Frabjous Times

The madness of King Treo

My Treo 270 had been unable to connect to the T-Mobile network since Friday, despite trying different locations, in our house (notably bad for coverage) and I became convinced that it was a problem with the PDA and not with the service. The phone would just sit there indicating Searching for Network but would not get any further, and if I didn't put it back into wireless mode it would rapidly drain the battery. I tried a couple soft and hard resets and found erratic behavior, including Fatal Exceptions during resync, messages in the Sync Log pointing me at one file or another which it was unhappy with, and plummeting battery life. This morning it was still out of service when I woke up, but as I was dropping my wife off at the bus stop I noticed that it had become completely inert, unresponsive to any button clicks or anything.
I went to the palmOne website (formerly Handspring before the merger) and got the information on calling warranty repairs. Once on the phone, "Jacob" (perhaps not his real name) surprised me by not having to go through all the serial number and warranty period and phone support charge junk, I guess because I'd talked to support earlier and they had my particulars already in the system. He instead patiently talked me through getting the PDA restarted by following a powered warm reset with it plugged into the charger, and then identified the problem as one which is addressed by a utility downloadable from the website. I followed the instructions on installing the GPRS version of " RadioReset" onto the handheld and gave it a whirl. Near as I can tell, it is just a specialized battery-draining utility, which took between 2.5 and 3 hours to empty things out of the unit so that it was basically factory new. I put my SIM card back into the PDA and found that it was indeed able to connect with the cellular network again. Then it was a matter of one more hard reset and a restore of everything from backup (the excellent BackupBuddy utility has saved me multiple times now) and it seems that the spell of madness is over.
The whole experience of being PDA-less reminds me that it's time to update my secondary encrypted password cache in case the next time I cannot bring the thing back to full function again.
Originally published: 2004/01/26 16:01:33