Customized Android

A few days ago, my regular mobile came back from being repaired, for the second time. I mentioned that I’d flashed a custom ROM on it – this being the Ultimate GT-N7000 XXLT4 JellyBean 4.1.2 image.

The past couple of evenings have been happily spent tweaking all the settings and installing apps, both new and old. First, I settled on ADW.Launcher as Home replacement of choice. Previously, I had been using Folders to categorize apps, but was not entirely satisfied with the classification (Social and Photo were obvious, but a lot of apps were mundane or administrivia, with varying degrees of usefulness); this time, I’ve settled for 3 screens ordered by purpose: instant-access on the default (middle) screen; Android admin apps on the left; games, audio/video and organization on the right.

Installing Titanium Backup has the side-effect that I could uninstall system apps, most notably some of the Samsung bloatware that slowed me down enormously previously. (S Notes? Why does that even exist?)

Other apps of note:

  • I used to use Lookout as general anti-virus, but have been experimenting with AVG on the Hero while I waited for the Note to come back; it seems to have stuck.
  • I’d never investigated ES File Explorer / Manager before; very pleasantly surprised to discover it has network functions (browsing FTP servers, etc) and libraries for one’s media, so that’s staying.
  • Not playing games very often, I settled for rather conventional chess, reversi and thought maybe I’d try learning Go as well. (That’ll be a challenge and a half.)
  • Geographical apps: Google Maps and My Tracks for GPS logging while I’m out, Foursquare for annoying everyone with checkins
  • Social stuff: Browsing and reading news happens in Flipboard; for posting, I prefer one app to handle both Facebook and Twitter, and these days that app is Seesmic. WordPress allows me to blog here whilst on the move.
  • Photography apps: a lot of my work on this blog is with HDR Camera+, which works nicely but Camera HDR Studio looks promising modulo the clunky-kiddie user interface. Post-processing happens in Aviary.
  • One of the useful features of the Ultimate custom ROM is the ability to switch USB into mass-storage mode, something I’d not seen before. For us Linux users, this is much more useful than PTP or MTP. However, as a hang-over from days of Samsung bloatware, I use Airdroid for offloading files.
  • For a keyboard, I find Swype has smooth sliding and tends to have the various symbols and punctuation in the right places.

The background image is a photo I took of tall birch trees silhouetted against an orange sunset, taken on the patio where we used to live in Argyll.