choose ‘ABC’ from the list.)
  4. Type in mini.opera.com and hit Enter
  5. When the page loads, choose the bottom most option that says “If this version fails to install…” and click the center button on your d-pad
  6. On the next page, select the top option for “Download Opera Mini! (English, Multiple Certificates)” and hit the center button.
  7. Click the left soft button to Continue.  Click OK at the <root> option prompt.  Click Continue again.
  8. Click OK at the warning screen
  9. Click OK at the Security screen
  10. Opera Mini will download and install.  Click YES to launch when prompted.
  11. Click YES at the initial Permissions screen for Opera Mini.
  12. At the Permissions screen, select “Yes, always.  Don’t ask again” and hit OK to continue.
  13. Opera Mini will finish its install.  Click “Accept” and you’re done.
  14. Finally, within Opera Mini, choose Menu (left soft button) > Tools > Settings.  Deselect the “Auto-complete address input” and “24-hour clock” options.  *Highly recommended*.  Hit the left soft button to Save.
  15. Opera Mini is ready-to-rock!  Enjoy 🙂

Note: Opera Mini is a java application, so you won’t see an ‘Opera Mini’ link on your Start Menu.  Instead, launch the Java application, and then launch Opera Mini from within it.  You can assign a hotkey to the Java app, or use MortScript to make Opera Mini its own “program”, so to speak.  More on that in the near future.

PARTING THOUGHTS

The T-Mobile Dash  continues to surprise me with how well it performs after all these years.  Hey… this sucker was originally released in late 2006!  The continuing dev support, especially at XDA Developers, is nothing short of astounding.

Even better, the EnergyROM has breathed additional life into this phone, which is really cool.  It looks great, is a bit faster, handles low-memory situations better, and incorporates a lot of the tweaks I really love.  Very nice work, NRGZ28!!

I hope you enjoy it too 🙂

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Back in “Dash-land”

[Not actually my phone]I recently posted regarding my switch to the T-Mobile G1 phone, the hardware of the G1, and finally the software experience.  In the most recent posting, however, I had decided to switch back to the T-Mobile Dash – my previous mobile phone – to see if my temperament would improve any.  Well, I’ve been back on the Dash for almost a month now, and I thought it was about time to give an update!

 

 

Here goes…

INSTALLING
My brother was kind enough to send his old Dash phone to me.  A wipe and reload was in order, so I grabbed one of the latest and greatest Windows Mobile 6.1 ROMs (NRG Rose ROM v1.7) and started in.  I couldn’t get the ROM loaded via my Win7 Beta desktop machine, so I grabbed a Vista laptop that I had sitting around at work.  Walked through a few steps, the phone restarted a couple of times, and I was up and running with WM6.1 in less than 30 minutes or so.  This ROM already includes some very nice homescreen enhancements, a weather plug-in, Office Mobile, PDF reader, an “auto configurator”, CeleTask, and some other great updates.  To be perfectly honest, the NRG Rose ROM v1.7 is better than my previous ROM in nearly every way.  A number of hoops that I previously had to run through ‘post-install’ are now no longer necessary, which is great.  Pretty much the only major install I made was loading Opera Mini, which is a very good and capable browser.

GETTING ALL ‘DIALED-IN’
One of the beauties of having your contact/calendar info “on the web” is the ability to quickly re-sync your new phone and be all ready to go within minutes.  In my case, I sync’d my phone with our corporate Exchange Server and had my contacts and calendar info back on my phone within minutes.  I love that.  Beyond that, I assigned my speed dial buttons to the folks that I call most often, and finally set things like ring tones, notification sounds and so forth.  That’s about as much “dialing in” as I really need to do.

 gettingstarted[1]

DAILY USAGE
Having migrated from the Dash to the G1 and back to the Dash again, I was really curious about what my experience would be.  Honestly, I was expecting a bit of “oh, yeah… the Dash has this or that problem”, quickly getting frustrated, and ending up back on the G1.  After all, the Dash is about 2.5 years old now, running the (not-nearly-as-schwanky) Windows Mobile OS, and sporting older, slower hardware.  It oughta be a slam dunk in the Android-based G1’s favor, but it really hasn’t been.

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Observe:

  • DIALING: A basic phone call on either device is really pretty easy – assuming that you’re manually entering a phone number.  The Dash is really no better or worse, in this regard.  Finding a contact quickly, however, does seem to be faster on the Dash – primarily due to the ‘right there in your face’ keyboard.
  • SPEED DIALING:  One of my “peeves” with the G1 was the inability to make a quick phone call to those folks that I contact most often.  I would venture a guess that I call the same 10 phone numbers roughly 90% of the time, and I’m guessing that a lot of other people do the same thing.  On the G1, a “speed dial” of this nature required at least six clicks to accomplish.  Frustrating.  The Dash, on the other hand, with appropriately configured “speed dial” keys, is only three clicks to perform the same function.
  • CALL QUALITY:  I didn’t have a lot of complaints about call quality on the G1.  The earpiece on the Dash, however, is a bit quieter, and seems to vary somewhat depending upon how you’re holding the phone.  I would say that the G1 is better for outside use, and either phone is acceptable indoors.  Using a Bluetooth headset, of course, makes the point moot.
  • RECEPTION:  Strangely enough, I noted a *very* nice increase in phone reception when I first got my G1.  My house is in a bit of a deadzone, but the G1 really seemed to get “more bars in more places”, if you will.  I was fully expecting that the Dash would again suffer in this area, causing me much grief and heartache.  Thankfully, this hasn’t been the case!  I don’t if the new WM6.1 ROM I’m using has better radio code, or if it’s the physical phone itself, but I’m really not seeing a discernable difference in reception – it’s quite good with this Dash.  What I have noticed, however, is a huge decrease in dropped calls since switching back to the Dash!  I don’t know if it’s a 3G network issue (which the Dash cannot use) or something physically wrong with the G1 I had, but it would drop calls without fail in certain places.  The Dash has not done this.
  • RINGING:  As I had reported with the G1, I was quite consistently missing calls when I didn’t have the phone physically on me.  Basically, the phone was quieter and (especially at home) I often couldn’t hear the phone ring at all if I was in another room.  This hasn’t been an issue with the Dash, thankfully, and I’m hearing the phone ring much better than before.  Also, the Dash has a “vibrate first, then ring” setting for your ring profile.  The G1 did not offer this, nor do many phones that I know of.  I’m happily using this setting again, and I much prefer it for office-use.  If the phone is in my pocket, I’m usually able to answer (or “silence” it) before my co-workers ever know that a call came in.
  • CALL LOG:  Since I mentioned it in my “software” review of the G1, I should probably counter here.  Quite frankly, the G1 did not offer much in the way of full-featured call logging.  It’s all well and good to know that so and so called me yesterday, but at what time?  How long was the call?  The Dash gives me this information, and I appreciate that.  Not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s important to me.
  • TYPING:  Although the keyboard on the G1 is much larger, it’s not necessarily better, as I quickly found out.  I never quite got “used” to the G1’s keyboard – even after 2 months.  It’s not horrible, by any means, but the keyboard on the Dash is clearly easier to type on – at least for me.  Also, the ability to ‘hold a key down and get the alt-press symbol’ is a real time saver.  I do wish that the Dash had both right and left Shift keys, but aside from that the Dash is a better device for typing on.  Lastly, the fact that you had to “slide out” the G1 keyboard made me want to go to the keyboard less.  Take that for what it’s worth.
  • TEXT MESSAGING:  Both the G1 and the (WM6.1-enabled) Dash allow for threaded SMS text messaging – a “must have”’ for cell phones these days, in my opinion.  The G1 is probably better for managing my text messages, but the typing (as I’ve mentioned) somewhat negates any improvements there.  The text messaging app is certainly much nicer to look at on the G1, however.  No contest there.

    screen13[1]

  • BROWSING:  This is an area that is clearly in the G1’s favor.  The screen is larger, touch screen-enabled, features 3G network support (where available), and uses a much newer browser technology.  I’m not even going to argue that the Dash comes close to matching the browsing-ability of the G1.  It doesn’t.  I will say this, though: using (the free) Opera Mini on the Dash closes the gap a surprising amount.  In my non-scientific guesstimating, I would say that Opera Mini is as fast at pulling up pages on the EDGE network as the G1 is on the 3G network.  I’m not going to bother to explain why, because I really don’t know.  Opera Mini is really a very clever browser, though, and makes using the web on the Dash much more palatable.  Between the two, though, the G1 is clearly a better Internet-capable device.
  • EMAIL:  Much like the Text Messaging report, using Email on the G1 was generally a “nicer” experience, though not necessarily better.  For my Yahoo! Mail account, the G1 is preferable and works well.  For my Exchange mail, however, the Dash is still a better device – and primarily because it has built-in Exchange support, where the G1 does not (yet).
  • CALENDAR:  The calendaring on the Dash is not great to use, though the tie-in functionality with Exchange Server is great.  Purely from a visibility standpoint, the G1 is much better.  I use appointments very often, which both devices handle well, but the basic calendaring viewing is better on the G1.
  • CAMERA:  The photo quality (and interface) on the G1 are definitely better than on the Dash.  The Dash, however, seems to take pictures more quickly – mostly due to the slow auto-focus behavior of the G1.  Between the two, however, I’d rather have the G1’s camera.
  • STABILITY:  The G1 was a fairly stable device, and so is the Dash.  I find myself managing programs on the Dash more than on the G1, but I’m also fine with that.  If I didn’t manually close some apps, I’m guessing that the Dash would bog down a lot more, which would eventually lead most people to simply restart the phone.  Quite honestly, WinMo does not manage memory that effectively, but I can.  The ROM that I’m running maps a key to the CeleTask app which allows you to very easily close apps and free up memory.  I don’t mind doing that, but a lot of people probably do.  That said, I’ve noticed that the G1 has some marketplace apps to “manually close” running programs.  From my experience with the G1, it didn’t manage memory (& apps) all that well either.

FINAL THOUGHTS
At this point, I’m back on the Dash and am staying here until I find a device that is truly better.  The T-Mobile G1, while clearly a nice device, was not better for me, and (as I’ve harped on before) actually made some functionality more difficult.

That said, if you tend to browse on your phone a lot, enjoy downloading apps/games, or need GPS functionality, then the G1 may be a better choice for you.  However, if you use your phone primarily for phone calls, text messaging, and email, then I would argue that the T-Mobile Dash is the better device between the two.

Your mileage may vary, but as for me, well…I’m happy to be back in Dash-land. 🙂

[Click here to view a YouTube clip of WM6.1 on the T-Mobile Dash]

Migrating to the G1 phone?

So…today I picked up a brand-new G1 phone from T-Mobile.  I’ve been using my T-Mobile Dash for over 2 years now, and it’s starting to feel pretty long in the tooth.  Why get the G1?  Well… T-Mobile is pretty well-known for having a poor selection of the “spiffy” phones, and they’re usually late to the game for adopting new technology.  (3G network, anyone?)  Having said that, the G1 phone is a bit of an anomaly for T-Mobile: first to market with something exciting, and so it seemed to be the “phone to get” when looking at their available phones.  Time will tell if that was “good thinking” on my part or not…

REMEMBERING THE DASH
Before I talk about the G1 too much, I should give a bit of a background here.  I’ve been using this T-Mobile Dash since November 2006.  Quite honestly, it’s been a very good phone.  Perhaps the best I’ve ever owned.  At one point, I had gone over 90 days without ever restarting, rebooting, or turning off the phone.  That’s amazing!  The Dash initially shipped with the (fairly painful) Windows Mobile 5.0 OS.  Before too long, T-Mobile and HTC (the phone manufacturer) offered a free/supported upgrade to WinMo 6.0.  The offer of a free OS upgrade for your mobile phone was pretty amazing at the time.  6.0 was better in most regards.  This year, a “gray” release of WinMo 6.1 became available, and it was a very worthy upgrade for the Dash.  Still, an OS refresh can only do so much for an aging phone.

LOSING FUNCTIONALITY?
I’m actually not enormously excited about migrating to the G1 phone.  Why?  Well, primarily because I’m very aware of some functionality that I’ll be losing.  For starters, the G1 does *not* yet support Exchange sync capability, which is something I’ve been using for 2 years now.  Also, there are some seemingly small features that it lacks, and I’m always amazed that new, state-of-the-art phones don’t have these. 

First, my Dash (WinMo OS) has a ring profile called “Automatic”.  In this mode, the phone would automatically set your phone to “silent” when you were in a meeting.  It gathered this information, of course, from your phone calendar, which was synced with my work calendar.  When the meeting was done, the ringer went back to “normal” ring mode.  Have you ever set your phone to “vibrate” and then missed a call because you forgot to put it back?  I used to do that ALL the time, but not since having this feature.  Honestly, every phone with a calendar should have this feature.  It’s a no-brainer to me, but it appears that only Windows Mobile has figured it out.

Secondly, my default ring “style” has for years been vibrate first, then ring.  Assuming that my phone is on my person (or near to me), this gives me about a 90% success rate of grabbing my phone and answering it before anyone has to hear the ring tone.  I guarantee that my co-workers are more than happy to not have to hear yet another phone ringing in the office.  How many phones offer the vibrate first, then ring option?  Not many, and apparently *NOT* the G1.  Aggravating.

Thirdly, the Dash features an in-your-face style keyboard, whereas the G1 is a fold-out style.  Any typing on the G1 will require flipping the screen aside to access the keyboard, since it does *not* (currently) have any sort of a virtual keyboard.  That, of course, allows for a much bigger screen, which is nice, but at the cost of less-accessible typing, in some regards.  Not a deal killer, by any stretch, but notable.

Lastly, I’m aware of some other features that I’ll be losing – at least for now.  “Phone tethering”, which allows me to use my phone as a modem for a laptop, is not available on the G1 right now, as I understand it.  Full “Office files” support is also not available (or just not “built-in”, perhaps), which means that easily opening/editing Word and Excel files is not an option.  Hmph.  The list goes on, I’m sure.

GAINING FUNCTIONALITY?
Of course, it would be very unfair to note the negatives and none of the positives.  The G1 is a nice phone with many desirable features, namely… a nice big keyboard, large touchscreen, very configurable “desktop”, 3G network access (nice!), an open OS platform, GPS built-in, and a fun, if a bit “unproven” user interface.  It’s certainly more “fun” to use than WinMo so far, for what that’s worth 🙂

THE TRIP SO FAR…
I’m not wanting to give a full review on the G1 at this point.  I’ve only had it for a few hours, you know!  I can, however, give some initial thoughts both positive and negative…

+ Screen is very nice
+ Keyboard is (so far) pretty easy to use, and even has two shift keys!
+ “App Market” is nice, and there are some good, free applications
+ Has multiple “desktops” that are all configurable and fun to scroll with
+ Holding a desktop icon allows you to move it or delete it.  Cool!
+ Syncs well with my Google Calendar and Contacts
+ Played very well with my Yahoo! Mail
+ Pull-down notification menu is nice
+ 3G network is nice n’ fast!
+ Built-in browser is really quite good
+ Camera is really good

– Battery life is pretty poor, it seems.  Maybe I’ll get a day and a half?!
– Heftier and larger than what I’m used to
– Can’t find any “speed dial” settings like I’m used to
– No “auto silent” feature, though the app Ring Control might help with this
– Keyboard seems slightly angled when opened.  Strange.
– Phone is kinda ugly 🙂
– Bottom of phone is angled up for no apparent reason

So… that’s all for now.  I need to man-handle this phone for a week or two to *really* get the low-down on it.  I know that my brother is interested in one as well, so I’m going to try and put it thru its paces.

More on the G1 soon!

Upgrade your T-Mobile Dash to Windows Mobile 6.1

NOTE: A newer version of this article is posted here.

 

I’ve been a T-Mobile customer for years (and years).  In fact, I’ve been a T-Mobile customer for as long as they’ve been active in the United States.  Before that we were with Voicestream , the company that T-Mobile bought out to stake a claim on American soil.  During that time, of course, we’ve had several phones.  An early Handspring PDA with a phone add-on that made me look like I was talking into a pizza box.  A couple of Samsung phones.  A Nokia 6820 that my wife still uses.  And there were other phones, I’m sure.

In November 2006, however, I waded reluctantly into the Windows Mobile world.  Not because I wanted a Windows Mobile-based phone, mind you, but because I was beginning to support them in the workplace on a regular basis.  It just made sense.  Most of our company is on AT&T, but I staunchly demanded to stick with T-Mobile.  That being the case, my choices of Windows Mobile-based phones was limited.  Not too limited, however, as I was able to purchase the T-Mobile Dash for not-too-much money.

Designed by HTC to be a "T-Mobile" branded phone, I have to say that this handset has some seriously impressive staying power.  Almost 2 years after they were released, T-Mobile is still selling these phones on their website!  Admittedly, T-Mobile is typically behind the "technology curve", if you will, but they seem to know a good product when they see it.  The Dash is a good phone, and a very decent PDA.  I’ve beat mine to heck, but it keeps chugging along.  I don’t turn my phone off — ever — and this device has been surprisingly stable, especially considering that I sync my work email, calendar, and contacts as well as making phone calls, of course, the occasional game, and much more.  So stable, in fact, that at one point I had not rebooted (restarted, turned off, etc.) this phone for over 90 days!  Can you leave your phone up and running for over 3 months without a restart?  Bet you can’t.  🙂

But I digress.

The point of this article is to help others upgrade to the very latest OS that you can find for the T-Mobile Dash: Windows Mobile 6.1 (WM6.1).  Although these phones initially shipped with WM5.0, T-Mobile (and HTC) eventually offered a free, supported upgrade to WM6.0.  It was a nice move on their part, and a worthy upgrade.  Upgrading from WM6.0 to WM6.1 seems almost trite, but make no mistake about it: upgrading to WM6.1 is a radical front-end change that will leave you feeling like you have a brand new phone!  Perhaps that’s overstating it a bit, but the upgrade is really quite nice to have.

Among the WM6.1 enhancements are…

  • "Sliding panels" homescreen
  • Threaded SMS messaging
  • Improved browser
  • Built-in task manager
  • Better battery life and improved device performance
  • Other stuff

Enough of all that.  Let’s try to get you upgraded!

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First of all, this write-up assumes that you have a fully-functioning T-Mobile Dash phone operating on the U.S. network.  It also assumes that you know how to use your phone fairly well, as not everything is spelled out for you.  Lastly, this procedure may void your warranty, so please be aware of that.

What you’ll need:

  • A functioning, usable T-Mobile Dash phone (aka HTC Excalibur) on the T-Mobile network
  • Windows PC (XP or Vista)
  • USB sync cable to connect your phone to your PC
  • To download these zipped files and unzip them to a local folder on your computer.  The desktop works fine.

If you’re already confused, then this upgrade isn’t for you.  Otherwise, please continue…

UPGRADING THE ROM

  1. Turn off your phone, remove any MicroSD card you might have, and boot the phone back up again.  When the phone is fully booted (and usable), connect your phone to your PC via your USB sync cable.  Windows should recognize your phone and either 1) launch Active-Sync, or 2) see it as a removable drive.  Fine.  Things are working normally.
  2. With your phone connected to your PC, double-click on the "RUU_Excalibur_WM61_Kavana_080330_WWE.exe" file that you downloaded/extracted in the earlier steps.  The ROM update utility will start.  Click the button with "EC" to continue.
  3. You should be greeted with a command prompt box telling your to "remove SD card and reboot…".  We’ve already done this, so hit Enter to continue.  The ROM will be copied to your phone.
  4. The screen should read "execute SPL now…"  Hit Enter one more time.
  5. Now, hit the middle (silver) button of your phone d-pad.  The screen on your mobile phone should turn white.
  6. Hit Enter once more to continue.
  7. The GUI for the ROM updater should launch.  Keep the defaults and select any "I agree" statements when prompted.  The ROM update itself takes about 5 minutes or so.
  8. After the update, your phone will reboot by itself and run the ‘Cold Boot’ config.  This is normal.  Restart your phone when prompted.
  9. Upon rebooting again, you will be prompted with a "Voice Command" program selected.  I chose "Microsoft Voice Command" and clicked OK.  Another reboot.
  10. Finally, your phone should boot up into the new WM6.1 interface and join the T-Mobile network.  Congrats!!!  Your phone has successfully upgraded.  You can also turn the phone off again and re-insert your MiniSD card, if you like.

FIXING THE DEFAULT KEY MAPPINGS

This ROM defaults to an alternate (non-US) keyboard mapping for this phone.  It’s fairly easy to fix, so here we go….

  1. Connect the phone to your PC
  2. Copy the ‘ET9 Full.cab’ and ‘et9.Excalibur.0409.kmap.txt’ files to your phone.  Remember where you put them!
  3. Using the File Explorer, find the ‘ET9 Full.cab’ file and launch it to install.  Install it to your ‘Device’, if prompted.
  4. Under Start > All Programs, use the Resco Explorer program to copy the ‘et9.Excalibur.0409.kmap.txt’ file to the My Device\Windows folder on your phone.  Overwrite the existing file.
  5. Restart your phone and enjoy the proper keyboard mappings!

Note: the pink "T" button in the lower-right hand corner of the keypad now launches the CeleTask task manager application.  Very nice!

RUN THE CONNECTION SETUP FOR T-MOBILE

  1. Go to the Start menu on your phone.  This selection now opens the "Recent Programs" option by default.  Hit the left soft button again for "All Programs", then select Accessories.
  2. Choose the Connection Setup program
  3. Select the ‘United States’ from the first drop-down menu, and then ‘T-Mobile’ as your operator.
  4. Reboot when prompted.
  5. Your phone should now be configured for T-Mobile phone, data, MMS, and SMS access.

DISABLING Xt9 (optional)

The default typing input method for the Dash is the Xt9 I’m-gonna-guess-what-you-really-mean-to-say method.  I find it aggravating and turn it off immediately.  Here’s how.

  1. Open a new text message and begin typing
  2. Hold the "alt" key and "space bar" down at the same time
  3. When the menu pops up, choose the ‘ABC’ option (2nd in the list), and click the middle of your d-pad
  4. Now you can type what you want, how you want.  This selection will stay even with a reboot!

DISABLING THE JOG BAR (optional)

The Dash features a touch-sensitive strip just right of the display. It’s called the JogBar, and I hate it.  Actually, I like the idea, but it really doesn’t work well if you hold the phone up to your head with your right hand.  What happens?  Basically, it touches the side of your face and ends up turning the volume down in mid phone call.  Ooops!  For whatever reason, they *never* thought to include another method for adjusting the volume on these phones.  How about the up/down d-pad, guys?  Crazy, I know.

All that said, I just turn the volume on the phone to ‘max’ and disable the JogBar entirely.  Works out fine.  Here’s how…

  1. Connect the phone to your PC
  2. Copy the ‘SetJogBar.cab’ file to your phone.  Remember where you put it!
  3. Using the File Explorer on your phone, find the ‘SetJogBar.cab’ that you copied over and run it.  Install it to your ‘Device’, if prompted.
  4. Next, make a quick phone call, use the JogBar to turn the phone up all the way, and disconnect the call.
  5. Go to Start > All Programs > and Settings on your phone.
  6. On the 3rd screen, find the JOGGR line, open it, de-select the top 4 checkboxes, and click done.
  7. JogBar is disabled

CHANGING THE HEADER GRAPHIC FOR EASIER TEXT DIALING (optional)

Our home and office phones have letters written on the number keys for easier dialing when calling a number like 1-800-FLOWERS, or something like that.  That has historically been somewhat difficult on the Dash, but an upgraded graphic will cure those ails!  Here’s how…

  1. Connect the phone to your PC
  2. Copy the ‘ms_mobile.gif’ image to your phone.  Again, remember where you put it.
  3. Using Resco Explorer (Start > All Programs), copy the ‘ms_mobile.gif’ file to the My Device\Windows folder on your phone.  Overwrite the existing file.
  4. Reboot your phone and you’ll notice a handy ‘numbers + letters’ graphic at the top of the screen when you start dialing.  Cool.

SIMPLIFY THE HOME SCREEN (optional)

The default WM6.1 home screen includes access to photos, music, and other things that I (personally) don’t use a whole lot on my phone.  I’d rather not have them on the home screen.  Guess what?  That’s easy to change.  Here’s how…

  1. On your phone, go to Start > All Programs > Settings and choose Home Screen.
  2. The first option is called the Home Screen Layout and defaults to "Sliding Panel Media".  Select that box, and hit right or left on your d-pad until it says "Sliding Panel" only.
  3. You’ll also notice a checkbox that says "Show Recent Programs".  If you prefer that the Start button shows All Programs (instead of the new default Recent Programs), then simply uncheck that box.
  4. Hit Done and then hit the Home button.  Your home screen will be changed!

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That should do it!  Here are some before and after shots of the homescreen (not my phone, obviously):

Before

After

Schwanky!

For more information on your T-Mobile Dash, check out the XDA Developers "Excalibur" message board.  Really great stuff there!

Enjoy 🙂