Android Crash and Burn

So, today, I was catching up on my web-development news, and saw that Google reader had an android version of Google reader that came out. So, I was trying to update that at the exact same time I got a phone call.

Now, my phone’s been running slow for a while now. I have it full to the top with all sorts of useful apps.

Well, the phone must have decided enough’s enough. It slowed down right to a crawl. I told it to power off, as many times this helps a little.

It never restarted.

Plus, I start getting tons of error emails from my webserver. So, I work on figuring out why my webserver is freaking out, while watching my phone reboot, over and over and over again. This means I am freaking out. My phone’s been bricked! Turns out the server thing was something trivial. I tweaked the logging code so it is more self evident why it’s going nuts, and finished up my work day.

I tried to reboot the phone, I tried to soft-reset the phone. I ended up hard-resetting the phone. This sucks.

Well, it had been getting pretty slow as of late.

The phone comes back up with a clean slate and just doesn’t want to work. I set it up on my WiFi.  It can’t seem to connect to anything, no authentication to my Google account, nothing. I cross my eyes and reboot the phone. It comes up and seems to work better now.

I delete all the crap apps off my desktop that Sprint put on there. (Why can’t I DELETE these dumb things off my phone? I don’t have room for them on my device!)

I open up the Marketplace app, and to my immense joy, it remembers all my installed apps! So, I get to installing all my ‘necessary’ apps. The ones that make my phone useful to me.

  • Google Maps (update)
  • Street View for Google Maps
  • Google Reader (what I was trying to install when this all started)
  • Square
  • iTriage Mobile Health
  • Handcent SMS
  • Lookout Mobile Security
  • Where’s My Droid
  • First Aid
  • Twitter
  • Radar Now!
  • Google Voice (totally killer app for the android)
  • MomentFlash
  • PdaNet
  • SMS Backup
  • Wifi Analyzer
  • Barcode Scanner
  • Facebook for Android
  • The Weather Channel (update, I wish I could uninstall this)
  • Compass

The amazing thing is that it took only 20-30 minutes for all my contacts to be back on the phone, my core applications that I use every day re-installed, and my life back. Sure, I have some more time getting things tweaked just right, like the background screen. But that’s trivial. I don’t feel like I am missing my right arm or something, just a finger or two. This is how setting up a new phone (or rebuilding a crashed one) ought to work. Automagically.

Google Android is a flipping awesome OS as far as I am concerned.

PHP Meetup & Digital Camera Hacking

Tonight I gave a presentation for the local PHP meetup. My presentation was on creating an address hunt order for geolocation using google maps. Basically, the idea is to try different combinations of an address that comes back with a geolocation failure until you get a set of coordinates. I hope that the presentation was interesting enough to be worth the other peoples time.

One of the other members in the group had mentioned the other month about hacking a digital camera. He couldn’t solder well enough to do it though. Last month, he brought some in for me to give a try at. I have had them sitting, waiting for me to work on them. Well, last night I gave it a go. Like most things where I wait to the last minute, it’s a no-go. I can’t find my de-soldering stuff. [As I wrote that last line, I remembered exactly where it is, in my RC car tool kit]
Anyway, here is the camera, it’s one of those disposable digital cameras. What does that say about our society, disposable digital cameras? Talk about a waste of resources!
The idea for this hack, is to unsolder the flash chip daughter card, and to solder on a standard flash socket. Now you can use the camera like any other digital camera.

Being that this hack is several years old – like 5 or so, I can probably buy a better camera for less than the parts cost this guy. But, that’s not the point. The point is to hack something cool from something cheap. I also can’t find instructions online anymore of exactly how to mod this thing. All the specific pages seem to have died. I am going to give it a go anyhow. There are only so many ways I can mess it up, I am bound to get it right at some point.

Now that I remember where my tools are, I can probably give one of these cameras a go this weekend.
This kinda reminds me of a MAKE Magizine motto: If you can’t open it, you don’t own it.

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Automotive Navigation

I had a thought today. I went over to a friends house that I have been to 3 times total in the last 2 years. I don’t really remember how to get there.
I looked up his address on google maps, and printed it out.

I would like to get a GPS for the car. I don’t know how much work it is to key into your GPS where you want to go. I don’t think I would want to get directions in the GPS software on the computer, download it to a memory card, and load it into the GPS unit. I guess I don’t know how you key into a GPS where you want to go.

I think that I would be willing carry a keychain fob that has my address book on it. The GPS can read my key chain via Bluetooth or RFID type wireless connection. In the GPS, I select “get address from remote device”, key in the PIN for my address book keyfob, scroll through my addresses, and select one. Hrmm, I could even be in a friends car, and do this.

The keyfob plugs into the USB port of you computer and updates off of your address book.

I think if it talked bluetooth, the GPS could even log into your phone, and pull the address book off your phone. You would need to enter addresses into your phonebook. But with the data cables nowadays, there should be software that autosyncs to your outlook address book.

Anyway, this was my half-formed idea as I was driving to go pick up my jigsaw tonight.

I know you SoiSentinal and Stewie have opinions on this one! What do you think?