Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The reason why the Docomo Galaxy Nexus won't support LTE

A Gigazine article is claiming to have the answer from NTT Docomo as to why their version of the Galaxy Nexus (SC-04D) won't support Xi LTE, and it's all about speed - not download speed, but speed in which it can be brought to market. NTT Docomo declined to say exactly how much longer it would take to field an LTE model, but the impression is that it would be unacceptably long.

My impression is that it is unacceptably long because the iPhone 4S is all over the news (even I wrote a couple of posts about it  ^^; ). The Docomo Galaxy Nexus will go on sale across Japan in November.
「GALAXY NEXUS SC-04D」のLTE搭載を見送った理由ですが、ほぼ世界最速の部類に入るスピードでいち早く発売するために3Gモデルという形になりました。どれくらい時間がかかるのかについて、具体的なことは申し上げられませんが、LTEモデルを提供するには3Gモデルよりも時間がかかります。なお、「GALAXY NEXUS SC-04D」本体にLTEのチップは搭載されておらず、LTEモデルをリリースするかどうかについては現時点では未定です。
NTT Docomo left the door open for a later release of an LTE model but says it is currently undetermined. Now, I'm really wondering if the Docomo Nexus will ship with an unlockable bootloader.

It will support sp mode, sp mail, HSDPA/HSUPA (14/5.7 Mbps), and tethering (with automatic APN switching and a surcharge). It won't have one seg, osaifu keitai, or water proofing (PDF J).

Docomo announcements and rumors: 24 hour free talk, cheaper tethering, Galaxy Nexus

Fairly big news coming out of Docomo, though some of this is still rumor. They're adding a 24 hour free talk plan, dropping the price of tethering, and (apparently) going to be selling the next Nexus phone. Pretty significant stuff. On the down side, the price of tethering is still high, Xi voice plans will be more expensive than the competition, and Xi data caps will be applied within the next year.

Xi LTE Pricing

Xi pricing and plans have been revised far more times than the number of years Docomo has had an LTE network. On the one hand, Docomo says data will be capped, but on the other they say it's unlimited. Don't bother asking at a shop for clarification, as I did just this last weekend because the staff apparently don't know either.

Finally, we have a Docomo web page that clearly and consistently explains the pricing.
We've been hearing rumbling that Docomo intended to introduce a voice plan to compete with AU and SBM. I guess Docomo was able to ignore the SBM's White Plan until AU offered the same plan for the same price - free calls to from 1 am to 9 pm to subscribers on their networks for ¥980/month.

The base Xi voice plan will now be ¥780 with a 2-year contract, but this will include zero free air time. Without a 2-year contract the price will be ¥1,560. A calls to family members are free with a 2-year contract.

The most interesting part is the "Talk 24" plan. For an additional ¥700 you get free calls to Docomo subscribers 24 hours/day. In the case of a 2-year contract, this totals ¥1,480 and will be a great deal if you call a lot of Docomo folks.
The Campaign price of ¥4,410/month buys unlimited data until 5/1/2012, after which the price increases to ¥5,985. However, from 10/1/2012, Docomo will introduce the 7 GB cap. exceeding it gives two choices: 128 kbps or an additional 2 GB for ¥2,625. There is also a tiered plan, but it such a bad deal, I can't in good conscience link to it.

Docomo Galxay Nexus

Really? A Docomo Nexus? I've always considered the two mutually exclusive. If this is happening, then it must be an LTE handset for Xi. Here's why. [I'll be damned, it' gonna be a FOMA handset. Does this mean it will have a locked bootloader?]

Correct me if I'm wrong (and someone always does), but I was under the impression that part of the philosophy behind the nexus project is to present a pure android device to consumers - a check on the aspirations of carriers who might want to "differentiate" Android too much, and not for the right reasons (from a consumer's point of view).

This philosophy can be summed up in three words: fastboot oem unlock that has three very important implications for any Docomo Nexus handset:
  1. It will tether.
  2. Docomo will charge a premium for 3G data.
  3. So a Docomo-branded version must be LTE.

Reduced FOMA Tethering Charge

SIM unlocking in Japan has been a huge let down because Docomo, who ironically championed the the whole thing, barred unlocked phones from their network by charging an exorbitant price for data: ¥10,395. They've finally come to realize this is way over priced, so they're dropping it down to ¥8,190, which is still way too expensive.

Dropping the Price of FOMA unlimited data

It also appears that Docomo will drop their FOMA data plan price from down under ¥5,000.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Nikkei: AU iPhone less laggy, SBM has better mail

Carriers always throw around their mostly meaningless maximum downlink numbers. Realistically, all they are good for is comparing the advertised speeds with what we actually see because No one ever gets 14.4 Mbps downloads, not on NTT Docomo's highly regarded FOMA network, and not with Softbank Mobile.

Personally, I consider anything in excess of 1000 kbps acceptable for a mobile network. Anything higher doesn't provide me with a perceptible increase in performance for what I do with my phone. What does make a difference is latency, the time it takes to actually establish a connection. By far, lower is better. Getting less than 100 ms on a mobile network is great. Less than 200 ms is probably typical. A much higher latency and the phone begins to feel laggy. The take home message is that the speed of a sustained data transfer is irrelevant if the time to actually start the transfer of each and every bit byte and pixel is ridiculously high.

As a baseline, here is a speedtest this morning done on wifi at home with a Nexus One. There is just no way this is going to be beat by a mobile network any time soon. And, unless things have changed recently, no home ISP in North America is going to beat these numbers: latency, 23 ms; DL, 14 Mbps; UL, 4 Mbps.

Yesterday, Ishikawa Tsutsumu put up another article in the Nikkei, this time doing a direct comparison of the iPhone 4S on AU and SBM. He does 10 separate tests at five locations around Tokyo and reports the average result. He concludes, unsurprisingly, that the phone just feels snappier with AU. The main reason wasn't so much a difference in throughput but in latency, which was five times higer with SBM (584 ms versus 106 ms on average).

However, referring to the graph on the first page of his article, the raw numbers weren't really that bad for SBM, at least outside of Shinjuku, where the world's busiest station routinely brings Softbank's network to its knees. But, rather than just steal a graphic from the Nikkei, let's consider Ishikawa's numbers in the context of each carrier's advertising.


At best, in a residential area of Tokyo, SBM delivered a 2700 kbps download speed, which is less than 20% of the advertised 14.4 Mbps. At the same location, AU clocked in at only 1300 kbps. However, this is 40% of AU's theoretical 3.1 Mbps maximum, which is actually quite good. Furthermore, at Shinjuku station, where the SBM iPhone averaged a usable but frustratingly slow 200 kbps, AU provided about 1350 kbps.


Neither AU nor SBM brag about their uplink speeds because, as far as I can tell, they are just standard 3G speeds under 400 kbps. Docomo and Emobile support 5.7 Mbps uplink, but don't expect anything remotely close to this in real life. The fact that Docomo depicts their Kanto hi-speed uplink coverage area not as a map, but as a list of areas, tells us all we need to know - that high-speed uplink base stations are scattered few and far between in a sea of 384 kbps uploads.

Getting back to the AU and SBM iPhones comparison, it is much more favorable in this department. Assuming a theoretical maximum of 384 kbps, SBM performs better than AU, delivering on average 35% of the advertised speed. AU is at 25%.

B-Mobile FAIR SIM in a Nexus One

Finally, here's what I got this morning (just one test) at home in mid-Tokyo. This is typical for me. The FAIR provides completely unrestricted access to Docomo's FOMA network. 172 ms, 2470 kbps DL, and 362 kbps UL.

The rest of the article

Basically, if you can't live without emoji, you'll need softbank until AU's mail system catches up. the mail address can be used but it will be an imap system that gets checked every 15 minutes, instead of being pushed to the phone instantly.
Voice Calls
While out for the Super GT, he tried making calls from a rural, mountainous area in Tochigi. He placed twenty consecutive calls with each phone. After each call, he'd try and keep connected for 60 seconds. He had no problems with AU. SBM was horrible. It would take 50 seconds or so to connect, the phone would suddenly display "out of area," and he only succeeded in sustaining a call half of the time.

While driving between Ibaraki and Tochigi, he did the same and had much better performance from the SBM iPhone, though still not as good as with AU.

Of course he tried to used data during a voice call with the AU iPhone, which isn't possible with AU network.

Friday, October 14, 2011

iPhone 4S minimum monthly cost comparison in Japan

This previous post was made based on press releases. After editing, it accurately describes the discounts being offered by each carrier (as far as I can tell). Now that we have more complete information, here are better comparisons of the monthly costs. Softbank is the cheapest.

The main technical differences are due to the different network technology used by AU and Softbank. AU's CDMA-2000 network does not allow for simultaneous voice and data transmissions, while Softbank's W-CDMA network does. The iPhone 4 is capable of 14.4 Mbps, but only with W-CDMA; on AU, it will be limited to 3.1 Mbps. However, early tests indicate that the iPhone 4S is only getting on average about 1.5 Mbps with Softbank service. No reports of real word speeds yet with AU, but AU does have better rural and underground coverage.

Here are the minimum monthly costs quoted by each carrier. You may get a slightly different price quoted to you in a shop due to additional fees like insurance, etc. These tables reflect the prices if you paid zero yen up front for the handset.

AU Minimum Monthly Cost

New Contract
Existing Customer
16 GB
32 GB
64 Gb
16 GB
32 GB
64 GB
Unlimited data
ISP charge
Basic voice plan
Monthly phone cost
Minimum Monthly Total
After 24 months, AU's data price will increase to ¥5,460 (Source).

Softbank Minimum Monthly Cost

As far as I can tell, SBM is applying the same discounts to existing customers, which is unusual because typically existing customers don't get as good a deal. However, this is understandable given their position of now having competition for the iPhone.

Flat Rate Data
Tiered Data
16 GB
32 GB
64 Gb
16 GB
32 GB
64 GB
Unlimited data
¥1,029 - ¥4,410
ISP charge
Basic voice plan
Monthly phone cost
Minimum Monthly Total

Note that the there is a lower subsidy on the tiered plans, which are notoriously bad deals in Japan. The fine print says that you cannot change between a tiered and unlimited plan, so by all means, get the unlimited plan.

SBM is going out of there way to hide the details of the tiered plan. I had to dig for and finally found this PDF, from which I figured out that price is ¥0.084/packet (128 bytes). So the minimum charge of ¥1,029 only buys 1.5 MB. Full price is reached in less than 10 MB. I assume that the iPhone's ¥4,410 tiered plan is buying ¥5,985 worth of packets, or 8.7 MB. If not, you'll top out at only 6.4 MB.

Either way, this is easily done in one single day.

Discount Comparison

Au wins in this category if you are coming from another carrier, but Softbank is giving incentive to stay to existing customers. SBM's "norikae" (switch carriers) discount can be extended for 5 months by spending over ¥10,000 for several months, but I can't see how this would save you money. This discount waves the ¥980 fee for 7 months (3 more if changing with someone else).

New Customers
New Customers
from other carrier
New Customers
from other carrier
who port number
New Customers
from other carrier
who bring a friend
Existing Customers
Existing 3G/3GS
¥6,000 or
waive remaining
NOTE: negative numbers indicate money paid to AU, positive number are discounts. AU only gives a discount if you port a number from another carrier.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Getting the Most out of your Battery on an Android device

Editors note: this is geared towards the Galaxy S2, but has a good information for other handsets as well.

A lot of this will vary on a case by case basis depending on how you use your phone and what you have installed, so if you have any tips let me know and I will add it to the list.

If I am using my phone heavily, I don't mid that the battery life is not great but when my phone is just sitting there on its own, and the battery drains very quickly, it can be very frustrating.

Here are my current battery stats for your reference. I was able to turn a 12 hour phone with medium usage to an all day phone with the same usage. I have a custom kernel loaded that will allow me to under clock to 100MHz when my phone is sleeping by using Set CPU then it will scale up to a max of 1 GHz depending on what I am doing. This significantly helps the battery life.

When my phone is not sleeping it is usually using only 100MHz. I listen to a lot of books and music when I am riding the train or walking so most of the time it is only using 100MHz.

Even on heavy usage days I have been able to get a full days worth of use which is pretty amazing compared to what I was getting before.

The key to tracking down what is eating your Android phones battery like a ravenous battery sucking vampire Is CPU Spy and Betterbatterystats. You will want to look at "partial wake locks" and see what is keeping your phone from going into "deep sleep". Also under "other" compare that with "screen on" and "awake".

Here is the website for betterbatterystats where more info can be found but the image bellow gives you a general idea of the process.

If left alone my phone would have a "screen on" time of just a few min but an "awake" time of basically however long it has been since my last charge so my phone was never going into a "deep sleep". In the morning After 15 min my phone would have already lost about 5%. This is definitely not normal, and may not affect all of you.

By examining all of my running processes and ripping out all of the Samsung and Docomo included bloatware I have successfully been able to get my phone to go into "deep sleep" and was surprised to find that after letting it sit for an hour I still had 100% battery!!

Here are some helpful apps for tracking down your battery usage:
Also it is worth noting that in the newer phones it is not really important to use task managers. They have enough RAM that it is not really an issue. What is an issue is identifying what is always running and preventing your phone from sleeping or that keeps using your data connection. Go through the list of running apps and Google any running services and if you don't need them, use the paid version of Titanium Backup to freeze them.

Check under applications and running services to see what is always running and remove the offending applications.

I Froze these processes and it made a significant impact on battery performance
  • DRM Content
  • DRM Content Launcher
  • DRM Protected Storage
  • Fota Client
  • SyncmIDS
If you are using a SC-02C and don't care about all of the Samsung apps remove them. Download gscript and run this script to delete them. Make sure you check the box that it requires root access. Removing these will effect your ability to get OTA updates to if you are using a stock ROM it is better to freeze them rather than remove them. I am using a custom ROM so I don't care about OTA updates.

mount -o rw,remount -t yaffs2, /dev/block/mtdblock /system
rm /system/app/BuddiesNow.apk
rm /system/app/BuddiesNow.odex
rm /system/app/Days.apk
rm /system/app/Days.odex
rm /system/app/DigitalClock.apk
rm /system/app/DigitalClock.odex
rm /system/app/DualClock.apk
rm /system/app/DualClock.odex
rm /system/app/EmailWidget.apk
rm /system/app/EmailWidget.odex
rm /system/app/FactoryTest.apk
rm /system/app/FactoryTest.odex
rm /system/app/FTM.apk
rm /system/app/FTM.odex
rm /system/app/FTS.apk
rm /system/app/FTS.odex
rm /system/app/GameHub.apk
rm /system/app/kieswifi.apk
rm /system/app/kieswifi.odex
rm /system/app/Kobo.apk
rm /system/app/MiniDiary.apk
rm /system/app/MiniDiary.odex
rm /system/app/ReadersHub.apk
rm /system/app/ReadersHub.odex
rm /system/app/SamsungIM.apk
rm /system/app/SamsungWidget_News.apk
rm /system/app/SamsungWidget_News.odex
rm /system/app/SamsungWidget_ProgramMonitor.apk
rm /system/app/SamsungWidget_ProgramMonitor.odex
rm /system/app/SnsAccountFb.apk
rm /system/app/SnsAccountFb.odex
rm /system/app/SnsAccountLi.apk
rm /system/app/SnsAccountLi.odex
rm /system/app/SnsAccountMs.apk
rm /system/app/SnsAccountMs.odex
rm /system/app/SnsAccountTw.apk
rm /system/app/SnsAccountTw.odex
rm /system/app/SnsDisclaimer.apk
rm /system/app/SnsDisclaimer.odex
rm /system/app/SnsImageCache.apk
rm /system/app/SnsImageCache.odex
rm /system/app/SnsProvider.apk
rm /system/app/SnsProvider.odex
rm /system/app/SocialHub.apk
rm /system/app/SocialHub.odex
rm /system/app/TwCalendarAppWidget.apk
rm /system/app/TwCalendarAppWidget.odex
rm /system/app/AnalogClock.apk
rm /system/app/AnalogClock.odex
rm /system/app/ChocoEUKor.apk
rm /system/app/Dlna.apk
rm /system/app/Dlna.odex
rm /system/app/HelvNeueLT.apk
rm /system/app/KiesAir.apk
rm /system/app/Microbesgl.apk
rm /system/app/Microbesgl.odex
rm /system/app/MusicHub_U1.apk
rm /system/app/PanningTryActually.apk
rm /system/app/PanningTryActually.odex
rm /system/app/PostIt.apk
rm /system/app/PostIt.odex
rm /system/app/PressReader.apk
rm /system/app/SamsungWidget_StockClock.apk
rm /system/app/SamsungWidget_StockClock.odex
rm /system/app/SamsungWidget_WeatherClock.apk
rm /system/app/SamsungWidget_WeatherClock.odex
rm /system/app/SecretWallpaper1.apk
rm /system/app/SecretWallpaper1.odex
rm /system/app/SecretWallpaper2.apk
rm /system/app/SecretWallpaper2.odex
rm /system/app/SpeechRecorder.apk
rm /system/app/SpeechRecorder.odex
rm /system/app/Tasks.apk
rm /system/app/Tasks.odex
rm /system/app/wssyncmlnps.apk
rm /system/app/wssyncmlnps.odex
rm /system/app/Zinio.apk
rm /system/app/FactoryTest.apk
rm /system/app/FactoryTest.odex
rm /system/app/HTMLViewer.apk
rm /system/app/HTMLViewer.odex
rm /system/app/lcdtest.apk
rm /system/app/lcdtest.odex
rm /system/app/MobileTrackerEngineTwo.apk
rm /system/app/MobileTrackerEngineTwo.odex
rm /system/app/Protips.apk
rm /system/app/Protips.odex
rm /system/app/ReadersHub.apk
rm /system/app/ReadersHub.odex
rm /system/app/SevenEngine.apk
rm /system/app/signin.apk
rm /system/app/signin.odex
rm /system/app/VoiceToGo.apk
rm /system/app/syncmldm.apk
rm /system/app/syncmldm.odex

Here are some general best practices for saving your battery. After getting your phone to a point where it has acceptable battery life, then you can take a backup and slowly add back some of these functions, such as Latitude or GTalk, and see how your battery life is effected.
  • Disable latitude in Google Maps
  • Disable auto sign in for GoogleTalk
  • Turn off any unnecessary syncing
  • Set your screen brightness to its lowest settings
  • Turn off WIFI when you are not using it - constantly scanning for wireless networks will drain your battery and keep your phone from going into deep sleep for as long as it can. But if you have WIFI available use it as it uses less power than the phones data connection.
  • GPS - This is debatable, even with GPS "disabled" it is still on so there are no power savings to be had by disabling it. You are only disabling applications from using it so if your are conscious of what is using your GPS then you can leave it on. When you see the notification in your task bar, it is in use. Any other time it is powered on just not in use.
  • Disable auto screen rotation - when you don't need it always have auto screen rotation disabled.
  • Use a black background rather than a live wallpaper. OMLED screens turn off the black pixels and since OMLED screens use a lot of power this can make a lot of difference. Here is my background.
This is the actual image being used for the wall paper, pure black.

Early tests indicate no difference in downlink speed between Softbank iPhone 4 and 4S

Ishikawa Tutsumu (石川 温) of the nikkei shinbun has an article up where he was able to test an iPhone 4S. He did 30 speed tests in Shinjuku, and had no significant difference in speed. The 4S got an average of 1.39 Mbps, while the 4 averaged 1.26 Mbps.  These two results are statistically indistinguishable, and there were of course cases when the iPhone 4 clocked faster results. He didn't specify the uplink speeds, but an image he uploaded shows about 150 kbps.

This is because, even though the iPhone 4S supports 14.4 Mbps, where the iPhone 4 is limited to 7.2 Mbps, the network is the bottleneck. This should come as no surprise, since no one reports getting anywhere near the theoretical maximum speeds on ANY Network in Japan. Put an iPhone 4 and 4S on Docomo's FOMA network and I bet there will be on average no difference in downlink speed.

SBM can push the angle that the iPhone 4S will be faster on their network than on AU's, but in real life, the opposite could very well be true, especially in underground and mountainous areas. Mr. Ishikawa was unable to test an AU iPhone 4S.

Tips on using Windows in a virtual machine for upgrading Docomo Xperia X10 SO-01B

After a long frustrating experience, I've finally fully upgraded my Docomo-branded Xperia X10 (which as been officially abandoned to Eclair). For now it's is running Wolf's Gingerbread ROM. The reason this took so long is partially because I am most experienced with unix-like operating systems and HTC phones, so I lack experience with Windows and Sony Ericsson - each of which do things very differently from what I consider "normal" and "efficient".

(I mean, USB drivers? Come on, that's so last century. And finding these drivers can be a real pain because links to files on SE's website die and respawn faster than me playing Halo against a bunch of 15 year olds.)

Lack of documentation surrounding Flashtool, which is needed to flash new kernels and radios, also caused me some issues. And running XP in Virtual Box added an extra layer of complications and uncertainty - when something doesn't work, is it a bug in the software, a problem with windows, or an issue with the VM?

Here are some bullet points of what I learned along the way, some of it obvious, some of it less so. Had I waded through the 100s of replies in the main threads, I probably could have found this information, though it probably would have taken longer. (But then I'd have to subject myself to children posting just to say first, without even understanding the post, not to mention other children complaining that they never get to be First!)
  • Adding commands to the windows path is retarded.
    • Right and left click a bunch of times until you get to the place where you can set environmental variables and type this into the itty bitty text box to get ddms and adb added to the path: %SystemRoot%\system32;%SystemRoot%;%SystemRoot%\System32\Wbem;"C:\Program Files\Android\android-sdk\platform-tools";"C:\Program Files\Android\android-sdk\tools"
    • (Actually, you'll spackle everything on from Wbem;)
  • Kernels and basebands (radio) can only be flashed with flashtool.
  • Once upgraded to the Gingerbread kernel and baseband, you don't need flashtool to flash new ROMs because everything else can be done though recovery.
  • Setting up a developer environment on the guest machine is not enough to fully use flashtool. Installing the SE USB drivers here are enough for:
    • Full adb and ddms functionality
    • Partial flashtool functionality (anything that doesn't require the phone being in flash mode, such as rooting and "optimize" - DON'T CLICK OPTIMIZE.) 
  • Flashtool contains the drivers necessary for flash mode.
    • There is no documentation regarding this or mention of it on the main two posts.
    • After installing flashtool, check the drivers folder and run gordon gate setup. 
  • SE Phones show up as different hardware to Windows when booted normally and booted into flash mode, and each state requires different drivers and USB filters
    • You can either create specific filters to pass the phone though the host to the guest OS for each state, e.g. (The below two USB devices are both the same phone):
      • SEMC HSUSB Device [0224]
      • Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB SEMC USB Flash [0100]
    • Or create a catch-all, generic USB filter that will capture everything plugged into a USB port (New Filter 1).

Monday, October 10, 2011

AU appears to win iPhone comparison contest

EDIT4: Added more on the "norikae" discount from SBM

EDIT3: Cleaned up mistakes throughout and added some new information.

EDIT2: @w00kie has a good post describing the "deal" on the iPad: It will cost a total of ¥44,640 (¥1,860/month) over the 24 month contract for the 16 GB version. He also has a link to SBM's price calculator.

EDIT: I copied the total handset costs directly from the parentheses, which neglected to take into account the ¥1,920 discount per month. Fixed that. Handset prices are almost identical. AU is a bit cheaper. If you get the cash back offer from AU, then their price is half SBMs if (and only if) the timing of your SBM 2 year contract is up during AU's campaign.

For those intending to purchase an iPhone 4S, it appears right now that there will be almost no compelling reason to remain with Softbank. Even if you are stuck in the middle of a 2-year SBM contract, AU will essentially pay your early termination fee if you port your mobile number. Note that it may be cheaper to not cancel, but instead shut off your SBM iPhone and pay the minimum every month until you are eligible for free cancellation.

The only reason not to move to AU would be if you call lots of SBM phones and it is impractical for those people to also move to AU. (If you still owe a considerable subsidy on an iPhone 4, you have no business updating to the iPhone 4S, and if you can't shoulder the upfront costs in cash of an AU handset, then you need to rethink your priorities.)


Normally this would be a huge point in favor of SBM for the foreign community because AU is a CDMA-2000 carrier. SBM's WCDMA phones are certainly SIM locked but this can be circumvented and the handset could be taken abroad and used after leaving Japan.

Because the iPhone 4S is a "world phone" that supports both standards, for the first time ever an AU phone is available that can be used abroad (theoretically) without roaming.  An AU iPhone will be locked - at the level of AU's subsidy, it's a virtual certainty, but this can most likely be fixed by jailbreaking. It would be best to wait and confirm this before buying, though.


Without actual reports of how the iPhone 4S performs on AU's network, any network comparison is just speculation. I was discussing this with Gen Kanai, and we think the real world difference will be imperceptible to the average user.

First off, it is unclear if the AU released a faq that indicates the iPhone 4S on AU's CDMA-2000 network will not support simultaneous voice and 3G data connections (voice and wifi is OK), which is a point in favor of SBM.

Next, while SBM's network has a significantly higher theoretical maximum downlink than AU, it is also anecdotally more congested. Early tests of the 4S on SBM's network indicate no change increase in speed, and the average speed was about one third of AU's theoretical maximum. I am waiting on some Android AU users to report back their speeds they get for comparison.

Finally, AU (like Docomo) enjoys an 800 MHz allocationwhich has much better penetration in underground and mountainous areas. If you are in a fringe area of the SBM's network, you will definitely see better performance with AU because the MIC has inexplicably refused to allow SBM equal access to the available spectrum.

One more thing: Apple has little experience with CDMA basebands, and we all saw how their first GSM revisions had a lot of issues with dropped calls. Perhaps Apple's initial CDMA offerings won't be up to par. Perhaps it will.


AU's upfront costs are so low, at most ¥20,640 (and likely half that) for the 64 GB model, that the apparent lack of a monthly payment plan is irrelevant. The difference in service charges is negligible - AU data will cost about ¥500 more than SBM, and voice charges provide equivalent service for the same price. (Though this will add up to ¥12,000 difference over the two years contract).

AU's subsidy is more than 3 times slightly more than SBM's. Add in the monthly cost of a handset and there is no difference in monthly cost between the two Japanese iPhone carriers. This is before ¥10,000 cash back from AU. Here is the total cost hardware costs compared between AU and SBM. There really is no comparison. [UPDATE: Yeah there is - the prices are almost the same. I forgot to subtract the ¥1,920 monthly discount (I just copied and pasted the amounts listed here, which is the amount SBM charges up front for an iPhone before doling out the discount each month.) The 32 and 64 GB models cost ¥480 and ¥880 per month from SBM.]

iPhone 4S 16 GB
iPhone 4S 32 GB
iPhone 4S 64 GB

If The timing is right and you are right at the month when you can cancel Softbank without a termination fee due to the 24-month automatically renewing contract, and you port a SBM phone number to AU, subtract ¥10,000 from the AU prices.

Softbank Campaigns

Even considering SBM's recently announced plans, it's hard to justify staying with them based on the currently available information.
This That and the Other plan
This adds data for an iPad. There is no universal service charge, no contract fee, and the first 100 MB of data are absolutely free. After 100 MB, the price scales by ¥0.0525 per packet to a maximum of ¥4,980. The only extra charge is the (bogus) ¥315 ISP fee (that every carrier adds in to their data prices), which is added only after exceeding 100 MB.

This plan requires buying a new iPad. It's a good deal if you plan to spend a lot of money each month and want both a 3G iPad and an iPhone. Otherwise it is not compelling. Based on this price calculator, here are the costs of the iPad in total or over the 2 years:

iPad 2 16 GB
iPad 2 32 GB
iPad 2 64 GB
Free iPhone update plan
This gives current iPhone 3G and 3GS users a route to upgrade to the latest and greatest for no additional cost. They'll just continue paying the remaining monthly cost of their current handset, plus that of the new one.

I was confused on this part as pointed out below in the comments. SBM will give ¥6,000 cash back to customers who have fully paid or their iPhone. This can be all at once or subtracted from their bill over the next 6 months. For anyone who hasn't paid off their iPhone, SBM will give you subtract the exact monthly amount you owe from your bill, each month until the old iPhone is paid off.

Considering that the effective cost of an AU 32 GB model is a one-time ¥320 payment, this plan is also not compelling, unless you recently purchased an iPhone 3GS and would owe a ton of cash if canceling softbank
Quit other carrier discount
SBM will waive the basic voice fee (¥980) for 7 months for customers who leave another domestic carrier. (You can also get gift coupons, etc., and it doesn't appear necessary to port over your number.) This can be extended by an additional 5 months if your average cost of service (excluding tax) exceeds ¥10,000 during the third to fifth months after changing to SBM. At least that is what I think this says.
This will give you an additional ¥4,900 total discount. However, if you are paying the minimum monthly amount of ¥5,705, you'll easily spend more money than you save. An additional 3 month, for 15 in total can be had by bringing a friend or family member with you to SBM.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Pricing and plans for AU iPhone take aim at Softbank

UPDATE: I originally left of the "free to AU phones" in the table for voice charges.

AU is aggressively pursuing new customers with it's iPhone 4S, which goes on sale from 10/14/2011. First, the 16 GB model is available fully subsidized (zero yen). Next, AU is also offering ¥10,000 "cash back" for customers who switch their phone number from another carrier (MNP).

I've read this release (PDF) several times now, and it seems this is in addition to the advertised iPhone prices, so the 32 GB model would cost ¥320 after the rebate. To be eligible you must:
  • Start a new contract for an iPhone 4S with a number ported from another carrier between 10/14/2011 and 1/31/2012
  • Apply for IS NET
  • Apply for the iPhone start campaign (2 year contract)
It's hard to imagine that Docomo would take much of a hit from this, given that the iPhone has been available for several years now and the majority of those who would have switched carriers probably did already.

For those wanting to jump to AU for a better network, it would be wise to look into how the availability of a CDMA iPhone on US Verizon's network revealed that AT&T's network, though much maligned, really wasn't that bad. Also keep in mind that Softbank's theoretical maximum downlink is about 4 times faster than AU's. How this adds up in to a real world speed difference between the two carriers depends not only on network congestion but also on Apple's experience with CDMA basebands (or lack thereof) and how closely they are working with KDDI (if at all) for optimization.

The iPhone Start Campaign discounts the data price from ¥5,460 to ¥4,980 for two years. After two years, the discount will cease. There are two plans available, the "Plan Z Simple" and the "Plan F (IS) Simple". Here are the differences between the two

Plan Z Simple
Plan F (IS) Simple
Monthly base charge
Voice charge
Free to AU phones (1am - 9pm)
family free
SMS (send)
Free to AU phones
Unlimited data
Phone price (16 GB)
32 GB
64 GB

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs

I don't know what to say so here are some random thoughts.

My second computer was the Apple IIe.

When I first saw a Macintosh, I didn't understand how to use it.

Scrapping the proprietary "classic Mac OS" kernel for a BSD/mach hybrid was pure genius.

I roll my eyes at people who say Apple takes from the open source and gives nothing back.

I've done the same to people who always said that Aqua was nothing but eye candy.

I now rely heavily on Mac OS in my job and personal life.

I don't see that changing in the new future.

99% of this is the work of one man.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

AU iPhone will not work with other CDMA carriers

[Clarification: Roaming will of course be possible on e.g., US Verizon's network. Contracting service on Verizon with an AU iPhone is extremely unlikely. And added a better explanation of RUIM cards in AU handsets.]

I thought I'd preemptively head off any questions ;-)

AU handsets do have a SIM-like "IC card" (RUIM), and it does in fact look exactly like a SIM card. However it does not serve the exact same purpose in the case of an AU handset. When KDDI presented arguments against SIM unlocking, they pointed out that simply switching the RUIM card between two handsets would not allow two AU customers to swap phones. This is because AU CDMA-2000 handsets are internally registered to both the network and the subscriber.

Unless something drastically changes, an AU iPhone will not be usable with US Verizon or Sprint, nor will the reverse be possible. (Roaming will be possible.) Also a softbank iPhone will not be usable on AU. Technically it is of course possible, but good luck getting AU to register it to their network.

In addition, the radio of the US version supports CDMA EV-DO Rev. A 800, 1900 MHz, while the Japanese version has 800 and 2100 MHz, the frequencies AU uses.

Quoting Apple's tech specs page in English.
CDMA available only if iPhone 4S is sold and activated for use on a CDMA network.
And Japanese
CDMAは、iPhone 4SをCDMAネットワークで使用する目的で購入およびアクティベートした場合にのみご利用いただけます。
So, now that we got that out of the way, the more important question is: Will there be a region-specific SIM lock on an AU iPhone to prevent you from taking it to a domestic WCDMA carrier or MVNO like softbank or bmobile? Remember the debacle surrounding the original Japanese iPad? (Honestly, I never figured out WTF was going on with the original iPad baseband and I didn't care enough to exert the effort to dig through all the smoke and mirrors, of which there was a lot.)

AU iPhone will not work with other carriers

Whoops. After publishing that I realized I forgot to include the important four letter in the title, C D M and A.

This is not the post you are looking for. This is the post you are looking for. (Content is the same.)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Docomo exhibits 4 Android LTE smartphones at Createc

Vis, here are the photos of Docomo's four upcoming Xi smartphones. from Samsung, NEC, LG, and Fujitsu. Details are scattered and scarce. I'm assuming the Samsung is the Galaxy S2 LTE.


Monday, October 3, 2011

SC-02C Helpful Documentation and links

Handsets are often tweaked for specific markets, which may require slight changes to the procedures outlined in modification guides. Often these changes are detailed somewhere within in the thread but are usually drowned out by the sheer volume of replies. The developer will often edit the original post to include this important information, but this is not always the case.

Therefore, this post will describe how the Samsung Galaxy S2 released in Japan by Docomo as the SC-02C varies from the "typical" version considered by 99% of the internet modding guides. The last two rows of this table are the most important.

Major Differences between the SC-02C and the "international I9100"

Terrestrial broadcast
One Seg TV
FM Radio
FOMA Plus (800 MHz)
Total internal memory
16 GB
16/32 GB
System partition
612 MB
512 MB
kernel and baseband
SC-02C specfic
*NFC not included on all models
System Partition Size
The total 16 GB of internal memory in the SC-02C is divided up between several partitions, including the user data partition, the system partition, and an internal SD card partition. Of this total, an additional 100 MB is allocated to the /system partition compared to international models. This is 100 MB that is unavailable for user data (photos, apps, etc.). If you are using Odin for flashing ROMs to your SC-02C, DO NOT repartition (check box) your internal memory. It will repartition based on International specs! (If you want to see the trouble it can cause you, start reading here.)

Of course there may be reasons to repartition the internal NAND layout in the future, as in the (in)famous Danger SPL for the G1/Dream that allowed shoe-horning in ROMs that weren't supposed to fit on the phone.
Kernel and Baseband
Both are unique to the SC-02C. Whenever a ROM is flashed that is not specifically designed for the Docomo variant of this phone, which I'd wager it all of the available ROMs, you will have to reflash the either the
  1. The original stock Docomo kernel and baseband
  2. The original stock Docomo baseband and a kernel modified to support the SC-02C features
If you do not, you will not have a working GPS or one seg.

SC-02C Owners Thread

Here is the SC-02C owners on XDA. This is an excellent place to start reading to familiarize yourself with the differences between this handset and the international version.

[SBS's note on tethering: I can't confirm this, but my assumption is that turning on tethering with DOCOMO FIRMWARE is switching the APN to To avoid tethering charges, you would need to root the phone and use wireless tether for root users or switch to a custom ROM, which will allow you to tether using the standard mpr2 or spmode APN. EXCESSIVE tethering runs the risk of being detected, though we have heard of no stories of it happening... yet.]

SC-02C Firmware

Stock Firmware
Docomo stock SC-02C ROM
Docomo stock SC-02C baseband and kernel (take from this post of global GS2 firmware by Intratech).
Firmware information: PDA: OMKG5| Phone: OMKG5| CSC:DCMKG5
Password on archived file: intratech@XDA
Custom Firmware
SiyahKernel v1.7.5
DlevROM2 v2.0
(Instructions for installation here)

SC-02C Flashing and Utilities

Heimdall is a cross platform tool for flashing the Galaxy S2. It uses the same protocol as ODIN but runs on mac and linux. There is also a GUI for those who don't like command lines, though with the command line you always know what the scripts are doing.

The Heimdall command to flash looks like this. Just remove the parts you don't need. Usually I am only flashing the Kernel and the baseband (modem.bin)

heimdall flash --cache cache.img --factoryfs factoryfs.img --hidden hidden.img --modem modem.bin --param param.lfs --kernel zImage
Check Fus Downloader
"Check Fus Downloader 2.1" can be used to download leaked ROM's from Samsung.
Recovery Mode
To put the phone in Recovery Mode turn off the phone and hold "volume up" and the "home" buttons while powering it on. Recovery mode is useful for resetting it to factory defaults and wiping the cache. If you Have a kernel that supports Clockwork Recovery you can do more advanced tasks like backing up and restoring your system.
Download Mode
In order to flash any kernels or baseband the phone must first be in "Download Mode" to put the phone in download mode turn off the phone and unplug it from the USB. Hold the "volume up", "home" button, and power it on. Once it enters download mode you can connect the USB.
Why do I have a yellow exclamation mark when my phone boots?
Samsung checks to see if you are using a signed kernel or not and will display a yellow exclamation mark under the Docomo logo when booting if you are not using a stock kernel. Also they keep track of how many times you have flashed the kernel. If you would like to reset the count and remove the exclamation mark you will need to buy a special USB dongle called a "JIG" it can reset both of these. While it does not interfere with how the phone works you will want to do this if you need to ever send it in for warranty support.


Here is how to connect to Ad-Hoc Wireless networks with this guide.

Here is how to disable the shutter sound on the camera with this guide.

Recommended Apps

Root Explorer

Installing the leaked 2.3.5 on your SC-02C

The usual warnings apply: We are not responsible for any broken or bricked devices. Use this guide at your own risk. However this worked for me on my SC-02C so it should work for you too.

*Update the XDA user Intratech has posted the full firmware to download so you don't need to use the check Fus downloader to download it*

For those of you who are not faint of heart and want to install the leaked SC-02C ROM on your phone, first backup your apps and data (they will get wiped). Next, I recommend doing a factory reset and wiping the cache. (I didn't and got stuck in a boot loop). To do this, boot into recovery by holding volume up and the home button while powering on and select the options to do a factory reset and also the one to wipe the data cache. Finally download the ROM using the process posted here, extract the files, put the phone in download mode, and then install it using the Heimdall command below (one command - no line breaks.

sudo heimdall flash --cache cache.img --factoryfs factoryfs.img --hidden hidden.img --modem modem.bin --param param.lfs --kernel zImage

My first impressions are not that great though. It appears that video calling in Google Talk is not enabled which is the one major feature that I would want in a stock ROM! It does seem pretty snappy but I really could care less about Touchwiz. I will probably run it long enough to see how the battery life is and if it still has the "Android OS" bug where it is draining the battery and then restore my backup and go back to Delev2 ROM 2.0 that I have outlined here.

If you need to revert, you can install the custom kernel that has recovery and restore your backup or you can download the stock images and re-install using the same command as you used before

Here are the stock images:

Official Android 2.3.5 Leaked for the SC-02C

Android 2.3.5 (KI2) has been leaked to Samsung's official firmware download site. Right now I am testing it and will let you know the results of my tests. So far the new Baseband seams much better than the previous one. On my morning commute there were lots of spots where I had a data connection but couldn't receive any data. Now there seems to be not as many area's with this problem but further testing will need to be done.

If you would like to download the test ROM for the Samsung site you will need to use the Tool "Check Fus Downloader 2.1" from the site and use the settings below.

Check Fus Downloader is a tool used to download and decryp the Official Firmware from Samsung's servers. Make sure you push the button to "Enable Test Mode" and then restart the program and click "Check Firmware".

The firmware can be installed with Odin or Heimdall. I will go through the process of installing it after I have done further testing. Hopefully this means that the official OTA update is not far around the corner.

Installing a ROM on your Galaxy S2 (SC-02C) - Android 2.3.5

[This will be the first of a multipart series on increasing the performance, battery life, and functionality of the Docomo SC-02C Samsung Galaxy S2]

The usual warnings apply: We are not responsible for any broken or bricked devices. Use this guide at your own risk. However this worked for me on my SC-02C so it should work for you too. This is actually very easy but you need to make sure you have the proper tools first.

Notes: When installing a ROM you will always need to replace the kernel and baseband afterwards because the SC-02C requirements are slightly different than overseas models that most ROM developers are using. The reason we are flashing the kernel a total of 3 times is that the stock kernel does not have a custom recovery installed and we need to have a way to backup your current ROM in case you want to roll back (why you would want to go back to Touchwiz is beyond me :) but it is always good to have a backup). Otherwise it is more difficult to go back to stock. 

Also before proceeding, backup the 1seg app. You will need to re-install it when you are done. 1seg is supported in this kernel but I have not tested it so your millage may vary. You will also want to backup the Samsung keyboard if you use it for kana input.

Also if you are using spmode email you will need to backup that application as well. I don't use spmode email so I have no idea if it even works on this ROM.

Installing DelevRomv2 2.0 will wipe all of your data so backup accordingly

Also the SC-02C counts how many times you have flashed the kernel and detects if it is not a stock kernel. When running a non stock kernel you will see a yellow exclamation mark under the Docomo logo when you boot. This is normal and does not effect the phone performance but if you want to get rid of it and reset the count you can buy something called a "jig" that is a modified MicroUSB dongle that will reset it. You would want to do this if you had to send your phone in for warranty support. 

The ROM we will be installing is DlevROM2 v2.0 it has tons of options but this is what my home screen looks like, I have changed to a plain black background to save battery since with OMLED screens when it is a black pixel it uses no power.

The feature list includes:
  • KH3 Based
  • Deodexed Completely
  • Fully Themed From Head To Toe
  • Custom Transitions
  • Latest Ninphetamine Kernel
  • Green Overscroll Glow
  • Tons of Samsung Bloat removed
  • Multi Lockscreens and Customizable Extended Power Menu Thanks to Jkay
  • Removed SMS From Call Log
  • BLN
  • Ad-Blocking Hosts File Enabled out of the box
  • Themed MMS With Sent Time, And Unlimited Contacts
  • Completely Optimized DlevROM Installation
  • Themed System Apps
  • Hacked Camera, take pictures with volume buttons
  • SIP Over WIFI AND 3G
  • Added 2.3.5 GRJ90 Fujutweaks, for increased smoothness
  • Home button fix
  • Non Ascending Rintone
  • Call Recording In Phone
  • User Agent Switching Browser
  • Custom Bootanimation Included (You can change to whatever boot
  • animation you want)-
  • Themed Gingerbread Keyboard
  • Multi Language Swype
  • Google Talk With Video Chat NO LONGER NEED WIFI
  • Customizable Extended Power Menu thanks to Jkay
  • CRT Off Animation
  • Custom Font From My Captivate ROM
  • RAM Hack
  • Zipaligned
  • Init.d support, with tons of tweaks and features.
  • BusyBox
  • Root
  • EDT Tweaks customization for notification bar
  • Latest Google Market
  • Launcher Pro and TW4 Included out of the box
  • Extremely Fast
  • Unbelievably stable
Included Apps:
  • Launcher Pro
  • Spare Parts
  • SMS Popup
  • Fancy
  • Widget v1.3
  • EDT Tweaks
  • Jkay V7 Theme Modifier
  • Multi Language Swype
  • Themed Gingerbread Keyboard
  • BLN Control
  • Titanium Backup
  • Superuser
    The Kernel we will be installing is SiyahKernel v1.7.5. Until just recently there has not been a good custom kernel for the SC-02C that has many enhancements including Clockwork Mod Recovery so I have held off writing this up. Thanks to gokhanmoral over at XDA we now have a great custom Kernel for the SC-02C that bring these enhancements while maintaining support for the Japanese version of the Galaxy S2
    • Auto-Root (just flash it onto a stock rom and you'll have root)
    • ClockworkMod Recovery v4.0.1.4
    • Boot animation support
    • Supports SetCPU (OC upto 1600MHz, UC downto 100MHz)
    • Supports undervolting (UV between 800 mV and 1500 mV)
    • Supports voltage control via SetCPU (thanks to netarchy, ninpo, hacre)
    • Stock voltages as default
    • smartassV2 governor
    • Default governor is ondemand (200-1200MHz)
    • Tweaked interactive governor
    • Tweaked ondemand governor 
    • Compiler optimizations
    • user customizable charging speed (use at your own risk). you have to echo AC, MISC and USB charge currents to a misc device.
    • Touchscreen fix (thanks to vitalij)
    • Increased touchscreen sensitivity
    • Increased battery polling interval
    • GPU clock and voltage control interface (thanks to netarchy). Example CWM-flashable /system/etc/init.d/99gpuv script (thanks to AndreiLux)
    • I/O Tweaks
    • automatic battery calibration. leave it connected to a charger overnight and the battery will be calibrated.
    • Available I/O schedulers: V(R), noop, deadline, CFQ, SIO, BFQ (default)
    • Available CPU governors: ondemand (default), interactive, smartassV2(recommended), conservative, userspace, performance, powersave
    • /system/etc/init.d startup scripts support
    • Updated jhash to version 3
    • Increased charging speed.
    • BLN (thanks to creams), liblights is autoinstalled if the existing one doesn't support BLN
    • CIFS, SLQB, NTFS and several others that I forgot...

    No MD5 was available from the developer's, but these are the checksum's of the files I flashed. These files worked for me, so if you get the same checksum, you have the same file I do.

    62b58dd14f266b6623402dfc5c166e6c  Siyah-NTT-v1.7.5.tar
    • First read the thread over at XDA here. Then download the latest SC-02C version of the custom kernel. The dev is very active so more likely than not there is a later version available but the 1.7.x version should be pretty stable. He says in 1.8.x is going to mix it up a lot so I would hold off on that series for now.
    • Extract the TAR file and put it in a folder.
    • Read about DlevROMv2 2.0 and download the ZIP file from here.
    • Download the Stock baseband and Kernel for the SC-02C here. Keep a copy in a safe place and then copy the modem.bin file to a folder with the custom kernel. 
    • If you have not yet installed Heimdall download and install the latest command line version here.
    • Under settings -> Wireless -> mobile networks -> access point names. Make sure you verify your APN settings. This ROM has the APN auto populated but if you need to use spmode make sure you write down the settings. A mistake here can cost you money later.
    Step 1 Install the Kernel
    • Install the kernel using the command line version of heimdall.
    • Put the phone into download mode and make sure the phone is not connected to USB. Next turn it off and turn it on while holding volume down and the home button and then connect the USB.
    • From the directory that you have extracted the Kernel to run the command
      heimdall flash --kernel zImage (use sudo if using a Linux system) the phone will then reboot and start up (it may be slow to boot up the first time).
    *Note if you have any stability issues like the phone locking up you can always flash the stock kernel you downloaded using the same method as you used above.

    Step 2 Backup your system

    Now we need to put the phone into recovery to backup the system. To put it into recovery do the same as we did to put it into download mode except use the "volume up" key not volume down when holding the home key and power button.

    At this point it would also be a good idea to mount your phone as USB Storage from Recovery at this point and save a copy of your backup to your PC. The backup will be in the /sdcard/clockworkmod/backup folder. 

    Step 3 Install DlevROM2 v2.0
    • From the Clockwork MOD recovery mount the phone as USB storage and copy the file you downloaded to your phone's SD Card (actually internal storage).
    •  Then unmount the storage.
    •  Next from the main menu we will want to select the option to install ZIP file from our SD Card. Navigate to the file and install it and reboot your phone. 
    Step 4 Re-flash the custom Kernel and stock Baseband

    Anytime we install a ROM it wipes out the Kernel and baseband we need. Without both the GPS and 1seg will not work. That is why we need to flash the proper kernel and baseband again.

    We need to put the phone back into "download mode" like we did before. And this time we will run the command:
     heimdall flash --kernel zImage --modem modem.bin

    The phone will reboot and if you go to "settings -> about phone" you should see

    Step 5 post installation tasks

    Give your phone a full charge and then reboot into recovery and wipe the Dalvik cache and the system cache. This kernel will auto calibrate the battery so give it a full charge and then let it fully discharge after the first charge. Don't pay too much attention to the battery stats at this point because they will be way off.

    Now before you sign in with your Google account make sure you check your APN settings if the wrong one got auto configured it will cost you money!! After verifying that go ahead and sign in and configure your phone. Personaly I like to make sure I am connected to WIFI so any data packets will be going over WIFI at this point.


    disable fast dormancy. dial *#9900# and disable (this should help with battery and reception issues)

    Under applications and "Samsung Applications" disable check for updating

    Install Set CPU from the Android Market it will set you back ¥152 but it is worth it you can over and under clock your phone. So far I have found the best settings for this ROM are the ones below. This will give you a good balance of battery life and performance. 

    Also if you find that this ROM and Kernel are useful to you I recommend you donate a few bucks to the guys who created them because without them we would be stuck with the crappy Samsung default ROM.

    Coming soon how to get the most out of your battery and how to track down what is draining your battery ....

    Saturday, October 1, 2011

    View this blog using the new Dynamic Views

    EDIT: I just noticed that when commenting from a dynamic view, the comment form is the standard blogger form. typing a comment and hitting the submit button will redirect you to the classic site and load disqus. The comment you typed in the dynamic view page will be lost.

    Or any google blog for that matter. I briefly switched to them but the widgets don't work and neither do my charts. But that only affects a small percentage of the content of this blog.

    So if you want, give it a try. All you need to do is add /view/classic (or flipcard or whatever) after the URL. And to make it easy, here are direct links. (You can just click anyone and then fully navigate around the different dynamic views. To get back to the standard view, just reenter the standard URL.)

    Flipcard (Notice this has subviews organized by author, label, date, etc.)

    If you have any strong thoughts on this either way, let me know in the comments.

    Shuttle xs35gt v2 BIOS settings for wireless networking

    The original Shuttle xs35 series "barebones" case shipped with a very windows-centric BIOS that would shutdown power to the wireless card. There was no way to compensate for this with linux. A BIOS version that fixed this was posted to Shuttle's website, then subsequently removed, though it has been mirrored on a number of personal sites.

    The second revision, the xs35 V2 series, ships with a BIOS that allows disabling of "Wireless Power Control". Here are (very bad) photos of the BIOS that is included with my Shuttle xs35gt v2. I bought this the first week it was available. I am unaware if there are new versions currently available.

    BIOS Version: 1.01
    EC Version: 1.00
    Build Date: 03/21/2011