CyanogenMod on an HTC Desire

Many moons ago I acquired an HTC Desire, at the time, it was the “smartest” of the smartphones I’d ever owned. Sure, there were issues, specifically the severe lack of application memory and (as ever), the woeful upgrade path to more recent versions of the Android operating systems, but nevertheless, I was very happy with it. As with all Android, I loved the fact you could tinker with its innermost workings, something (unless you were prepared to jailbreak), that was not possible on IOS. As I saw it, Android was an “open” system, and IOS very muck “closed”.

Then the problems started, since applications are really vetted as such, on Android, all sorts of crap became available that when installed essentially crippled the phone, excess data usage, flattened batteries, it all appeared to be out of control. I elected to “root” the device and install a custom rom. In some respects that helped, more application space, but the roms themselves were developed (I guess) by people like me, and some were very flaky indeed.

Result? I wanted stability over an open OS so went for iphone. I’ve been with one ever since and still never regretted it. Sure they may not be as cutting edge as some devices, but they just work, and battery life aside, and work very well.

So, the other day, clearing out my top drawer, I came across the old HTC Desire and decided to give it a fresh lease of life. I always have two phones, one for work and one my own, which until recently was either the Windows 8 phone or iphone 4. But I’m selling those now and needed something else.

In short, if you head over to the XDA developers forum at http://forum.xda-developers.com/forumdisplay.php?f=594 you’ll find all you need to flash the very latest and greatest ROMS. Due to issues mentioned previously I’m after stability, so trying to run the very latest Android software on a platform it wasn’t designed for is madness. I chose Cyanogen 7.2.0.1 which is a gingerbread build. If you follow the instructions you can set the partition size, install all the various loaders, download the ROM, install it and you’re away. At one point I did think I’d “bricked” it, but again, following the troubleshooting guide, managed to recover nicely.

I can report that it all works very well! OS is lovely and stable, and since I’m only putting the “standard” apps on, battery life at least at the moment, appears quite acceptable. All in all, a good result!.

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CNET new ways of working…

For those (like me) who’ve used cnet to download software, please be aware they have now changed their ways of working. I always pay close attention to what other “crap” these installers throw up, and have found that usually cnet is ok.

It’s not now, there’s all sorts in the small print that if ignored will lead to very undesirable malware being installed on you PC. Here’s a post from someone who found out the same thing. http://polizeros.com/2012/12/28/cnet-downloader-installs-malware-without-permission/#.UVHhBhdlUtk

What’s worse, you can’t even de-select the crap, it’s a mandatory option. Idiots. No more cnet for me.

M.

Astrophotography question?

For those that don’t already know, I’ve a couple of webcams on the roof, unprotected, securely mounted using the cheapest gaffer tape available. The site isn’t great, but it sort of works. It’s at http://webcam.willowhey.net Please don’t go crazy on it, otherwise it’ll kill my internet 🙂 But you get the picture (excuse the pun).

It uses Ubuntu and the UVC driver, with the “motion” utility, and for what it does, I think it does it quite well.

What I’d really like to do however, is somehow use the webcam to take long exposure  photographs (maybe up to 10 seconds) of the night sky to see what I can capture. I’ve had reasonable success with a normal SLR, but wanted to see what was possible with a half decent webcam.

Most information available is for modifying a webcam to look down a telescope, well maybe that’ll come later for me, but it’s just a long exposure shot with the standard webcam I’m after at the moment.

It appears that the UVC driver doesn’t support it, so before I go looking at using one on the Windows platform, does anyone have any ideas if it’s possible with linux?

Thanks! Mark.