T Mobile Samsung Galaxy S Official Froyo Update Using Linux and VMWare Running Windows XP SP2

Yes, the Froyo update is out for the Galaxy S. If you’re like me, you’re running Linux as your host OS and you’re boned for the update because T-Mobile is a bunch of tossers and won’t OTA all at once.

There’s nothing particularly esoteric in this guide. If you’ve got a Galaxy S device and you’re a TMobile customer, you can use this guide.

If you got here googling for mini-kies and want the official update, that’s what we’re going to do.

REQUIREMENTS: Windows XP SP2. VM is OK. You also need a Samsung Galaxy S device running Android 2.1. You want Samsung mini-kies. You probably want to read this document.

The biggest question every asks: Does it work? Yup. Not only does it work but it enables wifi calling which is the #1 reason why I want to use it. With Wifi calling, when you call your spouse or whatever, it’s done over your wifi router (in my case, Verizon FIOS) and you don’t use your minutes.

The second biggest question: Does it put the AVATAR icon back which was the reason I rooted my phone? You betcha. You will look at that blue cat UNTIL THE END OF TIME.

Step 0: Uninstall all task managers and task killers you’ve added to the device. Reboot the phone. Seriously people leave a lot of cruft running.

Step 1: Fire up windows XP. Ensure you have all the updates. You’ve been warned. Your XP VM must have unmolested access to the internet.

Step 2: Press “properties” on the phone on the home screen (leftmost button). Select SETTINGS. Select APPLICATIONS. Select DEVELOPMENT. Enable USB Debugging. Do not plug in the phone yet.

Step 3: Click the link. Download and install mini kies. Run it once. Close it. Run it again. Get the update.

Step 4: Open Mini Kies. Plug the phone in. If you’re running VMWare you will be notified hardware is available but not connected. In the bottom right corner is a phone on a modem icon. Click it. Connect it.

Step 5: Allow Windows XP to install all the drivers it wants. Eventually kies will pick up the phone. If it doesn’t, unplug and replug the phone.

Step 6: Mini Kies will find the device and prompt you to update. It will sometimes fail to download, tough shit everyone reads my blog and now you’re the first to be last in line.

Step 7: About halfway through the install (the android digging you into a hole on the screen) you’ll get a second prompt from VMware to connect new hardware. DO IT. The update cannot complete if you don’t.

Step 8: You’ll probably get a third prompt to connect hardware (I set my VMWare to Just Do It). Let it do it. Answer YES to windows XP asking if you want to install drivers for new hardware.

Step 9: Enjoy Froyo. The phone takes about 10 minutes to do housekeeping and it runs like crap after that until it catches up.

Cool new stuff: Wifi calling, new marketplace (now I have to update everything), and the one no-one expected – TMobile TV. However TMobile TV is a trap and it bills you $10/mo for the premium TV. Skip it and instead look at the newly unlocked samsung media hub. Ohhhh…

No word on if Z4Root can root the official Tmobile froyo, so enjoy your blue cats icon.

Yes, you can do the mini-kies update if you’re rooted – but the update removes the superuser application and busybox.

UPDATE: z4mod (or z4root) doesn’t work anymore, one click root doesn’t work anymore, and the old version of Rage Against the Cage doesn’t work anymore. What are we to do? SuperOneClick works. As usual it takes forever to get the hook. When you use it, be sure you enable “non market apps”. As usual, root, enable apps, and then promptly reboot or you’ll end up in a weird place. If you plan on using titanium backup, root it first, then install the TB busybox, then reboot.

Obligitory rooted phone porn:

Oh Keltec, You’re Not Sig Sauer

I really want kel-tec not to suck. It’s pure oldschool american nostalgia, they’re the last company in America really innovating and selling to the American market. The problem is for everything they make, there’s just one killer feature which holds them back from being awesome. German weapons are always in a class of their own, so it’s unfair to compare American guns to German guns. But we can gripe about those common things we expect to be there and are missing.

The first person to say “But 22LR and 22mag suck” should have to swallow an entire lead ingot. The caliber is nonwithstanding.

The entire P- series of pistols: The slide is so low on the gun that most adult males get slideburn. If you’re a dude, you’ve got big hands. If you’ve got big ol’ meaty hands, you are going to get that little flap of skin between your thumb and pointer finger all bulging out. The bulge is going to get slide burn. The worst part is – the weapon cycles so reliably and is so nice to shoot that you won’t notice the slide burn until the gun slips out of your blood soaked hands. This might even be OK, if it weren’t your blood.

The PLR- line: I haven’t shot these, but it would seem like it desperately wants a carbine stock. Even a wire folder like poland made popular on their AK would be better than floating this. With the magazine so far forward and the barrel being as long as it is, I can’t imagine the Han Solo gun would be very nice to use. In real life, the Mauser C96 had a wooden stock. According to Keltec, it does accept a stock, but none is pictured and no part number is offered on their site.

The PMR-30: Feels like a Beretta Neos knockoff, but it’s missing the floating rail and carbine conversion. However it’s chambered in 22WMR, which gives it more power. Still, I can’t help but feel like this would have been better serviced as a 17HMR. With Volquartsen withdrawling their 17HMR cheetah from the market, this is a hot but neglected caliber. (Volquartsen used to deal exclusively with Ruger before they sold the brand, now they’re a botique gunsmith based out of Iowa).

The Sub-2000: Why use the rear sight as a pivot?

The SU- Rifles: These are the PLR pistols with ergonomic stocks, which seems to completely defeat the purpose. The stocks could have been like the C96 stocks or the AK74 folder, but they’re not. Also conspiciously missing are rails on everything but the SU-16D. The D gets it right by having a folding stock and rails, but the barrel is now longer too. With the barrel folding under, it can’t be done if the clip is too long or the wrong shape. It’s just frustrating. The 22LR version could have used a skinny clip, but you guessed it, they opted for a full sized clip and wasted the space.

The RFB: Woo American bullpup OH GOD WHY CAN’T IT USE BANANAMAGS? Again, I really wish it were designed differently. To their credit, the FAL magazine doesn’t have a severe arc. AK mags tend to bind just for that reason. FAL mags are almost always straight, even hi-cap mags.

I wish Kel Tec would be the last great American gun maker. Everyone else stands on the shoulders of Stoner and Kalashnikov, Kel Tec deserves kudos for trying to innovate. However what makes the German guns great is the fact that they pay attention to ergonomics, and this is something I wish Kel-Tec would take to heart.

Impressions of Verizon’s FIOS Internet and TV

I’ve had Verizon FIOS providing me with internet and TV for about a month now. The good: The UI is great. The bad: The internet tends to feel slow. The ugly: The set top box for HD content has some weird issues.

The Good: The bundles are stronger than comcast, so you get more channels for less money. The set top box UI is great but the menus sometimes require you to hit “left” and sometimes “OK”. Hitting “options” doesn’t always bring up what you’re expecting, but hitting OK on a program lets you select options. This is all covered in the manual, and the video help, so while it can be goofy it’s at least well documented goofy. The signal quality is fantastic. Even my TV upstairs (SD set) looks good. The menus are snappy and responsive, which is more than I can say comcast ever gave me. The 802b/g/n router is OK, but more on this in a bit. The point here is that they give you a free router, which is a darn sight better than comcast which wants to lease you their router and refuses to support anything else. The widgets channel is just damned cool and you can post what you’re watching to facebook, play sodoku, get news, traffic, weather, anything really. Watching youtube videos is pretty easy. The remote control app for android expands this further and lets you share pictures and other phone media right on your TV. If I had the DVR option, I could also control it through the website or the phone. (With on-Demand, I don’t feel like I need the DVR).

The Bad: Their router has really, really high latency for a connection. I’m not sure why. I think it’s related to DNS but I’ve been wrong before. Also the bandwidth throttling is done at the router which makes for occasionally interesting problems when there’s bandwidth contention. (Tip – need more speed? Go into the ON DEMAND menu of your set top box and leave it there). Finally the router is just sinful with how bad the setup is. They want you to use their disk on each computer to set it up, but the reality is if you want more than WPA encryption over your wifi you need to set it up manually. In addition to an inconsistent UI, it displays the WPA2 password once you set that up on the options screen. This isn’t as bad as those unusable walmart cisco waste of money appliances, but it’s pretty bad.

The Ugly: Their website is just about unusable. There’s a friggin commercial video in the left hand pane when you’re trying to log in. Even when you log in, you’re just logged into the presentation side and the content doesn’t really change. Also single sign on is weirdly absent and their site requires you to log in again to see billing. Their routers implementation of WPA2 is weird, and devices which are too strict (my wifes laptop) or wonky themselves (the wii) won’t sign in the first time. The set top box (not the DVR) for HD has some weird issue where sending an HDMI reset request results in losing the audio. Physically unplugging it from the TV or cycling the power fixes it. This is a known issue with verizon and they’re “working on it”. The workaround is to use RCA cables for audio but that’s a whole separate mess because your TV doesn’t know which HDMI is supposed to get the line-in.

Now for all I’ve complained, it actually doesn’t suck. I really like the service. I like the signal quality. The internet leaves a bit to be desired with the connection latency but it’s nothing you’re going to notice for 90% of your surfing. Also once you actually make the connection it’s plenty fast. The only real pain is the HDMI audio problem and they’re fixing it, but if you’ve spent any money on speakers anyway (and you probably have given the terrible audio quality of flat screens today) you’ll have line out/in anyway. Even with these small complaints, it’s still a step up from comcast. And heck, you can even bundle DirectTV in there if you don’t want Verizon’s lineup.

Comcast Sucks, Again. HD Rant Inside!

Since I got the netflix working on the XBOX I’ve been absolutely gay for high definition content. This is also the reason why I’m dropping comcast. Comcast, for all they employ and do for Philly, has the absolute worst pricing scheme and internet service. I’m saving almost half by going to Verizon.

Before my objections to comcast were largely intellectual. If you weren’t a geek, you probably wouldn’t care. Now that I’ve got this high-def set with enough resolution I can read the time off an ant’s wristwatch, I realize just how terrible it is. Objections to comcast for the common man follow:

The signal quality sucks: It does. Period. The end. I have tried every mode on my TV and two sets of connectors. Cartoons look like hell. I realize putting content designed for SD on a 1080p TV is going to look poor but spongebob is cubic enough without exposing the MPEG signal encoding. Anime nonwithstanding, cartoons are designed for an SD display and they should upscale gracefully without having blocks in the colors. Conversely just plugging the coax into my TV (digital tuner, FTW) I lose the cable guide but the cartoons and more importantly free high def content looks great.

No free high def content: Does your TV have a digital cable tuner? Try plugging it into the coax directly, if you’re a comcast person. You will get all the free, basic cable channels and the high def signals when it’s available. Why doesn’t comcast let you get to the high def programs freely over their cable box? Am I supposed to have a switch on the circuit which cuts between the raw coax and the comcast box? What the hell? What about alternate digital channels? Comcast lets you access “local content” but my TV found 70 something cable channels and 48 of them had alternate digital channels. There’s no presentation for this layer. (Actually there is, but digging the channel map to see that channel 12-4 is channel 835 while channel 12-3 is channel 521 is a bear).

On Demand is Fucking Useless: You would think that on-demand would substitute high def programs automatically. It doesn’t. Why are there two menu trees? Just do it like netflix and if it’s high def it’s “PRESENTED IN HD”, and if it’s low def it quietly sits in the corner. The worst part is that netflix over wifi looks better than comcast with a dedicated connection.

Their box is ugly: Their box is ugly and their remotes are too. I’ve seen better designed adult toys from degenerate cultures (canada) with more buttons.

The bandwidth issue: This is the worst. Comcast clamps the bandwidth after X amount of time. (If this is legal in your area). So you get 25mbps (mibi- not mega-) and then it throttles to 10mbps. Or whatever it is. If you weren’t bittorrenting, you didn’t notice it. If you were playing videogames, you wouldn’t notice it since you’ve had an AWESOME connection until you hit the cap. If you’re youtubing, you didn’t notice it. But consider the idea of streaming video (netflix). When I was watching Restrepo last night (great documentary), if I fired up the netflix and paused it immediately, the xbox would stream enough to the drive to display 1080p for a good amount of time. If I just let it fly, it would do about 15 minutes of 1080p and then clamp. But how does this effect the everyman? Quite simply if you watch youtube HD content or hulu or any of the other streaming TV services or even the brand new google TV, you’re going to get bit by it. Suddenly it’s not a geek issue about my videogame being slow or my bittorrent doing something weird, it’s a problem where you don’t get the best service you could possibly get and they want your eyes. I understand when you’re watching hulu you’re not giving them their advertising revenue, but the bandwidth issue is a direct attack against high def content delivered over the internet. This affects you, even if you’re using your laptop. Consider then if or when you get a high def TV, and you plug your laptop into it, you’re still not getting high def hulu.

The light didn’t go on before, but it’s on now.