New brain for my old brain…

Right trying something a little different with this blog post.. Not sure how well it will work – but hey as I have said before this is my blog and if you don’t want to know what interests me or makes me tick – then well you are in the wrong place!

Simples …

My cunning plan for tonight is to install a custom ROM on my Android HTC Desire. Put just about as simply as I can – its like reinstalling windows on your computer …

Not so simples

For the more geeky – I am planning to dump my lovely – but a bit bloated Stock Android HTC Sense enabled Desire ROM and replace it with the latest and greatest (?) ROM from the CyanogenMod team. I am also going to attempt to upgrade the Micro SD Card from a 4GB Class 2 Card up to a 8GB Class 6 … Well why keep things simples …

Liveblog

For those of you not familiar with the term liveblog its something that I have quite enjoyed following in recent years. Usually based around big technology announcements – the writer is in the room and is adding to a blog post as and when stuff happens or gets announced. Its a great way to follow along “live” or to look back later and see how things got announced. I really enjoy it as you get a sense of what it must be like being there as some quite important (tech /geeky important) things get announced. Click here to check out a rather good one from the Recent Google I/O Keynote.

Prologue

Yesterday – I made the 1st step on this journey by rooting (gaining admin rights) to my phone. By default I don’t have those rights – and normally you don’t need them – it provides a good extra layer of security. But if you want to start entering the world of custom ROM’s – root is essential. Luckily for me some very clever people have worked out how to do this VERY easily. The Unrevoked team have a VERY simple app that is very easy to follow and results in your phone being rooted. Im running linux (ubuntu) so if you are running something else it may be slightly different:

  1. Download the file from http://unrevoked.com/
  2. Unzip it
  3. Connect your phone and enable usb debugging applications settings/applications/development
  4. run the unzipped file as root (I opened a terminal typed “sudo” the dragged the unzipped file on tot he terminal window.
  5. now watch the Unrevoked program and wait
  6. and wait
  7. and wait – don’t panic too much as the phone resets and does some ODD stuff …
  8. and its done…

Seriously easy …

I am basically following this guide here – I have stepped away from the guide for a minute and I have backed up my phone using titanium backup – I have then copied the contents of my phone’s sd card over to my PC …

right time for some live blogging ….

20:09 – Not off to a good start – my £1.90 microSD card reader from Amazon is DOA – useless … ah well you get what you pay for … just going to bite the bullet and pop my card out and put the new one in – then copy back over all the info …

20:14 – card out – new card in lets see how much this breaks the phone ….

20:15 – Sunday 6th Jan 1980 you say …. hmmmm – methinks that qualifies as not exactly 100% – but its working and has recognised the card … lets copy the data back over and reset it to see where we get ….

20:18 – WOAH – getting the Class 6 card was worth it – 20 mins to copy the data off – looking at 3 mins estimate to get it back on … crikey ….(averaging 7.8mb per second at the mo – not quite 3 mins – but still MUCH faster)

20:22 – ok threw up and error as there was a ” lost.dir ” already on the new sd card – chose to merge the contents ….

20:25 – phone restarting – realised that the phone probably lost the time as i pulled the battery … yep numpty – that’s what I thought as well … gona give it a minute to settle down …

20:31 – ok bored now – looks like any apps that need the SD card to run are now a bit dead … ah well …time to move on methinks. I think if that STOOPID SD card reader had worked i may have gotten away with it … next step installing clockwork recovery …

20:39 – hmm some confusion if i already have it installed – may have come with unrevoked. have decided to follow the instructions and install rom manger from the market – all looks good I think – have taken the opeertunity to backup my current rom – handy option in rom manger – all looking good so far … Useful reading on clockworkmod HERE thinking i should have probably done this before pulling my sd card ….

20:46 – ROM backed up – phone rebooting – downloading current latest radio version as instructed – will copy back across to the SD card once we are up and running …

20:52 – taking a slight interlude …copying my backup ROM on to my pc and then am going to use ROM manager partition my SD card so I can run apps from it – but that means formatting my SD card …. 2 steps forward – 5 steps back ….

21:06 – right back on track … as per the instructions – radio zip file copied across and rebooted in to recovery mode … scary screen with ! on it sat there for a while … pressed the power butter and it got me in to the clockwork recovery bit. followed the instructions to install the new radio ROM – it failed with invalid signature … I disable signature verification and tried again … worked this time – now rebooting phone to see if I have a brick ….

21:07 – no brick!! and the update appears to have worked ….now next step … nearly there …

21:13 – ok rom manger – nice little program – I have selected the latest version of the CyanogenMod ROM and picked the option to install the Google Apps … its now downloading direct to my phone … waiting … more waiting … thinking that when this is all done I will write a short version so people can avoid my mistakes !!

21:20 … sllloowwwwwwww download – well or it could just be HUGE … no way of knowing just a handy 85% …. just tidied the house a bit and read this very amusing bit: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/12/osama-bin-laden-diary-blasphemous – thanks Paul !

21:21 … woo hoo 96% …

21:22 … balls …. “1 of 2” ….

21:25 … downloads complete – as per the instructions have ticked all the boxes and romanager has rebooted in to recovery mode … uh oh there’s that scary “!” again …

21:30 .. pressed the power button and got in to the app again – now following the manual instructions

21:33 .. rebooting – here we go …

21:33 … oooh tasty new booting animation …. bodes well ….

21:34 hey its the setup screen you get when you start your phone up for the 1st time – this may have worked !!!!

21:45 – ok up and running – cant connect to my Google account … bit odd … but the phone is at least running and I have received and sent a text message …

21:52 – fixed the google thing – forgot i have enabled 2 factor authentication – needed to generate a password – sync in prgress and apps installing … all very smooth and slick so far

The Morning After … well its all going very well. I quite enjoy setting up my phone so i am not too gutted that I lost all my apps and settings – thinking of it like a spring clean. I think if I hadn’t swapped out my card – I could have restored most of it from my backups. Ah well. The new ROM is great – very stable and has some really nice tweaks on the general user interface both in terms of visual appearance and usability. To be honest the biggest problem I have had so far is the fact the alarm snoozes for 10 mins now and not 3 …. cause a bit of a rush this morning. I will probably post a more in-depth post install review once I have had time to settle in and explore …

But if you were thinking about following me – then yep at this point I can recommend it. Apart from the nice tweeks and updates and the ability to reclaim more space – if you have an Android phone and have managed to follow this blog through to the end AND you arnt too worried about breaking your warranty .. then go for it

Someone asked me why I did all of this – there are lots of reasons – some of which I have talked about here – but I think the biggest one is quite simple.

Because I can.

Geek to the core – and proud!

4 thoughts on “New brain for my old brain…

  1. You may have convinced me to take the plunge. Were you following an online guide?
    Did you reformat your SD to get an ext2/3 partition to install your applications on? That’s the main reason I want to root mine as I’m always running out of space!

    1. Yep I just followed the wiki with a bit of Googling when stuff wasn’t clear
      And yep the formatting was for the ext partition – i need to look in to that more as I’m not sure I’m working it properly.
      Will blog again once its all settled down – but apart from it now snoozing the alarm for 10mins instead of 3 its all good so far

  2. Am too chicken to root my galaxy tab! Dread the possibility of owning a very expensive brick!

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