My Opinions On the Leaked Epic 4G Froyo ROM

My Opinions On the Leaked Epic 4G Froyo ROM

There are many changes that Samsung made to the leaked Android 2.2 (Froyo) ROM (link: [ROM] Froyo DJ29 leak, deodexed, zipaligned and pre-rooted v4.2 [11/12]) that I really dislike, and I hope that they change before the official release comes out. This is a list of the things that I noticed so far that significantly degrade the user experience, as well as changes that I absolutely love, and a few suggestions:

  • Samsung replaced the stock messaging application with their own custom one that isn’t nearly as good or as nice looking. This is actually my number one concern about the new firmware
    • They really need to stop trying to imitate the iPhone’slook and feel. If we wanted an iPhone, we would’ve bought one
      • Not only that, but they are also doing a terrible job at mimicking it. In fact, Samsung’s new messaging app feels worse than the one on the iPhone
    • The image viewer in the new messaging application is completely broken. It has no ability to zoom in, it shows a progression timer when displaying a still image, images are zoomed out by default, etc.
    • The best option is to just scrap their messaging app and go back to the stock messaging app, which works flawlessly, and has a very native and natural look and feel
  • The new way the applications are arranged in the app drawer is annoyingly unintuitive. Making the user manually rearrange them is not the right way to sell more devices. They were fine before when they were automatically arranged in alphabetical order, but it’s really annoying having to manually reposition the icons. There doesn’t even seem to be an automatic arrangement option.
    • Manual arrangement is fine, as long as the user can choose to have the icons arrange automatically.
    • The new application removal icons are also fine, but really, they should also exist on the pre-installed crapware, since nobody wants NASCAR and Sprint Football Live preloaded anyways.
  • The Internet browser feels incredibly slow and unresponsive now, especially with scrolling. I’m not sure what modifications Samsung made to the browser, but really it would be best to leave it stock, since the stock browser is known to have excellent performance compared to the one in Eclair.
    • Also, the new “Internet” icon looks terrible compared to the look and feel of the rest of the operating system. I really prefer the old one.
  • The new “News and Weather” application is great. It really is. I love how it automatically locates you via GPS and displays relevant weather information, and the tab scrolling at the top of the screen is wonderful.
  • The new colorful icons in the Settings menu feel very non-native to the platform, but I kind of like them. With less glossiness (I despise glossy icons) and saturation, I could actually become accustomed to them.
  • I really like the new voice recorder application they include in the new ROM. It’s very simple and easy to use, yet it looks great!
  • The Video Player application is also really good, but I experienced some issues with stopping a video that really ruin the user experience. When the back button is pressed, the video should be stopped, and I should be taken back to the list of videos on my device. There should be no need to press an additional on-screen button to stop playing the video. Also, video playback is laggy, and skipping to parts of the video reveals significant delays.
  • The Memo application is pretty good, but it should allow you to backup memos that you create, either on the device’s SD card, or to the cloud.
  • Getting a GPS position is still flawed. It takes way too long to get a lock on my position, especially considering how other, lower-end phones such as the Samsung Transform are able to get a quicker GPS location that a high-end device like the Samsung Epic 4G.
  • The new AllShare logo looks much better than the old one, but it looks a bit too glossy for my tastes.
  • It would be a great addition if Samsung would pre-install the latest version of Google’s Voice Search application, which comes with Voice Actions. Sure, users could install that themselves, but it integrates really well with the operating system, and works much better than the version that comes installed. Also, most users won’t know to install the version of Voice Search in the market.
  • I love the new Silent toggle in the notification bar, but really, it should let you put it in Silent, Vibrate, or Normal (Non-Silent) mode.

I will update this list if I notice anything else that should be changed with the new firmware, but really, I’m overall impressed with the new firmware, and I will continue to use it on a day-to-day basis.

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Just Installed Leaked Epic 4G Froyo ROM

Just Installed Leaked Epic 4G Froyo ROM

I just installed the recently leaked Android 2.2 (Froyo) ROM on my rooted Samsung Epic 4G phone using ClockworkMod, and after playing with it for a bit, I plan on finally starting development in EliteBomb to get automatic limit removal working on rooted Android 2.2 devices once and for all. I’m really excited to finally be able to start working on fixing this, and I really hope to have a proper fix for EliteBomb and InfiniteSMS (EliteBomb Plus will receive the fix first) out soon, hopefully within a couple of days, at least before Google decides to release Android 2.3 (Gingerbread). 😉 Anyways, I just wanted to let you guys know that I’m actively working on fixing the problem, and I hope to have a fix out soon. Take care. 🙂

UPDATE: The post describing how to manually remove the SMS sending limitations has been updated to fix a permission denied issue. The old instructions are still there, as they worked for a lot of people and only a small few are having problems with permissions being denied.

Pssst… Planned Improvements for "Find The Mouse"

Pssst… Planned Improvements for “Find The Mouse”

I realize that “Find The Mouse” isn’t that much fun yet. I’m working on implementing a feature to keep track of scoring. For each round successfully completed, you will get one point plus one point for every click left. The game will also keep track of how many games were won in a row. Keep in mind that this game was never originally designed to be very fun, it was meant to be an example to teach (very) basic Android programming. These upcoming features are simply the result me giving into peer pressure and trying to make the game more enjoyable. Keep in mind that this is an open source project and anyone is welcome to contribute code if they would like to see it in the game. The feature is done as far as coding, I just have to work on the new layout.

Introducing “Find The Mouse”, a Basic Open Source Android Game!

Introducing “Find The Mouse”, a Basic Open Source Android Game!
So, a friend of mine asked me to show them how to make a basic Android game, which resulted in me coding up something simple for him. “Find The Mouse” is the result of this coding. This entire game was started and finished in around 20 minutes today, and the counter was added in later. All of the artwork in the game is public domain artwork found on sites like clker.com. The card background was heavily modified in order to reduce file size and make it look nicer on mobile screens. The object of the game is to find the mouse hidden behind one of five cards. You have three chances to find the mouse before you lose. The game is, as I stated earlier, incredibly simple, yet somewhat useful to someone who is learning to code for the Android operating system. The entire source code as well as all resources are available on GitHub, and I will probably end up putting this on the Android market soon, so that all of you without the Android SDK or the time to compile source code can play with this. This game will definitely be 100% free, and I have no intention of ever charging for it. The version on the market will likely have an AdMob advertisement in it, however, the version on github will not if you have the time to compile it and run it yourself. I am releasing this project under version 3 of the GNU General Public License, and all original artwork created by me in relation to this project is released to the public domain. You may copy, edit, modify and redistibute this project as long as you follow the terms of version 3 of the GPL. Enjoy! The project’s source code can be found on this GitHub repository. 😉

P.S. Hitting the Search button or the Menu button resets the game.

Automatic Limit Removal Still Broken On Certain Devices

Automatic Limit Removal Still Broken On Certain Devices
Sorry, but it looks like automatic limit removal is still not working on certain rooted Android 2.2 devices. If you want to get your limit removed, and automatic removal did not work, I suggest trying the manual removal method, which has been tested and proven to work. I want to get automatic removal working very badly, but unfortunately, I don’t actually have a 2.2 device, so it’s a lot harder to make it work. When I get 2.2 on my Samsung Epic 4G, I will do everything I can to get the automatic removal working, as I know it is very important to many of my users. I’d like to apologize for how long it has been taking to get this fixed, but developing for an operating system I don’t have is hard to do. I’d like to let you all know that fixing this is very high on my priority list, and I’m trying to get a fix out as soon as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Currency Converter Version 0.4 Released

Currency Converter Version 0.4 Released

I just released version 0.4 of my currency converter to the market. This version now caches the exchange rates for when there is no connection available, allowing the application to be used without an Internet connection, as long as it was used with one at least once.

Introducing Currency Converter!

Introducing Currency Converter!
So a couple of days ago I hinted that I was working on a top-secret project. Well, that project is top-secret no more, as Currency Converter is now available for free in the Android market! Currency Converter is a basic application that I originally created in order to practice making Android applications, and to play around with user interface design, in an effort to create a professional-looking Android application. I am pleased to announce that this application ended up being much greater than I originally thought possible. Currency Converter is a extremely data-light application that uses less than 1.5 kilobytes of data every time it refreshes the currency exchange rates. That’s rather impressive, considering the fact that Currency Converter supports 94 different international currencies. The exchange rates are automatically loaded from the Internet in the form of a comma separated value file that contains the latest Google Finance currency rates by using the Google Spreadsheet API, and querying a specially formatted Google Spreadsheet document that I created specifically for this application. In order to minimize data usage, the spreadsheet only contains the current exchange rate of one US dollar to every other supported currency. Because the spreadsheet uses the Google Finance formula function, the spreadsheet is automatically updated with the latest rates. Regularly the Google Finance function is used to retrieve the latest stock quotes, but by inserting “CURRENCY:” into the function, we can use it to convert currency. For example, to convert one US dollar to Euros, we would use: ‘=GOOGLEFINANCE(“CURRENCY:USDEUR”)‘ as our function, where ‘USD’ is the ‘from’ currency’s symbol, and ‘EUR’ is the ‘to’ currency’s symbol. However, adding the full Google Spreadsheet API to the application would add bloat, and that wouldn’t be very good. After all, we only need to retrieve the data, we don’t need to do any server side manipulation or anything. Therefore, I used the next best thing. Google has a feature on their server that allows you to run a basic query on the feed of a publicly published and accessible spreadsheet document.  Because I love sharing useful things that I make, the spreadsheet document used by my currency converter is completely publicly accessible, and I have no plans on restricting access in the future. By using the query “SELECT A,B“, we can retrieve all the data in columns A and B of the spreadsheet. Click here to see an HTML representation of the data that query returns. So, we now have a very basic, stripped down version of the spreadsheet that can be accessed without being logged in, but it has a lot of extra data that we don’t need, and it would be annoying to parse out. Maybe it’s possible to optimize the server output even more? Of course it is! Google offers the ability to retrieve any spreadsheet document as a comma separated value file that’s extremely minimalistic and optimized with almost no excess data. In this case, we can simple set the PHP GET parameter called “tqx” to “out:csv“. This results in a much smaller and easier to parse file being returned by the server. Currency Converter is now available on the Android market for free. Check it out, and if you don’t like it, you can always uninstall it. Let me know what you think. To easily get to the download page in the Android market, simply scan the following QR code with a barcode scanning application: