Saturday, September 26, 2009

The New Omnia Build (with CF03 ROM and GPS)

So I installed the newest official ROM from Verizon today (CF03), and am happily using GPS with third party applications. I used UMDL_OMNIA to do this, and the process was extremely straight forward and easy. That said, don't get careless and brick your phone, which is something that quite a few careless people have managed to do during their upgrade.

A new ROM means a clean slate, so here's what I did after my shiny new install.
  • Downloaded Google Maps
    I still like Google Maps over Microsoft's Live Search. The traffic seems truer to what is actually on the road, and it's just easier to use over all.

  • Downloaded Windows Live and synced contacts
    I sync my contacts from Live. I use this service to organize and store all my e-mail and phone contacts. It's easy to update and always available on line. One click on your phone syncs to the online server and it acts as a second exchange server (so you still have your main Exchange Server free to set up with whomever you want). If you use or, it will also sync that e-mail, and leave the phone's "regular" exchange server to be used elsewhere. Again, this means you can use multiple exchange servers.

  • Set up Exchange Server with NuevaSync
    After spending a lot of wasted time giving Google Sync a shot... I set my Exchange Server back to NuevaSync. Google is ridiculously NOT supporting multiple calendar sync, so NuevaSync is the obvious choice to keep my four calendars synced with my phone. I set NuevaSync to sync my calendar, I keep my contacts synced with Windows Live, and I set up a separate POP3 account for my Gmail. I prefer POP3 over IMAP, because I want to be able to just "delete all" e-mail, but not have to worry about accidentally erasing something I'll need later.

  • Downloaded the SPB Mobile Shell 3.0 3.5 Trial
    I'm a cheap bastard, so I always look longingly at the web page for this app, but then balk at the price. After spending a good deal of time sifting through cooked ROMS on various boards, I realized that the majority of what I'm looking for has to do with the interface, so I'm giving it a try. So far, I really like what I see and how easy it is to navigate. We'll see if in 30 days I like it enough to pony up $30.

  • Installed Vito Audio Notes Touch
    This is a fantastic and simple program that allows you to record your voice easily. I use it mostly to capture ideas for songs when they strike. It's also a great way to record your phone calls. This has become an invaluable tool for me, as it allows me to review phone conversations I've had.

  • Found and loaded up some Podcast and RSS URL's
    A while back I was driving somewhere and my car stereo went out. I didn't have any music loaded up on my Omnia, so I thought maybe I'd check out a podcast or two. Trying to find a podcast address, load it up, play it, etc... is extremely dangerous at 70mph, so I thought next time I'll be prepared.

    Some of my RSS choices: Lifehacker, Gizmodo, Engadget.

    Some of my Podcast choices: NPR Fresh Air, Contrast Podcast, NPR Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me!, NPR All Songs Considered

    (I'm very open to more suggestions for either category.)

  • Installed Total Commander
    This is my favorite explorer/registry editor.

  • Turned off motion rotate (moved rotate to camera button)
  • Switched dpad to optical mouse (I wish there was an easier, quicker way to switch back and forth)
  • Assigned buttons: camera hold is camera, camera short is screen rotate, main menu hold is voice commands, main menu short is Google Maps for now, but that will likely change.
  • Edited registry to make scroll bar thick enough to use with a finger (why WinMo is sooo un-finger-friendly I'll never know)

  • Installed TorchButton
    The Omnia has a fantastic little flashlight (it's an LED that functions as the flash for the camera, so it makes a superb tiny flashlight --waaaaay better than the iPhone's "white screen" sorry excuse for a flashlight). The problem is, it's really hard to get to the switch once you've installed SPB (the flashlight button is either a softkey on a Today 2 screen, or the bottom volume rocker button... but the catch is you can only make that work from the Today screen. So some kind soul came up with a button that will make the flashlight work even from SPB Mobile Shell. You actually have to install an older version (1.1) that somebody else has paired up with a basic emulation of HTCCamera1.dll. Without this emulator, the button doesn't work correctly. But with it... works like a charm!

  • Downloaded and installed Adrenylyne's "remove call lock" CAB
    [UPDATE] It seems this CAB is obsolete with the new ROM. Go to Settings>Phone>Services>Dialer Touch Lock and click "Change Setting." You have choices of off, 2 seconds, 5 seconds, and 10 seconds. (Thanks, Anonymous!)

    Previously I had been using the registry hack to switch to the original Samsung dialer (HKLM/Security/Phone/Skin Enabled: 1 : change 1 to 0 --not only does this remove the pop-up lock, but the older skin saves about 10MB of memory), but this time I decided to try out Adrenylyne's CAB to simply remove the pop-up lock instead. Anybody that has tried to spend time in a call que or navigating an online phone system knows that the pop-up lock is simply unacceptable.

  • Installed HTC Accelerometer emulator
That's it for now. SPB Mobile Shell has eliminated the need for a lot of my "usuals" (iDialer, Green Button, PocketCM, remapping soft keys, messing with themes, rerouting shortcuts and icons, etc.) so that's nice. I'll update the post if I make more changes. I'll likely delete Shozu (to free up device memory) as usual, and I need to update Opera's cache and download locations. I may reinstall Skyfire, but to be honest, I wasn't that impressed with it. Sure, the Flash functionality is nice, but it would hang and crash a lot, so what's the use?

I'd love to cook up a ROM, but I'm not sure that I'm willing to devote the time to such an endeavor. We'll see.


Omnia Firmware update (ROM version CF03)

Verizon released the new firmware update for the i910 back in July, but I haven't had time to upgrade until now. I had a little trouble actually finding the update, so I'm posting a link to the Samsung page here:

Officially, the executable works only on Vista 32-bit or WinXP, but there are some workarounds, the easiest one being simply using UMDL_OMNIA v2.3 to install an img file (you'll need to have a Modaco account (free) to download the file).

I actually had so much trouble finding the CF03 download, that I installed the CC20 "leaked" version from iDoctor first (you can also find the UMDL_OMNIA program at this location, and you don't need a Modaco account to download it). There are a few people saying that CC20 has better battery life, but the claims seem dubious. I'd go with the newest version, CF03 (which I did).

The biggest reason I was after a new ROM, is of course GPS functionality from 3rd party apps, so as soon as I upgraded the ROM, I immediately downloaded Google Maps for my Omnia, and guess what... WOO-HOO, my location was pinpointed within seconds! (well, sort of, maybe 1000 yards off-- but I was very happy with the speed at which I was located)

So now I'm rocking GPS, and my life has changed.

The ROM update means starting over with the phone setup (upgrading the ROM wipes the phone clean), so I'll try and document that adventure (what I do and don't install) in a later post.