Wi-Fi connection issues with Smartphones and devices

Just thought I’d pass this on to those with Smartphone activation or Wi-Fi issues.
About a month ago I had LOADS of problems trying to get two new Samsung Galaxy S4 phones activated.

My Wi-Fi would drop off after just a few moments or minutes at the longest. After a few days, I started to RMA and send back two phones trying to get them to work. Besides some issues with flashing firmware, which I resolved, I could not get the phone(s) to finish setting up because of the data connection problems.

Then I chatted with another geek like me on a tech forum and he said he had problems with his phones on one of his home’s routers.
And, because his Wi-Fi kept disconnecting it caused all kinds of problems during setup. His ‘solution’ was to get a new wireless router.

Since I can’t let things like this beat me I decided to do even more research.
His comment about the router got me to thinking about the routers in my place.
So I turned off the old Linksys with customized DDWRT firmware and tried connecting to my DLink DIR655. Nope. Still had issues with losing connectivity. And I could not finish activating/updating phone.

So, following up on the ‘connection/Wi-Fi’ premise I did some more searching and found two articles.
First one is here.

Key for me in this article was this one line,
"The company suggested that customers using the DIR-655 or the DIR-855 could mitigate the problem in the meantime by logging into the web interface and disabling the Wireless Multimedia Extensions (WME, also known as Wi-Fi Multimedia or WMM)."

I made that one change – disable WMM on the DLink, and the phone stayed connected to WiFi! I was able to finish the carrier/phone activation and commence synching!

The other article, here, mentions upgrading firmware on the DLink:
Haven’t tried the new firmware for the DLink but I probably will soon enough. Here’s to hoping all goes well.

So now here is a catch. iOS 6 (iPhone) supposedly requires WMM compliance. However some are saying that they too get much better speeds and stability by disabling this setting too. You can read about that here. So if you have an iDevice you might want to check into this setting on your router.

Well good luck. Hope this helps some of you all.

Android ICS on Epic 4G Touch (Sprint’s Galaxy SII)

Here, I am going to show how to Root you Epic 4G Touch phone with the latest leaked Android build (FF18) and add a custom recovery kernel called Clockwork Mod – CWM. Please read this entire long winded but detailed post before you even begin downloading anything to make sure you have a grasp on the whole processes. [This is primarily for a few family members and close friends who’ve asked me but I figured more of you might be interested so here it is.]

Before we begin you should probably do this if you haven’t already; register for an account (free) on the XDA-Developers site. This site is the go to site for everything in phone development and tweaking. I originally used this site to hack my Treo phones, then Windows Mobile and now Android devices. This post contains information directly from XDA’s site. ALL credit to any and everything here should go to the developers and contributors there! I just tried to tie this into one location for one specific purpose for those that asked.

Also I’m providing this tutorial for ONE specific Android phone – the Epic 4G Touch (Sprint USA’s iteration of the Samsung Galaxy S2 device). Virtually every phone is different; even the ‘same phone’ but on different carriers are different. For example the Samsung Galaxy S2 on AT&T is different than the Samsung Galaxy S2 on Sprint and T-Mobile. So using the wrong firmware/software and rooting/tweaking methods – those not specifically for your phone make, model and carrier can/will turn you nice new expensive device into a really neat shiny and expensive paper weight.

The video that they now include for sign up should definitely be watched! 🙂

Although the information I provide here is detailed and accurate you still have the slight possibility of ‘bricking’ your device – paperweight reference again 😉 I provide no guarantees or warranties as to how this will work for you.

If you’re on a Gingerbread version of Android – 2.3.x (EL29 most likely) you can easily ‘jump’ ahead and flash your phone to ICS 4.0.x with the ‘One-Click’ method.

If you’ve read my previous articles on rooting you probably already have root access and have hopefully installed Titanium backup.

You can use Titanium to do a full backup of your applications (and settings too but we won’t use system apps or settings for a restore to the new version; just applications)And before you begin I recommend using Titanium to back up your applications.

If you don’t have root you can do the following, just in case something goes awry and we need to do a ‘full RESET data wipe. Doing the ‘Preserve Data’ upgrade you should not have need for any of this. But I’m a stickler for backups:

Install App List Backup from Market, run it and save a list of all your apps. This saves the list of installed apps so you can re-download them from the Market later. This way, your apps still show up in downloads (My Apps in Google Play/Martket) and receive updates.

Install SMS Backup and Restore from Market, run it and backup your SMS history.

Install Call Logs Backup and Restore from Market, run it and backup your call log history. [Note that Google does this and you may not want or need this]

The ONLY change was the addition of ROOT to the ROM. This will NOT trigger the Yellow Triangle NOR will it increment the ODIN flash count. This does NOT have the issue with the USB jig being disabled. [I have condensed this guide from sfhub on XDA from these posts here and here.]

what is a build number and what does it mean? The build number tells you when it was released.

Example:

EG30 (Gingerbread 2.3.4) Was released/shipped 07-30-2011

EL13 (Gingerbread 2.3.6) released 12-13-2011/ EL29 (Gingerbread 2.3.6) released 12-29-2011

[E=year – 2011 L=month – December and 13=Date]

So Build FF18 is an Ice Cream Sandwich build of Android – 4.0.4. Built June 18, 2012]

1) Prerequisites Checklist
Phone charged above 70%. Uninstall or disable ANY Android Antivirus software you may have (add it back later if you want)

Good USB cable

Get 7-zip and install it on your PC  (right-click and install as Administrator)

Samsung [USB/Android drivers] are INSTALLED
Phone is connected to USB port and recognized.

Please DISABLE any PIN code (LockScreen etc.) you may have created to protect your phone. As a security measure, after the flash, Android will ask you for your PIN, if you have one enabled. It is simpler to have no PIN active.

2) Download the FF18 full restore One-Click self-extractor

a. SPH-D710.FF18_CL663858_ROOTED_NODATA-oc-sfx.exe (This version ‘PRESERVES’ user data) There is also a ‘RESET’ user data/full wipe version available at the xda post by sfhub.)

b. [MD5: 14ac16b15ef819af73b997a718134aea / Size: 310,594,612]

3) Extract the package
double-click on the self-extractor file, specify the directory to extract to (instructions assume C:\)

4) 4) Start ODIN One-Click
Navigate to C:\Odin-OC
NoData: Double-click on SPH-D710.FF18_CL663858_ROOTED_NODATA-OneClick.exe
Note #1: On Windows &, you MUST right-click on the file and Run as Administrator.

5) Place phone in ODIN download mode

Make sure your phone is NOT connect to PC yet

Power down phone completely

Wait for capacitive button lights to turn off

Simultaneously Press and Hold [Power] [VolDn] until confirmation screen appears

Then Press [VolUp] to enter Download mode

NOW

Connect USB cable to PC if not already connected

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ODIN should show yellow COM port in 2nd column (Doesn’t matter what the COM number is)

6) Start ODIN flash process
Press [Start]
7) Complete – PASS!
When complete you should see a screen similar to what is shown at top of post
Phone will automatically reboot
Status should change to green PASS!
Boot process will be slightly longer than usual during which time you’ll see the 4G logo screen. You will also likely see a screen saying ‘updating android….’

Next we’ll add CWM (ClockworkMod) by using Option D in the Auto Root Package to install FF11+CWM-agat (you are already rooted so Option A is not necessary)

1) Prerequisites Checklist

Make sure that USB Debugging is ENABLED – [Menu->Settings->Applications->Development->USB debugging]
USB Storage Mode is OFF – [Drag down the notification bar and tap on “USB Connected” – should be off by default – looks like this:

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2) Download the E4GT automated rooting package e4gtauto.zip

UNZIP to top-level directory of your C: drive
Note #1: zergrush is a known exploit being used to root your phone. Your Anti-Virus software may quarantine or cause the download to be incomplete. Disable your Anti-Virus software if needed so the download can complete.

3) Run the E4GT automated rooting package:

Use Windows file explorer to navigate to C:\e4gtauto and double-click on RUNFIRST.bat and select Option D

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Then Option ‘U’

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Then finish.

Disconnect your phone, reboot and you will now have a ‘Stock Rooted FF11 based phone WITH a custom recovery (CWM) installed.

You will now be able to install and run applications that require ‘root access’ such as Titanium Backup; my number one recommended application for any Android device.

Here is a GREAT video showing you how to use the ‘One-Click install method by sfhub.

Please note that this video is for an earlier release and so the links are not to be used; use the ones I provided above. But the process is exactly the same!

Video here

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IL21F8Gfbs

 

And here is another video by Qbking77 on how to install CWM (as described above).

(Again note that the version demonstrated here is old but the process is the same.)

Video here

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZRnH-_XZmM

 

Also on Ice Cream Sandwich there is a major change in how the device is recognized by windows; a mode called MTP is now the default vs USB which is how most devices are usually seen.

Read here

This can confuse and frustrate people. I prefer USB storage mode.

Fortunately sfhub comes to the rescue with his ‘AutoRoot’ package (the one above)

The Auto Root package has a solution for you. Under “Extra Options” of the main menu, there are 2 choices that affect ICS mass storage:

1) Enable ICS USB Mass Storage Mode

2) Enable ICS USB MTP Mode

These are mutually exclusive options. If you enable one, you disable the other.

To get GB USB Mass Storage behavior, choose the first option (USB Mass Storage Mode). This option once chosen, will be persistent through reboots and is stored in your Android User Data. It will only get reset if you reset your Android User Data or manually choose a different mode.

Here is a review of the older leaked build (FF02) but it has many of the functions of ICS described. And some of the ‘bugs’ have also been removed.

Good tutorial of what ClockworkMod (CWM) is here.

And how to Create and restore a Nandroid (image back up).

How to Boot to recovery – power off the phone completely.

Hold the volume up + the power button till you see the first Samsung logo; usually 6 to 7 seconds, and let go.

You’ll now be in recovery/CWM.

Now for some additional fun and features I added a custom ROM on top of the stock rooted one.

I like Agat’s ROM. It is lightly themed, has some speed and batter tweaks and over all just works great for me.

You can get it here:

http://d-h.st/ktf

Download and check the MD5 sum to make sure you got the whole thing. Copy it to your SD card.

Then shutdown you phone.

Then boot to recovery – Power on button + Volume Up button until you see the first Galaxy SII screen and let go.

The in the recovery menu choose install zip from SD card. Navigate to that tFF18_v0.1.0.zip file and click on it and choose to install. After the install you can then reboot into the system.

Some important notes:

You may have to go to Settings>Language and Inputs>Keyboards and select the Swipe keyboard and check the language settings and if it’s default.

THEN go into Settings>Applications>All and scroll to Swipe. Hold on it till options come up and clear data. Swipe should then work in all applications.

Also I always check the MD5 sum of all my downloads to ensure that I have the whole entire file. And when I copy files to my SD card I recheck the sum to make sure the entire file copied and did not get corrupted.

What is and MD5 Sum? Md5 is a unique cryptographic ‘hash’ used to check and to test for the integrity of your files from any degradation in both their physical and digital copies. If the hash for your file is different than what is supplied to you, the file is damaged / corrupted / tampered with.

I use this very simple MD5 hash checker to insure that the file(s) I’ve downloaded are complete and the ones originally posted.

I use the standalone version in the zip file (extracted to a folder).

You can of course use the installer version – it includes the User Manual which will probably benefit most!

MD5 Checker is simple and easy to use. Start MD5 Checker and select the file that you want to check. The chosen file’s MD5 hash is automatically generated and displayed. Then obtain the published MD5 hash for that program (from the trusted source). Copy the published MD5 hash on to the Clipboard and click on the MD5 Check button. The published hash is automatically pasted in from the Clipboard and a check made. The result of the check is then displayed.

Here is a list of my currently installed applications if any of you care.

Well happy flashing and enjoy. Peace out.

Fix Running out of Internal Storage Space Android devices

Have you ever received an error stating that “you are running low on storage space” or something to that effect on you Android phone? Then when you check you see that you have what looks like loads of free space on you internal SD card AND your external one too! And then you can’t figure out what is causing that error notification and you are not sure what you are to do?

Like most people, you probably do some research on the net. And in most of the first responses/search results you see people start telling you that you need to either uninstall and remove applications or even ‘move’ some application to the external SD card? Well DONT DO THAT YET! As with most stuff on the internet not all that makes it to the top of the search results is good advice or even close to correct!

But fret not. There is a solution you can use FIRST that is much simpler and probably the RIGHT one. [Don’t get me wrong, you may actually have way too many applications and if your device is rooted (and if it’s not why not?) you can actually move most of your downloaded applications to an external SD card. But that is for another post]

I’m going to add a few ‘pre’ steps here.

1st do a full Titanium Pro backup. [Read through my previous posts about this application.] In case you clear the cache and settings of an application that absolutely needed you can restore the data via Titanium! Saved me having to re-enter all my book marks and settings in my browsers (Dolphin HD and Firefox)! Simply opened Titanium and chose Backup/Restore, found the application in question and restored data. BAM done.

2nd I’d do a full CWM backup. I’m a believer in images. [all you have to do is read through my blog to figure that out.] If you don’t have a custom CWM based recovery don’t worry. Titanium should be all you need.

OK, So let’s free up loads of space by clearing application caches and data stores.

By clearing the cache that some applications use, you can reclaim quite a lot of storage space!

Go to Settings >

01

  • Applications >

02

  • Manage applications

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  • on your Android. Press the Menu button and select the Sort by size option. If you’re on Android 2.2 or above, select the All tab first.
  • Select/Click on a chosen application and from the Application info screen.
  • To check if an application has a cache, select it in the list and it will be stated on the resulting screen. To clear a cache, simply press the Clear cache button. You may also clear an app’s ‘data’. This will not only clear the cache, but also all the data the app has generated. Basically, when you select Clear data you’re “hard resetting” the app. You will be warned that settings and ‘databases’ will be deleted and you will possibly be required to ‘re-enter’ in information – that is OK. It is what you want.

03 

  • A couple of apps that may have a cache (and data) of several MB or more are Facebook, Maps, Market, Internet, Media and Gallery.
  • For example, I reclaimed 1.2GB!! by erasing the data for Media Storage. It forced my some of my media apps to rescan and locate all my stuff again, but the associated data for Media Storage was still much smaller in size than before I cleared it.
  • I also did this for my Facebook application and cleared 20MB of data. I did have to re-enter my credentials and settings (contacts sync yes or no etc..) when I first launched the application again but WOW, it is much faster now!.

There are some ‘Cache Cleaner’ applications available in the market. You can search and check them out. But why waste time – and more storage for that matter. When you can do it easily as above every few months or so to keep things snappy. Plus I have found most ‘helper/optimizer application whether for PCs, Mac, iPhones or Android are usually a complete waste. There are a few worthwhile applications and utilities – I do use some, but they are ones usually reserved for true developers and or uber geeks like me. And when I find those I will usually post about them.

I hope this helps some. I know I get asked about it often.

Peace out and be productive and have fun!

More Free Cloud Storage

I like free and I like options.
I already have written about Microsoft’s awesome SkyDrive storage previously here along with other options here.

I really like using DropBox to hold my Titanium Backup files; my Android phone (Rooted Samsung Galaxy SII/Epic 4G Touch) synchronizes my nightly automated Titanium Pro backups to DropBox. This provide me with one more source for me to have access to my phone applications and settings should they get hosed or I need to ‘go back’ to them.

Right now you can get a whopping 50GB Free lifetime storage from Box.net. The forever part is crucial here, since it’s not some gimmick offer that’ll turn into a lemon after a few months of use. The space is yours to keep. Plus the file size limit gets a bump to 100MB, up from 25MB, if you get the app before March 23, 11:59PM. There are no strings attached, either; just download the app and sign in or create a new account FROM YOUR PHONE FIRST to get the free storage, which is then accessible from any device — not just your Android phone. They ran a promotion like this for the iPhone 4S a while back too. I hope you iPhoners got that.

SC20120223-140934

I use many of these cloud services to store data – documents, pictures and encrypted files that I can ‘afford’ to lose. I have loads of photos, technical documents, class/school work and other notes stored. However I don’t store ANY vital information in ANY cloud service; ever. No passwords or keys, no bank account information etc.. I just don’t trust anybody to be safe with my data like I would. But they provide an invaluable service for sharing and collaborating with family, friends and associates.

So take advantage of this while you can and utilize technology to be more productive and have more fun!

[As a footnote. I have the Dropbox, Skydrive and Box.com applications installed on all my machines – BUT they are not set to start at startup and I run/turn them on manually every couple of days. I personally leave VERY few connections to the ‘outside’ world open on any of my systems. Especially ones that I have no direct control over. You may not care, but I’m the ultra paranoid type of guy. You know the type who has worked in the IT security industry for a few decades who might have an idea of what is safe and reasonable. Smile with tongue out ]

Android Sensor Applications

Modern Smartphone’s are amazing! And I really love my latest – Epic 4g Touch (Sprint’s implementation of the Samsung Galaxy S2).

This thing rivals, and in some cases exceeds, the capability found in full blown laptops of just a few years ago. What makes Smartphone’s like these so amazing is the massive amounts of ‘sensors’ these devices now contain.
Most have GPS, accelerometers, gyroscopes, light sensors and  more! All in a little hand held form factor. Oh, and they can actually make calls to just about anywhere from just about anywhere.

There are many tools and applications available to help you fully utilize these capabilities and features. Here are some that I use.

Metal Detector application – exactly what is sounds like. Make sure you calibrate it. [which by the way is NOT a gimmick and does work!].

Google StarMap Point your phone at the sky, and Google Sky Map will show the stars, planets, constellations, and more to help you identify the celestial objects in view. You can also browse the skies in manual mode.

GPS Status & Toolbox – not only is this a cool GPS device I’ve found that it is great for resolving other GPS issues; like when you navigation or maps app won’t ‘lock on’ to your location. Simply launch it and reset it or download A-GPS data regularly to keep your GPS fast and hassle free.

AndroSensor A tool that lets you know virtually everything about your device’s status. If you want to see what sensors your Android device actually has AND see what information they are recording/seeing check it out.

Radioactivity Counter Let’s you turn your Android device into a Geiger counter! For real. I may try this app that sounds pretty incredible. You can read more about it here.

Once again HERE is a list of applications installed and the current configuration of my phone.

That’s all for now. Just thought I’d throw up some of these for reference.

Backing up Android phones

I’ve said this before many times before and I’ll keep on saying it, – back your sh$t up! If you do not have a backup solution for your digital information and devices, it is just a matter of time before you lose it/them and are screwed (or at least severely compromised).
I have written numerous posts on how to back up your Mac or Windows machines – just search my blog for those. Here I wanted to get into backing up your Smartphone.

These days most people have a wealth of information on their cell phones. Particularly the latest smart phones. These are now full featured computers that contain so much information it is truly incredible. Once one has upgraded or purchased a phone, gone through the process of getting it configured to their liking, adjusting all the system settings/functions and installed and configured applications it really sucks to have to do it all over again if you ever lose your phone and have to replace it, have to ‘wipe’ your phone (whether it’s done remotely for security reasons or by a store technician) or have an application issues that causes system crashes. And sometimes you can never seem to get all of your applications and settings back to where they were.

Enter Titanium Backup. This is the must have application for every Android phone. AND the number one reason (in my opinion) to ‘root’ your phone. With the simple ‘One-Click’ root available for most Android phones that Idescribed here it is very simple to gain root access. Once you’ve rooted your phone head over to Android Market and install it. The basic application is free and can do most things you will need. But I would still recommend buying the Pro Key to add a few other VERY powerful features.

The users guide can be found here. And a pretty decent video is here (pay particular attention to the point of ‘freezing apps’ around the 1:43 mark).

Here is another very good (and long/detailed) review and tutorial on the many benefits and functions of the Pro Version. I’d suggest you watch it for some fantastic tips and maybe some other uses for your situation(s).

Take your time and figure out this application and please USE IT. I have mine set up to back up every night locally and to DropBox (only available on the Pro Version). But I’m a back up fiend, you may be OK with weekly backups.

I also have used this to ‘Freeze’ applications and actually uninstall carrier ‘bloatware’ and crap hogging up data and space. SOME CARRIER APPS ARE ROBBING YOU OF YOUR CARRIER DATA LIMITS AND YOU MAY NOT KNOW IT! (more on that in my next post!)

Manage Applications – Freezing and uninstalling with Titanium

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List of apps

Tapping the “Backup/Restore” button brings you to the application list – or rather the list of available “items”. Here you can see which applications and settings are available on your phone, and what has already been backed up (the symbols to the right tell you the latter – hit your phones menu button and select “Legend” for details on what they mean).

Tapping an application brings up a popup from which you can select actions to be taken with the selected item: You can e.g. run an application, back it up, and restore it (or its settings). You also may also decide to un-install the application – even if it is a system app! But with the latter, you should be very careful: Remove the wrong thing, and your phone may start malfunctioning; which is why you should first try whether it’s safe to remove that system application. This can be done by “freezing” it.

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Properties of a backup

Freezing is only available with the PRO/Donate version. It makes the application unavailable to the system without deleting it. If your phone starts with some strange behavior, you can simply “defrost” the frozen application, and everything should be fine again.
Tapping-and-Holding brings up a different set of choices, but again just concerning the tapped (and held) application: You can search for all files belonging to it, view the app in the market, re-create the market link, if it does no longer appear in your market downloads (or do the opposite, detach it from the market), or move it between internal and SD storage – even if the app does not officially support this.

I’ve added another list of applications I have installed with direct Android Market links and QR codes again for those few who asked here.

I hope this helps some of you who have asked.

Some more notes on the Samsung Galaxy S2

After helping a friend for a very short time with her new phone; initial setup and one-click root downloading a few applications and such. I realized that many of the simple things I did to my phone to make it so kick ass and incredibly usable, I had already forgot how to do quickly and efficiently.

And one of the really cool things about Android 2.3.x devices is that you can configure your home screens AND which order they are displayed and which one is the default one.
So here are some tips for just that – set the home screen(s):

Pinch the home screen. you will then see all your ‘home’ screens. [you can ‘shuffle them around if you like by placing your finger on them and rotating them]

Then click on the ‘menu’ button’ – lower left one at the bottom. This will bring up a option “Set as Home”, click on it then..
Pick the home screen you want to be your primary/first home screen – it will ‘light up’.

Then click on the ‘Done’ item at the bottom of the screen. (don’t click on delete!).

Then simply click on the ‘Home’ menu button (bottom of phone second from left) and voila, You now have the home screen of your choice!
Here is a video of the process (sorry for the blurriness)

And here is a good link with way more in depth information and VERY good video at the bottom. Video alone is worth checking this out.

Also the Galaxy S2 is a really durable device; especially the Super AmoLED+ display. If you don’t believe me, you must check out this short video! It should make any iPhoner cringe.

But of course I still got a case for my phone.

I bought 4 of these things from Amazon. The are models for all Samsungs, here is the AT&T one. I love how slim this is and it fits snuggly. I’m sure that if I continually open and close it (to insert different/new micro sd cards), that it will ‘wear out’. But for the price it simply can’t be beat. Already dropped my phone a few times and it has kept it from scratches or nicks. I’m going to by a few more to have on hand. Like I said for this price it’s silly not to have a couple.

Although the glass is very strong I think I am still going to get a cover for the screen anyways and see if they have any effect on the touch functioning.
Found some highly rated ones here. Sprint or AT&T

Some other items you might consider;

An additional wall charger and car charger.

High quality micro USB cable. I have mentioned before of the need to make sure you have a HIGH quality data cable(s). These often make the difference of being able to quickly and easily sync/connect devices and hour of frustration trying to figure out ‘why’ your device is not quite recognized. Here is one such cable.

Well that’s it for now have fun.

Amazingly Simple One-Click Android root

This is a follow up on my previous post(s) about rooting your android phone.
I posted some specifics for my personal phone – Epic 4G Touch (Sprints version of the Samsung Galaxy S2) here

Now comes an incredibly simple one click ‘root’ that looks like it will work to ‘root’ a WHOLE BUNCH of Android phones (including the Epic 4G Touch) with incredible ease!
Check this site OUT!

Directions are DEAD SIMPLE.
Follow – in order, and you will gain ‘root access’ to your phone with out changing ANYTHING else! That means that you will then be able to install applications that require ‘root’ system access.

Make sure as it states in step 1 to set the device to USB Debugging Mode.

Download the application here.

Follow the directions and MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A HIGH QUALITY USB CABLE! Poor quality cables are the cause of MANY failed updates and connection issues!! I was having problems gettin my friends AT&T Galaxy S2 to root till I switched USB cables to a higher quality one. But once did get the good cable the root process took only a few minutes!

So now that you have root access here are the things you should do/get first.

1st:
Superuser: An application from the Android Market. lets you manage superuser (root user) permissions; this is the first app a newly rooted phone needs installed on it allowing you to approve/disapprove of applications install access permissions. This should be already installed via the root process but you can check if it is there by looking in the applications. If not try downloading and installing if it won’t install it means your are not rooted.

Root Explorer: [Market Link] This is a File Manager ($3.80): shows you the files you can now access as a root user.

Titanium Backup root [Market Link] This backs up all your apps, removes bloatware, and otherwise helps you manage apps. And break down and spend the money for the Pro Key for Titanium. As I have mentioned a few times in other posts this app alone is reason enough alone to root your phone!!
I believe it is inexcusable to NOT have your data systems backed up – regularly and fully! I am going to provide a follow up of how to use this application to it’s fullest for backups and recovery. [stay tuned]

Wireless Tether for Root Users [Market Link] This turns your phone into a mobile hotspot. [Use this application at your own risk. It is possible that use of this program may violate your carrier’s Terms of Service.]

I hope some find this helpful. I plan on helping many of my friends with other Android phones get the benefits of having a root access with such great ease!

Epic 4g Touch EL26 Modem/Kernel/ROM – Full Restore – Rooted

Sprint has been trying to ‘push’ a system update to my phone for a couple of weeks – one that is supposed to fix many ‘bugs’ such as LOS (loss of signal) some where having and improve overall performance by updating the phone to Android version 2.6.3.

I have already ‘rooted’ my phone as I described in a previous article using this method with this file.

Even though the ‘root’ I did was the Stock ROM with just the addition of enabling full root access with recovery options, I was leery of running any ‘stock’ updates. Most cell providers have done a piss poor job of pushing out updates and my research showed this update was indeed causing more problems than it was supposed to fix!

So I waited and researched for further updates and ‘custom/patched’ fixes from the great folks at XDADevelopers Forum and the ACS team. My patience and research paid off.

Because my phone is already rooted I am able to use Titanium Backup Pro http://bit.ly/pLtba8 to back up all my application AND settings. I do this nightly to the local SD card AND to Dropbox (pretty much the only reason I use Dropbox actually).

If you want ANY reason why I believe you must root your Android phone, it is for the ability to use this application! If you install nothing else that requires root access or make any customizations you still win if you use Titanium. [OK so major plugging done.]

The guys at XDA now have a full ‘One-Click’ root available here.

I backed my data using Titanium (just in case!) then set about updating my phone following the easy to use (and very precise) directions. I chose the ‘NoData’ package – to preserve all my applications and settings! [but remember I still have my backup just in case!]

Following the instructions it worked flawlessly!!

Then to install even more recovery options (the Clockworkmod – a full system imaging tool!) I followed the directions here. They are simple and precise too. After the update and all the reboots system is up and running WITHOUT ANY ISSUES.

My download speed for both 3G and 4G have increased. My 3G data speed doubled – modem really made a difference!
The responsiveness of the phone is now even faster. Switching between applications and screens is faster and smoother too!

Super video on the ‘Rooting’ using the one-click root little faster than what I originally did!

Once the update to EL26 was complete I installed the Clockwork Mod exactly as described above and laid out in this awesome video below.

The guys at ACS and XDA are GREAT! I can’t thank them enough. To download and access some files you might be required to register for each forum. Both are free and the process is painless – do it!

Well there it is. I hope someone else finds this useful. Peace

My adventures in a phone upgrade part 2 the root and apps

I wrote about my phone adventure recently here  so I won’t go into WHY I needed a device that I could ‘completely control’ and have full access to. Suffice it to say I must be able to have complete access to the system I own without artificial limitations from the manufacturer or service provider. I want to use my hardware and software to its fullest potential. Humor to illustrate:)

 

I chose the Sprint Epic 4G Touch as my device. I loved the technical specs and knew from research that it would be easy to root and customize.

With Android devices there are so many different options to customize, tweak and really make the device your own, that it can be overwhelming. There are dozens of ROMs available and even subcategories of the main ones!

But there are some basic and simple tools to at least give you root access enough to be able to install ‘non-approved’ or custom applications and get a taste of freedom from the hardware manufacturer and service provider (ATT, sprint, Verizon etc.)

One of the most important things for me was the ability to be able to totally and completely back up the device – operating system, applications and settings; the WHOLE thing. I need to know that my system is backed up nightly (to the SD card AND the ‘Cloud’) and can be restored in a matter of minutes. I do not want to have to take a trip to a ‘corporate store’ or have to send my device away to be ‘reloaded or reset’. If an update – pushed from my carrier or other application, locks up or otherwise makes my device unusable. I have only one phone so I cannot be without it for any extended period of time.

So my quest led me to first just ‘root’ the stock ROM. Essentially giving me full root access but keeping the rest of the original Stock Sprint ROM. This way the only really operating system customization I was messing with was the actual ability to install and use non-approved applications or ones that require more system access than the carriers want to give you; like the ones for full system backups!

I must give credit here to the folks at these sites; XDA Developers, PPC Geeks and ACS, have a plethora of options, files and techniques for customizing your phone. Full access to these sites and their links and files is free with simple email sign up. I would recommend spending a few weekends just ‘looking’ through their sites; read the FAQs and poke through the different topics, tutorials and guides. You will learn a lot. I have spent years going through XDA and PPC Geeks learning so much about phones and systems.

I used the method and files found here: Stock root or Epic 4G

[Take note that you may need a new GOOD USB cable. I have had SO MANY USB devices report as ‘failed’ or ‘not fully connected’ when it turns out that all that was needed was a better cable! I have spent hours with clients trying to connect printers, phones, cameras etc., installing driver after driver, tool after tool etc.. When all that was needed was a good cable. DO NOT TAKE THIS TIP LIGHTLY! GET A FEW GOOD CABLES!]

OK so after flashing/rooting your device all will still look the same except you should now have a new application called ‘Superuser’ installed; this shows that you now have root access. You can download it here if it does not show up. It will only install if you do indeed have full access to your system.

After insuring that I had root access to my phone, the first application I installed was Titanium Backup AND I bought the Pro Key ($6.00 well spent!). This allows for full backups to the SD card(s) AND to Dropbox ‘the cloud'[I only use Dropbox for this purpose]. I have it set to back up my system nightly to the SD card and Drop Box. Now if I want to experiment with another ROM I can load it (via one of many methods from those great sites; probably ODIN) and if it doesn’t work out then I can reload the Stock ROM as above and reload my full back up and I’m good to go!

I then loaded and installed AppBrain Android market app here. Account is free and easy to set up.

Since I am an IT guy the most important app for me was my LogMeIn application. It was also my most expensive but well worth it. It is an amazing tool! After that the next best application I paid for was iSync. It allows me to sync iTunes playlists and libraries to my phone! AND it works better than I have ever seen iTunes work with any iDevice either.

So below is a list of all the applications I have currently on my phone. Many came pre-installed (Sprint) and some I got on the Android Market ‘daily deals’ for only $.10. I included the links to the applications (as they are on AppBrain; most can also be found in the official Android Market too). Check them out  – or don’t but have some fun!

Device: Samsung Epic Touch 4G

Apps: 73 total, 60 free (82%), 13 paid (17%)

Total Size of installed applications :183MB

Total value (at current prices – note that many apps were purchased on specials for only 10 cents U.S.):

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A HIIT Interval Timer
Free 276kb

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ADWLauncher EX
$3.28 1895kb

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Adobe AIR
Free 8575kb

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Adobe Flash Player 11
Free 4583kb

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Adobe Reader
Free 2761kb

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Advanced Task Manager
Free 412kb

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AirDroid
Free 2764kb

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Android Lost
Free 121kb

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AppBrain App Market
Free 724kb

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Auto Mount Your SD Card
Free 68kb

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Barcode Scanner
Free 589kb

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Camera ZOOM FX
$4.85 961kb [$.10]

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Dolphin Browser™ HD
Free 3500kb

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Dropbox
Free 3076kb

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Drudge Report
Free 193kb

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ESPN ScoreCenter
Free 1483kb

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Endomondo Sports Tracker PRO
$4.21 3014kb [$.10]

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FOX News
Free 1447kb

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Facebook for Android
Free 3929kb

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Fast Web Installer
Free 418kb

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Firefox
Free 15019kb

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GPS Status & Toolbox
Free 454kb

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Galaxy Core 3D LiveWallpaper
Free 994kb

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Gmail
Free 2147kb

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Google Books
Free 2381kb

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Google Docs
Free 2557kb

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Google Maps
Free 6379kb

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Google Reader
Free 1673kb

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Google Search
Free 608kb

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Google Shopper
Free 3131kb

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Google Sky Map
Free 2212kb

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Google Voice
Free 4304kb

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Gwang-Ju Subway
Free 81kb

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Jota Text Editor
Free 547kb

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KeePassDroid
Free 996kb

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Keyboard from Android 2.3
Free 1744kb

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Kindle
Free 9362kb

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LogMeIn Ignition
$29.99 2578kb

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Lovely Beach Live Wallpaper

$.10 13277kb

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Lovely Sky Live Wallpaper
$.10 7914kb

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MoboPlayer
Free 3426kb

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MyAppsList
Free 37kb

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OI File Manager
Free 172kb

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Opera Mobile web browser
Free 12881kb

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PdaNet 3.02
Free 117kb

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ROM Manager
Free 2375kb

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ROM Manager (Premium)
$5.99 42kb

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Remote Control Add-on
Free 560kb

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Remote Web Desktop
Free 2460kb

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Root Explorer (File Manager)
$4.06 272kb

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Root er
Free 662kb

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SMS Backup +
Free 1135kb

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SkyDrive Browser
Free 301kb

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Skype – free video calling
Free 11828kb

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Speedtest.net
Free 3063kb

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Sprint Mobile Wallet
Free 328kb

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Street View on Google Maps
Free 281kb

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SwiftKey X Keyboard
$4.06 [$.10] 4903kb

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Swype Keyboard
Free 1994kb

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Tabata Sport Interval Timer
Free 204kb

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TeamViewer for Remote Control
Free 1786kb

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Terminal Emulator
Free 28kb

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Tiny Flashlight + LED
Free 1668kb

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Titanium Backup PRO Key ★ root
$6.16 31kb

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Titanium Backup ★ root
Free 3234kb

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Tuner – gStrings
$2.85 136kb

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Voice Search
Free 2267kb

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YouTube
Free 2182kb

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Zemna AppList Backup
Free 244kb

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iSyncr WiFi Add-On
$0.99 925kb

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iSyncr for PC
$2.99 1983kb

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iris. (alpha)
Free 518kb

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ooVoo Video Call
Free 6327kb

Peace out.