Next Project: Mounting my (SMB/CIFS) file share on the Gentouch78
Thursday, July 14, 2011, 19:08
The goal is to be able to watch my media collection via wifi on my tablet. The Gentouch78 processor, Telechip 8902, has the sufficient hardware decoders to play all my videos but the rom that came on my tablet lacks any SMB/CIFS support.
Next step was to add this support by adding a compatible cifs.ko module to tablet, which turns out difficult: No source is available for the TCC8902 processor.
Well, after much searching I was able to locate a binary of the cifs.ko which can be successfully loading into the kernel. I was not able to test this further yet, but here it is:
So I picked up the Augen Gentouch78 V2 online for $75 from one of those 'deal a day' sites. The unit looks sleek and seems to have a reasonable amount of power thanks to the telechip processor.
One issue I discovered quickly was that Angry Birds would not run properly and was missing most of it's textures. Some investigation into the mali200 OpenGL driver uncovered that the issue is related to lack of texture memory. A bit of hackery in the drivers and now it works:
So here is how to get Angry Birds (and other games with similar texture issues) working:
Warning: Following these steps may permanently damage your Gentouch78 and/or lead to permanent data loss and/or other issues. This is experimental and done at your own risk. These instructions were only tested for the Gentouch78 V2 (white power button, 3.5mm headphone jack).
1. Install the SDK, run the manager and download and install all packages. While that is running, start up the Gentouch and go under 'Settings'. There go under 'Applications', then 'Development' and make sure 'USB debugging' is turned on.
2. Plug the Gentouch78 V2 into your computer via USB. Don't mount the SD card or select any other notifications on the tablet. You should be prompted to install a driver for a 'Android Eclair' device. Use the USB driver above.
3. Now install the DroidExplorer. After the installation, it should automatically locate the Gentouch78 V2 and display the file system.
4. Make a backup of the following two files on your Gentouch78 V2.
Do not skip this step. If you have a different hardware or software revision then me, these files will be need to restore your tablet.
5. Use DroidExplorer to replace the mali.ko file in
with the mali.ko w/ larger texture memory from this article.
Note: If DroidExplorer becomes slugging or unable to open specific folders, just disconnect your tablet, wait a few seconds and reconnect.
6. Make another copy of the build.prop in /system/ and open it in a text editor. Locate the following line:
and change the 24m to 32m
Save the file and upload to changed file to /system/ on your Gentouch78, replacing the old build.prop
7. Reboot your tablet (there's an option under 'Tools' in DroidExplorer).
You should now be able to install Angry Birds and it should play without any graphical issues. I successfully tested Angry Birds, Angry Birds Seasons Xmas and St. Patrick's Day and Angry Birds Rio. I was not able to get Angry Birds Seasons Summer Picnic to work, but the same was true on my friend's Galaxy, so this appears to be an issue with Angry Birds and not the Gentouch.
If your tablet only shows a black screen or gets stuck during the startup after replacing the mali.ko file, you should still be able to connect to it via USB with DroidExplorer. Simply restore the mali.ko and build.prop from your backup to get it working again.
The mali.ko file contains a value on how much texture memory is reserved. The file contains the hex value 0x00008001 (about 25MB) which was changed to 0x00002003 (about 52MB). This appears true for different versions of the mali.ko file, but the location of the value varies by file. In my case it was between 0000DC3004 to 0000DC3007. I got this information from here.
tl;dr - Use adb to replace mali.ko in /system/lib/modules/ and change dalvik.vm.heapsize to 32m in /system/build.prop
The $100 iPad Killer: Eken M001 7" Android Tablet MID
Friday, May 21, 2010, 15:48
Ok, maybe this device is not an iPad killer - the iPad is an impressive piece of technology with an impressive price tag. What we have here is the sub $100 China version: A 7" Wifi enabled touch screen running Android 1.6 for the price a digital picture frame was a year ago.
I had my unit for a few weeks now and in spite of some shortcomings, the unit was worth the money. The processor, running at 350Mhz, is not the fastest and makes the pad a bit unresponsive at times. Also, a hardware video decoder would be nice, since currently the pad only plays iPod style mp4s.
So what are the specs? It took a bit to be actually sure about this, but based on forum posts and data sheets, the following seems to be true:
- VIA/WonderMedia WM8505 at 350Mhz (yes, even plenty of sites claim 600Mhz. - 7" TFT LCD 800x480 with resistive touch screen (no multi-touch) - 128MB DDR2 SDRAM (running at 600Mhz?) - 2GB Internal flash for OS and preinstalled apps (1.5GB or so available) - Wifi (internal) b,g - Internal LiPo battery, lasts 2-4 hours depending on use (Wifi: 2.5 hours max). - USB, headphone plug, microphone, G sensor
The unit comes usually with Android 1.6 - the ARM core in the WM8505 is to old to run Android 2.1, so there is not going to be a newer Android version for this device, but Windows CE is also available as a firmware choice.
While this device has some shortcomings, for the price point of just over $100 it is hard to not recommend it regardless.
Weather Direct WA-1030U Internet Weather Station by La Crosse Technology
Tuesday, January 19, 2010, 21:49
This is another recent piece of woot-loot I got. For $20 bucks I was able to pick up this Internet-enabled talking weather station plus external wireless sensor. The pitch was to have Internet updated weather forecasts for my location, plus my choice of news feeds, all spoken at the push of a button. On top of that, the unit makes the reading of the local wireless sensor available on the Internet.
When the unit arrived, first impressions were not that great: the unit came in the blister pack from hell. Honestly the worst packaging I have ever encountered. Beyond that, the weather station feels a bit cheap, with one of the volume buttons working but lacking the "click" feel of the other buttons. Included was also a small dongle with an Ethernet port and the wireless external sensor.
The setup of the unit was pretty easy, although the setup is a bit odd - the unit uses an Ethernet dongle to connect via a proprietary 915Mhz signal to the station. Notable was the huge selection forcast location, including local landmarks which enabled me to set the location within a few blocks of my residence. Once done with the setup, the unit set the time correctly, downloaded the forecast and connected to the external sensor. Getting the unit registered with the Weather Club, aka the site were you can see your sensors temperature on the 'net, was a bit more of a hassle, but multiple tries were eventually successful.
The unit does mostly everything that was advertised - the forecast is spoken with computer text-to-speech in an alternating male and female voice, same for the 3 news feeds selectable. While the forecast is pretty useful, the selection of the "news" feeds is more then limited. As a matter of fact, the selection lacks any real "news" and has barely more then a few cnet and zdnet feeds available - the option of custom RSS feeds would be really nice here. The feature of the station to make your local temperature available over the Internet generally works, but requires the use of the somewhat poor knock-off of My Yahoo! including empty (thanks to adblock) advertisement window - the temperature in anything more usable, like a feed or widget for my site, is missing.
On the good side, a call to Weather Direct's customer service number was handled promptly and was followed thru with an email - compliments to a good US based customer service department.
After a few days I wanted to find out more about the unit, partially motivated by the lack of custom RSS feeds. I look inside the station did not yield much - custom chips all around. I was curious if the unit actually contained a text to speech engine or just downloads compressed audio over the 'net.
The result was unfortunately not what I had hoped - instead of a build in TTS engine the unit just seems to play really low quality mp3 files. I didn't really go much further at that point, since I was hoping for a talking RSS reader and not an wireless low-fi mp3 player.
Beyond the set-back on the TSS engine, the unit is ok. It does what is advertised, although the crappy selection of "news" really hurts the unit in my book. If you like an instant weather forecast and can live with the cheap feel of the unit, for the right price I would go for it again.