GMGtv Episode 1: The new GMGtv!

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As you may have noticed, I haven’t been posting much about GMGtv. This is because it’s a pain to have to setup equipment, practice a script, and edit it, at the same time as maintaining an internship, blogging, conferencing, and of course, going to school/doing homework. So that’s why I am deciding to make the new GMGtv audio only, totally unscripted. I am going to find something in the news, then just talk for a minute or two about it. It’s raw thoughts from my head, and is pretty much the same stuff I would write here on GMG. I am doing these episodes far more often, and because they’re audio only, they take up a LOT less file space.

Here’s the first episode of the new GMGtv!

Also, please subscribe to the podcast on iTunes!

SUBSCRIBE

Using AirPort express for AirPlay alongside a Time Capsule

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You may remember that a long time ago I reviewed the Time Capsule. It’s a wonderful wireless AP, and all of my data is totally safe.

But the Time Capsule doesn’t have AirPlay. On AirPort extremes and expresses, there is a headphone jack, and when connected, you can wirelessly stream your music to your speakers from your iDevice.

I’ve had an airport express for a long time, but I stopped using it when I got my time capsule. After hearing about the AirPlay improvements, I decided to break the thing out.

The AirPort Express creates its own WiFi network, and if I’m connected to that then I won’t be able to backup to my time capsule. Luckily, it is now possible to plug the AirPort Express directly into the Time Capsule, and have them both work as the same wireless network. This means that I can stream music AND backup at the same time!

With this all settled, you will now see the AirPlay icon appear on all of your devices. From this point on, it’s all extremely easy. Just tap the icon and up pops a menu of all AirPlay devices on the network. Tap the speaker system you wish to stream to Voila, we have wireless music!

If you’re on a computer, however, you can only stream your music from iTunes. That is, of course, unless you have an app called AirFoil.

This allows any application on your computer to output sound to your AirPlay speakers.

However, there’s a small issue.

There is a two second delay between when you cause the sound to happen and when it actually comes out of your speakers. On the iDevices, the movies are in sync because they are decoupled 2 seconds back. When you change the volume on your computer, you will see the small notification popup, yet you won’t hear anything for two seconds. Quite annoying.

For videos, AirFoil has included the “AirFoil Video Player.” I don’t know if it’s very good, as I can’t even get it to work without freezing and crashing.

In general, this system is simple and functional. But if you’re trying to stream content from your computer, you will notice an extremely distinct delay. It’s not like that audio quality isn’t good, so all audio (including pandora and other streaming services) work fine.

AirPort Express

AirFoil

INSTALLING ROMS ON YOUR DROID INCREDIBLE: FULL GUIDE

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1. Background check and root

If you haven’t yet, click here to read the guide on rooting your droid incredible.

2. Find some ROMs

The first thing you need to install a ROM would be the ROM itself (go figure).

If you have a droid incredible, I highly recommend downloading the fusion ROM from this post. Fusion is an extremely well-done and compatible ROM based off of CyanogenMod7 (another ROM), so you’ll get the dimension-opening power of 2.3.2 gingerbread.

If you don’t want this ROM, you can always do a google search. Not too hard, eh?

2. Download the ROMs

With the example I’m using (fusion), there are two ROMs. It includes first the base gingerbread ROM, but on top of that it also has a ROM for the Android Market, Gmail, YouTube, and Maps applications, as they do not come by default on the Android base operating system.

For now, I am only going to discuss installing the base, but for other ROMs it is sometimes the same situation with the two seperate ROMs. So later on I’ll discuss installing the gapps (dev talk for Google Apps).

There are two ways you can get the ROM to your device.

The first one involves your computer. Download the ZIP file(s) onto your desktop, then plug in your phone and move the zip(s) onto the root of your SD card.

The second way requires an app called Root Explorer (I discussed it in the guide to rooting). On the phone itself, use the web browser to download the ZIP file(s). Then, open up root explorer and navigate to the downloads folder (probably on your sdcard). Then, tap and hold the zip and select move. Navigate to the root of the sd card and tap paste. (Do this with the second ROM if you have one).

3. BACK UP!

This is an extremely important step to this, because if you forget to backup then you will never be able to restore your phone to the condition it was in when you rooted. That means that the HTC sense operating system that came on your phone will be GONE.

So, you’ll need to boot into recovery and backup.

Turn off your phone and turn it back on while holding the down volume button. It will boot into HBOOT, a diagnostics screen. Once it is done checking for update images on the SDcard, use the volume and power buttons to navigate to and select RECOVERY in the menu that you see.

It will show the HTC booting screen, but then boot into recovery (with very small fonts, I might add).

In this screen, scroll down and select backups (you can now use the optical trackball to do this). Then, select create a backup (or something like that).

It might take a while, but eventually a backup should be made of all of your stuff on your phone. So we shall now proceed to the next step.

Install the ROMS

Now is the fun part.

Boot back into the recovery screen by holding the down key and the power button at the same time.

Then, hit Wipe Data/Factory Reset.

This will wipe all of the data off of the phone.

WAIT WAIT WAIT! I STILL WANT MY BACKUPS!

Calm your caps lock keys, wiping the data from the phone doesn’t wipe out the sd card, which is where the backups are.

Now, select install zip from SD card.

Select choose zip from SD card

then, select the zip that you either downloaded or transferred over.

Then, select the yes, and magically, the ROM will install.

Wait a while, and it should be installed and working!

Upon first boot it will take a very long time to load. It has to configure everything and get it working. But every time you reboot the device the reboot time should be less and less until it is less than 30 seconds.

Anything else?

You might have downloaded 2 zip files to your SD card which you downloaded from the site that gives out the ROMs. This is probably because one of them is a Google Apps zip.

Make sure that before you move the two zips on to the sd card, you name them so you can tell which one is the base OS and which is the Gapps. (if you have no idea what I’m talking about, you need to click here and read up on your background info.) Make sure that first you install the Base OS zip, then, after it’s done, select Install zip from sdcard once again and select the gapps zip. Make sure that you don’t hit wipe data/factory reset, because what that will do is wipe out the base OS so you only have gapps and nothing to run it on. Not too functional if I may say so myself.

Where to find these ROMs?

As I said, the best ROM for the Droid Incredible at the moment is the Fusion ROM.

But there’s other ROMS too.

One of the most popular is CyanogenMod. They’ve been releasing ROMs with upgraded features since the dawn of time (or android).

However, after a little mixup with google, they are no longer allowed to have Gapps on their OS. So you’ll have an android phone with…. no android market. Or gmail. Or youtube. Have fun!

One of the easiest ways to find ROMS for your droid incredible is to just google it.

If you google Droid Incredible ROMs, a large amount of different websites will show up. If you are too lazy, here’s a direct link to that google search for ya. You’re welcome.

Better alternative to OMGB-6! HELLO FUSION!

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OMGB-6 is great. It’s a simple, well made Gingerbread build for the droid incredible that worked really well.

But it had a couple problems.

First of all, it didn’t support google voice.

Also, many apps didn’t work. Twitter didn’t work, and the app I am doing testing for didn’t even work. Also, the version of the market was outdated.

Well, if you want a fuller and better and more supported phone, then say hello to the fusion rom.

Fusion is built on CM7, and has a base of 2.3.2. This gingerbread is tasting FRESH.

It boasts a newer version of the android market, FULL app support, and it also supports google voice.

If you don’t know how to install ROMS, then you have a bit of reading to do.

First, click here to learn what all of this means and do your background reading.

Then, do steps 1-4 on this page.

Downloads

BASE

GAPPS

Installation

Put both of those on your SD Card.

Then, reboot into recovery and BACK IT UP. BACK IT UP. BACK IT UP… STEADY….. BACK IT UP…. STOP! Don’t do this with ROM manager. Why, I don’t know. But apparently bad things happen and black wholes open into other dimensions when you use the ROM manager to install this. O.o

Once you’ve backed up hit Wipe data/factory reset in the recovery.

Done?

Ok.

Now, hit “install zip from sd card”, select “choose zip from sd card”.

And in the list that appears, select fusionbase.zip.

Then hit yes out of the large groups of nos.

(tic toc tic toc)

Done yet?

No?

Ok…

(tictoctictoctictoc)

Done now?

Good.

Now, go through the same screens, but when you select the zip select the gapps zip and install it.

While that’s installing, I’ll explain why there are two separate zips for this ROM.

Android is a base operating system. It doesn’t include the android market. It doesn’t include gmail. It just includes the base operating system.

So the base zip is the 2.3.2 base operating system without the android market or gmail or anything like that.

So you could just install the base and nothing else. But I don’t think you would be too happy when you can’t download any apps.

Done yet?

Ok good.

Now, select “Wipe cache partition.”

Done?

That didn’t take long.

Now, hit reboot, and wait a LONG time. It will probably be 5 minutes or so of the flashing android logo before it actually boots.

But once it does, you’re in business! Enjoy the new market, full app support, and using your Google Voice account, all without sacrificing the magnificent dimension-opening speed (and bragging rights) of Gingerbread 2.3.2.

Rooting, Recovery, and ROMs: What it’s all about.

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So you’ve got an android phone.

And you can use the stock operating system with all of the manufacturer’s skinning and apps and versions and keyboard and everything.

Congratulations.

But if you are feeling a bit ballsy, then you can really take your phone to a true mobile computing level.

Here’s the steps to this.

  • Root
  • Install a recovery
  • Find ROMS
  • Make backups
  • Install ROMS
  • Use Wireless Tether

Lets explain what all of this is.

Rooting

Rooting means that you can create a way for apps to get superuser access. This is handy for getting to wifi, modifying files, or installing ROMs.

Recovery

For the Recovery, that will usually be installed when you root the phone. The recovery is where you can make and recover backups of the phone, install ROMs, and a slew of other stuff that might come in handy (but could also kill your phone).

Backup

Once you have the recovery installed (you can’t have the recovery without the root FYI) then the first thing you need to do is make a backup of your phone.

This is pretty easy. Just boot into Recovery (just hold down volume on boot and select recovery when given the option), Select backups, and select make a backup now. Your screen will flash many random things, and no matter how long it takes, don’t force shut it down or take out the battery. It will almost always finish.

ROMs

Once you have a backup of your normal operating system, you can go crazy with other ROMs.

ROM stands for Read Only Memory. In android poweruser terms, it is an operating system that can be installed on the phone using the recovery mode.

You can find many roms on the internet all over the place. XDA-developers is a great place to get ROMs. Sometimes a ROM will even be for the next Android version that htc hasn’t released yet.

When you download a ROM, it will come as an easy to handle zip file. And from here it’s simple.

Plug in your phone to your computer and mount it as a disk drive/USB Mass Storage. Then, just click and drag the ROM from your computer onto the root of the SD card. Eject and unplug the phone, then reboot into recovery.

Select install zip from sdcard and select the name of the file that you moved over. Then, choose the yes among the long list of nos to confirm you really want to install it and whabam, you will be installing a new operating system.

Then, reboot your phone, and you will be with your brand new OS that you yourself downloaded from the internet and installed on your phone.

Unfortunately, this process is different for every android phone. Sometimes there is a one-click root. Sometimes you have to use a command line application to open a port on the phone and install the root like that. But once you have gotten the phone rooted, installing zips is a piece of cake.

Wireless Tether

Aside from installing ROMs, another thing you can do is install and use apps that usually wouldn’t be possible if you weren’t rooted.

The one example I am going to use here is called Wireless Tether. And basically, it’s just that.

You can make your phone into a wi-fi hotspot with no hassle, just using verizon’s mobile hotspot plan. But that will cost you an extra $20 a month and you have a 5 GB limit before you start getting overage fees. Ouch.

With Wireless tether, you can connect unlimited devices, the data comes out of your data plan for your phone, and that also means there’s no overage fees.

Once you are rooted, just search for Wireless Tether in the android market and you will be able to install it on your phone and use it. You can change the SSID of the WiFi network, and you can even enable encryption and a password on your network. In addition, it allows you to use access control, where you can disable a device’s access to the network. Very handy sometimes.

Do it yourself

So that is the whole concept of rooting, recovery, and roms. You can find roms for things using google: Just do a search for “[your phone] 2.3 ROMS” or “[your phone] Cyanogenmod” and you should have plenty of luck. If you want to find out how to root your phone, just do a google search for “[your phone] root” and that should turn up some helpful results.

If you have a rooted droid incredible, click here to learn about the stable and functional gingerbread rom by WeDoDroid.

Teleport

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Many people I know have multiple Macs. The most standard multi-mac setup would be one desktop (usually a Mac Mini) and a laptop (Macbook, Pro, or Air). This is usually so that one can have power and still be mobile. But when it comes time to sit down and do some work, it might be useful to have two screens (studies show a dramatic increase in productivity with more screen real estate). But one problem faced is that with multiple computers comes multiple mice/keyboards. Well, if you’re all macs, then there’s a solution.

Teleport is a free and easy way so that you can use one keyboard/mouse and have it span across multiple computers (so you don’t have to move your hands to control a different computer). It’s extremely simple to use.

To get it all working, all you have to do is download teleport. Teleport is a Mac Preference pane (.prefpane) so to configure teleport you open system preferences and click on teleport (under other). Here you can configure settings and arrange the screens. NOTE: Make sure that both Enable Teleport and share this computer are both checked.

In the preference pane you can configure things like pasteboard sync and choose if you want to only switch to the other computer when you are holding a specific key down.

the rest is pretty simple. Just move your mouse across the edge of the screen and it should show up on the screen of the other computer. Whichever computer your mouse is on will be the computer that the keyboard affects. However, the volume keys don’t work across Teleport (neither does multitouch except for scrolling).

Teleport is a great free app that works and does what it should quite nicely. There are some problems when your mouse is on a client computer screen and the client computer loses internet connection. It takes quite a while for your mouse to reappear on your main computer. But the convenience of this application overcomes this setback.

Teleport main site

Teleport direct download

BOINC

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BOINC stands for Berkely Open Infrastructure for Network Computing. And I want to appreciate what they are doing with their Distributed Computing platform.

Basically, you download an app to your computer. And when your computer is not in use, all of it’s power (or as much as possible) goes over the internet to berkely so essentially they have a supercomputer of all of these other computers (hence distributed) to go to cure diseases, detect pulsars, and other scientific stuff. It’s an easy way to donate something that could be extremely useful to the cure. The help of the world. So many other scientific things that will get us farther along and allow us to make discoveries of all sorts.

I think that other than being really cool, the BOINC distributed computing platform is an amazing idea. So many people are away from their computers and they leave the potential of power just sitting there. It’s like donating your computer to UC Berkeley for scientific research, but only for the time when you aren’t there.

This is great if you have a LOT of extra computers around you can join this and put those lazy things to work. I read the idea and I just thought to myself. Genius.

Now what’s really cool is that you can actually select which cause you want your power to go to. There are so many categories (all of which support various operating systems) for you to benefit to.

Unfortunately to get it all working it’s pretty simple but can get kinda complicated.

First, click here to download boinc.

Then click here to go see which things you can benefit to. Then find one that has a cause you would like to benefit too. Then, in boinc, click add project. On the page where you found the cause, look at the name in the left-most column.  Find that name in the window of boinc and select it. It will connect to the project then ask you to setup an account and stuff like that. Once you are done with that, boinc will start to download work from the server. One thing you may want to do is open the preferences and select some limits on how much power of your computer it is allowed to use. I made it so that it would only do work after the computer was idle for 1 minute, because I want all of the power of my computer when I’m using it but when I’m not I don’t find a point in letting it sit there useless. I also only allowed it to use 2GB of space on my disk, as I don’t want too much disk space being sucked up by this cause. I also told it to use only 70% of my computer’s processor as I don’t want my computer to overheat either.

I think that this is a great and free way for people to contribute to causes without having to use money. Enjoy :)

Alfred

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A wonderful little app with the worst name they could come up with.

Alfred is a Spotlight Alternative. It is similar to quicksilver, but is quite a bit simpler.

Basically, it is a plain text box that opens on a key command. you can type to search through your hard drive, but if there are no files then you can choose to search through google, wikipedia, or even amazon.

In addition to searching your hard drive alfred can search numerous things.

For example, you can type “lucky doorknob” an it will open the first google result for a search of doorknob.

You can also do things like type in a URL and it will open in your web browser. In the screenshots is a list of some of the functions included with the app. You can also create your own which comes in handy if your favorite search engine doesn’t come with Alfred by default.

Now although those functions are useful, it prevails over spotlight mostly because if it’s speed. Everything happens faster for some reason, but let me just say, I like it.

Alfred is free and highly customizable when it comes to interface. Download it from alfredapp.com.

Screenshots:

Failz to you Verizon, Failz to you.

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How I feel. :)

So my Droid Incredible started to act up. Things weren’t quite working, and the phone kept rebooting itself. It also wouldn’t update to the 2.2 OTA. So we call Verizon and they tell us to go into the vrizon store because they had “More information.” So we schlep all the way over to a Verizon store and they say the EACT same things that they said over the phone. So we leave with absolutely no help. So the next day we call verizon AGAIN and we finally get a replacement phone shipped. But this hasn’t been the last of your problems. First of all, they tried to ship the phone to some invalid address in South Dakota, wherever THAT is. They were off only by half of a country. So then they send it to the correct address. Nope, it gets BETTER. I open it up and turn it on and activate it and sync it and everything, so it all looks good. Until I make the mistake of opening up the camera app. Low and behold, the camera wouldn’t focus properly. At all. It just didn’t focus. I changed every single setting possible. SD card in, SD card out, hard reset, soft reset, reprogramming. Nope. So I call verizon again and I tell them the problem and they say “Well, we can send you a replacement phone,” and I just say “That would be great. Thanks!”

So here I am with 2 faulty Droid Incredibles, and one of then happens to be a certified like-new replacement. That’s odd, because like new phones aren’t usually faulty like that.

So verizon, FAILz to you. I Hope this one works. It took 3 calls, a trip to the verizon store, and 2 weeks to get a phone that STILL doesn’t work properly. First time in 10 years. Yup, my WHOLE FAMILY have been verizon customers for 10 years. But from the way your customer service is, I’m not sure if it will last to much longer.This is your last chance Verizon, and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you get it right.

Chrome OS isn’t (can’t be) the new Windows

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So everyone is talking about how all of our normal applications are transferring to the internet; the cloud. But if you haven’t noticed, people are still buying powerhouses and desktops and the netbook business ain’t doin so hot. The iPad is selling like hotcakes but think about it: it’s not completely web-based, you can download games and things. Why isn’t the world using just the web for everything?

Because people in the world have more to do than just email and flash games and facebook and spreadsheets. The web isn’t powerful enough. Google Docs can’t do quite as much as iWork or even Microsoft Office. Because it isn’t as powerful. And we can only diagnose this if we dig down a little technically deeper.

When we are using a web-app, for example, google docs, not everything takes place on the web. The potential is actually downloaded to your computer and then executed in this tiny little cache. The processor isn’t web-based. You are just keeping the stuff up there. And this tiny little cache where the web-app is downloaded is just too small for anything more than a very lite application. If we were going to use a full featured but “web-based” Microsoft Word, it would take 10 minutes and 2 GB of a cache to download. The web isn’t fast enough to support powerful applications. What about the video editors out there. What about the photo editors out there. As amazing as it seems, The web doesn’t have enough power bandwidth to do advanced things such as video rendering.. That’s the reason that there is no online version of Final Cut. Developers can’t make their applications to rich because they are limited by the capabilities of the web-browser, download speed, and cache. But what do we get if we eliminate these barriers? We get a desktop application. What i’m trying to say is that Desktop applications are virtually unlimited. . Lets say I’m in a taxi and I just remembered that I had to do a presentation in a few hours. If I have a computer running ANYTHING OTHER THAN chrome OS, then I can open up my handy dandy presentation creation application and whip up a quick and easy slideshow. But if I’m web-based, then there is the variable of internet access. A netbook running chrome OS is completely useless if you are in a plane (unless of course the plane has WiFi).

So when google is trying to launch their Chrome OS, keep in mind why you are getting this computer/netbook. For some people, it may be fine. Maybe they just want to have a simple lite computer to use when in a meeting. But remember, if you opt for this the web is your only option, therefore you are limited in power, features, and accessibility.

Why I’m not upgrading to the official 2.2

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So the official OTA 2.2 Droid Incredible Update is finally live.

But I’m not upgrading.

So to install this, I would have to unroot my phone. There is no way to root this version of 2.2, so I won’t be able to use my beloved Wireless Tether.

Now I already have a leaked version of 2.2 so I get everything of 2.2 other than the 720p video recording, but I get my wireless tether. So it really becomes a tradeoff between the wireless tether and 720p recording. Now I know that 2.2 has the built in 3G mobile hotspot, but that holds me at 2GB and costs me another $20/mo. Riiiight.

So I’ve decided to stay how I am with a partial 2.2 update and stick with my Wireless Tether until they find a way to easily root this version of 2.2.

P.S. Sorry for the lack of posts, I have a few more coming soon. :)

Wireless Tether with Droid Incredible

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So let’s just say that you are driving somewhere and you have your computer (or iPad or iPod touch for that matter) along with your droid incredible. Well now for free (actually, the expense of battery life) you can use your Droid Incredible as a wifi tether, so you can have an iPad on verizon.

Sadly, the speeds are dramatically reduced to a groping 70 kb/s. But I think it’s better than nothing. Can load pages, not so great for downloads and video/audio streaming such as youtube or pandora.

Step 1. Make sure your phone is rooted. Just do steps 1-4 of the tutorial HERE (continue the steps to install android 2.2, if desired!).

Step 2. On your incredible go to THIS LINK (try using chrometophone, review on that soon!)

Step 3. Once the link is downloaded open it and install the application.

Step 4. Open the application on your phone.

Step 5: Press menu and go into the settings and change around your preferences. change the SSID, and add a passphrase. Enable access control if desired.

Step 6: Press the big tether button.

Step 7: On your wifi enabled device go to the network selection and select the nework name that you had entered in the SSID preferences. Enter your asscode and Voila, you can connect to the internet!

One of the cool benefits of this is that you can be on the internet while in a car. Cool, eh?