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One-Click and the Simplification of Technology–Is This a Good or Bad Thing?

Posted by egzthunder1 March - 28 - 2012 - Wednesday Comments Off

Here on XDA-Developers, we tend to cater to everyone’s needs and wants. From the most experienced developer to the newest user, who literally just picked up his/her smartphone exactly 25 minutes ago and is curious about what it can do, anyone can find something that will get them hooked on xda and smartphone modding. The latter of the two groups normally tends to either be too busy to try and sit down and read or simply is not interested on how things work, only caring about the final outcome (I can haz root?!). Funny enough, half of these people will likely never understand what they are truly asking for when they are asking for root and likewise will never open SU as they see it as a perfect way to break the devices, almost taboo if you will.

Now, at this point you are all likely wondering what the title of this article has to do with my little opening rant. Well, because of the meteoric rise in numbers of the second class of people stated above, we have seen a large increase in production of tools to simplify the processes that we carry out in this site. Rooting a device, which can be a rather tedious process depending on how well protected things are has become as simple as opening a batch file that you download from a thread on XDA. However, please do not get me wrong, making things easier has been paramount in allowing humanity to advance to more interesting projects, but as with many of these advancements, there is something to be learned, something that should be taking place inside of the user’s head, creation of neural connections that will allow him or her to later retrieve this knowledge if it ever becomes required for other activities. Sadly, this is not the case due to most processes being automated and the end user simply being interested in the final outcome as previously stated.

Over the last couple of weeks, we have seen some very awesome mods and developments from people who have spent countless hours reading, researching, and risking their investments in the name of science (sort of). One of the most crucial ones was the HBOOT downgrade process for the EVO 3D and the Sensation (I will focus on the 3D one as I am more familiar with it). Out of that thread, if you follow every step as directed by the dev, you will leave with:

  • A downgraded device capable of flashing radios, roms (without the need of fastboot), kernels, and more;
  • Some basic command knowledge for Linux;
  • Experience in flashing images from the bootloader;
  • Increased Googling skills;
  • and more…

This was as of last week. This week we see that there are a few tools that somewhat automate a big chunk of the process, effectively killing the opportunity to learn very valuable information out of the thread. I am not saying that this will make you a developer overnight, but learning bits and pieces of processes like these certainly will aide you in the future. On top of that, if you rely too much on processes like these, what will happen when one of these fail and you end up with a brick? Will you have the necessary know how to fix your device, or even to understand what went wrong? Don’t you think that understanding how things work before proceeding could potentially save you from a quasi-certain catastrophe? Think of it this way, I will release a tool tomorrow that is supposed to give you S-OFF on your device. All you need to do is turn off the PC and boot it back up from MS-DOS and type the following command (having your device connected):

c:\format c:

Then simply reboot your computer. If you had previous knowledge of this, you would understand that I just gave you clear instructions to wipe your computer hard drive as opposed to giving you root on your phone. Did I do this on purpose or simply because I didn’t know what I was doing? Obviously, the example is a tad too obvious, but the point I was trying to illustrate is that tools without knowledge can lead to disaster.

So, this takes us back to the original title and point of this article. If automation is a thing that eventually will allow us to be more efficient and smarter, why is it that when you look at the general level of knowledge it is much lower than when things were manual? Do we simply need to step back and sit down to read how we got to where we are? If you go by the ethos of our site, the answer is “yes”. You are here because you are interested in learning about development and how to expand the capabilities of your devices and not simply to make your phone “kewl” (thanks kyphur). If you don’t learn the path that you are following, you are likely going to get lost.

Thanks for reading and please use your time on XDA wisely.

[Thanks to XDA News Writer PoorCollegeGuy for the image!]



Send E-Mails Anonymously with Fake Mailer

Posted by egzthunder1 March - 23 - 2012 - Friday Comments Off

With April 1st quickly approaching us, we can’t help but to start thinking about the different kind of pranks that we could potentially pull on friends, loved ones, or complete strangers (no one is exempt). Due to the large influence of electronic media and mass communication, we turn to alternatives like e-mails and such. But, how would one get around using a personal e-mail? Sure, making a new account would work wonders, but having to create it is a process that could take time out of your busy day (even if it is only 5 minutes or so). So, in the search of providing you with the needed tools for this epic day, we came across Fake Mailer by XDA Forum Member Rednasman.

Much as its name implies, the app will allow you to spoof your email address without the need of creating a new account. The e-mail recipients will literally not know what hit them. The app is currently in development and can only send 3 e-mails at a time, but it is bound to grow over time. One thing worth mentioning about this app is that it was developed for both Android and Windows Phone 7, so everyone can rip on the benefits of this no matter what platform they are on. This could very well be the prank generator that you were looking for to have on such special day. Take it for a spin and please leave some feedback for the dev.

By now I am presenting my own application ‘fake mailer’, with this mail application you can send anonymous mails to your friends. I did not build this application to do illegal activities. It’s just for the fun, and trolling your friends. 

You can find more information in the original thread for Android and here for Windows Phone.

Want something published in the Portal? Contact any News Writer.



Nokia Transport App for Windows Phone Devices

Posted by orb3000 March - 16 - 2012 - Friday Comments Off

If you travel a lot and use a Windows Phone, this application may be of interest. XDA Forum Member EgoMaximus brings us news of the Nokia Transport for Windows Phone, a complete and powerful tool for those on the move. While originally intended simply for Nokia devices, it should work on interop unlocked devices as well.

You will find detailed information with integrated data for traveling by foot or mass transit. It covers 46 countries, 512 cities, and 24 languages. Some of the features available are viewing route ETAs and the option to check the timetables to see your scheduled departure and arrival times.

Nokia Transport aggregates information from over 700 of the leading public transit agencies, such as BVG and VBB in Berlin, Rejseplanen in Denmark and DeLijn in Flanders. So you are guaranteed to have the best-in-industry information. Working on all Windows Phone devices

It’s important to mention that this app has better coverage on the cities in Europe mentioned on the original post.

Continue on to the application thread or visit the official Nokia beta page.



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Camera Easy Optimizes Your Windows Phone Photography

Posted by orb3000 March - 8 - 2012 - Thursday Comments Off

Are you a heavy shutterbug, but find your Windows Phone’s camera software somewhat lacking? XDA Forum Member mydiscogr hopes to alleviate this with Camera Easy, which promises to bring a bunch of added functionality to your camera phone. With this Metro UI-styled app, you can adjust all the essentials like resolution and zoom with ease.

The developer also mentions that by not immediately displaying the images taken, Camera Easy is optimized for taking multiple images in rapid succession. In the words of the developer:

Camera Easy is a “easy to use” and practical camera application.
No complicated settings, no unnecessary menus and submenus, all settings are fast, minimal, easy to understand, and mains of these are on camera display, to avoid unnecessary clicks.

One important feature is that once a photo is taken, camera will not display image just taken, but continue to display camera image stream, so is fast to take multiple photos. These are the main features:
- Self-timer
- Resolution, flash, self-timer, are all on camera display
- Digital Zoom
- Local photo gallery, with multiple rename, delete… to
- Save to phone gallery button
- Sound on / sound off
- Help screen
- Metro UI
- Free

Continue on to the application thread to get started.



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Hope for WP7 Users Who Miss ActiveSync and Device Center

Posted by egzthunder1 February - 29 - 2012 - Wednesday Comments Off

One of the worst mistakes that Microsoft could have made (and really one of the first things that drove people away from WP7 even before it came out) was the fact that the well known and established ActiveSync and Windows Mobile Device Center PC programs would no longer work for syncing our devices with our PCs and instead we would have to fall back on Zune, which is the PC manager that can only be deemed as Apple’s iTunes counterpart. Zune itself does not allow you to do much other than syncing media, pictures, and apps and because of the lack of RAPI (remote API), you cannot access your files from your PC like you used to with Windows Mobile with a file explorer style window or access registry. Thanks to the efforts by XDA Recognized Developer ultrashot, accessing your files and registry in WP is once again possible thanks to WMDC launcher.

The app itself aims at bringing bac RAPI support for WP7 devices without disabling the WP7 functionality. This means that the PC will recognize the device as a WM device (so that ActiveSync and/or WMDC can use it) or as a WP7 so that Zune can use it as well. There are several limitations to this like the fact that the phone must be completely unlocked (not interop unlocked or developer unlocked, but full security unlocked). Also, it seems that it lacks the ability to sync things like calendar and contacts. However, the true reason for this app is to be able to access the forbidden areas such as registry and others.

If you have a WP7 device, please take this for a spin and leave feedback for the dev.

Windows Mobile Device Center/ActiveSync are legacy applications made by Microsoft. They provide an access to file system, registry, … let’s say, they provide full remote access to connected phone’s features. 

You can find more information in the original thread.

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DFT Bluetooth File Transfer Application

Posted by wicked February - 25 - 2012 - Saturday Comments Off

If you are a Windows Mobile or Windows Phone user, you have undoubtedly already heard of XDA Recognized Developer Cotulla. If not, you should have. He is responsible for some of the biggest developments on both of these platforms, and shows no signs of letting up any time soon. His latest offering is an application that adds functionality to WP7 devices, which many have been calling for since the platform was launched.

DFT BT File Transfer V1.01 does exactly as its name implies, and allows you to transfer files via Bluetooth to and from your WP7 device—either to another device or to your PC. As if that weren’t enough, the application can also install REG, RGU and XAP files to the device as soon as they are received.

Installation is as simple as deploying the XAP in one of the usual methods, running the application, and then rebooting the device. The application has been officially tested on the HTC Leo, Gold, Spark and Schubert as well as a Samsung Focus R1.3. Members are also reporting that it works on numerous devices from other manufacturers.

However, Cotulla does state that there are still a few bugs to work out, so your feedback really would be appreciated. It’s also worth mentioning that application requires a full device unlock, as developer or interop unlocks will not suffice.

So if you own a WP7 device and have been missing this function you can find the application here.



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Take Apart .XAP at Your Leisure With .NET RAIN

Posted by egzthunder1 February - 24 - 2012 - Friday Comments Off

As you are probably aware, one of the beauties of development, hacking, and reverse engineering code is the fact that you can pretty much look into the guts of anything and figure out ways to make them better. However, in order to do this, knowledge, while useful is not the only thing you will require. You need tools, many of them for that matter (depending on the complexity of what you are trying to accomplish). Those of you familiar with apktool will know exactly what I am talking about. However, what about those poor souls (like yours truly) who own a Windows Phone device? Is there anything remotely similar to apktool to be able to change things in .xap files? Now there is thanks to the efforts of XDA member ash.rain. .NET RAIN is a tool set that, much like apktool, will allow you to decompile and look at the internals of any .xap file. Better yet, the tool set will also allow you to tinker with things like .dlls, edit binary, and much more.

Mind you that if you are not a programmer, you probably should stay away from modifying certain things. However, this is certainly a fantastic tool to learn the ropes and practice those newly found C# and Silverlight programming skills that have undoubtedly set you off to look for something like this. The set is completely free and if you have feedback or comments, please leave them on the thread for the dev to see .

What the TOOL actually does is unpack a xap file, show its content and let you edit them.
As simple as that. It includes some internal editors.

You can find more information in the tool thread.

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First Custom ROMs Appear for the Samsung Focus 1.3, Focus 1.4, and Omnia 7

Posted by Will Verduzco February - 7 - 2012 - Tuesday Comments Off

It’s no secret that ROM development is considerably more cumbersome on Microsoft’s closed source Windows Phone 7 operating system than on its open source competition. Despite the difficulties, developers on our site such as -=Barin=- have made outstanding progress with releases such as a fully functioning kitchen for HTC devices.

Unfortunately, however, this is little consolation for Samsung device owners. The sad reality is that in the fourteen months since the Samsung Focus and Omnia 7 were released, not a single custom ROM has been cooked. However, thanks to hard work by XDA forum members Cotulla and mwang, this is no longer the case. Based off Windows Phone 7.5 Mango build 8107, the Freedom series of ROMs gives first generation Samsung device owners what they’ve wanted from the very beginning.

As with any major OS modification, users should proceed with caution and read all available documentation. Those interested in loading up custom Mango goodness on your Samsung First Generation device should proceed to the Sammy Rainbow thread to get started with the MAGLDR. Once this has been done, fast forward to the Focus Rev1.3Focus Rev1.4, and Omnia 7 ROM threads.

[Thank you very much to XDA forum moderator Ceesheim for the help and heads up!]



Wf Phone Tools Lets You Micromanage Your WP7 Device

Posted by Will Verduzco February - 4 - 2012 - Saturday Comments Off

Unlike its predecessor, Windows Phone 7 was never intended for much freedom. Evidence for this can be found everywhere from the similar device specifications and lack of carrier skins to the way users are allowed to install applications. However, this being XDA-Developers, we constantly develop new ways to take back control of our devices.

Luckily, this is where utilities like wf Phone Tools by XDA forum member andreacorti come into play. This tool caters to the power users by allowing you to perform tasks such as install, update, and kill applications with ease. Additionally, if your device supports SMS Backup, wf Phone Tools can even download your SMS data from your device.

In the words of the developer:

It allows to (in this version)

  • Install new application on device
  • Update existing application on device
  • Show the list of installed applications (only developer installed)
  • Launch, Kill and uninstall applications
  • Explore isolated storage of applications
  • Download files and folders from isolated storage
  • Download SMS from device (in combination with smsBackup XAP)

If you’re a Windows Phone user looking for more control, this just might be up your alley. Freedom is yours in the application thread.

[Thanks to XDA forum moderator andyharney for the tip!]



NewsSpot Google Reader Brings RSS Joy to WP7 Devices

Posted by Will Verduzco November - 15 - 2011 - Tuesday Comments Off

Perhaps in an effort to mask the somewhat lackluster third-party application count, Microsoft has given Windows Phone 7 a substantial amount of pre-baked functionality. One glaring omission is the lack of a first-party RSS client.

Rather than simply wait for Microsoft to release an RSS reader, XDA forum member FourSpotProject decided to create one. Rocking a panoramic interface and fully supporting live tiles, NewsSpot keeps well within the design constraints of Microsoft’s gorgeous Metro UI. NewsSpot even goes so far as to add offline reading and search capabilities. In the words of the developer:

Sync your articles as quick as a wink, store text and images for offline reading and search your articles in a gorgeous metro style way.

This is NewsSpot, a full-featured Google Reader client for Windows Phone: Its advanced sync-engine delivers a two-way sync for your unread, starred and shared articles, which only syncs what needs to be synched. Already stored hundreds of starred articles? NewsSpot will download them once and never again. It caches articles as well as images for later offline reading.
Ever wanted to search your starred articles? Ever been interested in a specific topic of your reading-list? No problem with NewsSpot. Just tap the search button and enter your keywords, it will instantly filter your current list to what you’ve searched.
Together with Windows Phone Mango, NewsSpot now offers live tiles and toast notifications. For example, you can pin secondary live tiles to your start screen showing the count of your folders. Of course, live tiles can be updated per background task.

You are just a few clicks away from RSS bliss on  your WP7 device. Continue on to the application thread to get started!



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