A Phone Hacker’s Memories Revisited…

A while ago, I had posted an entry on ZeroXR about needing advice on a new phone. In the post I detailed about my previous history with phones and my time with them. What I didn’t get a chance to do was to really get into the nit-picky details of why I loved and/or hated each one. There’s the old saying that “Every rose has its thorns” and I am one who believes that even applies to technology. Especially since the “Jesus Phone Part Deux” came out, everyone wants the “hottest” phone or the cutest looking ones. I present to you my “memoirs” of hacking phones up until this present day. Click the jump to read this opus of my memories!

Let’s break down each phone as it’s own “chapter” to make this a very neat read! This way, your eyes aren’t burning from a giant blob of text with no clear breaks…

10/2004 – 10/2005: Nokia 3120 (
1 Year)
This phone holds a very special place in my heart, even still to this day of January 3, 2009. This was my first official phone that I got with my very feeble credit. It wasn’t a cool phone, but I will say it was damn reliable. Although I didn’t have the media shop options enabled, this phone was a phone at best. However… I took this phone on quite the adventures in my life. This phone also got a taste of my ugly side too… I can remember some of the nights where I was just full of rage and beyond inebriated to only toss the phone against my apartment walls a few times. I can still remember the worry when the alcohol was bleeding out of my system and my mind going “Fuck, Zero… Ya think the phone is even alive? I got work in hell knows how many hours… Ah shit…” When the hallowed disc shined through my living room, I’d hear my ringtone calling out loud like a minaret caller shouting Muslim prayers over a town. When I had this shameless feat of strength from my Nokia 3120 happen, I was vastly impressed. I will say something about Nokia’s build quality of this phone versus their newer units: “They don’t build them like they used to“.

Of course with lacking a mobile web plan, playing Snake on my phone quickly got boring. I would buy a Nokia data cable with an app/game loader CD. I would just fill my phone with entertainment and even personalized my phone. Personalization was HUGE to me as I only knew stock phones, but to make my phone unique to me… It would be like building up a project car, it was my own and unique to me. I still remember loading a MIDI version of Konami’s DDR club tune “Absolute” by DJ Taka on my phone just so I could differentiate my phone from all of my friends during social gathering. When Cingular (now AT&T) had this flashy advert of something that looked like a sword gleaming, but then a flip phone cleaving ice with a catch line of “Motorola RAZR, coming soon!” I quickly hit up my Cingular representitive about this. I was informed that Cingular would be getting this phone first to America and it would also be the exclusive distributer of the black GSM model. I would sign myself to be called once they dropped live. From there was also the phone call to Cingular to have my Nokia 3120 unlocked and resold via eBay (back when it was actually cool).

Moto RAZR V3
10/2005 – 1/2006: Motorola RAZR V3 (3 Months)
The RAZR v3 was more of a novelty than anything really. Initially, it was “cool” cause it was so thin. It shattered the conception that only geeks, nerds, and dweebs carried mobile phones. It was a “revolution” as it showed how small people could compress technology down. Naturally, I wanted to load it up with games, but I found it wasn’t all that easy. Cingular really locked up the phone hardcore. I remember having to do my first light bit of hacking by editing some SEEM values around to break the vendor lock-out and be able to stream games into my phone for installation. Nothing more amusing like Asphalt Street Racing or Splinter Cell on your phone to pass time while waiting in line… LOL! However by 3 months, I got quickly bored… I wanted another conquest. My roommate at the time mentioned she found a cool new phone from Motorola out in Hong Kong and for me to buy it… I’d have to get the RAZR sold off.

By this point… I got sick of the shoddy build quality of the RAZR and also sick that under it’s slim and sexy shell… It was as shallow as some blonde haired community whore. I had no issue with letting it go in hopes of this new phone being a new opportunity. I would soon say goodbye to my “Death RAZR V3” for cash…

Moto SLVR L6
1/2006 – 3/2006: Motorola SLVR L6 (2 Months)
The SLVR L6 was a candy bar phone, much like my first phone. This phone was a bit back to basics. It was nowhere near the “powerhouse” like my RAZR, but I did have some love for it. Initially, the phone was tri-band, so I had to do some creative SEEM editing from a tip on MotoModders to enable the phone to make it a quad-band phone… Which that made my reception on AT&T go from 2-3 bars to a full 5 bars all around Dallas. It was a good phone, but it was dull. I still treated it fairly like how I kept my Nokia. Sadly the boredom really got on me and when my friend gloated how much he loved his Motorola MPx200… I got curious.

He made mention that his smartphone helped him prioritize his life and keep him organized. I wanted to learn so much more and research it. I liked that it was a highly organized system and anything that could help me get my life on track would be worth a shot. So my “SLVR Blade L6” was off to market and sent (hopefully) a better owner…

Moto MPx220
3/2006 – 5/2006: Motorola MPx 220 (2 Months)
What initially started off as a love story quickly became a nasty divorce with the violent and bloody stabbings with the Motorola MPx220. Motorola couldn’t seem to design the phone with the proper amount of RAM because it would have a bad tendency to experience memory leaks. It also didn’t help that from these memory leaks caused the phone to lock up and even crash! I never knew phones were capable of crashing just like computers… I began to wonder if maybe smartphones were simply not polished enough to take the market by storm. I would try to tolerate my phone just some more… but eventually… I came to terms and just threw in the towel. I still remember my quote when I finally said no-more: “Fuck this shit! I am sick and tired of the mind-screw! I just want a working phone, damn it!!!

SE T637
5/2006 – 7/2006: Sony Ericsson T637 (2 Months)
The Sony Ericsson T637 was a step back to basics again. No, it wasn’t the prettiest phone… nor was it it the sexiest piece of technology, but it was a damn good phone. I didn’t have it do much really… It was a damn shame that I couldn’t customize it very much. The only “customization” I did to make my time with this phone tolerable was throw in a Mega Man X ringtone. I was just waiting and biding my time to pick up a Motorola SLVR L7 for cheap. I found what I wanted in a phone and I wanted something to keep my music close to me.

Moto SLVR L7
7/2006 – 10/2006: Motorola SLVR L7 Unbranded without iTunes (3 Months)
I managed to stumble on a great deal for a SLVR L7 but this one was a real gem… It didn’t have iTunes on it, ’cause the iTunes version of the SLVR L7 had a really stupid restriction locking it down to just 50 songs, regardless if you could load over 300+ on your memory card. This was one phone I really loved a lot too. It was simple, stylish, and functional. I even went as far as giving it the nickname of “Death Blade L7” because Motorola’s code name for the SLVR L7 was “Royal Blade”. This was one phone that met my rage a few times and much like the Nokia 3120, it took abuse like a champ. I can say that it’s one phone I really felt a bond to. It was my weapon, my tool, and my friend all in a slim aluminum and glass shell. However when there was word of a new slider smartphone out on Cingular (the Cingular/HTC 8125)… I feverishly began trying to find it for cheap and maybe give smartphones another chance. I mean, after all, it was using Windows Mobile 2005 versus my MPx220’s antiquated Windows Mobile 2003.

T-Mobile MDA
10/2006 – 1/2007: HTC Wizard as a T-mobile USA MDA (3 Months)
I’ll admit that I conceded defeat when I couldn’t get myself the sexy shell of the Cingular 8125, but I took quite a gamble on something else… a LOCKED T-Mobile MDA for a wicked bargain basement price of $180. It was too irresistible to pass-up but it would really test my knack of a hack attack. The locked MDA was like a challenge… If you had to equate it to a “Scrubs Fantasy Moment”, it’s probably played out like this:

Zero: “Heya 8125! I brought you flowers!”
Human-Sized 8125: “Sorry dude, you’re not cool enough to roll with the bitches and pimps…”
Zero: “You fucking suck, you damn whore!”
*Zero glances to see a lonely MDA sitting alone*
Zero: “Are you related to the 8125? Cause I could use a smartphone!”
Human-Sized MDA: “I am… but there’s one issue, I am locked exclusively to T-Mobile… Sorry dude…”
Zero: “Are you sure about that? I think I can use your abilities to help me out!”
Human-Sized MDA: “You’re welcome to try, but don’t abuse me… I’ll try taking care of you.”

So I would read up on XDA Developers about an HTC Wizard unlock and then proceed to take my mobile phone fandom even further… I would go ahead and unlock my phone even if there was a 5% chance of completely turning my new MDA into a paperweight. I would do the unlock and then… when the phone was still processing… I was in suspense. From throwing my generated unlock code… Did I just turn my phone into a worthless pile of circuits? I still remember my mind racing… “Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit…..” until I saw the confirmation message: “SIM unlock completed! Please insert any SIM and reboot to use the phone.” I couldn’t believe it. I just hacked my phone..!

The hack attack didn’t stop there… I would even look to running a more streamline copy of the phone’s operating system and remove the T-Mobile bloatware. Eventually I got it running perfect… or so I thought… until I noticed something after I quit changing through different ROM images. After about 3-5 days, the phone would be horridly sluggish. I also use my phone as an alarm clock… so it was horribly inconvenient to have my phone crash and being fooled that there was 6:35am at 9:00am. I tried changing out to other ROM’s but I still met the same fate… I just thought to myself “You know… Maybe Windows Mobile isn’t the right operating system for me…” I began soul searching for my alternatives. My mind then went “You know… Nokia’s probably still good… Let’s see if Nokia has a smartphone!” The E62 was the only thing that I could find that even came close… so I went ahead and tried to give it a shot. The MDA was off to the auction block except with a full restore to the original T-Mobile firmware and ROM.

Nokia E62
1/2007 – 5/2007: Nokia E62 (4 Months)
The E62… What can I say… It was boring, stable, and seriously callous. No web plan made the phone really agonizing. The phone wasn’t small either. There was a joke on how people used to call one of the old Blackberry devices the “Blue Taco”. I can say the E62 with the lack of wi-fi and it’s gargantuan form was the most vile example of douche-nozzlery from a having a calculator to your head. I tried so hard to like the phone, but eventually, I just gave up and like my BerryTastic article mentioned I just had to get in on what all the business folks were using: Palm Treos.

Treo 680
5/2007 – 10/2007: Palm Treo 680 (4 Months)
The Treo I actually liked to a degree… I was used to the Palm OS, but even in 2007 it felt dated. The phone’s OS at the time did not permit MP3 ringtones unless you bought extra programs. I thought it was suited to me… but without the net plan it didn’t seem great. Don’t get me wrong… I actually liked it much more than the E62… I just wanted something really more media oriented.

SE P990i SE W300i
10/2007 – 4/2008: DUAL PHONES – Sony Ericsson P990i AND Sony Ericsson w300i (6 Months)
I jokingly call this phase of my phone ownership the “Sony Ericsson gangbang” as this pair of phones was actually really damn fun! The P990i was my “professional” phone and replacement camera from its 3.2 megapixel camera using the predecessor of the Sony Ericsson Cybershot software. That would be on me when I needed to do the vital smartphone things. The W300i flip phone was my gym phone when I just wanted to work out but have a phone that could take quite a beating. I dearly loved the W300i as it was a rather durable design even if it was a bit… simplistic. The best part was both of these phones had “radio” function when you used the wire headsets. I know that feature made working out at the gym a little pleasurable as I could listen to some of the radio talkshows during my sets. Both of these phones shared the same battery so I always had a phone with a charge in the case that I may be out extended amounts of time and just needed to either swap phones or batteries. These phones made me a fan of Sony Ericsson, but sadly… the P990i even got on my bad side. The UIQ interface was really vexing sometimes and sometimes even made me genuinely mad. The phone had a bad case of memory leak too… so I had to reboot the thing like clock work. I just had to go “If I need a smart phone, I need to quit cheating myself of the experience and get a real smartphone.

AT&T Tilt
4/2008 – 12/17/2008 – HTC Kaiser as an AT&T Tilt 8925 (7 months)
I ended up buying a locked one and had to spend 5 minutes to crack the phone and unlock it for use with T-Mobile. Sadly this one suffered a fate close to the T-Mobile MDA… Intolerable crashes and other maladies that plague Windows Mobile even in Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional. To be honest, the phone almost became more like a toy than a tool. I hate to say it… I just really got frustrated with it. I even tried to see if I could get mobile web working to consider data plan, but sadly… even that never worked despite trying every solution that XDA Developers had to offer. It left me a sour taste in my mouth and solidified my resolve on what I wanted in a phone…

Stability, simplicity, and beauty.

No more crashing phones, no more weird crap, just a phone that does the basics great and the fun stuff just as good but without becoming the next trendy toy. So far, it’s led me to my Blackberry Curve 8310 and I have had absolutely no regrets. Although… I will say that it may have made me a bit of a raving fan of how great the Blackberry devices can get!

Leave a Reply