Monday, August 13, 2012

PGM Nexus is an application which makes you forget of the power button.

PGM Nexus is a great kernel module (or an app, if you prefer it in simple terms), designed for rooted Galaxy Nexus phones which allows you to turn your screen on or off using just swipe gestures. For example, on my Nexus I just swipe from left to right across the screen, and it powers on. If I do the same thing but on the other direction at the bottom of the screen (where the navigation buttons are located), screen just turns of. It takes a bit of time to get used to it, but after you start enjoying it, it'll be the exclusive mode you turn the screen on and off.

If your power button fails and you are afraid of that, this is exactly what you need. I still can't figure out how it actually works (the screen is off, it doesn't use any power but it still recognizes the swipes), but it's a great idea which is well implemented. It's really great, but because of the kernel thing, it will automatically turn off (if set to start on boot) when a kernel is flashed, but selecting that option again seems to stick through reboots afterwards.

Only drawback: it's $3. There's a free version available, but people complain that it completely stops working after a week. So you decide on which way to go. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Jailbreaking Apple's iOS 5.1.1 proves not to be an easy task, you might run into trouble.

I've owned an iPhone 3G when it came out and after my experience with it, I will be never going to buy any iThing again: waiting for new exploits for jailbreak, waiting for new unlock solutions, for every and each iOS version. On Android it is much more simple, and on Nexus particularly, everything is done using Google's own software (and the unlock, if needed, can be realized through a simple PIN code). But I'm not going to compare these aspects, because it's clear who is the winner here.

The idea is that two days ago I've updated my brother's iPod Touch 4G to the latest iOS version (was running an antique one), promising that I'll jailbreak it again (he run into trouble when he was not allowed to install apps that were designed for newer versions of iOS).

So, I simply updated it without any problems, but afterwards I found myself into a stupid situation. No matter what I was doing, I couldn't jailbreak that iPod. I tried several applications of this kind, knowing they are supposed to work properly and to do untethered jailbreak on iPod Touch 4G. None of them finished their job, Absinthe for example started the jailbreak and seemed to do everything needed, but just after rebooting the iPod, it kept returning an error saying something went wrong. After a couple of reboots while trying to run it in different ways, it started to crash even before starting. I wasn't luckier at all with redsn0w, which sometimes seemed to start doing the jailbreak but crashed at the end (iPod still untouched), while other times it even refused to start the jailbreak. And I tried everything, even in Recovery Mode or in DFU, but with no avail.

The solution came with sn0wbreeze (I really recommend you trying with this one), which basically downloads the iOS version and modifies it, adding everything required for jailbreak (including Cyadia and everything else). By using iTunes (Shift + click on Restore, and selecting the modified iOS), I was able to jailbreak that iPod. Of course, this happened after having to apply something else first because I ran into another problem (failed to restore with an error code), but I fixed that easily with a search on Google.

I'm not here to criticize Apple or the guys who take care of jailbreak solutions, but I'm saying that everything is way too complicated and the only loser here is exactly Apple, because the fact that there are so many jailbreak options (4 at a first sight), translates into the following: there is a high demand for this kind of solutions, and iOS is more vulnerable than ever.

I'm not going to post here any links, but you can easily find everything you need with a search on Google. Good luck if you are trying to jailbreak an iDevice patient. :)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Whatever you do with your Galaxy Nexus, just make sure you don't crack the screen glass; or you'll have to pay a lot.

Last week I succeeded in cracking the screen (glass) on my GSM Galaxy Nexus but I really didn't care very much about that when it happened because I was sure I would be able to repair it at a quite decent price, as I knew how much this job usually costs for iPhones. However, I got quite fast to the reality, and everything I was able to find on the internet indicated a price of $170 for this repair alone. OK, don't get me wrong, I am not stressed about this, because the screen is fully functional and I can use it like it is without any problems, but paying that money for just a screen isn't worth at all!

The problem is the following: the glass, which is basically what we touch when we use the screen, is simply fused to the LCD, so they can't be separated, resulting in something stupid. If you need to replace the glass, you have to replace the entire screen, including the LCD, for which you must pay that price ($170).

Of course that you can only buy the glass from eBay, but it is very har to detach the two parts because the screen is fused at an extremely high temperature to the LCD. And all the repair shops refuse to do it, so you can only do it yourself... but the chances of succeeding are very reduced. I wouldn't even try if the touch is still functional and cracks don't bother me, because if you break the LCD, you just paid around $20 for the glass and you'll have to pay another $170 for the entire screen to get the phone functional again. (and no, CDMA screens won't fit correctly of GSM and otherwise).

So, the entire screen is at least $170 (cheapest price) on the internet. The phone is currently available at $350 in the US, which means that the screen is almost a half of that. Much overpriced, in my opinion. Not to mention that the phone shops asked for at least $270 just for the screen, here, in Romania. Comparing it to other phones, it is still overpriced. The same thing for the Galaxy S2 is $130 (but the quality is also lower, so it's obvious it is cheaper). But the same thing costs only $30 for the iPhone 4S, which means Samsung is definitely overpricing things (a lot) but I can't tell why. Yes, you heard me right, the screen (glass + touch + LCD + whatever else is related to the screen): iPhone 4S - $30 vs Galaxy Nexus - $170.

You probably think I'm furious now...but I am not at all. It could happen to anyone. And I would definitely buy the next Nexus (I love these phones), even if it will still be manufactured by Samsung. The only difference will be that if I go somewhere (I was at a restaurant and I dropped the phone with the face down on a brick walkway), I would definitely keep it in a case to protect it.