Tag Archives: android

Android phone encryption

More of a note to myself than anything else. If choosing to encrypt your phone use caution.

I’ve got a Nexus S I don’t use very often, can’t give up the swipe UI on my N9 even though it’s showing it’s age, but it can run Jelly Bean and makes a good backup. So I try a few things on it every now and then and over the christmas holiday I decided to enable device encryption. On the plus side everything felt the same speed, battery life, UI response, access from the PC all good… but not when launching the camera.

Pictures are stored on the sdcard but it’s not removeable, the internal storage is partitioned so a SD Card device is present. I could connect via USB and move files but when lauching the camera I’d only get a ‘cannot access SDCard’ message. I wasn’t using the stock ROM so if that was a limitation I’m not sure. I knew when enabling the only way to get rid of it was to wipe the device, so I was prepared. What I didn’t expect was a simple wipe in Clockworkmod wouldn’t do the trick. It wiped the device but also noted ‘cannot access /sdcard’. My first thought was I bricked it but some searching suggested options. For me fixing would be use adb from the Android SDK, mount the sdcard device with ‘parted’ and reformat the partiton. Easy enough and the excellent references on sites like stackexchange make following along pretty easy. I might try it again but should remember be prepared to wipe, may need to use adb, and always make a backup.

The Nexus One

Around this time last year I was happily using my G1 Dev Phone on AT&T, even though it was meant for T-Mobile, until the keyboard went bad. Not every key but a few, P, backspace and the back arrow. My replacement was the HTC Aria. An excellent phone, hackable, and served me well…. until the last week or two. Which was not expected. The touch sensor on the screen is messed up, keyboard recalibrating didn’t help and neither did switching ROM’s. No phone insurance and only a year into my contract getting a replacement from AT&T didn’t look that appealing. Time to go unlocked again!!

Nexus OneI enjoyed the physical keyboard of my G1 Dev Phone very much and was hoping to get something like that again. AT&T has a wide selection but not what I’m looking for, mainly because the hit on price if not committing to a longer contract. Going the unlocked route opens up options, but the latest and greatest will be even more pricey. I’d have to settle on something that’s 6 months or older. It didn’t take long to find the HTC Desire Z, it looked ideal. 3G or 4G data is not important but knowing was a version for AT&T’s GSM spectrum was a plus. Of course prices though were more than I wanted to pay so it was off the list.

Enter the Nexus One. I had almost forgotten about it until checking Newegg’s list of unlocked phones. No physical keyboard but that was more of a want than a need, a virtual alternative would be fine with the right package. I passed on it at the start of 2010 for a few reasons, the G1 was still working fine and the price was in laptop range. But that was a year and a half ago, a really long time in the world of mobile phones… crazy but true. With what Newegg was offering, and the need for a phone, it was a deal I couldn’t pass up.

It showed up a few days ago and came loaded with Android 2.2. A few hours after it was on I got a OTA notice for the 2.3.4 update to Gingerbread. The configuration options are less than what I’m use to with Cyanogenmod but that’s ok for now, I’ll root it later. My only hope is I can get more than a year out of this one.

The HTC G1 still rocks

Phones have almost become disposable as technology advances at a speed where what you have is replaced in a month or two by “the new thing”. I like new gadgets but these days at $300 to $600 dollars a pop it’s just not economical. So when I opted for a G1 Dev Phone last year I was hoping for something that might be upgradeable and still have that new feel as the software evolves.

I have not been disappointed.

After the upgrade to 1.6 I was satisfied for a while but then came the next version of Android and that changed things. Better navigation and snappier user interface with screen auto rotation and more. When it didn’t look like there’d be any official version after 1.6 I went looking for a custom ROM, enter cyanogen. I loaded 1.6 just after the first of the year and 2.1 (Eclair) about a month ago, it has been excellent. Checking the site today they have 2.2 (Froyo) available for both the Dream (G1) and the Magic (G2).

It’s been two years since the G1 was released and thanks to folks at cyanogen and other communities like xda developers it has the same software as a Nexus One, HTC Incredible or EVO. Open Source, you gotta love it !!!

G1 Contact Sync

Just after updating my G1 to 1.6 I was struck again with problems syncing contacts. Mind you it’s not a huge deal, I don’t meet 20 people a day and need there digits. It has been a common problem and was well documented based on the posts I found. The consistent fix from the Google Mobile Help forum was clearing contact data on the G1 and then sync. That worked and syncing is back.

This might be a good argument for turning on synchronization but that tends to limit battery life. If all else fails I can fall back to this but I’m hoping if I sync more often, and not make changes in both places then sync, the problem will go away. We’ll see.

Android 1.6 on the G1 Dev Phone

Tonight I had some time and wanted to load the latest version of Android on my g1. This was one reason why I got it, even though I skipped over the 1.5 update and was still running 1.1. I haven’t been bold enough to load any custom ROM images yet so I go to the Android Dev Phone 1 site at HTC and grab an updated radio and recovery image. As time goes by I might go another route but for now those versions do the trick.

It has been a while since I blogged about the g1 and some things have changed. The T42 I was using fell victum to the well documented ThinkPad GPU reflow problem, probably the result of a fumble while at the Avis rental counter in the Denver airport back in April. I replaced it with another T42 from ThinkPad Depot a couple months ago and have been happy with it so far.

    Interesting those sound like topics worthy of a blog post but there are none !!! Will try to rectify that in the future.

So needing to start over I first grabbed the Eclipse for RCP and then the Android sdk. I followed the upgrade instructions and managed to have a problem with the adb tool that I think I ran into when I first got the phone and flashed it with 1.1. None the less I did some googling and found where the SD card should not be mounted and adb needs to run as root.

    The “needs to run as root” can be resolved with the right tweeking I believe but I haven’t spent enough time one it yet.

That said the flash went without a hitch for both the radio and recovery image. I’m looking forward to some of the new features, although I’m not sure about the virtual keyboard since it eats up half the screen. The nice part is if it’s a bust I can always try something different or go back.