Geek Gift – Mobility Style

Now I’m not a big fan of Christmas. Well, sure, I get time off work, get to eat good food, etc. But a lot of it is more of a kid’s thing in my opinion. That does not mean that I’m off the hook when it comes around to gifts however. I had the opportunity to be creative though, and do it in a proper Mobile Geek fashion 🙂

My girlfriend wants a new laptop. The one she’s using now is an HP Pavilion I used before. A few years old, but ok specs for her needs – only problem is the flex cable, (connecting the LCD to the graphics card), is almost worn out (flickering display), and there’s some other sporadic hardware issues as well. Time for a replacement. Now I’m not giving her a laptop, but I can help her along the way. She actually said to me that she wanted a gift certificate at our preferred online retailer. (How great is that – no chasing through stores looking for stuff I have no interest in:) )

So I could have just purchased a gift certificate, and printed it out on a piece of paper. Let’s make it more sexy 🙂 I have an HTC Diamond I’m not using at the moment, so I decided to turn it into a delivery tool. No, she doesn’t get to keep it. She gets to boot it up and learn what her gift is. First thing I did was create a png file with the logo of the retailer, the words “Gift Certificate” in a fancy font, and some Christmassy looking trees. You’ll either want to make it 640×640 or 480×640. Save it as “welcomehead.96.png”.

I made a second png with a picture of a laptop I recommend as good value for money (Lenovo N500), and the amount/value of the certificate written below. Save it with whatever name you like and transfer to the Diamond. I disabled the TouchFlo plugin from the today screen, but kept the HTC Black theme. Chose the png I just created as the background image, and I’m done with part one.

Now on to part two which is transferring the first png to the \Windows folder on the device (replacing the file currently there). HTC has been clever on the Diamond, so all the files in this folder are write-protected system files. Which means you can’t just overwrite/delete files. This means it’s workaround time. I created a cab with WinCE Cab Manager, (you can download a trial, it’s a great utility), and added the png file to this cab. By setting the system and read-only properties you can install this on your device even though you can’t do it through file explorer. You’ll need to soft-reset, but that’s hardly a problem.

What you get now is a device that displays a custom boot splash screen, (resembling a gift certificate), instead of the green Windows Mobile logo, followed by a background image displaying the gift the certificate helps acquire. Since there was a test SIM-card in the device that I didn’t bother to remove, I rounded it out with setting the PIN to 2412 🙂

I don’t think she reads this blog, so hopefully she will be impressed tomorrow night 🙂 Maybe your guys out there are already finished with your shopping – then you can keep this trick, and use it on another occasion instead. Oh, and I’ll be bubble wrapping the device along with some nice Valrhona chocolate which probably won’t hurt either.

2 thoughts on “Geek Gift – Mobility Style”

  1. Yes, she liked it. And although she was impressed that I had obviously put some effort into it, she wasn’t surprised I’d perform a hack like that 🙂

    The Voyager utility has somehow slipped by my radar – will have to test that one. I was also contemplating testing with Total Commander, but CAB Manager is one of my favorite tools so it was the one closest at hand at the time.

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