Wednesday, December 08, 2010

New Google Groups

If you regularly use Google Reader like I do, the new Google Groups should look familiar. The Favorites feature allow you to drag and drop the groups that you most frequently use. This keeps the list clean unlike the previous version where all the groups are laid out like icons on a desktop.

The settings page remain the same as the previous version. If you need to moderate messages, go to the settings of the group and select management tasks. This redesign didn't get to the news like the Google eBooks, chrome web store, Nexus S and gingerbread. The look and feel of Google products are really starting to come together. If only they could do something with the only thing that sticks out like a sore thumb -- Orkut.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Getting the phone number of your SIM card

If you need to know the phone number of a Sun Cellular SIM card, dial *99# from your phone and it will respond with the phone number. Thanks to suncelltweets for replying. The phone number can be stored in the SIM card and some phones are able to display that. For Globe on a Blackberry, it displayed Unknown number when you press the green phone key. I also tried this on Smart but it did not work. This seems like an operator specific feature and Sun has been able to provide that.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Android 2.1 Eclair on HTC Magic

Finally. I made the leap from official Android 1.5 with HTC Sense to a rooted 2.1 Eclair. The rumors said HTC was going to release an update in March, then May, then June and now September. I had enough of the waiting. Apps (Twitter, NY Times) that run only in 2.0+ were being released and I felt left out. Now, which ROM should I choose? The net pointed to Cyanogen as the most respected Android developer.

I then started to read and reread the instructions on Cyanogen's wiki. You'll be asked to download a total of 9 files. I had done the Gold Card method before so I didn't need to do it again. The rooting and upgrade to 5.0.7 took a lot less time than expected. Everything went smoothly and I was able to boot into Eclair after about an hour of work.

Everything was faster and more responsive than before. The look and feel was actually very nice. There were some things I missed like the Sense Gallery, the built-in Facebook-Contacts integration, the Sense calendar widget, the Sense bookmarks widget and the Teeter game. The upgrade, on the other hand, gave me Gesture Search, multiple Gmail account integration, Twitter, a faster browser and Google Maps with buzz support.

A day later, Cyanogen released 5.0.8. The upgrade was a simple case of downloading 2 files, copying it to the SD card, rebooting into recovery mode and applying the zip updates. After the update, I rebooted to a 5.0.8 and the ADW.launcher was waiting for me. The upgrade was well worth it and would recommend it to anyone in the Philippines with an HTC Magic. A few weeks from now, Cyanogen would probably have Froyo ready for use.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My Android Apps

After more than a month of installing and uninstalling apps in my HTC Magic, I have the following recommendations. This doesn't include the native apps (People, Browser, Camera, etc.)

Most Used

  1. NewsRob - syncs to Google Reader, for my daily news
  2. Aldiko - reading ebooks, in ePub format, used together with Calibre (desktop application)
  3. Seesmic - twitter client, better than Peep because it shows more tweets on the screen
  4. Facebook - you know this
  5. 3banana - used for storing notes that syncs with a web client
  6. Astrid
  7. gStrings
Sometimes Used
  1. Google Maps
  2. Barcode Scanner - for checking barcode quality
  3. KeePassDroid - password keeper
  4. Evernote - this would have been most used if it had offline capability
  5. Foursquare - still testing this out, also on my blackberry
  6. GPS Status
  7. Abduction
  8. ActionPotato
  9. Robo Defense
  10. Advanced Task Killer Free
Rarely Used
  1. Astro
  2. Google Translate
  3. Google Sky Map
  4. Gem Miner
  5. Frozen Bubble
  6. Fring
  7. CadreBible
  8. Graviturn
  9. Handcent SMS
  10. handyCalc
  11. Jewels
  12. Loops Lite
  13. My Tracks
  14. PapiJump
  15. PapiMissile
  16. PicSay
  17. PhotoPuzzle
  18. Mobile
  19. Puzzle Blox Arcade
  20. Ringdroid
  21. RipChord
  22. Shopper
  23. SMS Backup
  24. Solo Lite
  25. Zebra Paint
  26. WorkItOut
  27. CardioTrainer
  28. Compass
  29. Currency Converter

Thursday, January 14, 2010

HTC Magic ROM Upgrade

I got the black HTC Magic from Smart last December. It came with the stock android 1.5 OS when it came out of the box with no Google integration and Android Market. I am pretty sure the average phone user will be turned off from what they see. There are absolutely no interesting applications included. I wouldn't be surprised why this was one of the slowest selling models in Smart. They started offering this unit for P3500 in Plan 3500. I believe it is now free under Plan 1800.

Fortunately, an HTC Sense ROM upgrade was available at that time. The ROM was posted in the HTC website on November 10. Make sure you apply the Singapore/Philippines ROM and not the Malaysia/Indonesia/Vietnam one as that one does not have Market. My unit was apparently registered as a Malaysia model and I couldn’t download the Singapore/Philippines ROM. Communicating with HTC and Smart was not at all helpful and gave me canned responses. I couldn't download the Singapore/Philippines ROM (update Dec 26, 2011): you may now download the ROM without entering a serial number at when I entered my serial number, so I contacted HTC support and they replied:
Thanks for contacting HTC.

With regards of your query, we have checked the SN you provided, it is shipped to Malaysia, you might want to use the below link to download it

Please be informed that the phone will not come with Android Market application after upgrading.


I was able to download and apply the Malaysia ROM and it did not include Android Market. I settled for SlideME to install apps but it was too limiting. The forums said that the Singapore ROM had Market so I contacted HTC again to help me get the Singapore/Philippines ROM. They replied:

Thanks for contacting HTC.

With regards of your query, you need to talk to the store that you bought the phone from to see if they can arrange with replacing a new phone.


Now I wrote to Smart Customer Care who replied 2 days later: "Kindly visit any Smart Wireless Center for this to be checked over the counter." Based on prior experience, I doubt they even know what the phone is. I am sure they will just tell me that they will have to refer this to someone else.

I decided to take things into my own hands. I was able to download the Singapore/Philippines ROM upgrade using a serial number I got from the net. When I ran the RUU upgrade, it aborted with a CID check error. I followed the instructions for the gold card method to override the carrier id check and the ROM upgraded proceeded smoothly. It even configured Smart APNs correctly. I presume this should work with HTC Magics of other countries as long as the hardware is identical.

After the upgrade, it will prompt you for your google username and password and that’s when everything becomes interesting. Market is now available and you get HTC Sense. It is now a thing of beauty. With the upcoming Android 2.1 upgrade in the horizon, things should get even better.