Pimping the Samsung Galaxy S I-896 (Rogers): Gaining Root Access, Updating Android, Unlocking, and Fixing the GPS. [2]

Warning: The following involves major interventions into the operating system of your computing device. If things go wrong, you may end up destroying your device, voiding your warranty, and who knows what else. If you cannot afford to destroy your device, stop now.

These notes are intended for my own use and they are not intended as a recommendation for others as to any course of action. I also make no warranties as to the effectiveness or currency of these steps. These are personal notes that worked for me when they were used on my device. I can’t guarantee them under any other circumstances and can’t help you if you end up with a different result.

Always backup before trying to hack anything.

Be especially careful with these notes: I’m mixing various sources and working from memory at times

A little while ago, I bought a Samsung Galaxy S. I’ve used smart phones for years, beginning with the old Palm Treo and more recently a Nokia E71. But there has been a revolution in smart devices in the last year or two with tablet-like cell phones and I found I wasn’t getting the kind of connectivity and interoperability I needed from the Nokia. So an Android machine it is. I’m a Rogers subscriber (though counting the days until Canada’s wireless market becomes competitive and I can leave them), so the Galaxy S looked like my best best. Read the rest of this entry »

How to “clone” a test in Moodle 2.0

Here’s how to clone a test in Moodle 2.0 (i.e. make an exact copy so that both appear in the course; this is useful for making practice tests or copying a basic test format so that it can be reused later in the course)


Organising Quizzes in Moodle 2.0

Moodle 2.0 allows designers to divide questions into pages. But while this introduces great flexibility, it can be quite a cumbersome system to use at first. Here’s a method for making it more efficient.


Differences between Moodle and Blackboard/WebCT short answer questions

There is an important difference between Moodle and Blackboard (WebCT) short answer questions that instructors should be aware of, namely that Moodle short answer questions allow only one answer field.


Multiple Choice Questions in Moodle

Here are some tips for the composition of Multiple Choice Questions in Moodle.


Rooting and updating a Samsung Galaxy S I-896 (Rogers)

Warning: The following involves major interventions into the operating system of your computing device. If things go wrong, you may end up destroying your device, voiding your warranty, and who knows what else. If you cannot afford to destroy your device, stop now.

These notes are intended for my own use and they are not intended as a recommendation for others as to any course of action. I also make no warranties as to the effectiveness or currency of these steps. These are personal notes that worked for me when they were written on my device. I can’t guarantee them under any other circumstances and can’t help you if you end up with a different result.

Always backup before trying to hack anything.

Seriously: pay attention to the above warnings.

These are the steps I took to root, update, and unlock my phone. There are various methods out there, but I found this one worked for me.

  1. I backed up everything I could think of to my SD Card (everything is available in the market, and all of them work more or less the same way and automatically):
    1. APNs (intenet protocol info) using APN Backup and Restore
    2. SMS Backup and Restor
    3. Call Logs Backup and Restore
    4. general app backup using Astro
  2. Following the excellent instructions here I rooted my phone.
    1. note that z4mod takes a scary amount of time to work (3-4 minutes) and it looks like it has seized control of your phone. But in the end it seems to do the job.
    2. I did seem able to get the SuperOneClick1.7 method to work. I could install the software but nothing seemed to happen—it hung up at a chmod command, suggesting it wasn’t working. Although given how long z4mod took, I was maybe just too impatient.
  3. Next I used the free version of ROM manager (available in market) to update my android
    1. Fire-up ROM Manager, go to settings, and then select at the top of the screen “Flash ClorkworkMod Recovery.” You will be asked to identify your phone. Select “Galaxy S Captivate.” See http://forum.xda-developers.com/wiki/index.php?title=Samsung_Galaxy_S/SGH-I896. Got the ROM file from here Basic instructions on how to use clockworkmod available here
    2. First time I did it, it looked like everything was set up properly, I followed the instructions, but when it rebooted, I got a “could not find /sdcard/update error” on both clicks. Chose “reboot into system.”
    3. Finally figured it out (Caution: this is from memory):
      1. After you’ve Selected the “Flash ClockWorkMod Recovery” select the second option, Reboot into Recovery”
      2. Phone Reboots
      3. When you are asked, select find .zip file
      4. Go to SD Card and find the .zip file you downloaded. You will be given a list of options most of which are no. Select the one that isn’t.
    4. it’ll reboot again. This time select “from update.zip” It then gives you some garbage and then reboots. It goes quickly through the Rogers screen but takes almost forever at the second Galaxy S screen. But when you are done it is a Froyo phone. The new phone is much faster and has some new apps. It seems to reboot more slowly though.

How to build a randomised essay/translation question in Moodle 2.0

In my courses I often use a question of the following format:
  1. Common introduction
  2. Two or more sample passages or questions requiring an essay response
  3. A common form field for the answer to the student’s choice from #2.
The point of this format is to provide the student with a choice of topics. If students all write their essays or translations at the same time, you can build your choice of topics by hand and write them into a single question. The challenge comes if you want to be able to allow your students to write the test asynchronously, as is common with Learning Management Software. In such cases you want to be able to draw your essay topics or translation passages randomly from a test bank. Read the rest of this entry »

Manual Grading of All Questions in Moodle 2.0

Manually grading in Moodle 2.0 seems to be causing many faculty members at the U of L trouble. Here’s how to do it. Read the rest of this entry »

How to setup a signup sheet in Moodle

You can create a signup sheet for Moodle using the “Choice” activity. Read the rest of this entry »

How to do stuff in Moodle

Looking for a guide to Moodle?


Modify grub menu in grub2

Recent versions of Ubuntu no longer have the old menu.lst. Now the file is regenerated each time you run update-grub.

If you need to modify simple stuff in the menu (like turning off quiet boot) you can change common lines by editing the following file and running sudo update-grub afterwards: /etc/default/grub.


Setting pulse to localhost before launching program

On some Acer computers, the inbuilt microphone doesn’t work with Ubuntu out of the box. For programs like Skype this means that you need to use headphone.

One solution that sometimes works is to start the program with Pulse working from a local host using the following command:

/bin/sh -c "PULSE_SERVER=127.0.0.1 program-name"

Ubuntu 10.10 Meerkat on an Acer One 521 (AO521) [2]

I have a new Acer One 521. These are some notes on the installation of the latest (10.10) version of Ubuntu.

  1. The computer came with BIOS rev 1.06: websites warned that the 1.06 bios caused unresolvable problems with the track pad and keyboard, and this was my experience as well. I got a link to the 1.08 rev BIOS from an Acer Customer Service Rep. And followed their instructions for flashing the BIOS. Ubuntu installed fine after that, though with the problems others have noted about the battery monitor (which doesn’t recognise when the computer is running off battery—see below).
  2. Soon after I installed Ubuntu, I was given the option of activating the proprietary driver for the graphics card. I did this, but then had all sorts of problems with menus. I tried deactivating it, but the computer hung and, when I tried a hard reboot, had a fatal error that hung it up during loading. I had to reinstall Ubuntu.
  3. On the second install, I ignored the graphics card driver, and everything has been working well except the battery indicator.
  4. Using the patch found here: http://www.uluga.ubuntuforums.org/showpost.php?p=10126099&postcount=14 and the instructions on patching and compiling kernels from here: http://www.question-defense.com/2010/09/26/how-to-recompile-your-ubuntu-10-10-kernel-for-patching-or-to-add-support-for-a-specific-device I patched and recompiled the kernel. I didn’t remove any options from the Kernel, since I don’t know my machine well enough yet. There was one error in the patching instructions: QD (which is actually the extension that is to be appended to the kernel version) in the fakeroot command should be lowercase.
  5. Everything worked as expected (though there were other small issues with the instructions (see my discussion here). When the patching was finished and I rebooted, there were minor changes in appearance (the appearance had changed to a custom profile) and I’m not 100% sure I got the latest kernel. But the battery metre was working and recognised being on or off AC.
  6. The speaker/headphone doesn’t switch on a stock install. To fix this, you need to modify /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf by adding the following line at the end: options snd-hda-intel model=thinkpad. See http://ubuntuforums.org/archive/index.php/t-1549086.html (October 28th post by Keibee). This is Ubuntu Bug 637040.
  7. The Netbook edition interface seems to ignore Nautilus (the Gnome file manager). Its own file manager (Mutter) isn’t particularly flexible for finding things like hidden files and the like (as far as I can see at least). To add Nautilus to the interface, you can call up a terminal (alt+f2 for a run box doesn’t seem to work), type nautilus at the the prompt and once it opens, go to the launcher on the left, right click on the Nautilus icon and select “Keep in Launcher.”
  8. Microphone does work: http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/linux-laptop-and-netbook-25/mic-issue-with-acer-aspire-one-10-in-ubuntu-unr-729158/#post4087237

DAW Notes

  • First, after installing Ubuntu studio or Jack and all the other stuff, you need to add yourself to the audio group (System > Administration > Users and Groups > Manage Groups > audio (check all the users you want to add).

Modifying and switching between desktop interfaces in Lucid (10.4)

I previously discussed how to create some space on the top menu bar on the Netbook remix desktop interface. In the latest iteration, the Netbook Remix comes with a locked down tool bar.

These are my first notes on how to fix this.

First of all, a description can be found here: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/UbuntuNetbookEdition/ConvertGnomeSession


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