m505 Contrast Hack a Hoax

The supposed m505 contrast system hack that was published a week or so ago is simply a well done hoax. None of the various sets of instructions for performing the hack actually do anything.

The hoax has moved on to a new form and sites are starting to claim that they have applications that will do the same thing. These are all fraudulent. There is an application called bright505 on both PalmGear and Handango which is simply GlowHack with a different file name.

If you still wonder whether these might be real, the developer, Supernova Software, also makes m505 emulator 1.1 which "permits testing color applications on a grayscale Palm." It isn't known whether PalmGear and Handango are in on the joke or if they simply don't know what they have.

There is also a website claiming to have bright505 but it doesn't even have the fake application, just a lot of mildly funny comments from users talking about how great it is.

In its original form, this hoax was a set of instructions on how to put a series of phrases into the Memo Pad which was supposed to increase the contrast on the new m505 to the same level as the Visor Prism's at the cost of decreasing battery life by about 35%.

From the beginning most people who tried it reported no change but enough people claimed it worked to throw the whole question into doubt. In fact, Steve Bush, Editor-in-Chief of Brighthand, said, "I performed this on an m505 manufactured in Hungary and it worked."

The supposed Hack was covered by all the top Palm related websites.

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I.M. Anonymous @ 5/15/2001 2:24:03 PM #
I am deeply disappointed by Palm Info Center printing the link to the geocities website with the supposed 'bright505' hack.

It is obvious that the site is just a parody. If who ever wrote this news article (Ed, it appears) actually bothered to read that page, they would have realised that the author is not taking him/herself seriously. E.g.:

"Praise from bright505 users:
"Wow, thanks to bright505, I dont need fog lights on my new Pathfinder.. I have two m505's strapped to my front bumpers!!"

"This is the shi***iest software ever, you a**hole. I cant see anymore you son of a bitc*!""

It seems that Ed included this URL in the above article and fell for a hoax about a hoax. In the process, giving news worthiness to a worthless page intended for humour. The page doesn't even attempt to take itself seriously. It surprises me that Ed _did_.

I would have expected better journalistic standards from one the more trusted sources of Palm news on the Net.


Andrew McCartney

RE: Disappointed
Ed @ 5/15/2001 2:39:59 PM #
Oh, I realized it was _supposed_ to be funny. In fact, this whole thing was kind of funny when the joke was new. I certainly admire the people who dreamed the original hack up for their creativity. But jokes have a lifespan and this one's is long over. It's like the guy who keeps telling the same joke over and over again. No matter how funny it was the first time, after the fifteenth time, it is just lame.

Maybe I'm the only one no longer amused by this. I've spent too much time answering e-mails and comments lately from people asking if this was real to see the humor any more.

Actually, if you want to be disappointed about something, you should be disappointed that I got taken in by this hoax in the first place.

News Editor
Palm Infocenter

RE: Disappointed
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/15/2001 3:39:37 PM #
>Actually, if you want to be disappointed about something, you should be disappointed that I got
>taken in by this hoax in the first place.
>In fact, Steve Bush Editor-in-Chief of Brighthand said, "I performed this on an m505 manufactured
>in Hungary and it worked."

What I want to know is if Steve was also 'taken in' by this hoax and is just too embarassed to
admit it, or if he was 'in on' the joke in the first place, and just wanted to disseminate misinformation

RE: Disappointed
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/15/2001 3:57:36 PM #
Thanks to PalmInfocenter for the follow up article clarify that it was all a hoax, I appreciate your responsibility in correcting the info.

As far as Brighthand goes, wonder if they will EVER admit it was a hoax, or if Steve there has too much of an ego to admit he was mistaken.

RE: Disappointed
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/15/2001 4:00:05 PM #

I read the original thread about the newsgroup method of increasing contrast. I don't blame you for falling for it. When a new electronic device is just released tons of rumours circulate about its features, included or excluded.

In the case of the m505 and the fact that the majority of those who've has seen it, and especially those who've bought it, have been surprised by the screen, the prospect of a secret brightness hack would be appealing any day (especially in a badly lit room :o) )* So I was not disappointed by the fact that you, amidst hundreds of others, 'fell' for it. Had I come across that post, I too would have given it ago as well.

Indeed, I purchased the m505 on a weekend break to Miami (I live in the UK) and harbour a wish that the brightness hack was in fact true! Although, as the more knowledgeable of folk have already pointed out, the screen dimness is a hardware issue because of a calculated Palm engineering decision, and not a editable software issue.

As someone has already pointed out in this thread, the fact that this hoax gained so much prominence with all the early hard core buyers (such as myself) says as much about what we think of the m505, than it does about the impact of a hoax itself.

For instance, having just picked upon on all the threads about Hungary vs USA made models on this site and others, I found myself looking at the back of my Palm to look for the Made in USA sticker - I even left a voicemail for my friend who still has the original box in Miami.

I like to think that I'm a rational guy and know that there is no difference between whether a device is made in Hungary or USA, and that manufacturing discrepencies exist everywhere, in all industries, regardless of the nationality of workers or the geographical presence of a factory. However, because like most of the people reading this site, I'm a big fan of gadgets and especially the Palm, I'll still fall for every hoax and ridiculous argument that pops up - in a way, that's why I read this site.

If I we were all normal users, would we really check out this site so regularly? The average user, Palm's target segment, just wants a datebook and a phonebook app and doesn't care about 90% of the debates and points of information that are raised on community sites. To the average user, what does it really matter that model X has 10% more battery life than model Y, or that model X clocks 5% slower than model Y, and so on.

The fact that we fall for hoaxes and get passionate in these arguments is because we aren't normal users. We care about how much we spend on a product, we care about the speed of apps, screen contrasts, form factors, software performance and the tiniest of details that the average guy/gal on the street wouldn't even notice.

So even though we should take rumours with a pinch of salt, the fact that we'll try new tricks to improve our devices and get involved in discussions is, ultimately, inevitable.

Fingers crossed, I'll find a contrast hack for my m505 on Palmgear one day ... ;)


Andrew McCartney

RE: Disappointed
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/15/2001 4:29:48 PM #
I forgot to elaborate the * ...

* = I don't want to raise the 'i hate the dimness' vs 'i'm happy with m505' debate again. Just to clarify that I was taken back by how dim the screen was when I saw a model in Office Depot and the one I actually own now. However, after a while I realised that battery life is probably more useful than a bright screen. Others differ in view, and are entilted to return their m505 or wait for the new Clie. Either way, we are all unique users of these devices and there's no harm in expressing our thoughts on them. Without passionate and heated debates in core user communities, product dev engineers and designers would never make progress. It's all healthy.

RE: Disappointed
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/15/2001 8:33:59 PM #
Andrew, I could not have put it better myself...

If anyone puts an IIIC and a M505 you will come to the realization that the M505 is not as dim as you think it is in fact it is brighter/clearer than th IIIC.

The screen functionality is the way it is for a reason, not to washout on well lighted places amongst others I have not yet discovered....


Isn't the real story ...

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/15/2001 2:56:38 PM #
... why so people fall for these 505 hoaxes? Isn't the real story why so many people are looking for a "fix" for the 505?

The truth is out there ...

- M

bright505 has had 500 downloads in 4 hours!
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/15/2001 7:16:49 PM #
I saw it posted om Palmgear earlier today and people are still downloading it like crazy. I think this shows how desperate people are to improve their m505 screens.

100 years ago people bought snake oil. I guess notheng ever changes...

RE: Isn't the real story ...
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/15/2001 8:38:23 PM #
Looks like PalmGear pulled the Supernova Software programs off their site. Can someone tell me where they can be downloaded, or can someone please upload them to a website? Thanks.

RE: Isn't the real story ...
Ed @ 5/15/2001 11:10:24 PM #
If you really want another copy of GlowHack, the fake entry is still on Handango. Follow the link in the article.

Another ignored part of this story is that PalmGear and Handango were fooled, too. I always assumed they had a process for testing out applications before they posted them. Guess not. But I can't give them too hard a time. That would be like the pot calling the kettle black.

News Editor
Palm Infocenter

"True Believers?"

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/15/2001 3:13:47 PM #
How come people posted messages stating that the hack worked for them? Are they liars? Are they "true believers" who saw the enhanced contrast/brightness merely because they WANTED to? (An interesting psychological study) Either way, the hoax was all over the main sites for Palm info available, and this therefore greatly damages my faith in almost anything people have to say on them.

RE: cover-up
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/15/2001 4:06:09 PM #
It is all a big conspiracy that Sony is trying to cover-up! The technology actually exists to make the M505 much brighter, but Sony doesn't want us to know about it so that we will buy the N710C. The Clie' N710C has a screen that is bright and clear, right here and right now (starting May 28th), and if it is important enough to you costs $50 more. Otherwise wait for the hack, because "the truth is out there."

RE: No more Skeptics
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/15/2001 4:13:42 PM #
The sucess of this litle Hoax is rooted in how people are really too eager to believe almost anything
discussed in print without checking for valid references or confirmation. We live in a world where
instant information/instant gratification is the norm.

If you had checked the original postings on the comp.sys.palmtops.pilot discussion group and noticed
that the author's name was "Satan" and various other references in the message header were very
suggestive of a hoax (as noted by the posts that soon followed). Unfortunately, naive Palm OS
users/enthusiasts who were eager to HAVE a m505 with a bright display didn't look beyond the
surface and jumped in head first.

So perhaps the post suggesting that what this overwhelming response to a lame hoax was a thinly
veiled dissatifaction with the m505's rather mediocre display.

This reflex bind acceptance of whatever shows up on the internet as truth is the underlying cause
of why we still get innundeated with well meaning chain letters in our e-mail boxes and more incidiously,
why viruses propogate so easily.

Caveat Emptor. social engineering still works.

Dural @ 5/15/2001 4:20:19 PM #
"and this therefore greatly damages my faith in almost anything people have to say on them."

Oh that is too funny. I guess you don't believe the corrected info also.

The fact these guys slave away providing us info each day to hear this kind of criticism is too much.

Thanks for the correction Steve.

Dural @ 5/15/2001 4:24:30 PM #
"Thanks for the correction Steve."

Sorry! I meant Ed!

RE: Satan
Ed @ 5/15/2001 4:56:13 PM #
> If you had checked the original postings on the comp.sys.palmtops.pilot
> discussion group and noticed that the author's name was "Satan" and
> various other references in the message header were very suggestive of a hoax

I didn't automatically dismiss this because it was posted by someone calling themselves Satan because I get legitimate info from people with weird pseudonyms all the time. In fact, the very next day, Satan posted the article "Using MSMount with the m500 series", and it was factual, confirmable, and quite well written.

That fact and Steve Bush's endorsement kept me waffling about whether this was a hoax probably longer than I should.

I never tested the original hack myself and warned everyone to do so at their own risk because I thought there was a very small possibility that this hoax might not have been harmless and would actually do something to mess up the device. Also, I'm happy with my m505 and wouldn't change it.

News Editor
Palm Infocenter

Could Palminfocenter ........?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/15/2001 6:35:02 PM #
Could Palminfocenter have some way of e-mailing Ed directly? I ask because I was the person that originally concluded that MSMount "might" work for the m500/5 based on a Clie discussion thread.I used the hoaxers technique of posting and cross-posting, variations of the theme "Somebody please try this..", until the Clie Users Group moderator picked it up several hours later, and gave the idea some legitimacy, but the whole process took 24hrs+ before Satan and others gave it a try.
If I could have e-mailed Ed directly, then I could have been "responsible" for my submission and Ed could have done an article from the start.

Phew, out of breath...

We should show more appreciation to Ed
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/15/2001 6:40:07 PM #
I think andrew is way too hard on Ed. Without Ed, we wouldn't even have a place like palm infocenter to get all the latest info. He must spends many hours everday on maintaining it. I think whatever Andrew's comment is just bit too hard.

Ed, why are you trying to embarass Steve Bush?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/15/2001 7:22:23 PM #
You seem to have gone out of your way in this article to try and make Bush look like an idiot - even linking to the original Brighthand article (how helpful of you). He might have been fooled and thought the hack *did* slightly improve the screen. His Brighthand post seemed almost nonchalant, and I'm sure he had no idea how big this was going to get.

Remember - even slight changes in ambient lighting make a BIG difference in the m505's screen appearance. If the room Bush was in when he tested the hack got a bit brighter (e.g. the sun came out) after he ran it, this could explain why he thought the hack worked. Try not to be so judgemental without knowing all of the circumstances around what happened.

(Of course, now watch Bush announce that he was in on the joke from the beginning...)

RE: Ed
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/15/2001 8:57:41 PM #
Andrew had a point, not reference to Ed, but reference to us that read and comment on this site.

We all Know that without Ed this site would not be what it is. I am sure he puts in a lot of hours of research just to keep us well informed.

I did not try the famous hack (glow hack), it did not give me a good bive and I wanted to wait to other people responded, usually hacks are installed not written in the notepad....

Needless to say, I was tempted, but decided screen was not that bad and I did not want to sacrifice my battery power. So... don't blame Ed for not researching, in fact, we should all be thanking him for all the good information and articles he posts for us. Besides that anybody would of fallen for it!!!


Re: Steve Bush
Ed @ 5/15/2001 11:16:21 PM #
It certainly wasn't my intention to try to embarrass Steve Bush out of spite; I've never even met him and I think he runs a good site. However, he was the most prominent person in the Palm community to flat out say that the hack worked and had a big part in making me believe it wasn't a hoax. If his comment hadn't been in the Brighthand message boards when I was researching the original story, I probably wouldn't have published it. His endorsement went a long way towards making a small hoax into probably the biggest one the Palm community has ever seen. That makes him an important part of the whole saga that I thought deserved to be mentioned.

Steve, if you are reading this I'm sorry if I seemed to be pointing a finger at you. No hard feelings?

News Editor
Palm Infocenter

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/16/2001 11:34:35 AM #
I would assume the hard-working individuals who dispense this news do the best they can to get verification. I agree with an earlier post that questioned all the people who posted in reply, saying they had tried it and it worked. Placebo, perhaps?

Remember, a small amount of skepticism is often a good thing, otherwise you're reduced to saying, "Well, they wouldn't put it on the internet/in an e-mail if it weren't true."

RE: Steve Bright
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/18/2001 7:40:29 AM #
There is a difference between reporting on something that a site has done and just criticisizing the site to be mean. IMO Ed properly mentioned that Steve claimed to have seen a change, and that was part of the story. That's different from slamming a site (as Steve himself did not too long ago). Steve made himself part of the story, and there should be no apology for mentioning him.

That said, people seem to be getting WAY too upset over Steve's little comment. The guy made a little mistake - perhaps the mistake was that he actually convinced himself that the screen was a little brighter (we all wish it was, right?) or maybe his mistake was that he assumed the information was correct because he heard it somewhere, and simply hadn't tried it out yet. Either way, it's a stupid but SMALL mistake. It's not like he busted the training wheels off your bike or something. Get over it.

I've got a Better idea

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/15/2001 4:19:20 PM #
For those interested in boosting the m505 display to the quality/brightness level of the Prism I've got a better idea and one that will "Definitely" work.

1) Get in your Car.
2) Put the key in the ignition.
3) Pull out of the driveway (look carefully both ways).
4) Drive to your local Staples.
5) Go to the Handheld computing section.
6) Buy a Prism.

There you go! I'm just amazed by the number of folks who claimed that the hack really worked. Kinda takes you back to the old Orson Wells radio broadcast "War of the Worlds".

Thanks for the Laugh!

(A Prism User)

RE: I've got a Better idea
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/16/2001 11:21:24 AM #
You forgot step #7:

7) Kiss the small form factor GOODBYE!

The "hubub" over the m505 has been related to desire for color display on a thin form factor, with expandability. People weren't willing to accept the trade-off involved in this combination, so they desperately sought ways to brighten the screen. Although the suggestion to "buy a Prism" might be humorous, but it's also ludicrous, especially if you intend to use your PDA anywhere but indoors.

What a run it had

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/15/2001 4:40:13 PM #
This had to be one of the best hoaxes around! I couldn't believe the life it had.

Now, has anyone opened their m505 to see if the backlight tube itself can be replaced with a brigther one?

Or how about if there are some resistors that can be replaced?

(argh! mikecane@wildmail.com -- posting from a library computer; forgot to login!)

This is the end

Ed @ 5/15/2001 6:34:36 PM #
Fair warning: After this article, if anyone else tries to continue this hoax by posting comments linking to any of the fake apps or the bogus website, I'm going to delete your comments. These are either the totally clueless or people who don't understand that the joke has gone on long enough and I don't have much sympathy for either group.

This doesn't mean you can't discuss it _as a hoax_ but no more trying to get people to waste their time.

News Editor
Palm Infocenter

RE: This is the end
scouter075 @ 5/15/2001 7:15:37 PM #
I second that! I'm tired of wasting time on hoaxes. People responsible need to get a life!


Steve Bush

atrizzah @ 5/15/2001 7:14:08 PM #
Wow. I am extremely disappointed in Steve Bush for claiming that this hack worked. I'm wondering, did anyone official from Palm ever reply to the alleged hack? Why would Steve say something untrue like this if he knew it didn't work? Now his reputation is seriously damaged. I really want to hear his side of the story before I judge him though.

Peace Out
RE: Steve Bush
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/15/2001 7:38:40 PM #
It's hard to evaluate something like differences in contrast without having the two things being compared right in front of you at the same time. Also, if Bush's surroundings were brighter after he ran the hack, it would look like it actually worked. His only error was failing to mention that he was saying that he just THOUGHT the hack worked and couldn't be sure without doing a controlled test.

Let's stop bashing Steve over a simple mistake that anyone could have made.

Did you know that Bushie is the Prez's 2nd cousin???
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/15/2001 7:55:52 PM #

RE: Did you know that Bushie is the prez's 2nd cousin?
JET8810 @ 5/15/2001 8:22:04 PM #
ROFL...well that explains it! LOL. Did you see the time on TV pres Bush said, "I will do everything in my power to aid the continent of Nigeria" hehehe.....continent?

No hack needed!

altema @ 5/15/2001 8:13:01 PM #
Gee, I took my Palm into a dark room, and the screen was so bright that it hurt my eyes to look at it. The sticker on the back says "USA", and the front says,.. ummm, wait a minute, it says "IIIc"?? No wonder I got it so cheap! Of course, it DOES make a nice night light too!

Snake Oil

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/15/2001 9:32:51 PM #
Slightly off topic, but I can't resist: 100 years ago, snake oil salesmen were HUNG for fraud, and they still should be! Snake oil salesmen still exist, the most infamous and fraudulent of whom is bill gates/micro-sloth, and he SHOULD be hung! I've got a good rope....
RE: Snake Oil? I can't resist
MadMax @ 5/15/2001 10:24:25 PM #
100 years ago a pharmacist sold snake oil. Today the most trusted profession is a pharmacist.

Did anyone try this hack?

Norm @ 5/16/2001 3:41:54 AM #
I'm still waiting for my m505 but has anyone tried this hack I was told about by someone in Tech Support at Palm UK?

While pressing and holding the backlight button, press and hold the power key and the calendar key and at the same time add a new contact called Xaohat Onsisiht.

Does it work?

RE: Did anyone try this hack?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/16/2001 4:45:25 AM #
Palm tech support in the UK doesn't even know that the m50x exists. The people I have spoken to took me for an idiot and kept repeating 'No, I think you mean m105' and I finally gave up, got on a plane, went to the USA and bought one (OK, so I had other things to do there too :o) )

As for your egg suggestion ... as far as I can see, the m505 doesn't have a separate light and power button ;)

Andrew McCartney

LOL, guys... no need, no need. n/c
EGarrido @ 5/16/2001 6:17:31 AM #

Eric Garrido
RE: Did anyone try this hack?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/16/2001 9:33:23 AM #
if you noticed, the contact is "this is not a hoax" backwards

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