Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Hey You... Get Away from that Computer

It's no secret that I work in computers.  And when I'm home, I play in computers.  Unfortunately, yesterday was one of those days when I shouldn't have been allowed anywhere near a computer.

Didja ever have one of those days?
You know, one of those days where every key you hit performs a different, hidden function, of which you were not aware?  It's definitely not you; it's the computer.  Or software.  Or operating system.

The day was actually a fine one until I decided that my phone (a Galaxy S3) needed to be rooted.  I rooted most of my phones and tablets, so this one shouldn't be an exception.  Since it's not a brand new phone, there were many methods available for rooting it.

This was my first mistake.

The first thing to investigate is if you have the right root for the right phone.  Because there are a number of phone carriers, there are a number of phone models.  A Sprint Galaxy is not the same model as a Verizon Galaxy.  Having sorted that out, you search for an appropriate root.

Most of the roots I did were done via linux and went well.  For some unknown reason, I decided to try it on Windows.

This was my second mistake.

After a few false starts, I got through process number one.  And failed.  I tried a different process, which also failed.  A third process failed but in the background I could swear I heard it giggling at me.

It had started to be become obvious that this was going to be One of Those Days<tm>.

Investigating a few more, reliable methods, I set upon implementing them.  These also failed.  The failures were no doubt aided and abetted by my favorite operating system, Windows.  People in the same room can always tell when I'm having a time with Windows.  They get to hear phrases like:

Windows: it's not an operating system, it's a virus!




Stupid ($*#ing operating system.

People stop and stare, most with pity on their faces.

I finally allowed Windows and rooting to declare victory.  Of course there were many methods to root the phone - none of them work.  I'm not really blaming the roots - I'm sure I have some small part in this.

I finally received my usb dongle for tv.  Before you continue pointing and laughing, it's a usb device that you plug into your computer to receive tv.  There is a project around SDR (software defined radio) that uses the dongle to receive all sorts of radio, from shortwave on up past police and amateur radio.  The best thing about this is that the dongle is about twenty dollars and all of the software is free.  It runs on linux and Windows (and probably Mac).

After doing a little research, I plugged the device into a linux box and went to work.  And when I say work, I mean trudging through the old tundra.  There was very plainly no simple way to make SDR happen.  The directions were long and complex, sometimes involving something called GIT, which translates to `GIT the hell away from this software, linux user'.

Three pieces of software later, I gave up.  Yes, sometimes I get frustrated.  One day I hope to be able to give back to the linux community.

Off to the Windows side, I figured this would have to be easier.  Plug and play, you know.

More like Plug and Pray, actually.

Windows was nice enough to keep reminding me that there was no driver for the dongle - at ten second increments.  If nothing else, the pretty blue light came on.

Three pieces of software later, I was in pain.  One flat out refused to start up, then refused to close.  Another couldn't find the right verson.  The third program went in just fine and also failed to work correctly.

Cue more screaming and cursing my incompetence, ancestry and operating systems in general.  Plus a lengthy internal dissertation on the value of dongles in impolite society.

No comments:

Post a Comment