Arnt Gulbrandsen
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Nexus Player

Our latest little film-playing box is a Nexus Player. It's good.

We have it connected to an Epson 1920×1080 projector and a Musical Fidelity amplifier.

The most remarkable features of the Nexus Player are that its remote control is simple and does not require line of sight, and that as of Android 6.0.1 it supports USB audio. Our amplifier happens to have USB input, so we get really good sound quality when we watch films.

Compared to the Popcorn Hour A-300 that's also connected to the same projector and amplifier, the Nexus Player has a real selection of apps and a much less confusing remote control. The A-300 can do better upscaling given the right video source, though, and has better support for playing from a local NAS.

Compared to the Roku 3 we have stopped using, the Nexus Player has better apps and no advertising. Roku really, really wants to display advertising to its paying customers. The Nexus Player (unlike the Roku 3) has a few annoying preinstalled apps, but it's possible to uninstall or disable all of those, and ours currently runs only Mubi and Plex.


Android boot with animated GIF

I've hated the Cyanogenmod 11 boot animation since I first installed Cyanogenmod on my phone. Admittedly I don't see it often, but I hate it. These walking fingers, possibly drawn by Will Holmes, would be so much better. So I put together a shell script to convert animated GIF files to the format Android needs.

Now and then phones are lost, particularly at schools, and I have two children, so I added an option to add text.

Reddit's mesmerizinggifs is full of suitable input files. To download today's highest-scoring animation and annotate it with Nirmala's phone: (more…)


Implementation notes about unicode mail

I've implemented unicode mail three times now; in Postfix (paid for by CNNIC and not yet integrated), in aox and lastly in an old mail reader I'm porting from the Zaurus PDA to Android (unreleased as yet, send me mail if you'd like beta access). This is mostly a random collection of notes and remarks I collected while writing the code.

The specification was produced by an IETF working group called EAI (short for email address internationalisation). The WG produced two generations of RFCs. First, an experimental series which I ignore, then a revised, simplified and improved series. This covers the second generation, which takes the general position that unicode mail is only sent to recipients who understand it. There is no conversion during transport, and (almost) no fallback to ASCII.

RFC 6530 is an overview/introduction. It points to the other documents, and has some extra text. Worth reading.

6531 describes how unicode addresses are used with SMTP: MAIL FROM, RCPT TO and VRFY accept UTF8 addresses, and there's a safeguard to provoke a syntax error in case a unicode message body would otherwise reach someone who cannot accept it. (more…)


Typing on an outsourced keyboard

I'll need to test something with a bluetooth keyboard. I really like the Nexus 7 tablet, so off to Amazon: nexus 7 2012 keyboard. Ah, hm, since I don't like QWERTZ keyboards, best try amazon.­ too: nexus 7 2012 keyboard. There were many contenders, including what I bought and will return: (more…)


Where have all the web duh-signers gone?

Best Viewed in 800X600 resolution, Internet Explorer, 5.0 and above. Best Viewed by Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5/+ in 1024 x 768 resolution. Those messages are gone from the web. So where did the web duh-signers go, now that new web sites don't want to be so duh?

I think they must have all found frustrating new jobs designing android apps.


Why do people tolerate suckage?

When I feel the phone growing hot in my pocket, I don't have to guess why. Menu→Settings→Battery usage, and high on the list I invariably see the Economist. Yesterday it spent about a minute helping me read the magazine. Later, in my pocket, the app went into battery-burning mode, spent eighteen minutes working the CPU as hard as it could, and then I noticed the heat. (more…)


Android WLAN roaming breakage

We have two access points at home, and wireless clients can roam freely, keeping their IP address.

Most clients can. Android phones and tables could not. For example, if a Motorola Xoom (Android 3.0) was in range of both APs, then it would switch to the other AP every 3-4 seconds.

The problem was that one AP was set to support only 802.11g, while the other was set to support b/g. Setting both to G-only solved the problem. The Xoom now connects quickly and keeps its connection (so long as it remains still at least).


Kies bricked my Galaxy S, Heimdall saved the day

Short version: Samsung Kies (Samsung's own program for backing up and upgrading Samsung phones) bricked my Galaxy S while upgrading it. Combining Heimdall with some recipes from other blogs allowed me to save the device.

Long version: (more…)