Android Phone Update Nov 2011

On 2011/12/02, in Android, by Greg Woods

I’ve been using Android phones for a couple of years now, with my ultra budget Orange San Francisco being my favourite so far.

ROMs, and De-Bricking

I’ve been running the CyanogenMod 7.1 ROM which upgrades the phone to Android 2.3, and it’s been very stable. However, in the last week the phone stopped charging via USB. The charging lightning bolt symbol flashed up briefly then disappeared. Very odd. I then started having problems with various processes unexpectedly quitting – most noticeably when using the Market app.

So I decided to reflash it with the same CyanogenMod ROM. Unfortunately, instead of following the “switch on with vol-down pressed” to boot into ClockworkMod Recovery, I decided to see what the ‘Recovery’ option did after long-pressing the power button. I should have steered clear as I had no idea what it was supposed to do. Unfortunately it appeared to brick the phone – stuck on the green Android graphic. Oops. Fortunately, Method 2 of the de-bricking a ZTE Blade guide worked, and I was able to get the phone up and running again.

Power button problems – solved

After I have the phone up and running, I notice the power button now requires an extremely hard press to make it work. Although it culd be wear and tear, I figure it’s more likely dirt and maybe oxidisation on the contacts. It probably didn’t help that I had the back cover off and on seceral times during the de-bricking attempts. I needed some switch contact cleaner, and decided to give a cheap Screwfix Electrical Contact Cleaner a go. With the battery removed, I used the tiniest of squirts on the switch and left it 10 minutes to dry off. I can now report a fully restored power button. A £2.49 fix, with a full can of Contact Cleaner left over.

Current Android Apps

I’ve never had much success with apps which claim to back up your entire phone. Probably because they rarely work after modifying the ROM. So I had to go through the process of installing my Apps. Each time I do this, the list of apps gets smaller, as I realise that I use only a handful. So here is November 2011’s list of Android apps.

Apps Everyone Should Install

  • Lost Phone (GadgetProjects.com)
  • SMS Backup + (Jan Berkei) – now also backs up call log
  • Calendar Pad
  • Aldiko Book Reader – also does a good job with pdfs
  • Barcode Scanner (ZXing Team)
  • Google Maps
  • Street View on Google Maps
  • YouTube

Apps Important to Me

  • Catch Notes
  • Dropbox
  • Google Sky Map
  • My Tracks
  • OS Atlas (James McLaren) – still has access to 1:25K maps (unlike Bing)
  • Twitter
  • iSilo

Currently Trying Out

  • Taskos To Do List | Task List
  • EMA Personal Wiki

Not Installed From Last Time

  • Maverick Pro – Paid for map app, some features not available without a hardware D-pad. Unresponsive to my support requests
  • BeamReader PDF Viewer – Paid for, yet Aldiko does a good job. may reinstall if I need reflow option
  • Hundred pushups – 30 is more realistic!
 

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