Archived News for June 2010

Farewell, friends

On Friday I board the Cap Beatrice, a Hamburg Sud freight ship which should take me through the Panama Canal to Philadelphia.  After that I have only vague ideas about what I may do, probably including New York and Oregon and anarchist communes.  Many of you who could care about this already know it and came to my going away party on the weekend: thank you for coming, it really meant much to me.

Right now I am trawling through project gutenburg, picking up some serious reading for the trip, which should take about four weeks.  Tonight I saw and greatly enjoyed The Last Station, and so I've downloaded War and Peace and Anna Karenina.  Also Proust, and a few texts which aren't massively long.

Also on the list of things to do while at sea are write some more and finish updating jimmy.  Then there are the onboard gym and table tennis table, and I found out today that at least one other passenger will be boarding at Auckland, so my fear of cabin fever is somewhat alleviated.

And, well, it'll be something of an adventure, I hope.  I don't know when I'll come back to New Zealand, but I won't forget all the great friends I have here: I won't be able to stay away forever.

Love to you all,


The State of Android

Jean-Baptiste Queru had this to say upon the release of the Froyo code into the Android Open Source Project (the "dump" of Froyo, making it available to modders, coders, reviewers, bug hunters, etc.):

In order to make it easier for device manufacturers and custom system builders to use Froyo, we’ve restructured our source tree to better separate closed-source modules from open-source ones. [...] We’ve also incorporated into the core platform all the configuration files necessary to build the source code of Android Open-Source Project on its own. You can now build and boot a fully open-source system image out of the box, for the emulator, as well as for Dream (ADP1), Sapphire (ADP2), and Passion (Nexus One).

Very interesting. That's a big portion of the Android phone market that's going to be upgradable to Froyo very easily. Google are paying attention to fragmentation. But here's a rundown anyway:

The Good Stuff

  • Have a Droid, Dream (G1), or Magic (G2)? Don't wait for CM6, upgrade now. It may not be OTA, but it's worth it, and it's easy to install.
  • Have a Slide, or Hero? CM6 is just around the corner: it looks to be a pretty snappy release. Follow @koush for updates.
  • Have a Desire or Evo? Get CM6 if you want, but your OTA should be arriving shortly (or a few days ago :-).

The bad Stuff

  • Have a XPERIA™ X10(lulz)? Just wait; the modders should catch up with you in a bit. Alternatively, you've only got the rest of the year to wait until you get 2.1. No word on what's after that, though. You better hope these latest configuration changes Google have done make it easy for Sony. Otherwise you'll end up like...
  • Telecom's new Android phone: the LG GW620f. Well, you're screwed. 1.5 or 1.6 for you, and no upgrade in the forseeable future. No eclair, no froyo, no gingerbread. No WebM, no native Exchange support (instead supported by potentially crappy third-party app), no Google Navigation, no Swype, no ADW launcher, no multiple Google profiles, no Twitter and Facebook contact syncing, no Google Apps support, etc. And you'll miss out on this:
On the performance front in particular, we have seen realistic improvements of 2x to 5x for CPU-bound code, compared to the previous version of the Dalvik VM. This is equivalent to about 4x to 10x faster than a more traditional interpreter implementation. (Dan Bornstein)

Really: if you want to get a reasonable Android experience, buy a phone with an unlocked bootloader and a recent version of the OS. The improvement from 1.5 to 2.2 is huge.

Ultimately, I think, consumers will just have to factor this into their decision of which brand they purchase. HTC has generally very upgradable phones: it treats Android well. Google marked phones (Dream, Sapphire, Nexus) do also. Others vary. Buy accordingly.

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