Monthly Archives: April 2012

Part 2: Making Android more like a Blackberry

Following up to my oh-so popular post about making Android more like a Blackberry, I’ve found a way to create notification Profiles that do what I want.

After fiddling for about a week (seriously), with probably 20 apps and runaround forum threads, this seemingly basic functionality couldn’t be done in Android ICS.

To recap, what I wanted was:

  • The ability to disable all notifications at “Night”, except for the phone ringer and notifications for incoming email to one email address that I use to alert me of server-type mishaps.

No matter what app I tried, I wasn’t able to find a way to do this. Many of the apps out there can whitelist contacts, but many required that they be from a phone number and not an email address. I even tried an SMS alert from my monitoring service, but that app just plain didn’t work at all.

The solution? Flash the ROM of my ICS Galaxy nexus to the latest nightly build for Cyanogenmod 9.

Cyanogenmod 9 (and earlier versions), has a built-in setting aptly named “Profiles”. This feature allows you to control notifications for various situations, such as “Work” or “Car” or “Night”. Additionally, you can control the notifications for specific apps. Default apps include Gmail and Email.

What I did was set up all of my email accounts in the Gmail app, and the server-alert account in the Email app using Exchange (per my related post). Once this was set up, I could then use Profiles to override the notifications for the Gmail app when set to the “Night” profile, and subsequently pump up the volume for the Email app and its server-alert email address.

Seems so simple, right? I think the problem I had in finding an app to do this was that Google apparently changed the way apps can be accessed by other programs, basically disallowing the type of control I wanted. Flashing a different ROM removed this restriction.

Anyway, I’ve been using the mod for a few days now and it’s been very stable. It also has a lot of nice and seemingly obvious tweaks to the stock ICS interface that I really think enhances the usability of the OS. Another nice touch is that the changes are relatively transparent; there’s no bloatware or gratuitous interface skinning here. It still looks like stock ICS, but with some welcome tweaks.

Let me try and sum up how to Flash this ROM in my own words:

  1. Install the Galaxy Nexus Toolkit (This allows you to root, unlock, install Clockworkmod recovery, everything, in one step)
  2. Install ROMManager from the Google Play store
  3. Assuming you successfully installed the Toolkit, you can now download the latest CM9 build and also the Google Apps files to your PC (I don’t know if you can do all of this on a Mac, but luckily my Mac has Bootcamp and Win7 on it; it won’t work with Fusion or Parallels)
  4. Create a directory (folder) on your GNex called “cm9”, and copy the above two files in .zip form to it. (I like to keep the ROM files in one place rather than loose on the root level /sdcard)
  5. Launch ROMManager and select Reboot into Recovery (this will reboot into Clockworkmod recovery)
  6. Continue from Step 6 in the article above

Note: This will wipe your device of all user data, but not photos or media type stuff. Just your apps and your account setups like Gmail, etc. Once you are up and running again, you can just restore most of this stuff easily once you sign into your Google account again.

Update: Updating to a new build on CM9 is also easy:

  1. Download the latest nightly build from Cyanogenmod.
  2. Once downloaded, launch ROM Manager, (optional: select Backup Current ROM" if you want to be safe and have a restore point), then select “Install ROM from SD card”. “Wipe Dalvik cache” is selected by default. Proceed.
  3. When your Nexus reboots into CWM Recovery, use the volume buttons to select “install zip from sdcard” (press Power button to select), then navigate to your /Downloads directory to select the new ROM build.
  4. After installation, reboot the device and allow Android to finish updating itself.
  5. Done!

YAR (Yet Another ROM): LiquidSmooth

I found another ROM that also has the Profiles settings. It’s called LiquidSmooth (I think they may have just ripped it off from CM and integrated it into their own ROM under CM open source license). I tried it for a couple days, but went back to CM9 because of one issue: I couldn’t get my notifications to remain persistent in my status bar until dismissed. For example, an email is received, and it dings me and shows me a little email icon in the status bar. It remains there until I slide down my notification and dismiss it. For some reason, in Liquid Smooth the icon showed up but went away on it’s own after about a second or two. It remains in the notifications panel, but not visible in the status bar, so basically you don’t really know if there is an email by glancing at the status bar area. It’s probably a setting somewhere that I missed, but I didn’t want to deal with it.

On the plus side, Liquid Smooth fixed two bugs I have been experiencing with CM9: 1) YouTube does not launch at all and 2) Using DoubleTwist in CM9 results in really bad wifi performance. I’ve since uninstalled DoubleTwist and I don’t use YT anyway, so no big deal there.

Notification Fix: A helpful tip fixed my notification icon issue with LiquidSmooth. At some point I must have changed the notification color to Black, making it essentially invisible. To fix this, in the main section of Liquid Control under Statusbar: select General. Scroll all the way down to the bottom selection (Notification Color). Open that up and change the color to #fff (white). Now just back out and all your notifications should stay  "visible" until you dismiss or check them.

Hence, I am back to running Liquid Smooth for now. It seems to be generally more compatible with various apps. For example, Youtube and Doubletwist work fine for me. Another thing is Bluetooth Audio to my car stereo works, but with CM9 it doesn’t. I do find it faster than CM9 as well, supposedly one of the selling points of this ROM.

Replacement Rock Shox Judy XC and SL fork decals for sale

New and Improved version! No more cutting of Upper decals! Just peel and stick!

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New! 1996 “script” Judy version now available!

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I sell these on eBay, but I’ll cut them out and sell directly and give you a little discount if you buy from me direct for $11.00 USD (you save $1.00!)

Shipping is FREE in USA (2-3 bus. day delivery). $1.25 Int’l First Class Mail (allow 1-2 week delivery time)

Please specify the version you are ordering:

image “XC”

image “SL”

image SL with script “Judy” 1996

Looking for Judy FSX decals? You can get them here!


Description from my eBay auction:

Rock Shox Judy SL and XC fork decals! NEW!
You are looking at a set of incredibly high-quality reproduction decals for your vintage Rock Shox Judy forks!
Like you, I had a vintage bike to restore, and the original decals on my Judy forks were toast! I wasn’t happy. It was the one thing that kept my bike from being “perfect” again.
So I took it upon myself to rebuild, recreate, redesign, the original Rock Shox Judy decals. I’m a professional graphic designer, so I knew I could do it. After many, many hours of carefully measuring the original decals, scanning, fixing and tweaking, here is the final result. It’s perfect. Even more perfect than the original decals ever were. They are the exact size of the originals. The perfect finishing touch.
Bring your tired, beaten forks back to life!
The decals are printed using the highest quality silk-screening techniques. Silkscreen printing is an incredibly high-end method with which to print stickers. As far as sticker printing goes, silkscreen is simply the best the way to produce an extremely high caliber, high quality sticker. Once you begin to understand the silkscreen process and see the results of the printing medium, you will quickly realize that in terms of quality, there is no contest.
Silkscreen printing is essentially a stenciling technique, where a design is imposed on a screen of silk or other fine mesh, with blank areas coated with an impermeable emulsion. Ink is forced through the mesh with a squeegee onto the printing surface, which in our case is an adhesive backed vinyl. The result is an extremely thick, weatherproof, waterproof sticker with an effective outdoor capability that is measured by years. (The outdoor capability of a digitally printed sticker of the same design is measured by weeks.)
These decals are clear, just like the originals.

The highest quality. Period.

  • Thick Ink. At least 2-3 times thicker than other silkscreen printers and 10x-20x thicker than digitally printed stickers.
  • 100% UV Protection… Multiple Passes. Each full-color sticker is silkscreened onto a thick vinyl surface with 4 thick coats of ink, and 3 thick coats of clear gloss with 100% UV protection.
  • Weather proof and waterproof. Effective outdoor capability is 2000-3000% higher than Digital/Flexo materials.
  • Extreme durability. Minimum 3-5 year effective capability against any weather. Actual lifetime should be substantially higher since you aren’t riding everyday! Extremely durable in extreme conditions (like mountain biking!). Silkscreen stickers are the only way to go if you are looking for durability.

Each set includes (enough to restore one (1) fork):

  • Two (2), separate Rock Shox Judy main decals (fork uppers)
  • One pair of your choice: “XC”, “SL”, or “SL with Judy script” lower decals.Please specify the version you want in the Paypal checkout message field.

Note: Lower Decals will arrive as one single decal. Just use an X-acto knife and a ruler to split the decals in half. I will include detailed instructions for trimming the decals and application tips with all shipments. Don’t worry, no one has ever had a problem trimming these decals! It’s easy! If you would like me to trim them for you, just leave me a message during checkout. Before applying decals, be sure the fork leg is absolutely clean of any adhesive or cleaning residues.

Application tips:
  • Completely remove any adhesive residue with WD-40 or similar
  • Use rubbing alcohol or other degreaser to completely remove any WD-40 residue
  • Peel and stick! Use the blunt edge of your fingernail to rub over the full decal to ensure full adhesion
Free Shipping in USA! $1.25 for International shipping by First Class International letter.
Images below are ACTUAL DECALS applied to forks!

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’09 Trek Fuel EX 9.8

Update: Sold on 05/09/13.

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After a bit of a break from biking, I decided to get back into it and bought my first “modern” bike. An ‘06 Specialized Epic, which turned out to be an awesome ride coming from a hardtail-only history. My next upgrade path was to something with a bit more travel and this is what I ended up with: an ’09 Trek Fule EX 9.8 with a carbon main triangle no less.

This is the bike I ride all the time. The others are really just wall hangers that i can’t seem to bring myself to part with, or what I ride if I loan this bike to a friend to ride.

All parts have been swapped from stock except for the headset, bottom bracket, and rear shock! I’m a tinkerer…

Just under 25lbs with pedals.

Highlights:

  • Fox Talas 150 RLC with tapered steerer; quick adjust from 110-130-150mm travel on the fly.
  • Stans Olympic wheelset to DT Swiss/Hugi 240s hubset
  • Specialized S-Works The Captain front and rear; tubeless with Stans sealant
  • XTR m960 crankset (I love the look of this crank)
  • XTR m970 shifters, levers, brakes, rear derailleur
  • Thompson setback post
  • Syncros FL saddle (pretty…)
  • Ritchey SuperLogic carbon low-riser bar
  • Ritchey WCS carbon stem 110mm and Ritchey True Grips
  • Ritchey v4 pedals
  • KMC X9 SL Gold chain (Bling!)
  • Can you tell who my favorite component manufacturer is yet?

2004 (05?) Omega Alchemy Ti 55cm

photo S1050096_zps0262e35e.jpg photo S1050094_zps63cae009.jpg photo S1050095_zps9cb4a514.jpg

To be honest, I never really ride this bike. Road riding is BORING. There, I said it. So…while I can still do it, I’m MTB all the way. I’m basically keeping this bike for my future golden years, since it looks like everyone who rides in my town is a roadie and like 80+…

Just under 17lbs with pedals, the Omega Alchemy is a Bri’ish made bike. The company is now defunct, but I believe reborn under another name (Enigma). When I decided I wanted a road bike (for the days I couldn’t manage a trail ride), I wasn’t really sure what to get. At first I looked at some carbon big brand bikes like the Specialized Tarmac and whatnot, but came across a listing online for this one. What caught my eye was that it was made of Ti and had brand new Dura Ace C24 carbon clinchers on it.

I’m not really an experienced road biker, so the handling feels skittish to me. I think that’s just how road bikes feel, though; they are just too light and tight so they feel every bump and crack.

Upgrades since I bought it:

  • Ultegra 6700 brifters and brakes
  • Syncros Ti post
  • KCNC seat clamp in red anno
  • Columbus Super Muscle full carbon fork to match the rear wishbone. Superlight and looks much nicer than the 3T bladed fork it came with when i bought it.

1997 GT Xizang Titanium (Sold!)

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Yikes(!). What can be said about one of the winningest, most iconic mountain bikes of all time? Yes, the GT Xizang is perhaps one of the most sought after bikes on the VRC scene…and I have one! In the 16" size no less (18" C-T), which is the perfect size “medium” and even harder to find. This one’s from ‘97, but with ’94 NOS decals applied. The little tab on the back of the seattube is for running canti-type brakes; an extra piece that served as a bolt-on canti hanger could be fitted there to act as the cable stop. Not sure why they kept the tab though, as v-brakes were by far the way to go by ’97.

As she sits: 20.6lbs.

Highlights:

  • ’08 SID Race. Wow, what an upgrade over the original ’98 blue SID, with its 32mm stanchions. 80mm travel. The v-brake model is a bit hard to find and I think they stopped making it in ’09. You can still buy v-brake lowers on eBay for about $160 if you’re desperate.
  • XTR m970 levers and shifters; XTR m952 rear
  • Race Face (RIP) Deus XC crankset
  • Mavic 517s to Hugi hubset (super lightweight; from an ’03 S-Works Epic)
  • Specialized carbon flat bar, Ritchey WCS bar ends/stem/post, Selle SLR saddle
  • Continental Speed King 2.1 black chili tires

Update: Sold(!) on fleaBay on 07/20/12 for $1999.99. Some changes to the final auction build were:

  • ’98 SID Blue 63mm fork
  • Styff Carbon flat bar
  • Dura Ace 9spd barcon shifters mounted to Paul Components Thumbies
  • XTR m952 wheelset to Mavic 517 black rims and Wheelsmith double-butted spokes
  • XTR m950 levers
  • Final weight was actually less, at only 19.90lbs. Not bad.
  • Sold it because, well, I never rode it and I am itching for something new…I think I got a good price, but eBay and PayPal gouged me at about 13.5%! Ouch…
Update 2: Bah! I found another 16" frame and decided it was a good deal so I bought it! This one is a ’93. I’m currently swapping over some parts from the Bonty to get it running so I can take it for a ride. You know, to give it another chance…yeah.

1992 Bridgestone MB-1

Another bike I always wanted BITD. We sold these at the shop I worked at in college. Cool, very classic. After finally tracking one down and then obtaining the ultra-rare Ritchey bi-plane crown fork, I thought the ride just sucked. Maybe the old school geometry was just too low for me now. I nearly got rid of it, but didn’t find a match on my local Craigslist. Of course, one of the offers was for the biplane fork alone. And a rather ridiculous one at that, so I parted it out and slapped on an old champagne Judy I had lying around to complete the bike again. For kicks, I took it for a spin and was a bit shocked to discover the ride had been transformed; the extra one inch or so of axle-to-crown height picked up the front end just enough to make the bike comfortable again! It’s now my “townie” bike; my go to ride for zipping through traffic and reliving my fearless college days…

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Highlights:

  • Set up 1×8 with XT m732 rear thumbshifter and XTR m900 rear derailleur and cassette
  • ‘97 Judy in factory “cream” color is a near perfect patch for the “Pearl Tusk” of the MB-1 (less the “pearl” part of course). 63mm travel and internal Speed Springs with my custom Judy decal repros (need NEW decals for your Judy?)
  • Ritchey “Special Edition” Zero hubset laced to Vantage Pro rims.
  • Ritchey Pro Logic bottom bracket (I have a NOS Ti one, but can’t seem to talk myself into installing it)
  • XTR M-900 headset
  • White Turbo perforated saddle
  • Ritchey Logic crankset and Logic Pro bottom bracket
  • Bontrager Titec titanium bar
  • Original spec Ritchey stem and post
  • Ritchey foam grips

Update: Sold June 2013 on craigslist for $625 to some jerk who tried to haggle me to no end, even after we settled on a sale price! In the end, I think I got a pretty good price for it. I had forgotten I already sold the rigid Ritchey biplane fork alone for $300 last year, so not bad considering!

1993 Bontrager Race

1993 Bontrager Race

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My 1993 Bontrager Race. Medium. Serial No. 1473, 22.4lbs. as pictured.

Here’s one of my bikes. It was originally blue with silver/white decals. It was pretty beat up when I picked it up off my local craigslist. I had it re-powdered a slick orange-sparkle with a gloss clear powder on top. I made the new decals myself (never really cared for the original ones much). They’re just white vinyl made from a home cutter (graphtec). The forks are 2007 SID Race mounted to a Bonty offset crown. I scored a strange lot of NOS Rock ShoxTitanium steerers off eBay a while back and was able to press this one together. I love the feel of the SID over the Judy it replaced. This is about as modern as you can get up front with a reasonable budget.

Notable parts:

  • [formerly] NOS Rolf Propel wheelset. Very light and so far bulletproof. Relatively rare to find these wheels these days. Very smooth and fit the Bonty nicely. Set up tubeless.
  • 2007 Rock Shox SID Race fork. 80mm travel. With the recommended sag, it’s a perfect A-C height of 425mm, just like the original 63mm Judy. I’ll take this fork ANY day over the Judy! The lowers were NOS off eBay, and otherwise exclusive to the carbon-crowned WC model.
  • Ritchey Logic Compact crankset. 175mm. Ti crank bolts. Rare blasted finish. I love these cranks. They were slightly modified to run as low as a 29T ring, but has a 30T on it now. Found I needed the smaller ring for the 1×9 setup!
  • Ti Bottom Bracket, unknown manufacturer.
  • Paul Thumbie(s) with Dura Ace 9spd barcon shifter. Paul chainkeeper.
  • Rock Shox suspension seatpost. I’m an admitted weight weenie, but this post works so well to take the edge off the rear that Can live with the weight hit…for now. I have a mint Syncros Ti post to swap in on those heavy days…
  • Other: Specialized carbon low-riser bar, Ritchey WCS Carbon saddle, Ritchey v4 pedals (light and work great; I ride these on all my bikes)

Update: Sold 06/29/13:

Sadly, I sold the Bonty today for what I think is a relative steal at $800. I’m now down to only 4 bikes(!). Did I mention I picked up a ratty Dekerf Team SL? I decided (for now) to keep that over the Bonty, partly due to it’s standard 1-1/8" headtube.

I swapped back in the rigid Vicious Cycles fork and kept the SID. I’ve also still got one Bonty Ti threadless crown left as well as the rare Paul Components crown. You know, just in case I come across that elusive Ti Lite one day!

The final build for the Bonty:

  • Vicious Cycles rigid fork
  • Ritchey WCS stem and Marathon saddle
  • XT 9spd m770 rear shifter pod
  • Race Face Turbine crankset 36t
  • Paul Chain Keeper
  • DT Swiss/Hugi 240 laced to Mavic 517 wheelset
  • XTR m950 v-brakes / m952 SGS rear derailleur
  • Bontrager/Titec Titanium bar
  • Curve seatpost 26.8 (debadged)
  • Intense System 2 tubeless tires

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Making Android more like a Blackberry: True Push Email using Exchange on a Galaxy Nexus

Gmail app on Android isn’t true push. Not like a Blackberry at least. Try as I might, I couldn’t get my emails to arrive on my new Galaxy Nexus in real-time, which is important for my pseudo server admin duties. I need to know when something’s gone haywire on my servers [preferably] before my users do! And if anything, the Blackberry was really, really good at this one thing (push email).

My tests with Gmail push were all over the place. Sometimes it seemed instant, and other times I didn’t get a notification at all. Or may I would 5 minutes later. WTF?

I even tried using Gmail to forward to my phone’s SMS address, but that led me into other issues: trying to assign a specific notification tone to a contact without a phone number or using multiple SMS apps to achieve what I wanted. In the end, the hacks I was trying to use to make my Nexus more Blackberry-like were pretty sloppy and I wasn’t very happy.

Until now…I think I figured it out (finally).

Set up the Gmail account you need to push using the built-in Email app instead of the Gmail app. Once you eneter your credentials, select Manual Setup (note: this is using ICS, so I don’t know what the interface looks like in pre-ICS). Then select “Exchange”. For server, change it to “m.google.com” and leave everything else as-is.

When you complete the setup, try a test to that account. Instant, huh? (well at least within 1 minute, consistently,unlike Gmail). Niiiice

Next task is to figure out how to set up Ringer Profiles like a Blackberry: Being able to assign specific notifications to specific email addresses I’ve set up to sync, with individual volumes. For example, setting a profile to “Night”, so everything is off but only the dreaded server alerts come through.

Update: Sadly, my Exchange setup doesn’t seem extremely reliable either. Better than plain Gmail, but still not very instant. I’ve now downloaded and installed an app called Mail Alert (free), that polls the email account at a specified interval. I’ve set mine to every 60 seconds, and using that in conjunction with the Exchange method provides me with a sort of backup alert system. True, this may be a battery drain, but so far in my testing it doesn’t seem to make a significant impact; I am still getting a full day out of the stock battery with room to spare. I may pick up a secondary battery just in case, since I tend to use the WiFi hotspot feature of the Nexus quite a bit.