Converting Chinese HTC Touch Pro to English

WARNING: Changing the firmware on your HTC phone could cause it to become inoperable. A phone with changed firmware may not be eligible for warranty service. Any data on your phone will be erased! Make sure you follow directions carefully and never ever interrupt the firmware update until it is finished. I take no responsibility if this doesn’t work out for you.

So let’s say that you live in Taiwan and want to buy a fancy new HTC Touch Pro smartphone. You’ll quickly learn that in Taiwan you can only find the Chinese version of this phone. Importing a European version is expensive, plus you won’t get any contract signup discounts. US phones use provider-customized firmware that may not work correctly or optimally in Taiwan.

Don’t despair. There’s active communities of HTC enthusiasts who have extracted HTC firmware in English and other languages. It’s a fairly simple process to change the firmware on your phone, but the documentation is slim, so it’s difficult to know where to start. Here’s a simple guide on what you need to do. Each page referenced has additional information if you need more detail:

1 ) Download and install on your computer the English version of ActiveSync from Microsoft:

2 ) Turn on your phone and connect the USB cable that came with the phone (aka the charging cable) between your phone and computer and set up the phone to sync. You don’t need to actually sync anything yet, you just need to get ActiveSync on your computer to say it is “Connected”.

3 ) Download to your computer and extract from here: Normally you can only install ROM firmware versions intended for your version of the HTC Touch Pro. HardSPL will change the SPL firmware to allow any HTC Touch Pro ROM firmware to be installed.

4 ) Make sure your phone battery is more than 50% charged or the SPL and ROM firmware will not install.

5 ) Run RaphaelHardSPL-Unsigned_190_1_3.exe on your computer. Follow the prompts in the program to start the SPL upgrade. After the upgrade starts there may be an inquiry on your phone’s display asking permission to switch into the bootloader. Press “是” (yes). Do not do anything on your phone or computer until the installer says the process is completed and your phone has restarted. (Note that it says the firmware upgrade takes up the 10 minutes but the SPL is small so it will be much faster.)

6 ) Download to your computer RUU-Raphael-HTC-WWE-1.90.405.1-Radio-Signed-Raphael-CRC- from At this writing there are newer ROMs there but this one is the stable released version on shipping English phones. (In the future there may be a newer stable release.)

7 ) Run RUU-Raphael-HTC-WWE-1.90.405.1-Radio-Signed-Raphael-CRC- on your computer. The interface is similar to the SPL upgrade, but this upgrades the main ROM firmware. Again, do not do anything on your phone or computer until the installer says the process is completed and your phone has restarted. This firmware is very large so it will take several minutes.

8 ) When your phone restarts it’ll go through the install process just like a brand new phone. (Your dealer may have done this for you when you bought the phone.) It’ll take several minutes to install the OS and additional software, calibrate the display and setup your phone network settings.

9 ) Congratulations, your Chinese phone now speaks English.

國語課本2上 第8課

I’m taking free “new immigrant” Chinese classes now at Taipei City Zhongshan District Community College and Taipei City Datong District Community College currently. The Zhongshan homework for this week for me was to type in lesson 8 from our textbook which is an elementary school level textbook.



Quick Comparison Guide To Dr.Eye 8.0 Versions

Here’s a quick “Comparison Guide” to the Dr.Eye 8.0 packages available in Taiwan. The feature sets between the different packages has changed since 7.0 and as far as I can tell the feature comparison chart is only available in the manual, which doesn’t help you decide which version to buy.

There are at least four packaged versions of Dr.Eye 8.0 available in Taiwan:

Dr.Eye 8.0 Luxury (Orange Box TW$1090 MSRP)
Dr.Eye 8.0 Professional Upgrade (Blue Box TW$1090 MSRP)
Dr.Eye 8.0 Professional (Blue Box TW$1650 MSRP)
Dr.Eye 8.0 Professional 2-User Pack (Blue Box TW$3300 MSRP)

To find the MSRP (retail price) look under the bar code at the bottom right of the back of the box.

Unlike previous versions, the “Luxury” package no longer contains “Chinese Traditional to English” translation functions. It only contains “Chinese Traditional to/from Chinese Simplified”, “English to Chinese Traditional” and “English to Chinese Simplified”. Because of this, it is probably of limited use to most foreigners who will probably want to translate from Chinese more often than the reverse.

Instead, you will probably be better off with the Professional package which in addition to the above also supports “Chinese Traditional to English”, “Chinese Simplified to English” and “Japanese to/from Chinese Traditional”. The other major difference is that the Professional package also contains more dictionaries.

If you decide to get the Professional package, be careful you don’t get the upgrade version by mistake (unless you are actually upgrading). The easiest way to tell is to make sure the MSRP on the back of the package is TW$1650.

Dr.Eye 8.0 lists in the system requirements that it requires the Traditional Chinese version of XP/2003/Vista but it actually works fine on the English version of XP. (Presumably you would have to have the East Asian support added, but this is a standard feature of XP which can be added from the XP installation disk.) It also comes with the user interface in English, Traditional Chinese or Simplified Chinese all on the same disk.

One other potential catch if you have old computer gear: The package comes on DVD, not CD.

Note: Though the Professional ‘2-User Pack’ list price is exactly twice that of the single-user version, the street price is only about 50% more.

Rosetta Stone Chinese Review

NOTE: This review was of the old version 2 of Rosetta Stone. The current product is version 3 and is much improved. Please see my update in the comments section for details.

Crossposted from

Many written mistakes may lead you astray

As others have noted, this is an excellent way to learn spoken Chinese. However, there are many errors in the written sections that will end up teaching Chinese students the wrong things if they don’t have other resources to fall back on, and endlessly frustrate those students who do know the proper usage.

Some reviewers have criticized the lack of translations. However, this is an immersion program, and so that is something that should be expected. It can be daunting to approach the first lessons, but there are enough clues in the pictures and variations on usage that you soon figure things out. More importantly, because you are forced to figure things out it is easier to remember what you’ve learned. This is a big point in Rosetta Stone’s favor for those students who are seriously interested in actually remembering what they learn.

The spoken part is quite good. While the speakers use a Beijing style accent, it is not a heavy one. The student should pick up a more universal speaking style than other programs which use a heavy Beijing accent which can make one hard to understand in other parts of the Chinese speaking world. The speech is very clearly spoken, and is slow enough to be easily understood but not so slow as to be unrealistic.

At first the written portion looks very encouraging. Rosetta Stone offers the options of using Hanyu Pinyin with tone marks, simplified Chinese (used in China and Singapore), or traditional Chinese (used in Hong Kong and Taiwan). However, there are numerous mistakes which, if the student is unaware of them, will lead to learning incorrect information.

First with the traditional Chinese, many words in the traditional Chinese option are written using simplified Characters instead. In Unit 1 alone you have feiji (airplane) written in both traditional and simplified characters in different places, and mianbao (bread), pingguo (apple), huluobo (carrot) and gan (doing) are consistently presented in simplified characters. If someone is considering using Rosetta Stone to learn traditional Chinese characters, there are enough mistakes that you probably should take a pass.

Normally if you’ve selected the simplified or traditional character options, you’d never see the pinyin characters at all. However, in the written test portion, only pinyin is tested for. This may seem like a drawback but it is also a good way to test you on which tones are used. It would be nice if they allowed entering actual Chinese characters in the written portion though.

When learning spoken Chinese getting the correct tones is extremely important. Of course, good listeners can pick up the tones just from listening, but most Chinese language students need additional help and reinforcement on the proper usage of tones. Using pinyin with tones in the written test portion would be a good way to do this.

Again, though, we run into mistakes and inconsistencies. As a very basic example, ge (counting word) is used quite frequently in the pinyin as fourth tone. However, most of the time the proper usage is to use the neutral tone (it can also be used in fourth tone in some cases, but not in the cases they use it). To further confuse things, sometimes they properly use ge in neutral tone in exactly the same usage where a few screens before they used it incorrectly in fourth tone!

There is an additional problem in inconsistent placement of the tone mark. The tone mark is placed above a vowel in the word. If there is more than one vowel, such as the word zai (at), there are various rules for where to put the tone mark. However, it is usually considered unimportant for the student to remember exactly which vowel to place the tone mark on. It’s much more important just to know which tone should be used.

The written test portion uses a unique method for entering pinyin with tone marks. A more common system would be to place the number of the tone at the end of each syllable, for example zai4 to indicate zai in the fourth tone, and either using 5 or omitting the number for neutral zone. Instead, Rosetta Stone uses a system where the -, [, = and ] keys act as shift keys for tones 1-4 respectively. In additiona for the special umlauted “u” letter in pinyin, the common method in other input systems is to use “v” to represent this character, however Rosetta Stone uses “h” instead. These quirks are not too hard to get the hang of but it is regrettable that a more common input system wasn’t used.

Getting back to the mistakes, this system also means that the student must place the tone mark above the correct vowel when there is more than one. Again, that’s a rather nit-picking detail that will not add much to the student’s knowledge of Chinese.

But even worse, consistency problems again crop up. Again in the example of zai in the fourth tone, most teaching materials place the tone mark over the “a”. Rosetta Stone starts out in Unit 1 with the tone mark over the “i” instead, but in later units it switches to placing the tone mark over the “a”.

Rosetta Stone by default uses ‘strict’ mode in the written test where tone marks need to appear exactly where they expect. This increases the difficultly greatly for little learning benefit, and then frustrates the student by not following a consistent method of doing so. Alternatively one can turn off strict mode, but then tone marks are not considered at all. If the student wants to learn tones, he or she will need to put up with the frustration of also learning where to put the tone marks depending on which lesson you are on.

These are just some examples of incorrect or inconsistent usage in units one and two alone. The number of such mistakes are present throughout the lessons.

I’m not familiar enough with simplified Chinese to comment on the quality and consistency there.

It is frustrating and disappointing that such mistakes, problems and inconsistencies which should have been caught by the publisher have resulted in a mediocre product that could otherwise have been great. With these problems it makes it very difficult and frustrating for the student to learn proper tones or traditional Chinese characters.

Because about half of the features are badly broken, and because the problems are not apparent to the beginning student, this product only gets 1/2 the possible score from this reviewer.

Understanding the numbers thing better now

In a previous entry I had wondered why “301600 is written 叄拾零萬壹仟陸佰 when the form has preprinted units, but is written 叄拾萬零壹仟陸佰 when you have to write the whole thing yourself?” The issue is where you put in the character for zero, 零. In Chinese it the character for zero is inserted explicitly to make it more clear that there is a break in the units. It’s useful in spoken Chinese because it’s easy to lose track of the units, but this is less of a problem when writing Chinese.

However, the explicit zero is only used once per break, and the units for any zero are also omitted, so that something like 3005 would only be 叄仟零五, though in regular speech you could say 三〇〇五, leaving out the units (and using the normal characters since it’s not a formal dollar amount on a check/form). What wasn’t clear to me is where to put the zero character when it occurs above 10,000 (萬). I had assumed that it’d be written the same way as it is on a preprinted form. (Interesting note is that akibare tells me that putting in an explicit zero character is not usually done in Japanese.)

I think I understand it a bit better now after seeing a new type of preprinted form than I had before. There are two forms I’d seen previously where the units were preprinted on the form. The first type would have the units with spaces in between them to write the numbers, e.g. “ 仟 佰 拾 萬 仟 佰 拾 元”. In that one you’d fill in the blanks with the numbers so that 301600 would look like “ 仟 佰叄拾零萬壹仟陸佰 拾 元”. You must put in a zero character for each place in between other characters, but before and after you can just run a line through it as a shortcut. Normally a “-” would be confused with the character for one, but since we have to use the special numeric characters, it is not ambiguous in this case.

The other type of form I’ve seen has a grid of boxes with “仟佰拾萬仟佰拾元” and you would fill in the numbers in the box below the unit, e.g.:


But yesterday I saw a new form that suddenly made it make sense where to put the zero in writing out the number without a form. This form looked like this:

仟 佰 拾 萬 仟 佰 拾 元
萬   萬   萬            

(The units in this case are read vertically.) So in our 301600 example, it would look like:

  仟   佰 叄 拾 零 萬 陸 仟 陸 佰   拾   元
萬   萬   萬            

This format makes it all make sense on where to put the zeros when writing the number without a form, because the 3 goes in the 100,000s unit (拾萬), and not the 10s unit (拾) above the 10,000s unit (萬). So in the 301600 example you are writing (three 100,000s) (zero) (one 1000s) (six l00s).

Well at least it makes more sense to me now.

(It was a pain in the ass to get those vertical units to line up right.)

Tainan and etc.

We actually didn’t make it to Gaoxiong at all. The first went down to the old Chikan fort in central Tainan to look around. I’d been there before but it’s still neat to look around. While we were there, there were some military fighter jets doing some training overhead and I managed to get a couple decent photos as they flew over. The Japanese sidewalk restaurant we were supposed to go to on Friday night was across the street and though we thought it was only open for dinner, it was just opening up when we left the fort, so Maggie and Emily and I ate lunch there while the rest went elsewhere nearby.

Bonita and Ilona had bought return bus tickets for 2:50pm but they decided to stay rather than go after all, so Elly and my mother-in-law used those tickets instead. The rest of us went to the other old fort in Tainan, Anping fort which is near the waterfront. First Emily took a ride on a small train set a vendor had set up, while I watched and the others looked around the market outside.

I decided not to go into the fort as I’d been there too and wasn’t as interested in going again, so Maggie and Emily and I set out to find someplace to sit and wait for them. We saw a guy carrying two large lizards who was soliciting people to take pictures with them. He took an interest in Emily and when he heard she wanted a cracker to eat he darted off to a nearby stand to help her buy some crab flavored crisps. Then we walked out to the main road and Emily saw a guy selling fresh squeezed orange juice and wanted to get some. She’s getting so she can buy things herself now.

(In Taiwan it is common to have trucks parked by the side of the road selling produce. For orange juice you’ll see a truck piled high with oranges and there will be a guy at the side of the truck cutting up oranges and tossing them into a mechanical juice press and bottling the results. It’s really amazing how good real fresh squeezed orange juice is.)

I asked the juice guy where the beach was but the answer was a bit too complex so Maggie talked to him in Taiwanese for a bit. The developed beach area was a few kilometers away so we set off to get a taxi to take us. In Taipei you can just about go out to the curb and flag a taxi down in less than a minute most of the time, but in Tainan there’s not as many taxis around. We eventually got one and set out.

When we got to the entrance of the beach area Maggie noticed a famous restaurant called the Five Cent Driftwood House across the street, so we went in there to chill out for a few hours having tea and beer and snacks. The restaurant was made out of various random pieces of wood logs and was pretty inventively put together. In any case, it was a nice cool air conditioned place to kick back.

Ilona and Bonita joined up with us and after they had their rest we headed back to the previous night’s Fried Fish Soup restaurant (on Hai An Road near Bao An Road, for the next time you’re in Tainan) where I wolfed down two bowls of soup for dinner. Then we headed off to the bus station to buy our return tickets. The tickets we got were for about an hour and a half later so we headed to a nearby park for a while where Emily spent a lot of time playing on the playground.

We left around 7:45pm and got back home around 12:30am.

This week I’ve ordered the local equipment and signed a contract for construction. I also went and talked with S.P., another American who has opened up two Subway shops in Taipei, and who was able to give me a lot of good advice. He was given as a reference by the construction guy I chose, and I had intended to just ask him about that, but he ended up chatting with me for almost an hour and a half about lots of good things to know about the business.

On funny thing happened to me when I was in the Landis Hotel bakery yesterday. My conversation went something like this:


This apparently delighted one of the other customers who said my Chinese sounded very good. My Chinese isn’t actually that good, but since I buy a lot of french bread, that conversation is pretty much down pat. She then proceeded to ask if I know any Taiwanese and said I don’t, which is mostly true, so she tried to teach me some. When she was doing this I surprised her by throwing in a couple of Taiwanese words that I do know. I really don’t know Taiwanese but I do know stuff like “sorry”, “it’s nothing”, “unbelievable”, “i don’t want”, “i’m full” and “crab”. (“crab” sounds like Jim in Taiwanese so I get teased about that sometime.) Anyways, it was kinda fun.

The only other interesting occurrence this week was another earthquake, this time a 5.7 in the middle of the night. Felt like someone bumped into my bed:

2006-04-05 03:30:00 M 5.7 24.42N 122.74E, i.e. 107.8 km ESE of Yilan City #034 (0405033057034)

I’m still waiting for the damn insurance policy. It was supposed to be done today.