T-Mobile Shadow’s low volume (and hardy kiwis)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

T-Mobile Shadow So, let’s say you have your new Windows Mobile 6 smartphone, the T-Mobile Shadow, and everything is almost great. The only problem with the Shadow (and it’s a big problem) is that in-call volume is absurdly low, even with the volume control maxed out. What do you do?

(By the way, following my smartphones post from last month, I selected the Shadow model because I gave up on the Shadow II coming out in a timely fashion and also refused to splurge on a G1/iPhone touch-screen phone because of the annoying mandatory data plans.)

Here’s one important (and idiotic) tip for adjusting the Shadow’s volume: Make sure you remove the plastic screen protector (or at least the top quarter-inch) the factory-sealed phone comes with, because it covers the ear piece (speaker). This was not immediately obvious to me. I was just trying to keep my screen from getting scratched up right away. I didn’t realize that the thin plastic sticker could have such a significant effect. Just peeling off the plastic from the silver speaker slot dramatically improves in-call volume. However, if the volume still seems too low when maxed out, give the following a try.

Grab your T-Mobile Shadow phone and take it over to your Windows XP computer, then follow these steps:

(Note: With ActiveSync installed, you can freely and easily drag & drop photos, music, background images, ringtones and more between your Windows Mobile phone and computer.)

Now, to turn in-call volume up, open Mobile Registry Editor and navigate to this location in the registry:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\ControlPanel\SoundCategories\InCall\InitVol

Set the new InitVol key to a value of “10″ or so (and be sure not to change anything else). The default InitVol value for my phone was “3,” which was rather quiet when trying to hear someone during a call. Seems like going any higher than “10″ for InitVol could blow the cell phone’s speaker (or make you deaf, unless you already are). After performing this registry mod, you will need to restart your device (power cycle) for it to take effect.

(One more thing: I’d recommend buying a snap-on clear/crystal hard case and screen protector for $10 on eBay, if you want to protect your T-Mobile Shadow. Get the two-piece case that slides open with the phone. It also includes a swivel belt clip.)

Hardy kiwis Hardy kiwis

Pomegranate season just started, but I want to mention another fall fruit instead. I recently learned that you can successfully grow kiwifruit in Oregon. Smooth-skinned hardy kiwis, that is. Native to northern Asia, hardy kiwis are about the size of large grapes (about one inch long) and are often sold by the trademark name Kiwi Berries or Baby Kiwis. The ones I’ve been eating were organically grown in Eugene, Oregon. The Oregonian covered this last month: “How do you use hardy kiwis? Just pop ‘em in your mouth.” Kiwi Berries are deliciously sweet. Their packaging says they “are a nutritional powerhouse and a healthy food source containing over 20 nutrients. Kiwi Berries contain twice the amount of Vitamin E, yet only 60% of the calories of an avocado; 5 times the Vitamin C of an orange; and more potassium than bananas. Kiwi Berries are high in fiber and rich in folic acid.”

Random trivia: The vines of the hardy kiwifruit possess a catnip-like smell which can attract cats. Maybe I can try growing some hardy kiwifruit vines in my backyard next year. Until then . . . nom nom nom.

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