the aim is to eliminate as much eye-candy as possible, and replace all colours by black, as much as possible. this should regain much space and some speed + battery.

/system/media/boot-animation.zip contains one file desc.txt, containing
320 480 8

i wonder why my bootlog shows up with an error that it cannot find /data/local/boot-animation.zip? is that where this was originally supposed to be?

just one very small .png file, of a single colour - black.
removed Live Wallpapers and deleted all wallpapers.

deleted all files, only keeping the ones specifically used.

wonder if google search bar widget could be black or darker? the white colour is too bright among all the other dark coloured items.



ring delay
The ring delay was getting me very frustrated, as I would only find out who was ringing on the 4th-5th ring. These tweaks below will eliminate the ring delay. But I still find a delay for the contact/number coming up by the 3rd-4th ring.

add/edit these lines in /system/build.prop
# disable ring delay

market fix
add the following lines and remove/comment out the corresponding lines, in /system/build.prop
# fix market apps
ro.build.description=passion-user 2.1-update1 ERE27 24178 release-keys

wifi fix
This should stop the wi-fi scanning continously. When I want, I can do a manual scan.

add/edit these lines in /system/build.prop
# time between known AP scans in seconds

low battery
add the following to /system/build.prop

This hasn't really eliminated the low-battery warnings, or the shutdown when battery is low. But, I suppose, I'm no worse off...

I discovered HelixLauncher while hunting for smaller and faster launchers. Neither launcherpro nor adw fit the bill, as both are humungous in comparison. Their only seeming advantage seems to be eye-candy. And I am more concerned about efficiency in terms of space and power.

HelixLauncher at v1.2a seems to be quite stable. After using helix for sometime and not having any issues at all, I removed the default launcher Launcher.apk from /system/app/ and added helix into /system/app/. I am still looking for smaller and sleeker launchers, if anyone can suggest.

stock apps

stock apps

I found stock apps from elsewhere. Refer post# 8 from starkos for the contacts apps.

and replaced these in /system/app/

market updates
I removed these apps in /system/app/, as the market had updated them in /data/app/.


I lost a lot of time due to not understanding how "data" works. When we replace any apps, we need to wipe not just dalvik-cache, but data too. I was only wiping dalvik-cache, without wiping data, and I got a lot of acores/FCs for some apps (specifically Contacts). Refer post# 9.

I had to wipe not just dalvik-cache, which is what I had been doing along, but was not sufficient. More importantly, I had to wipe data, or specifically clear /data/data/com.android.contacts and /data/data/com.android.providers.contacts. Once I did so, I received no further errors, and the stock Contacts worked fine. I lost all contacts, but the next sync downloaded all of my google contacts. Thankfully, I never keep any contacts on the phone.

To wipe dalvik-cache, clear out /data/dalvik-cache/.
$ rm /data/dalvik-cache/*

To clear out data, identify the specific apps. In my case, I had issues with contacts. These were provided by two apps - Contacts.apk and ContactsProvider.apk. If you search within /data/data, you can find the corresponding files - /data/data/com.android.contacts and /data/data/com.android.providers.contacts.

$ rm -r /data/data/com.android.contacts/*
$ rm -r /data/data/com.android.providers.contacts/*

please help with below...

what are the other stock apps that i can update? where do i find them?

how can i make my phone more vanilla (i.e android standard build)?

capacity & utilisation


capacity & utilisation
It is very important to understand the capacity & utilisation! This is mine, with ~100 apps that I've added, including CoPilot Live. Previously, I couldn't even install the CoPilot, which was supplied included in my t-mobile contract. Now, I can install another similar humunguous app, and still have some free space...

$ adb shell df -h
Filesystem Size Used Available Use% Mounted on
tmpfs 52.7M 0 52.7M 0% /dev
/dev/block/mtdblock3 20.0M 15.1M 4.9M 76% /cache
/dev/block/mtdblock2 90.3M 64.4M 25.8M 71% /data
/dev/block/mtdblock1 100.0M 95.4M 4.6M 95% /system
/dev/block/mmcblk0p1 1.8G 1.4G 455.3M 76% /sdcard

clearing out /system/app/
I have removed many supplied apps. This is because they were non-standard (i.e. t-mobile/huawei version), unnecessary or there were stock alternatives/updates available.

See below for the apps I removed/replaced. I have removed Email.apk, and have had no problems at all, even though many seem to suggest otherwise. I leave your decision to you.

clearing out /system/bin/
all sync* and debuggered

clearing out /system/media/
I basically cleared out almost everything therein.

clearing out /system/cust/
I can't remember what I removed from here.

reclaiming /data/app/
Now I have so much space in /system, I moved many apps from /data/app/ into /system/app/. My main focus was to get co-pilot and other large non-market apps out of /data/app/ and saturate /system/app/. I also moved any apps, which I do not want auto updated, into /system/app/.


pls help with below

- should we?
- how to?
- what?

how-to manual mod

how-to mod any firmware or mod on your phone step-by-step

I have learnt a lot from this forum and a few others. I think I should document where I am and how I have modified my firmware, if it helps others. I suppose this is the ethos of open source - learn from others, build on it, and pass it back.

This how-to is for a manual mod on my t-mobile uk 2.1 pulse firmware. In hindsight, I should have started out with the Swedish 2.1, as that is more vanilla. You could do the same with any firmware, any mod or possibly any android device. Rebuild your existing setup, or choose your favourite stable mod, put in on your phone, and start modding yourself. Only caution, I would advise, is to understand what you are about to do (or have a backup), before you make any change. I will list any detailed steps or commands required, where possible or asked for. As such, there are no downloads within this how-to. All downloads are from the android market and/or the android sdk. Ask if you can't find something...

I have done a lot of trial-and-error and subsequently found that many others have been there and done that, ending mostly at a stage better than me. I am still an android newbie comparatively, and by no means an expert or a programmer, though I have been using linux for a few years, and understand c and shell-scripting a little bit. What I list below is running fine on my pulse, and I have had no current issues whatsoever. What you do with your system is entirely your risk. At the very least, make backups at every stage. Don't be afraid of trying out anything. I haven't heard of any instances where a phone has gone totally ka-put!

My main vision was to clear out whatever I could from /system, and fill it up with what I needed, to reclaim /data and keep it as free as possible. The less there was to worry about, the easier it is to work with what is left.

The next goal was to bring it as close as possible to the vanilla firmware. My personal recommendation is to keep as close to upstream as possible, and any required changes to be pushed upstream! Focus for upstream is on generics, and for downstream is on specifics. And this goes for everything - os, kernel, apps, configs, etc. The farther we diverge from upstream with our changes, the more complicated and error-prone will be any further updates. And this increases exponentially with time and down the roadmap. If anyone from t-mobile/huawei (or any others for that matter) is reading this, please take note!!!

It seems t-mobile/huawei have gone all-out to customise their firmware so much that, I suspect, it is going to take them a lot of effort in bringing out new updates, which possibly means that any android updates would be very late in coming, at best. We can see this, with the adventure t-mobile are still having in releasing a 2.1 uk update, while the rest of the world are getting 2.2. Perhaps, t-mobile should consider stripping out all customisation and keeping as close to the vanilla firmware, as possible. This should certainly save them a lot of customer-aggro, time and money in releasing new updates. I suspect some t-mobile developers are making sure they keep their jobs...

Final goal was to tweak and make the firmware more efficient in terms of power, speed, basic phone call performance, etc.

What I have not considered is themes/eye-candy, etc. I am inherently a minimalist, and I prefer no distractions. I have removed all wallpapers, boot-animations, spurious/large ringtones, etc. This reclaims much space, some speed and power.

The quickest and easiest method that I preferred was to boot into recovery mode and use adb via usb. If you don't have (or want to use) the usb cable, adb can connect to your mobile via wi-fi too. I use linux and my laptop runs debian lenny.

Create a text file named "/etc/udev/rules.d/51-udev.rules" with contents
SUBSYSTEMS=="usb", SYSFS{idVendor}=="12d1", MODE="0666"

adb (android debug bridge) is the only tool we need on our computer. You can find more info at http://developer.android.com/guide/developing/tools/adb.html. I will list what is required below.

I have copied adb into ~/bin, and it is in my path. You need to do something similar, or prefix the whole path to adb each time.

Starting the adb deamon as root, is the first step.
$ sudo adb start-server
* daemon not running. starting it now *
* daemon started successfully *

It seems, the adb deamon does not work if started as an unprivileged user. If it is already running you need to kill it first, before starting as root.
$ sudo adb kill-server

Now you can run all adb commands as a normal user, i.e.
$ adb devices
List of devices attached
???????????? recovery

Ignore those question marks. For a long time, I assumed that they meant I had no connectivity, and it threw me off. If you don't see any lines, then you need to worry and start troubleshooting.

Now, we need to mount the devices.
$ adb shell mount -a

Finally, we are ready to start playing (or hacking)...
$ adb shell ls -l /system/app
$ adb shell ls -l /data/app

Other commands that I've used are: cp, rm, push, pull, reboot and reboot recovery. Nothing too complicated. :-)

One command I particularly find useful is "sort". I periodically list all app sizes and prune the bigger ones out, replacing them with smaller ones from the market. App size does matter, as it means the developer is particular about efficient coding, and it eliminates waste on your phone. Any time an app starts going bloatware, I stop using it and uninstall. I continously look for more efficient apps.
$ adb shell ls -l /system/app | sort -n -k5
$ adb shell ls -l /system/app | sort -n -k5

Apologies in advance, if people find these initial posts changing often. I will update all information here, rather than in a separate post each time, so we might not need to scour all the posts in this thread to find the last update. Also, all tips gratefully received. Please bear in mind that all the information here is credited to others, and I'm happy to mention names where required.

screen unlock

Unlock your screen remotely! adb can connect either through usb or wireless. No need for root either.

$ adb shell input keyevent 82

Tip thanks to UKLooney from androidforums.


/system/build.prop customisation

#use black buttons

#notification bar
#black time and date

android boot animation

i took the t-mobile stock bootanimation.zip and removed all images. having no animation reduces the disk usage, and speeds up boot.

then i happened upon this simple, not too large, neat animation by fusion0306. now, i'm split between the two, ie having no animation or having a simple animation.

rooting the pulse

two steps:

1. flash the recovery image

2. flash the system image

custom rom


Check the link above for a fantastic post#5 in the thread, looking at the innards of android. I hit this very late after, I had rooted and hacked my android, removing unnecessary built-in apps and tweaking some configs. I am a fan of minimalism. I need to revisit this...

android fonts

I can't view any non-english characters. I am told that android 2.2 resolved this issue. I won't be able to get Froyo soonish. So I have to live with this issue for the time being.

My workaround has been to use Opera Mini with fonts being rendered on the server. I can read many sites, though not all.

But this still leaves the other applications showing empty squares instead of legible characters in their languages. I am multi-lingual, and I do need multiple languages.

The other option that I am considering is to root the device, and replace the default font with a merged unicode font supporting all languages.

I haven't really considering rooting my phone yet. This issue might get me looking at this more seriously.

Some links:

Huawei U8220

Herein begins my Android adventure. As it is based on linux, I incorporate it in this blog.

Yesterday, I ordered a new phone - the T-Mobile Pulse - on contract. I have just picked the package from Royal Mail delivery office. The phone came with android 1.5, co-pilot satnav software and other accessories. Well pleased with what I have received.

Well done to T-Mobile and Google!

Poor man’s SSD

re: Poor man's SSD, K.Mandla's blog post, and my comments:

Inspiring article, Mr Mandla!

I have been using a 256M usb key, loaded with damnsmalllinux, for the best part of 4yrs now. I have a Citrix client on it for work purposes. I converted to TinyCoreLinux last year.

This USB would boot where ever I could, despite concerns voiced by fellow experts about the doom-and-gloom for continuous writes to flash devices. Till date, I haven't known any data issues.

Perhaps, I’m just lucky with this drive, but I've also had no data issues with any of my usb keys yet. And I have a dozen plus, used for different purposes. And btw, before you ask, mine is one of those cheap usb keys. I think it was the cheapest I could find at that time.

So, I have my PC on a key, which just needs some hardware to boot. How cheap can you get? I don’t care what I hardware I am working on, if it can boot usb. I travel around fairly frequently, and I find this very useful, along with your Plop Boot floppy. Thanks for that article too!

rtorrent force-upgrade how-to

debian stable might not have the latest versions of some software with features that you want right now. here's how to upgrade in-place. tip: http://lizardking.biz/2009/12/rtorrent-11-on-debian-5/

install rtorrent

apt-get update
apt-get upgrade
apt-get install rtorrent

remove rtorrent and libtorrent, leaving dependencies installed

apt-get remove rtorrent libtorrent10

download latest versions from


install, force if necessary

dpkg -i libtorrent*
dpkg -i [--force-all] rtorrent*

Re: Dear LazyWeb, please help persuade my dad to move to Linux

Response to a blog post at crunchbang.org
Dear LazyWeb, please help persuade my dad to move to Linux

"I get the feeling that my dad would be more inclined to accept advice from a PC World salesman than he would from me."

If that is the case, my advice would be to take your dad to PC World! Show him some of the Linux netbooks, and get the salesman to convince your dad why he might like them. :-)

BTW, I have converted two of my family to Linux. Last Christmas, a cousin who always complains about his PC, got his Windows replaced by Ubuntu. Last month, another who has had me spend many many hours sorting his PC, got the same treatment. They are both happy bunnies now… and perhaps evangelists in their own accord! :-)Joseph

crunchbang.org response:
does PC World still sell netbooks with Linux? I know they did a year or so ago, but my understanding is that Linux has been discontinued by most netbook manufacturers? Either way, I think the chances of being able to find a salesman in my local PC World that can talk about the merits of Linux are pretty slim. :( Good job on converting your cousins to Ubuntu and thank you for the comment! :)

Re: Dear LazyWeb, please help persuade my dad to move to Linux

Response to a blog post at crunchbang.org
Dear LazyWeb, please help persuade my dad to move to Linux

I just stopped giving free support to them if they run Windows. I don't run Windows. I don't care about Windows. If they want to keep running Windows, they can do so and there are a number of places they can buy support or they can bug someone else to fix their problems for them. If, on the other hand, they want to run Linux, I'll gladly do the support.

Solves my problems two ways: less support annoyance if they go with Linux and I keep supporting them, or less support annoyance if they stick with Windows and I don't have to support them anymore. Catch-11. :)

crunchbang.org response:
Interestingly, I have never really had to support my dad with his Windows installation. As far as I know, for the most part it has just worked. It is only now, when his Windows installation has come to the end of its life, that I have had to offer any help. I have offered to install Linux. I have not and will not offer to look at fixing his ageing XP installation, but only because I know it would be a pointless exercise. Thank you for your comment. :)

openwrt kamikaze x86 install


download the {latest} x86 ext2 image and the necessary packages
packages/ nic dropbear

boot from live usb. then write the image directly to drive, not partition.

# dd if=openwrt-x86-ext2.image of=/dev/sda
# e2fsck /dev/sda1
# e2fsck /dev/sda2


irc chat

i have long evaded this extremely useful service on linux, as i couldn't get linux irc clients to work properly.

long ago, i was hooked on irc in windows using a multitude of clients, but primarily pirch and mirc.

linux and my recent fascination with minimalism have precluded me even looking at bloatwares. i started off on tinyirc, imho just perfect. but, for the life of me, i couldn't figure out how to make it work. it seemed to work, but i couldn't connect to any network.

then i started using scrollz, which worked for me. but i didn't feel comfortable enough, as i couldn't get use to scrollz and a lack of documentation floating around.

i recently tried irssi... eureka! i remember my days with pirch/mirc and i'm suddenly back in business. i need to learn a bit more about getting mileage from irssi...

i seemed to be gradually moving from smaller to larger irc clients. i've even managed to make the quirky tinyirc work now, and it is just perfect for me. i'll be going back to tinyirc later, and use it exclusively. for now, it is irssi and tinyirc!

irc servers

irssi startup doc

newbie docs

Response: A cascading effect


Hi K! I have been your fan for a while now. Perhaps this might help you.

While I was in Germany over Christmas/NY spending time with family that I hadn't seen in a few years, I offered to help my cousins with their computer woes. My tactic was to wipe out windows and replace it with ubuntu netbook remix on his laptop. Though, my preferred flavour is debian, I opted for ubuntu as I was not conversant with that hardware. ubuntu detected everything cleanly.

I prefer debian as I am a minimalist, everything I require fits within ½G diskspace. I have an old 64M-ram laptop with X, firefox, etc. ubuntu needed a 3.5G partition just to complete its install.

I didn't have any writable CDs and all shops were closed for Christmas. My only option was to intall over the internet, which might be helpful to you too. I installed grub on his laptop, created a menu option for net-install, and dumped "linux" and "initrd.gz" into another (not root) partition from


You could instead install debian from


Replace the debian/ubuntu versions with your preferred ones.

Now, it is a simple case of restarting and selecting net-install from grub. Voila... :-)

SSH From Behind a Firewall via HTTP Proxy

Terminally Incoherent wrote a fantastic blog post, which I want to file away.

SSH From Behind a Firewall via HTTP Proxy

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