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Matthew Pedigo

Matt Pedigo is a business owner and CTO living in NoDa, the arts district of Charlotte, NC. He dabbles in websites, filmmaking, and all things technical.

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I like to think that one of our big responsibilities here at AppStorm is to try out new methods of customizing and improving our phone experience, then translating the technical jargon of developers, and delivering to our readers a clear and concise method for that customization.

So, when I had been reading on the forums that a way had been worked out to add Google Now to a lot of ICS phones, I jumped right on it.

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Uplink, released in 2001, was a cult hit computer game that put you in the shoes of a “Hollywood hacker” — think WarGames or Swordfish. The entire game plays out in a computer console, with the storyline communicated via in-game emails and the atmosphere enhanced by tense music and simple bleeps signifying how close you are to being caught.

This month, Uplink has been re-released for Android tablets as a fairly straight port (other than ditching a mouse and keyboard for touchscreen controls). How does it stand up today?

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I waited several weeks for my brand new Nexus 7. I opened the box with lingering anticipation, powered it on (without charging it first, even though I know better), salivated as I saw the new home screen, and started downloading app after app hoping to find a barrier that this little beast couldn’t surmount. I found nothing. I found absolutely nothing this quad-core $200 steal couldn’t lay to waste.

Satisfied? I should be. Am I? No. I’m an Android lover, and Android lovers aren’t so easy to please…

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$70 can’t get you as much these days as it used to. A tank of gas or maybe two? A dinner with a cheap bottle of wine? Pay your electric bill?

What if I told you that 70 greenbacks could get you a quality phone, Ice Cream Sandwich, and a no-contract plan on Big Red (Verizon for those outside of the States)? Well, to my surprise, it can. However, it’s not without a bit of homework, eBay browsing, and some technical obstacles. But with a bit of effort, you can turn that chump change into a serious return.

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It was late at night a few years ago when a package came through marked with a familiar carrier. I had placed an order a few days before for my first Android phone; having absorbed all the hype for several months, I’d decided upon a humble Sanyo Zio on the Cricket service. Coming clocked at a whopping 600MHz, the Zio packed Android 2.1 (Eclair for those who remember) and 256MB of RAM. As my first smartphone experience, it was heaven.

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Launcher 7 offers an interesting alternative among the wide world of Android launchers. Taking a page from Microsoft’s book, it mimics Windows Phone 7, giving users a simple, tile-based interface. I spent a few weeks with it as my daily driver and although I am a diehard Android fan, it did more than just change how my phone worked. It made me want a Windows Phone.
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HTC has done good things among the development community. With their new devices, they are offering to help guide you through the bootloader unlocking process via their website, HTCdev.com. However, they didn’t want to make it too easy. With newer phones, the HBoot locks the NAND partition, making it a challenge to flash anything beyond a modified stock ROM.

Have I lost you yet? Don’t worry, I will break this down into common sense terms. Trust me, I was just as intimidated at first. We will also examine a few workarounds to get you right back on the flash bandwagon.

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When I first saw the EVO 3D hit the market, I honestly believed it was nothing more than a gimmick to grab the attentions of enthusiasts, geeks, and braggarts. I couldn’t begin to understand the use of a 3D phone/camera/camcorder. As someone who has worked in film, I looked at the technology as another fad that would be replaced by something newer and greater in a matter of months. Then I got my hands on this phone…

The 3D? Yeah, it’s cool, though I have to admit the best features in this phone have nothing to do with its namesake.

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Installing a new ROM on any Android phone is both exciting and frightening. You have to root, install recovery, flash the ROM, and cross your fingers. However, if you find yourself dissatisfied with your stock experience or maybe just want to experiment with new user interfaces, it is worth the risk.

Some phones are easier to root than others, but the Motorola Droid X2 is on the harder side. With a locked bootloader, there are challenges and dangers to overcome. This How-To will explain in detail how to tackle this beast and get your X2 up to snuff with your own expectations.
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I was not the greatest expert on Android phones when I purchased the X2, and will not claim to be that now. When I bought it, I had been using a Sanyo Zio for quite some time, but decided to switch when I read that the X2 boasted the uber-fast Nvidia Tegra 2 chip.

Eventually, after many Froyo nightmares and force-closes, I realized that specs don’t mean everything. The software was nowhere near what it needed to be to make the phone a great device. However, a bit of trolling through XDA’s forums presented to me that light at the end of the tunnel. And that light was the Eclipse ROM. (more…)

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