I have been thinking about a lot of things lately. One of them is why I don’t post more stuff here. I post links of FB so why don’t I write more articles here? This is easily answerable in a single word: overload. What I mean is that we, and by we I mean me, receive so much information constantly that taking the time to ponder anything is a rarity. With all of the information constantly delivered to us by every device around us, even screens in the elevator here at work, taking the time to sit and think is becoming more and more rare. This is a damn shame. So along with all the other things I will fail at this year I want to make a concerted effort to take the time to think about things. To reason some things out. To actually write about things that mean something to me.
Slowing down is never easy and usually by the time I am slowing down I need something like the damn TV to shut my brain off just so I can go to sleep. I think that getting back on my ADD meds will really help this. The meds haven’t been necessary for work, although it’s getting to that point again, but I do think they will help me with my other goals such as simplifying my life, which is still a work in progress. I am actually following through to completion these days without much of an effort. But the brain still works in overtime.
So as I try to take time for the things I want to do I also have to make sure to have time for the things I must do. This balance is something I have never been good at no matter what. I seem to do one or the other but have decided that it’s time to fix that little issue. This really isn’t a promise to post more here but rather that when I do it will be more of what it is. More thought put in to the writing, more logic applied, less ranting (not that a good rant isn’t cathartic or necessary once in a while) and in general hopefully easier to follow.
Have fun storming the castle…
This should be less of a book than some of my recent posts. Mainly because nothing is really weighing on me at the moment. Sure I am thinking about ways to further simplify my life, work is happening, family things are going on, and more but I don’t have anything scratching on the inside of my skull begging to be let out. In fact that is the problem. I have three albums I want to write about for 9b, two graphic novels and one series of comic books for Comical Musings and some topical things I want to write about on here. I just can’t seem to find the words to do any of it. I don’t feel pressured to do these things, I actually want to do them and I can’t, for the life of me, seem to make the words come together and convey what I want them to.
As strange as it might sound I tnink this could be work related. Not in a bad way but rather a really weird way. I have this problem I am working on at the office that doesn’t make one bit of sense. It has everyone banging their heads on their desks. I have never had a technical problem give me writer’s block before and it is what I do every day so it is a little strange that it might cause a problem. It is the only thing that makes any sense even with as little sense as it makes.
So I was hoping that writing about it might help but all I seem to keep coming back to is that problem at work. If that’s the block maybe I can get past it on Monday. If it’s not then this little attempt at using writing as therapy for not being able to write is just me whining about not being able to write. Either way I did manage some words on the screen that conveyed what I wanted them to.
You may remember my post on Ubuntu Netbook Remix and how to get it running on an Acer Aspire One with the now infamous GMA500 graphics adapter. It isn’t hard but isn’t easy either and it’s not for the beginner. With the price of GMA500 netbooks dropping there will be more people picking them up. From experience I can safely say that the Windows experience on the lower end netbooks is not that fun. The performance with Linux is much better and since the UNR interface is intuitive I can see folks wanting to run it but not wanting to go through the pain in the arse that it is to get UNR running. Top that off with the issues with the sound that haven’t been worked out yet UNR won’t be the choice of the masses no matter how good the interface is. In comes Jolicloud… The install was dead easy. After getting my invite I followed the instructions on the website and about an hour from start of the download to reboot after install I had a running system. I didn’t play with any drivers and have native resolution, didn’t have to reboot to get any weird sound issues sorted out, didn’t have to add any PPAs or download anything in order to get anything working. Out of the box Jolicloud installed on the Acer Aspire One 751h and just plain worked. The install consisted of less questions than a Windows install and never gave an error. It was so easy it was almost decadent. Under the hood Jolicloud is some sort of social/cloud/netbook OS based on Ubuntu. You can follow other Jolicloud users and get suggestions for applications. I don’t really get the social aspect just yet but I also haven’t really tried it out. The Jolicloud Dashboard has the best end user interface for installing applications that I have seen in a Linux based system at present. Most of the apps are Prism based which makes sense for a cloud based OS. For those that don’t know Prism is a system that allows web based apps to run on your desktop but isn’t a browser. I know it doesn’t make a lot of sense but it works pretty damn well. Dropbox is included for online storage and all the Google services your little heart desires are available along with a ton of web based apps I have never heard of. They even include Adobe Air in their list of Applications so getting Tweetdeck up and running was as easy as installing Air and running over to the Tweetdeck website. Everything was really that easy. Even Boxee is available out of the box and while it doesn’t work wGMA500 it worked without any weird steps involved. This is an OS I could give to my mom without worrying about tech support calls until the end of time. Now being who I am I did do some playing. I installed Ubuntu One which isn’t included in the apps list. I also installed terminator because it’s my favorite terminal application. Being based on Ubuntu you can get to Synaptic but it’s not in the menu. Jolicloud would prefer you used their applications list and rightfully so since they can vet the apps and make sure they work properly as well as offering more cloud based apps than local apps. But if you really want to play, and I always do, you can hit alt-f2 and run ‘gksudo synaptic’ and get the old familiar Ubuntu package installer. Once you are there anything you install does show up in the menu so it’s pretty easy to fiddle around with your netbook and the fact that everything works, out of the box, on what they are referring to as a pre-beta release makes this a pretty freaking nice choice for geeks and end users alike. My recommendation is to skip futzing around with UNR and get yourself a Jolicloud invite. Even if you don’t go in for the social aspect of the OS, and I still haven’t, it’s the real deal and it works very nicely at the moment. I want to play with Chrome OS if there is ever GMA500 support but trying to get me to wipe out Jolicloud on this box will be a wrestling match for sure.
This guide is adapted from here for the initial rooting and here for the app removal. If you follow this guide and break your phone I can’t help you. All the following actions should be taken with the knowledge that it is at your own risk and will void your warranty. For that matter Sprint may send an army of ninjas after you. Don’t say you weren’t warned….
This guide assumes a base install of Ubuntu 9.10 but should work for previous versions. If you know enough to have changed your download directory then you know enough to modify the following commands.
- Download the Android SDK
- Download asroot2
- Download the recovery image
- Extract the SDK into your home directory
tar -xzvf ~/Downloads/android-sdk_r3-linux.tgz -C ~
- Copy the other two files into the newly created android-sdk directory
cp ~/Downloads/asroot2 ~/android-sdk-linux/
cp ~/Downloads/recovery-RA-heroc-v1.2.3.img ~/android-sdk-linux/
- Turn on USB debugging on your phone: Menu -> Settings -> Applications -> Development -> USB Debugging
- Connect your phone to your computer with a USB cable
Now in normal circumstances I would never recommend you “become” root as it’s generally not necessary but my attempts to root the phone did not work with sudo so for the next steps you will need to actually be the root user.
Rooting the phone:
- Become root
sudo su -
- cd to your the directory created when you un-tarred the SDK
- Copy asroot2 to your phone, change the permissions to make it executable, execute asroot2
./adb push ../asroot2 /data/local/
./adb shell chmod 0755 /data/local/asroot2
./adb shell /data/local/asroot2 /system/bin/sh
- Now we will use the access asroot2 has given up to create a su binary for root access
mount -o remount,rw -t yaffs2 /dev/block/mtdblock3 /system
cat sh > su
chmod 4755 su
If all has gone well you should now have a root prompt “#” instead of “$”. If you don’t then ask over at the first link in this post for help. I didn’t do any of the development on this I am merely giving the steps that worked for me. Now it’s time to flash a new recovery image so we can take a backup of the phone before we start screwing around. These steps are from the android-sdk-linux/tools directory you were in before. If you already exited your android shell bring it back up with ./adb shell and type su to get your root prompt.
- Reboot your phone. Yes this is a necessary step. The recovery image won’t flash if you don’t so this.
- Copy the recovery image to your phone once it has booted
./adb push ../recovery-RA-heroc-v1.2.3.img /sdcard/
- Connect to the shell on your phone and flash the recovery image
flash_image recovery /sdcard/recovery-RA-heroc-v1.2.3.img
- Reboot into recovery mode and take a Nandroid backup before you do anything else
- Once the recovery screen has come up take a backup, make sure you have enough free space on your sd card before you do this, so that when you screw up your phone you will be able to restore it. Once you get bored in the recovery image select the top option to boot the phone into your regular HTC Sense environment.
I received no output from the command to flash the recovery image and it took less than two seconds once I had rebooted the phone. If you do not reboot the phone prior to the above steps you will most likely see Out of memory errors. If you see them even after a reboot then uninstall all your silly little app market playthings and try again. If you play around and screw up your phone without a backup then you’ll have to track down a recovery image or single apps and so on. Once again I WILL NOT HELP YOU WITH THIS.
Removing the stock Sprint Apps:
Simply connect to your phone with the SDK, become root, and remove the files from /system/app
mount -o rw,remount -t yaffs2 /dev/block/mtdblock3 /system
At this point you will have a list of all the stock crap on your screen. If you go about removing stuff you may screw up your phone. That’s what the backup we took earlier was for. Don’t think you made a backup with app store app so you are alright. Do the nandroid backup. Don’t be an idiot about this.
To remove an app simply use the rm command. The following commands remove Sprint NFL, Sprint Nascar, Peep, Footprints, and Sprint Stock, the stock music program (if you are using something else), and Quick Office
There’s a list of apps and some more description here on XDA Developers.
Like I said: This is NOT my work. I merely typed up all of the steps and put them in a single place. All thanks should go to the folks who posted the threads and risked bricking their devices to make this possible!
For the record I love my HTC Hero and wouldn’t trade it for anything on the market right now. I have some complaints but I have had complaints about every phone I have ever owned. This is mostly a post about what I think it missing or wrong. I don’t want anyone thinking I don’t like my phone, on the contrary, I am hoping that someone might know of apps in the Android Market that will take care of the issues I have or some tweak somewhere I have missed.
- The Hero is missing a “Mark All As Read” button for e-mail accounts.
This was a feature they took out in the WinMo client between my last two phones which I added back with a hack because I don’t like being without it. I get a LOT of e-mail and like to read the things I want to see and mark the others read all at once. I haven’t found a way to do this yet and it bugs me.
- Notifications seem to be impossible to distinguish.
On WinMo and even other phones I could set different notifications for e-mail, SMS, MMS, GTalk, and so on. So far it appears these are all covered under “Notification”. I would like much more granular control over these.
- Task Management sort of sucks.
This could be because of HTC’s interface but TasKiller kills the whole interface and is, in essence, a warm reboot. Task Manager is decent and I haven’t tried any of the pay apps yet so maybe there’s still something out there that is better.
- Lack of features in widgets.
This is not a phone issue this is development issues. I want to ba able to have multiple calendar widgets, up to one per google calendar if I desire and the “Android” widget forgets which calendar it is displaying if the phone powers off and the “HTC” widget doesn’t allow different settings for different instances.
- Location based profiles
Need more stuff to do this. I want to change the theme for the HTC Sense interface based on time and/or GPS location. Locale does a great job with volume, wi-fi, backgrounds, and all of that but I want a complete theme change and it’s not there yet.
So that’s my list. The on-screen keyboard isn’t as fast as the my old slider and since it’s flat I can’t type without looking yet but it’s not horrible enough that I will want to trade out for the Samsung that Sprint is releasing on the 1′st of November.
And yes Trevor I could maybe code some of this myself and maybe I will!