Sunday, September 30, 2012

Yum! Ice Cream Sandwich

Yeah, yeah. I know I've blogged about Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) before. But that was on my Nook Color.

This is about Ice Cream Sandwich on my Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket (isn't that a mouthful?).

The Skyrocket came with Gingerbread. ICS for the Skyrocket has been out since July 2012 so my plans were to immediately upgrade to ICS.

I had prepared for this by studying Samsung's guide. This is a really thorough step-by-step guide.

When I was buying the Skyrocket I mentioned to the sales person (who was excellent by the way) that I was planning to upgrade as soon as I got home. She cautioned me and said they had replaced several Skyrockets that people had tried to upgrade. "At least do it in the first 30 days so we can do a store exchange for you." was her advice! Not very reassuring.

By the way, the sales person exchanged my Captivate's SIM card for an "LTE" SIM card. She did the activation so my number was live on the new SIM when I left the store.

She did offer me a number to call to speak to a Samsung expert at AT&T regarding the upgrade. Turned out that was just the normal AT&T customer support but they did have a representative that was knowledgeable on the upgrade.

Her advice was to make sure that the SIM card was removed before starting the process. If the phone rings in the middle of the process the phone could be bricked. As I had taken the new SIM card out of the phone at the AT&T store I was ready.

She stayed on the phone with me until the new image was downloading. We agreed on a time that she would call me back and I sat and watched.

The laptop I used was the same one that I had used to flash Gingerbread on my Captivate. That process used Kies Lite and the ICS process called for the full Kies.

As the process proceeded I got a message from Windows 7 (32-bit by the way) that a driver had failed to install. Then the upgrade process stopped and eventually got a "timed out" message. The message told me to where to restart the process.

This time it went perfect. Overall it probably took less than an hour. The image had to re-download which was the biggest time.

The AT&T customer service representative did actually call me back! By that time I was installing apps on the Skyrocket.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

SG2, ICS, uSD, LTE, NFC and other TLAs

I seem to have this thing about immersing expensive electronics into liquids. I dropped my Samsung CL-65 into my soup on the Space Needle and recently washed my Samsung Captivate. Amazingly after 36 hours in a bag of rice it was perfect.

But still that was enough of an excuse to upgrade my phone. I had been lusting after a Google Nexus so I dove back into studying the specs. Surprisingly I discovered that the Samsung Galaxy S II (SG2) was very close and actually had a couple of features I preferred. Without going through the entire laundry list I liked the SG2's LTE capability, the Super AMOLED Plus, and the ability to use a microSD (uSD).

I found a couple of comparisons of the Skyrocket and the Galaxy Nexus. The one at geekaphone was typical.

The Skyrocket was offered by AT&T for $99 (with a 2 year contract) and the Galaxy Nexus was offered by Google for $349 (unlocked, no contract).

I couldn't decide and my Captivate was working fine so I did nothing.

Then the iPhone 5 was announced. With LTE. And you know Apple is going to insist that AT&T have their LTE network up imminently. Official word from AT&T was by the end of 2012. Then last weekend talk started surfacing on Facebook that LTE was live in the Memphis area. A friend pushed on his AT&T rep. who conceded that it was up all over town. A quick visit to the local AT&T store confirmed that it was up in my neighborhood.

Forget the Galaxy Nexus with that old fashioned HSPA+. I took home a Skyrocket!

So what about the Samsung Galaxy S III? Way too big!

I'll post more about the other TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) in future posts.

Here're a couple of photos comparing the Captivate to the Skyrocket.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Put Audio on Blogger

A couple of times my daughter has had audio recordings she has made on her iPhone that she wants to post on her Blogger blog. Blogger doesn't support audio so I had to look around some.

Unfortunately there is no easy solution. I've found a way but it almost takes standing on your head.

Let's start with the easy part. If your audio is from an iPhone it will be a .m4a file. I use to convert it to .mp3.

Now the hard part. Do a Google search for "audio-player.swf".

Start going through the links looking for a link to a audio_player.swf that you trust downloading from and that works. No need to waste your time on the Google links. It seems like they've all been moved.

I found a link that worked. I downloaded the file and renamed it to just audio-player.swf.

Sorry but it gets harder.

Now you need a place to upload files to. Fortunately I have access to a Google Sites site. I uploaded audio-player.swf and the mp3 file to this site.

Well, that's all the hard stuff.

Here's the HTML code that you'll need to embed in your Blogger blog.
<embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" flashvars="audioUrl=http://_your_site_here_/Yodel.mp3?attredirects=0&d=1" src="http://_your_site_here_/audio-player.swf" width="400" height="27" quality="best"></embed>
Good luck!

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Disney's Fast Play

Sometimes you just have to shake your head at things corporations do. My daughter sent a DVD of Disney's Sleeping Beauty with our granddaughter. When she asked for it I popped it in the DVD player. In a few seconds a screen popped up offering "Fast Play" or "Main Menu."

You know how impatient I am (and a 3 year-old is even more impatient) so I thankfully chose "Fast Play."


"Fast Play" is the slow way to watch a DVD. If you chose "Fast Play" you get to see every trailer on the DVD.

"Main Menu" takes you directly to a menu where you can just play the DVD.

Incredible. Reminds me of why I wrote this years ago.

You can read Disney's euphemistic explanation of it here.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

ARM Server Chip

Every now and then I get some vision into the future. It may just be like a former director used to say "Even a blind pig finds an acorn now and then."

I was listening to "Speaking in Tech #19" one of my favorite podcasts a couple of weeks ago. The guest was Chad Sakac, Senior Vice President at EMC. He was formerly Vice President VMware Technology Alliance at EMC. Chad was discussing the relationship between VMware and EMC.

Then he said it.
(26:14) There is no question that VMware and EMC share a strategic world view. ... the way that we see the world going and the bets that we are making as a company, ... like yep, the world is x86.
Four weeks. That's how long it was until an ARM server chip was announced.

Now I'm not foolish enough to think that the world will switch to ARM servers as quick as consumer devices are switching from x86 (PCs) to ARM (tablets and phones) but they're coming.

I hope that somewhere deep in the bowels of VMware's labs somebody is working on virtualizing ARM chips for servers.