Tag Archive: android


Tinkering with Raspberries

So… I got myself a Raspberry Pi. Well, actually two, but maybe we try to take it a bit slower and follow things in, more or less, chronological order.

So, again, I got myself a Raspberry Pi.
Why did I do it? Because I really like streaming. As I have mentioned in “Finally my TV does all the stuff I want” the first thing I do with a DVD after buying is ripping it in  order to be able to play it without having to use the DVD.
But I also don’t really like watching movies on my PC, which is where streaming enters the stage.

In order to allow my family to enjoy those movies while I’m not at home, equally without using and potentially damaging my precious DVDs, I used to leave my PC running, which of course consumes a lot of electricity, most of the time for absolutely nothing. And of course I was limited in my options switching between Linux and Windows (which I use for gaming) if somebody was watching a movie, or my family couldn’t watch movies because I was playing something.

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For about a month my Galaxy S2 runs Android 4. And I gotta say, I like Ice Cream Sandwich.

Sure, it’s not really all that different, but there’s a lot of small stuff that makes the user experience more pleasant. Thanks to an seemingly overall better performance Ice Cream Sandwich can afford adding a little eye candy like window transitions without sacrificing speed. And I really like the new system settings menu.

Under the hood there is still a lot more than we see now. The problem with this simply is that we’re not seeing enough applications using the Android 4 API, which of course provides programmers with access to all the new features.

So it’s been a month, and while enjoying the benefits of the update I also ran into a problem. And of course the problem was my application StoryTeller.

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Code is an important asset to every company. Thus it is only in the company’s interest to protect their code base as good as possible.
While this sounds like an introduction you would expect in an article about proper backups or access control I think it is equally fitting for this article about Version Control Systems (VCS).

Those who work on the code are only human, and as humans we sometimes make mistakes. This can be because we don’t quite know what we are doing, but it can equally be a case of “shit happens”. And if “shit happens” you want to be able to respond quickly and undo whatever has been been done. Preferably without having to run down to the basement to get the tape with last (possibly full) backup. Of course a VCS cannot cover all kinds of situations, but it can help in a lot of ways to improve development and help out in case something goes wrong.

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On the code again

Yes, I have gotten back into programming. As usual the reason is that I have searched for something I want but couldn’t find anything satisfying.

While I’m not much of a programmer, the only languages I can consider myself fluent in are PHP and Bash scripting, I do occasionally like to fire up an IDE in order to solve a problem. And with modern programming languages being so similar it doesn’t really matter if I’m writing a Bash script or use PHP, C, C# or Java. Usually the main difference is the vocabulary.

This time I’m having another go at Java as I am writing an application for my Android phone.

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Disclaimer: This article does not contain any instructions on how to root or flash your phone. If that’s what you seek I am sorry to tell you that these are not the droids you’re looking for.
This is just the story of my venture to upgrade my phone.

I am quite happy to own an Android powered smartphone, the HTC Magic.
Right from the start I was pretty happy with it, especially having unlimited data transfer on my plan, which I think is important if you really want to use what your smartphone has to offer.

But after some time I started getting a bit anxious if there’d ever be an official update, that would rid my phone of the quite dated Android 1.5, especially since Android 2 was said to have better performance and Kindle for Android requiring at least Android 1.6.

Therefore I recently decided to kick out the official system and upgrade to the well-known cyanogenmod.

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Live Wallpapers: WTF?

Who thought live wallpapers on a phone were a good idea?
Come on, Microsoft already failed with something similar in Windows 98. We didn’t need it back then, and we don’t need it now.

So what’s my point? Sure, it certainly looks nice to have a burning background or some other animation. Problem is that you hardly ever see it.
When I take out my phone I wanna do something with it. And whatever I’m gonna do will cover my beautifully animated wallpaper.
And of course it takes about 10 times more power out of your battery when Pacman is happily munching away while you unlock your screen.

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Mobile Maps

Having a map when going to a place you haven’t been to before generally can be seen as a good suggestion. And with Smartphones being constantly connected to the Internet all the power of Google Maps is just a little fumbling on your touchscreen away.
But what if you go to a place where you cannot use the Internet? For example because you don’t want roaming charges to use up 50% of your holiday budget.
I am soon going to be in this situation (again) and plan to be prepared (better than last time).
Thus I was looking for applications that could not only display maps using some sort of connection to the Internet, but could also store maps locally in order to use them when without this precious link to the world.

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Why on Earth do people now, with Smartphones taking over the world of mobile telephony, use the abbreviation app to refer to applications written for those phones?
Is it because a phone is so much smaller than a PC?

As an IT guy with varying experience in a couple of programming languages I think it doesn’t really make that much of a difference what you program for. You’re not coding in Sumerian, but, for example, in Java, if you develop for Android.
Neither do I think that mobile applications are less sophisticated or well written than a “regular” desktop application.

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