Archive for June, 2010

How To | Google Voice Voicemail

One of the things that I was really looking forward to when getting my Android powered phone, was visual voicemail. I saw a few of my friends using it and I was, quite honestly, jealous. I knew it was going to be something that I had to utilize.

I’m the first person to admit that I, pretty much, hate voicemail. It’s not really the voicemail itself that I hate either, and it’s not that people are calling me. Nothing like that. What I hate about it is going through the process of calling my voicemail, typing in my pin number, and then listening to each message individually and deciding what I want to do with it, then acting upon my decision. I understand that this is not a “chore” to most of the world, but it annoys me to go through this process.

Most, if not all, carriers provide a visual voicemail service built in to their Android handsets. Some carriers even provide this service for free. Verizon is not one of those carriers..

Verizon thinks that I should have to pay an additional $3.00 a month for this service on top of all the money¬†I am already paying them. I know some people would say, “well it’s just $3.00 a month, pay it.” No. Not going to happen. I know full well that there are free services available to me that will take care of this.

When you type in “Visual Voicemail” in the Android Market’s search box, a few services will appear. However, the way they work is to forward caller’s to their service and the voicemail gets stored on their servers for you to access. I don’t want this. I don’t know these companies and I just don’t trust them.

Along came Google Voice.

I’ve had a Google Voice account for a while now, but have never really used it. Now that I have the Incredible and have a real use for it, I am definately taking advantage of GV. I realize that the voicemails are now being stored on Google servers, but Google is a company that I feel I can trust. Not to mention, I have a phone with a Google made operating system.. 100% integration folks. ūüôā

Advantages over traditional voicemail:

  1. Voicemail listed so that I can look at any of them without wading through audio computer system
  2. Voicemail’s are sent to me through email
  3. Can access my voicemail from any computer using my Google Voice account
  4. Voicemails can be transcribed to text so that I can read them if I am somewhere I cannot use my phone’s audio
  5. Ability to stop, pause, rewind & fast forward messages
  6. Delete without listening
  7. etc..

Enough talking. Here’s how to setup Google Voice in your Android device:

Step 1: Get a Google Voice account

Step 2: Activate Google Voicemail

  • From the GV account page, click on “Settings” in the upper right corner of the page. Click on the “Phones” tab.
  • You should see your mobile number listed with a link that says “Activate Google voicemail on this phone.” Click on this link and Google will give you steps to dial a specialized phone number from your handset.
  • Dial this number and from now on, when people call you and the phone goes unanswered the call will get forwarded to Google Voice.

Step 3: Record your greeting

  • Click on the “Voicemail & Text” tab.
  • Click “Record New” and GV will call your phone to prompt you with options to record your new greeting message.
  • Record and hangup.
  • Go back to your GV account and the “Voicemail & Text” tab. From here you can listen to your greeting through your computer and apply it or re-record.
  • Under “Voicemail Notifications,” I unchecked Send a text (SMS) message.

Step 4: Do Not Disturb

  • Go back to the “Phones” tab and click “Edit” under your mobile number.
  • Click “Show advanced settings” and under “Forwarding Options” select “Go straight to voicemail.”
  • Now click on the “Calls” tab. Check the box that states “Enable ‘Do Not Disturb.'”

Step 5: Setting up the phone

  • Open the Android Market and search for “Google Voice
  • Download and install the app, then open it up.
  • It will immediately start going through the setup process. Towards the end of the process it will ask you to dial the specialized phone number again from Step 2. No need to do this again.
  • During the process your phone will be reprogrammed to utilize GV as it’s primary voice mail serivce instead of your carriers.
  • In the GV App, press Menu -> Settings -> Sync and Notifications
  • Enable¬†Synchronize Inbox
  • Enable¬†Background data (this will make sure that you receive your voicemails right away)
  • Enable Inbox notifications (this will make sure you receive a notification in your status bar)
  • You will now have access to all of your messsages using this app. It’s quite nice.

Step 6: Last two forwarding options (This will vary depending on your carrier)

  • For some reason, GV did not prompt me to set this up, but I figured it out through trial and error.
  • Back on Step 2 you had to dial a specialized phone number, well, there are two more.
  • You need to setup forwarding for cal that are Ignored and calls that never made it to your phone due to lack of coverage.
  • On your HTC Droid Incredible: (These are for Verizon only)

    Dial *90xxxxxxxxxx (xxxxxxxxxx is your GV phone number) and press Call
    Dial *92xxxxxxxxxx (xxxxxxxxxx is your GV phone number) and press Call

NOTE: Please do a google search for how to setup these options for your carrier.

How To | Change Your HTC Incredible Boot Animation

For those of you that own an HTC Incredible, or possibly any other Android powered phone, you may or may not like your boot animation. I, for one, do not like the Incredible’s stock boot animation. It’s pretty lame to be complately honest. So I decided it was time to make a change.

There are plenty of tutorials for doing this on a Windows based box, but that was not cutting it for me. Here is a How To for Android owners for changing your boot animation¬†using your Ubuntu box. These directions may work for other distro’s as well, however, I have not¬†tested, so YMMV.

Note: DO NOT plug the phone to your computer yet.

Step 1: Download

  • Your choice of: bootanimation.zip and android_audio.mp3 (.mp3 file must be named “android_audio.mp3”)

Step 2: Edit desc.txt file

  • Unzip bootanimation.zip and edit desc.txt file
  • Use editors of your choice (gedit, kate)
  • Your desc.txt would be something like:
325 430 15
p 1 0 android
p 1 0 eye
p 0 0 loading
  • Make sure you save it as a UNIX file, otherwise it won’t work
  • Zip the folder up again (without compression) – bootanimation.zip

Note: I only extracted the desc.txt file and not the entire contents of bootanimation.zip. After editing desc.txt, I just re-added that back into the original bootanimation.zip file. This worked for me. YMMV.
Step 3: Install Android SDK

  • Android SDK | Android Developers
  • Extract .zip file; you could rename extracted folder to whatever you like (e.g., “android”)
  • Move “android” folder to the root of your drive using this command in your terminal:

sudo mv /path/to/android /

  • Run “Android SDK and AVD Manager” using this command: (I added mine to the Applications menu)

/android/tools/android update sdk

Note: that you do not need to download any drivers for Linux. The phone is already supported.
Step 4: Copy/Move

  • Copy/Move your bootanimation.zip and android_audio.mp3 files into the “tools” folder of the SDK (e.g., /android/tools)

Step 5: On Your Incredible

  • Turn USB Debugging ON (Settings->Applications->Development)
  • NOW, you can connect your phone to the PC
  • You should get an exclamation mark icon on your Incredible notification bar
  • Be sure to set/mount your USB connection to “Disk Drive”; do not use “Charge only”

Step 6: Test Your Setup

  • Open terminal
  • Change directory to the “tools” folder in your SDK (e.g., /android/tools)
  • Run the following command:

sudo ./adb start-server (you need to be in root for this to work)

  • You should see something like this:
* daemon not running. starting it now *
* daemon started successfully *
List of devices attached
HT048HJ00425 device

Step 7: Push Animation/Audio

  • Run the following commands:

adb push bootanimation.zip /data/local
adb push android_audio.mp3 /data/local
(if you want sound during bootup)

  • You should have seen that a certain amount of data was added to the phone after each command

Step 8: Reboot Your Incredible

  • You might want to go through the proper procedure for unmounting/disconnecting your phone from your computer first
  • You might want to turn off USB Debugging
  • Enjoy your new animated boot screen

Sources: Incredible Boot Animation, Android SDK | Android Developers, Installing HTC Incredible Android SDK Drivers

Note: this worked for me. This may or may not work for you. If, by following this, you brick your Incredible, I am not liable for anything.

My New Toy!

I Finally did it! Got me a new phone. For the last two years I have suffered with my garbage Motorola Q9c. I’ve had to put up with, at least, the following:

  • Randomly restarts for no rhyme or reason
  • Randomly shuts off without a full Shutdown, and will not turn on without pulling out the battery
  • Constant roaming = No data
  • 5-6 hours of battery life while on standby
  • etc…

Those were just the “tip of the iceberg” issues that I was having with my phone. But no more!!

I have finally invested in the HTC Droid Incredible. I must say, based on my first impressions… the phone is amazing. It has given me everything that I have wanted out of a phone, and then some. Not to mention it syncs perfectly with my gmail account. Having my contacts list constantly backed up makes me feel so much better. As you all know, Windows Mobile’s Active Sync is not friendly with a Linux user. So having this funtionality is so great to me.

The only thing that I can consider a negative is the battery life. However, in fairness to HTC, I did not break in the battery properly. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am slightly impulsive and impatient at times. Well… once the phone arrived, all I could think about was playing with it. So this caused me to improperly charge the battery out of the box for the recommended 8 hours.

To make things even better, my wife has a Droid also! We got her the Motorola Droid and, based on what I’ve seen, she loves her’s as well. She loves having the slide up physical keyboard.

For more information, please check out my Android page. It has a current list of my installed apps and more importantly, the apps that I’m looking for.

How To | Day Of Ubuntu: Dynamic Wallpaper For Linux

Day Of Ubuntu (originally called Dawn of Ubuntu) is a dynamic wallpaper which changes depending on the time of day:  dawn, noon, dusk and midnight. To see what it looks like on my desktop look at my June Screenshot.

To install it in Ubuntu, you can:

1. Use a PPA (open a terminal and paste this):
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:dylanmccall/ppa

And install it:
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install day-of-ubuntu-wallpaper

2. Or directly download the .deb package (it might also work on older Ubuntu versions, but I could not test it):

Day of Ubuntu .deb

3. Or download the source files.

_________________________________

Other dynamic wallpapers you might be interested in:

Credit goes to WebUpd8.com