Update

June 26, 2006

Found an interesting program, actually made by microsoft that allows for a very nice amount of tweaking. Look for TweakUI.
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/
downloads/powertoys/xppowertoys.mspx

Electronics

June 26, 2006

Blah, today served as both a high and low in my self-perception. All is the result of the unquenchable desire to try the impossible and explore the unknown. The desire leads to both the greatest discoveries and the downfalls of the discoverers.

Let's begin with Tabby, the slow, hot-running Tablet PC that just doesn't seem to like Linux. The Tablet came with Windows XP Tablet Edition, which took up the entire 60Gb hard drive. Over the years, I've come to understand Windows XP as a "handy" operating system in that it can be quite useful for specific purposes. However, the operating system is also bloated like crazy, which causes a significant decrease in performance, especially on my Athlon 2200+.

After repartitioning the drive, I tried installing several distributions of Linux, but none seemed to stick well. Following this, I installed Solaris 10, whose Unix roots make it appear as nothing more than another Linux distribution, though it hogs more resources. In either case, I wasn't achieving the amount of system performance I desired, and I certainly wasn't able to use the Tablet interface.

Solution: Make Windows act like Unix. I found some relatively useful websites describing how to speed up Windows XP. The first, http://www.askbobrankin.com/make_windows_xp_run_faster.html, gives some nice information about how to maintain the operating system. A second, http://www.jasonn.com/turning_off_unnecessary_services_on_windows_xp, gives more useful information by describing some rather unnecessary system services. This speeds any XP computer up a bit, but to make Windows really act like Linux, I needed to cut all the desktop crap. After a bit of preference editing, I now a minimalist desktop, containing only an icon to get to the command line and the recycle bin (which, apparently, doesn't want to die). From the command line (renamed CMShell), I'm able to access select programs. Using Windows Explorer (explorer.exe) I made a folder to contain shortcuts to programs I'd like to use. I set the Path variable to include this folder and changed the extensions accepted to include "lnk", thereby allowing shortcuts to be run from dos. Good stuff, really.

On another note, my mother wanted to get the X-Files theme as her ring tone. I spent time online, found a nice mp3, as well as a program that serves as both a driver and interface to the cell phone. After poking around on the cell phone, I found the directory where the audio is stored and uploaded the x-files mp3 there. Surprise! Everything still worked. Using the phone's menu, I navigated to the audio section and found and played the lovely little file.

Unfortunately, it could not be selected as a ring tone. Apparently, there was a file that contained the list of ring tones. According to the program, I should delete this file and restart the phone. This will cause the phone to create a new version of the file by checking its data. I copied the old file to the computer and deleted it from the phone. A copy was already stored on the phone, so I didn't worry too much.

This was a mistake.

Through the beauty of annoying programming, if the cell phone begins its operating system and finds the file does not exist, the phone restarts. The process takes about 10 seconds and never reaches the stage of a communicable operating system. Hence, I can never get to the point where I can upload that one file. I broke the cell phone.

Anyone think of a solution? It'd be handy if I could access the memory on the phone without using the phone's operating system.