Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Flashing roms on Galaxy S Plus

After finally trying out some custom ROMs on my (currently my wife's) Galaxy S Plus I regretted not having done it earlier. The process is so easy and the results are so good! I really tasted the advantage Android offers to users in terms of choice and variety. Here's what I needed to do:

1. Root the phone
Just followed everything written in this wiki
2. Install CWM recovery
Put this file into your phone's internal sd card, reboot into recovery mode (press and hold power+volume up while starting the phone), then choose this file from the 'install from zip file' menu.
After this I hit my first roadblock. The phone was always rebooting into recovery mode. The solution is in this post.
3. Backup SMS using 'SMS Backup and Restore' app
4. Backup your ROM using CWM recovery (takes some time)
5. Download your custom ROM file into your phone's internal sd card and install that from CWM recovery

That's it! The key thing is to get CWM recovery running. The best part is that unlike installing a new OS on your pc/laptop you don't need to backup your hard-drive (which here is your internal sd card).

I tried AOSP ICS, Ehndroix, and then Gigabread+ . The first one was too minimal. Ehndroix was feature-packed but slow. Gigabread+ was amazing and I stuck to it. It is fast, very fast, and has a balanced set of features as well. I strongly recommend it.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Oops! i closed my terminal

This is just what happened at a customer's site a few days ago. I was debugging remotely from my office and had finally nailed down a problem's root cause. The source code which was causing the problem was opened in vim in a terminal, and some edits were made before closing it. Later in the day someone else mistakenly closed the terminal, and we badly needed to know which file we had opened! We couldn't find out by searching for the change we made, because the files were distributed all over the customer's network. I was about to start debugging again -- this time just to find out the file name. When all of a sudden I remembered that vim stores details of the last few locations it edited in the ~/.viminfo file. I opened it and there it was, one of the most recent entries. Problem solved!
The next day in office I looked for where emacs stores such info, since I am an emacs user. I found it in ~/.emacs.d/history . So the next time you need to find your last few opened files in vim/emacs you know where to look for.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Yet another blog is born

I had been thinking of starting this blog for quite some time, given that I have been using a computer since 1999 and that I have been programming since I was in college in 2001. But what is on my mind today is the GNOME Outreach Programme for Women for which my wife just got selected today. It is a splendid effort by software companies working in open source to get more girls into the world of programming, and also into open source in general.
Why am I interested in promoting girls into programming? Well then, let me try to answer. I grew up as a strange and nerdy kid who was never ever good at sports. I was so bad that I stopped trying to play since the age of 14 I guess. You can imagine how a boy who isn't interested in sports is treated. But if you are not from India I don't think you'll understand how tabooed a thing it is to be uninterested in sports in this cricket-crazy nation.
Since I was almost always indoors, my first computer which arrived in 1999 became a fast friend partly replacing my books. I tried to do all I could on a Windows 95 machine with no internet. Few years later I learnt my first language -- HTML -- in the months before my Higher Secondary examinations. I know, I know -- it is not a programming language. But for a complete newbie, that was the first time I was writing some thing in some format which was creating interesting things in my browser. Shortly after that I learnt Javascript, which was way more amazing. A few months later I joined an engineering college and I gradually started with C/C++. I was a notoriously bad student in college, but I enjoyed programming and did all sorts of interesting (though not advanced) things including even writing a cross-platform product for a professor. Most of my college batchmates or seniors or juniors never ever thought of doing such things.

Wait wait wait -- I am only narrating my bio here. What's that got to do with women in technology? Well, I just told a real life story of a person who was not good at what his peers were doing transform into a person who was ahead of his peers in a different field.
This is what programming can do to girls --
it can make you feel good,
it gives you the joy of creation,
it can make others think better of you,
and it is financially rewarding in today's age.
And you just need two hands for typing -- the rest you already have. What are you waiting for?