Tag Archives: android

MyPhoneExplorer via Bluetooth: phone could not be indentified and parameter incorrect

Chances are that you are trying to have your Android phone sync with Outlook via MyPhoneExplorer, but whatever you do won’t work, since as soon as you try to connect, the procedure stops at “identification” and MyPhoneExplorer pops up a “phone could not be identified” error.

Syncing via USB cables works though, but you are not going to settle for something as annoying and remembering to plug in your cable everytime.

Update: try this first:
Chris, in the comments below (thank you, Chris), suggests doing this, which is apparently working in Windows 7 (Windows 8 doesn’t have such possibility):

Easier if you just go to control panel > hardware and sound > devices and printers > bluetooth devices

Then right click on the device you’ve already paired. Go to Services tab, and under Bluetooth Services there should be a checkbox for Serial port(SPP) ‘MyPhoneExplorer’.

Check it, apply, done…

If that doesn’t work, continue reading!

Compared to the first version of this article, when I was on Windows 7 + Ice Cream Sandwich, now I’m on Windows 8 + Lollipop, and started having this problem a short while after upgrading from KitKat. The solution was to open MyPhoneExplorer settings, select bluetooth in the connection tab, and choose, from the dropdown menu, the other Bluetooth port that was not selected before, and try again to connect, in my case it went by as normal.

If this doesn’t work as well, then proceed with the very first guide.

So let’s start by saying this out front: this is black magic.

You may have tried to go into “change bluetooh settings” in your control panel, then open the “COM Ports” tab, and manually add incoming ports and trying them out one by one in MyPhoneExplorer… this should not work, no matter how many times you reboot your phone and/or unpair/pair again with your PC.

The procedure I am going to illustrate may work for you, or it may not. It may do nothing on a sunny day of April, but deal impressive results in a foggy evening of november.

I tried to replicate the same method previously, but it worked for me just a few minutes ago as a blessing (and this is why I rushed to write an article about it) while it didn’t at my previous attempts, so these are the steps (keep in mind I have ICS on my phone, and Windows 7 x64 on my laptop, the BT sync worked before, but had stopped working after I upgraded from Gingerbread to Ice Cream Sandwitch on my Galaxy Note)

  1. Find your phone entry in bluetooth devices in Windows, click it and remove it
  2. Unpair with your PC from your Android phone
  3. If there are any remaining, remove every reserved port in “COM Ports” tab of bluetooth settings (unless there are other ports being used by other BT devices you own, leave those alone)
  4. Reboot both your PC and your phone, preferably at the same time (black magic, remember?)
  5. Pair the device from Windows (go into bluetooth panel, “add device”, then proceed with the pairing)
  6. Your aim here is to have Windows itself add the COM ports, you should end up with two COM ports, one Incoming, and one Outgoing, they should both carry the BT name you have given to your phone, and the Outgoing port should also say “MyPhoneExplorer”
  7. You should set MyPhoneExplorer to use the Outgoing port among the two, but if it doesn’t work for you, also try the Incoming port (black magic)

Good luck!

Android ringtones notifications alarms resetting reverted or lost after reboot

You just added a few ringtones of your own to your android device, but after each reboot you lose them and they are set to something else, or muted altogether? Just like something was resetting them, or they were not saved correctly?

Well, most probably it’s because you copied the MP3’s on your SDcard, under

  • /ringtones
  • /alarms
  • /notifications

or even under

  • /media/audio/ringtones
  • /media/audio/alarms
  • /media/audio/notifications

(they all work as they should).

After a reboot, it may happen that for some reason your sd card takes too long to be mounted/scanned, hence Android cannot actually find anything in the specified folders, because they aven’t become available yet.

I wouldn’t know if there are any solutions to make Android mount your SD any faster, but a pretty workaround consists in copying those files directly in the internal memory. Ugly workaround if you ask me, since you’re taking away precious space for applications, still…

So, just take your desired MP3’s, and drop them in the internal memory (using a root file explorer, like ES file explorer), respectively in

  • /system/media/audio/ringtones
  • /system/media/audio/alarms
  • /system/media/audio/notifications

this way they will be treated just like builtin ringtones (you will actually notice the system ringtones in those folders, which you can delete since they are useless anyway, to save some space), and will be available right after boot.

Why Android sucks at managing battery drain and discharge

So here is my second rant about disliking Android.

I should mention now that I am a happy user of this OS on my HD2 since a while ago, after discovering that CalenGoo is a great substitute for Microsoft’s Pocket Outlook calendar, and that HanDBase in its Android version can be tricked into doing the same things of its Windows Mobile counterpart even if a key feature is missing.

So well, what I’m ranting about today is battery management, or should I say “Battery stats what the hell”?

Just a short anecdote: I went to sleep yesterday at 0:30am, battery percentage reading 58%, I woke up this morning at 8am (in the middle there was a scheduled Titanium Backup of modified data, followed by a reboot, and half an hour of scheduled WiFi with 15′ checks of 6 mailboxes, and obviously mobile network on). When I woke up, battery was at only 14%. Astonished, I deleted the battery stats and rebooted, after that it was reading 2% (!!!). To be noted, battery history, reported by Battery Monitor Widget, tells me that the battery voltage at the moment of getting in the bed was 3.85V, and when I woke up it was 3.79V. Also, the battery current output (which has an exact reading on this HD2, since HTC cares for stuff like this, unlike Samsung), is in a 4-7mA figure all night long, except only when Titanium Backup and mail checks kicked in.

All in all, considering the 2% charge reboot, my phone is telling me, or at least Android is, that it drained 56% of battery in a 7.5hrs period, without doing practically anything. Let’s shave off 10% due to the Titanium Backup and the WiFi checking (I’d say 3-4% is a more realistinc estimate, but oh well), it’s still almost 50% of the battery that disappeared for no reason.

Also to be noted that I put this battery in yesterday morning, it was 98%, and I used it all day long for some calls, a little web browsing in the morning, agenda activity, budget monitoring, and so on. It didn’t drain as much in a 16 hours span, than it did in 7.5hrs of inactivity during the night.
Now, obviously it DID drain more during the day, but Android tells me the other way around. My question is: WHY?

I have 4 batteries, I just swap them out when they are at 10% or so, and put in another charged one. This has led me to up to 4days uptime on Windows Mobile; sure these batteries have aged, but not so much to not even last a couple days with mild usage. Now I understand better what I wrote in this post, calibration does make sense, but only because of a HUGE Android shortcoming (and only if you, unlike me, ever use just one battery). Windows Mobile on this phone never failed reading proper battery, with no “stats” whatsoever.

Now, regarding mV: nominal voltage of a Li-Ion battery is 3.7V, but the charging voltage is 4.2V, so actually a 100% charged LiIon battery has a voltage of 4.2V (or rather 4199mV). That means, for the phone, that the battery was fully charged. As so, the discharged voltage is obviously not 3.7V, but lower than that. What the device (or software?) decides to be 0% is up to the manifacturer, a fact is that most LiIon batteries have a cutoff at 3.0V to prevent damage to the battery, some of them have a cut-off even lower, at 2.5V.

Let’s say it’s not safe to assume that 3000mV is our 0%, let’s say our “0% charge” voltage is 3400mV.

Now, please tell me, WHY is Android reporting 4% battery left (I just briefly attached it to the USB to sync calendar) when the voltage right now is greater than 3700mV? This would mean higher than 50% residual charge, which is just reasonable, since it was 58% before going to bed, and it did no more than 7% worth of stuff during the night, but Android will still insist for it to be 4%. This reminds me of something I read somewhere on XDA, about this user who had two batteries for his phone, a “vanilla” one with normal capacity, and an extended one with almost double capacity. Android would insist reporting 0% on that second extended battery based on the “statistics” of the first battery, thus forcedfully shutting down the device when the residual charge of the extended battery was at least 40%.
This is the stupidest thing I can conceive about a modern operating system.

And yes, I know the battery state of charge cannot be determined by voltage alone, because it is influenced also by temperature and kind of usage until that moment, but surely enough 3700mV is NOT 4% residual charge, it surely enough is more like 50%. We are not talking precise, 1% step-by-step measurement, but wide-range precision measurement. And there is a hell lot of difference between 50% and 4%, it’s called 46%.

The programmer at Google who coded these routines must be a guy affected by a severe form of OCD, and who throws away his gingerbread cookies 6 months before the expiration date, just to be on the safe side (pun intended). But you know, OCD guy, I like my batteries to last all they can instead of having your OS shut down my device a lot sooner than needed.

Which brings us back on track: “battery statistics”: what ARE they? Do they even make sense? How can a discharge cycle affect in any way the subsequent one? Maybe I was bored at work and read some manga keeping the screen on, maybe I was busy like hell and didn’t have time to play with the phone, maybe I was on a trip and out of boredome started watching an episode of Sex And The City after another. So what.
Again, Windows Mobile had no battery stats whatsoever, but never failed to read battery charge properly. Nor any 10-years-old Nokia phone had battery stats, but they still had LiIon batteries.

Yes, I also know what “battery lookup tables” are, and how they are useful in determining battery state of charge more precisely. But it’s clear they are not working at all on Android, and actually are anti-productive for those like me who swap out discharged batteries rather tan charge them inside the phone. I despise you, OCD google guy.

Why Android sucks for professional use

UPDATE at the end of this post.

I tried many, many times to switch from Windows Mobile to Android, and every and each time I went back to Windows Mobile. Honestly, I would like to upgrade, because my HD2 won’t be enough forever, and no new phone gets shipped with a shiny Windows Mobile 6.5 OS anymore. Funny enough though, Windows Mobile allows me to do a better job.

Lt’s start with the calendar:

  1. Builtin calendar app is pretty much useless, under certain aspects even more useless than the primitive calendar found in old-ass Nokia phones. You cannot either jump to an arbitrary date of your liking, but have to interminably scroll through months, and you cannot search through entries for a name, a number or a place (at this point I might as well get myself a paper agenda, at least that’s got a vintage sexy feel to itself);
  2. Half-hour time separation is out of the question, unless you’re using the paid Pocket Informant, each and every calendar defaults to whole hour appointments and starts appointments at o’clock’s;
  3. Search is, all round, an impossible function, I couldn’t even find it inside Pocket Informant (it relies on the OS builtin search function in Windows Mobile, too); a couple of free apps from the same developer should provide it, either Searchify that hooks onto the builtin search widget, but I couldn’t make it work, or Touch Calendar, which is a viewer only, and sports a -working- search function, that alas won’t get you any results before the few past months, even if you have records of appointments dating back to 2005;
  4. Calendar access is slow, no matter the application, when you load a month you could be counting up to 1 second for the “busy days” to get displayed depending on the application, and we’re talking about a 1GHz CPU with 576MB of RAM (my oh so old Casio Cassiopeia was instaneous on that aspect);
  5. Maybe I’m forgetting something, but the bottomline is that Pocket Oulook had a better calendar on PocketPC 2002 than any app for Android can offer, and that’s a heavy fact, so try and tell me I’m wrong.
  6. UPDATE: I discovered that Android *chooses* in your place to simply discard anything in the calendar which is more than 2 months old; no setting, no option, no nothing to let you choose to keep your frigging data on the phone even if it dates back 10 years. Do I need to say more?

Let’s go on to office suits, and more notably to Excel support:

  1. Google gives NO builtin spreadsheet support, unless you have a data plan, the area you’re in is covered by your carrier, and you’re totally fine with sharing your private data with google apps;
  2. There are several free alternatives to a commercial spreadsheet: some just don’t read XLS unless in the paid version, some will open it read-only, some have no XLS support altogether;
  3. NONE of the spreadsheet applications in the market (I tried them all, free and commercial) has the ability to immediately show the SUM of the values inside a selected column inside the statusbar, like we are used to with desktop applications, and like I’ve been used to since (again) PocketP C2002;
  4. Again, also in this aspect the bottomline is that no spreadsheet app whatsoever keeps up to the Pocket Excel bundled wih PocketPC 2002.

This may be for a small group of users, but no application can do half what can do HanDBase on Windows Mobile, not even HanDBase’s native version for Android, and that’s for certain it will stay forever like this.

But don’t falther readers: if you want to count the meters you travel in a workday, or manage your own virtual cafeteria, or just slingshoot birds with anger management problems against a castle full of mutated legless green pigs with moustaches and helmets, then Android just shines at that, and will do it gloriously while passing all your private information to Google for free.

Windows Phone 7 may be the alternative, too bad you just can’t synch offline, but need to again send your private data to Microsoft’s servers, while there’s a workaround on Android for this.

UPDATE (6 Oct 2011): so here I am, writing while finally using Android as my main platform. I had to go far until I managed to do all I needed, but overall I have a platform I don’t really loathe anymore:

  1. Calendar: CalenGoo manages to do all I need, notably has a good search function and a nifty time-separation default set; having DroidWall block everything except those things that absolutely need an internet connection, I prevented old calendar events to be deleted, and this way I can also avoid my data going to the cloud, while keeping it in synch with MyPhoneExplorer; it’s still a tad slower than PocketOutlook, but I can manage.
  2. DocumentsToGo is decent enough in handling XLS files, even without any “sum on column select” function, but I added a formula somewhere in the sheet.
  3. HanDBase finally returned as good as new when I implemented some additional calculated field in the rows, enabling me to see stats that I couldn’t calculate otherwise.
  4. Stock phonebook is ugly enough, but GO Contacts EX is promising, even if hella slow to start.