Archive for November, 2010


I am a self confessed Android fan. As an OS, I’m finding it great to use, and far better than Symbian as my main phone OS.

Not that Symbian is bad. No, Symbian in my eyes is one of the best phone platforms I’ve used. It’s just that I think Android is better.

I have another Android device though, an Eken M001 Android tablet. As far as I can tell, it was one of the first in a batch of Droid based tablets, hot on the heels of iPad.

TBH, it isn’t that good. Despite a supposed CPU speed of 900Mhz, it turns out that 600Mhz is closer to the truth. That, and the base OS is just terrible, and like wading through treacle, it’s that sluggish.

However, in the last week or so, I’ve been looking for updated firmware, and came across one called Relax by a coder called LFD. I’ve just installed v 2.0.4, and I’m quite impressed.

Speed is boosted considerably, making it a good deal more smooth, though there is an oddidty that still exists from the original OS, which is that it performs much better in Landscape mode than Portrait.

It isn’t perfect, since the Android Market doesn’t seem to work properly (Nothing Downloads), but I’m sure that given time, this will get resolved, and LFD does provide an alternative marketplace that seems to have quite a lot of apps on it.

You can find LFDs OS here: Relax

If you’re looking for a later version of the original OS, with working Android Marketplace, it can be found here: Eken M001

The later version of the original OS is an improvement, but not quite as nippy as Relax. If I encounter any more options, I’ll post them up here.

To install either OS, simply unpack the zip file and copy the script directory to the root of your SD card and reboot. Be aware this can brick your tablet, and the responsibility is all yours if you do! Make sure you keep the charger plugged in the whole time, just to be on the safe side.

NOTE: I unpacked the script directory, rebooted and nothing happened. Why? the directory structure after the unpack was \script\script. I just had to get rid of the top level directory and all was well. Good luck!

I recently decided to add a forum to my WordPress powered blog, to try and expand a bit, and hopefully after a bit of judicious SEO, try and promote my site a bit more.

I chose Mingle, since it is provided through a simple WordPress plug in, and is therefore very easy to install, you simply download the plugin, follow the simple instructions and suddenly your site also has a forum.

The one gotcha for me though, was that I managed to keep the forum hidden from all but registered users, by putting my forums into a group that had restricted access.

Once removed, I got just what I wanted, which was a forum that could be read by all, but requires registration in order to post.

If you want to add a forum, get Mingle, it really is very simple. You can visit the authors site here: Mingle

I’d certainly recommend it.

I now have Firefox and Opera installed on my Desire. I thought it would be interesting to run the Acid3 test against them, and the standard Android browser. The result was 97/100 for all three browsers, and whilst not top marks is still pretty good. Overall, Opera was fastest, but the on screen rendering looked a bit odd. Firefox and the standard browser gave very similar results, though I felt the image was slightly better quality in Firefox. So, overall, not much to choose between them, though the Opera rendering speed was impressive.

Try the test for yourself here:   http://acid3.acidtests.org/

A quick post this week as I’ve been a bit preoccupied with looking into task manager usage. However, I’ve decided to go with the app I’ve just used to post this with. It’s an app called WordPress and it lets you quickly and easily manage your WordPress sites via your droid. So if you have a WordPress site of any sort, I wouldn’t hesitate t recommend it.

I recently tested battery life without Advanced Task Killer as I’d heard battery life could be improved without, plus after some research, I’m begining to feel that a task killer just isn’t needed.

The red dots indicate the start and end of the period during which the phone runs on battery on the 6th and 7th November, whilst I was at work on a 12 hour shift. When running without Advanced Task Killer, the charge at the end of the day was just 2% higher, which could be attributed to slight differences in what the phone did i.e. Received more/less emails, Twitter updates and slight variances in WiFi usage because of that.

I didn’t feel any noticeable performance boost without the task killer, everything was just the same in fact, however the phone had a habit of doing the odd unusual thing, and without the task killer running it did feel more stable.

So, I’m going to run without from now on, and just use it for diagnostic purposes.

There’s a good article here about task killers: Task Killers Explained, its well worth a read.

You can also discuss on our forum if you’d like to join.

Well, I’ve just finished adding the new forum area to the site, so if you feel so inclined, please join in and post something interesting or useful.

Just hit the link marked ‘Forum’ at the top of the site.

There aren’t many forums at present, but if you can think of a forum you’d like to see, please post in the Suggestions forum and I’ll see what I can do.

You will need to register initially, and you’ll get an email right away with your password.

We’ll then activate your membership, and off you go.

If you do hit any problems registering, just drop me an email at info@electronicnothingness.co.uk, and I’ll sort you out.

Jon

The app I’ve chosen this week, is a utility called BatterySnap.

If like me, you are constantly watching just what is chewing your battery, then this is a great app.

It keeps all kinds of stats in relation to just what your battery is doing, and can produce some nice graphs of what’s going on.

What’s more, is that is both free and free of ads, so worth every penny!!

Go get it today.

I was away with work on Wednesday and Thursday, and got chatting with some new people at one of the other offices belonging to our company.

One has an HTC Desire, and mentioned he was interested in rooting it, so I said I’d pass on the info of how to do it, having successfully done so and upgraded to Froyo. Those of you who have read my previous blogs know that I ultimately did this because Three were very slow in releasing the offical update,

So I began with the obvious statement ‘Have you got auto backups turned on?’ He wasn’t sure, so I proceded to look on my phone, only to find that I couldn’t find the settings anywhere.

So I began to wonder if this feature had been removed. It’s normally found under ‘Settings/Privacy’, however I no longer have the ‘Privacy’ shortcut.

So, I set about trying to find out just what had happened to my ‘Privacy’ settings, and as it happens, they’re still there, just not generally visible.

To get at them, go into ‘Settings/Search’ and allow ‘Settings’ to be searched. From there, go back to your home screen and press the ‘Search’ button on your phone.

Touch the blue ‘g’ icon, and you’ll get a pick list of where you want to search. Pick settings, type ‘Privacy’ and search. You should get a result back, and when you touch it, lo and behold, the Privacy settings open, and you can turn on automatic backup and restore.

How annoying is that!!

The other annoyance was that I use the SlideIT keyboard replacement, and I had to turn it off and use the standard Android keyboard before the search worked properly!

I hope others find this info useful, as it had me foxed for a little while.

After performing a number of configuration changes on my server to improve performance, I decided that I wanted to work on performance tuning of my IIS6 install since I host all of my own web sites.

One way of doing this is to enable compression, either globally, or per site. By doing this, content can be compressed by the IIS6 server before being sent, giving savings on bandwidth.

This does rely on support by the web browser being used, but since most do support compression nowadays, it’s well worth doing.

Since I don’t run many sites, I decided to enable compression globally. If you want to do it per site, then look here: Enabling HTTP Compression (IIS6).

So, my first stop was to create a new directory for the compressed files on my D: drive, since I also wanted to move the folder to a new location at the same time. The  default is at ‘C:\WINDOWS\IIS Temporary Compressed Files’, however I didn’t want the folder to be slap bang in the middle of my Windows directory. If you’re creating a new folder for the first time, then make sure the the IIS_WPG user has full control to the folder, and, if you have an identity for your app pool(s), then they will also need full control.

I then opened up IIS Manager, found the folder marked ‘Web Sites’, that contains all my sites, and right clicked on it. I then selected ‘Properties’, and once the dialog box had opened up, located and selected the ‘Service’ tab.

I then checked the boxes ‘Compress Application Files’ (Dynamic compression), and the box marked ‘Compress Static files’.

I also checked the box to restrict the directory size, and chose to restrict it to 100Mb, after which it will clean out the oldest files.

I clicked ‘Apply’, then ‘Ok’, and that was it, compression enabled!