Official Skype For Android Now Available For Download October 5th, 2010
Finally, after months of waiting Skype have officially released their native application for Android. The native application is fully featured and offers amongst other things:
- Free Skype-to-Skype calls over both 3G and WiFi.
- Send and recieve instant messages.
- Discounted calls to foreign numbers.
For most, you’ll be able to find the application directly in the market or, you can download by visiting the Skype website directly. If you are unable to find Skype using either of these methods owing to geo-locking, I have uploaded a repackaged .apk here (just unzip and away you go…).
Unfortunately it’s not all good news. For such a new application it’s surprising that it does not support the ability to be installed on the SD card under Froyo; the application itself is a rather large 13Mb; however, you are able to overcome this by using a mod such as ‘setInstallLocation’, which will enable you to move the files to the SD card leaving only a 2.1Mb footprint on the internal memory.
OpenRUU For Linux And Mac OSX Users September 28th, 2010
The official HTC RUU files are only available for Windows, however if you are using either Linux or Mac OSX there is now a way to run a modified version of the RUU to enable you to update using the same official ROM, just read down through this guide and follow the instructions below.
Caveat: Please read the entire guide before starting and ensure that you fully understand all of the steps. If you are unsure about anything, please ask a question using the comments at the bottom of the post before continuing; it’s better to check first before starting and finding you run into problems. The usual also applies, by following this guide you do so at your own risk, I will not be held accountable for any problems you may encounter along the way.
- Firstly, download and install the appropriate Android SDK for your operating system, both Linux and Mac OSX versions can be found here, this will make sure that you have all the files and drivers necessary on your machine before starting (these will also be useful afterwards so it is a good idea to leave them installed once you have finished).
- Download the OpenRUU file, complete with the necessary ROM from here [mirror].
Next, you’ll need to create your goldcard:
- Backup the data on your microSD card. You may also wish to make a copy of any SMS or MMS messages that are already on your phone, suitable apps can be found on the market to do this.
- If you took out your microSD in the previous step, ensure it is back in your Desire and click through Menu>Settings>SD & Phone Storage.
- Click Unmount SD card.
- Click Format SD card; by doing this from within your phone instead of formatting it from your computer, you will ensure that it is formatted in the correct format.
- Next, download and install ASTRO File Manager from the market if you do not already have it installed. Once it has finished being installed open the application.
- Navigate to sys/class/mmc_host/mmc1/mmc1:82d1 (you may find that ‘82d1’ will be different, this is normal just choose the option that you have available on your device).
- Long press on the CID file.
- Select Open As and then Text.
- Select File Editor.
- You’ll be given a long number, make a note of this somewhere safe.
- Open this page in your internet browser on your computer.
- Enter the number you found in the above steps into the SD Card Serial (CID) field.
- Enter all of the other details that you are asked for and hit Generate Goldcard.
- Check your email on your computer, the goldcard image that you have just created will have been sent to you as an attachment. Save this into the root of your user directory, it’s important that you do not save it anywhere else.
- Connect your Desire to your computer.
- Pull down the notification bar on your Desire and press Charge Only (if you have previously changed the default option this may be different, i.e. HTC Sync).
- Select the Disk Drive option and hit Done.
- On your computer, open Terminal which can be found by clicking through Applications>Utilities>Terminal (depending on which operating system you are using the location of Terminal will vary)
- Type the following:
- You should be able to see your microSD card; you can recognise it from its size and by the fact that its type is DOS_FAT_32. You need to make a note of the Identifier for example disk2s1.
- Now you need to unmount the microSD, assuming your Identifier was disk2s1 (change the value ‘2’ based on the number you got after the word ‘disk’) enter the following:
diskutil unmountDisk /dev/disk2
- Finally, to actually create your goldcard type:
sudo dd bs=512 if=~/goldcard.img of=/dev/disk2(remembering to change the ‘2’ if appropriate)
- When prompted, you’ll need to enter your password.
That’s the goldcard created, and the hard work out of the way. At this stage, double check that anything on your device that you wish backed up has been, as in the following stages you will flash your Desire with a new ROM and wipe any data in the process, then when ready proceed with the next stage:
- Extract the OpenRUU archive that you downloaded earlier.
- Run 2FastbootFlash-xxx.sh, where xxx represents the operating system that you are using; either Linux or Mac OSX (based on the Linux version, to run the file you will need to ensure that the file is executable. To do this, right click the file and clicking through Properties>Permissions, tick to allow executing file as a program. Then simply double click the file and choose Run in the popup allowing it to run within Terminal).
The RUU should now run and after a few minutes you will be finished. Any questions leave a comment below.
Credits: Thanks to 42turkeys for the tools and scripts used in this guide.
TweetDeck For Android Step By Step September 2nd, 2010
I have been asked to write a guide for people new to Android explaining how to install TweetDeck. For those who aren’t familiar with TweetDeck, it’s a cross platform Twitter client that only recently become available for Android. A lot of people may well have used the desktop version previously; out of all the desktop Twitter clients, TweetDeck is regularly voted one of the top applications and for good reason. TweetDeck isn’t just all about Twitter however; it allows you to also configure your Facebook, MySpace, Foursquare, LinkedIn and Google Buzz accounts.
The Android client shares many of the features of its desktop sibling; however it will only allow you to integrate Twitter, Facebook, Google Buzz and Foursquare accounts. This really isn’t an issue though as MySpace is not as popular these days anyhow and the majority of mobile users will be consumers who probably don’t use LinkedIn (of course there are other LinkedIn applications available from the market if you do require this). Another great feature is that you are able to enter your TweetDeck account details and it will automatically sync the accounts that you use in your desktop client meaning you don’t have to worry about remembering all of your account details individually. Right from the word go the developers over at TweetDeck have given a lot of thought towards the end user experience to ensure it doesn’t become another run of the mill Twitter app (have you looked at Seesmic or Twidroyd recently; both good apps but take away the exterior shell and you are left with very similar and traditional Twitter clients) instead choosing to produce a new, innovative design that’s fresh and exciting.
Installing TweetDeck is simple, although as it is still in beta stage, it is not available to download from the market as yet. To download and install TweetDeck you’ll need to do the following:
- On your device, navigate through Menu>Settings>Applications
- Ensure that the Unknown sources option is checked; if it was previously unchecked you’ll be shown a security dialogue box, acknowledge this to continue
- Open the browser on your device
- Navigate to http://www.tweetdeck.com/go/android/ and your device will download the required .apk file to your download folder on your microSD card
- Next you’ll need an app that is capable of initiating an installation directly from a native .apk file, for novices perhaps the simplest solution is to go to the market and download Linda File Manager
- Once you have downloaded this, open Linda File Manager from the app drawer
- Click the SD Card option
- You should see a folder called download, this is where the browser will have downloaded the TweetDeck installer, click download
- Click TweetDeck-0.9.5.apk (see note below)
- Once the installer has finished installing, click Open to proceed directly to the app to setup your accounts
Notes: I have given you the direct download link from TweetDeck so as new updates are released, clicking this link will download the newer files. You may therefore find that your actual file will differ in version number, this is not an issue; simply install the version that was downloaded.
If you use the desktop version of TweetDeck, you’ll be able to sign in using your TweetDeck account here, this means that you will not have to separately configure Twitter, Facebook, Google Buzz or Foursquare as the app will “pull down” your settings and sync your accounts automatically. If you don’t have a TweetDeck account, then you’ll need to add each account separately by clicking on the appropriate option.
That’s about all there is to it. One of the great things about TweetDeck for Android is that there are not many options to configure, making the experience a simple one; it just works! That’s not to say it is short on features. You’ll notice that your timeline has all of your accounts in one continuous list; each colour coded for easy identification. You’ll even notice that as you scroll up and down through the list, the time at that particular place in the timeline is displayed at the top which I think is a nice touch. You can flick right through 2 more screens to see your mentions (which apply not only to Twitter, but anything that is deemed a “notification” in Facebook also) and your DMs; everything is laid out in a simple yet graphically pleasing way.
One thing worthy of mention at this stage is that unlike any other Twitter app I have ever used on Android, the timeline always remembers where you left it. Not just some of the time, but all of time; no more waking up in the morning and having to manually find where you were the night before because the timeline had somehow managed to “jump” to the top all on its own.
There are four buttons at the bottom of the main screen, the first of which will probably be one of the most used; the button to compose a new update (allowing you to choose which of the accounts you want to update). Next you have a favourite’s button, once you press this you are presented with a user customisable screen whereby you can store your favourite contacts for one touch access to all of their profile and update information. Finally there is the Twitter search and location buttons; the Twitter search button allows you to search trends on Twitter, the location button interfaces with Google Maps to show you your current location.
Once you start using the app, you’ll find more too; like the image preview and location map (but only if the posters update was location aware) below any updates you click on, saving you having to click through 2 or 3 pages to get the same amount of information on other clients. There is the simple slider button to change the display font size and a well laid out configuration screen where you can change your notification options and set the duration between updates; last but not least my favourite feature, whereby the TweetDeck notification icon flips upside down and “dies” if it encounters a problem whilst posting an update. I can just imagine the response of the other members of the development team whilst sat around a table brainstorming when that idea came up, pure genius.
Remember also that this is still a beta product (although in fairness, it is the most stable beta I have ever used, not a single FC or issue to date), which means that it is going to more than likely be updated again before the final release, adding more features based on user feedback. The downside of this is that as the app was not downloaded from the market, you will not receive an automatic notification when an update is available; not a huge issue though. The best way around this is to follow TweetDeck (@TweetDeck) on Twitter as they tweet when an update is available for download (then all you need to do once you click on the link and download any update is to follow the last 5 steps of the guide again to update).
TweetDeck for Android is great app; it’s in a different league to HTC Peep.
How To Remove Brut Maps From OpenDesire v4 ROM September 1st, 2010
OpenDesire v4 comes bundled with Brut Maps, a change from previous versions which instead came with the genuine Google Maps app.
For those who are not sure exactly what the difference is, it’s actually quite simple; the official Google Maps app is only fully featured if you live in certain countries such as the UK or US. Elsewhere certain features will not be available the most notable being navigation. Aside from this, there are other more subtle difference too including alleged performance increases but personally having tried both, I haven’t seen any real difference in day to day use. The full feature set of Brut Maps is as follows:
- Worldwide navigation using Google Maps directions
- Map tiles caching on microSD card
- Force-enabled multi-touch
- Force enabled Google Buzz feature
- Fix for map shift issue in China
- Option to hide zoom buttons
- Installation on non-rooted devices supported
- Can be run alongside genuine Google Maps
I do understand why this was included in the OpenDesire ROM but as I live in the UK and all the features of the genuine Google Maps app work, it’s not necessary and I’d rather have the genuine app instead; even more so as Brut Maps use the existing Google icon set but overlay a rather unsightly “Brut” logo on top, it’s really not a very well thought out icon. I also think that unless you have a good reason not to (i.e. you need Brut Maps as you live in a country where Google Maps doesn’t fully work), it’s good to try and use as much of the original code as possible to ensure minimising FCs and other issues.
Thankfully removing Brut Maps and restoring the original Google Maps is a simple process (assuming you have adb correctly installed on your pc including the correct adb driver for your Desire, which if you have followed my previous guides you will have):
- Connect your Desire to your pc
- Open a command prompt and navigate to the /tools folder within the sdk by typing:
cd[then press Enter]
cd AndroidSDKtools[then press Enter]
- Check your device is correctly connected by next typing:
adb devices[then press Enter]
if you device shows up correctly, then you’re good to go on to the next step
- Type the following:
adb reboot recovery[then press Enter]
once your desire and rebooted and is in recovery type the following:
adb shell mount /system[then press Enter]
adb shell rm /system/app/Maps.apk[then press Enter]
adb shell unmount /system[then press Enter]
adb reboot[then press Enter]
- Your Desire will now reboot and you can disconnect it from your pc
- Once your Desire is back up, simply go to the market and you will now be able to download the genuine Google Maps
Needless to say you can also use this method to remove other apps too, just substitute the .apk you want to remove in the steps above.
HTC Desire Official Froyo 2.2 OTA Update : Download Here August 6th, 2010
For anyone wanting to download the official OTA Android 2.2 FroYo ROM for their HTC Desire directly from the HTC live server, you’ll find that they have removed the file. Fear not, I have uploaded a mirror here.
If you need some guidance on installing the update, including installing on network branded and locked handsets, I have a guide here.