Ever since I got the Urushi (Xperia Ray), I’ve wanted to port Android 4.0 to it. Unfortunately, having received the carrier branded variant of the phone, the phone’s bootloader is not fastboot enabled. Therefore, the bootloader is not unlockable via Sony Experia’s bootloader unlock site. I was, however able to root the device using the method found here. (Thanks again DoomLord!) I have done a bit of tweaking to the pre-installed ROM which I’ll describe below.

Automatic Light Sensor Hack:
This was rather simple.. so simple in fact that I was surprised that no one found it sooner. The hack involves two files, the hw_config.sh and als_curve.conf files in the /system/etc directory. In the hw_config.conf, find the line that looks like this:

echo 0,0,0,0 > $dev/lcd-backlight/als/params #[gain],[filter_up],[filter_

and edit it to look like this:

echo 3,2,2,0 > $dev/lcd-backlight/als/params #[gain],[filter_up],[filter_down],[offset]

Then, using Terminal Emulator or another app capable of executing scripts, run hw_config.sh. *Make sure you have the backlight set to a value higher than 0 and lower than 100 or else the hack will not work!*

SD Card Read Cache Tweaking:
This one was also as simple if not more simple than the above hack. All thanks go to arcatarc for this hack (which you can find here). It requires either the use of Terminal Emulator, SD-Booster or any app capable of modifying text files with root privileges. ADB can also be used for this if you prefer to work with a full size keyboard. In Terminal Emulator, ADB, or similar go to /sys/devices/virtual/bdi/179:0/read_ahead_kb and change the value from 128 to whatever you choose. When using SD-Booster, all that needs to be done is input the value you want and tap the Apply button. I currently have the read cache set at 1152 and the the write speed has increased to 6.8 MB/s from 6.1 MB/s while the read speed has increased from 15.3 MB/s to 26.8 MB/s. This latter hack as proven to be the most useful of the two as the speed increase is clearly evident when shooting and reviewing photos.

While looking into the Xperia Mini Pro (the reason why will be in another post), I came across the Xperia Ray which had already launched in the UK. With a form factor similar to the Xperia Mini that is currently available, albeit thinner at 9.4 mm thick, it seems that the Xperia Ray will replace the equally small yet bulkier phone. The most compelling reasons for this is the inclusion of the Exmor R for Mobile camera sensor, a front facing camera and the 3.3″ display with a resolution of 480×854, all of which the current Xperia Mini lacks. This could also be a foretelling of a Xperia Mini Pro replacement which is merely receives the more capable Exmor R for Mobile sensor and sharper display.

I will update this post once I receive further word on whether these musings are true or not.

I finally got a new Motorola Milestone from the Telus store in the mall where I work. That however was on Sunday. It’s now Saturday and so far I’m truly enjoying the phone. It is heavy, solid and big especially with the OtterBox Commuter Case purchased for it. The great 3.7″ LCD screen is wonderful the look at and at a resolution of 480×854, it beats out the HTC Hero by over 2-1. The keyboard while good, has me wishing for a dedicated numerical row and a pipe symbol key combination. The camera is a great 5 MP unit that takes great pictures compared to other smartphones. It would even best a three year old Canon provided that the lens is absolutely clean. The Milestone proved to be an excellent phone when needed especially after I changed the CrystalTalk setting over to clear. Almost everything works as it should. As for my opinion on the OS, the phone is a blast to use with Android 2.0.1. Great as it is, there are issues that Motorola needs to address in the 2.1 update for Canadian Milestones on Telus:

  1. Audio playback skips when either the GSM radio switches protocols, a text message is received or data is being transferred. http://bit.ly/d72Lbc
  2. Failure to detect the USB cable when it’s plugged in. http://bit.ly/cd6u5A

Aside from these three bugs, the phone runs rock solid on Android 2.0.1. I use this phone in lieu of my MacBook when I’m out and about which is saying something.

Background: Andrew Is Dying
On Friday, the harddrive array in Andrew failed while I was running BackTrack 4. I then logged out of X which showed me numerous error messages when I returned to the terminal. Not good. I then ‘gracefully’ shutdown the system via the poweroff command and ended up seeing numerous errors for that as well even after I got the harddrive array running again. Alas, it was too late and the damage had been done. Upon booting back into BackTrack, I was greeted with many errors and dropped into a recovery terminal with only busybox to help me. Continue Reading »

My RE252s are here!

This morning I received a package from China Express. The HifiMAN RE252s and FiiO E3 that I’ve been waiting anxiously for had finally arrived. Naturally, I captured a few pictures of the package and its contents:

First listen of the RE252: These are by far the most enjoyable IEMs I have ever had the pleasure of listening to. The soundstage is quite expansive with the medium tips on and I truly like I am in the audience in a concert hall in theater. The separation between the instruments is amazing almost to the point where I can tell which string has been plucked or strum or which notes have been played on which instrument. I can even tell where the singer is in relation to the band or orchestra.

I’ll post a formal review when I’ve burned them in and have listened to them enough.

How much is enough?

After reading LAPTOP Magazine’s review on the ASUS UL30A, an ultraportable that can run for nearly 10 hours on a single charge while browsing the internet over Wi-Fi, I’m beginning to wonder, “How long do we need our laptops to run?”. I decided to look at the last CULV ultraportable (released in 2009) to hold the title for longest runtime, the Acer Aspire Timeline 1810T which had a runtime of almost 9 hours (according to LAPTOP Magazine). The two systems really only differ in the capacity of their batteries with the ASUS having a two cell advantage over the Acer. And yet I ask, “How long do we really need these laptops to run?”. If one really wanted to, they could easily install a Linux distro like Arch Linux and tweak it for the highest practical battery life. In doing so, one can achieve a theoretical 12+ hour battery runtime which under heavy usage may fall to 10+ hours under heavy usage. Hardly anyone I know uses their laptop unplugged until the low battery warning comes up except for my girlfriend. Perhaps then, that it is with those people, the mobile power users, with multiple gadgets, each selected for a sole purpose or set of purposes and tweaked to their preferences, that these enduring notebooks are meant for. What do you think?

My Portable Rig

I’m writing this post to coincide with the Pictures of Your Portable Rig [Part XIII] thread in the Portable Source Gear forum in the Head-Fi forums. Enjoy!


Heavy and Lo-Fi but it works!

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