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Sharp Brain PW-A7000 + ceOpener

C:Amie Page Icon Posted 2020-04-07 6:02 PM
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The Sharp Brain PW-A7000 is one of those obscure Japanese only Windows CE release that most in the West will never get to see. Designed for a very niche market, the Brain offered the Japanese business person on the fly access to a set of tools designed to help navigate Japanese social and business worlds.

As a compact companion device, the peppy little PW-A7000 looks the part, but does it really work for anything beyond its original dictionary use and is it of any value to a non-Japanese user?

In a two part review, Roy Chan firstly takes a look at the Sharp Brain PW-A7000 in detail before diving into the process of altering the device to make it a little more reminiscent of the Windows CE 6.0 that we are all used to.

View: [Part 1] Sharp Brain PW-A7000
View: [Part 2] The CeOpener Experience: Tapping into Sharp Brain's WinCE desktop

Read the review and let us know your thoughts here on the forums!
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HPC:Fan Page Icon Posted 2020-04-07 8:45 PM
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Wow, a very nice review! That's a nice looking device, really cool you got into the WinCE desktop. Japan has all the wonderful toys, I'm envious.
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roychanyl Page Icon Posted 2020-04-08 2:48 AM
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I would like to thank C: Amie for helping me out in these reviews.
In fact, the Sharp corporation has marketed a whole PW series of electronic dictionaries… the A7000 being one of them from the first generation e.g. running on AA batteries. They even have greyscale-display models. All running Windows CE6.
The production is already going to their fifth generation, with displays of 800 x 480 pixels (approx. same LCD dimensions), and a 360-degree flip. (You can use it in portrait tablet orientation)… and, they now have a dedicated space button. Best of all… they now run on lithium batteries and used a microUSB port for charging. No more rebooting blues, I guess, unless the device freezes. May try to get one of those sometime.

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roychanyl Page Icon Posted 2020-04-08 3:09 AM
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There is a Miopocket mod for GPS devices (those running wince6.net), which also works for the Sharp Brain PW series,
Miopocket link below:
http://www.gpspassion.com/forumsen/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=136798
Link to download taskswitcher:
https://kawamoto.no-ip.org/henteko/myapp_en.html
Link for ceopener downloads:
https://bitbucket.org/knatech/brain-ceopener/downloads/

As for TestCE and Selector, will post the download links when I find them again. Or PM me for a copy.


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Alt Bass Page Icon Posted 2020-04-08 1:31 PM
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This is good complete review for a site about HPCs. You could probably add a word about how keyboard feels.

Regarding GXOpenDialog: did you try different gx.dll libraries?
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roychanyl Page Icon Posted 2020-04-08 3:39 PM
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No… I did not try that? May find time to do that soon.

On another note… I browse through some of the QnAs in BrainWiki, and saw a screenshot of the ceOpener desktop showing app icons for Microsoft Excel, Word and Outlook. So I guess there must be a way to get those apps to run successfully somehow.
I am trying to get hold of a copy of Textmaker and see how it goes.

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ArchiMark Page Icon Posted 2020-04-09 11:23 PM
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Great review of a unique device, Roy. Thanks for sharing this with everyone.

Look forward to seeing more about your progress with your Brain.

Mark
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stingraze Page Icon Posted 2020-04-10 2:21 AM
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Thanks for writing a really good review!

I really like the device's stroke input (2nd screen).
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tugaalves Page Icon Posted 2020-05-01 3:15 AM
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Hello.
I have Sharp Brain PW-AC910, but software is in Japanese
There is some firmware or Rom for English?
Thanks
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roychanyl Page Icon Posted 2020-05-01 5:47 AM
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Quote
tugaalves - 2020-05-01 11:15 AM

Hello.
I have Sharp Brain PW-AC910, but software is in Japanese
There is some firmware or Rom for English?
Thanks



Hi Tugaalves,
you can google ceOpener for Sharp Brain, testce, and taskswitcher,
After decomprsssing those files using a PC… you may follow instructions from the ceopener experience write-up to transfer those folders to a microsd card.
Remember to run the taskswitcher first… then run the ttfpatch.exe. The process will cha ge some of the japaneze functions to English.

Let me know if you still have questions.
Have fun
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roychanyl Page Icon Posted 2020-05-01 6:12 AM
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Any WinCe (Arm architecture) program that you wish to run on the Sharp Brain, must be contained in a same-name folder, and the executable file renamed to AppMain.exe. Then in the same folder, create a zero-byte text file (using your PC text editor) and name it index.bin
For example, if you need to have notepad, cecmd, declock, resinfo and other programs to be executable from the Brain's Add Apps list (rightmost icon in the middle row on Home screen), you will have folders in the name of notepad, cecmd, declock, resinfo, etc, each containing an executable named Appmain.exe and index.bin.


Then, put all those folders into a folder named APULI (this folder will be located in the root of your microsdcard).
The keystrokes for typing those three 3 Japanese characters are APULI and if you couldnt get it correct, just copy the 3 characters (from the readme.txt in ceopener ) to your clipboard and paste it when renaming the folder.
After inserting the sdcard… do a reset, and you will see those added programs listed in the ADD APPs screen.
Enjoy.


Edited by roychanyl 2020-05-01 6:15 AM
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watamario15 Page Icon Posted 2022-04-04 4:34 PM
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Hi! I'm one of the admins at Brain Wiki, and I'm the only one maintaining it actively now.

I read this review and am excited to see Brain hackings are done outside of Japan! I'd like to drop some pieces of information here:
1. Yes, all settings on RAM (including RAM disk) will be lost when you reboot. However, you can save/restore registry data with TaskSwitcher's "Settings Manager".
2. You found ceOpener is in Japanese, but the original version for 1st-gen is written completely in English I believe. Be careful this is only applicable for 1st-gen Brains (Listed on https://brain.fandom.com/ja/wiki/Brain%E6%A9%9F%E7%A8%AE%E5%88%A5%E8... under "?1??".
3. The generation of a Brain is not decided on SHARP, but sorely on Brain Wiki and bulletin board. We widely use the definition, though.
4. There is a PIM app available! Which is "CECalendar" and included in MioAutoRun\Programs\cePIMS of MioPocket. You'll lose it on reboot, though.
5. Brain Wiki contents are largely increased around 2018 and I made numerous maintenance/readability fixes from last year. With the help of improved machine translation tools like DeepL translater, I believe Brain Wiki got more accessible and informative now. (If the advertisements are annoying, you can use adblocker, since Fandom is profiting from them.)
6. Brain has experienced many changes after this 1st-gen machine. 2nd-gen machines have a faster CPU and a larger memory, 3rd-gen machines have a display with higher resolution, 4th-gen machines have a new keyboard design and protect against launching unofficial apps (a bypass tool developed later), and 5th-machines presumably don't have Windows CE anymore (and have 2-core ARMv7 processor).

The original version of ceOpener that supports 1st-gen machines only (already lost but on the Wayback Machine):
https://web.archive.org/web/20170418232802/https://bbuseruploads.s3....
(Sorry for this very long URL but I couldn't find how to embed a link on a message)

Lastly, Brain Hackers (https://github.com/brain-hackers/README) is a good place to discuss or post a question about SHARP Brain. Though most discussions are done in Japanese, some members can write in English. You must do an easy self-introduction first, but it is welcomed also in English.
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watamario15 Page Icon Posted 2022-04-05 4:39 AM
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Oh, I have some more tips.

  • Later SHARP Brain machines have a "connect to internal memory/memory card" feature. So you don't need to use an SD card to bring apps to SHARP Brain.

  • Most CAB files install on RAM Disk (\Program Files, \My Documents, etc). So after an installation, you may want to move them to NAND3 or Storage Card.

  • ceOpener saves settings at \NAND2\.ceopener. I suggest backing them up occasionally in case it gets corrupted.

  • MioPocket has many DLLs in MioAutoRun\System\CE5, and many apps will work by copying the DLLs to where you put your app or moving your apps there. You can also use Dependencies on Windows PC or MioAutoRun\Programs\PEInfo.exe on SHARP Brain to know which specific DLLs are needed.

  • coredll.dll for SHARP Brain is quite limited. I heard some apps get to work by extracting the DLL from Platform Builder and modifying the apps with a hex editor to use the DLL.

  • I think Microsoft Excel, Word, and Outlook icons that roychanyl found were just they changed some apps' icons to them by Resource Hacker. I don't think these apps are available for SHARP Brain.



Also, Brain Hackers is developing a Linux distribution that can run on SHARP Brain if you are curious. You can get information here.

Edited by watamario15 2022-04-05 4:43 AM
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