It was with a degree of excitement that I read last week that someone had discovered a way to
hack through the Motorola ROKR’s 100 song limit
—allowing the less-than-crowd-pleasing “iTunes phone” to play up to 1,000 songs. Finally, a reason to liberate the ROKR from the shelf where it had been gathering dust since
my review back in September. I spent the better part of a day hacking the phone, and here’s what happened.
Follow the first link in this story to Motomodders.com and you’ll discover that the ROKR (and other Motorola iTunes phones) can be hacked with utilities that are compatible with Windows only. Not a problem. My Intel Mac mini has Boot Camp installed and it was the work of a moment to boot into Windows and begin the process.
Or so I thought.
To begin with, the Mac mini and phone had a slight disagreement about whether or not the phone actually existed. When I plugged it into the mini running Windows, iTunes didn’t have a clue it was there. To give iTunes that clue, I quit iTunes, opened the phone’s drive from the My Computer window, and trashed the iTunes folder. After unmounting and remounting the phone, iTunes saw the phone and was ready to work with it.
I then downloaded the MotoMidMan utility along with the iTunes_1000 jad file. The first is required to hack into the ROKR’s tiny brain in order to delete the phone’s original iTunes file and the latter is the replacement file that allows you to store up to 1,000 songs on the phone. After some fumbling (hey, I’m a Mac user, I expect things to be intuitive, for crying out loud), I managed to install the hacked iTunes file.
Glory be, when I unplugged the phone, pressed the iTunes button, pressed the Menu button to get to the extended menu screen, and finally selected About, the ROKR told me that it contain exactly 0/1000 tracks.
Now I understand that the ROKR offers 512MB of song storage by default, meaning that exceeding the 100 limit requires that you pack the phone with small files. I’m just as aware that transferring 100 songs over the phone’s wretchedly slow USB 1.1 connection takes something like forever (forever = approximately 1 hour). But I wasn’t doing this because it was convenient, or even smart. I was doing it because I could.
Or so I thought.
Although the ROKR now claimed that it could hold up to 1,000 tracks, iTunes stubbornly stuck to its 100 track limit. Try as I might, I couldn’t get iTunes to load more than the 100 tracks it insists the phone may hold.
A scour of the Web revealed that a program called
is required to load more than 100 tracks on Motorola phones. If you click the link, you’ll see that this is a Russian site, so best of luck with the Read Me.
And does it work? Sort of. moto Tunes stashes its 100+ files in the phone’s Audio directory. To access them, you must dig down into the phone’s Audio folder, select a song, and press Play. The ROKR won’t automatically advance to the next song. Instead you must press the little joy-button (fast-forward) to advance to the next track, where the track will begin playing. On the convenience scale we’ll rate this a одно.
Though I’ve read posts suggesting that these tracks can also appear in iTunes, I’ve yet to discover how to make it happen. And frankly, why even have the ROKR if you can’t use its iTunes functionality?
I know that it’s hardly fair to complain about a program and process designed to skirt the limitations imposed by mega-corps like Motorola and Apple, but coupled with the phone’s inherent slothfulness, moto Tunes’ ungainly way of going about its business has pretty well turned me off to the whole idea of storing more tracks than Apple and Moto intended.
Someone else care to take a hack at it? If so, let me know how you fare. This was supposed to be fun.
Or so I thought.