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Old 08-01-2007, 09:29 PM   #1
Bob Russell
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Simple instructions for adding a clock and joystick page turns to the PRS-500

Have you been standing on the sidelines, slighly confused, while reading how people rave about Igorsk's Sony Reader PRS-500 universal flasher? Are you a risk taker ready to give it a try, but not sure what to do? Well, your time has come. I present this thread with the purpose of giving you a bit of basic guidance that should allow you to install a couple of hacks yourself!

PRELIMINARY COMMENTS
* While it seems to be a relatively successful and safe process, there are things that could go wrong. And despite the various "unbricking" procedures, there is always the possibility that you might brick your Reader and that it might not be recoverable. Even worse, there is no guarantee that Sony support will help you if you have caused the problem.

I am not qualified to give you a measure of the risks, so I will leave that for others to comment on. But I don't want anyone to misinterpret this post - just because I collected the instructions here for you, and just because it worked for me, doesn't mean it will work for everyone.

* I just completed the installation of the firmware and hacks. It seems to work, but I haven't tested it other than to take a quick look at it. If I waiting to write this article, it wouldn't happen. Had to be fresh in my mind. Hopefully, I haven't left out anything important.

* The hacks included in my instructions will allow you to add a clock to the bottom status bar, and will allow you to turn pages forward and backward with the joystick right/left. The clock can be turned off or set to either 12 or 24 hour mode from the main menu in the Reader. Choose Settings... About... and then pressing the 0 button to cycle through the various clock options.

* You will lose the ability to go forward and backward in history after installing this hack.

* Please keep a backup of the original applicationStart.xml file in case you want to restore the original file. Or you may be able to reflash the Sony update as well, but I don't even attempt to include any such "backout" solutions as I haven't tested them myself.

* Before starting, I first fully charged my reader and completed the official Sony 7/31/07 firmware update. Then I began to do the hack install using Igorsk's universal flasher. I used the one that was labeled "Version 1.2: support for firmware version 1.0.02.01300", even though my version was 1.0.03.071.170 after the most current 7/31/07 upgrade from Sony.

* I didn't lose any bookmarks or books, but I don't know if that's common or if I was just lucky.

* Hopefully this is now clear --> Proceed at your own risk!

THE BASIC IDEA
You will download Igorsk's zip file, unzip it onto an empty SD card, replace one XML file on it with DiabloNL's version, and then put the SD card in your Reader.

When you turn on the Reader it will start a utility with some menu items. You will choose a few of those items in proper order to do the reflash and reboot. If all goes well, you will have the new features installed!

REQUIREMENTS

* A Sony Reader, of course!
* An empty SD card 2gb or less
* An SD card reader
* An unzip utility
* A little courage

STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS
* Read the above comments, charge your battery and make sure you have the 7/31 version of the firmware installed on your Reader.

* Download Igorsk's Sony Reader PRS-500 universal flasher. It's the link in the first post of this thread, labeled "Version 1.2: support for firmware version 1.0.02.01300" at the time I'm writing this. Keep track of where the zip file is.

* Unzip this file to the top level of the SD card (which you should now have in your computer's SD card reader).

* Find \files\opt\sony\ebook\application\resources\applic ationStart.xml on the SD card and copy it to your computer as a backup copy. (It is Igorsk's original sample version that has the clock, but with the standard joystick operation.)

* Download diabloNL's replacement file: applicationStart.xml from here, and use it to replace (overwrite) Igorsk's sample \files\opt\sony\ebook\application\resources\applic ationStart.xml on the SD card. Be sure to follow the correct path, so the file is located properly.

Note: If you are using a hack that involves another file (e.g. main.xml), then be sure not to rename it. The idea of the hacks I've seen so far is to replace the existing version with a new version of the same file. If you rename the file you could end up with a situation like this. But even in this fairly extreme case, the Reader was recoverable.

* Follow Igorsk's usage instructions for using the Reader PRS-500 universal flasher (which are found in the README.TXT file in his download). Specifically:

-- Extract the zip onto a flash card, keeping the directory structure. It's best to use a card with not many files on it so that Reader can scan it quickly. N.B. readme.txt should be in the root of the card, not in any subdirectory!
<< You have already completed this step if you followed my instructions above.>>

-- Insert the card in Reader.
I would recommend that first you make sure that your Reader is fully charged and that it's got the Sony 7/31 firmware update installed. Return to the top level menu and turn the Reader off before you insert the SD card. I would also recommend that you have a backup of your books, bookmarks. At least remember in your head what books you want on the Reader and your place in them.
Edit: I should have said this explicitly... after the card is inserted, turn on the Reader!

-- Wait until the "Run Script" screen appears

-- Press 5. Wait for the success message (the process will take about one to
two minutes).

-- Press 6. Wait for the success message.

-- Press 9 to reboot (the Reader).

-- Extract the card. (It will return to the regular menu only after you take the card out.)

At this point, if you've followed these instructions all all went well, you have the clock and joystick page turn hacks now installed. Congratulations!

If it didn't work, or your Reader is bricked, I can't help you because I don't understand it well enough. You can certainly find lots of information about potential methods for unbricking a device or resetting it to the original factory firmware versions in the forums and the wiki, but hopefully that won't be necessary. If you have any problems, please indicate them here in order to save others from the same pain, and maybe even get a solution to your problem from someone more knowledgeable than me.

Note: Igorsk's utility is really much more powerful than just these two hacks. If you are technically inclined, be sure to pursue this further or add more hacks.

And finally... many thanks to all those who contributed so much to make this possible. Some obvious names are:
* Igorsk!
* Corwin (Shell scripts)
* Shade (Clock display)
* DiabloNL (Joystick XML modification)

I hope that this information has been helpful to someone. Enjoy!

Updated Information
A few more things to keep in mind:
* Unzip files to the root of the SD card. Don't have them under any additional directory levels.
* Have plenty of internal memory free in the Reader
* Ensure that the SD card is formatted as FAT, not FAT32 (4 gig cards will probably be FAT32 as 2gig is the max capacity for FAT formatted cards). <http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showpost.php?p=85811&postcount=178>
* There is another version of the XML file here, which adds history navigation by holding down the volume controls for 5 secs. Regular pressing still controls volume up/down. This is the version I'm currently using with my Reader because I wanted all the new functionality without losing anything. The only thing I have to give up with this version is volume mute, which is the default behavior of holding down the volume buttons.
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Old 08-02-2007, 03:25 AM   #2
Fain
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I asked DiabloNL the other day if he could mod it so that the history functions could be retained somehow, as I do use it.
I asked if he would set me up with the mod I've heard about that makes the joystick right do page forward and joystick left do history and he advised against it and suggested something better

He first asked if I used the volume keys, which I do, for audiobooks or just mp3's in general. So I suggested if he could perhaps just change the circle pageturn into the history keys. He one upped me

The mod DiabloNL made for me does page turns with the joystick, and history with the circle pageturn button, but ALSO retains pageturns with the circle button by just holding the key down for a second or two instead of just press and release

I've included the file he modded for me, in case anyone else would be interested in it.
Attached Files
File Type: xml applicationStart.xml (3.5 KB, 579 views)
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Old 08-02-2007, 09:33 AM   #3
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I would swap it, since you'll likely do page turns a lot more than you would do history, make the button click a pageturn, but hold for history. You can do this by in the XML replacing this section

<boolean key="0x31" do="doLeft"/>
<boolean key="0x31-hold" do="doPrevious"/>
<boolean key="0x30" do="doRight"/>
<boolean key="0x30-hold" do="doNext"/>

With this

<boolean key="0x31" do="doPrevious"/>
<boolean key="0x31-hold" do="doLeft"/>
<boolean key="0x30" do="doNext"/>
<boolean key="0x30-hold" do="doRight"/>

Thanks for the article Bob.
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Old 08-02-2007, 02:07 PM   #4
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Thumbs up

You may want to let people know that you can use a memory stick if you have one hanging around, as well. (I've got a 128 meg one I bought for my Clie a couple of years ago, and installed the hacks with no problems).

I do like the "hold page> and <page for the history" mod, that's what I installed ('cause if the Reader is on in my pocket, invariably I hit the 1 button when I open it back up, and need my history buttons!

Thank you for a great tutorial!
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Old 08-02-2007, 09:27 PM   #5
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Hey Lime2K,

Where do you insert the memory stick? In the PRS-500 I mean.

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Old 08-02-2007, 10:11 PM   #6
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The same place an SD card goes. It has to be a full size one, or a Duo with the adapter.
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Old 08-04-2007, 10:41 AM   #7
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I still too skeered to do it...
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Old 08-04-2007, 02:05 PM   #8
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Worked for me too with a memory stick. However I just added the clock function. Thanks Igor
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Old 08-04-2007, 07:50 PM   #9
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I'm with Roy...not yet ready to take the plunge.
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Old 08-04-2007, 10:10 PM   #10
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The Simplified Flasher Instructions are what the doctor ordered. Great!
Just right for me? Thanks
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Old 08-05-2007, 02:49 AM   #11
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Another "chicken" here, I'm afraid. For those of us outside the US, who effectively have no warranty on our Readers, and would have to buy a new one (at full price - no $50 Readers for us!) should it die, this "hacking" stuff is a little risky .
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Old 08-05-2007, 03:32 AM   #12
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Well, I've done it to mine and mostly to my Wife's (need to do the silver button history on hers) and it's worked without a hitch at all. Everything is running very well. I'm still waiting for the new firmware to show one bar down so I can charge it to test the new firmware.
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Old 08-05-2007, 10:51 AM   #13
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Plus.. I wear a watch. And I don't mind pushing the buttons on the left to turn the page.

If it aint broke, why fix it?
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Old 08-05-2007, 11:02 AM   #14
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HarryT I've did the hacking thingy when I received the reader and again after the recent firmware upgrade and no problems as long as you follow the instructions.
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Old 08-05-2007, 11:09 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gibbo View Post
HarryT I've did the hacking thingy when I received the reader and again after the recent firmware upgrade and no problems as long as you follow the instructions.
The basic issue is that none of the hacks have really interested me. I'm left-handed, so I like having the page-turn buttons on the left side of the Reader. I wear a watch, so I'm not bothered about the clock .

If anything truly compelling came along, I'm sure I'd try it. Thus far, however, I've been happy with the standard user interface.
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