sakanagai (sakanagai) wrote,

More tech news and notes

The Playstation Network (PSN) and Store are both back online, but curiously missing is the free content that was supposed to be made available to customers as a form of apology. There is no indication of any free period of PSN+, their pay service that includes Store discounts and cloud saving, instead my brief session was bombarded with advertisements trying to sell service. I chalk down the revival of their infrastructure as a "meh". And if you hadn't heard, there was yet another attack and breach on a Sony site. This time, the hackers made off with personal info including names, DOBs, passwords (stored in plaintext), and addresses. The fact that Sony isn't doing a company-wide security overhaul is cause for concern. Worse, is that despite the recent wave of attacks on their sites/databases, they still have some of their passwords stored without any encryption and all of this data was supposedly obtained from a basic SQL injection. Color me just a bit worried about Sony's dedication to security.

After work, I finally got some time to sit down and play around with Honeycomb 3.1 on my Asus Transformer. The animations and transitions are noticeably smoother. The lock screen is responsive, the app drawer renders quickly, and there is now little to no slowdown when moving between homescreens. Scrolling quickly through webpages (assisted by a new scroll slider) flickers quite a bit, though. A curious omission was the movie rental service that was supposedly included in 3.1, accessible from the Market. After poking around for a while, I can safely say that it's not there. Also missing is my GMail widget; admittedly, I have an adversion to my emails on display from the homescreen, so I never really used it. I can resize certain widgets, limited to Google's own for the moment, and the feature works. Moving on. There is additional support for USB devices, but without the USB-equipped keyboard dock, I can't test it.

What I was able to do is leverage the fact that I have a working Tegra 2 tablet to experiment on my other Tegra 2 tablet, the Viewsonic gTablet. Official support has been...less than stellar, and I was unfortunate enough to unbox mine the day they released their 1.2-4349 firmware update. That update, in addition to introducing some new bugs, included a locked bootloader which made hacking efforts significantly more difficult. Even simple hacks such as adding Google apps had inconsistent results forcing some invovled software surgery to revive. The update was quickly pulled by Viewsonic (as they did with their previous 1.2-xxxx update), but many had already applied the package. A downgrade installer was eventually released by some folks at xda that brought it back to an earlier release that had plenty of support from custom ROM devs. Last night, I downgraded my gTablet which brought my tab to the same software version as the one I gave to my lady friend back in April. That version was the target of much custom work. Keeping it simple (and LF-friendly), I used my tablet as the guinea pig for the "enhancement" pack. It includes some minor fixes ported over from some custom ROMs as well as the official Android Market. The steps took a bit of time, but none of them were actually difficult. At the end of the day, I had the Market up and running. To my surprise, not only were my purchased apps listed, but even the THD (Tegra 2 specific) ones were there. On top of that, they installed without issue and ran beautifully. I'm only disappointed I waited so long to test this.

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