Tag Archives: cyanogenmod

The Broken Smartphone Breakdown

broken smartphone (http://pixabay.com/en/broken-cell-phone-cellular-72161/)I’m a spoiled, clumsy brat. Spoiled because my (previous) employer hands out yearly vouchers, which I use to buy me a new top-notch smartphone every 2-3 years. And clumsy as I all too often loose of break those expensive gadgets, forcing me to look for cheaper replacements. So here’s the breakdown of my smartphone history;

  1. 2009: HTC Hero: my first smartphone (although I wasn’t complaining about that 2nd hand Nokia e61i). I lost it on the train a year and a half after buying it
  2. 2011: Acer beTouch e110: cheap replacement for the HTC Hero, only used it for a couple of weeks before selling it because it was a horrible excuse of a smartphone.
  3. 2011: HTC Magic: 2nd hand replacement, it was a great little handset once it was flashed with Cyanogenmod. I sold it for my next new phone, the …
  4. 2011: Samsung Galaxy SII: Had a great time with that Sammy, lots of upgrades & tweaks. but I did need to have it repaired within a year of buying it, after it fell out of my pocket when getting off the train.
  5. 2012: Samsung Omnia 7: My first encounter with the Windows Phone Metro interface as a temporary device, while the SII was getting fixed.
  6. 2012: Samsung Galaxy SII: back from repairs and was very happy with it, but a year after that it broke down again.
  7. 2013: HTC Radar: temporary replacement for the SII, Windows Phone again.
  8. 2013: Samsung Galaxy S4: A brand new handset which I dropped approx. a year after buying it. Not really a huge leap forward compared to the SII, but I did love the speed improvements 4G offered.
  9. 2014: Samsung Galaxy Gio: temporary replacement for the broken S4. but despite the fact I got my main apps up and running (incl. Firefox Mobile), the old version of Android (2.3.6), the small screen and a serious lack of memory decided this was not a permanent replacement.
  10. 2014: Google Galaxy Nexus; 2nd hand replacement (bought yesterday, a steal for only €95) with Cyanogenmod 11. Early days, but I just might try not to drop it, I’m loving it already. The only thing I really miss is 4G support, because, after all, I am a spoiled brat.

jailbreaking !== jail

Jailbreaking is not a crime, but we shouldn’t take that for granted, because as Bunnie (XBox hacker) writes;

Three years ago, the [U.S.] Copyright Office agreed to create an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act so that folks could jailbreak their smartphones. But that exemption is about to expire.

Given the fact that the U.S. jailbreaking-scene is an important contributor, I signed the EFF petition which asks the Copyright Office for continued support for jailbreakers;

Being an avid Android-user, jailbreaking permits me to replace heavily customized (and in some ways crippled, think CarrierIQ) vendor-specific versions of Android with clean, crisp, fast and secure after-market “mods” such as CyanogenMod.

You should really sign this as well!

How to buy, upgrade, brick, rescue and generally enjoy a HTC Magic in just 14 days

Step 1: Buy
So you’re not happy with your cheapo rebound phone, pining for your lost HTC Hero and you start checking out bargain-sites for a good 2nd hand Android smartphone. After a week or so you spot an HTC Magic, on sale for €100 and 2 days later go buy that beauty for even €10 less because hey, there’s no SD-card.

Step 2: Upgrade
Your brand new Magic turns out to be that very first Android-phone Proximus started sellinng in May 2009, with Android 1.5, but without HTC Sense and tethering. Not really the smartphone you’d settle for, so you start looking around xda-developers for an upgrade path. You install flashrec, flash a new recovery image and in recovery flash MyHero 2.0.5 and after 1 month without it, you can finally boot into that beautiful HTC Sense UI again.

Step 3: Brick
HTC Sense, great, but still Android 1.5 and no tethering, seriously? No can do Sir, so you head back to xda-developers to figure out your next step. Late at night, after browsing millions of forum posts about perfected SPL’s, goldcards and recovery images, you find a thread with links to official HTC RUU’s. Easy-peasy and you download one of those boot your Windows PC and start flashing. HBOOT updates, radio updates, … all goes well and you doze off for a minute. But when you open your eyes, the upgrade process halted and you have a white screen with “invalid Customer ID” in red and no Android. You reboot, no go. You try to enter recovery mode, no go. Congratulations, you now have a shiny (semi-)bricked HTC Magic and you go to sleep feeling an utter moron for trying to flash an official RUU.

Step 4: Rescue
The next day you start looking for information on the secret craft of goldcard creation. You spend a couple of days trying to get your SD-card’s CID on your PC, but eventually ask a colleague to adb-shell into his device with your SD-card in it to get the job done (thanks Thomas!). You don’t bother downloading crypto-software to reverse the string for all the wrong reason, instead immediately heading over to the goldcard-manufacturing-webstie, write the disk-image to SD and you try to flash the RUU with the goldcard you just created. Damn, no go! You reverse the string manually, no go. You buy a new SD card (4Gb Sandisk), adb-shelling into your own cheapo Acer this time to get the CID and create a new goldcard, no go. Over a week goes by and you decide to have another stab at it and opnly then you see that the string should be hex-reversed, not reversed. You click the link to an online hexreverser, create a goldcard with that string and bingo, the RUU flashes!

cyanogenmodStep 5: Enjoy
It looks like you’re back where you were at step 2; Android 1.5 with HTC Sense UI and no tethering, so you decide to install Cyanogenmod by first downgrading your radio & hboot and then -finally- flashing Cyanogen’s Android mod.

And there you have it, after only 2 weeks you successfully turned that old HTC Magic into a modern, fast and reliable Android smartphone. Android 2.2.1 that is, with ADWlauncher, tethering and Exchange-integration. Time well spent, except … Vodaphone has an official Froyo update for the Magic out as well and there’s already a tweaked ROM for it on xda-developers. You really should try that one out as soon as possible, now shouldn’t you?!