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 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 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!.



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.

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


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 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.


Adventures in Sweden


I recently spent several days in Sweden with work, so, over the weekend with some colleagues we decided to head North and see what we could find.

Had a truly wonderful time! First ever time on a snow mobile, temperatures down at -25C while having a BBQ. Some fabulously clear skies which enabled me to see stars I’d never seen before, just brings home how bad the light pollution is here where I live in the UK.

And to top it all, some traditional Swedish cuisine, pancakes cooked on an open fire, and reindeer for the evening meal.

There were reports of minor auroral activity so did have hopes of seeing the Northern Lights, but sadly, that part wasn’t to be. Maybe next time!


Time Team Petition

To be honest, I don’t hold out any hope this will in fact change anything, and in addition, Dig  Village appears to be the format of choice “going forward” (as all the best buzzword folk say these days), but I still can’t help but feel that it’s still the basic Time Team format that fans of the show want retaining.

Sure, the format can be made more in line with the earlier years of the show, but it’s Time Team the brand that’s become so popular, it’s such a shame that it’s all over. If you feel you want to support the latest petition to retain the programme, please follow the link below.

Time Team To Continue on TV (and/or be released on DVD) Petition | GoPetition

Many thanks!


Farewell BE / O2 Broadband

In a way I’m sad to be leaving what I knew as BE Broadband. Sure, O2 bought it out, but essentially the service level has always been maintained. I’ve had a steady 10MB/s downstream and 1MB/s upstream for as long as I’ve been with them (which is a few years now). I’ve had no cause for complaint about their service that’s for sure.

But with news that they wouldn’t be supporting Fibre, and the recent announcement that O2 had sold the business to Sky, I’ve no option but to move. I’ve been with Sky in the past, and whether I had some dodgy hardware I’m not sure, but experience was far from good. Add to that they don’t support fixed IP addresses, means they’re also a none starter.

So, I’m going to give BT a go. God help me. I’m told they’ve improved, plus I’ll get Fibre just as soon as they can be arsed to install it in my local “Cabinet”. They appear to run full ADSL2+ (annexe M) so fingers crossed I shouldn’t be any worse off than I am now.

We’ll see.


NHS 28 day repeat prescriptions

So, I pop to the Doctors to pick up my repeat prescription for two months supply of blood pressure pills. I’ve been doing it for a few years now, and while my dose is now starting to decrease since my exercise campaign of the last couple of years is having a positive effect, I’m told I’ll be on these pills until I’m finally nailed into my box awaiting final dispatch. Anyway, I noticed a carefully stapled note with my my prescription which stated that my next prescription will only be for a one month (28 day) supply.

What are the benefits of 28 day prescribing? Well all sorts of grand words quoted regarding effective patient care, and less drug wastage, government directives and all that, but call me cynical, but at a stroke, I’m now paying double what I’ve been used to. If you’re on a repeat prescription, it’s for a reason surely?  I’m not going to chuck the stuff away? Why can’t they be man enough to simply say we’re desperately short of cash and this is the simplest method we could think of to raise income quickly?

Ok, I can afford it, but it’s yet another indirect tax whittling away at an ever decreasing net disposable income.