Friday, April 1, 2011

RC4, Amazon Apps and cell jammers, Oh my!

I installed the RC4 of cyanogenmod yesterday, and overall, I'm really impressed. I had been having some memory problems (in that I had none) with RC3 - I had about 20MB of free memory on RC3 versus more than 50MB on RC2. That 30MB difference was causing the hated "running low on space" message to pop up quite a bit. Now, I can't give all the credit to RC4. Admittedly, I don't wipe my data and cache every time I install a new ROM. Well, I do if it's brand new or major upgrade, like going from 6.1 to the 7 RCs. But between RC versions, I just installed over the top of the current version. But this time, because of the memory problems I was having, I did the full wipe. So I'm honestly not sure if it was that or the new version that solved the problem. But either way, I'm back up to 50+MB of free internal storage, so I can go back to installing random apps to try and play with at will. Whoo hoo!

One thing that is driving me crazy, and again, not sure if this is CM or the app, but even with CM, there are things included in the installer that I don't want. I use the full version of Titanium Backup, which will allow you to uninstall system apps. So I just went through and took out all the stuff I was reasonably sure wouldn't break my boot. However, on the next reboot, there they all are again, back on the phone. This is driving me crazy. I even wiped all the backups of those apps, but somehow, they keep coming back. I actually suspect it's a CM problem and not a Titanium problem because of that. I'm still trying to figure out what's going on, so when I pinpoint the culprit, I'll post an update here. In the meantime, after every reboot, I go in and uninstall those useless apps that just take up space.

In other news, the Amazon App store officially launched! I have to say, I was a bit skeptical, since it now means I have to manage apps in two places. (AppBrain, if you want to put out an update that will let you manage third-party app stores, I'd actually pay for that!) So originally, I was curious and thought it would be good for competition, but I wasn't really planning to get my apps there. Until I discovered that, like for their eBooks, they offer a lot of paid apps for free for limited times.

I am a sucker for free.

Free digital anything I will take. I grab every free Amazon eBook they offer whether I plan to read it or not because I like to have them, just in case. The same is holding true for apps. And while the majority of the offerings so far have been things I didn't keep installed or already had paid versions of, there have been a few notable exceptions. Angry Birds was the first. All three versions. This is the only place Rovio is offering a paid, ad-free version, and until this week, was the only place to get the new Rio version. I hated the ads and they actually caused some lag, so those were snagged on the first day of the store opening for business. Soundhound was another one I enjoyed, although, admittedly, I uninstalled it later. I knew I wouldn't use it enough to make keeping it installed worth it, but I like knowing I can quickly install and use it when I know I want to ID a song. I also was happy to see Weatherbug Elite today, since I've been a user of the free version for a while now as my weather app of choice, I just never got around to upgrading it. Now I don't need to worry about it anymore.

Yesterday's Fruit Ninja, however, has proven, thus far, to be the biggest draw. This is like app crack. I had heard of it, first as an iOS game, and later people talking about it on Android, but I thought they were crazy. I apologize to all those people for thinking there could be nothing fun about slicing fruit. It is like a Zen moment. In fact, I got my best friend to grab it yesterday on her phone, and then went and actually paid for it on my husband's iPod Touch so we could all compete for high scores. In a day, I have become a Fruit Ninja junkie. If you haven't checked it out, do so at your own risk, as it will consume many, many hours of your time. Although, if you're already giving that time to Angry Birds, like I was, then it's not so much losing time and diversifying. And that's a good thing, right?

The final thing I wanted to talk (rant) about today is cell jammers. I have a feeling someone near my house is using one, and it is really pissing me off. I used to get a full, steady signal with no problems, then all the sudden, in the last few weeks, my signal has gotten really erratic. I loose it at the same point driving home every day, and in my house, I fluctuate between a full signal all the way down to none. And then back. And that will happen in the space of minutes. I stood last night, waiting for an important call, and almost missed out on it because the signal choose then to get bad enough to drop the calls, then come back as soon as I had hung up. I love my phone, but I was ready to throw it out a window.

I thought maybe it was RC4 causing signal problems, but then I realize everywhere else I go, there are no problems whatsoever. So either T-Mobile has something going on with the tower in my town, or someone is using a jammer and my house is right on the fringes of the signal range. This makes me incredibly glad I'm buying a house where, I am happy to say, I tested the signal and it works just fine. (More on the house at a later date, I don't want to jinx it since we're in contract, but you never know what could go wrong.) In the meantime, I will just have to live with it, I suppose, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.

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