Is SwiftKey X Beta the best Android keyboard around .. I think so.

A couple of days ago I installed the new Beta of Switkey keyboard on my HTC Desire Android phone and must say I am impressed with it.  It is now called Switchkey X (assume the X is for next generation).  Here is a screenshot of the keyboard using Tweetdeck (my other favourite Android app).

What I like about this keyboard is that it looks at your Facebook, Twitter and gMail and learn your language style.  Although I started off with US English, it quickly adapted to my style of language including all the Afrikaans words I am using.

Here is an article on Android and Me that have a writeup on it. Also this Youtube video gives a very good introduction to it:

The app is currently in beta so it is free in the Android Market.  When it moves out of beta and become a paid app then I will definitely buy it.

Geek in me — Linux in your browser using JavaScript

This is just so awesome … running Linux (Linux (none) 2.6.20 #3 Sat May 14 19:08:30 CEST 2011 i586 GNU/Linux if you run uname -a) right in your browser and this is a working Linux as you can see from the screenshot below.

You can see I cd’ed to the root directory and did a ls -al to list the directory structure.  Also had a look at what user is running with a whoami and you will see that you are root.  Go to to have a play with it.

ASUS Eee Transformer Pad and Android 3.0 software update

The Asus Eee Transformer Pad was only released a couple of days ago and it already received it’s first software update.  Android was updated to version 3.0.1 and it mainly added new Asus Software that was not ready when the tablet was released.

One thing that I am looking at when deciding to buy a new tablet is how quickly the manufacturer (Asus in this case) release new software updates.  This is a very good sign from Asus.


Android Tablet from Lenovo – the ThinkTab

As mentioned in my previous post .. I am current investigation a 10.1 inch Android Tablet.  The latest one to enter is Lenovo Android Tablet with an optional keyboard.

Here is the specs for it.  

From what I could read, the USB 2.0 port is on the tablet and not the optional keyboard which in my book makes more sense.

Everyday a new entrant is entering the Android Tablet market but what would interest me much is the support after the initial release.  How quicly updates gets pushed out to the devices? How close to the original Google Android each device stays .. the more customization is done, the longer it normaly takes to get updates to the market.  My opinion is to stay with people that knows the Android landscape like Samsung, HTC and Motorola.  It will be good to see how Asus and Lenovo fairs in this market.

Android made from beads — Just in SA.

Pick this up via Paul Jacobson’s blog.  Android made from beads … looks so much better than the plastic one’s .. this one has some character 🙂

Image credit goes to Paul — large version of his post here.

Android Tablet: What to get? – Asus EeePad leads the pack.

I am currently in the market for a Android tablet and are busy doing my homework.  Originally I was considering the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 but over the last couple of days the ASUS EeePad Tranformer caught my eye. It has an optional keyboard in which the tablet/screen docks into.  This transforms the tablet basically into a netbook.

Here is a Youtube video of it:

You can also plug in a USB keyboard and mouse which is cool.

What I do not like is that the USB ports sit on the keyboard dock.  It would have been cool if the USB ports would have been on the tablet itself so that one can add a keyboard and mouse without the dock.

The Asus EeePad Transformer goes on sale next week in the US for $399 which is not bad.  Lets hope we see this here in SA at a reasonal price.  I would love to get my hands on one of these babies to review.  Asus SA, @asus_za, .. how about it?



HTC Desire OTA update rolling out in South Africa – MTN network

UPDATE: Do not apply these updates if you are running non-stock HTC software ROM’s, even those that are based on stock HTC ROMs. Rather get an updated ROM from the group/person that made your ROM that include these updates.  There is a real posibility that you might brick your phone if you apply these to non-stock ROM’s.

I have just noticed that there is a HTC Desire System Update rolling out in South Africa.  Even though I run a rooted upgraded ROM (version 2.2), based on the official HTC ROM, I was also given the OTA download.  So I am not sure whether this System update will take you from 2.1 to 2.2. 

The version number is given as 2.29.405.2 and it is a 28.87MB update so I suggest you do it over a WIFI connection if you do not want to incur any mobile data costs. My build number before the update was 2.10.405.2.

You can check for the update from the Home Screen pressing MENU button then Settings / About Phone / System software updates / Check now.  

I can only check on the MTN Network so am not sure whether it is available on any of the other mobile networks.

HTC Desire – problems with proximity sensor — [Fixed with solution]

Since earlier today I started experiencing problems on my HTC Desire with the proximity sensor.  For those that does not know, the proximity sensor switches the screen off when you receive or make a call and places the phone against your ear.  When the call is completed and you remove the phone from your ear, the screen become active again.

In my case the moment I make or receive a call, the screen gets disabled.  I do not even have to put the phone against my ear.  It also means that the touchscreen is disabled and all buttons are disabled which means I cannot end the call, switch on the speaker or enable the keypad. None of the buttons, even the power one works. When the call gets ended by the other party the the screen will be enabled again. The only way to get a working phone again when there is nobody on the other side to end the call is to remove the battery.

What I also find weird is where the sensor should be, top left next to the HTC logo, is nothing.  Does not matter how I look at it, there is just the black strip.

I have found some form of work around by using the earbuds and making/receiving calls like that.  This is not ideal but it is a working solution.  

I have searched to see if there is some app that can disable the proximity sensor since I do not really need it but have found nothing.  So if anybody knows of an app that can disable the proximity sensor then I would appreciate the link. If you have any other suggestions, please comment below.

Update: Based on the comment from Bob Peers, I used a vacuum cleaner and vacuumed over the top area of the phone.  This must have suched all the dust out of there since the sensor is now working as it should be.  Who would have thought it is something so simple. Thanks again Bob.

8pen keyboard on Android — how does it stack up.

Earlier this week the 8pen keyboard went free for Android and I decided to give it a try. Below is a screenshot of the keyboard in typing a tweet in Tweetdeck.
You will notice that all the letters is in capitals, that is because I am starting a new sentence and it automatically put the keyboard in capitals.
The most difficult part is remembering where all the letters are and in what direction you have to move your finger.  To type an A you start at the center, move to the right block and then top block and then back to the center. For the R you will move your finger across 2 lines (the red and blue ones) and then back to the center.  For O you will move across the yellow line and then back to the center. 
What you do not see on the input screen above is that as you type, word prediction will be offered and it works fairly well.  It even have voice input if you have that enabled on your phone.  I have been using Swype for a while and will have to see if I can get the same speed out of this keyboard as with Swype.
If you running Android then head over to the Market and give it a try.

Ubuntu upgrade to 10.10 – nVidia problems and how to fix.

Today I took the plunge and upgrade from 10.04 to 10.10 on one of my machines and had 2 problems.  The one was self inflicted and the other one is a known issue with the nvidia-96 driver which does not work with Xorg 1.9.  So you may wonder why I use a old driver like nvidia-96 .. well because I have a very old nVidia GFORCE2 MX card in the machine.

I did the upgrade from a downloaded alternate iso which was mounted as a loop device.  The fetching of packages (all 1754 of them – yes it is machine that has been upgrade since 7.04) went fine but halfway through the install the machine totally locked up.  I did a hard reboot and expecting the machine not to properly boot,  I was dropped in recovery mode. I ran sudo dpkg --configure -a and the installation continued at the point where the machine froze.

When the install was finish, I rebooted but XServer had problems with the nvidia-96 driver. It loaded the driver ok but I could not get any resolution higher than 1024×768.  I did some googling and came across this post which I then promply did and now I have again a machine that run at 1280×1024 resolution.

When my machine froze halfway through the install, I was expecting the worst and already thought that I would have to do a fresh install.  Well that was not necessary and this is what most Windows users do not get.  When  a WIndows upgrade fails like that, there is almost a 100% chance that you will have to do a fresh install.  On Linux there is always a way to recover. 

Now onto my other machine to upgrade .. should be more plain sailing since it has newer hardware and Ubuntu 10.04 is a fresh install on that box.