Android Root Access

October 12, 2010

Filed under: Toys — Tags: , — CJ @ 8:20 am

Just stumbled accross this which may be useful to someone. It is a (currently only) Windows app that can give root access on supposedly any Android phone.

SuperOneClick (XDA-Developers)

Currently I’m running Cyanogenmod (6.0) on my HTC Magic, and loving it, but the above would’ve made the process much easier.

Android HTC Sync How To

September 22, 2010

Filed under: Toys — Tags: , , — CJ @ 8:39 am

Mostly for personal reference, but as posted previously, I own an HTC Magic phone. Standard with all HTC Android phones is their HTC Sync software for syncing contacts, calendar, music etc. It does, however, have a small bug. The phone must have USB Debugging mode enabled for HTC Sync to be able to detect the device. If this mode is disabled, then Windows will only ever detect the phone as a removable USB mass storage device.

Before you plug the phone into the computer for the first time:

  1. Go into the phone’s settings (Menu->Settings)
  2. Select Applications->Development
  3. Tick the box next to USB debugging.

IF, like me and many others, you bought a new Android phone made by HTC and then plugged it straight into the PC, the above will not be enough to make HTC Sync detect the device. You will need to follow this procedure to fix:

  1. Unplug phone and uninstall HTC Sync software/driver
  2. Turn on USB Debugging mode on the phone as detailed above
  3. Download and run USBDeview
  4. Uninstall any devices listed that are related to the HTC Android phone
  5. Reinstall HTC Sync software/driver
  6. Plug phone in via USB (and wait for Windows to detect/install drivers for it)
  7. Set phone USB Mode to HTC Sync

The phone and HTC Sync should now detect each other (may require unplugging and plugging in again).

HTC Magic (Phone)

September 29, 2009

Filed under: Toys — Tags: , , , — CJ @ 3:32 pm

About 2 months ago, I dropped my trusty TyTn II with the screen extended, and damaged the screen to the point it wasn’t useable. As I was looking to upgrade anyway (but wasn’t in a rush – the TyTn II is an excellent phone), rather than repairing it (although I probably will get it repaired as a backup now) I went out and bought a new phone.

I was planning to wait for the HTC Hero and Touch Pro 2 to be released, but a quick comparison showed the Hero to be identical to the HTC Magic which was already out in everything except that the Hero has a 5MP camera and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Both features that don’t really interest me. Anyway, I wandered down to the Three store, had a bit of a trial of one and then purchased one of those, and must say I’m very happy with it. I must say I’m liking the Android interface, and it’s quite refreshing going from Windows Mobile 6.1. WM is nice, and works well enough, but at present, it is still very reliant on having a stylus. Android is designed around finger-touch inputs. I especially like the correction/prediction of the on-screen keyboard. It was missing a few words (or almost-words) I use, but they’re easily added just by typing them in and selecting them. The Android Market is a great source for apps too that provide extra functionality I like (e.g. SSH Client, IRC Client, IM Client etc).

A few minor things I don’t like – the included alarm clock app I found to be unreliable. A few times I had it set and it didn’t go off at all! Easy enough to fix by downloading an alternate clock app from the market, but it would be nice if it just worked. Also, the office app is only a viewer, not an editor. There’s a number of notepade-esque programs around, but it would be good to have something like this included. It also took me a bit to get used to the idea of apps not closing, but just being backgrounded. I’ve downloaded taskiller to close them off completely, and am still unconvinced that the apps in the background don’t offer a performance hit. Also, at the time I purchased it there were no turn-by-turn voice navigation apps. There’s Google Maps, but that’s more for planning than actual navigation as you go. Recently Sygic Mobile Maps has been released, and CoPilot also have a version available for Android, but I’m yet to test either. I’ve not liked CoPilot in the past when that came with the TyTn II, and read not great reviews on Sygic’s route finding. Will probably wait to see what else comes along.

All in all though, now that I’m more used to the Android interface, I really quite like it. It’s a much shallower learning curve than Windows Mobile was, and the Android market makes it much easier to install additional apps than searching around on the internet.

Logitech Harmony One

June 23, 2008

Filed under: Toys — CJ @ 9:32 am

As you can probably imagine from my previous blog on my home theatre setup, I’ve now got a fair few remotes for the various devices in the loungeroom. Anyway, I decided to sort that out with a universal remote. I’d heard good things about the Logitech Harmony remotes, so I went out and ordered 2 of those (one for my parents who are in a similar dilemma with about 7 remotes in their lounge).

It was a little convoluted to install the software, requiring an internet connection to set up an online profile for my devices. Once that was done though, I just had to select what devices I had and assign specific settings for the various activities of those remotes (ie AV2 inputs on the receiver for watching TV, etc). In general the remote works quite well, and has either a devices (for individually controlling each device I have it set up for) or an activities mode (for just pressing one button and having it set them all appropriately automagically). I’m pretty happy with it either way, although if you turn a device on manually, the remote has trouble recognising that it’s actually on in activities mode, and as such doesn’t quite work intuitively.

For my parents I’m still undecided as to whether it was a worthwhile investment. It successfully controls about 3 of their 7 devices. The others in the database are either the wrong device, or weren’t entered in there with the full functionality. At some stage I’ll go and program those extra devices manually and see if I can have any further luck that way, but at the moment they’re still using about 6 remotes. The software is quite difficult to work around to manually program devices too if you can’t find what you want in the Logitech database.

In short, before purchasing one of these Harmony remotes, be sure to research it will work for all of your devices first. If it will, then it’s a good replacement.

Home theatre

May 21, 2008

Filed under: Toys — CJ @ 7:34 pm

I’ve been spending up (again), and recently bought myself a 46″ Samsung 1080p LCD TV – it’s awesome! Plugged into the 5.1 stereo system that my wonderful parents bought me for my 18th a few years back now, and then added a PS3 for Blu-ray and media streaming from my PC. It’s all a quite a neat little setup. A few links and recognitions: – thanks for fixing my stereo for me at a very reasonable price. (the rear/left speaker output wasn’t working). Excellent service and turnaround. – a howto for setting up the PC to stream to the PS3 – quite useful, and appears to work a treat after me spending days trying other options.

That’s it for now 🙂

New stereo system

November 23, 2007

Filed under: Toys — CJ @ 4:27 pm

In the vein of my recent post re a new phone, I’ve gone and bought myself a significant upgrade to my car stereo, and I love it! I had a few specific things I wanted out of it to make it a bit trickier.

  • Not wanting to lose any of the cargo space in my wagon, otherwise I would’ve been defeating the purpose of having a wagon.
  • Not wanting something that was too visually obvious in terms of a fancy stereo so that it wouldn’t be obvious to potential thieves.
  • Steering wheel controls attached to my old stock stereo system also had to remain intact/functional.
  • Not needing to remove/replace the spare wheel well or similar with speakers or amps.

Anyway, so I posted about this on the Just Commodores forums a while back, and got a response from a local company by the name of Adelaide Prosound (they seem to have since closed down unfortunately). I finally got around to getting a quote and booking it in, and the job was done yesterday. Due to last time I went in behind the dash of my car, it was quite involved, I decided to let them install it professionally too as then they know what they’re doing much more so than me.

To say I am VERY impressed with the result is an understatement. The sound is a lot clearer than on the old system, especially at higher volumes than the old one was capable of. Also their customer service was excellent in answering my millions of probably pointless questions prior to installation, and any problems I have to just give them a call. I can’t fault the installation either – the only noticeable difference visually is the new head unit, and even that is fitted so well it looks like it belongs!

I’ve got it booked in to add a sub in a week and a bit, but already I’m very proud. Anyway, till next time!

Edit: The sub was also a great addition! Sounds awesome! There is a bit of a high-pitch whine from the amp for it though that seems to clear up as it warms up which I’ll need to figure out and fix sometime.

TyTn II (Phone)

November 12, 2007

Filed under: Toys — Tags: , , , — CJ @ 6:27 pm

About a month ago was my birthday, and I thought I’d treat myself to a new phone (any excuse :P). I’ve been keeping an eye on what products are around the place etc the past few months and had pretty much decided what I wanted, and was just waiting for it to be released.

Anyway, I found the HTC TyTn II phone for sale at Three on a 3-month plan (which I’m not using as I already have a phone plan through Telstra) at a better price than any online retailers, so I purchased one of those, and must say I’m very happy with it. It has all the things I wanted (3G, Wireless, Bluetooth, QWERTY keyboard, touchscreen, Windows Mobile 6), as well as a few I didn’t really care either way but are nice to have (better – 3MP – camera, built in GPS among others). I did get a faulty one initially where the external speaker stopped working, but the excellent service of the people at Three swapped it over straight away with no hassles.

Anyway, all in all it’s a great phone/pda/gps/ok camera, so I’m happy. Obviously expensive, but that was to be expected.

My first laptop!

August 6, 2007

Filed under: Toys — CJ @ 10:38 pm

G’day, it’s been a while since I’ve been here, and probably will be before I’m here again, but I figure that while I think of it I’ve got a few things to write about, which I’ll put in separate blogs.

Firstly is that I’m writing this blog for the first time ever on my very own laptop! I got it a bit cheaper than the standard price with salary sacrifice, so that was great. I bought myself a nice shiny new 17″ Macbook Pro. Now anyone that knows me will know I’ve been a long standing anti-mac character. Why did I get one? Well for the same reason that I haven’t in the past mostly. The hardware specs of this is more or less identical to other non-mac laptops. Also, the newest ones are based on Intel’s Core2Duo CPU’s, which basically means that you can install windows on them if you wish. I have, so now I can boot into windows if I want to play games, or stick with Mac OS for all that other Mac-ey stuff (which I’m still discovering). As a whole, it’s a very nice system, and I enjoy using it.

Also it can’t have arrived at a better time since I’m stuck in bed, or on the couch when home rather than at my desk due to my recent knee operation. 🙂

Cowon/iAudio D2

May 17, 2007

Filed under: Toys — CJ @ 6:43 pm

Just got my new MP3 player today as I’m sick of having to switch CDs around in the car. After forgetting to switch on the power point to charge it, I got it charged and running happily. Installed the latest firmware update to get all the current features of it running, and then loaded some music on it. The touchscreen interface is great 🙂 Much easier than fiddling with buttons to figure out what they all mean in different screens. Playing some music listening to it now as I type this – works quite well. There’s a heap of audio enhancement options too so that you can make it sound just how you like 🙂 SD card expandability, and (this is what sold me it vs a few other devices out there) support for newer SDHC cards, so that it can be expanded from the 4G built in memory upto (so far) 12G. That’s more than enough for all of my music 😀 Oh, and the price is only marginally (3% roughly*) more expensive than a 4G iPod Nano. And with all the extra features, and not needing to be tied to the iTunes software, I think it’s more than worth it.

*totally guessing. it’s $12 difference from where I ordered it

Handsfree/GPS Install

August 22, 2006

Filed under: Toys — CJ @ 8:27 am

When we went to Mt Buller skiing a few weeks ago now (I might post about this sometime if I get around to it), we took a GPS receiver and satellite navigation software installed on one of our PDA’s. It worked REALLY well in telling us how to get where, so I decided to get something similar when I got home.

Anyway, after a bit of hunting around, I decided on the Parrot ck3400 LS/GPS which is basically a bluetooth handsfree car kit that can synchronise with my PDA/phone (Eten M600). It also has a GPS receiver, and wires into my stereo system so that any sound for phone calls or GPS go through that.

So I bought one of these units from eXpansys (I don’t suggest buying from them…their in stock status appears to be somewhat random, and when I received the unit, the box was damaged from their warehouse somehow, but the unit still works I guess).

I decided to wait until the weekend for installation as it was looking to be a bit fiddly. In the meantime I did some research, and found this page, which was quite useful in figuring out how to remove the stereo’s head unit.

Saturday came and I got a friend to come around and help me with it since he is more knowledgeable about cars and how they’re usually fitted together than me. We managed to get the head unit out after a little bit of fighting with it, then proceeded to start dismantling the dash behind it. This proved to be much harder than expected. Example of complications – had to unbolt the front of the passenger seat to get at one of the screws for one of the key panels for the dash. We also had to completely remove the centre console in the end because the gear indicator thing that shows if you’re in P, R, N, D, 3, 2, 1 had come out of it’s groove. On saturday we ended up with every screw we could find undone, but still unable to get to the key area behind the stereo head unit, so gave up.

I had a bit of a search around on Saturday night in a few forums etc, and eventually stumbled across this thread in the Street Commodore forums, which didn’t initially help me much as we’d already gotten much the same procedure done. I was stuck at what was their step 3. What that did show though was what the exact procedure was, so rather than guessing, I had a definite starting point for where to get the next part out/dismantled. On Sunday afternoon, I gave it a bit more of a pull with a bit more force, and the plastic lining pieces around the gear lever, and then the head unit’s bay came out. We were in business!

From there it took about another 2 hours to test all the wiring and make sure it all worked (including mutes for the ck3400, and steering wheel controls for the stereo etc) before trying to reassemble the car. In the end me and another friend got it all wired up and in. Thanks to Jesse for your help in getting those plugs in the back of the head unit right. They were VERY fiddly to get in without having excess wire in the head unit’s mounting bay so that it would go in properly.

At this time I also figured out how to fix the gear lever indicator thing, so while the car was apart, I removed the entire centre console, which was now quite easy with the plastic lining parts out, lifted up the gear lever section, and lined the indicator back into it’s groove in the bottom of the gear lever. It’s working again now.

Anyway, from there I started putting the car back together, the GPS receiver is getting it’s signal, and I tested the hands free part of it last night – that also works a treat. All in all a success. Just got one more panel left to reattach and a few screws to put back in the driver’s side footwell, then it’s completely done 🙂

Will post how well the GPS works when I install the necessary software on my M600.

(I intended to take some photos, but forgot, and I’m not pulling it apart again just to get photos!)

Edit: Installed TomTom Navigator on my phone about a week ago, and after a bit of fiddling, I seem to have found a procedure that works, and it works very well I must say. No more street directories for me 🙂