Thursday, October 13, 2011

CyanogenMod 7.1 stable release

For all you android enthusiasts to like to root and flash new ROMs,
If you are like me, I've been waiting for months, and it's finally here!

CyanogenMod 7.1 is officially out!

Now, to be honest I've been running the 7.1 RC1 for several months already, and if I had more time I would be flashing the nightlies, too. But here are just a few key feature updates that you can expect to get going from the RC1 to the official release:

Android 2.3.7
Many UI tweaks and bug fixes
Improved support for WiMax
Update for the stock camera app

Find the download for your android device here:

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The CDC warns citizens to prepare for the impending zombie apocalypse

From the CDC article:
Better Safe than Sorry
"So what do you need to do before zombies…or hurricanes or pandemics for example, actually happen?"

... And just a reminder to my readers, I still do freelance home-zombie-safety inspections.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The 50 books every child should read, via The Independent

I created a checklist of the books I have read from the article, "The 50 books every child should read", via The Independent. (Please check out their article for the full list.)

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Treasure Island by R.L. Stevenson

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson-Burnett

The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
(Shouldn't these count as 4 books?)

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
(I read the entire series which includes Little Men and Jo's Boys)

Animal Farm by George Orwell
(I was a little surprised to see this on a children's book list, but I probably first read this when I was 12.)


So after reading their list, I decided that it was missing some very important classics that I look forward to my own daughter reading someday.

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, the series, by C.S. Lewis

Anne of Green Gables, the series, by Lucy Maud Montgomery

My Teacher is an Alien, the series, by Bruce Coville

Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan

The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Rudolf Wyss

A Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain


And really, that's just the tip of the iceberg.

[update] My experiences with CyanogenMod7 on the HTC EVO 4G

App Launcher
So last night I swapped out the ADW launcher that comes by default with CM7 for LauncherPro Plus.

Speaking specifically of the launcher functionality and appearance, I found LauncherPro looks just a little bit cleaner and less cluttered than ADW. LauncherPro also felt a little bit more snappy and responsive, which is always nice. I also like the subdued look of the icons on the launcher bar.

But the main reason I switched to LauncherPro Plus was for the very nice widgets that get bundled along with it. Most notably, the Calendar widget has a beautiful "agenda" view that is a very close parallel to the Sense UI Calendar Agenda widget.

HDMI out
My daughter loves watching her favorite kid's videos on YouTube, and occasionally I will load up a webisode of The Guild or JourneyQuest for the wife and I to sit back and enjoy. The HTC EVO 4G's ability to output to our HD TV is really a nice feature. So last night I also did some searching for an app that would support screen mirroring from my EVO via the HDMI-out port, since CyanogenMod 7 supports the hardware but doesn't provide the mirroring functionality.

So I found HDMwIn. I had to do some Googling before I actually found it in the market, the actual app name is "Full HDMI Mirroring for Evo 4G" by Team Win.

This app provides full screen mirroring of your phone, so you don't have the limitation of Sense UI to only output from media apps such as YouTube or videos. HDMwIn also supports audio via the HDMI cable for easy audio output via your television speakers (or you can opt use the headphone jack to output to your stereo or sound system).

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

My experiences with CyanogenMod7 on the HTC EVO 4G

So last week a buddy of mine (who also owns an EVO) said to me, "Hey, when is Sprint going to get their act together and release a Gingerbread update for the EVO?" And I responded, "Well, actually... I just saw a leak of the Sprint ROM go up on XDA recently. Do you want to give it a try?"

And after discussing the possibilities, benefits and risks of rooting and flashing his EVO, we actually decided to ignore the Sprint leak (for now) and give CyanogenMod 7 a go.

The main reasons:
1. The Sprint leak really doesn't seem release ready. Personally, I've played around with questionable leaks in the past on my Hero, but I wasn't about to drop that onto my buddy, who is probably capable of dealing with the intricacies of a not-quite-release version of android, but likely has less free time to screw around with it than I do.
2. I freaking love CyanogenMod. Cyanogen (the guy, not the ROM) and his team has earned a reputation for putting out quality android ROMs, both in stability, performance, and added features.

So last weekend I flashed CM7.0.0 onto my EVO, and this morning I finished flashing the latest update for the EVO,

My thoughts so far:
Gingerbread on the EVO is nice. Generally, the taskbar, menus and other android-specific UI elements have been standardized and given some nice touch-ups to improve the general look-and-feel of the OS. And my phone so far has had far better battery life than I did while running Fresh 3.5 (a Sprint-Sense-UI-based ROM).

CM really adds some nice UI tweaks as well. I LOVE the PowerControl widget in the notification/task bar. I love the new customizable lockscreen (you can set up a shortcut to launch an app directly from the lock screen).

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, whenever I venture away from the Sprint Sense UI I do miss their nice calendar agenda widget. I have the CalWidget running in CM7, but visually and functionally you just can't beat the Sense UI experience there.

Some other perks of CM7:
- All of the glory of Gingerbread on the EVO
- Customizable lockscreen gestures
- An updated (stock android) camera app
- An updated (stock android) music app
- A download manager (helps if you haven't installed a File Manager app)
- Improved power management
- built-in over-clock/under-clock support
- built-in JIT compiler support

So I plan to stick with this as my daily ROM for at least a few weeks. If XDA finds a better leak of the pending Sprint update, or any of the ROM developers manage to release a nice GB + Sense-UI variant based on the Sprint leak, I may give that a shot for comparison purposes.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sprint HTC EVO battery life

While at conference last week I was pleasantly surprised that my beloved android phone kept a battery charge from morning until late in the evening. I was getting nearly 16 hours of battery use without a recharge. I'm not sure if this was due to New Orleans, Louisiana having vastly superior cell coverage than my native greater-Chicagoland-area of Illinois.


I do have a task killer installed on my phone, but as an experiment for the past month or so I have disabled the auto-kill functionality. And I really haven't noticed any marked difference in battery performance.

I generally keep the 4G antenna disabled (and 4G isn't available at all in NOLA).

I disable Wi-Fi unless I am going to be sitting in range of a trusted access point.

What tips and tricks have you found to extend your battery life with Sprint's HTC EVO? Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments below, and I will follow-up highlighting the best and the brightest, along with my own findings, in a future post.

Sungard Summit 2011 recap

So last week I spent four days in New Orleans, Louisiana at the Sungard Summit conference. I was attending primarily because of my role as portal administrator at my school, but as most Higher Ed IT staff, I tend to wear at least a dozen different hats on various projects that come and go through our department.

Some of the cool things I saw/learned/experienced at Summit 2011

Luminis 5
Our school relies pretty heavily on our existing portal running on Luminis 4 for communication with internal constituents -- students, staff and faculty. Last year (at Summit 2010) we saw the general announcement that Luminis 5 was out for beta-testing. But the official release wasn't out for months, and practically speaking it wouldn't be until the current calendar year before my school could even begin to look at the upgrade seriously. Now that we are a year later, and Luminis 5 has been out in production for a few months, the details are a bit more nailed down, and I had a chance to see some actual demos from schools who are already running Luminis 5.
Some notable features:
  • Liferay 5.2.3 replaces uPortal as the portal engine. This is a big transition for the Luminis product line, and will allow our portal development to take a more standards-based approach (see below)
  • Spring framework (java-based open-source standardization)
  • Integrated Jasig CAS (centralized authentication and single sign-on) *
  • Integrated support for Google Docs, Calendar and GMail
  • Supports virtualization of hardware resources *
* Note: a good number of schools were already doing this in Luminis 4, but this is now vendor-supported natively in Luminis 5.

Mobile Connection
Mobile Connection is a toolset for development of apps for iPhone, Android and Blackberry and simultaneous deployment via a Groovy and Grails framework. Sungard provides a core set of applications out-of-the-box with integration to Banner, with the hopes that developers will share additional functionality via an open source community.

Banner Horizon
Think, the 1990's look-and-feel of Banner INB, Self-Service Banner, and other existing Sungard products gets a botox injection of AJAX, Flex and other Web 2.0 standards. My initial response: goodbye, Banner form codes!

New Orleans, Louisiana
This city knows how to party. Seriously.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Happy Birthday to me!

My lovely wife and one-year old daughter gave me an Abraham Lincoln calendar (just after I had finished reading Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter), and Doctor Who Series 2.

And I feel like one of the luckiest guys in the world.

Friday, February 18, 2011

My top 10 favorite Dalek quotes

If you aren't caught up watching the last Series of Doctor Who then please be warned, "thar be spoilers ahead!"

Here is my top 10 list of favorite Dalek quotes:


  2. (while spinning) "DIZZY!"






  8. Harriet Jones: (Shows ID) "Harriet Jones, former Prime Minister."
    Dalek: (annoyed) "YES, WE KNOW WHO YOU ARE."

  9. Dalek: "...MERCY?"
    River Song: "Say it again?"
    Dalek: "MERCY!"
    River Song: "One more time."

  10. (to The Doctor) "YOU WOULD MAKE A GOOD DALEK."

Monday, January 31, 2011

I will consider buying a Samsung Galaxy tab...

I will consider buying a Samsung Galaxy tab... once the wifi-only version has been officially released to stores.

I don't need yet another data contract. In fact, what I would love to do is to bluetooth or wifi-tether a tablet device like the Galaxy tab to my existing contracted smart phone, the HTC EVO 4G. Why would I actually commit myself to another data contract? For real-world people with real-world paying jobs like myself, it's the only option that makes sense.

I got me a shiny new EVO.

At the beginning of the month my contract with Sprint was up for renewal. And the HTC EVO beckoned to me. Beckoned silently but insistently. I tried to resist for a few days, but it's allure won.

I even did a comparison between the EVO and the Epic 4G. Since I was looking for a new phone, I figured I could give it some fair competition.

The Epic 4G did have it's high points. The screen looks pretty. The flip-out physical keyboard has some appeal to it as well.

But, honestly side-by-side I felt that the EVO screen, while not an AMOLED, actually looked better under daylight than the Epic 4G. And the EVO has HDMI out, which I have actually used a few times already at home with my 720p TV to stream YouTube videos.

The nice clerk at Sprint switched over my 16GB Micro-SD card from my Hero into the EVO. Then she also gave me the 8GB card that came stock with the EVO. And then she gave me the battery from my Hero, which apparently is also interchangable with the EVO, just to have a backup battery. Woah, yeah. Very cool.


So I've had the EVO for close to a month, and I have been loving it. It really seems in all aspects to be exactly what I was hoping for as a replacement for my Hero.

While there is a place for Cyanogen Mod in my little hacker's heart, until CM can support the 4G WiMax radio I will be sticking with the HTC Sense UI. And there really is no replacement for the agenda widget, anyway. I am loathe to lose that little piece of functionality that I use multiple times a day.

In the meantime, I wish there was a way to install the notification bar control widget without *cough* rooting my phone *cough*. Cause that is probably the #1 reason to root the EVO. If one were to do such things. Right.