Google Android catch-all

If you're not at RC30 yet, it's possible to mod the RC30 update to add "su" for root access.

Unfortunately, I didn't look into these things until after pulling down the RC30 update. So now I'm waiting for the next root "exploit".

Although, really, what am I going to do if I have write access to the rest of the ramdisk's file system? Probably nothing. What I'm most interested in is Android being the open development platform that it is.

*Legion* wrote:

Although, really, what am I going to do if I have write access to the rest of the ramdisk's file system? Probably nothing. What I'm most interested in is Android being the open development platform that it is.

Yep, agreed. There's little I would pragmatically want to do with it, but it's in many ways a kind of insurance. If Google/T-Mobile/AT&T ever did something really objectionable (say, a kill switch, or a distribution channel lock-in), root-access to the device allows for installing a new kernel. As Android itself is open-source, creating a fork removing the imposed limitation should be not only practical, but fairly easy.

Most people, myself included, won't go to the effort unless there's a compelling reason. But the very presence of that capability will probably help to engender a more open platform, and limit some of the more underhanded 'product' monopolies we've seen from carriers (eg, text messages).

johnny531 wrote:

I'm a little disheartened by this; it's important to me that when I get a smart phone, it be *my* phone. Having unfettered access to the OS & filesystem is a requirement, to me, of an 'open' device. I'd hoped that was included in Google's definition of an open smartphone platform, but it appears not.

I don't know about that - technical discussion is conducted in public forums, eg. this discussion of the root shell bug:
http://code.google.com/p/android/iss...
and you can see exactly where the problem is that caused this:
http://git.source.android.com/?p=pla... - line 160, should've said "disabled"

In addition to getting the source code and writing your own apps, you can also access the device and the filesystem directly, and even hack together your own boot image. That seems pretty open, no?

doihaveto wrote:

I don't know about that - technical discussion is conducted in public forums, eg. this discussion of the root shell bug:

Doihaveto, thanks for the links. Clearly I misread Google's intentions behind the patch. I'm glad to be wrong

Generally, you wouldn't want root access MOST of the time anyway, because root access gives you physical access to the hardware. On a phone, that can be dangerous; they're not like computers, and poking the wrong thing in memory can screw things up pretty seriously.

Can development on Android only be done in Java?

Malor wrote:

Can development on Android only be done in Java?

AFAIK, if you want to be able to distribute your app via the Market, it has to be Java (or at least a jar file - so maybe other JVM-compatible languages, like Scala/Clojure/Groovy/Jython, are options as well?).

They only provide a Java-based SDK, debugging environment, Eclipse plugins, etc. And to be sure, the Java security model helps a lot in keeping all those apps from being able to spy on each other.

But the phone looks like a *nix box running on an Arm processor, so in theory one should be able to cross-compile C code to target that architecture...

I know people have successfully written and run C applications on the Android emulator.

I don't know if anyone's run said apps on the G1 hardware.

I think you still can't run C apps on the hardware, but that's been mentioned as something targeted to be implemented.

Quick question, is there a way to set it so whenever you're within range of a remembered wifi point you'll connect? (So, when I get home, it'll connect to my AP, or I'll connect to the open wifi at work.)

Oh, legion, I'm not the only one that'd play a roguelike that actually has a g1? Sweet. I'm actually messing around with writing one, I don't know much Java, so it's a slow process, but hey, I wanted to learn it anyway.

Kannon wrote:

Quick question, is there a way to set it so whenever you're within range of a remembered wifi point you'll connect? (So, when I get home, it'll connect to my AP, or I'll connect to the open wifi at work.)

Yes, you can - that's the way I have it set up right now.

Kannon wrote:

Quick question, is there a way to set it so whenever you're within range of a remembered wifi point you'll connect? (So, when I get home, it'll connect to my AP, or I'll connect to the open wifi at work.)

Yes, in the wireless settings, you can tell the handset to "remember" a wireless network, and it will auto-connect to it when in range.

Oh, legion, I'm not the only one that'd play a roguelike that actually has a g1? Sweet. I'm actually messing around with writing one, I don't know much Java, so it's a slow process, but hey, I wanted to learn it anyway.

Yes, I'd totally dig a roguelike. I actually had one on a J2ME-enabled phone that I had a while back. It was simplified and slimmed-down quite a bit to work with the small screen and limited input, but it was ideal for the device. A roguelike developed with the G1 hardware in mind would never leave my handset. Maybe then, I'd play enough to stop being so bad at them.

Nice thing I just noticed about the Android browser: it has an option to flip orientation between portrait and landscape (in addition to the landscape flip it does automatically when the keyboard tray is exposed).

That's not news, but I just noticed that it actually remembers your last orientation setting across sessions and even phone reboots.

So, I can have the browser stay in landscape at all times (which is extremely useful, as websites reformatted for mobile devices benefit greatly by any added width space you can give them)

As far as I'm concerned, the G1 requires two things to be able to comfortably tell the iPhone off. (I think it can now.)

Microsoft Exchange or OWA integration - Relatively easy

Remote Desktop Tool - Again, fairly easy

Linux Network Tool suite - Should be a cakewalk once you can run C code natively. (I'm talking stuff like nmap, Kismet, and netcat, as well as ping, traceroute, and whois)

An actual Bash shell would be the cherry on top.

(also, can has python?)

With all of that, the G1 would be _the_ best phone for geeks. Full stop.

Kannon wrote:

Linux Network Tool suite - Should be a cakewalk once you can run C code natively. (I'm talking stuff like nmap, Kismet, and netcat, as well as ping, traceroute, and whois)

Ping already is there and works in the terminal emulator, but the rest obviously aren't present.

Total agreement with you on pretty much all of your post.

I'm not entirely sure if the sysadmins anywhere would like me having portable network tools, but I'd have a blast with it.

Oh, one other thing Legion, you can play roguelikes through the SSH terminal, I've tested it. It works pretty well, outside of the default keys being bad for the keyboard. (Still, quite playable).

I had to use nmap today to troubleshoot a problem with a client's webserver.

They're a big company (one of Fortune's "Best 100 Companies to Work For") with an IT department (at the local branch alone) that's larger than our whole company, and I'm the lone web programmer of a design studio with less than 10 people, but an email from someone in their IT department eventually made its way to me, and I had to figure it out.

It's probably the first time I've used nmap for something other than mischief...

Nmap is awesome. My favorite use so far is using it to syn-choke a script kiddie. All kinds of win.

IM users should definitely check out the Meebo IM client.

It's already better than the default client and the craptastic IM+ client, and it's in continued development. I'm pretty convinced that it will be THE Android IM client when all is said and done.

Meebo.com is a website that allows you to log onto various IM services through a web client. The nice thing is that your accounts get linked to a Meebo.com login, so you just need to login to Meebo.com and all your accounts are remembered and auto-logged-in (if that's the behavior you want).

I have no use for Meebo.com itself, as I don't use public terminals and always have a real IM client. But it's nice for my mobile device, in that I just have one username/password to worry about to log into all my IM accounts.

My complaints with the first version were simply:
1) It didn't save your username/password, so you had to re-type them whenever you had to re-start the client
2) The client tended to drop connection when the phone went into it's idle (screen off) state
3) It didn't resolve usernames to their display names (ICQ names appeared as their ICQ #, MSN names to their email login, etc)

Version 2 of the Meebo client just came out. It appears to have solved #2. #3 is still unresolved. And I'm not yet sure about #1 (thanks to fixing #2, I haven't had to re-login yet).

Meebo's been courting user feedback and I have no doubt that my complaints will be a thing of the past very soon. Many users are making the same requests, and Meebo made it clear that their first release was an early, "here, try this and tell us what's wrong" release, not a final product. They were quick in getting the first update out, and I hope that keeps up.

Wait, I have one more wish list feature for Meebo:

4) Notification alerts (it does the standard tray notification, but no vibrate "buzz" or green LED blink when the screen's off)

I'm almost sold on the T-Mobile G1. Working for the University, I'm eligible for the corporate rate, so the phone will be $140 and the monthly plans are 12% off. Once my current contract (AT&T) expires I'm going to jump ship. January 12 is G-Day for me!

Walmart has some interesting deals on the G1 for folks who live in 3G markets. $50 giftcard w/ purchase at regular price and also with the option for $198 w/ a 1 year contract. I don't <3 the Walmart, but I don't act on my idealistic sensibilities about cheap plastic crap from China or lousy labor practices any more.

http://www.checkoutblog.com/entries/...

The Locale app was updated to add screen brightness, Bluetooth, and notification controls.

I now have my phone turn my screen brightness way down when I'm in the office or at home, to chew up less battery life. I also have it turn off Bluetooth, since I only really want to use my Bluetooth headset in the car.

Definitely one app that belongs on every G1.

Does it know automatically where you are, or do you have to tell it?

Malor wrote:

Does it know automatically where you are, or do you have to tell it?

It knows by GPS. You set a location by defining a GPS location and radius on the map. Then, you set commands that basically say, "whenever I enter this radius, do this-and-that, and when I exit the radius, return these settings to my stated "default" state (if I've defined any)".

Screenshot:

IMAGE(http://msnbcmedia3.msn.com/j/ap/0a14f771-a065-4f8f-86ed-54a9a6ae3dbd.widec.jpg)

... from MSN article. (That's a dev screenshot, the released version is a little cleaner)

The project is from a group of MIT students.

Doesn't leaving the GPS on use more power than the Bluetooth or display?

Malor wrote:

Doesn't leaving the GPS on use more power than the Bluetooth or display?

There's an app for quickly toggling the GPS on and off with one tap. Put it on the home screen and it's a quick screen tap to turn the GPS off. Easy enough to do when you're at a location that you won't be leaving for a while. And it's a lot easier to just one-tap the GPS back on than to go manually change all the settings you have Locale manage.

Locale can use cell tower triangulation in addition to GPS. One can use that instead. It's less accurate, but set a large enough radius and it'll hit.

But really, I usually just leave the GPS on. In reality, I'm not going to go through the hassle of manually changing my screen brightness and Bluetooth and all that every time I go somewhere. So, the real options are either "leave everything on because I'm not going to hassle with turning things down/off when I go somewhere", or "leave just GPS on and have Locale manage the rest".

Of course, the main reason I use Locale is the automatic ringer control.

Damn't, I had the same idea for Locale.

Looks like it was a good one.

Anyone get a sense of when voice dial will be improved. I stupidly bought it thinking I could be hands-free-ish and so far that's not proving to be the case for use as a phone. And part of why this would be good is that I'm feeling a little finger pain in my index finger.

Does any phone do voice dialing well? Voice recognition is a bitch of a problem, and I don't imagine that there's an easy fix around the corner.

*Legion* wrote:

Does any phone do voice dialing well? Voice recognition is a bitch of a problem, and I don't imagine that there's an easy fix around the corner.

Plenty of mid-level to free phones do voice dialing really well. My old Samsung A900 (I think that was the model) could voice recognize your contacts with 90% accuracy and let you be completely hands free. The Windows Mobile phone I just returned, the HTC Touch Pro, had excellent software, Voice Commander, by Microsoft. So it's completely doable. That's why I wondered if it was in the works for the G1.

For far I really like it. Although I'll have to figure out if it's an ergonomic improvement as that's why I left my Centro. So far the keyboard is obviously MUCH better. The way you navigate the phone takes all the pressure off my thumb. That's good. The only complaint I have is that I had some pain on motion in my index finger after playing with it for a bit. Not sure if this is something that's common when using iPhones or phones like this or if my fingers/thumbs are just far too brittle. I hope that doesn't become the thing that prevents me from using this, though, as it's beautifully designed. The interface is clean and sensible. A nice change from the clutter of Palm, or even worse Windows Mobile.

And that doesn't even count all the cool futuristic apps I've been playing with. Oh, and being able to delete Gmail as it comes in (I use the Google Apps Gmail program as my primary email) is awesome as I have less to filter when I get home. And if I need some data I can literally search in every email I've sent/received in the last 5 years. That's awesome. And my calendar/contacts are synced over the tubes. All of this is great.

I just hope my mousing finger (kind of vital to my career) doesn't make me switch back to my Palm.

Kannon wrote:

(also, can has python?)

I agree. I might actually do some Android dev if I could do it in Python and not Java.