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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An Explanation of My Recent "Self Destruct" Application

An Explanation of My Recent “Self Destruct” Application

Self Destruct” is simply an application I made for fun, as a proof of concept. This application demonstrates a way to create an application that is able to “destroy” itself, preventing it from running until it is uninstalled, and then reinstalled later. I’d like to personally thank HandlerExploit for giving me a hint about how to do this (he mentioned that he found the trick in the provisioning code). HandlerExploit uses a similar technique in his application, “iBrick Proof of Concept”. As soon as the user opens the application, it removes it’s main class from the Dalvik package manager, preventing itself from being able to run again. The only way to run the application again after opening it is to uninstall the application, and reinstall it. This application serves no real purpose other than to demonstrate an interesting trick, and it is not malicious in any way. Please note that after running the application, it’s icon will remain in the launcher, although you won’t be able to open it. Uninstalling the application will remove the icon. I’d release the entire source code for this application, but really, the only part that actually matters is the part that removes the class from Dalvik and prevents the application from running again. Interestingly, this application requires absolutely no permissions, at all in order to do this. In case you are interested in how I did this, here is the source code for the main class in the project:

package com.dylantaylor.selfdestruct;
import android.app.Activity;
import android.content.ComponentName;
import android.content.pm.PackageManager;
import android.os.Bundle;

public class Main extends Activity {
    /** Called when the activity is first created. */
    @Override
    public void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {
        super.onCreate(savedInstanceState);
        setContentView(R.layout.main);
        PackageManager pm = getPackageManager(); ComponentName name = new ComponentName(this, Main.class);
        pm.setComponentEnabledSetting(name, PackageManager.COMPONENT_ENABLED_STATE_DISABLED, 0);
    }
}

Yes, I realize that this application serves no real purpose, but it’s just something interesting that I made for fun. If you don’t want it, don’t download it. Otherwise, have fun! 🙂

P.S. Do whatever you want with that source code, it’s virtually worthless to me anyways.

Network Listing Coming Soon to FiOS WEP Calculator Lite

Network Listing Coming Soon to FiOS WEP Calculator Lite

In order to give FiOS WEP Calculator Lite users a taste of the Pro version, and boost sales, I decided to allow users to preview the network selection feature, but not actually “select” the network unless it is remembered on the device. What this means is that they will get a listing of remembered and nearby access point listings,  but they will only be able to select and calculate WEP keys for ‘remembered’ access points automatically. They will still be able to view a listing of nearby access points, but they will not be able to select them. Having this feature will still improve the overall experience, while still giving users a reason to purchase FiOS WEP Calculator Pro.

UPDATE: I finished adding the new features to the lite version, and an update is available in the Android market. The new version of FiOS WEP Calculator brings the ability to view nearby and remembered FiOS networks, previously only available to pro users. In order to select nearby networks (not remembered ones) automatically, you need to upgrade to the pro version, but you can now view a list of nearby networks without paying for FiOS WEP Calculator Pro.

Wireless Network Selection Added!

Wireless Network Selection Added!

I finished adding wireless network selection to the Pro version of FiOS WEP Calculator. This enhancement adds tons of value for those who already purchased FiOS WEP Calculator PRO, and adds an incentive for others to do so. Overall, I’m really excited to announce this new feature, and I look forward to receiving feedback about it. Enjoy! 😉

UPDATE: Version 2.1 fixes a minor annoying bug where the list of networks is reset when the keyboard is opened/closed or the screen is rotated.

UPDATE 2: Version 2.3  fixes a significant bug that resulted in a force close when selecting certain items in the network list.

Sound Added to "Simple Dice"!

Sound Added to “Simple Dice”!

I added sound to “Simple Dice” when you roll the dice. The sound played is a modified, low quality version of Mike Koenig’s “Shake and Roll Dice Sound”. The file takes up less than 10 additional kilobytes, and the sound is only played if the “Media volume” is not muted, to avoid disturbing others.  I also plan on adding the sound to “Dice Betting” when it is released. The sound truly makes the application more realistic feeling and more interesting. Expect to see the changes on GitHub and the Android market shortly!

UPDATE: The sounds are now in the git repository, and the new version is up on the market!

Working on a New Simple Dice Game

Working on a New Simple Dice Game

I’ve been working on creating a basic dice game for Android with animation, rules, betting, and more! The game is currently a work in progress, but I’m really excited to release it! The animation works wonderfully, and the interface, although very unfinished is already starting to look polished, especially in the game’s menus. For now, the game is simply called “Dice Betting”, and yes, I realize how lame and generic that sounds, but I might end up changing the name of the game before it is released. Similar to “Find the Mouse”, I’ll probably end up open sourcing this game (under the GNU General Public License, of course), although it isn’t even remotely close to being released yet. The game will have a built-in statistics tracking system, and the rolling of the dice will be completely animated. Right now, the animation I have done looks really cool, and I’m incredibly anxious to publicly release this. Check back soon! 🙂

Find The Mouse Improvements Complete!

Find The Mouse Improvements Complete!

I finished making the changes to “Find The Mouse”, and the new code is up on github. I’m already in the process of signing and uploading the new version to the Android market. You should be able to download it very soon! The new version automatically advances to the next level after you successfully find the mouse, it keeps track of your winning streak and current score, and the user interface feels much nicer. Enjoy! 🙂

UPDATE: The new version is now up on the market! Check it out!