Android in 2014

What I want for Android in 2014.

1. Refinements in Android 4.4 or KitKat

In Location Settings, the merging of GPS control with WiFi is unnecessary, confusing and a real PITA.  If you want to leave Locations on.  The best way is Battery Saver, using WiFi and 3G.  When you decide to use Maps, there is quick way to turn on GPS.  GPS together with WiFi and 3G is a sure way to kill the battery.  Google in turn gets confirmation of every WiFi AP location in proximity.
Battery performance on Exynos handsets need more improvement.  I have tried CM11 and OmniRom’s KitKat.  Both builds look very finished but the battery life is really terrible.
2. More protection against big brother snooping
CyanogenMod’s WhisperPush is one step in the right direction, hopefully more handset manufacturers bring it to mainstream.  The push of using Google Hangouts for both SMS and IM is a step in the wrong direction.
3. Globalization of Made In China (MIC) phones
Oppo Find 5, 7 and N1 is growing in popularity worldwide.  XiaoMe is nipping at their heels.  One wonders what Huawei is up to.  All these add up more choices and better prices for all.
4. Stop making 6 inch handphones or 2K displays.
These are drop magnets.  Try instead for a better user experience like Moto X and a larger battery.
Past article

The tagline: Its been a great ride but now is time.

I could not bring myself to take down the Palm word from the tagline.  Too many fond memories.  I started off using Palm Professional back in the late 90s.  I think I got it within a month of it hitting the shelves.  Even got a replacement when I lost it a few months later.  After going through two more models, IIIx, Vx, the slow convergence and lack of innovation got to me.

I jumped ship to Sony Ericsson P1 in 2008. link  and later to the world of Nokia on the E71.  This model with the full keyboard is a very popular business phone and a successful ad campaign  during the 2010 World Cup. link. gave it an additional boost.  In 2011, my long sightedness got to me and I decided it is time to upgrade to a full touchscreen phone, Samsung Galaxy S2 9100. link

And into the world of the little green man.

In the end, just added  ‘+Android’ to the tagline.

2013 National Geographic Photo contest

Brace yourself for annual installment of beautiful photography, the annual National Geographic contest.

National Geographic 2013
Amazing Midwinter Sunset (4:30pm): November 6th, 2013 – at approximately 4:15 pm we were all watching this amazing batman-like beam coming over the dyke on the upstream side of the Yukon River which was just beginning to freeze. I grabbed a camera, made my way over towards the river and discovered this amazing scene. As we are heading towards the shortest day of the year, the sun usually disappears between 4:30-4:45 pm.


My Jelly Bean setup

The world of Android OS

This is about my Jelly bean setup for Samsung S2 9100.  Sorry no candy for you.  I have tried many different versions of Jelly Bean. 4.1, 4.2, 4.2.2 and non official builds.  After a brief foray into the world of KitKat or Android 4.4, I have decided to stick to Android 4.2.2

Precisely speaking Android 4.2.3 stable v2 by infected_ from XDA.  CyanogenMod’s 4.2.2 stable has RIL problem for me. Every few hours, the 3G network would die.  Sometimes putting it in flight mode gets it back, other times requires a reboot.  Most annoying.

Infected’s build is not without headaches. After about 24 hours of operation, I would get the famous Jelly Bean 4.2 freeze.  The phone would just freeze for more than 30 seconds.  You can see it is very slowly grinding through all your previous inputs.  After about a minute, it is back to normal.

Either way, I would get a major bug.  Enter Dorimanx kernel.  It fixes both of the above problems and more!  I once ran for 6 days without a freeze and or a network droput.  With this kernel, the video on the NHK World TV app is blotch free!

In summary, this is my setup:

  1. Android 4.2.3 or CM10.1.3 stable v2 by infected_  link
  2. Dorimanx kernel v9.43 link

And out comes the iron fist

On 8 Dec,13, a group of foreign workers surged the site of an accident.  The accident was between a bus and drunken passenger.  The passenger a foreign worker was told step off the bus due to overcrowding and time.  Somehow he ended up underneath the bus.

When the police and the ambulance arrived, the staff were pelted with rocks.  More people started rioting.  The end result, 4 police cars and 1 ambulance got burnt.  A really shocking event, since mass public disorder is such a rarity.  Nobody could even remember when was the last time it happened.

Thanks to surveillance footage and police ground work, the suspected perpetrators were quickly arrested.

Now as part of ‘calming’ measures, the police has enforced an alcohol ban and withdrawal of special express buses to Little India in the next weekend. 14-15 Dec  The actions of a few has now punished the collective.  Out comes the iron fist.

riot  good samaritan   arrests    alcohol        bus service  opinion


On a separate note, Media Development Authority (MDA) has requested The Breakfast Network to register.  The Breakfast Network is a news website with critical analysis of local news.  There are a few posts that poses the contrarian view.  The strange thing is that most readers, including myself consider it as very pro-Government.

link mrbrown

Getting a taste of KitKat

After 2 weeks watching the development of Android 4.4 KitKat blossom for my aging phone Samsung S2 9100, I decided to take a plunge.

Followed infected_’s thread on XDA Developers, downloaded the ROM (OmniRom branch of KitKat), required Google Apps and SuperUser.  Factory reset\clear data, clear the caches and flash away.  Due to limited space in the system partition, always use the modular or minimum version of Google Apps.

The phone rebooted and greeted with the usual first time Google login.  Google’s 2FA SMS authentication broke.  Never received any messages.  Dug out the standby phone (with duplicate number) to retrieve the SMS.  This happened to me on CyanogenMod’s 4.2. stable too.

After a nearly a month on Aviate and the new KitKat homescreen really threw me off.  Google Now is always available on the left side of the screen.  You can only add homescreens on the right.  This is going to be a big problem with people having lots of homescreens.  The number five screen is going to a lot of swipes away.  Whereas on the older JellyBeans, the extreme ends is no more than 2 swipes.

Build quality wise, needs more testing to surface out the bugs.  Appears to be snappier than CM10.3

Bugs on 2 Dec 12 nightly:

  1. Power off charging animation not working.
  2. There are ghost icons or not working properly.  When the Menu or Overflow key is pressed, ghost icons shows up

Ghost Icons when Menu/Overflow key is pressedWeird Stuff

  1. Status Bar cannot be changed.
  2. Battery indicator cannot show numeric value (enabled in a latest nightly)
  3. Quick Settings tiles cannot be changed (enabled in subsequent nightlies)
  4. Not possible to switch to silent or vibrate mode.
  5. Access to Settings is via App Drawer or Quick Settings only.
  6. Access to Play store is via homescreen or app drawer only.
  7. Button Savior (non root) kills Google Now hotword activation.  Use root version.
  8. Android color is now white, so there is no way of knowing if you are connected to Google servers.

Update 11 Dec.

After nearly a week of use, I decided to switch back.  The battery drain was really too much to bear.  Omni ROM was so true to Android that I missed some of the shortcuts that were provided by Cyanogenmod.  I will let that mature for a few months and evaluate again.

Due to the difference in recovery manager, TWRP and CWM, it is not possible to flash a CM ROM immediately.  There is an intermediate step to download a CWM zip into the phone BEFORE WIPING the phone. link link

Update 9 Jan 14

Infected_ has stopped further builds on OmniROM. link