Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Samsung 'update'

So, I thought I'd take a second here to write about my recent trials and tribulations with the latest update for Samsung's Galaxy S on Rogers - i.e. the "Captivate".

I won't even get into the whole TBayTel / Rogers fiasco as that really only muddies the waters and makes me madder (a lot of handing off... "well you were a Rogers, so you have to go to Teleco...", "oh, well you're a TBayTel customer now, so we can't do anything for you", etc...)

Anyways, recently the Captivate has been allowed the upgrade to FROYO.  Which is great because there's a lot of benefits of updating (tethering will be good).  But I was a little hesitant after hearing about the fiasco Bell had when they updated their version - the Vibrant.  But, then again maybe they learned their lessons.  The Captivate and the Vibrant are essentially the same aren't they?

So I did the update.  And as always with any time I monkey with updates it's always nail biting.  In order to do the update you had to use Samsung's junk software "KIES" in order to apply the update.  There were a few things you had to google before you finally did everything.  But before you knew it the phone had booted up (okay, i lie... it was locked on some screen for a VERY long time - I thought it was dead and after an undeterminable amount of time I decided to pull the battery - at that moment it came to life.. *phew*).

The bonus was that nothing on the phone changed, except that I now had Froyo.  I was on my merry way.

Until I decided to add a few more songs to the memory.  Okay - so the way the phone works is that it has 3 storage banks:  INTERNAL PHONE STORAGE, INTERNAL SD, and EXTERNAL SD.

Internal Phone and the Internal SD are the same thing.  It's a 16gb card in there, built in, but 2gb goes to the programs and apps, and 14gb for SD storage.  When you take pictures you have the option of saving to the INTERNAL or EXTERNAL SD... you can add files and photos to those, but nothing to the INTERNAL PHONE STORAGE (only apps you install, or if you have root access - that's another story tho').

Anyways, normally I kept music and pics on the INTERNAL SD and movies and whatnot on the EXTERNAL.  It was really simple to do.  You grabbed your USB cord, plugged it into your phone and then the phone would ask you:  KIES MODE, MEDIA PLAYER MODE or USB MASS STORAGE MODE.  You would pick the mass storage, and then you can access the data as 2 drives would now pop up (I labelled them INTERNAL and EXTERNAL for ease of identifying).  Copy and delete at will.

That would be what you normally did - as per the manual: 

The  only problem was that I was noticing certain folders I had on the INTERNAL SD weren't accessible anymore.  Fearing the worst I tried to copy a bunch of files off... still no good, gave me several errors.  So I did a scan, found lots of errors... then I tried to recover as much photos as I could.  unfortunately the software I have doesn't save 3gp files (my video format), so I lost some pictures and some videos.  Blurg.

So I copied what I could, and then reformatted.  Suddenly the card that was 14gb, now only read as 2gb.  ACK!  I called Samsung and they said to reformat... I did and the same thing that produced only 2gb minutes ago suddenly allowed 14gb.  So I was happy again.

Or so I thought.

I copied files over and things were ok... until I copied my music over - no go.  After much playing around it would seem I could copy as many files as I want of different types until I reached 2gb.  Any more than that magical cap and I would get:  "Error 0x80070057 Parameter Incorrect".  hrmm.. I really put the scientific method to test on this as I tried a 2gb file, and it wouldn't go.  Try 2x 1gb files - the first would, the 2nd wouldn't.  I tried several variations, all showing that 2gb was the max allowed after it was formatted.  Better than not getting any files on I guess as I was having previous to formatting it.

So I do a lot of research and see several others are in the same predicament.  Samsung's facebook page, the XDA forums had a specific thread over it... and many others show similar issues.  I call TBayTel, the tech immediately sees that there's some issue after googling a little bit and says he wouldn't know how to fix, so I'd have to send it in to get repaired.  My fear would be I would get a 2.1 phone, do the update and then be in the same scenario.  So, I go to the source again and call Samsung.  This guy now says "I've never heard of this, and I'm doing a search on the internet right now and I see nothing".  Well, he obviously doesn't follow their own twitter or get the complaints off their fb page, etc... or he's trying to belittle the issue.  Anyhow, he says he'll send something to the engineers.  He even admits it COULD be the same issue they had with the Vibrant, but wouldn't know for sure.

So what do I do?  I research some more.  Some smart people at XDA are talking and what it sounds like is the FROYO drivers they've put in are some how monkeying the way the phone executes MASS STORAGE mode.  So we try a few things - and what do you know... if I put it into MEDIA PLAYER MODE when I plug the USB cord in, I get the same 2 new drives pop up and I can copy files with no 2gb limit.  Awesome.  Well... not really.  It's agonizingly slow to copy over that way.  And you 'multi-copy' files over (copy files to the music folder, then while it's working, copy files to the DCIM folder at the same time) as it'll tell you the 'device is busy'.

Well, there you have it... that's been my struggle.  I've reformatted everything in every which way to make this work - I even sacrificed my ANGRY BIRDS completed levels to do it.  In the end I have a 'work around' for it - it's painful.  But it beats having to send it in to get repaired, and find out I'd have the same issue when it came back.

So - SAMSUNG - you have an issue with your FROYO updates (2 updates so far in canada, 2 problems - count yourselves lucky US).  This sounds like it's a simple fix in the software driver for how the phone releases the INTERNAL SD when in MASS STORAGE mode.  Please send us a fix.

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