GeoHot hacking WP7 at Pwn2Own 2011?

We previously covered the famed hacker GeoHot possibly moving over to Windows Phone 7, and it seems that this is now possibly happening with Pwn2Own 2011 hacking contest listing GeoHot as a registrant on the Dell Venue, which is being held next week.

Update: We're now told Geohot had to back out due to the ongoing Sony lawsuit with him needing to devote time to that instead. Thanks, @aaronportnoy.

Silencing your Windows Phone shutter [hack]

It's a problem that has plagued photography for decades; taking pictures without the camera sound disturbing everyone around you. Most digital cameras have the ability to mute the simulated shutter sound but Windows Phone 7 owners aren't so lucky.

Regardless how you have your ringer volume set, that distracting sound is always present once you press the shutter button. For those who have a developer unlocked/jail-broken Windows Phone there's a solution out there.

The solution requires you to modify the system registry (proceed at your own discretion).

  • Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Audio\StreamClass\Output\10 and set "BypassDeviceGain" to 0.
  • Apply the changes, reboot your phone.

Your Windows Phone camera application will now follow the phone's audio settings. Simply mute the ringer and you mute the shutter. 

Source: XDA Via: Windowsphonehacker

Deploy XAP or Unlock without running Zune software [Homebrew]

For those of us who like to sideload Homebrew apps on our Windows Phone, the process can be a little tedious e.g. your phone re-locks often, having to run the Zune software, etc.

The latter piece though can be avoided, that is you don't have to run the Zune Desktop just to sideload a XAP file or even unlock your device (using ChevronWP7). XDA member xbodmod has described a way to just run the "connect" part without Zune, making the process much more streamlined. The process is fairly simple:

  • Disable Zune auto-start (Zune --> Settings --> Software--> General --> "Start the Zune software..."
  • Create a shortcut to desktop from C:\Program Files\Microsoft SDKs\Windows Phone\v7.0\Tools\WPConnect\WPConnect.exe
  • Plug in phone

That's it. Just running WPConnect.exe and allowing it load for a second does the job and now you can run Tom's XAP installer, ChevronWP7, etc. We like simplicity around here.

Update: @adamUCF lets us know that Microsoft themselves have described this exact method, so credit to them first.

Source: XDA, MSDN

Samsung kills audio hack for Windows Phone 7 via update

Update: False alarm. It appears Samsung didn't disable it, they just changed the code.: *#0002*28345# Now instead of a '6' a the end, use '5'. Thanks, malteahrens, for the info

Looks like Samsung does not want you messing with your audio settings as they have disabled access in their latest Diagnosis app for our phones.

Late last night, the Marketplace pushed an update for Samsung's Diagnostics app bumping it to version 1122 (see above pic). While not mandatory, we took this risk to see what would happen and while most menu items are still accessible, we can confirm that the audio settings used to boost sound (covered here) are now disabled.  Typing in the code results in nothing, no error, no message, just nothing.

On top of that, there seems to be no benefit to the update so if you have yet to install it, we suggest you don't.


Boost the sound on Samsung Focus - Take 2

A few weeks ago, we reported on a tweak to boost the sound on the Samsung Focus (as if it wasn't loud enough). Turns out, we were a little premature as the settings did not stick.

Flash forward 10 days later and looks like the folks at XDA figured it out, so we figured we'd do an update. We also have a new one that boosts the volume when using a headphones (the Focus turns the overall volume down for obvious reasons).

The process is similar: using the Samsung Diagnosis app, enter in some values. Done. For this, we can definitely confirm the headphones are much louder...probably too loud, but you can decide. And both stick after a reboot. Post results in comments or our Focus sub-forum!

Full instructions after the break...

Boost the sound on the Samsung Focus [Hack]

If there's one area the Focus doesn't need improvement on is sound--it's loud, clear and did we mention loud? Still, we know for some of you, there's never enough volume so for you, we bequeath this tip.

Like the detailed battery check and USB tethering before, you'll need to access the Diagnostic Menu on your Focus. It's easy enough and then you just enter a few codes and you're good to go. The only downside is this won't survive a soft-reset (but how often are you folks doing that anyways?). But the boost in volume is significant and if you want to compete with the Surround, now's your chance. Here we go:

  • Enter the dialer
  • ##634#  --> Call
  • *#0002*28346#

    Now you'll have three fields which you want to change:

    • Click "Read"
    • System Gain: 7 change to 10
    • Class Gain: 7 change to 10
    • Device Gain: 7 change to 10
    • Press Start

      That should be it. Like we said, it's just a temporary change so no harm is done to the device. Let us know in comments if you notice a difference. We haven't done any scientific tests ourselves on this but it seems louder to our ears.

      Update: Some reports suggest this does not work,, so take that as you will (thanks, electricbopeep, for the reference)

      Source: FireSokar at XDA Forums


      Let the hacking begin: How Windows Phone 7 can run native, unmanaged code


      We've already seen how on LG and Samsung phones, accessing the diagnostic menu can allow one to enable USB tethering. Now it is becoming evident that we can run unmanaged, native code on our phones too. Well kind of.

      First, unmanaged, native code just means direct access to the software systems e.g. phone, email, etc., not just Silverlight applications that 3rd parties use. Second, the requirement here is you need to be able to sideload apps and only developers who pay the $99 fee get access to that feature. However, we've already heard from one of our sources that the whole "unlocking" business is tied to a single registry edit, meaning it may not be hard to circumvent at all.

      What this all means is this: we may, at some point, be able to load custom software that not only is not approved by Microsoft, but changes fundamental restrictions on the device as well. In addition, changes to Metro UI may be possible. Of course, we won't be able to distribute these through the Marketplace, so you'll have to have the iPhone-model of a Cydia-like store. Cydia is the non-approved Apple App store where all the "hacks" and non-approved software are distributed. We so no reason why this won't happen eventually for Windows Phone either.

      All of this comes back to what happened today with Australian developer Chris Walshie who was able to run unmanaged, native code on his device. The file modified “Microsoft.Phone.InteropServices” which may allow COM access in the future. By being able to modify that and write into a program, he was able to do something that only Microsoft, carriers and OEMs could do. In other words, today was the 1st day and 1st big step in "freeing" our phones.

      Source: iStartedSomething

      LG Optimus 7 gets hacked for USB tethering too; LG Quantum next?

      Wow, so looks like that whole back and forth on whether Windows Phone 7 could tether is turning out to be settled: of course it can, they just hid it.

      Much like the Samsung Focus and Omnia 7, the LG Optimus 7 has also been shown to be able to USB Tether as a modem. Once again, it's a bit tricky, requiring some drivers to download and tinkering with a diagnostic menu, but overall is pretty straightforward.

      Directions are posted after the break.

      There's a good chance that the LG Quantum will be able to do the same, seeing as they are essentially sister devices. Considering how cheap the Quantum is going for on Amazon Wireless (that'd be  1 cent), it might be a good investment.

      Now we're all looking at HTC and Dell....fellas?

      Source: SmartphoneFrance; via wmpoweruser

      USB Tethering support discovered for Samsung Focus & Omnia 7

      Looks like a good morning for Samsung users! Taking that diagnostic menu one step further has allowed folks to figure out how to tether their Samsung WP7 devices, in addition to (the less exciting) MAC ID address.

      The hack is pretty straightforward, though it will hose your Zune-over-3G sync option (leaving Wi-Fi sync intact). Overall it sounds like a good solution, so long as you don't run over your cap (2GB for most on AT&T).

      Registering may fail on the first attempt, but try a second time and it should succeed.

        1. Open your phone and dial “##634#” then press call. You’ll go into the Diagnosis Menu (going forward this icon appears in your programs so you don’t need to dal that again). This is just a phone dialer with a little icon and note on top.
        2. In diagnosis mode (phone dialer) dial “*#7284#” and a dialogue will pop up letting you change the settings from Zune to modem or “Modem, USB dialog.”. You want to go with “Modem, Tethered Call”. It will restart you phone after a few seconds. Once it restarts, connect to your PC over USB and drivers will be installed on your computer. Now go to your connections on your PC and you’ll see that a Samsung modem was added.
        3. On your PC you need to change the setting for the Samsung modem. If you set it to prompt for user name you’ll be able to put in the login info. This is all it is:

          number: *99***1#

          user name: WAP@CINGULARGPRS.COM

          password: CINGULAR1

          Source: Mobility Digest

          Hack Xbox Live on Windows Phone 7, get perma-banned by Microsoft

          Although we're not even sure how one would begin modifying files on Windows Phone 7 to circumvent Xbox Live Leaderboards, Achievements or use pirated software, it looks like Microsoft is already thinking about it. Just in case.

          In a new build of WP7 (not yet released), Conflipper (who is still very much in retirement, so don't get your hopes up) has found an interesting file that says:

          This phone has been banned from Xbox LIVE for violating the Xbox LIVE Terms of Use. To protect the Xbox LIVE service and its members, Microsoft does not provide details about phone bans. There is no recourse for Terms of Use violations.

          This is similar to what happened on the Xbox 360 in 2009 when nearly 1 million users were permanently banned for evidently modifying their Xbox hardware or using pirated software. Presumably, Microsoft is taking preventive action for when XDA and others start digging into the OS, looking to modify their new mobile OS. In that sense, this is no surprise. On the other hand, it is interesting to know that MS has a system nearly in place to react to such a scenario. So take warning gamers, as once you are banned, it's for evah.

          Other notable finds were references in Internet Explorer for copy and paste:

          |Cut|Copy|Paste|Encoding|Print Preview||

          "Cuts the selection and puts it on the Clipboard."

          "Inserts the Clipboard contents at the insertion point."

          Of course we know copy and paste are coming soon, so this is just more evidence that the feature is already in the works. Sweet.

          Thanks, Conflipper, for the info!

          HomeScreenJump now available for Sense 2.5

          For those who don't follow Android news, about a week ago the HTC Wildfire became official. One cool trick that HTC added was the ability to jump to different screens in Sense via multi-selector screen, instead of sliding all over the place. (See Tracy & Matt's hands on at 0:42)

          And anyone who's used Sense 2.5 on WinMo can know the feeling of having to slide the tabs all over the place to just find that one you're looking to use right now. It can be frustrating.

          Well combine those two ideas and you have HomeScreenJump from XDA member dotcompt!

          Simply install the HomeScreenJump.cab and tap the icon to run and there you go.  Want to go the extra step? Install two more .cab files and now you can map it to your Start button as a long press.  Now you can call it up wherever, whenever.

          Our thoughts? We highly recommend this mod. And do map it to the Start key. This method makes it very fast, efficient and darn it all it just works well. You now have quick-access to your Home, People, Messages, Mail, Weather, Twitter and Programs tabs.

          [XDA forums via PDA.pl]

          Area code tweak: improve number lookup on HTC devices

          Back in the day, we had an app on Windows Mobile called CityID (Flashback: 2006!). It recently reared its dormant head on the Verizon Imagio (see full review). The app was basically an area code database that compared that was compared to an incoming phone call, resulting in a City, State caller ID.

          Very useful stuff.

          Turns out that many HTC devices, likewise, have a database that stores states, but not necessarily anything else. Saumaun, who is quite well known in various Windows Mobile communities, managed to whip up a detailed registry change to give us back that function. He basically included all the major metropolitan areas and referenced them via area codes, giving a pretty decent shot at city accuracy.

          The best part of his "hack" is that there is no running programs or increased resources--it simply uses the device's registry to enhance caller ID. ROM chefs are encouraged to incorporate it into their builds and end-users can just download and install the simple and tiny .cab file, found in this thread.


          Tip: Speed up the auto-focus on the Imagio camera

          It's pretty well known that the HTC HD2 (Leo) had a wee camera problem with some odd colors showing up in the center.

          That has been addressed via a patch, which is available now.

          Of course, what would be the fun of having a patch for one device and not trying it out on another?  Not very much.

          Turns out if you apply the .cab'd version to the Verizon Imagio (see review) it greatly speeds up the auto-focus -- as in cuts the time in half as well as just general quickness of the camera app. Image quality is said to be the same and no one is reporting any negatives, so if you've done a fresh backup give it a go.

          And for the record, we did try this on our Sprint Touch Pro 2 and saw no difference ;-)

          Download the .cab here.

          Set weather update frequency in Sense 2.1

          One neat feature found in the "Leo" TouchFLO aka Sense 2.5 is the ability to set the update frequency of the weather tab.

          For folks using Sense 2.1 aka the "Weather clock" version, this option does not exist--you only have "update automatically" which seems to go about every 2-3 hours.

          Seeing as Windows Mobile fans are united in their desire to tweak and set every feature on their Windows phone, it was no shock that people were clamoring "fix it, fix it, fix it, fix it!" (to quote  philosopher Philip J. Fry).

          Well, it's been fixed. Seems XDA member Notaliberal found the registry entries that control the frequency:

          Create this DWord entry in the following key:

          • HKCU\Software\HTC\Manila\

          • Dword Name:  Weather.AutoDownloadInterval

          • DWord Value: 30 (Decimal)

          Change the value to whatever time you want in minutes. Reboot. Voila!

          And if you don't like trudging through your registry, here are some pre-set .cab files made by WarlockW to install at XDA or PPCGeeks. Just remember, this will have a negative effect on battery life!

          Update: like a lot hacks, this sometimes works and sometimes doesn't . Seems it is depenedent on what software version you are running and other unidentified factors.  So while this works for many, for some it won't.

          Running WM6.5.x and need volume keys?

          For those of you running WM6.5.x, you will have noticed that the volume on-screen slider is not the the standard HTC one.  Turns out, Microsoft has been playing with the volume hooks and HTC's skin is no longer compatible. 

          Instead, we're left with the functional but ugggggly old-school windows volume rockers.

          One solution is from XDA member Ponchofiesta (love it) who has a new app that improves the graphics tremendously.  The app is still in early beta, so expect some bugs and you need to have .NET CF 3.5 installed. Make sure you lend a  hand with feedback.

          Still, once stable enough, this is something ROM chefs can cook right in and make it all bettah.

          Alternate solution?  SetVolume 0.7.

          [via Technology Paradise]

          Enable 'Be Polite' on HTC Sense 2.1 ROMs

          In the later "Leo" builds of HTC Sense (version 2.5) found on the HTC HD2, there are some neat advanced ringer functionality available under the Settings tab.

          One of those is called "Be Polite" and in essence uses the built in accelerometer to detect when you are moving the phone to answer it.  In turn, since you are already on the way to answer or ignore the call, the device can significantly lower the ringer for you--hence the "Be Polite" part.

          (By the way, Microsoft? You may want to start doing those sorts of things too--they are after all what makes smartphones "smart".)

          Anywho, many of us don't like using Sense 2.5 because it was not build for the Touch Pro 2/Diamond 2, therefore does not do landscape and lags on our wee processors. However, Apristel has found that a lot of the Sense 2.1 builds in fact have "Be Polite" built in, but not activated. Installing his cab will un-hide this feature for you to use.

          Now the catch: On some ROMs this works and on others it does nothing. So your mileage may vary.  Good luck!

          Tip: Enable Auto-Complete on Touch Pro 2

          This little trick (enabled traditionally under Settings --> Input) basically suggests words as you type. It serves two purposes when typing:

          1. It makes typing long words quicker
          2. Acts like default spell-check

          I've been using it for years and for some reason,  at least on the Sprint Touch Pro 2, they disabled this function. Grr. Thankfully monomer888 hit me up on Twitter and linked me to this XDA post which details how to re-enable it.  Awesome

          Grab your favorite registry editor and peep after the break to make the two easy registry changes! Need a registry tutorial?  Right here.

          SMS security hole detailed

          Yesterday we warned about a possible threat to basic Windows Mobile security. Turns out things are pretty serious across most GSM-type phones. ZDNet breaks it down:

          An attacker could exploit the hole to make calls, steal data, send text messages, and do more or less anything a person can do on their iPhone, researchers Charlie Miller and Collin Mulliner claimed at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas.

          That's certainly not good. And it's not limited to just the iPhone.

          Meanwhile, a bug in the code written by HTC that controls the user interface on Windows Mobile devices could also be exploited via the SMS messages to create a situation where there are no buttons to push, so the phone cannot be used, said Miller.

          Yep, that's bad. The good news is that Miller and Mulliner say it would take a couple of weeks for someone to compile the code needed for such an attack, and they're working with carriers and manufacturers to patch the exploit.

          So are we worried? Not too much. It sounds serious, certainly. But we're not going be pulling our batteries while we sleep. If it's that bad, the carriers and manufacturers will patch it.

          We hope.

          More at The iPhone Blog and Technologizer

          iHacker Charlie says WinMo at risk, too

          So a well known Mac hacker earlier this month claimed to have found an SMS exploit that would let an attacker take over iPhones with a series a text messages. Details of the flaw will be released Thursday at the Blackhat security convention in Las Vegas.

          And not content to panic just the cool kids' table, Windows Mobile is now thrown into the loop. [via neowin]

          Miller also claims he has found a bug in Microsoft's Windows Mobile devices that that allows complete remote control of the device. Miller discovered the bug last Monday and it's currently un-patched by Microsoft. It's not clear whether Miller plans to unveil full details of the Windows Mobile bug tomorrow or limited details until Microsoft has been made aware.

          So there you have it. We're at FUD Level Orange on this one. Certainly a serious security flaw on an iPhone could be patched relatively quickly, but patching a Windows Mobile device, well, it's not like there's some automagical button that'll suck down updates from the mothership. On the other hand, we're not going to panic before panic's due. Stay tuned.