Computer: How I Rooted my Acer Iconia A500

My Dedication to the Android Tablet “Acer Iconia Tab A500”

Last year I bought the tablet Acer Iconia Tab A500 with Android 3.0 (“Honeycomb”) preinstalled.

When I started up the A500, it immediately updated to Android 3.2.1.

I was quite staisfied with this 10″ tablet, I loved especially:

  • the fast processor
  • the nice display which reacts very fast and precisly to the finger guestures
  • the fully-blown USB host

The major weak point in my judgement is:

  • Can not be recharged via USB (but I found a car charger finally, that is kind of half of the solution)

Decision to flash the A500 ROM

My decision now not to treat my Acer A500 tablet as a professional working platform, but only as a kind of “toy” was influenced by:

  • Acer did announce to deliver upgrades to Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwch = ICS) for April 27, 2012 but nothing happeded util now (26. May 2012)
  • Relevant Apps on the A500 requrie the device to be “rooted” (Titanium Backup, ClockSync, Cisco Any Connect)
  • My colleagues more and more are using iPads

So i now give to the A500 the status of beeing a “toy” while planning to move to the iPad some time during the year.

How I flashed the A500

The steps:

  • Honeycomb 3.2.1 (jargon: “HC3.2.1”) is not rootable
  • So we have to go back to an older Android version: 3.0.1
  • We have to download a appropiate ROM image, ……
  • Then install that older Android version (jargon: “flash the ROM” ) using the normal (jargon: “stock”) ROM update procedure (Recovery Mode) ……
  • Root that Android 3.0.1 with a tool named Iconiaroot-1.3.apk
  • Install CWM (= ClockworkMod Manager) which replaces the “normal” (jargon: “stock”) recovery procedures with more options. This requires a “rooted” Android version….
  • Decide which alternative Android ROM image you want to installl (jargon: “flash”)
  • Download that ROM image of choice
  • Install that ROM image (jargon: flash) by using CWM

In detail

General weblinks:

Downgrade your Android to version 3.0.1

  • Download file “downgrade_not_stable.zip” from http://netload.in/dateiExhRzE8Tbs.htm
  • Unzip and put file “update.zip” on the external micro SD-card of the Acer Iconia Tab A500
  • Power down the Acer A500
  • Power up the Acer A500 into it’s normal Upgrade Mode (Recovery Mode) i.e. you must hold the “Volume Down” key while pressing the power button. This will “Upgrade” (jargon: “flash”) the system ROM with the file “update.zip” on the external Micro SD.card

Root your Android 3.0.1

Install CWM

  • CWM stands for “ClockworkMod Manager”
  • CWM extends the actions you can perform in Recovery Mode
  • Download file ww-9.2.1.11-CWM-full-rooted.zip from: http://tegraowners.com/?cat=7
  • Install
  • use….

Chose a ROM, that you want to install (jargon: Flash that ROM) on the Acer A500

  • Thor A500 ROM V14.2
  • Download the ROM from http://tegraowners.com/?p=1272
  • Put the ROM on the external Micro SD Card of the A500
  • Reboot the A500 into Recovery mode (CWM)
  • in CWM:
    • Wipe data / factory reset
    • Wipe cache partition
    • Advanced –> Wipe Dalvik cache (Java Virtual Machine)
    • Intsall ZIP from SD Card
    • Select the ZIP file for flashing
    • …..

Jargon

  • ICS = Ice Cream Sandwich
  • HC = Honeycomb
  • CWM = ClockworkMod
  • Stock = the “normal” things delivered with a device by the manufacturer / vendor

The Image “Thor A500 ROM V14.2”

List of A500 ROMs: http://forum.tegraowners.com/viewforum.php?f=9

  • Is “rooted” so we can install all the apps that require root access rights, like Titanium Backup,…
  • Is Android 3.2.1 with pieces from ASUS
  • Tapping on “Recent Apps” produces a screen shot
  • “Quick Controls” can be enabled and disabled through the settings dialogue
  • ASUS battery icon (small and showing the charging percentage)
  • App QuickBoot is included
  • App AmazonKindle is included
  • App DriveMount is included
  • You can overclock and underclock the CPU
  • usb_huawei_3g patch: http://www.mediafire.com/?ahayl9c9586z4p9

Observations with this ROM:

  • Mount point for the removable Micro SD card is not /mnt/external_sd but /Removable/MicroSD
  • Mount point for the USB-drive is not /mnt/usbdrive but /Removable/USBdisk1

 

The image “Tegraowners ICS ROM v164 (thor & digetx)”

After that successful experience with flashing my A500 with the image “Thor A500 ROM v14”, I tried the next step….

Steps to flash the A500 ROM with is image: Same procedure as described above

Results:

  • My A500 now runns with a rooted Android 4.0.4 (ICS = Ice Cream Sandwich) very smoothly.
  • Since I wipped as recommended, I had to re-install all my apps.
  • To start that install thing I hab first to install the “Google Market Place”, how called “Google Play”. I found that in the download: …..

Applications

  • Titanium Backup now runs perfectly (required root access)
  • ClockSync now works perfectly (required root access)
  • Google Chrome Browser (required Android 4 – ICS)

Next thing to try:: HUAWEI 3G USB WebStick……

Weblinks:

 

Computer: Independent Mangement of my Music and Playlists

Computer Audio

Siehe auch: Airport Express , MusicBee

How I organize my songs and playlists

My Playlists (Audio) are in part very valuable for me and I want to keep them for long time periods (10 years and more).

Therefore I decided years ago to keep my playlists independently from any music player software (Winamp, iTunes, Songbird) in separate M3U files.

All my songs I keep in a single folder with sub-folders by artist – and sometimes by album as well. That “Song Folder” resides on a NAS storage (QNAP, Synology).

My M3U playlists are placed in the root of my “Song Folder”. In order to by able to easily move the “Song Folder” to some new place when the neccessity arises over time, I use relative paths within my M3U playlists.

Over time I did use different music playing software. At the moment I use iTunes. Consequently, player software must have the ability to import M3U playlists, as iTunes does (Menu: File – Library – Import Playlist…)

Checking and Fixing of my Playlists

Playlist Creator 3.6.2

When I for some reason started to rearrange the file structure of my songs (did that last time because of iTunes Match), some songs in my M3U playlists pointed to non existing files – aka “broken links”.

In the past I used “Playlist Creator 3.6.2” to fix this. With this wonderfull piece of software I can open such a M3U playlist and Playlist Creator immediately displays the playlist with the “broken” song entries marked in red. Great!

I then used to go into my file explorer and look there for the new place where that “lost sheep” may be (reasons could be I have moved the song into a sub-folder or I have changed the spelling of the song’s filename or….).. Once I have found the song file, I easily could move that from the file editor into the playlist by drag and drop.

So far so good.

Problem with Playlist Creator was: it does not support audio files in Apples m4a format – meaning I could not drag-and-drop such files into playlists. But I now have more and more such files from Apples wonderful iTunes Match service that I started to use in 2012.

listFix()

Searching the internet for a tool simmilar to Playlist Creator, but able to use m4a files within playlists, I found listFix()

http://sourceforge.net/apps/mediawiki/listfix/index.php?title=Main_Page

listFix() solves my original problem (support of m4a files) and adds an additional benefit:: When I right click on a “broken link” song in a playlist, the menue offers a “Find Closest Matches”. ListFix() then searches the entire Musik Folder and offers a little list of songs with equal or simmilar file names / file paths. I can click on my choice and voila, my playlist is fixed.

Further Thoughts: Media Library

So I finally found a solution to fix the “dis-order” in my playlists. But wouldn’t it be much better just to avoid such a “dis-oder”?

The root cause of this kind of problem is my choice of M3U playlists for long-time storage. In M3U playlists the physical path and file name is stored. If that path/file name ever changes in the future, I have to repair it, very often in multiple places, since one song often appears in more than one playlist.

Idea: Use a database oriented software as a Media Library (song library) , were a can rename song files or move song files into other folders within that Software, in order to allow that software to keep track of my changes and to reflect them automatically in all impacted playlists. Leaving the ultimate possibility to export such “managed playlists” to static M3U playlists at whish – may be for long-time archiving.

When time permits, I will look at: (my short list) for such a database feature::

  • iTunes
  • CoolPlayer
  • Foobar2000
  • MusicBee        ——————  My third try    —– decided to use it
  • MediaMonkey —————— My second try — work in progress
  • Helium Music Manager: —– My fist try ——- looks quite good for my purpose
  • Musik Cube

Helium Music Manager

  • Backend is a database  <——-  SQL Express —– MySQL —- MS Access
  • Yes, m4a files can be dragged and dropped on playlists
  • Yes, I can import my existing M3U playlists
  • Yes, I can export my Helium playlists again to independent M3U playlists
  • Yes, I can rename music files within Helium and Helium updates all affected playlists accordingly

MediaMonkey

  • Backend is a SQLite database
  • …. tests next weekend….

MusicBee

Computer: Audio Streaming with iTunes and Airport Express

Audio Streaming

Gehört zu:  Computer Audio

A colleague of mine impressed me with claiming he can play all of his music in all the rooms of his home. The key ingredient of his solution being Apple Airport Expess devices:

Apple Airport Express

Apple Airport Express

He has one Airport Express device in each room and connects the audio jack of the airport express device with the existing stereo equipment in that room (I would use active speakers instead).

This solution requires in addition:

  • to connect each Airport Express device via cable (or Wi-Fi) to the Ethernet LAN at home
  • a Computer (Windows, Mac) in the LAN,  runnig iTunes as a streaming server
  • an Apple ID

My Usage Scenarios

My Scenario 1: Streaming Audio Client in Hardware only

The device is a very small streaming audio client in hardware, needing no additional computer/tablet with a software streaming client. It’s really a small hardware-only solution audio player, which can directly connected to (active) speakers. The streaming protocol is the Apple proprietory AirPlay.

In that it has some paralells with my old Roku Sound Bridge.

My Scenario 2: Mobile Wireless Access Point

If you need a wirless access point (say in a hotel room) and have an Ethernet cable connextion to the internet only, plug the Ethernet cable into the Airport Express and voilà, you have your WLAN.

Bottom Line

  • Scenario 1 (use as a smal hareware-only streaming client):  Works excellent
  • Scenario 2 (use as a mobile WLAN access point: not yet testet

Step 1: Configure iTunes for Streaming your Songs

iTunes can stream all the contets of the iTumes library to Apple devices in your LAN like:

  • Airport Express devices with “AirTunes” activated
  • iPhone
  • iPad
  • Non-Apple devices …???

You can easily test such a steaming iTunes server with your iPhone (assuming you do not have Airport Express in the beginning).

Configuration of iTunes: Home Sharing:

  • Use iTunes 10
  • Menu: Advanced –> Turn on Home Sharing
  • Enter your Apple ID  (consider to use that of your iPhone)
  • Click on “Create Home Share”
  • Remember/Revise the name of your iTunes library  (menu –> edit –> preferences –> general –> Library  Name)

Test iTunes streaming with your iPhone

I am using iMatch/ iCloud on my iPhone, but when staying at home “Home Sharing” (= Audio Steaming) gives be access to all my content in the iTunes library regardless of the storage capacity of my iPhone (since iMatch does not stream).

Setting up the iPhone as a streaming client for the iTUnes streming server:

  • Use the same Apple ID on the iPhone:
    • Tap on “Settings”
    • Scroll to “Music” an tap on it
    • Scroll down to “Home Sharing” and enter Apple ID an password (if not already there)
  • Coinfigure your “Music” App
    • Tap on the “Music” App
    • at the bottom right tap on “More” (the three dots)
    • Scroll down to “Shared” (with a little house symbol)
    • Select the iTunes libraby by its name, that you previously have prepared  for streaming (=”home share”)

Now that you have prooven that your iTunes really wors as a streaming adio server in your LAN, you are ready to try other steaming clients like Airport Express with AirTunes……

Step 2: Configure Airport Express as a Streaming Client

First you have to buy a Airport Express device. Browsing through the information presented on “Airport Express” is absolutely confusing, if you have no previous knowledge. Even a lot of different names are in use in order to describe (or confuse?) the reader.

What really is:

  • Apple Airport
  • Airport Express
  • Airport Espress Basis
  • Airport Express Base Station  (contains a streming client)
  • Airport Extreme Base Station
  • Time Machine
  • Time Capsule
  • Airport Express Base Station 802.11n
  • AirTunes
  • AirPlay (seems to be a propietory streming protocol)

…what is all this stuff for…?  If there is a “Base Station” are the “Non-Base Stations” also…?

May be this helps: http://www.apple.com/support/airport

I guess what I need to start with is a device called “Airport Express Base Station with 802.11n”.

This Airort Express device has to be connected to:

  • 220V power by pluging it into a normal power outlet (that should be close to an Ethernet and cluse to your stereo amplifier)
  • to your existing LAN
    •  via a Ethernet RJ14 cable to a switch, DSL-Modem or exisitent Ethernet plug in the room
    • or via WLAN  (Wi-Fi)

The Airport Express device now offers three services:

  • Wireless Access Point  (not used for my purpose of streaming)
  • USB  to connect a printer, an external disk etc. – USB-Speakers are not supporrted – (not used for my purose of streaming)
  • 3.5 mm audio jack (with optical-digital audio) – use this to connect the device with the stereo amplifyer or with active speakers.

Step 3: Remote Control for iTunes Streaming

In order to really enjoy such a technical solution, you need a Remote Control to select songs an playlist on your iTunes streaming server — like perhaps an iPhone App….

Non-Apple AirPlay Destinations

http://lifehacker.com/5802958/how-to-make-your-entire-home-airplay+compatible

Streaming to Android:

If you’d like to stream music to music on your Android phone, a simple app calledAirBubble will set it up as an AirPlay destination. Just install the app (you’ll need to make sure “Unknown Sources” is checked under Android’s Settings > Applications), start it up, and you’ll see “AirBubble” show up as an AirPlay destination in iTunes, iOS, and other streaming devices. You can then stream that music right to your phone as you would to anything else. Sadly, it does not stream video at this time.

Active Speakers

X-mini

From my last vacations I have “the smallest active speaker of the world”:X-mini™ v1.1 Capsule Speaker™. It gets its power from a built-in battery and/or via a USB cable which nicely can be plugged into the USB of the Airport Express.

X-Mini Capsule Speaker

X-Mini Capsule Speaker

With this tiny active speaker I could well test my AirTunes Express device in different location in my flat – especially whether the cableless connection via Wi-Fi (WLAN) to my LAN is stable.

http://www.x-mini.com/products-detail.aspx?sid=4

Bose Speakers at my TV Set

xxx