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Synopsis

The ASUSTeK MyPal A696 (Singapore version) comes bundled with agisNavigator 2.0. The other important features of the A696 are:
  • SiRF Star III GPS
  • Windows Mobile 6 (WM6)
  • 802.11b/g
This document describes the setup of one such A696, and the accompanying annoyances, limitations and work arounds applicable to anything so small.

A Short Warning on SD Cards

SD cards and other removable storage media should be treated as Dangerous because they are capable of spreading worms through the Windows autorun feature. Even a brand new SD Card may contain worms.

Disable autorun on all drives. Use TweakUI in powertoys from Microsoft. Hold down the Shift key to override autorun if autorun cannot be disabled.

The First Software: ActiveSync

Install ActiveSync (version 4.5 was used for this setup) on your PC before doing anything else. This software is absolutely critical to the use of the A696:
  • It provides an Explorer view of the mobile device.
  • It mediates the Add/Remove programs on the A696.
  • It synchronizes files between the PC and the A696.

File Synchronization

Note the following limitations on synchronization, although some limitations may be lifted by editing the WM6 registry:
  • On the PC, the synchronization folder is named “[mobile device name] My Documents”
  • On WM6, the corresponding folder is “My Documents” in main memory, not on your SD Card.
  • Files on the PC such as PDF, doc, xls will be converted to corresponding Pocket PC (WM6) files when they are moved to the A696, and vis versa. So be mindful that the PC and the PDA platforms are really two very different beasts.

Adobe PDF Reader

The latest Adobe Reader for WM6 is version 2.0, which is quite old. Some of the quirks include:
  • You cannot open PDF files in any other folders except “My Documents”, in main memory of course. Don’t even think about your SD Card.
  • You cannot click on a PDF file to view it. Adobe Reader 2.0 will die. Run Adobe Reader 2.0 first, then open the file from it.
Other than the above, Adobe Reader 2.0 for PPC is still quite usable. There is no support for Chinese font, which is probably a WM6 issue.

AgisNavigator 2.0

AgisNavigator has a new name now: NavFone. The CDROM bundled with the A696 is probably out of date; likely it was meant for WM5 and it could not see the SD Card and so will not install onto the A696.

Get the latest NavFone 2.0 PC Suite for WM6 from here.

One error that popped up with NavFone installation was “No device file found...”. This was solved by soft resetting the A696, after which installation proceeded smoothly.

Remember to tell AgisNavigator that GPS is on COM5 at 4800 baud.

GPS Details

  • GPS communications port is COM5 on the A696.
  • The NMEA text mode GPS data comes in at the baud rate of 4800.
  • The SiRF Star III binary data comes in at the baud rate of 57600.

SiRFDemoPPC

You can get this SiRF demonstration program from the makers of the A696 GPS chip.

Annoyances:

  • Keep the program running on NMEA mode so that SiRFDemoPPC does not set your A696 SiRF Star III chip into some funny modes. On the other hand, this means you will not be able to see the satellites, the signal strengths, etc that comes with SiRF binary mode.
  • If you Change to SiRF Binary mode, you can see the satellites etc, but you will not be able to change back to NMEA mode, and what is more, when you exit SiRFDemoPPC, it will not work anymore the next time you run it. See SirfTech below how to make your A696 GPS sane again.

SiRFTech

This is a must have program. Get it from here. What you can do:
  • Use it to change your SiRF Star III GPS back to NMEA after SiRFDemoPPC messes it up. Go to menu SiRF | Change to NMEA, then go to Comms and use find.
  • If you are walking, your location changes slowly. By default, the SiRF Star III GPS does not update your location when you move slowly. This is to aid car navigation. If you want to know your location when walking, use SiRFTech to turn off “Static Navigation”.

Last updated on 22 Oct 2007