Monday, 9 July 2012

HTC One X

First of all, sorry for lack of updates again. Been busy with work/trips to London.

After I made the previous post about the MAO problem, I went in to Carphone Warehouse again as my 4th One S had chipped again. I went in to see what they said in the Morecambe store, and they only had one One S in stock, and it was a HT23 S/N, so I wasn't going to touch that. 

The guy had a look at where else had them in stock, and the nearest store to have one in stock was Barrow, and then after that Dumfries, so there's a huge shortage at the moment.

I told him to check my notes page on my account as there's a full run through of what problems I've been having and he read through and saw that I tried to get a One X, but they wouldn't let me. He said he can exchange my One S for a One X. He said he shouldn't do it, as for the reasons I've been told, but because I've been having so many problems with the One S, he'll do it for me.

So I walked out with a One X. 

I wasn't completely happy with it at first. I did love the One S. The build quality was amazing with the aluminium, and it felt really solid. The One X does feel plasticy, but still solid. I guess I just prefer the MAO aluminium on the One S.

The performance isn't what you'd expect. Especially on stock ROM/kernel. The Sense launcher was really sluggish, where with the One S, it was really smooth, and fast. I was hitting close to 5100 points on Quadrant with the One S with LeeDroid ROM, and was getting low 4000 with LeeDroid's One X ROM.

I flashed Franco Kernel on the One X, and that helped with performance a bit, but not by a lot. I went further and gave the SuperCharger V6 Script a run, which seemed to help, and then flashed the Ultra Smooth Rosie mod. This resulted in a much smoother and faster performance. I did an initial Quadrant run and hit 4993 points, which is a huge improvement. I'll let the changes settle in for a few days and give it another run.

It's just a shame that the phone isn't up-to-par with what it should be on stock. The Tegra 3 chip is as serious  performer on paper. but in the phone it's just not optimised enough. I'll make another post soon with a full list of tweaks and everything I did.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

New Blog and update on micro-arc oxidation problem for the HTC One S

Despite the inactivity for the last few weeks, I've opened up a new blog I will start posting on soon.

It's going to be a diary while I play the ARMA 2 mod Day Z. I've been playing it quite a lot lately, and just been getting to grips with it all and seeing what the newer updates are adding before beginning my diary. As the new updates have changed the starting equipment, it should be interesting when I start a new character, so I'll begin posting soon, so check it out if you're interested. It'll probably be around the end of this month I'll begin.

The address to this blog is http://iplaydayz.blogspot.co.uk/

So on to the MAO problem.

The last update I made I left it on going in to Carphone Warehouse for an exchange. I received my second handset, and was leaving it to see what official announcements were going to come up. I had 28 days to exchange this handset as well if I needed to.

Nothing was announced and I got to my final day, so I just went in and exchanged it. Got it all set back up and that was that. I was going to London in two days, so thought I'd talk to someone in CPW in Lancaster and then just go back to the one I originally got the phone from in London.

Before I went to the train station to get the train to London, I called in to CPW, asked if I can either exchange to the grey HTC One S, or switch to a HTC One X. I was told because I can't get the HTC One X for free in my tariff, I'd have to pay £99. Wasn't really wanting to do that, so I just left it.

The phone at this point had no chips on it, until Thursday evening when my girlfriend and I went out with her Mother. I put the phone in to my pocket and I heard it tap against a 10 pence piece I had in that pocket. I took my phone out and there was a small chip on it where the phone had hit it. It didn't even hit it hard, it just slid down in to my pocket. I took the coin out and tapped it against the top of my phone, and sure enough it chipped it. This phone was marketed to be able to withstand every day wear and tear. If that doesn't include rubbing against coins in your pocket, then what does it mean?

The next day my girlfriend and I drove to Devon for a Christening, and on the Saturday we went to Torquay. Called in to the CPW there and asked the guy there the same question I asked to the one in the Lancaster store. Got told I can switch to the One X for £50. A better price, and was considering it. My girlfriend asked him if that price is the same in any CPW store I visit, as she was there when I got told £99 in Lancaster. He said yea it is, so I said I'd think about it and sort it out once I was back in London.

I didn't get chance to go in to one in London until the Wednesday because of the jubilee celebrations. I went in expecting to be able to switch to the One X. Explained everything to the guy and said I've been told I can upgrade to the One X for £50. He looked at me and just said, "Sorry, that isn't possible". He then went on to explain I can only exchange for the same device I have, which is a One S, and they don't have any grey models in stock.

I left the store and when I got back to the house I rang up their complaints line and the guy on the phone told me the same thing as well, and I should go back in and sort it out in the store. The next day I went back in and told the woman everything in there (the same guy wasn't there), and she told me I can't switch to a different handset as they have to follow Orange's rules and Orange don't allow customers to switch handsets before their upgrade date, whereas if I was with O2, I would be allowed to.

So I just said I'd get another One S for now and I was planning on contacting Orange directly about it. My annoyance is that I was told 3 different things from CPW. Touch wood though, the phone I have now hasn't got any defects on it or chips, and it'll be two weeks tomorrow I have it and I've not treating it any differently, keeping in mind that chips on previous handsets I've had have chipped for no apparent reason just using it. It is a newer model this phone though going by the handset, so I may be lucky with this one.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Logo Quiz

You may have heard of this app from the iOS version. I've played it on my Sister's iPhone and it's quite an addictive game. You basically just have to guess the brand from an image of that logo.

I don't think the iOS one has been ported to Android by the same dev team, yet, but there have been a few replicas made for Android and this one seems to be the highest rated http://goo.gl/r3BKR

The app uses levels. The earlier levels feature easier brands to guess, and the high level you achieve the harder the brands become.

It's quite a simple app, but it's a great way to pass time and it's quite fun, yet can be frustrating when you recognise the logo, but can't for the life of you think of the name.

Monday, 14 May 2012

GTA 3

Having a new dual core phone, I thought I'd purchase GTA 3 to see how it runs as a mobile game. To say the least, I am really surprised how well it does run on a mobile, and it is really easy to play. My first thought was how did an entire console/PC game manage to be fit in to a mobile app, but then I suppose the rate at which mobile phones have evolved has been quite spectacular in recent years.

The graphics are brilliant for a mobile game. They've been improved from the console version, to graphics similar to the PC version. Nothing has been scaled down or held back for this version.

The controls are all touched based buttons on the screen. There's a button to get in to a car, a button to sprint etc. They all work really well and are all really responsive for the simple actions, but it gets awkward and starts to fall apart when actions such as drive-by shooting are performed. 

I'm sure the majority of people played this back in the day (personally, this is my favourite GTA game), but I'm sure it will be a blast for everyone to play this on a mobile device. It's not so much suited for quick play sessions like most mobile games, as to save the game you have to drive to a safe house, but it's certainly a different type of game to play on mobile.

I think it's better suited to larger screens like tablets, but large mobile phone screens can handle it easily and it's not too cramped with the virtual buttons on screen.

The app is about 9MB to download off Google Play, but a further ~500MB needs to be downloaded before playing through the app itself. Android phones that support it can also have joypads connected to the device to play with one of them, too.




Monday, 7 May 2012

HTC One S Micro-Arc Oxidation problem

Sorry for another absence. Been busy with final year exams at University.

So after getting my One S (I got the black version), I noticed after a few days I had small scratches on the top of the phone. I figured these were because I kept my phone in the same pocket I had coins in at one point. I didn't think much of it at first as I was busy in London, until I got back home.

I was looking online on the XDA forums, and noticed a thread about it. Everyone in the thread were posting about how their phone has the problems and looking at photos, it was the same problem I had.

I went investigating further, and saw it was indeed a design problem with the phone. The black version's case has an oxidation finish on it. The aluminium case is blasted with 10,000 volts of electricity, and HTC advertised the phone of being able to withstand every day wear and tear, and, as the phone has gorilla glass coating the front, it didn't need a protective case on as the case was so strong.

Well my phone told a different story after just two days of use. HTC are aware of the issue, and have said handsets will be replaced and they were working on a fixed batch of phones. I went to Carphone Warehouse, which is who I got the phone through, and even though they hadn't heard of the issue in my local one, they still gave me a new handset no problem, so I was happy...

...Until yesterday when I noticed more scratches on the top of the phone, and I'd looked after this handset more carefully than my 3 year old son, and I don't even have a son.

I bought an official HTC pouch to keep the phone in while it was in my pocket. It fit the phone perfectly, so while it was in my pocket, or out on my desk it was perfectly protected. I went to bed Saturday night and woke up Sunday, took the phone out to check messages/emails and noticed the scratches in the same place.

I'm going back to Carphone Warehouse and going to ask if they have any solid information yet and wait until the fixed batch appear whenever that is. I love the phone and find it great, but don't want to keep one that's gonna have scratches all over it in a few months time.

Friday, 27 April 2012

HTC One S

Sorry for the long absence. I was in London for a week, and returned for revision and exams at University.

While I was in London my contract was due an upgrade, so chose the HTC One S. I did look at the One X, but the size was a bit too large for my liking.

I instantly fell in love with it. I was contemplating keeping my HTC Desire for a while longer and maybe switching to a SIM only contract to save money, as I figured if I get a new Android phone it will just do everything the same, just faster, but my girlfriend persuaded me to get a new phone. As soon as I started playing with it I knew I made the right choice in getting it.

The feel of the phone is so much nicer than my Desire, and the really slim design of it made my Desire instantly look bulky and old. The Super AMOLED screen is much brighter and much easier to use in sunlight, and it comes with BeatsAudio, which is a great plus for me as I use my phone a lot for music.

It comes with Ice Cream Sandwich, and with Sense 4.0. Previously I despised Sense for being bloated and slow, hence I kept my phone rooted with custom ROMs for the majority of it's life, but Sense 4.0 is different. It has a lot of stock ICS, and Sense really isn't as intrusive as it has been previously.

There are a few downsides - the microSD isn't accessible, and neither is the battery. The battery being inaccessible could be problematic with flashing ROMs etc as if there's a problem I'm not sure how you can reset the phone without pulling the battery, but I'm not too fussed for rooting it at the moment as I'm happy with how it's currently running.

Just a short insight in to my new phone, and now I need to work on changing the banner for the blog itself.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Skyvi and absence

Skyvi is basically Siri for Android. It works in the same way as Siri does, just ask it to do something for you. I've been having a play around and it's actually quite good. A lot better than Google Voice. I wouldn't say the voice is as good as in Siri though, but it still works really well.

Key features are:

  • Voice Texting
  • Find and Call Places
  • Get Directions
  • Call Contacts
  • Location Reminders
  • Local Weather and Time
  • Access Facebook with voice
  • Access Twitter with voice
  • Text by voice
  • Tweet or update Facebook status with voice
  • Ask questions with voice
  • Fun chat and witty remarks.
Best of all as well it's free for a limited time at the moment, so it's worth grabbing for free while you can. 

I also will be absent from tomorrow. I'm off to London for a week or so, and won't get chance to post on here really, but I shall continue when I do return.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Steam App for Android

Valve released a Steam app for smartphones, that people have been asking to be released for a while.

The app's a pretty simple app. It gives users access to their friends list to chat, access to the Steam store and Steam news as well as account settings, too.

The layout is pretty nice. It's kind of like the Facebook app layout. With the menu on the left hand side, and the friend's list looks quite similar to the Facebook Messenger app layout.

As Valve are wanting to focus on gaming in the smartphone market, this app will most likely expand for access to smartphone games in the future, but it's useful now for people who want access to their Steam account to purchase games on-the-go, especially during the Steam sales.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Supercharger V6 Script

The Supercharger V6 Script is a complete memory management fix. It promises to solve lag and launcher redraw problems on devices.

It solves lag by editing the default minfree values. Minfree being the minimum amount of RAM before Android starts closing apps itself. Android comes with good memory management, but in Gingerbread it's quite aggressive. The minfree values are relative to the respective OOM (Out Of Memory) group. The groups are FOREGROUND_APP, VISIBLE_APP, SECONDARY_SERVER, HIDDEN_APP, CONTENT_PROVIDER and EMPTY_APP. The minfree values, could be for example, 6, 8, 16, 20, 22 and 24MB. When the amount of free RAM reaches 24MB, then any apps in the EMPTY_APP group are closed, then it reaches 22MB then CONTENT_PROVIDER apps are closed, and so on.

The script allows these values to be increased, so apps are closed sooner to prevent any lag.

The launcher redraw problem is fixed by moving the launcher process to a higher priority OOM group, such as the FOREGROUND_APP group. If you use a Cyanogenmod ROM, then this is similar to their "Lock Home in Memory" option.

The thread with all information on how to download and run the script can be found here. Ice Cream Sandwich users need to do an extra step and mod their services.jar file before running the script. All information about this is in the second post of the linked thread, and it's simple as there's an automated website that does it all for you. All you need to do is upload your services.jar file from the ROM you use and it'll modify it and let you download a flashable .zip file with the modded file.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Draw Something

Draw Something is probably the current most popular game app on the iOS and Google Play Store. It's more or less an online pictionary game, where people can login via their Facebook account and invite friends to play.

The aim is to pick a word and draw something relating to that word for your friends to guess. If they guess correctly then you both win a certain amount of coins based upon the difficulty of the word, and these coins can be spent on buying additional colours to draw with, or bombs, which can be used to eliminate letters if you're stuck trying to guess what word it is. As you guess more words correctly with a friend, the words get harder and harder.

The game is cross platform, meaning people on Android can play with their iOS friends and vice versa. The game comes in to flavours - a free version, and a paid for version that has 2,000 more words than the free version. For Android the full version is only £0.62.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Add full Facebook integration to Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean

What I love about the contact book on Android is the ability for it to link my contacts to their Facebook pages, and use their profile pic as their contact pic. With Ice Cream Sandwich, and still the same situation with Jelly Bean, this functionality is removed. I can still link profiles to my contacts, but things like their profile pic isn't pulled in to their contact page.

This is where HaxSync comes in. It adds the ability to sync friends and Facebook events to your ICS phone. Contacts will have their Facebook profile pic etc imported, and Facebook events will be synced to your calendar.

Just download and install it, and then in the Accounts and Sync settings, it can be configured there. A nice feature is the "fuzziness" of your contacts names. You can change how much of a match the names can contain before getting linked together, so if your friend's called something slightly different on Facebook HaxSync will still link it together. This was a pain in GB ROMs where if the name didn't match up slightly, it had to be linked together manually, which meant having to sync your entire list of Facebook friends to your phone first.

The app isn't free, but for the small price to pay it does fix my only gripe with ICS.

Edit: After upgrading to my HTC One S, I found that this app isn't needed if you stick with HTC Sense. HTC Sense for Facebook that comes with Sense still includes the full Facebook integration.

HTC Desire with Ice Cream Sandwich

I've been running an AOSP Gingerbread ROM on my Desire for quite some time now and it's been running smoothly. Oxygen is what I've been running, but I've been wanting to try something else.

A couple of Ice Cream Sandwich ROMs have popped up for the Desire. I've been on and off watching them for a while, but never really bothered with them as I know the Desire won't officially get an ICS release, so I've not bothered flashing one. Recently though the majority of the problems have been cleared up bar one or two minor ones with USB tethering, so I decided to give it a flash.

The particular ROM I flashed is this one. It uses a nice touch screen installer, so it's easy to customise what you  want/don't want installed. Once up and running it is surprisingly smooth for my two year old Desire. It's not as smooth as the GB ROM I used, but that's expected. 

I do love the interface changes. The new app drawer looks nice, and the new colour scheme works really well. The contact book has had a nice overhaul. If you link your contacts up to their respective social networking profiles their contact page is filled out with photos from it. Facebook integration is seriously lacking with this version of Android though after the whole Google-Facebook dispute, but there is an app that can fix that, which I'll make another post about.