Saturday, October 29, 2011

G1 rooting & battery issues

HTC Dream - alias Google G1 - was the first Android powered phone ever to be released. Full slide qwerty keyboard, wifi, gps, camera. What more could you wish for? Well you might want to tether your phone's internet connection via WiFi or bluetooth. For internet tethering you must have on your device an Android operating system greater than 1.6 & also root rights. 
Now, the rooting process for HTC G1 has been explained everywhere on the internet, I won't go into details. 
Here are a few very very very IMPORTANT things you must keep in mind when rooting your Android device (in our case HTC G1):

1. Use an SD card partitioned accordingly when installing the new operating system. For example, AmonRa has an option that partitions your sd card for installing the new operating system.
2. If your new Android doesn't load as expected:
  • wipe everything - (using AmonRa's menu)
  • allow the OS to start (5-10 minutes)
3. Battery live troubleshooting:
  • calibrate your battery if it drains fast
  • overcharging the battery will damage it.
    • It seems that overcharging a battery, even if it's a li-ion damages the battery in time. The HTC Dream battery, when damaged will slightly change its shape. Notice how the battery is not flat any more and can be rotated freely on a flat surface. Even you can't see this only by visual inspecting the battery, the deformation exists. Check out the movie below to see how to spot a faulty battery that needs to be replaced.  
    • If you phone goes dead in a few minutes when running on battery - don't reinstall the Android OS 1000 times, it's a hardware problem - the battery must be replaced.

Monday, October 24, 2011

iPad 1 - enable multitouch gestures without jailbreaking

As you maybe already know when Apple released iOS 5, the new iPad 2 received a brand new set of gestures:
- four finger swipe left/right - to change the active application
- four finger swipe up - to show the list of apps that are "running"
- four finger pinch - close the active application

Developers had the gestures enabled for iPad 1 as well. When upgrading to iOS 5, the gestures disappeared.  Apple only activated multitouch gestures for iPad 2 in spite of the fact that the gestures were behaving perfectly on the iPad 1. 

Until today, the solution for enabling the multitouch gestures was to tether jailbreak your device and edit some files - and that was not an option for most of the users because tethered jailbreaking has its downsides.

Just a few days after iOS 5 was released, a guy named d.B. found a solution to enable multitouch gestures for iPad 1st generation without the need of jailbreaking the device
That is just awesome and here's how he did it: he wrote a small program that would modify the files that disabled the multitouch and injected that program in redsn0w replacing the normal jailbreak program.

You can read more about how he did this right iPad 1 multitouch gestures no jailbreak.

Great job d.B.!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

iOS 5 - first touch, pros and cons

I heard the new operating system for Apple iPad was released so I decided to install it. 

I was eager to have tab browsing, split keyboard and iCloud backup.

iOS 5 - Installation & iCloud
The download was smooth, quick installation. A quick "setup guide" took me through the new features but when reaching the cloud backup options, an error message popped out: iCloud Backup Failed: There was a problem enabling iCloud Backup. You can skip this step by selecting the iTunes backup instead. Later, the iCloud sync can be enabled from Settings > iCloud (didn't work for me... the same error).

iOS 5 - Tabbed browsing
As promised, Apple integrated tabs in Safari for iPad. They look nice, but there's a catch - a maximum of 9 tabs can be opened. That's not that bad, I think they're trying to keep the memory usage to a reasonable quota. If you launch a YouTube video in one tab, it will be paused when you switch to another one. Also, private browsing is still unavailable in Safari (you need to enable it from the global Settings) - pretty annoying when you've got friends that want to check their Facebook on your iPad.

iOS5 - Split keyboard
The split keyboard is really a cool improvement if you ask me, at least as a concept. I always hold the iPad in landscape mode with both hands so there was a little problem when typing, especially with the letters in the middle of the keyboard and the ones on the edge of the keyboard. 
I've used the split keyboard for just a few minutes, the keys seem to be a little too small.When typing a letter, I was expecting an iPhone - like behavior (blue overlay letter - to show you what you pressed on) - that is not the case, the keys are behaving  exactly like the ones on the initial iPad keyboard. The split keyboard can be moved on the vertical screen axis for better access.

iOS5 - iPad 1 & gestures
After installing iOS5 my iPad 1 (first generation) wouldn't respond to gestures any more. Believing it's a bug in the settings migration I wanted to enable the gestures in the General Settings and  

SURPRISE: Apple disabled gestures for iPad first generation. Why did they do that? 

I was so pleased with the four finger swipe gesture to switch apps and the four finger pinch gesture to close apps. I don't want to jailbreak the device, but if Apple doesn't change this, I will be forced to do something.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

iPhone 3G - Wifi fix

I use my iPhone 3G for listening to music, that's the reason I ignored the fact that the wireless signal wasn't working properly.

Behavior: when scanning for Wifi networks the list was always empty. Placing the iPhone 3G on top of the the wireless router made the network visible again. Taking the iPhone away from the wireless router resulted in network disconnection.

Solution: The "reset network settings" option had no effect. After watching a few videos on YouTube I opened the iPhone to analyze if there's a hardware issue. 
First in mind there was a re-soldering of the Wifi/Bluetooth chips. Before getting the big guns out, the hot air station, I measured the wifi antenna continuity: from the main board connector to the screw that held the antenna. The wire inside the flex cable was broken so the wifi antenna was disconnected.
With a little bit of solder I connected a wire from the coax connector to the antenna.

Result: Wireless working on my iPhone 3G. Signal strength - about 80% of the initial factory signal. 
If I replaced the entire antenna maybe the signal strength would be better, but I didn't have that spare part when I opened the iPhone.

You need to link points A and B (solder a wire between them). 
Or just buy a replacement spare part antenna, if you're not in a hurry.