Posted by Dan H. | Posted in Stuff | Posted on 19-07-2012
Tags: Android, Apple, Arduino, Do it yourself, HTC, HTC Corporation, indestructables, Lifehacker, Mobile phone, Samsung, Verizon
I can trace my do-it-yourself attitude back to my father. Growing up, I was suckered into helping my father with his sundry “honey-do” projects and general carpentry projects like roofing, siding and remodeling. I was unfortunately too young in comparison to my other brothers to do anything other than fetching tools or light grunt work so I didn’t really learn any useful carpentry skills. What I did learn was the satisfaction gained from improving something with your own two hands. While I may not be the blue collar type I definitely bring the blue collar attitude to even the nerdiest of my pursuits. The following are some of the sites that rest on the top shelf of my nerd toolbox.
Once upon a time there were many Gawker sites that were a part of my daily blog rotation. In my opinion though the only one that has stayed consistently good is the Lifehacker blog. This site contains a scattershot of DIY information ranging from hardware hackery to personal finance. Because of that the articles you may find useful or interesting will vary widely from day to day. Unfortunately, the sites search function leaves much to be desired. Despite that, I still highly recommend adding this site to your bookmarks and checking it out at least a couple times a week. I guarantee you will find at least a couple things you will find personally useful every week (even if delving into the innards of your gadgets isn’t your type of thing).
Looking to do a specific project? Instructables is the first place you should look for help. It’s the wikipedia of DIY so individual guides vary in completeness and usefulness. Even if the specific guide isn’t particularly thorough they usually give enough information to help narrow down a google search. The biggest draw to this site is that it has EVERYTHING. Want bacon flavored wiskey? There are instructions for that. Want an Arduino powered tree climbing robot? Inscrutables has you covered. The site is easily searchable if you are looking for something specific and also fun to browse around when you are bored.
Have an android phone? Want to unlock its full potential? This is the first and last place you need to go. This is the source for rooting and custom ROMs on every android phone and tablet on the market. I am a big fan of Android OS but I will also admit that Android has inherent issues. Since it is coming from typically smaller divice manufacturers the carriers have more power to make demands on what features and crapware gets shoveled into these phones.
Fragmentation exists because, for the most part, every carrier wants a special phone for their service. HTC recently tried to streamline its device catalog with the line One series phones but was flatly rejected by Verizon. The only cell phone manufacturer outside of Apple that is big enough to get one device across the different companies has been Samsung. It wasn’t until I read this article on The Verge that I realized the umpteen Android devices were because of carriers and not the manufacturers. Updating all those devices erodes their profits and many a poor phone languishes in the realm of versions past.
That is where the knights in shining armor from the xda forums come in. The friendliness of the community varies from phone to phone. I’ve heard that some phones boards are full of elitist [explitive deleted] and some are full of nice helpful people. Either way xda will be your #1 stop for information on rooting and source of custom ROMs for your device.