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.