July 01, 2006

They would've gotten away with it if it weren't for those pesky kids

A month or so ago I crunched the screen on my trusty iPAQ. Having become rather dependent on the beastie, I let the family talk me into buying myself a new one (they ain't cheap).

I selected a very nice model with a hardcover to prevent a replay of the screen crunch and then managed to salvage 95% of the software and data on my old PDA.

But something odd was happening. The new device would completely run out of battery power overnight while just sitting on the desk. In two hours, untouched in my briefcase, it would drain up to 60% of the battery power. Problem was, it wasn't consistent, and the randomness was making me a little crazy. I could've taken it back for exchange, and at one point talked to them about just getting a new battery. But it just didn't *feel* like a battery problem. I was also hesitant to hand it over again because I'd spent quite a bit of time reloading software and setting options to make it work exactly the way I wanted it to.

Gradually I started to recognize a pattern and confirmed it a week ago. For some reason, ActiveSync would fire up on its own as if it were on a timer to check email and do other tasks, and it would sit there and run like hell, accomplishing nothing while sucking the life out of the battery. I could go in and end the task, but a short while later it would be sitting there running again.

Today I found the answer. On a bulletin board was a note about a bug in Windows Mobile5 that causes the exact problems I was seeing. There was a workaround included (no patch available yet), and after implementing it (it's not terribly kludgy) I've been monitoring the battery status to see if the problem is solved. So far, so good.

Now, this isn't entirely Microsoft's fault. I gather from my reading that HP (and Dell too) both implemented Windows Mobile5 in kind of an odd way which caused this to be a problem. There are all kinds of detailed explanations out there to be found with a couple of google searches, but my mainframe mind couldn't grasp all the concepts and terminology. We're talking real geek-speak.

Anyway, tentative thanks to those folks who actually know how this crap works at the nuts-and-bolts level. Keep your fingers crossed.

Posted by Ted at July 1, 2006 06:17 AM | TrackBack
Category: SciTech
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