Rough Book

random musings of just another computer nerd

Tag: google

Broadband speed-test results for T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network

I’m at Phoenix Sky Harbor airport waiting for my (delayed) file to Orange County. I was having trouble connecting to Sky Harbor’s free Wi-Fi and so I decided to tether to my G2. The phone was showing all four bars on the HSPA+ network and so I decided to run a speed test. This is what I got:

Broadband speed-test results

The average speed for T-Mobile as reported by speedtest.net is around 2Mbps, so I’m surprised that mine is so high. I ran a few more tests and I got results between 2.5Mbps and 3.5Mbps. What bothers me the most is that T-Mobile’s mobile network provides a better upload speed than the measly 896Kbps that Qwest gives me.

Unboxing my new T-Mobile G2 Android Phone

My wife called me at work today and told me that my new phone just came in the mail :). It’s the new G2 by HTC, which is supposed to be the successor to the G1. The specs on this phone are:

  • 3.7 inch WVGA capacitive touch screen
  • 5 megapixel camera with auto-focus and flash
  • Qualcomm MSM7230 800MHz processor
  • 4GB ROM
  • 512MB RAM
  • GPS/aGPS
  • WiFi
  • Bluetooth
  • Android 2.2
  • Runs on T-Mobile’s 4G/HSPA+ network
  • Slide-out keyboard

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Download ShapeWriter APK

I tried to install ShapeWriter from the Android Marketplace yesterday and couldn’t find it (I was trying to reinstall it after flashing my phone with Cyanogenmod 5.0.8). After searching the interwebs, I found out that it had been removed from the marketplace on June 20th indefinitely (supposedly for QA issues). Luckily I had backed up the app using MyBackup Pro and still had the APK, so I was able to reinstall it. I’m putting the APK up here for anyone who needs to reinstall ShapeWriter.

Download ShapeWriter APK

Trying out ChromeOS from a VMWare image

I was pretty excited when I saw the VMWare image for ChromeOS up for download. I immediately downloaded it to try it out. The zip file I got from gdgt has a vmdk file but no vmx file. I created one from scratch to try ChromeOS out (I’ve made a new zip with the vmdk and the vmx. The link is at the end of this post.). It’s not too bad. The OS boots up really quick. The login screen is pretty spartan (look at the screenshots I have). You login with your Google/Gmail username and password. When you login, it opens up the Chrome browser. I wasn’t able to get anything else running other than the browser. Also, when I first logged in, Chrome complained that the security certificate for Gmail had been revoked. But I was able to login when I typed in the address for Gmail in again. The default tabs seem to be GMail and Google Calendar. I’m assuming that because it’s such an early build, you’re not able to try out the other stuff. Maybe there’s a way; I didn’t play around with it too much. There is a Date and Time settings menu that’s available from the browser, where you can set a few other options, like your proxy, SSL options, home page, and a few other advanced settings.
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My new T-Mobile G1 Android Phone

So I got my T-Mobile G1 Android phone yesterday, and boy am I excited! I had mixed feelings about it initially because I wasn’t so sure of the form factor. I remember thinking that it looked a little clunky, but now that I have it here, in my hand, I have to say that it feels well-made and rather solid. The exterior is made of plastic, and it feels smooth to the touch and not cheap at all. The keyboard slides out smoothly and I’ve had no problem typing on it. The interface is pretty snappy. I was actually surprised at how smooth and responsive it was. As far as the interface is concerned, the only issue I have is with the zooming. It may just be that I haven’t figured out to activate it reliably. I guess they had to go with this method because Apple is trying to patent the “pinch” motion for zooming. I think that is completely stupid, of course, and the patent office should throw it out.

Anyway, so once I picked up the phone I opened up the package and carefully laid everything out. T-Mobile sent me another SIM card with it, which didn’t work; I guess you have to activate it. But that really wasn’t a problem since I have my old SIM card. Once I put it in the phone and hooked up the new battery, I started up the phone. When it firsts starts up, it asks you for your Google account information so that you can sync everything with your phone. As soon as it synced up (which happened within a matter of seconds), I was good to go. I started off by trying to import my contacts from the SIM card. This is where I came across a problem. Apparently (I could be wrong, I was too impatient to explore more options) you can’t import all your SIM contacts in one go. You have to do it one by one. I found that a little annoying. You can either import your contacts one-by-one, or import them all in one go by hitting the Menu button and then choosing the Import all option. As soon as I had my contacts imported, I started exploring the other options. The home screen is pretty sweet. You can drag and drop icons on there, and swipe left and right to either add more icons or run google search. In addition to GMail, you can add other POP3/IMAP accounts and you can also use other IM networks in addition to GTalk. The G1 also has a music player and a bunch of sample tracks (including Flight of the Conchord’s “The Most Beautiful Girl in the Room”). The phone doesn’t have a headphone jack, so you have to get a USB to 3.5mm converter. The Bluetooth works fine and synced up to the Hands-free Link in my Acura without any problem. Although, like the iPhone, you can’t transfer files via bluetooth. I imagine that they will fix this eventually. The phone also has a feature where you can set up a “pattern” to unlock it. You have to “draw” a pattern on the screen connecting nine dots (laid in a 3×3 grid pattern) to unlock the phone. The other cool thing was the “Compass Mode” in the Google Maps street view. The phone adjusts the street view based on where you’re pointing it, and so the scene on the phone actually moves when you move the phone. It’s pretty neat!

So, my opinion? As far as a phone (or PDA) goes, I think that the G1 is pretty solid. I know that some reviewers claimed that they didn’t think it would really appeal to most people. However, I think that it will. It has a pretty slick interface and a lot of neat features. Additionally, I think the demographic it will appeal to most, is people like me – developers and people who like to play with neat gadgets. I know that once I get some more time on my hands, I’m going to try and develop stuff on it. iPhone killer? I don’t know. But I think the G1’s strength is that it is completely open. In effect, it is the antithesis to the iPhone, or the anti-iPhone. Google doesn’t control the G1 (or Android) as strictly as Apple controls the iPhone, and especially with regard to the SDK. Google seems to want to encourage developers whereas Apple seems to want to encourage them only as long as they play by Apple’s rules. Consider also the fact that if you do want to develop for the iPhone, you can only do it on a Mac. Whereas you can develop apps that will run on Android on Windows, Mac, or Linux. I guess we’ll have to wait and see. But for now, I’m just happy to have a cool new toy er… I mean, phone!

Update

I’ve noticed a lot of queries to this blog post regarding the importing of SIM contacts into the G1. The process is quite simple:

  • Swipe the dock at the bottom of the screen upwards to access the G1’s menu.
  • Select Contacts from the menu.
  • Hit the Menu button and then select Settings
  • You should now see “Sync Groups” and “SIM contacts importer”
  • Select SIM contacts importer. You should now be able to import your contacts.
  • If you want to import them all in one go, hit Menu and then select Import all

As a general rule, if you’re having trouble finding (extra) options, hit the Menu button. It should show you a few more options.

The G1's outer box
The G1’s outer box

The G1's inner box
The G1’s inner box

The G1 inside the box
The G1 inside the box

The G1's accessories and manuals
The G1’s accessories and manuals. The accessories you get are a carrying case, battery, headphones, USB cable, and charger. Oh, and you get a SIM card too (if you ordered through T-Mobile’s website)

The G1 inside the box
The G1 inside the box

The T-Mobile Android G1
The T-Mobile Android G1

G1 side view
G1 side view

G1 keyboard flipped out
G1 keyboard flipped out

G1 home screen
G1 keyboard flipped out

G1 menu
G1 menu

G1 dialer
G1 dialer

G1 displaying Google Maps
G1 displaying Google Maps

G1 displaying Google Maps (side view)
G1 displaying Google Maps (side view)

G1 displaying Google Maps Satellite View (side view)
G1 displaying Google Maps Phoenix Satellite View (side view)

G1 displaying Google Maps Street View
G1 displaying Google Maps Street View

G1 vivin.net
G1 displaying vivin.net

The G1 in its case
The G1 in its case

A lot of stuff

I didn’t update this site for a while because I had a lot of stuff going on. A lot happened towards the end of last year. My house was destroyed, and then it was rebuilt. While that was going on, I also lost my job when Intel decided to “redeploy” my entire group. I was offered an option to look for positions within the company, but I declined. I honestly wasn’t doing as much programming as I would have liked, so I decided to look for jobs outside Intel. I interviewed with Google and didn’t get in despite doing really well (their words) on the phone and in-person interviews. I got a call back from the recruiter who said that “although the interviewers really liked you and thought that you were incredibly smart and knowledgeable, they didn’t feel that your skills are a good match for the position”. I thought it was a standard “Thanks, but no thanks” response and I was a little disheartened. To be honest, my faith in my own skills and knowledge was a little shaken. I talk to my friend Iliyan (he works and google and he’s the one who actually referred me) and he said that they were actually telling the truth. Apparently, at Google they try to match you up pretty well with your job. If they feel that you don’t match up with the position, they don’t offer it. He said that if I had applied to Google and Mountain View, instead of Phoenix, I would have received an offer for sure. He also let them know that they made a mistake in not hiring me. Either way, I wasn’t all that depressed.

I got a few more offers and did a few more interviews before finally accepting a position at Infusion Software. They basically write CRM (Content and Resource Management) Software for small businesses. They are a relatively new company. I have been here for a month and I’ve been loving it since my first day. The first day I walked in, they basically said “Here’s your system. Pick an OS and install it and set up your development environment”. I was like “Awesome!”. Of course, I set up PC-BSD (which is basically a FreeBSD distro). The environment at Infusion Software is very energetic and fast-paced. The demographic is also rather young. During my interview they showed me around and when I got to the developer room, they showed me a projector and said “This is where we play Halo or Guitar Hero 3 when we need to take a break”. ‘Nuff said. I’m glad everything eventually worked out. I was rather stressed after my house got wrecked, and to add to it, I got laid-off. The way my friend Suhrid puts it. “You have the weirdest luck in the world. Really bad stuff happens to you, but then something really cool happens after that to make it better than before… you got to remodel your home for a great price, and you got a better job!”

My parents came down for a month at the beginning of January. My mom’s staying behind to help me set up the house. Of course, because of that I had to tell my girlfriend that she couldn’t come over anymore (this is all true, yes it is). Oh yeah, so I’m renting out my house. My parents had bought a house here that they don’t live in. So I’ve basically moved over there. It’s a bit of a drive to places, but nothing too bad.

Oh yes, I finally got to put my citizenship to use. Yes, I voted in the primaries. I registered as Republican so I could vote for Ron Paul. Let’s just say that I believe in a lot of what he says because I identify myself as Libertarian. I know a lot of people said that he wasn’t going to win, but that wasn’t the point. This country needs to change. It’s constitutionally a multi-party system, but the only parties that matter are the Republicans and Democrats and they haven’t been doing anything for this country. The current administration has done a great job of ignoring that piece of paper this country was founded up. The subtle erosion of Civil Rights alarms me. We need to remember what this country was founded upon. Honest, law-abiding citizens should have no fear of their government. That is why I support Ron Paul. It is besides the point that he didn’t win. We need to challenge the current situation. We need to change the current situation. Of course, the idiotic media ignored Ron Paul and didn’t even talk about him. Despite that, the man was able to garner a large and loyal following through the internet. What that says is that there are people who are willing to listen and who want to listen and who want change. The sad truth is that the people with big pockets, and big media exposure get all the attention, and not the people with the good ideas. I hope that in time his ideas will prevail. I hope in time Americans will realize that this country needs to get back to its roots.

That’s about it. I’m going to try and update this blog a little more frequently, but no promises.

Google Talk/Google IM

Google has come out with their instant messaging program. This seems to be unofficial; the only mentions I can see are on this Slashdot article, and the website I linked to.

You should be able to get it to work using any Jabber client. I’ve been trying to get it to work on Trillian, but I’ve been having some trouble. I’ve set my username as [my gmail id]@gmail.com and the server as talk.google.com. Trillian authenticates, but then quits after receiving “iq errors”:

[Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 17:04:55] *** Creating connection "[my gmail id]@gmail.com/"
[Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 17:04:56] *** Server supports TLS encryption...
[Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 17:04:56] *** Negotiating XMPP SSL connection...
[Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 17:04:57] *** Connection established using EDH-RSA-DES-CBC3-SHA (TLSv1/SSLv3)
[Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 17:05:05] *** Attempting to authenticate using PLAIN
[Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 17:05:06] *** Authenticated.
[Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 17:05:15] *** You have successfully connected to Jabber.
[Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 17:05:15] *** ERROR: iq error 501
[Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 17:05:15] *** Retrieved user roster from server.
[Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 17:05:16] *** ERROR: iq error 501
[Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 17:05:16] *** ERROR: iq error 503 from gmail.com
[Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 17:05:16] *** ERROR: iq error 503 from gmail.com

If anyone has had anymore success, please let me know. I’m not sure how popular this is going to be; people usually tend to stay within a particular “IM clique” (with AIM, MSN Messenger, and Yahoo! Chat being the major players). I use Trillian so that I can talk people in any one of these “cliques”.

This ends months of speculation and rumours about Google’s foray into the IM arena. I wonder what’s next?

UPDATE #1

I tried it again, this time with “Trillian” in the “Resource” field, no luck – Trillian still loses connection to the server. It comes up with a bunch of “Connection lost to server” errors.

[Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 17:44:00] *** Creating connection "[my gmail id]@gmail.com/Trillian"
[Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 17:44:01] *** Server supports TLS encryption...
[Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 17:44:01] *** Negotiating XMPP SSL connection...
[Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 17:44:02] *** Connection established using EDH-RSA-DES-CBC3-SHA (TLSv1/SSLv3)
[Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 17:44:10] *** Attempting to authenticate using PLAIN
[Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 17:44:16] *** Authenticated.
[Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 17:44:21] *** Connection lost to server.
[Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 17:44:21] *** Connection lost to server.
[Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 17:44:21] *** Connection lost to server.
[Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 17:44:21] *** Connection lost to server.
[Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 17:44:22] *** Connection lost to server.
[Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 17:44:22] *** Connection lost to server.
[Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 17:44:22] *** Connection lost to server.

UPDATE #2

I found this site that has instructions on getting Google IM to work through Jabber on Trillian. It has the same settings that I use, but they claim to have gotten it to work; although I see the same “Connection lost to server” errors on their status window as well. I also noticed that their status window shows the authentication being done with “[email protected]” as oppsed to “[email protected]”, which is what I’m seeing.

UPDATE #3

Success (sort of)! It works now – I didn’t do anything different, I tried disconnecting and reconnecting, and now the connection seems to be stable. However, I’m unable to add anyone, or IM them. I tried adding myself, but was unable to do so. I’ll keep playing around anyway… Here are a few screenshots:

Manage Connections Preferences Status Window

UPDATE #4

It looks like it’s working now – I still lose connection occasionally, but it seems much more stable than before. I have also been able to add people and IM them.

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