Thursday, September 23, 2010

Install Sprint Visual Voicemail on a Custom ROM

If you've recently installed a custom ROM like CyanogenMOD, you may be missing your Sprint Visual Voicemail app. Getting Sprint Visual Voicemail back is actually pretty easy!

What you'll need:

1) ASTRO File manager (easily downloaded and installed from the Android Market) on your phone
2) The Sprint Visual Voicemail apk

How to:

Step 1) Place the Sprint_VVM.apk in a folder on your phone's sdcard (../downolads is as good a place as any).

Step 2) Launch the ASTRO app and navigate to the Sprint_VVM.apk and tap it.

Step 3) You should be prompted to install it (you might be prompted to allow apps from sources other than the Android Market: you should approve this).

You're done. I noticed that all of the voicemails I've ever received started showing up. Just let them all compile and then delete them all and you're ready to rock.

And that's how you install Sprint Visual Voicemail on a custom ROM

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Blackboard Mobile Learn

It's Fall and if you're in college (or graduate school) one (if not all) of your courses probably utilizes Blackboard. Turns out that a lot of the nation's universities have enabled Blackboard Mobile Learn which is a Blackboard app for your Android Phone! If you've ever tried to use Blackboard with your phone's HTML browser, you know it's a pain. Blackboard Mobile Learn is not a pain. It's Blackboard Academic Suite on your phone, for your phone. So get it!

Step 1) Launch your Android Market and search for "blackboard mobile learn"

Step 2) Install and Launch the app and search for your University and log in using your student credentials.

There you have it. You can launch course documents using your phone's PDF reader and quickoffice. You can join discussions, make the posts you need to make... everything.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Reseting and Calibrating GPS

If you are running a custom ROM (i.e. zen aria, CyanogenMOD, etc), you may be experiencing GPS location problems. This post explains how to fix things.

What you'll need:
1) GPS Status app (can be found in the android market)
2) Data connection
3) A flat, level surface

How to:

Step 1) Launch GPS Status app

Step 2) Select "GPS & Sensors" (under Settings and Configuration)

Step 3) Select "Manage A-GPS state" and tap "Reset".

Step 4) Select "Manage A-GPS state" and tap "Download".

You will be told that information will download as soon as you have a data connection. Since you've got one, you can bet that the data is (or has) downloaded.

Step 5) Place your phone on the flat level surface and tap "Calibrate roll and pitch".

You're done. You can now launch Maps (or whatever you use) and snap to your location. If you're outside, it should snap to your location right away with very little margin for error. If you're inside, it should snap to quite quickly with a slightly larger margin of error. Either way, your GPS is working again.

And there you have it.

UPDATE 9/29/2010: It looks like if you disable your GPS, then you'll have to reset and download the GPS state every time you re-enable your GPS. Kind of a pain. Hopefully CyanogenMOD will fix this at some point in the near future.

I've also noticed that if you are slightly underground (like in a garden apartment) you might get an inaccurate lock. That's also kind of a pain... I suppose that this GPS "problem" is the main complaint with Cyanogen and other custom ROMs.

Installing CyanogenMod Nightlies

This post is a walkthru on how to flash (install) CyanogenMod nightly updates to your HTC Hero for Sprint. It pretty much assumes that you already have CyanogenMod installed in your phone and definitely assumes that you have a rooted device with recovery. There are links in what follows for both a first time installation of CyanogenMOD and recovery. If I personally send you to this post, you've got these things.

What you'll need:

1) Rooted HTC Hero for Sprint with CyanogenMod currently installed.
2) The "Nightly" you'd like to install
3) >30% battery

How to:

Step 1: Download the Nightly of your choice and put it in your phone's root folder.

You just need to download the .zip file. You won't need the .zip.md5sum.txt file associated with the nightly. The publish date for the Nighly is in the "Last Modified" column. As for putting it in your phone's root folder: just plug your phone into your computer and mount your sdcard. When you open your sdcard on the computer, the default directory is the main directory (which is also the root directory). Since you already have Cyanogen installed, you should see a .zip folder toward the bottom of this directory that looks something like this: (where the x's represent the date of the nightly)

Step 2: Reboot your phone into the Recovery Mod.

Since you are already running Cyanogen, you can do this by holding down the power button while on your home screen -> select Reboot -> select Recovery.

Your phone will now reboot into the recovery mod that is installed in your phone.

Step 3: You need to make a backup of your phone's current state.

Do this by selecting "Backup" and then running a nandroid backup (nanbackup). All you'll need to do is confirm the backup with the Home Key. The backup will run and then deposit you at the Backup menu. If this isn't clear, take a look at the post on doing nandroid backups.

Step 4: Press the BACK key and return to the Recovery Menu.

Step 5: Select "Install Zip from sdcard" (whichever option in your Recovery that is most like this one is the one you should select; DO NOT select "apply" or any variation of "update").

Step 6: If you are now at a screen that gives you the option to apply OR choose zip from sdcard, select "choose zip from sdcard". Otherwise, you probably see your available zips. If you are already at a screen that shows your available zips (one of them should be the one you downloaded and placed on your sdcard in Step 1) then skip to Step 7.

Step 7: Select the Nightly that you downloaded and placed on your sdcard in Step 1 and confirm that you would like to install it.

Your phone will now install the Nightly. Once it has finished installing you will be back at the main Recovery menu screen.

Step 8: Select Reboot Phone Now and your phone will reboot.

The first boot-up after the installation of a Nightly can take quite some time. Don't worry, it will finish. Also, remember to reboot your phone a couple of times after the initial install. It takes this ROM a few boots to get up to speed.

And that's how you install a CyanogenMOD Nightly update.

For more information and discussion on CyanogenMOD and Nightly updates, please check out the developer's Wiki and Website.

Friday, September 17, 2010

HTC Android Tablet: Q1-2011?

There's no question: this thing will be running Gingerbread Android 3.0. This is the second tablet in the HTC rumor mill; the other is a tablet running the Chrome OS.

Let's hope so...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Universal Android Root

In keeping with my intention to transition this blog into bigger and brighter things, I present the Universal Root Kit for Android phones.

The following phones are supported by this rooting method:
  • Google Nexus One (2.2)
  • Google G1 (1.6)
  • HTC Hero (2.1)
  • HTC Magic (1.5) (Select Do not install Superuser)
  • HTC Tattoo (1.6)
  • Dell Streak (2.1)
  • Motorola Milestone (2.1)
  • Motorola XT701
  • Motorola XT800 (2.1)
  • Motorola ME511
  • Motorola Droid (2.01/2.1/2.2 with FRG01B)
  • Sony Ericsson X10 (1.6)
  • Sony Ericsson X10 Mini (1.6)
  • Sony Ericsson X10 Mini Pro (1.6)
  • Acer Liquid (2.1)
  • Acer beTouch E400 (2.1)
  • Samsung Galaxy Beam
  • Vibo A688 (1.6)
  • Lenovo Lephone (1.6)
  • LG GT540 (1.6)
  • Gigabyte GSmart G1305
The following phones are NOT supported by this rooting method:
  • Samsung i9000 / i6500U / i7500 / i5700
  • Motorola ME600 / ME501 / MB300 / CLIQ XT
  • Motorola 2.2 FRG22D
  • Archos 5
  • HuaWei U8220
  • HTC Desire / Legend / Wildfire (Soft Root)
  • HTC EVO 4G / Aria
  • SonyEricsson X10i R2BA020
  • myTouch Slide

: In upcoming posts, I will attempt to determine how each of the phones that are not supported by the "universal" method can be rooted. For example, I know that the Evo 4G / Aria is rootable.

What you'll need:

1) One of the supported phones listed above
2) The Universal Root Kit: Latest Stable Version or Latest BETA Version. (as of 9/16/2010)

How to:

Step 1:
Download the universal android root tool to your supported android phone.

Step 2:
Install the downloaded tool.

Step 3:
Select the version that you need (this is self explanatory within the tool).

Step 4:
Hit "root".

You will get confirmation that the phone has been rooted.

Now, as I've explained in earlier rooting method posts, we still have not made it possible to use Nandroid or Clockwork to make backups, run recoveries, and install custom ROMs. If you want to run a custom ROM, you'll need to be able to use a recovery utility and so, you'll want to read through the rest of this post.

While a rooted phone is good for installing apps that require root status, the real joy is in having the ability to do backups, run recoveries and install custom ROMs. Since you've used the "universal root method", it's pretty easy to get a recovery image flashed to your phone (i.e. make it possible to do all of these nifty things).

Step 1: Download and Install ROM Manager from the Android Market
Step 2: Install ClockworkMod Recovery (an option within ROM Manager)

There, now you have a recovery image flashed to your phone. Not sure what you can do with this recovery image, or what it's even for? Check out these posts: Here and Here

Still not clear? Leave a comment and I'll get back to you...

Enjoy your rooted Android Phone

Transition: taking on Android and Windows

Now that all of the basic rooting guides are in place and you have everything you need to root your HTC Hero for Sprint, it is time that this blog begins a slow transition toward taking on a broader focus.

The new focus will be the Android system (as a whole) and, in time, the Windows OS.