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hex Warning, the following blog is something of a geek diary, feel free to skip it, i wont be offended.

 

As someone who plays allot of phone games on my Android handset i am  always looking to get some extra performance out of it, i have tweaked and messed with every setting you can imagine, but after a while you realise that there is not much you can do, android 2.1 will always be just that, 2.1. so began my quest to play Angry Birds on a substandard handset.

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you see, my phone is pretty great for mobile gaming, its a Samsung Spica (known as a Portal here in the EU) and it plays most things but Angry Birds is a mess of an application, when i load it on my handset i get white blocks where those bad mood birds should be as well as some strange loading issues that come and go. this is partly because the game expects a far faster GPU than i have and partly because  its much more optimised for Android 2.2 (yeah, that 0.1 difference is a big deal in Android terms)

One thing you should be very aware of with android devices is this, tinkering is not illegal in any way, there are no guidelines against it, its not like jail breaking an iPhone. Rooting give you ‘root’ or super user access to your device. As the Android OS is based on the Linux OS you are free to tinker and change because its open source.

After some serious Google-Fu sessions i realised that to get some serious performance changes on my phone i would have to do some hard core software modifications

First thing (i had already rooted my handset) was to factory reset my device and wipe literally every tweak, file, application and modification i had made in the last year (i almost cried) i did this in the recovery console (a benefit of the rooted device)

I then applied the Cyanogen Mod , this is an experimental project designed and build by enthusiasts, what it is is an entirely custom built version of Android 2.2 build from the ground up, its important to get the EXACT version for your device.

then i applied some new graphics drivers known as the ‘intercept’ drivers giving my device some seriously enhanced gaming power, this is available not because these drivers are made with unholy magic but because the stock drivers that Samsung provided with my handset are to be blunt… total kak! it didn’t take a skilled hacker long to vastly improve on them

Next up was my devices kernel, this is the basic core of the operating system, and the one Android comes with is great but i want to forgo the mainstream conventions like error handling and super prioritised memory management for something more custom, something a little more raw, so i chose the Pixie Kernel This Kernel has some built in tweaks that aid every day use lots but the device boots far slower, not a problem i just won’t switch it off. (how often do you reset a mobile anyway?)

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The guys over on the XDA forums have done a great job on some scripts that optimise your filing system making everything a little faster and reducing the ‘hang’ that Android is famous for. there where four patches in total, so i applied one rebooted the device and applied the next (with my new slow boot times this was something of an irritation) soon enough though i was finished and very happy with my new tweaks.

a hacker named Cadavre made a wonderful GPS/Compass tweak that helps you pickup your location much faster as i like to tweet with location tagged i applied that too.

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While i was rebooting i thought it a good time to put on a custom boot animation so goodbye to the Samsung logo and hello red cyborg eye thingy!

I also took the time to apply a camera tweak to reduce load times on the application and enhance the image correction, a new music player (a rip from 2.3 i believe)  and a rather nice toggle menu for the notification bar.

Then totally by accident i found a single patch file that contained every Google app and all bang up to date so no market patching would be needed in a while for the important things.

I changed my default launcher to the fabulous Launcher Pro and removed the stock launcher completely

There where a host of other little tweaks that i made along the way but now the final product is a rock solid android operating system that Google register as a 2.2 device even though it has more in common with 2.3.

The final slice of joy was when i found a hacker improved version of angry birds that worked just perfectly!

The whole process has taken me about 9 hours of constant patching and rebooting, i almost ‘bricked’ my device twice but the final product is so much better than i started with that it has been totally worth the effort.

anyway i hope you enjoy this little insight into my less gaming related activities, i’m going to play Portal one now Smile with tongue out

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