There’s nothing to see

After posting several posts with quite sad and disturbing content, which actually increased the number of my audience (thanks, to all you disease horny bitches out there), I’ve got something more nerdy stuff to tell. Just as a side note, we have to get back to thread where everything started here. Actually, no, sarcasm still rules this blog and will do in the future.

So, here’s the thing. I’ve got my mobile back from the dead. As you may know from a post from the week before, my Motorola Defy passed away for a day. I was near giving it up, but I finally managed it to bring it back to living. A lot of weird, creepy key presses were needed to get into menus of the phone I’ve never seen before. But, anyhow, after almost a whole evening, I got it back, rooted it and installed the latest CyanogenMod. I will stay away a while from Ice Cream Sandwich. There’s too much development that has to be done and I’m currently not in the mood to act as an beta/alpha tester.

Here’s another nerdy thing to beat the boredom shit into you. I’ve filed my tax return this weekend. Exciting, isn’t it? And now? Well, nothing. Just wanted to mention it here and before I leave you with any high expectations. I’m not mentioning anything else about this very topic in the future. That’s it, my short excursion into the world of tax return and boring financial things and stuff. Period.

Anything else? Nope. Nothing. Spring has arrived and I can finally start wearing shorter trousers. I hate these long ones.

…and here we are, the end of the most uninspired blog entry in the whole history of this blog’s existence. Thanks for your patience. Maybe I’ll leave some rather depressing posts here in the future. Just to keep the audience that longs for it.

Dangerous life in the fast lane

As a hacker, and as a person who loves to modify electronic devices, I found myself very often in a situation where I was simply measuring my skills wrong. Or in other words, I wanted more than I could handle. Tragic, especially when you have an affinity for expensive electronic devices.

Yesterday I decided to update the radio on my HTC. A very, VERY simple progress. Just download a ZIP file. Copy the ZIP file on your SD card and reboot to bootloader. Piece of cake. Well, normally. My experience and my intuition told me that this will fail for some reason. And it did. Update ran totally fine, no error, nothing wrong. Except one thing, this sodding device just didn’t want to completely reboot. I watched the HTC logo screen for like fifteen minutes.

Normal procedure is to put out the battery, reboot again, try if it boots fine and if that fails, try to flash again and see if this finally works. As expected, it didn’t work. So I tried other radio files, tried to reflash the ROM, but nothing worked, except…

…well, sometimes it’s worth to have a backup. It was quite old, but it managed to get the device back on track. It was this tiny little option that says “Restore bootloader” that fixed it.

Apart from this, I’m currently experimenting a little bit with Android 4 on my Motorola Defy. Without a doubt, Android 4 is the best Android so far, but the whole changes that where made to the architecture and the driver handling is a bloody pain in the ass. Developers could have made so much more progress, but the most of them a stuck on problems like cameras that don’t work or LED flashlights that won’t flash.

One needs to be patient on the other hand. This step in development was necessary and even though a lot of people will complain about late update rollouts for their devices. It’s more than just important for the device generation that will follow and even more important, the Android operating systems that will follow.

A taste of ice cream sandwich

According to the fact that there are no impressive game releases these days and I have a small amount of time left in my spare time, I was digging a little the Android scene. My main intention was to get some hands on on the latest Android – Codename “Ice Cream Sandwich” – and see how it works in my phones. The HTC Desire S and the Motorola Defy.

I tried the Virtuous Quattro RC3 and the CyanogenMod 9 Alpha builds for the HTC Desire. The Defy got stuffed with the experimental builds of CyanogenMod 9 as  well.

At first glance, for all devices, ICS looks amazing and the overall redesign looks very homogenic and a lot of obstacles in the menu structure has been ridden. When you’re used to Android and use it for quite a long time, you’ll find yourself in a re-orientation situation. But ICS is very user friendly and now, in my opinion, on the same level with Apple’s iOS.

Virtuous Quattro RC3 was one of the first ROMs I installed and my impression was, ‘Yeah, looking gooood.’ But in the end, the speed and smoothness of this ROM was terrible. And even though it was an RC it felt more like a fast pushed alpha version. It had several bugs like the clock crashing and syncs that did not sync. All in all, it looked cool, but it felt awful.

CyanogenMod 9 for the Defy was, because it was alpha, the same buggy experience, but it felt usable, except for the camera, but that’s a problem on lot of devices. I was expecting that this ROM would not work completely fine and that it would be another first look thing. Anyhow, despite the slow performance can I say, that the CM team is definitely on the right way and without a doubt, the old Defy is capable running ICS.

Last but not least, I installed the alpha build of CyanogenMod 9 on my Desire S. I tried the builds from January 27 and 30. The first one had almost the same low performance like the Quattro ROM, but the nightly build of January 30 runs almost smoothly and came pretty close to what you are used to with CyanogenMod 7.x

Only one camera is currently working on the Desire S. With the latest release I got some issue with syncing Facebook to my contact list. This ROM still’s got the issue that WiFi is not running fine with certain router/access points and various encryptions. The issue is well known in many bug reports, even for stock ROMs and I was hoping for a final fix. Bummer!

As a summarization can I say, the AOSP ICS developers have done a great job so far and I’m so dead certain that CyanogenMod 9 will be a giant hit. On the other hand, there’s still a long road to walk till it’s time to announce the first beta releases and it’s even further more away to announce a real release candidate. Lots of RCs that you can find these days for many devices are quick born, badly supported ROMs that you should only use when you like to do some bug fixing or if you’re just interested in Android Ice Cream Sandwich.

I personally switched back to CyanogenMod 7.2 on my Defy and will also switch back to Reaper (CM7 derivate) on my Desire S.

Androidify me

Reading, researching, experimenting, reading, researching and sometimes you fail and sometimes you gain success. Due to the fact that the evenings are getting colder and darker I turned to some more home oriented hobbies. Actually, ninety per cent of my hobbies happen at home, but that’s another story.

Back in the days I hated working on phones and tweak them or whatever. You system memory was ridiculously tiny and the processor was some kind of a joke. Nowadays mobile phones and especially smart phones come up with one or two cores and a clock rate beyond 1,000MHz. And additionally, we were gifted with a RAM that can take more than just 64KB.

My passion are Android phones and the Android operating system. I’ve started with a entry model, a Motorola Backflip MB300. I did a lot of counterproductive to this phone, but it survived without waving the white flag and surrendering. Right now it runs CyanogenMOD 7.1 which is based on Android 2.3.7. This makes this phone pretty bleeding edge and totally bad ass. Anyhow, this phone is slow. Patience is what you need to tweak and hack this ugly thing.

I switched to an HTC Desire S as my new main phone. It also runs CyanogenMOD 7.1. I’m not planning to run a lot of ROMs on this phone. After having struggled so much with the Backflip I want at least one phone that is highly available. My next “big thing” is a Motorola Defy. This will be the phone for my next evil experiments. I’ve found a used one really cheap on Amazon and it’ll hopefully be delivered.

If you want to ask what makes Android so interesting to me, it’s basically the way endless possibilities to customize your phone. On iOS for instance you have one store to get your software. You have only one interface that you can use. If you want to have something special or something the Appstore does not offer, you have to jailbreak your device. The iPad I once had was a jailbreaked one and it was terribly monotone anyway. Appstore alternatives were terrible and most of the apps that should modify the GUI made minor changed not worth to mention.

Windows mobile is not an option. The overall design of and the usability of the phone is decades behind the today’s state of art. As far as I’ve seen the GUI, it’s a giant step backward and far from transparent. I don’t like such things. But discussing this could lead to a discussion like “Windows vs. Linux”

Would lead to nothing and is in the end a matter of taste and user skill. Whatever the case, I’ll hopefully get the Defy pretty soon and experiment with it. I’ll keep you informed about my evil plans.

Froyo Backflip field report

Some of you might remember, I was modding my Android smartphone a while ago and I switched from Android 1.5 to Android 1.6. Actually, not a big step. Afterwards I moved to Android 2.1 including MotoBlur which doesn’t gave me a massive performance improvement as well. But I was finally able to get access to a lot more applications from the Android market. Finally, I found a modded version based on the CyanogenMod for my Motorola Backflip.

It’s an Android 2.2.1 with a lot of bugs needed to be fixed. Camera wasn’t working, which is now fixed. The keyboard wasn’t working correctly, which is nearly fixed. And some GPS issues stressed me as well. I also had the problem, that it wasn’t overclockable, so I had to use a custom kernel, too though. I’m using this particular version on my phone for like four or five weeks now and I’m almost satisfied with.

There are still performance problems which I was able to trick out a little. First of all, I’m using Autokiller Memory Optimizer which handles the whole memory management of Android a little better than it would normally do. Secondly, I’m using a swap file, created with Swapper2, to gain a little more memory space in the backhand. And last but not least, the Android Task Manager, to get a little more on running tasks.

Benchmarks speak a clear language, in comparison to stock Android 1.5 with MotoBlur the new version 2.2.1 almost doubled the performance of the phone. I had like 150 to 180 points in Quadrant Standard benchmark on Android 1.5 and now I gain like 310 to 350, depending on what services are actually running and the CPU clock speed.

During this whole development and experience progress with Android I also bought a couple of applications from the market that I found very usefull though. First of all, it’s Titanium Backup that I mainly used to “deblur” my phone on Android 1.5 and Android 2.1. Sure thing that it gave the phone a blast, but it was also causing some trouble, mainly when it comes to contact management. I’m also a big fan of ADW.Launcher now, which is a fine GUI for Android and I simply thought that it was worth supporting it with a buy. Definitely an improvement. Due to the fact that I also use my phone to listen to some music here and then, I found that PowerAMP is totally awesome and gives some fine audio quality to your ears.

To get this straight, I’m not going public with my modified Android version, this is just a small project of mine to get a little bit more into Android itself. I don’t have time nor the will to release a custom firmware for Android and even support it in any way.

What was and what will be

A year’s gone and a new decades arrived. So what’s my resume for the decade that has just passed in the 21st century on this ball called Earth (“How peaceful it looks…”)? Great Scott, I don’t know and it’s barely possible to capture a whole decade in one single blog entry so I simply don’t resume the past decade. But what are my plans for the next decade? Guess what, I just don’t know but I can tell you some of my plans for this year. 2011 will hopefully be the year were I’ll go back to more creative oriented activities. I’ll definately do some more photography and will try to switch to some portrait shots or let us say, I’ll switch from landscape photography to something more human related because for me is the portrait photography something that looks like hard to handle and I want this challenge, because challenges simply makes you better and let you improve yourself.

One thing that’s still unfinished and I simply haven’t found the time for, were the bunch of music plans I had for 2010. I missed to remaster Narcosis’ “Super Satan Terror Demon 665.5” mini CD and to upload it. I also missed to get the original tracks for the CDs so I have to do some more complex re-editing to tracks that I got. It’s such a pain in the ass that the studio were we once recorded this master piece of modern black- and death-metal is no more (/irony off).

The second music project hasn’t been touched since I first announced it here in this blog because of… well… urm… issues? Some might remember, it was this electro, industrial thing called “Degraduated to be machine” which includes till now two barely finished tracks. The problem is, that I was working on the studio software several times but it turned out that my plans are much more complex than they first seemed to be. I want this whole thing to get much better than the first solo CD of mine which was more a bunch tracks mixed together, this second one follows a concept and I want this as perfect as it can be. PERIOD! I guess, it won’t be finished by the end of this year so don’t expect anything.

Recording Studio

Something that I’m going to do pretty soon is to upgrade my PC. I decided not to buy me a new Android phone and to upgrade my PC instead. There were to many issues and failures that were bothering me that led me finally to this decision. It’s a kind of sad, because I really liked the black mainboard and the CPU watercooler with its red LEDs inside that made the whole system look so damn eeeeeviiiiiil. I’ll give some details on the upgrade in another blog entry.

Back to music and the whole life thing. I still have this plan to move to Berlin, maybe it’s going to happen this year if I can make it to find a job there. If I can make it I’ll free my guitars from the dust and try to find some guys/girls to start a new band, I still feel like a stoner band would be nice, with a girl drummer.

Some might ask, what happened to straight edge? Well, straight edge will be back as sooner as you think. It might start on January 16th, maybe later. It all depends on the big thing called time and I never have enough time for anything. It’s going to be the “Straight Edge 3.0 Project” with customized rules and a new training plan that does not only inlcude a plan for gym, it will also include some other activities. I currently drink some alcohol from time to time but only small lashings and no hard liqueur. I’m so NOT satisfied with the fact that I started with this bad habit again and it will stop because I simply can’t stand the dizzyness while drinking something.

Any traveling plans for this year? Yes, but nothing totally fixed. I was wondering if I can make it to Asia this year, countries like Japan, Indonesia and South Korea has always been in my focus, but unfortunately is it so massively expensive that I don’t know how to pay for this. For the opposite direction, well, there might be a trip to New York, I always wanted to go to New York, a huge, big, crowded, dirty city that always fascinated me. I also have to mention that I have these itchy feet for Seattle, I can’t help it but Seattle is beside Berlin a city where I can go to at any time. To make a long story short, there’ll be definately a trip to the U.S. but no exact plans for the rest of the world. Hmmm, the orient could be nice, too.

Hadouken

Concert plans. There’s only ONE concert by now I have a ¬†ticket for and that is the rocking, mind blowing, beloved FU MANCHU. Yes, I got a Fu Manchu ticket for Christmas again and I will see them in March. Damn it, I fucking love this band. If there’s a Misfits concert somewhere here around Germany I would go there too, no matter what it costs. Till now I am very unsure if I should go to the Roger Waters concert in Berlin and see The Wall for a second time. It would be nice to see the show in Berlin, because for me it’s something special because this very one album influenced my musical taste so much, but once again, the tickets are expensive and the seats you can get at the moment are totally crap. We will see.

Last but not least, gaming plans for this year. First of all, I’m thinking about canceling my ‘World of Warcraft’ subscription because I don’t like the new add-on. The balance between casual gaming and going back to the roots of ‘World of Warcraft’ totally failed, in my opinion. Maybe I’ll switch back to ‘Champions Online’ as soon as you can play it for free or I will give ‘DC Universe’ a try. I’m following TotalBiscuit on YouTube and he’s playing the beta at the moment and it looked nice and auspicious to me. Non-MMO games I’m definately going to play are ‘Crysis’ and ‘F.3.A.R. 3’ in March. ‘Duke Nukem Forever’ sometime by the beginning of this year and hopefully id softwares’ ‘Rage’ in September.

There will be some minor changes to this blog, too. One thing is, that there will be a “Game of the week” post every week with a kind of a review and I will do the same stuff with music, movies and photography. Anyhow, the “Game of the week” thing is for sure and the rest will come up soon and simply follows within the next weeks and month. …hmmm… longest blog post ever… yeah!!!

Motorola for the meantime

Since that very that I’ve first seen Bishop in “Aliens” I’ve got this affinity for androids and now that Android is a kind of established on the market I decided to get an android on my own. The attentive reader of this blog might have noticed it, that I’m playing with the thought, well, it’s no longer playing, it’s more a fixed decision, to buy me the HTC Desire HD as soon as it’s got released on the European market. As some you might also have noticed, the HTC Desire HD is going to be released somewhere around calendar week 44 or 45. That’s a looong period of waiting, but luckily have I been able to extend my cell phone contract and was able to grab the good old Motorola Backflip with Android 1.5.

I use two Sony Ericsson cell phone at the moment and both of them do have broken plugs so that charging is a pure game of hazard and transfering data becomes a desperate act. Especially the last check is something pretty weird because one of the phones is a walkman phone and I’m no longer able to listen to music on that one. Long story told short, the Motorola will become my second phone in the nearby future and is more the dedicated to remote administrative things than the HTC phone. I tried to find some applications for XBMC on the iPad but I failed. I’ve found some but I had to pay for them and I don’t want to bloody pay for an application on a toy like the iPad.

Pad technology

I am the owner of an iPad for nearly four weeks now and apart from the fact that I wasn’t amused of receiving an Apple product for work related matters I wasn’t expecting any big surprises from this useless kind of modern technology. Maybe it’s the thing that I’m getting too old and can’t afford the needed enthusiasm for this fruity piece or the iPad is simply useless as it is. Actually did I just find one single application (I don’t use the bloody short form right here) that could have been useful for me. It’s an electronic TV program guide BUT the same thing is integrated into my HD receiver so there’s no real, undisputed and ultra important need for this. Another thing is, that this application is broke for a while now so the iPad itself is 100% useless for me right now.

As you may know, I am a big supporter of the open source community and I am not very comfortable with buying software for special needs because I found out over the years that there’s no real argument for buying software when you can get for nearly every need a free open source product from the large software pool of the open source community. Maybe there are some products like a Photoshop that you cannot completely replace with a software like GIMP or Cinepaint for example but you can survive in todays culture without wasting money on software. Back to track, I don’t want to buy anything for a stupid gadget like the iPad and nearly everything that is useful for this tablet costs money which makes the iPad even more useless.

Finally, I cannot deny that the iPad itself is a fine piece of modern technology but it’s definately not the tornado in the water glass that brings the big revolution, as many Apple disciples affirm. Another thing that is bloody, bloody terrible is the heavy software rock called iTunes that comes with any portable Apple product? Why the hell do I need a software to gain access to my portable device? Is there any logical argument for this except total control of the innocent customer? The limited quantity of supported multimedia formats makes the whole thing even worth. Hellooo Apple, ever heard anything of MKV or AVI? Well, as you can see, the iPad is definately something for a stupid, mindless customer on the modern market who buys anything the commercials tell him. Strangely did I personally always compare the Apple disciples with the people listening to Himmler while announces the total war. Give it a try and compare this event with any speech of Steve Jobs, one can’t deny the similarities.

My heart’s desire

According to the fact that mobile internet got much cheaper the last few month it looks more and more attractive to me to take the next step and become an Android user. I’m researching on this topic for a while now and for a very long time the Motorola Milestone seemed to be a nice and welcome comrade to me but finally the whole cell phone offered a lot of disadvantages to me. I was looking for an Android with a separate keyboard because I don’t like typing on a screen though. Unfortunately did I have to notice that there’s no Android cell phone out there, that is not a business one, that would fit my needs. I have to mention that my last bigger step in mobility was to switch to a Sony Ericsson walkman cell phone (some W9xx whatever thingy…), so going Android comes by like a massive revolution.

Desire

One cell phone that gave me a real crush from the very first moment that I saw it was the HTC Desire HD. I was stuck for a while on the predecessor HTC Desire, but why wandering through the past when you can have the future right in your hands. The Desire HD is definately what I want, fast processor, brilliant display and a smart look. It’s build of one solid block of aluminum which makes it look pretty classy. Most importantly, the antenna is working under every condition. By now I can only find one sticking point – the price – the HTC is listed with a price around 600 Euros, but I think this is worth it.