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.

Android 2.1 upgrade for my Samsung Moment

Last night I finally got my cell phone operating system upgraded.

Let me tell you, it was a challenge.

The new update came out last Friday I think. It’s a 100mb download, and some hoop jumping.

I first tried to do the upgrade on Sunday morning. I downloaded the file (tip, click ‘more details’ to make the download link appear), tried to un-install the Samsung USB drivers – I didn’t have them, but I uninstalled some Samsung CDMA modem drivers from my previous phone for good measure. I reboot my computer. I start the installer, and it gives you the steps to take to do the update. Take the battery out of the phone, put it back in, do some funky 3 finger start on the phone to get it into ‘download mode’, plug it into the computer. Now it says to unplug the phone from the computer and repeat the steps in the previous sentence. Okay… Ah! Now it wants me to update. I press Start Update.

It was rather anti-climatic. It didn’t do anything. I wander off, do things for an hour and a half come back to check. Nothing.

The phone says “DO NOT UNPLUG TARGET” in letters that are not warm and friendly. So, I unplug the target (phone) and cross my fingers. Take the battery out, restart the phone. It’s all in good shape. Sweet! I didn’t wreck my phone.

Last night…
I try this again. I reboot the computer. Close all the auto-start applications. Kill services that use the USB ports like the ipod utilities thingy. I start upgrade software, follow the plug it in, unplug it, plug it in – I tossed in a ‘turn yourself around’ for good measure.

This time it did something… for about a minute, than it errored out, saying it can’t connect to the phone. This is after I had seen it issue a ‘format()’ command to the phone.

I tried this about 3 times, and gave up. So I pull the battery, restart the phone, and OH OH.
“Unable to locage .jpg or .png” in red letters across the top of the screen that are most certainly NOT notoriously large and famously friendly letters.

Crud. (fill in your favorite explicative here… repeatedly) I just bricked my 2 month old Samsung Moment doing the Android 2.1 upgrade!

So, in a last ditch effort of heroics and utter despair, I wander my depressed little self to the office to do an hour’s worth of work and try the upgrade on my work computer.

It worked! I managed to save my phone. Work was a bust, but my phone no longer is!

Enough of that little sob story. Well, besides the fact that the update completely wipes the phone clean. You have to reinstall and re-setup everything. I did use some backup utilities which I will talk about in a later blog post.

Android 2.1 feels a little bit snappier on my Samsung Moment. The letters seem to show up on screen just a little bit faster then before. There doesn’t seem to be that slight hesitation in pulling down the Notifications window.

The first thing that is noticeable is the new ‘sleep screen’ for lack of better terms. It has the current time and date in notoriously large and famously friendly letters which looks really sharp. It also has 2 sliders, one to unlock the screen, the other to toggle the volume.

I can turn off the lock on the phone as you now turn on the screen using a swipe, which is nice. The first thing I had noticed when I got the phone is that it liked to pocket-dial. I had to turn on the screen lock just to prevent this.

The camera app is a little bit better. I was always fighting the old one over the flash. It was about 3 seconds to turn the flash on or off. The new version is about a second, plus there is now an ‘auto’ mode, which is nice. I wish you could just tap a button to toggle the flash mode or something.

The only other thing that the update has done for me that I have seen is allowed me to use some of the cooler applications – like Google Goggles.

Two apps do seem to be broken – Google Voice and Listen. I use Google Apps for your Domain, and that seems to be messing with both of these apps while using Android 1.5 it worked fine. I use both of these quite a bit – especially Google Voice, so this is a major bummer for me. I mean, roll-back level, if I had the option to.

So, overall, the upgrade was a wash, and I lost more then I gained in it. Hopefully I can get Google Voice working soon, which will put the upgrade at a mild success in my book.

UPDATE 2010-06-03 Added links to as people are coming here to find out how to update a Samsung Moment from Android OS 1.5 to 2.1.