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Rumor: System Hack to Increase m505's Contrast (Updated)

Update: This is a hoax. I'm leaving it up here for archival purposes but nothing contained in this article is true. -Ed

A leaked internal memo from Technical Support at Palm has appeared on comp.sys.palmtops.pilot. It covers how to manually 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%. This system hack does not work with U.S.-made m505s, only on ones from Hungary.

Do this at your own risk. Any errors made in entry of the contrast initialization string may result in an endless loop reset. Most Palm Tech Support personnel haven't yet heard of this system hack and at this point they don't support it or suggest it be used.

Here are the instructions:

  1. HotSync to ensure all databases are backed up
  2. Open up Memo Pad and write, ESC.<0975$6IA
  3. Save memo and move it to top of Memo list
  4. Soft reset
  5. Open saved memo, details, change to "Private"
  6. Soft reset
  7. Open up Memo Pad and write, CONTR.>75319$C/A6/R?L_gosub
  8. Save memo and then delete first memo
  9. Soft reset
A soft reset is performed by simply using the reset pin under the top of the stylus to press the reset button on the back of the Palm. Do not use a hard reset, which involves holding down the power button.

Several readers have reported that this does work and improves the screen markedly. It is not yet known if this can be undone, though possibly a hard reset might work.

Update: The originally published instructions had two errors in them. These have now been corrected.

Thanks to Joe for the tip and everyone who commented on it for working out the details. -Ed

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Why just Hungary models?

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/5/2001 4:10:08 PM #
Does anyone know why this hack only works on Models from Hungary? I assume the models should have the same specs?

RE: Why just Hungary models?
Snubolis @ 5/6/2001 2:25:25 AM #
Actually, it doesn't even work on ALL Hungarian models.. I picked one up on thursday (3may01) and tried this hack, and nothing. I tried it a few times, hoping i just mis-typed something, but still nothing.

I'm going to go into staples tomorrow and try it out on all the units we have in stock (since i work there) and i'll take the one on which it works. =)

Right now I've just got GlowHack running to auto turn on my sidelight, which makes it quite acceptable indoors, certainly not worth dismissing outright and returning promptly.

-------
Snubolis


Palm's second secret contrast hack!
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/8/2001 7:09:05 AM #
It looks like Palm finally broke down and admitted what several people have been saying during the past few days: The Memo Pad Contrast Hack works, and there is a second, more powerful hack that exists.
This second hack is posted below, seen for the first time outside of Palm's OS research facility.

The YYIMT Hack.

1) Open Memo Pad and write "#run\..gosub?c12A3RL$_-_Ya;/?n4+K%!oW,S>>k.@Fi)=deltree".
2) Do Soft Reset.
3) Open Memo Pad and write "DMFR**9(_p%%^//)listdir_-_ncj65$11qw###..deltree".
4) Do soft reset.
5) Software Contrast Control Panel should now be on the screen. Adjust contrast, brightness and color temperature as necessary.
6) Press "Save".
7) Do soft reset.

Note: Palm will need to be recalibrated in case of hard reset, as these settings are kept in the Preferences file in RAM.



RE: Why just Hungary models?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/8/2001 8:05:43 AM #
Quiet liar!

RE: Palm's second secret contrast hack!
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/8/2001 8:08:08 AM #
I don't bloody well believe this! It actually works. Someone needs to explain to everyone what's going on here. Any programmers willing to do the honors?

Anyone REALLY try this second hack...
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/8/2001 9:06:01 AM #
The presence of the word "deltree" in it makes me a bit nervous.

Anyone actually do this?

The new m505 contrast hack
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/8/2001 9:34:55 AM #
After I reset the second time, all my installed programs were deleted, BUT the settings screen popped up like it was supposed to. I tried a few adjustments, saved them and just HotSynced to bring my programs back. It looks like the Palm OS is a lot more complicated than I thought it was.

If anyone wants to see the before + after photos, let me know and I'll upload them to a site.

Ted

RE: Why just Hungary models?
frox @ 5/8/2001 10:14:14 AM #
You really work ?!! Can you tell us what exactly you do ? Do we need to save the string we type to memo pad ? Does tis hack including the " symbol ?

RE: Why just Hungary models?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/8/2001 10:34:47 AM #
Let's see the pictures Ted.

RE: show us the proof
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/8/2001 10:39:21 AM #

Take a screenshot of the m505 with this contrast adjustment panel ON THE SCREEN and post it.

RE: Why just Hungary models?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/8/2001 12:23:04 PM #
I'd like to see the photos. I am close to putting down my hard earned money on a 505 and want to make sure the screen can be "altered."

RE: Why just Hungary models?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/8/2001 1:15:51 PM #
I think this is a hoax again... IF someone really can do it, just show us the picture of that damn contrast
control panel showing up on your dim screen....I waste
1 hour to try it ...sucks..........

RE: Why just Hungary models?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/8/2001 2:10:56 PM #
Could someone please inform us whether or not to include the quotation marks and periods int he following:


1) Open Memo Pad and write "#run\..gosub?c12A3RL$_-_Ya;/?n4+K%!oW,S>>k.@Fi)=deltree".
2) Do Soft Reset.
3) Open Memo Pad and write "DMFR**9(_p%%^//)listdir_-_ncj65$11qw###..deltree".
4) Do soft reset.
5) Software Contrast Control Panel should now be on the screen. Adjust contrast, brightness and color temperature as necessary.
6) Press "Save".
7) Do soft reset.


And by all means, please show before / after results!

More dead brain cells
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/8/2001 3:20:10 PM #
I attempted it every possible way, just to prove to stubborn people that it's JUST A HOAX. Neither "hack" does anything.

ENOUGH ALREADY EVERYONE. God, you people are just the sort of people who caused publishers to remove the word "gullible" from all dictionaries made in the last 5 years.

RE: Why just Hungary models?
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/1/2001 2:27:20 PM #
Strange - I just drove down to my local Chapters and checked 5 new dictionaries, including Webster's. All of them have "gullible" listed


And my picture was beside the definition.

;-0

Anyone done it yet?

Telengard @ 5/5/2001 4:11:32 PM #
Please post a picture of the end result if you have done this....

RE: Anyone done it yet?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/5/2001 5:57:30 PM #
Actually, please take a picture BEFORE and after, so we can see the change (the difference in cameras and lighting conditions make a single 'after' photo less useful)

RE: Anyone done it yet?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/5/2001 9:45:35 PM #
Tried it....didn't work, but didn't do any harm

Didn't do any harm?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/6/2001 12:20:06 AM #
Actually, all you can say right now is that it didn't work. You can't really say that it hasn't done any harm until you use your m505 for a while longer :)

RE: Anyone done it yet?
Snubolis @ 5/6/2001 4:04:18 PM #
Great... just great.

Well it's the next day now after my attempt at getting a higher contrast screen, and the gremlins inside my m505 are surfacing...

i can no longer hotsync... even after a hard reset. Looks like a trip back to staples for me. =(

RE: Anyone done it yet? Yes.
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/6/2001 4:14:37 PM #
I tried it on my Hungarian Palm and wasn't sure if it worked but there was an issue with the screen where a streak of red was on the very left column all the way down so I went to get a USA-made Palm for comparison......

The one I performed the hack on is brighter (not NOTICEABLY). I assume this means someone can program the machine to change the contrast? IT should be only a matter of time...

Just tried - didn't do anything. NT
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/6/2001 7:46:23 PM #
nt

RE: Anyone done it yet?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/6/2001 10:51:37 PM #
I have a Hungarian m505, and I have not tried this set of instructions yet. I am very concern about the no-effect reports, I am more concern that I may actually do something negative to my m505. If this is indeed a path to the OS, it may affect other factory settings...too scary to think about.

I am very dissappointed in the m505's screen, all the reviews are accurate in their complaint that the screen is dim and dull. It is hardy readable without the side-light being on. "Brillant 16-bit color" as advertised by palm is an outrageous exaggeration.

Where does this appear?

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/5/2001 4:16:02 PM #
Can someone please furnish the URL so that I can read more?

Hmm...

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/5/2001 4:59:01 PM #
My M505, although clearly marked "Made in Hungary" seemed competely unimpressed by this series of events. Either something is missing in these instructions, or it doesn't make a noticable difference.

Nice thought, though. I'm sure someone will write a hackmaster hack to add some kind of software contrast control quickly enough.

RE: Hmm...
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/5/2001 9:43:02 PM #
I'm in the same boat. My Hungary unit did not look any different after I preformed the steps above. Maybe I did something wrong. ANYWAY, are there any major differences between the USA and hungray devices? Anyone notice if one is better then the other?

- Thanks

No effect . . .
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/6/2001 8:11:32 AM #
I carefully repeated this procedure no less than 10 times - even implementing corrections provided - and it still doesn't work. My 505 is a Hungarian model.

GG (MI)

RE: Hmm...
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/6/2001 8:31:03 AM #
Post-brightness hack issue . . . I don't know if this is attributable to the brightness hack, but I charged my m505 overnight (after going through the hack procedure) and this morning turned it on with the backlight OFF . . . I watched the battery meter go from 100% to 86% in under 2 minutes. I just performed a hard reset. I'll recharge and see if the reset helped.

RE: Hmm...
Ed @ 5/6/2001 8:55:05 AM #
If you feel up to trying again, I just made another change to the instructions. Apparently, the original copy I was sent had two errors in it.

---
News Editor
Palm Infocenter
RE: Hmm...
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/6/2001 6:42:30 PM #
The screen is native to brightness. You would have to havwe modification in the hardware to do this phony BS. IT IS NOT IN THE SOFTWARE!!!! It is the hardwares capabilities!!!!

There's an error in your instructions!

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/5/2001 5:09:58 PM #
There's an error in your instructions!

The double quotation mark on line 2 is bogus.
The text entered should be ESC.<0975$6IA without the leading quotes.

This is per the original poster of the message to comp.sys.palmtops.pilot


RE: There's an error in your instructions!
Ed @ 5/5/2001 5:50:52 PM #
Thanks, I made the change.

---
News Editor
Palm Infocenter
RE: There's an error in your instructions!
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/5/2001 11:53:31 PM #
Plus, isn't there supposed to be a question mark in the second note? as per original post and brighthand.com message board...

RE: There's an error in your instructions!
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/6/2001 12:36:40 AM #
Ed, unfortunately you made a mistake in reprinting the Memo Pad Contrast Hack. The original posts describing the MPCH were as follows

1) HotSync to ensure all databases are backed up
2) Open up Memo Pad and write, "ESC.<0975$6IA
3) Save memo and move it to top of Memo list
4) Soft reset
5) Open saved memo, details, change to "Private"
6) Soft reset
7) Open up Memo Pad and write, CONTR.>75319$C/A6/R?L_gosub
8) Save memo and then delete first memo
9) Soft reset

A clarification was later issued stating that no quotation marks were to be used in the text of the memos.

Please fix your article. I can just imaging how many people must have been trying this today using the wrong instructions!

RE: There's an error in your instructions!
Ed @ 5/6/2001 8:59:38 AM #
You are correct, there were actually two errors in the original instructions and I only corrected one the first time. I have added in the missing question mark. Sorry, I was working with bad info.

---
News Editor
Palm Infocenter

m505 system contrast hack actually works!

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/5/2001 5:25:30 PM #
Thanks for posting the m505 contrast hack info, Ed. I was planning to return mine until I was able to boost the contrast with this system hack. The color is now great (but not quite as vivid as the Visor Prism). On a scale of 1 - 10, my m505 screen now ranks as a 7, with the Prism being an 8. Before running the hack, I would have rated the screen a 5.

It would be nice to be able to boost the contrast a little more - are there any other secret settings for contrast levels? And why did Palm make the screens so dim originally?

Laurence

RE: m505 system contrast hack actually works!
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/5/2001 5:42:14 PM #
Maybe to save battery, and so they can say you can have weeks of use with one charge.

RE: m505 system contrast hack actually works!
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/5/2001 6:19:09 PM #
I agree, this backdoor is just what I was looking for.

My evaluation on screen quality:

Visor Prism = 9
Sony N700C = 8.5 (tried a Japanese version last week)
m505 hacked = 7.5
m505 "pre" = 5

As always, YMMV.
If someone here could post "pre" and "post" photos (Ed?), it would be helpful to those people who are still worried about running the System Contrast Hack on their 505.

Daniel S.

RE: m505 system contrast hack actually works!
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/5/2001 9:42:09 PM #
As usual, you guys here at Palminfocenter have come up with the info we need. Good job, guys.
I haven't yet goy my m505 (Staples says it will be here next week) but I'll be using the Memo Pad Contrast Hack on it as soon as I take it out of the box.

RE: m505 system contrast hack actually works!
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/5/2001 9:53:04 PM #
You better hope you happen to get a Hungary model.... it does not work on USA built ones!

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