2008-05-16

Getting started with iPhone on T-Mobile

My iPhone arrived on Monday. The Pocket PC was almost four years old, and Opera Mobile stopped working, so I rationalized the iPhone as a good replacement.

The first thing to do was to get it working with my T-Mobile SIM. I connected the iPhone to my office PC and let Windows XP semi-automatically update the iPhone driver. To pair the iPhone with iTunes, I simply ran iTunes, and the device showed up in the iTunes device list.

I downloaded and installed iLiberty+ for Windows and ran it with these options turned on:
  • Jailbreak
  • Activate
  • Unlock
The iPhone dowloaded the boot code, but didn't reboot itself. I was afraid I had bricked my iPhone in less than five minutes.

I disconnected the iPhone, restarted iTunes, and reconnected the iPhone. iTunes noticed that the iPhone was stuck booting and offered to restore the iPhone to factory settings. I took it up on the offer, and a few minutes later, the iPhone was good as new.

I ran iLiberty+ again, this time throwing all caution to the wind and turning all options on:
  • Jailbreak
  • Activate
  • YouTube fix
  • Unlock
  • Downgrade bootloader from 4.6 to 3.9FakeBlank
  • Cydia
This time, everything worked flawlessly. I switched SIMs, and T-Mobile worked fine.

To get the EDGE connection working, first I turned off Wi-Fi so I could test the the EDGE-only network connection. To turn off Wi-Fi, I selected Settings/General/Network/Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi OFF. Back up at the Network menu, I selected EDGE, and typed wap.voicestream.com into the APN box, leaving Username and Password empty. I tested the connection in Safari and Google Maps, and everything worked perfectly.

As a geek bonus, I turned Wi-Fi back on used Cydia to install OpenSSH, and roughly followed Do It Scared!'s instructions to log in and have a look at the file system. Pretty cool! Naturally, I used Cygwin's ssh client instead of Putty.

There is no native tasks application on iPhone, so I moved my to do list to Todoist. I added a Todoist shortcut to the Home screen, and it's almost as good as a native tasks app.

To access my notes and spreadsheets, I used ActiveSync to copy them from old Pocket PC to my PC, and then I uploaded them to Google Docs.

Despite the cruftiness of the Pocket PC, there are at least two things I miss:
  • Google Calender integration: Google Calendar is great, but the mobile view doesn't give you full control--you can't edit and delete events, and adding new events is a pain. I want something like GooSync on iPhone for two way OTA sync between the native calendar and Google.
  • Pocket Excel: The iPhone Notes app is good enough for text editing, but there is no replacement for Pocket Excel. For now, I use Google Docs to view spreadsheets in Safari, and edit them at home or at the office.
Here are my next steps:
  • Contacts: I need to copy my contacts database from the Pocket PC to the iPhone. My Pocket PC won't let me copy the contacts database to the SIM, and I'm not sure whether iPhone can read the SIM's contacts database anyway. For now, I use the GooSync contacts page from the last time it synced with the Pocket PC. I might use ActiveSync and iTunes, or I might try SyncJE or Funambol/SyncEvolution.
  • Dvorak keyboard: I use the Dvorak layout on my PC. It would be nice to use the same keyboard layout on the iPhone soft-keyboard.
  • Google Calendar OTA sync: I might be able to use SyncJE for this, too.
  • Custom ring tones: What good is a ringer if it doesn't sound like Bang Camaro?

5 comments:

Snake655 said...

Hello,
I recommend you to use Nemus to sync your gCalendar and your native iPhone Calendar.

It's still a manual sync but I am sure it will evolve :)

Richard said...

Thanks for the pointer. I'll check it out.

For contacts sync, I got Funambol installed an running yesterday. I will post details soon.

Anonymous said...

todoist interface for iPhone:

http://www.eecs.umich.edu/~mmoffitt/todoist.cgi

Richard said...

That's a good start at a todoist adaptation, but it's missing the "today" view (tasks that are overdue and due today), and it doesn't display due dates. I'll stick with the large screen version for now.

Richard said...

Here are a few updates: iPhone MMS on T-Mobile, iPhone contacts sync with Funambol, iPhone Dvorak keyboard, and How to create your own iPhone ringtone.

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