Category: Tech


So, I had some spare time today, and having downloaded the Windows 8 preview, I thought I’d have a crack at installing it.

Tbh the process of installation was if anything, easier than Windows 7, even taking me through a seamless wifi setup to get online, even before I’d got to the login screen.

I wasn’t over enamoured with using my Hotmail credentials to log in, but I’m going to see how it works on a domain (if the preview works with domains), so that may be a non issue. That said, I could have used other credentials, but the Hotmail ones seemed most logical.

What really made me wrinkle my nose though, is the new Metro UI. My initial impressions are that whilst it may be great for a tablet, it isn’t so good for a traditional PC. To be fair, I need to play with it some more, and I will, but the UI has changed so much, that I have a nagging doubt that I’ll buy into it as my next desktop OS of choice.

Assuming that Metro can be turned off, then I may yet be persuaded, but that is something I’ll need to report back on.

I understand that Microsoft want to rationalise the look and feel of the OS across platforms, but I do wonder if this is a bridge too far.

So, I’m totally astonished at the screen grabs and errors being published online in all quarters, centering around the poor quality of the new IOS6 mapping app. It is truly amazing, that an important app like this, replacing as it is the venerable Google product, even got out of the door. Terrible joins are visible in images, with distortion that makes some objects appear melted, items are missing, labeled incorrectly etc.

I’m sure Steve Jobs would be turning in his grave over this quality control blunder.

The worst part of it seems to be for the businesses who spent time, and probably money, getting themselves visible on Google maps are often unfindable in the Apple product, since it uses Yelp and not Google for searching.

Looking at other reviews, and I’ve read quite a few, Apple seems to have got stuck in their continuous product improvement cycle and are only able to evolve what they currently have, rather than being able to do anything revolutionary, and to me that’s a shame.

One final thing before bed, and that is to remind you all that whilst Apple designed the A6 core, guess who builds the chips for them? Yep, you guessed it, Samsung. 🙂

So, I’m not generally known for my rants about Apple, but more and more I am beginning to think they have turned a corner down a very dark road.

Many years ago, when I first got into IT, Apple was the radical, different company, whose tech was the preferred tool of writers, artists, musicians and the like, and in a world where computers and computing was generally biege, they stood out as being different, and we loved them for it.

So what’s changed? Well whilst nobody was looking, Apple decided that they should become Global Super MegaCorp no1, and have slowly and insidiously become like all the other major corporations, only with much, much more money in the kitty.

It seems to be the Apple mantra now, to obliviate (Harry Potter ref there) all other companies using their fantastical industrial design and their huge piles of cash.

This just isn’t the Apple of old, and I’m wondering how long it will be before people start to notice.

IMHO, Apple has become a money grabbing patent troll, that has lost its way in the pursuit of greed and global domination.

Rant over, but to me it’s a shame that special something they had has vanished behind a pile of cash, a briefcase full of patents and more biege.

So, I just discovered that Google Analyticator is dead, which is a shame as I’ve used it for some time.

For all those of you also in the same position, the Google Analytics Dashboard seems to do a very similar job, so if you need to move to a new plug in, this seems to be one that works nicely, and is extremely simple to set up.

Next, I’ve installed GTrans, which was a WordPress recommended plug in. Seems very nice and allows your site to be translated into different languages by selecting from a drop down list.

Both seem to be nice plugins, so if you’re a WordPress user, have a go, worst cas you’ll just remove them if you don’t like 🙂

 

I just checked for updated firmware for my One X, and was surprised to see there was an update waiting.

It was large, weighing in at 165 megs, but downloaded quickly over wifi, and was installed in about 5 minutes.

Android is now at 4.0.4, and Sense is at 4.1 and the software number is 2.17.771.3, which seems to be a big jump past the last version. I’ll be interested to see what sort of a difference it is makes to the phone overall.

So I’ve had the updates a few days now and wanted to make a note of what I’ve seen so far.

Visually, it looks much the same. HTC Sense always was a nice UI, even before the update, but now it seems even smoother and just that little bit slicker, and there is something I can’t quite put my finger on with the visual quality, but it seems, well, nicer.

The biggest improvement I noticed was the battery life, which overall seems to have improved hugely, and is not dissimilar to my work Galaxy S2, which is also running ICS, albeit 4.0.3. Considering the extra CPU power in the One X, this is a good thing.

Another area where battery life seems to have improved is gaming. I take full advantage of the Tegra 3 chipset and run games like Max Payne, Dead Trigger, GTA III, ME Infiltrator, Dead Space and Shadowgun.

These used to make for a very low battery, and a very hot phone, but after the last update, these things seem to have improved immensely.

So far I haven’t any other info about this latest ICS incarnation, but as and when I do, I’ll post it here.

Update your phone now, and enjoy the bonus battery life 🙂

So, my wife would like an iPad, so we take a look at eBay to see how much 1st gen ones go for.

Well to say I was shocked is an understatement, because you can go and buy a refurbished 2nd gen one for less straight from Apple.

Why do people persist in paying more on eBay, I just don’t get it.

Shop around fools……

So, my Rasperry Pi finally arrived last Thursday, just in time for me to spend some quality time with it whilst on my holidays. Here it is in all it’s glory.

My lovely Pi

So far I’m impressed for a PC that costs just £30 including delivery. Admittedly, you need a few extras to get things working, but happily I got a double pack of 8GB SD cards from PC world for just £13, each of which is more than enough to store either the Debian or Arch distros that are available. And since I already had HDMI and ethernet cables, plus a Samsung mobile phone charger that provides just the right amount of power, my costs were kept down even further.

Although everything worked out of the box, there was one thing I did have to do to make the HDMI work properly.

On the first and subsequent boot ups, It was obvious that the display was being cut off at the left hand side, and had quite large margins on all the other sides.

After doing some digging, I found that a configuration file was required. Unsurprisingly, it was called ‘config.txt’, and it lives in the /boot/ directory.

There is a really good explanation of all the options to be found here: config.txt options

For me, the options that worked are as follows:

# Set stdv mode to PAL (as used in Europe)

sdtv_mode=2

# Force the monitor to HDMI mode so that sound will be sent over HDMI

cable hdmi_drive=2

# Set monitor mode to CEA

hdmi_group=1

# Set monitor resolution to 1080p 60Hz 

hdmi_mode=16

# Make display smaller to stop text spilling off the screen

#Left Border

overscan_left=8

#Right Border

overscan_right=8

#Top Border

overscan_top=-15

#Bottom Border

overscan_bottom=-15

These options can be copied over exactly to form the basis of your config.txt, but you’ll need to edit the values to suit your particular TV. Yes, the top and bottom values are negative for my set up, otherwise I have a half inch border there. Bear in mind I’m in the UK.

To find out supported modes you’ll need to run the following commands:

/opt/vc/bin/tvservice -m CEA or /opt/vc/bin/tvservice -m DMT.

/opt/vc/bin/tvservice -s will show your current status.

If you get a value wrong, as I did, you can end up with a blank screen. I resolved this by taking the SD card out of my Raspberry Pi, and plugging it into my Linux laptop, and just edited the values there. You can always comment out the lines, or delete/rename config.txt if you need to go back to default.

Bear in mind, I’m just passing on the info, and what you do with it is your responsibility. In other words, if you break your Pi, it’s not my fault.

Good luck, and enjoy your Pi.

 

I promised a guide a little while ago, on how to upgrade an HTC Desire from Froyo to Gingerbread.

Well, keep reading because here it comes, since I’m on a night shift and have a spare moment!

First off are the obligatory warnings.

This process involves flashing the ROM of your phone, so if you don’t understand what you are about to undertake, don’t do it, walk away now, as you might brick your phone, and that’s your fault not mine. I’m only making the information available, what you do with it is your business.

When you do this, your phone will essentially be ‘Box Fresh’, so be prepared for some work afterwards to get it the way you want. It will even remove your custom recovery, if you already have one installed.

So, what is the process?

It goes a little something like this something like this on a PC. No Macs here, sorry:

  1. Back up your phone before you do anything. I used Titanium Backup Pro, and as my phone was previously rooted when I installed Froyo, I also took a ROM backup using ClockWorkMod recovery. If you’re not rooted, this will still work, and in any event, it will de-root your phone, but more on that later.
  2. Visit http://htcdev.com/devcenter/downloads and download the item named ‘ HTC Desire Android 2.3 Upgrade’, which is 161MB in size. It will most likely be top of the list. Unzip it once downloaded.
  3. If you don’t already have HTC Sync, jump over to the HTC Help Center here and download it. Install on your PC. You can remove it later if you want.
  4. On your PC, ensure you’re logged in as an administrator user, and connect your Desire using a USB cable. When the dialog box pops up asking what you want to do, make sure you select HTC SYNC. Wait for the phone and software to settle down, and ensure your PC has no failed devices in device manager.
  5. Locate the files you unzipped in ‘2’, and double click on the file ‘RUU_HTC Desire Android 2.3 Upgrade (Gingerbread).exe’.
  6. On the first screen you see, click ‘Next’. The next 2 screens require that you tick a check box. Do so, and click ‘Next’, and you will arrive at a screen with an ‘Update’ button.
  7. Click the ‘Update’ button, then click ‘Next’ on the following 2 screens. Do not unplug or otherwise disturb your phone during the update, it may brick your phone. After about 10 minutes, the update will be completed, and you will see a screen with a ‘Finish’ button. Click ‘Finish’ and the ROM Update Utility will close, and your phone will reboot, and will come back as a clean phone requiring set up.

That’s it for those of you who aren’t bothered about rooting. The next step is to set up your phone, and restore the apps you want using your chosen method.

Be aware, Gingerbread with Sense is a tight fit, so you may want to take a moment to de-clutter now you have a box fresh phone.

For the tinkerers amongst us, that may not be enough, especially if you want your root access back. Well, that just got easier with the arrival of Revolutionary.

Again, backups before starting, and do so at your own risk etc etc.

So, what is Revolutionary? Its a tool which disables the NAND lock on your phone allowing an optional install of a custom recovery, which will allow rooting too.

So, here’s the process:

  1. Visit this page: http://unrevoked.com/rootwiki/doku.php/public/revolutionary#revolutionary_s-off_recovery_tool and download the Windows fastboot drivers and zipfile you’ll need for Rooting your phone.
  2. Uninstall HTC Sync, but don’t uninstall the drivers. If these drivers don’t work, uninstall them, then install the ones you just downloaded.
  3. Visit this page: http://revolutionary.io/ and download Revolutionary. A form will open asking you to generate a key, but we’ll come back to this in a moment. Let the software download, and unzip it.
  4. Connect your phone using USB and Run the exe you’ve just unzipped. It will tell you your serial number and HBOOT version
  5. Return to the web form from ‘3’ and enter the phone model, HBOOT version and serial number. This will generate a key.
  6. In the revolutionary window, enter the serial and the key you generated in ‘5’.
  7. Wait for Revolutionary to run, and allow it to install ClockWorkMod recovery if you want a custom recovery. This is necessary if you want to root your phone TBH.
  8. Copy the ZIP file required for rooting to your SD card, and reboot into recovery. To do this, power off the phone, then power on with the volume down button held. Using the volume +/- keys, select recovery and press the power button. This should put you in ClockWorkMod custom recovery.
  9. Once in recovery, choose the option to install a zip from SD card, then choose the ZIP from the location you placed it earlier. This will give you root.
  10. Once completed, reboot your phone. You now have an HTC Desire, with Gingerbread, Sense and root.
  11. I’d advise getting the ROM Manager app from the market next, as it will allow you to do a full ROM backup to SD card in case you break it during the next phase. Don’t be stingy, buy the full version.

Next, lets talk about removing bloatware.

The Gingerbread ROM for Desire comes with a few apps, like Facebook and Flikr, missing, due to memory constraints. In order to remove the apps you don’t want, and make space for the ones you do, I’d suggest you buy Titanium Backup Pro. Go on, treat yourself. It has saved my neck on numerous occasions, and since you now have root, it will work nicely.

The other way to do it is using the ADB shell, but Titanium will make it much easier. Once you have Titanium Backup, run a full backup at least once.

You can then select apps, even system apps, from the list of backed up software, and uninstall them.

I removed things like the FM Radio, which I never use, the Twitter client, as I prefer Tweetdeck, and things like Voice Search and Stocks as I never use them either.

The choice is yours, just be VERY careful, because if you haven’t made a ROM backup, you can easily remove something essential and break your phone.

I now have around 40 apps on my phone, all of which I want, and have around 13% free space, which is just right. And don’t forget to make sure any apps you do have are moved to the SD card where p0ssible.

Remember, this is a guide, so you may need to interpret what I’ve said, as it may not quite match what you see on screen.

Also remember that you do any of these procedures at your own risk, and if you break your phone, it isn’t our responsibility.

Good luck!

Well it appears the experiment worked.

I now have a Desire with official HTC Gingerbread ROM, rooted with ClockWorkMod recovery in place.

I was able, once rooted, to boot up using CWM recovery, mount the System and manually rip out the bloatware, and initial impressions are good, with Adao file manager reporting 147MB total ram, the same as when I was running Froyo.

Titanium Backup, as ever, is helping me get my apps back in place complete with data, plus I’m able to restore a lot of my settings. As I’ve said before, if you have Root, get Titanium Backup, it’s saved me a whole load of time and heartache.

So, all that remains is to pop all my icons back where I had them before.

Sorted!

HTC have recently released a ‘DEV’ version of Gingerbread for the Desire.

It was nearly a non-event, since Gingerbread+Sense doesn’t leave much memory to play with, but after a lot of protests, they did a U turn and released it. If only they had taken out some of the apps like Footprints, Stocks and Peep (I use Tweetdeck)

It is shorter on RAM than a Froyo Desire, but if you want, it is available.

I decided to give it a whirl, but I’ll say this, it gave me a hell of a fright, since it overwrote my ClockworkMod recovery, and it took a bit of doing to get it back.

Hence my advice to tread carefully, as I was now in a position of not being able to restore my Froyo backup, and no longer having root on my phone, and whilst I was happy to be getting Gingerbread, I had no way of removing the bloatware to give me space for the apps I wanted.

To recover, I had to use a tool called Revolutionary, which is the work of unrevoked & Alpharev, which restored the CWM custom recovery, and allowed me to restore my backup I’d taken before starting.

So I’m back in my happy place with Froyo, but having come this far, I have decided that another attempt is going to happen.

I shall be re-flashing the stock Gingerbread, then re-running Revolutionary so I can connect via the CWM recovery using ADB and manually delete the bloatware. From there I can try and see if Titanium Backup will restore the apps and data I do want successfully.

It’s gonna be an interesting ride, and I’ll report back on my results.

TTFN

So I’ve been trying to get my Desire (Froyo) to play nicely with HTML emails when using Exchange 2003, and it seems the stock email client just won’t. This is very annoying, since the email client on my wife’s iPhone works just fine. I also have a backup phone, an original 2g iPhone, and despite it’s age, that works just fine too.

So I did some digging, and discovered that my Galaxy Tab, recently updated to Gingerbread, now has a stock email client that supports HTML email with Exchange 2003! So every phone in the house, apart from my Desire, works. Most annoying.

Whilst I have an Exchange 2007 server available, which should in theory work with the client on my Desire, and ActiveSync is up and running, I would also need to migrate all my websites to it too as I run off a single IP and everything sits on one server at present.

That’s a lot of work just to get HTML emails.

I’ve tried RoadSync, and that doesn’t do it either, so I’m now giving Touchdown a road test.

And it’s working. I have HTML email on my Desire. I have 30 days trial to see if it satisfies all my requirements, but so far we have one major box ticked.

I’ll post more as and when I have played with it, but it is rather maddening that Apple, Touchdown, and even Google with Gingerbread can do it easily, but not the Froyo client, especially since Touchdown is £12 odd.

I have know that isn’t a huge amount of money, but I think its expensive for an app.

At least you have the benefit of a 30 day trial.

More later.

ADDITIONAL UPDATE

As of 25th September, I now have Gingerbread on my Desire. And guess what? The stock email client still doesn’t support HTML emails with Exchange 2003. The option is there, but greyed out.

Come on HTC, get it sorted. If Samsung can do it, why not you!

Well, HTC, after quite a bit of faffing around, have launched Gingerbread for the HTC Desire.

Well, launched is the wrong word, because it’s more of a ‘Quietly made available’.

You can find it here, Gingerbread, and you’ll find it’s missing some bits and bobs in order to save space, though the missing items have also been made available for download should you wish to try stuffing them back in again.

I’ve not tried it yet as I haven’t had time, plus HTC are saying ‘This is really only for developers’, but if I get the chance, I will.

If anybody out there has tried it, please feel free to post a comment.

I’ve had some discussions on forums of late, which have made me think long and hard about the almost religious fervor  some people get into over iPhones in this particular case.

I am an Android user, but I am more than capable of looking at the iPhone and saying ‘Yes, it is a standard setter, and has, and always will be a great piece of industrial design, and does what it does very well’.

Although I have an older model as a spare phone, and my wife has a 3gs, I’ll never go down the route of having one as my primary phone, because as a techie, I love the freedom I get with Android, and the iPhone leaves me a bit cold, because it is too rigid and fixed. I can’t tinker with an iPhone so easily. Oh, and it doesn’t have Flash either, or an easily changed battery. And it has a SIM card that is so small, that if you drop it on a brightly coloured carpet it vanishes for good.

So as a droid user, I can see both sides of the  argument, and am prepared to believe that both devices have pros and cons, and ultimately, its down to the individual to choose the device that best suits their personality.

iPhone users however, seem to be incapable of accepting that both devices have pros and cons, and simply wish to pour damnation on everything remotely droid.

One forum I posted on had an iPhone user saying that droids were laggy, fragmented, malware infested and had no updates, and wouldn’t sync with iTunes. Another described the Market as a cess pool!!

Folks, all I’ll say is this. Look back at the iPhone and it’s recent past, such as antennagate, alarm clocks that won’t recognise summertime, baby shaking apps, flashlight apps with hidden tethering, and a serious WiFi security bug in the iPhone 3g, that won’t be fixed because support has ceased. Not much consolation for those with a year or two old iphone 3g.

Back in 2009, which is not that long ago people, Apple had to close around 46 bugs in iOS, some of which were serious security vulnerabilities.

There has been malware in both the App Store and the Android Market.

Apple is no more perfect than Android, they are just better able to put a spin on things, and divert our attention away from the bad things by launching new, sexy things just when something bad happens.

When comparing an iPhone to an Android handset, don’t compare with a handset that is way down in the specs. Make sure you’re comparing Apples with Apples (So to speak).

Get your facts right. Android gets updates, and some manufacturers do this over the air, rather than having to plug into iTunes to get them. I can also choose from a selection of ROMS to install on my phone at any time I choose.

Oh, and finally, both my HTC Desire and Samsung Galaxy Tab can sync to iTunes.

So if you are an Apple fanboy, and you want to slag off Android you’d better:

  1. Get your facts right.
  2. Don’t be standing in a glass house.

Try and see both sides.

Reminds me of a long time ago when my friends and I owned things like a Sinclair Spectrum, CMB64, Atari 800 and all those other long lost home computers, when the ‘My Computer Is Better Than Your Computer’ argument raged on.

Except then it was much better natured. Sighs….

I’ve just added Disqus functionality to the site, and it was pretty easy too.

You can register your own site at disqus.com, or register as a user just to make comments on other peoples sites.

Hopefully it’ll stop me loosing track of all the various posts I make!!

Well, I finally took the plunge and downloaded Samsung’s Kies app to my PC as I’d been reading that Samsung delivered new firmware using it, and that FOTA was not their thing. I have a Galaxy Tab as well as my HTC Desire, and was keen to get it some Gingerbread action.

So, with everything installed on my PC, I plugged in the Tab, fired up Kies, and sure enough it identified my firmware as needing an update and after backing up my data, installed the new firmware.

Be aware, Kies is not fast, so be patient. It took a good hour to back up and install the new firmware, so give it time.

One reboot later and Gingerbread has left my Tab with few obvious changes, but with a definite feel that everything was ‘perkier’, with menus sliding back and forth with ease, and a Quadrant Standard score that is seemingly better than the original firmware.

And that is where most people need to stop reading, because if you have no need of root, then that’s all you need to do in order to get some Gingerbread action.

Me, I need root as I have some software that needs it, such as the lifesaver that is Titanium backup.

I used the details that can be found here: Rooting a Galaxy Tab with Gingerbread 2.3.3.

They are simple and easy to follow, and as I’d tried and failed with a couple of other methods, I breathed a sigh of relief when it all worked and I was rooted again.

A benefit of this method was that the ClockworkMod recovery is included, giving you great access and a means to fully back up your system prior to any Rom based hijinks.

Beware though, the controls once in ClockworkMod recovery are based around the volume up/down keys, so a bit odd as it starts up in landscape mode.

You also get a Tweaks tool for messing around with performance. I’ve not tried any yet, but it looks good.

As usual, you get the obligatory warning: ‘I am not responsible if you choose to follow any of these procedures and turn your Galaxy Tab into a paperweight. This is all on you if you get it wrong.’

If you do decide to go ahead, good luck, I hope it works as well for you as it did for me.

Bye for now!

I recently decided to try Gingerbread, in the form of the popular Cyanogen Mod 7 on my HTC Desire.

How did I do this and what was the end result?

First off, it requires a rooted phone with recovery installed. In my case I had previously rooted the phone and installed ClockWorkMod recovery 2.5.0.7 so that I could upgrade to Froyo, and since 3 were dragging their heels with the OTA update.

You can see how I did the root and upgrade here: Froyo at Last. Remember, you do this at your own risk and I’m not responsible if you brick your phone.

So, my phone is rooted and has recovery installed. Next I installed ROM Manager Premium from the Android Market.

Why did I pay for this? Put simply, it’s because it gives you instant access to lots of different ROMS, not just those from Cyanogen, and all available for download to your SD card, ready for you to install.

There are also a number of other useful features, such as backing up your current ROM prior to any upgrades. I can’t recommend backing up enough before attempting anything like this, as you can restore your phone back to it’s former glory in minutes.

So, my phone is now backed up, and I’ve chosen my Cyanogen ROM and downloaded it to my SD card. I chose the latest at the time, 7.0.3, tough I believe this has now been superceded by 7.1.0-RC1.

Be aware that the Google Apps are not included in the standard build, and you will be asked by ROM Manager if you want to download them. If you don’t, it means no Maps, Navigation, GMail or even Market, so I did.

In ROM Manager, choose ‘Install ROM from SD card. Choose the ROM you just downloaded, and follow the on screen propmts.

Your phone should boot into recovery and start the firmware upgrade automatically, rebooting into the new F/W once completed.

If you have included the Google Apps, you then go into the setup wizard and put in your credentials as you would a new phone. If you didn’t, you’l get a pretty much a vanilla Android front screen.

Ultimately, I rolled back from this ROM because it does not include the Sense UI, which is one of the things that I love about my Desire, and it left me feeling that I was missing certain things that I wanted to have.

HTC are now possibly rolling out a version of Gingerbread for Desire soon, so I may wait for that and see if it satisfies my  upgrade needs.

That said, there are a few other ROMs out there other than Cyanogen, so I’ll have to keep looking and see what I can find.

Have fun trying a new ROM, but remember, if you brick it, it’s your fault, not mine!

Android vs IOS

I recently obtained an older 1st gen iPhone as a spare, and thought it would be interesting to compare the Android and IOS operating systems.

I know that immediately people will say ‘How can you compare a 1st gen iPhone with a relatively new Android device.

Well, truth be told, I’m not comparing speed, since I know the Android device, an HTC Desire will (Should) be faster.

What I’m more concerned with is how do the standard apps stack up in terms of functionality, and how does the phone make me feel?

In fact most of the standard Apps don’t really operate that much differently, so things like Contacts, phone, calendar, maps, weather and web based mail, such as Hotmail or Gmail, or work very similarly, and with those, I couldn’t find anything that made either platform stand out for me.

However, despite being a big Android fan, I can say the iPhone, despite being an older model, does have some features that the Android based phones would do well to pick up on.

Firstly, and quite importantly, the iPhone standard on screen keyboard is much better than the Android one. I haven’t had a chance to properly try the keyboard in Gingerbread, but I know it is an improvement on the Froyo standard keyboard.

That being said, the iPhone is better still, in that it is simpler and more accurately detects the key pressed. There are better Android keyboards available, such as Swiftkey (My favourite at the moment), SlideIT and Swype. For me I’d still go for the Apple keyboard.

The next item that I think the iPhone does better is Exchange email

I run my own Exchange 2003 mail server, and the Android mail client will only let me see my emails in plain text format. The iPhone client lets me see them in their full glory, as intended by the sender, images and all. Why can’t my Droid do this?

Apparently Exchange 2003 doesn’t support HTML emails via Activesync, but if the iPhone can do it, why not the Droid.

I am upgrading to a later version of Exchange anyway, but that would be a big step to take just to get HTML emails on my Droid. Harrumph.

Finally, nobody has yet, IMHO, been able to surpass the iPod, and despite a great attempt by HTC, which now allows you to sync your iTunes to your HTC device, the iPod functionality of the iPhone is still streets ahead.

What does the Android do better then, I hear you ask. Well for me the Sense UI provided by HTC is much slicker than the iPhone interface. I may change my opinion if I get to play with a later iPhone, and if so I’ll update this but for now that’s where I’m at.

In fact, the standard Froyo and Gingerbread interfaces are, for me at any rate,  better than the iPhone UI.

Why is this? Well, I mentioned earlier about how the phones make me feel, and with the iPhone, I feel like it is somebody else’s device that I’m just borrowing. It feels restricted, and I don’t like that.

The Desire, on the other hand feels like it is a blank canvas you can customise to your hearts content, and I feel like its mine, and not just on loan from Steve Jobs! The Droid has proper multi-tasking too.

That’s why, despite the good features of the iPhone, which is an iconic piece of design and a standard setter, I will always plump for the Android device, simply because of the way it make me feel.

These are my opinions, feel free to comment!

I recently noticed something about my rooted Froyo HTC Desire which had me slightly worried, because I had little idea of when it had happened, and it caused my security to be slightly compromised.

I’d recently done a factory reset and reinstall, and noticed the other day, completely by accident, that when I drew my unlock pattern, I could draw it with one node missing and still get in!

The problem was easily solved, by entering a new unlock code, but just beware to those of you in the same position as me,  check to make sure your security is working after a restore.

Now, I’m a fan of Delicious, and have been for a couple of years now.

Being a techie, it’s been a boon to be able to build up a useful, search-able library of bookmarks that goes where I go, and is not restricted by browser.

So, I am not too happy that Yahoo are planning to ditch it, along with other services.

Now it does seem that Yahoo may be intent on selling it, rather than closing it down, which would be good, but I just have to say that if you do close down Delicious, you are all A BUNCH OF IDIOTS!!!

Now I have just registered with Diigo, and hopefully, I’ll be able to import my bookmarks, now exported from Delicious, in, since Diigo does seem to be a similar service.

So far I haven’t been able to import them, and I’m hoping it’s just because Diigo is swamped with disgruntled Delicious users all importing things in, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I’m also hanging on to my Delicious account by my fingernails, and will continue to use it until it stops working.

Hopefully some kind, huge corporate will buy it up. Fingers crossed, hey.

In the meantime I’d better continue my search for an online bookmark service that has browser integration and an android app!!

Given the time of year, I don’t think Bah Humbug is unreasonable!

I’ve always been looking for ways to try and eke out the memory on my phone, and what with upgrading to Froyo with its App to SD functionality, I’ve been doing pretty well. Don’t forget, my phone is rooted so if you have a vanilla Desire, you can’t do what I’ve done here. Rooting is truly the way forward!!

Now I’ve had 4 days off this week, and this spare time that I don’t usually have, led to a bit of tinkering. In short, I started looking a bit closer at Titanium Backup Pro, which I’d purchased and use as a scheduled backup tool.

However I found a feature amongst the batch processes that intrigued me. It’s called ‘Integrate updates of system apps into ROM’.

When I hit the run button, it suggested 6 apps that could have their updates rolled into the ROM:

  1. Flash
  2. Gmail
  3. Maps
  4. Market
  5. Street View
  6. Voice search

What this means is that updated system apps, that are considered part of the Android OS, can be moved from taking up space in RAM, into the system ROM, freeing up valuable space. This was just the thing I was looking for to give me a significant RAM boost!

So I approached with caution, and moved Flash first. The documentation for Titanium Backup Pro suggests a double reboot after using this batch procedure, so after rebooting twice, I tested Flash and all was good. More significantly a large chunk of RAM was now free.

So, I then moved on and tried Gmail and Voice Search. Again, success! More free RAM, a total of 19% freed by this process, and everything worked fine after a double reboot. A double reboot is nowhere near as classy as a double rainbow BTW!

Spurred on by my success I decided to try Market next. To my dismay, the phone rebooted halfway through, and Market no longer worked, even after a double reboot!

So, in for a penny, in for a pound, I also tried Maps and Street View, with the same reboot problem halfway through and dead apps afterwards. Titanium Backup couldn’t help either, despite my attempts to restore things back the way they were.

So, with a heavy heart, I carried out a factory reset. The phone came back fresh as a daisy, and I set about getting back into the Market and reinstalling Titanium Backup Pro. Since my license file was installed on my SD card, along with the backups, it all came back up nicely, and I was then able to restore my last backup and have my phone back the way it was before I mucked it up. Yes, it was my fault, but knowing better now, I have returned to the process and moved Flash, Gmail and Voice Search successfully again and regained the 19% space. So I went from 89% used, down to 70% used, and though there have been some updates to Market and Maps, I’m still only at 80%, which isn’t bad, since at the last count I had 70 apps installed!

I’m keen to get the rest moved to ROM, but I’m not in a hurry now. I’m probably going to email the dev for Titanium Backup Pro to ask if there are any caveats with the integration int ROM, but if I get any further with this and do successfully move the remainder, I’ll be sure to post here.

The moral of this story? If you have a good backup, you need never be afraid to factory reset!!