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Setting up Bluestacks for Android App Debugging

Testing an Android app using the Android device emulator can be slow.  One way you can speed that up is to install the Intel Atom images and create devices with varying display resolution using that processor rather than the ARM processor most devices use (that avoids the processor emulation), but when you’re just working on a app and just need to see the progress one of the best alternatives is to use Bluestacks.

Just download and install Bluestacks on your machine; then setup a connection using the Android debugger (located in sdk\platform-tools now) with the command:

adb connect 127.0.0.1

Then just go about debugging directly from your IDE.

The Bluestack “machine” will appear as:

samsung-gt_n7000-127.0.0.1:5555
Android version 4.0.4

Keep in mind, there’s no substitute for testing on a real device — and the Android debugger still gives you the ability to see how your app looks on different size screens.

NOTE:  Bluestacks is currently in BETA, but it’s a fairly robust solution and works well for Android app development.

Straight Talk

Four people I know have now switched their cellular phone service over to Straight Talk “pre-paid” service (largely because I’ve pointed it out to them).  Two used AT&T, one used T-Mobile, and one used Cellular South.

All of them basically switched for the similar reasons — they were being charged too much for too little.

I’ve considered switching a number of times; but I’m one of the few people with a Smart Phone who actually use the features (I just don’t know if I could get along without data services and GPS — Garmin GPS).

Straight talk offers two plans — UNLIMITED for 30 days $45; or 1000 minutes, 1000 SMS/MMS, 30GB for up to 30 days $30.  Most people probably don’t need the unlimited plan, and if you only expect you’re going to go over once in a great occasion you can buy the $30 plan and just pay again in less than 30 days (as long as it takes you at least 20 days you still ahead), and you can switch back and forth between the two plans at will (if you can predict your usage) — or even lay out for a month.  And of course, there’s no contract.

Straight Talk is a service of Trac Fone; but a model that’s much more like MetroPCS and Cricket; though since Straight Talk is a MVNO using Verizon Wireless as the carrier you can use the service any where in the continential United States where Verizon Wireless has digital service (which is just about any where there’s a paved road).

If you’re looking for a fancy phone, or data features you’re not looking for Straight Talk; in fact, only MetroPCS really offers you full data features (you can take your own smart phone to their network and have them flash it — it does need to have the SPL released; or you can buy one from them — but MetroPCS uses their own network and fills in coverage using some Sprint services as well; but you’re restricted to your MetroPCS service area, which doesn’t work well if you travel).

If what you’re looking for is a cellular phone, or a replacement for your land line even, Straight Talk might be a great deal for you.

You can order the phones online; you can pay for service online; you can even have your service auto-renewed online… or you can purchase phones and/or service cards at Wal-Mart.  You can even port you existing wireless or wire line number to Straight Talk (you can thank the FCC for that).

Just keep in mind that the hand sets are “low end” — they won’t tether to your computer, and to do any type of synchronization (that’s a bad word to use, since you’re probably going to have to move contacts, etc one-by-one or at least manually) you may well have to use Bluetooth (though the Samsung SCH-R451C $99.99 will work with a USB cable to give you access to the phone as a USB data device — and it supports up to a 2GB uSD card).

There is one higher end hand set offered by Straight Talk; the Samsung SCH-R810C $328.99; it’s higher price get’s you a touch screen (only — no keyboard), but really nothing substantially more than the Samsung SCH-R451C, and it’s not available in most areas.

Straight Talk offers a 30-day money back guarantee on handsets; but no refund on airtime…

Visit the Straight Talk website, or your local Wal-Mart for more information (or to purchase one)… it’s your money, get some value for it.

http://www.straighttalk.com/

Originally posted 2010-04-10 02:00:30.

My Droid 1 Does Gingerbread

I decided that the state of the Android 2.3.2 (Gingerbread) development for the Droid 1 had reached a point that I was happy enough with the stability to put it on the Droid 1 I use day-to-day; so I flashed in Peter Alfonso’s GPA12 build last night along with this overclocked kernel modification.

Without the overclocked kernel modification Gingerbread seems just a little sluggish on the Droid 1… usable, but far from snappy.  With the overclocked kernel modification it’s fine.

There are a lot of small feature improvements in Gingerbread; and I believe still the only official release of it is for the Nexus S (the Samsung Galaxy S class phone that’s Google branded and unlocked — I have one of those as well, but it’s a GSM phone, so I use it to travel abroad since my US carrier is Verizon Wireless — CDMA).

Keep in mind to use any custom ROM on your Android phone you do have to root the device… that’s generally pretty easy on most devices (particularly on the Droid 1).  There’s little to worry about, and you’re not likely to brick your phone as long as you follow the instructions (you might want to read over them a few times before trying, and if you’re not clear on something find another set of instructions).

Let me end by saying the Droid 1 is an incredible device — it’s well built, and a great value… while it may not have all the whizzy new features you find on the front line phones, until we get to second generation Android LTE handsets, I think I’ll be happy.

http://www.peteralfonso.com/

Originally posted 2011-02-22 02:00:45.

Setting up Netbeans for Android App Development

As an alternate to using Eclipse for Android App development, you can use Netbeans or the Google Android Studio (currently an early BETA and not extremely robust).

 

Tested configuration:

 

The following steps are only to setup Netbeans for Android development; you will need to take additional steps to setup devices in the Android SDK before you can actually deploy and test a APK, but you can create a template app after completing these steps and build it.

 

You may use this reference for additional information and screen shots of the panels (it is not necessary to purchase the extension; the “free” license will work fine for what is required):

http://nbandroid.org/wiki/index.php/Installation

 

 

1) Launch the Android SDK Manager

    update components as needed.

    close SDK Manager

 

2) Launch Netbeans

    Goto

        Tools->Plug Ins

     Goto

        Settings

     Goto

        Add

                 Name: NBAndroid

          URL: http://nbandroid.org/release72/updates/updates.xml

     Goto

        Available Plugins

            Search: NBAndroid

            Select “NBAndroid Gradle Support”, “Android” “NBAndroid Extension”

            Click “Install”

            Accept licenses and follow through panels.

         Goto

        Tools->Options->Misc->Android

            Set SDK Location: c:\android\sdk

     Exit Net Beans (or create an Android app and build it)

50th Anniversary of “The War on Poverty”

Today is the 50th anniversary for LBJ’s “War on Poverty”.

While income inequity is still a huge problem in this country, few would argue that the safety net programs put in place over the years have not helped to address poverty in America.

Can we do better?  I’d say the answer is yes!  Will we do better?  I’d say the likelihood of that happening near term is unlikely.

War on Poverty