Sunday, January 13, 2013

Android Christmas

For Christmas, my older son wanted a phone. Without any influence, other than he couldn't have a Galazy Note or an S3, he wanted a Motorola Backflip, or any Galaxy phone. (I think he knew that I wouldn't buy him anything from Apple). We weren't going to pay for an unlimited plan, so I thought it reasonable to get an unlocked phone, and a pay as you go plan. Our older son and daughter went halfs on an unlocked Motorola Backflip. At first I thought this a great idea, but the backflip is so attached to ATT, that we can't load too many useful third party apps on it. I let him use my myTouch 4g until I can get this worked out a little more.

My other son got a JXD S5110 android gaming device. If you have never seen one of these, they are pretty cool. It looks just like an older PSP, with all the same buttons, but without the CD drive in the back. There is a circular Android logo on the back, that makes it look like a PSP. It has a large screen and a ton of software loaded on it (emulators mostly, Mame, N64, GB, etc). It has Ice Cream Sandwich, but you have to load the play store on it.

99% of everything I've loaded on it works. He plays temple run, cut the rope, and NinJump mostly. It has a multitouch resistive screen, and works amazingly well. You have to push, but overall, it impressive how well it works. One thing that doesn't work is Youtube. I can't tell you why.

The JXD X5110 is fragile. He dropped it the first day, and broke the WiFi switch. Why it has a physical switch, I can't tell you, since it is also software controlled. The back comes off of the device easily, so I soldered across the WiFi switch, so we don't have to deal with that. Over the next week, he has dropped it a couple more times, and knocked the power switch loose, and both of the top buttons. The power switch is about the size of a grain of rice, and the left/right buttons are larger push buttons. I was able to re-solder them on. I am guessing they probably flow soldered them with solder paste (RoHS and all). I used plain old 60/40 lead solder and a 15 watt iron. Nothing to it, maybe like 20 minutes total time (it took a little time to find the power button, since it is about the same size as the screws).

I don't know if I mentioned it, but my wife and I both got Galaxy Note 2's a couple weeks before Christmas. That was a good choice, I really like the device, and with the big screen, it makes everything else seem tiny. I haven't done any programming for it yet, but I want to try, especially for the side by side two apps at a time work. I've got podkicker on that, and been listening to the GoogleIO podcasts from last summer. I mostly listen to +All About Android and +Android Central podcasts for insite into future and device considerations. 

I've done a little work to get a development environment setup for the STM Discovery F3 boards I have. I tried really hard to build GNU toolchain from scratch, but eventually gave up and got the Code Sourcery from Mentor Graphics. It is all setup, but havn't built anything to install yet. I am tempted to use the Discovery boards for the processor for the engine monitor, instead of the Arduino. It'd just be nice to move on from 8bitters finally.

I also was working on pinewood derby, and plastic models, and all. Not much time for watching TV, but I want to play with the SDR again. I've kind of let all that go since last summer.

keep in touch. 

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