No More Stock Restore Packages

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Thanks to someone (no idea who), all of the stock restore packages that I had previously been hosting are offline. I was contacted by my host at the beginning of last week notifying me of excessive usages and I could either remove content or upgrade my hosting. Since I don’t frequently use the site, it was removing the problem files. What this means for you is that if you required a stock restore package, you’re going to have to look elsewhere. I was not going to increase my costs by 10x per month just so people can freeload.

To give an idea of the abusive nature, over the course of a day (maybe a day and a half), one user attempted to download one of the stock restore files ~30,000 times, with each attempt being reported a success. This would total ~30 TB of data transferred in that time period, and yes, you read both of those numbers correctly. So, you can thank this anonymous person (whom has VZW service that they were using to make the transfer) if you need one of the packages. I tried contacting the abuse contact for the IP address that did the damage, but haven’t heard any response.

Needless to say, my daily usage has dropped significantly since taking the files offline, though the page views on the blog are up by an equal margin. Odds are, the packages are offline permanently. I don’t have the time or motivation to upload them anywhere else. Instead, I’m going to enjoy my new Moto X Developer Edition that I picked up during the CyberMonday sale last week.

Toolkits

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It’s ranting time, and on the other end are toolkits. I’m sure many people have seen my opinions of them on Twitter and also on various forums, but there really isn’t a good place to provide my frustration with toolkits, their users, and also the people that create them. At least I have a site where I can do just that.

First, I realize that toolkits serve a purpose, and they can be good at putting a lot of different things all in one place. However, the issue is that the one place prevents users from seeing anything. They make people lazier than they already are, and since most people can’t even be bothered to really read anything but “DOWNLOAD”, it’s really lazy. You may say that you’ve rooted hundreds of devices, are fluent in adb, and are just looking for a faster way to root, unlock, or do any of a number of other things. If you’re really so great at everything, then why do you need a toolkit? Is downloading a program to issue the command “fastboot oem unlock” really faster? Doubtful. Is it easier to have a program on your computer download a ROM, send it to your phone, and flash it in recovery for you, when the same thing can be done with ROM Manager, or a few other similar apps on your phone (provided you have the zip)? Again, probably not.

If toolkits are really supposed to make things faster for the user, why isn’t it actually faster if you’re paying attention to what you’re doing? In most cases, using the toolkit is probably going to be slower, just that it’s easier and can automate it so you have time to watch some more kittens on Youtube. But, by being easier, it is also making it easier for users to ignore anything that is posted in the support thread/topic for whatever it is they’re flashing. They instead think the toolkit is the be all, end all of using a device, and don’t learn how to do anything on their own. Toolkits also tend to be fairly primitive in what they can do. Many times, they don’t verify downloads. How would you like to flash a corrupt bootloader to your phone if a toolkit had a bad download? Or, waste time trying to flash a ROM but keep getting errors because the toolkit failed to get the full file. (more…)

Verizon Wireless Galaxy Note 2

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After the generosity of several people, I was able to go out and buy a Galaxy Note 2 yesterday, which will greatly aid my development efforts. If anyone has followed IRC, Twitter, and the forums I frequent, they’ll know that I’ve been of little help thus far since I had to wait for everything to be tested. While that is still the case for now (I’m still not unlocked, or even rooted for that matter), it won’t be shortly. I was able to get Clockwork Recovery going for the Verizon variant towards the end of this week, and it came just in time for an alpha build of CM10.

Right now, I am actually almost fully content with stock on the phone, it really is that good. I plan on doing a more thorough review after I’ve had some more time with the phone, but it is simply stunning. The reviews I’ve read all say it is an outstanding phone if you can get past the size, and even with all the glowing praise it has gotten, the reviews just don’t do it justice. The only complaints I have are pretty much all Verizon induced software changes that aren’t on other versions of the device, and can easily be fixed with some rooting and hackery. I’m fairly certain that all of my complaints are already fixed actually, and there aren’t that many complaints at all. (more…)

Verizon Galaxy Note 2 Root

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I’ve just released a root package for the Verizon version of the Galaxy Note 2. This package has been a week long work in progress since finding people to test flash things is difficult. It also takes a lot of time to compress and upload system images that are about 1GB each, so this was coming, but I would have liked to have had it out sooner. Either way, it’s up now for everyone’s enjoyment.

What does this offer over the previous root method you may ask? Well, nothing really. However, the previous root image was put together from several sources and had its share of issues in the early releases. I happened to come upon an official system.img of the stock firmware, so it gave the perfect starting point for making a root image. There was nothing functionally wrong with the previous image that I know of, but this avoids the hackery that was used to create it. If you’re already rooted, there is no need to flash what I put together, and if you’re rooted and made changes (like deleting stuff), then flashing it will wipe your changes out. This was really meant as a better way for people that haven’t yet rooted to do so, not to fix anything functionally wrong with what was up currently. (more…)

Device Updates, ROM Updates, Site Updates

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I’m not the greatest with keeping the front page update with what is going on, so there is a lot of stuff coming in on this post. First, we’ll cover updates related to the site. Nothing to major, except if you’re trying to link to files outside of the site. A few days ago, there was nearly 3 TB (yes terabytes) transferred in just one day, all related to the Odin restore images I have posted. Looking through the logs, it seems as though one person, or several, were repeatedly downloading a few of the files over and over and over again. I also saw repeated hits from other sites on the files. While there are not many other sites out there that link to the restore packages directly, there are a couple. Unfortunately for them, they cannot do this any longer. To prevent further abuse, all restore packages now must be downloaded from my site directly. If the server see’s a different referrer, you just get redirected. Sorry to the legitimate sites that this affects, but I can’t risk getting my hosting shut down because people want to see how many times they can download something.

I am also going to add a few other restore packages that I have to the download page soon. Nothing to ground breaking, but I’ll throw them up for people that need them then. The new packages will be for the DROID Incredible 2 and the T-Mobile Galaxy S II. The restore packages are available elsewhere, but I don’t think you can ever get enough mirrors for restore packages. (more…)

HOW-TO: Unlock the Bootloader on Nexus Devices

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I’m not sure why some people seem to always ask this question, or why some sites seem to want to post instructions for ever new Nexus device. Maybe one drives the other, but it really isn’t needed. Nexus phones can all be unlocked in the same way, whether you have the Nexus S or the new Nexus 10 tablet. There isn’t anything really special about it, nor is there anything secret about the process. All you need to have is the Android SDK, which you can download from Google. Once you have the Android SDK installed, just make sure you also download and install the platform-tools from the SDK. If you need more information about it, see the first part of my page on setting up the Android SDK. To be perfectly honest, if you can’t get the Android SDK installed and setup, you shouldn’t be unlocking your phone to do anything to it. (more…)

New Nexus Phone

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The internet is raging today about rumors of a new Nexus device coming from Google. The best part is, with Google’s announcement about having multiple Nexus devices later this year, the rumors are coming in about new devices from multiple manufacturers. While I’m not too worried about them, seeing as Verizon Wireless is highly unlikely to carry a phone you can unlock the bootloader on and flash to your hearts desire, it will push the bar higher for what the OEMs try to accomplish in the next year. Yes, Samsung announces a new phone every other day, while HTC and Motorola seem to do so every other month, but really, the manufacturers have one or two primary money makers, with the rest of the phones being offshoots for different carriers, regions, and the like. Half the phones announced will never see the light of day in the US outside of testing. So, the next Nexus will likely set the stage for the next version of the HTC One (X/S) lineup, new Motorola RAZRs, and the future Samsung Galaxy S 4 and Galaxy Note 3.

So, with that being said, what can we expect to see in the next benchmark of the Android world? First, what people would love to see in the phone, and what they’re going to actually get are probably way different. People seem to want it all and put unrealistic spec wish lists out there. In reality, this is probably going to seem like a small upgrade compared to current top end phones. Realistically, I can’t see the next Nexus phone going to quad-core. People already complain about battery life, and putting two more CPU cores in isn’t going to help. Plus, you have to think about heat and how the phone actually uses the CPU. I don’t consider myself a huge power user, constantly on my phone, multi-tasking, gaming, listening to music, and 50 other things at the same time. However, in my usage, the phone rarely pulls itself up into the top speed slots of the processor. From talking to other people, they see similar usage. So, if the phones aren’t using all of the CPU horsepower they have now, there is no point in going quad-core either. Ideally, we will see the next Nexus be the first phone sporting a Cortex A15 CPU core. This will add to the power of the phone while maintaining battery life. (more…)

Long time, No Post

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It has been some time since I posted any real updates here. If anyone has been following, I did put up a page on setting up the Android SDK, and the basic use of it for Logcat. Other than that, things have been very quiet here. While the site has been quiet, I’ve been updating things on Github, and that’s pretty much it. Due to lack of interest from users, I’ve pretty much stopped with updating my posts on forums for my ROM/Kernel. I did just put updated links for ButterNutz up though. It will no longer be a ROM only and kernel only package, they will now be a combined package and I won’t be separating the two. Since I am updating things fairly regularly, I decided I didn’t want to keep flashing two packages to update, so I merged the two.

The update has a lot of changes from the last publicly posted build besides just combining the ROM and Kernel. The kernel has seen 3 incremental version updates as well as a lot of changes merged in from AOSP source. It was also fully rebuilt since I was having random issues with stuff not working. The ROM has seen several changes in many areas. The biggest change is merging in Linaro related bits and the build is now full -O3 with strict-aliasing. While Jelly Bean was already really smooth, this got rid of the few random stutters that I was seeing from time to time. The ROM itself has fewer apps in it now, as I’ve replaced Browser with Chrome and gotten rid of a few more packages that aren’t needed. Despite removing stuff, the more optimized build increased the overall size of the final ROM. (more…)

Charge FP1 Kernel, Galaxy Nexus Updates

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About a week ago, I finished updating and posting the latest PeanutButtaJelly kernel for the DROID Charge. The update allows users to continue using all of the features that they loved previously on the latest OTA update, FP1. While there weren’t a lot of changes between EP4 and FP1, the small differences resulted in not everything working quite right. The only fix was to update everything to have an FP1 base. For the users out there that are still rocking the DROID Charge and would like to update their kernel, head over to my thread on Rootzwiki, or you can download it directly here.

As many may have noticed, I’ve been pumping out several updates for both ButterNutz and PeanutButtaJelly for the Galaxy Nexus as well. The updates have been fairly minor for the most part. There is one big change to mention though for the ROM side of things. As anyone running a custom ROM may have noticed, CyanogenMod introduced the theme engine into their source recently, and it has spread quickly through nearly every ROM out there. Not to follow the crowd, but I pulled the changes in as well, so users can enjoy a themed version of ButterNutz much easier then. The updated build has not been posted yet, but will be soon. I have one final item to take care of, and that is finally updating the included Google Apps packaged with the ROM. As soon as those are updated, there will be a new release coming soon. The latest build out there now is also without a pre-packaged kernel, so you can now retain whatever kernel you are running when flashing the ROM.

The kernel has seen several updates as well. Most changes are coming directly from Google, but I also fixed a minor issue that some users were having. If anyone wanted to use my kernel with CM9, they would run into problems. It wasn’t the kernel itself, but the ramdisk that was packaged with it. I’ve updated the ramdisk that I’m using and now the kernel is CM9 compatible. Anyone who compiled their own kernel with the CM9 source tree would have never noticed an issue, but there are many that don’t build their ROMs and kernels from source that may be pleased with the change.

Kernel Updates, ROM Change, and SEAndroid

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As with all things in the software world, updates are constant. Linux is a good example of this, as there are constantly fixes pushed into the mainline Linux kernel, and as usual, I’ve brought them into the Galaxy Nexus kernel so you can take advantage of new features, bug fixes, and more on your phone. Along with patching PeanutButta Jelly Time to 3.0.31, I’ve removed some debugging info to trim down the size some, which helps the phone start up faster, as does the LZO compression. Some people may like smaller files, but I prefer a larger file that allows my phone to have less downtime.

Along with the updates to the kernel, ButterNutz will see a change with the next release. Since some people still prefer to use other kernels, I’ve removed the kernel from the compiled package and this change will be seen by the end user with the next release. Currently, I do not have a firm date as to when that will be, but likely soon. If nothing notable is added or changed, I’ll rebuild again with some minor updates and just to get the latest package out. Something else that I will look into as well will be creating patch updates, so you aren’t always downloading 200MB to flash the ROM, and instead, updates will act similar to an OTA update, with just patch files updating what has changed, leaving the other stuff in place. (more…)

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