Things went much more smoothly once I had the right tool. From my online reading, I discovered that one poster had actually used a hershey kiss wrapper instead of regular tinfoil! For some reason, I thought that added a nice touch of whimsy to the adventure. So when I was at tlatoani's party last night, I picked up a handful of chocolate to take home with me. This afternoon, I took apart my Treo, consumed the chocolate, and got to work.
Clicking will enlarge photos
(Actually I used a silver kiss wrapper, not the green one. Because silver seemed more aluminum-foily. The green one was just for display and eating purposes.)
Once I'd taken apart the Treo, I found the culprit. The tiny little cable connecting the battery to the board. I unplugged it, noting how it'd been positioned. I twisted it up tightly, following the French method. I folded and wrapped the entire kiss wrapper around the wires, posed for a picture, then reinserted it firmly with F's help.
(On finding the back wouldn't close smoothly, I removed a bit of the extra foil. Then the phone snapped back together fine.)
Once I put everything back together, I had to reconfigure and restore the data. There were no problems, and it seems to work just fine! My two test calls sounded great, no buzzing. (The message I left on my own answering machine was really stupid. "Hi, it's me, just testing the phone. Hope you're doing great..." But what could I do? Leaving messages for yourself is rather silly, but it was a handy way to check the sound quality.)
Of course, the buzzing has always been only an intermittent problem. So over the next several days I'll get a feel for whether it's gone completely or not. I hope so!
Regardless, it was fun taking the phone apart and checking out its innards. Yay for hardware! Actually I've always liked taking things apart, I'm just not comfortable taking things apart that I depend on so heavily. I don't want anything going wrong, naturally.
Unfortunately my email program still didn't work when everything was reassembled -- it still caused the phone to reboot whenever I suggested it actually send anything. But with some poking around I discovered that it was just one email account that had the problem. Probably some data corruption or something, I suppose. So I recreated that account from scratch (much to my relief, I was able to remember/guess what I'd set the password to), and that resolved that problem. Hooray for email! Also I bought a car-charger off ebay last week, which will reduce my battery problems.
So yay, hopefully all of these fixes have increased the lifespan by a bit! I've got my fingers crossed, at any rate. It's still a great tool/toy, despite its recent phone issues.
Photography credits and my thanks go to thatguychuck!