18 June 2009

Dragging data kicking and screaming out of your Motorola Maxx Ve

I have a Verizon-branded Motorola Maxx Ve. It does the basics just fine, except that it has a few problems, for which I have (sort-of) solutions:
  • If the phone gets wet, it might short out the volume button, leaving the phone unresponsive to input. When this happened to me, none of the buttons worked except the volume switch. If I pressed it, the volume would slowly sink to mute, unless I pressed and held "louder" to fight it. I managed to fix this, but inelegantly -- I snapped off a piece of the housing around the volume control with a screwdriver, cleaned the contacts, and snapped the piece back into place. This was inelegant, but it did work.
  • If you want to transfer a ringtone via bluetooth, you may have to change its extension from ".mp3" to ".qcp" to get around a Verizon-imposed restriction.
  • It's not easy to get data out of the Maxx. BitPim doesn't support the Maxx directly. But there is a workaround. Using version 1.06 in Debian, plug the phone into the computer with a standard USB connector, open the settings dialog in BitPim, tick "Read Only" and set "phone" to "other CDMA phone". Click "Browse" next to "Com port" and pick "USB Device - Vendor Motorola PCS, Product #2B24 (Interface #00)." Close the settings dialog. Most likely, BitPim will complain that it can't detect your phone. That's fine. Under the "View" menu, make sure "view filesystem" is checked. Click "Filesystem" in the left-hand pane, and click the triangle next to the root folder in the pane that appears. If you get an error relating to USB permissions, that means that you don't have access to the USB port. You could figure out how to grant this, or you could be lazy and insecure like me and just run bitpim as root. Bitpim should turn on its "busy" light and put "Reading phone file system" in the status bar. About 30 seconds later, it should show you the phone's filesystem. To get your SMS messages, go to /brew/mod/syncom2. Right-click the folder "msging" and choose "backup entire tree". Some minutes later, the system will ask you to save a zip file.
  • Once you have the zip file with the messages, unzip it. The single-letter folders inside contain your SMS messages: d for drafts, i for inbox, o for outbox, s for saved, and I'm not sure what w is. The messages are encoded in some odd format which inserts a NUL between every adjacent pair of characters (this makes the strings command fail); if you just want the text, pipe the .env files through tr to remove the NULs (cat 01.env | tr -d '\00'). index/mb.idx also has the messages, but it truncates them, so if you want the full messages, look at the .env files.
  • The data files for the notepad and the calendar apps are in /brew/mod/rm_planner/tools/notepad and /brew/mod/rm_planner/tools/calendar. I have no idea how to decode the date format in the calendar app, but I'm just glad to have a copy of the data.

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