My HTC Apache Setup

By tonyhughes Hughes, in , posted: 30-Aug-2006 18:11

I thought that an article in laymans terms about how I use my HTC Apache, may be helpful to those who are unsure of what they can achieve with 3rd party software to extend basic functionality. If you have any questions about my specific setup, please leave a comment on this blog entry. If you have a question unrelated to my specific setup, please ask your question in the Geekzone forums.

I am actually a fairly basic user of the Pocket PC, and there is so much more that can be done with them, including the use of custom developed applications.

After deciding on the Apache, I decided to run it, and my Sanyo Ice (Katana/6600) using Telecoms Tandem service (free call diversion to the second phone for a flat fee of $10 a month).

So a call comes in as per normal, on my phone number, and the Apache rings for up to 20 seconds before diverting to the Sanyo. The Sanyo will ring for 20 seconds, then divert to voicemail. If either phone is off, or out of coverage/busy, the divert is instant to the next device/service in line.

So during a typical work day, I can carry just the Apache Pocket PC phone around, and at night, weekends, at the pub, the beach, wherever, I can just carry a normal phone, and still recieve calls on my primary cell number. I also have my skype diverting to my mobile phone if I don’t answer it too, so my Skype will also end up at my voicemail. I also get a text alert to the Sanyo if I have voicemail, as well as the standard voicemail alert to my Apache.

Windows Mobile 5 (WM5) is the operating system that runs on the Apache, and comes with basic functionality like Outlook (email/tasks/calendar/contacts), Word, Excel, alarm clock, Internet Explorer and other bits and peices. Using just the preinstalled software, the device is functional, and can achieve a lot, but the true value in these units is the ability to load third party software to replace, complement, or enhance the existing titles.

After a week or so of playing with my new toy, installing and testing various software packages, and just getting to grips with it again, I have done a full clean reset back to factory settings, and installed just the software I really want/need onto the device. They have a very limited supply of memory onboard, which is precious!! If possible, an app should be installed to memory card, but some apps dont like this, and require main memory installs to function correctly, function well, or for some, even to function at all.

I bought a 2GB mini-SD card, but a 256mb or 512mb card would be just as useful for most users. Note that I got a 20x speed card for compatibility with another device I use as well. Otherwise I would just have gone for the faster 133x version for another $7.

So what do I have installed, over and above the bundled software, and why? Well, here is the must-have titles (for me), anything else I have on the device is for entertainment purposes, or more specialized tasks. What follows is a good basic setup for me. Your mileage may vary, and your needs will certainly go off on tangents away from my own.

SPB Pocket Plus

Installed in main memory

Pocket Plus does heaps of different things, mostly very useful functions, but the function I am especially fond of, is that when you close a program using the “X” button – it actually closes (Windows Mobile out of the box merely minimizes apps using that button, and therefore they slow your machine down and use up memory). It also adds multi-window (tabbed browsing) support to Pocket Internet Explorer, and it displays a battery meter across the top of the screen that does not steal any valuable screen real estate.

SPB Backup

Installed in main memory

SPB Backup is just too easy. Set and forget. It backs up my pocket PC every evening, keeps the last 5 backups on my mini-SD card, and if I need to restore a backup, I just click the executable backup file, and im away laughing. I wish SPB Backup could automatically send the backup to an email address or ftp though. (To get a backup off the device without my intervention).

SPB Diary

Installed in main memory

This program is basically a steroid-enhanced addon to the standard calendar today-screen plugin. It adds a boatload of functionality and information, and really makes the Apache shine as an organizer. To try and describe the software here wont do it justice, I suggest you try it for yourself!

Adobe Reader 2.0

Installed on storage card

If, like me, you often receive PDF files via email, its handy to have a reader on hand. There may be others, but this one is free, and works well. You can fit a document to the screen width for readability, or maintain formatting and scroll around the document very easily. It handles pictures well too. Im not a power user of PDF files, so this serves my needs totally.

Pocket MSN

Pre-installed on WM5, Pocket MSN allows you to sign into MSN using the Apache. Special mention here, as it looks like you still cant login to MSN if your regional setting on the device is set to New Zealand. I changed mine to UK, logged into MSN, then changed it back, and it was fine. If you use a good free IM client on your Pocket PC, let me know…

Pocket IRC

Installed on storage card

Back to the 3rd party apps, Pocket IRC is shareware, and works very well. I find it a pain to perform some administrative IRC tasks, as entering “/” and a command, does not work as expected, and simply sends the /whatever as text into your chat window. But it does have many pre-configured operations, such as kicking and banning. It has multi-window support, DCC file sending and DCC chat sessions, and as a general chat program, works very very well. There are some nicer options around, but this one in particular works with ZiRC’s “ajoin” command, to automatically open your favourite channel windows upon login, whereas some other programs don’t.


Installed on storage card

With Skype installed, and using a WiFi connection, I can call home (or wherever) for free. We have a Skype Dualphone at home, and it gets answered as if it were the home phone. I normally log in with a separate Skype username just for my Apache (so I can call our home Skype ID), but I don’t want to maintain credit on two accounts, so if I want to use SkypeOut, I can always log in to my regular Skype ID. Neat stuff. (Note: Get the new beta version… it runs fine, and is much nicer to use)

Remote Display Control

Installed on storage card

A freebie that lets you see your live Pocket PC screen on your desktop, and interact with it using your keyboard and mouse. This has a million and one uses, but in particular I have used it for taking screenshots of my Pocket PC, and using the zoom feature to enlarge the display when teaching groups of people how to use an application on a mobile device – without everyone jostling for position trying to see the tiny screen, they simply view the laptop or projection display.

Ilium Software eWallet Professional

Installed on storage card

eWallet is great, it gives me the confidence to keep some personal information on my device, such as website logins and passwords, credit card info, membership numbers, and lots of other bits of private info. You still have to take a leap of faith somewhere along the line, but this is the best bit of software I have seen to do this, and the company is reputable. You can enter the info on your desktop, and have it synchronizing to your device. To view information on either machine, you need to supply the master password.

Make sure you buy your software from the Geekzone Software Store. :-)

Note: I do lots of other stuff with my Apache too, but a lot of it is just too boring to post about!! There are thousands of applications out there. Get SPB Backup, backup your working system, then go and try as much as you like - you can always roll back to the good backup you made...

Other related posts:
How to update your XT Galaxy S to Android 2.2 Froyo
Download Samsung KIES 2.0
Running an Android Task Killer? Get rid of it, and get your battery back.

Comment by paradoxsm, on 30-Aug-2006 18:49

Cheers! There was some good stuff here! Try agilemessenger for IM, though it works well at the moment and offers multi-support I have not tested it thouroughly, it may be shareware or demo ware.

One thing very useful for me was using GPRS monotor as it allows you to turn off the data connection by two taps of the stylus (notice how you can connect but not disconnect easily otherwise!) and of course it's a very useful data monitor.

Comment by freitasm, on 30-Aug-2006 23:04

And what's with the last paragraph and strange font?

Comment by nzbnw, on 30-Aug-2006 23:27

You can use Microsoft Word to decode the last para by changing the font. But what is up with that??

Comment by psychrn, on 31-Aug-2006 07:11

Good review there Tony-yes a backup soln is a must and saved my bacon a few times

Author's note by tonyhughes, on 31-Aug-2006 08:11

hmmm this post was composed in MS Word and looks find on my machine. I will edit the html now.....

Author's note by tonyhughes, on 31-Aug-2006 08:16

hmmm... that smily just before the last paragraph had been converted to a WingDings font by Word 2003, and this affected the last paragraph by the time the whole lot was dumped into an html system...


i'll use OpenOffice next time round I think!

Comment by Adrian, on 31-Aug-2006 09:02

Nice article.

Extensions - you can set up a pair of Moto HT820's for stereo sound/phone call answering. So apache stays in you breifcase - and you operate it via your headphones! If you google apache and a2dp you'll get the instructions on how to pair the apache with bluetooth stereo phones. - Suprised this isn't standard an aku2.2.

Add microsoft voice recognition and you can do anthing (from ask it the time to play your music) $30USD but well worth it.

Next up is free calling - I'm trialling SJPhone with VOIPStunt at the moment (you can choose any VOIP provider). This gives you free calling to all landlines in NZ + 40 other countries. So if you have a WIFI connection (Telecom give this away for free at the moment with your adsl connection) no more calling costs!

The faster card is well worth the $112 or so dollars from flashcards.

Comment by Khairul Azman, on 9-Jan-2007 11:58

Just one basic question about the Apache. If it is locked to Telecom NZ, how do we "unlock" it for use with other provider?

Author's note by tonyhughes, on 9-Jan-2007 14:45

Hi Khairul from Dunedin. There is only one CDMA provider in New Zealand. Telecom devices cant be used on Vodafone, and Vodafone devices cant be used on Telecom, regardless of being 'unlocked' or not. The CDMA devices dont get locked - Telecom holds a master list of ESN numbers, and it only lets registered ESNs use its system (so you could bring an 'unlocked' CDMA phone in from Australia, but it still wont work here, because Telecom has not [and will not] approve the ESN for connection). ESN = 'Electronic Serial Number'.

Comment by tim, on 7-Feb-2007 13:42

Thanks for the great post. A quick question...I have installed skype onto my telecom htc but it will not use the normal ear speaker (as is the case with a normal phone call). I hear the caller over the phone I hear music on the media player. If you have any advise that would be great. Cheers Tim

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