S Voice for Galaxy Tab 10.1

It is possible to run S Voice which is the Samsung equivalent of Siri for iPhones, on a Galaxy Tab 10.1.  S Voice, like Siri, is an app that takes voice commands and does various things.  I would not rate it as a robust app (on the Galaxy Tab) but at least its available if anyone wants to try it.

I downloaded it from a forum at xda-developers.com.  The file is called signed-voicetalk2.apk   Note that there are other versions of S Voice (also called Voicetalk) floating around on the Web but they are likely not to work unless they’ve been modified, as the above version has, to trick the app into thinking its running on a Galaxy SIII phone.

One thing I really found annoying about it – you can ask it what is the weather but the answer it gives is just displayed on the screen.  It would be nice if it would actually speak the weather.

Unfortuantely the set alarm function will not work on the Galaxy Tab 10.1.

On a side note, I came across a very cool site, phonearena.com, which allows one to do side-by-side comparisions of specifications for different models of mobile devices.  Right now the Fujitsu Stylistic M532 is the lightest 10 inch tablet on the market at 560 g.  If I were to get a new tablet tomorrow, I’d be inclined to either get the Fujitsu or else the Asus Transformer Prime.

Bicycles as far as the eye can see

Today was the 20th anniversary ride of Critical Mass in San Francisco. The amount of bicycles was simply astounding. At Market and Church as one looked back east down Market St. towards the Embarcadero it was a sea of flashing white bicycle lights unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. I wonder if it set a record for the largest bicycle ride.

The event was very peaceful and the police presence was almost unnoticable. To me this ride is a statement that there is a huge amount of people who want to see society change and new paradigms established which put the Earth, our environment, and our health first and not economic or other interests. There is no other interest without the Earth as we are all realizing. Everyone bicycling at Critical Mass today was speaking through action that they want to see changes in how we humans live on Earth, that we choose peace and wisdom as modes of being over conflict and competition.

The Oceanliner of State & Global Warming

I just read an article entitled Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math. Mr. McKibben’s article discusses some aspects of global warming that are important to discuss. It goes into detail about how that amount of remaining fossil fuel reserves in the Earth are already reasonably well known, who controls them, and what the grave consequences are of their being burned.

The bottom line is that humans need to change their habits. They need to start burning less fossil fuels and relying much more on renewable resources. Even these steps are not going to be cure-alls at this point as fossil fuel usage is so tightly integrated into the infrastructure of everything.

But there are steps that can be taken. If the USA could emulate a country like Germany the implications would be profound. President Obama spoke about altering the course of the ship of state – which he said is more like an oceanliner than a yacht – by just a few degrees and how that could have vast consequences down the road.

But even if the US could get to the level of Germany it would be much more than a few degrees. It would be monumental.

But the problem comes back to the same problems America has been having for a long time. It is a political problem. Yes, one can discuss the dynamics and economics of fossil fuel companies, etc., but until the political problems are solved, it will not be of much use. If the political problems are solved, it will be of major significance and provide paths to resolving many issues related to the global warming crisis.

Think about it simply: if fossil fuel consumption is to be decreased, the prices need to be increased. But the consequences of that are not what any elected officials want to stomach. Our electoral system is a broken mess and enables there to be vast manipulation and control by special interests. Until the political problems are solved the situation is bleak.

But if the political problems can be solved – something that at this point seems like a monumental task given the way things are – things could change dramatically. If the corruption, unfairness, and manipulation of the government and the electoral process can be dealt with, then it will be possible for there to be more wise policies and true governance which can lead the US into a healing direction.

Its sad, but all the problems facing the world come from problems with the mind. I had a discussion with someone about the meaning of environmentalism and started talking about mindfulness as taught by Buddha in many of his sermons. Mindfulness is doing things with awareness. Being aware of every way we move, everything we touch, all that we do. Being in touch with the effect we have on what is is around us.

If everyone could cultivate mindfulness then, automatically, all the problems of the world would be solved. All environmental issues would simply go away.

The most significant thing every person can do to help the environment is to cultivate mindfulness.  By maintaining a healthy and whole body, and being in touch with one’s body and practicing healthy things like yoga, one is saving the world.

One can see the implications of these even in less-subtle ways.  For example, if a person smokes, they will be less healthy and less inclined to use a bicycle or to walk for personal transportation.  They will tend to rely on fossil-fuel powered devices.  By maintaining a healthy body, it enables one to practice a way of living that benefits the world.  When everyone starts becoming healthy together, things can radically improve in the world.

We have to consider who is really qualified to lead in these times. What is the meaning of responsibility? What is the highest responsibility, and how can it be recognized? Its a shame, because on the one hand there is all this wisdom out there about cultivating the self and the wisdom of mindfulness, yet there’s a disconnect with the actual system which is running things.

December 14, 6245

[Note: this post was originally published on 14 December 2009, hence the date in the title. I have put this post back at the top of the blog because I still feel strongly about this issue. Our calendar should begin at least as far back as 4236 B.C. and there are reasons why it could be pushed back even earlier.]

Should today’s date actually be the 14th of December, 6245?  I actually think that this year would make much more sense than the year 2009.

The earliest known calendar date is 4236 B.C. which marks the beginning of one of several Egyptian calendars that existed – a 365 day solar one they used (they also had a lunar based one for festivals, much as the Chinese still do, as well as another one for agriculture which the Chinese also still have).  The only problem was that they did not have a leap year, so their calendar actually drifted over time (actually I have read contradictory statements about this and am still researching it).  Whether this drift was accounted for or not I do not yet know, nor do I yet know if the record from that ancient date to the present is continuous without any gaps or unknown periods.

I think re-calibrating the current calendar year to 6245 (4236 + 2009, there was no year 0) makes a lot of sense, particularly with respect to understanding human historical development.   4236 B.C. is far enough back in archaeologic history that it could be seen as the beginning of human civilization and the end of the neolithic.  Although there are shortcomings with using the three-age system to classify periods of human development 6245 years ago seems about far enough back that it precedes the development of major civilizations and cultural advancement for which archaeological evidence exists yet is not so far back as to be meaningless.

It predates the Minoan, Sumerian, Chinese, and pretty much every other civilization such that there wouldn’t need to be negative date numbers to reference periods within these cultures as is currently necessary using the B.C. designation (of course there exists extensive archaeological record of human activity before then, but these do not include writing and include very few artifacts of the more advanced civilizations which would later arise).  It also significantly predates all bronze-age activity in all cultures, so it indicates a time, pre-bronze age, when civilization was in its nascent stage and the advances of the neolithic revolution (i.e.. agriculture, etc.)  were being aggregated which would later lead to the first major civilizations.  In short, the year 4236 B.C. seems like a much more logical anchor-point for human history.

Even though it is very rare for any ancient calendar systems to have been accurate, it would have been possible to re-calibrate them as necessary to take into account drift.  The extent to which this was done is something I do not know but would like to find out.  This is a fascinating area of study.

There is also the earliest historical event the date for which is known with precision, the Battle of Halys in 585 B.C., during which a solar eclipse occurred.  Calculating backwards using a known astronomical phenomenon seems like cheating however.  Its more interesting to find calendar systems which extend back continuously from the present time which are based on civilizations’ own developing astronomical knowledge.

Update: according to the National Institute of Time and Standards:

The earliest Egyptian calendar was based on the moon’s cycles, but later the Egyptians realized that the “Dog Star” in Canis Major, which we call Sirius, rose next to the sun every 365 days, about when the annual inundation of the Nile began. Based on this knowledge, they devised a 365 day calendar that seems to have begun around 3100 BCE (Before the Common Era), which thus seems to be one of the earliest years recorded in history.

How to Root a Verizon Galaxy Tab 10.1 with ICS

Previously here I posted information on how to root a Verizon Galaxy Tab 10.1 SCH-I905. The original release came with Android 3.1 Gingerbread on it. Verizon have just released an update to v.4 ICS (Ice Cream Sandwich).

The actual Over-the-Air (OTA) ICS update from Verizon was not able to install on my device because of the modifications I made to it. In order to get the OTA ICS update to install I had to actually use Odin and flash the stock SCH-I905 Android image and do a factory wipe.

Prior to doing that I installed Titanium Backup Pro and made backups of my important apps. I then copied the entire contents of the sdcard to another computer.

One it was flashed back to the factory image the OTA updates arrived and the process went fairly quickly. I didn’t have to wait long between updates. They basically installed one after the other. There were several as the original release had a number of Gingerbread patches before the ICS update.

I managed to find out (see previous post) that a very recent version of ClockworkMod Recovery is available from the FTP site maintained by the Galaxy Tab CyanogenMod developer. The unlabeled version which was available in the FTP directory tree for CM10 for the Verizon Galaxy Tab was v.6.0.1.1, more recent than other free-floating releases. I guess he develops it and doesn’t always make an official post about the most recent releases.

Immediately after performing the factory wipe I booted the Tab into recovery and flashed the 6.0.1.1 CWM. I then performed a full device backup. This is a pristine backup of the newly flashed Galaxy Tab with ICS. This will be useful if I ever need to go back and restore the system. I will not have to go all the way back to the early Gingerbread release, but now have this recent release.

Getting the thing rooted was challenging, only because I was still using the old method which worked for Gingerbread. That method does not work, but there is a method that does work. Hoorah!

I found this article: How to Root ICS on Galaxy Tab 10.1! (Also for Tab 2) at GalaxyTabHacks.com which has a download “Download rooting files” and this gave me a GalaxyTabHacks.com_SuperUser.zip which I copied to the sdcard and installed with CWM. This installed not the previous app Superuser which worked under Gingerbread, and which I tried multiple times to get working with ICS and failed, but instead installed an app called SuperSU.

SuperSU is super. Immediately after installing it I installed AdFree Android and now my Tab is ad free. Yaay!

There’s a long list of things apps I will restore back to this newly updated Tab which is almost like a completely new device. I’m really impressed with the performance improvements with Ice Cream Sandwich. Let’s hear it for the Linux 3 series kernel and for Android.

Here are some of the more notable apps I will be re-installing:

LauncherPro – this is still a much better interface than the stock TouchWiz interface. It allows there to be many more columns and rows on the screen thereby allowing vastly more icons. And yes I can actually have so many apps that it pretty much fills up all the slots.

AdFree Android – I mentioned this but will mention it again. The ability to remove ads to me is not just something pleasant, there is also a privacy concern as ads these days are so invasive. I want it all blocked. My device is my device. I pay for it.

Titanium Backup Pro – I’m putting this at the top of the list because it is useful to a person like me who wants to hack their device.

aWARemote Pro – I mentioned this in previous posts. It lets one remotely control Winamp running on a PC on the local network.

Collins Mini Gem EN-EL – There are these amazingly cool bilingual dictionary made by Collins and other which can actually pronounce words. This one is English-Greek. It has been extremely helpful for understanding pronunciation of Greek words.

Larousse English French dictionary – almost identical the the Collins dictionaries. Its great to be able to hear French words pronounced.

ezPDF Reader – this is by far one of the most useful apps on the Tab. Its not just a PDF reader. It has features which take it to another level entirely – bookmarking features and zoom features which are very useful for those with collections of documents in PDF format, such as students. I have had several texts for classes in PDF format and this reader was the interface.

MobileSheets – similar to ezPDF, it displays PDF documents of sheet music and has similar features to it and others more specific to music. It basically turns the Tab into an electronic sheet music viewer.

Piano Perfect – I’ve tried several piano apps and this one seems the best by far. The sound is very good compared to others, and the number of keys can be set to a high or low number.

Lastpass – essential. Well, essential for me since I use Lastpass on all my systems to store passwords and other data including credit card info for payments.

Opera Mobile – Opera has one feature that no other browser I have seen on Android does – when a page is zoomed, it automatically re-fits the text onto the screen. All other browsers, when the page is zoomed, the characters will run over the edge of the screen. Why Opera gets this right and no others do I do not know, but it makes Opera essential.

NHK World TV – ok this goes under the category diversion but its actually cool to see the Tab working like a television. If you get Market Unlocker you can also switch to a non-US market and get KBS World.

K9 Mail – the best mail reader on Android that I’ve seen

SatTrack – another “diversion” category app but extremely cool. It will let you know when the Internation Space Station or just about any other orbiting satellite will pass overhead and be visible enough to see. It will tell you exactly where in the sky it will be at what time, how bright, and when.

Hacker’s Keyboard – much better than the stock keyboard

Tiny Flashlight + LED – more than a flashlight, a really cool app that can make the screen different colors. Also has a useful widget that can be used for turning the camera flash LED on or off.

Intuit GoPayment – accept credit cards easily with this excellent app from the financial software company Intuit. Open a free account and then download the app to your Android device. They will send out a free card reader so you can swipe cards, or you can enter them manually. The nice thing is it doesn’t require a merchant account and the approval process to set up an account is fast. The card reader actually plugs into the audio jack. The volume level should be set to maximum for best results.

Source of latest CWM for SCH-I905 et al.

http://droidbasement.com/galaxy/roms/

This is the parent directory where CyanogenMod roms for various Galaxy Tab models are kept. The SCH-I905 (Verizon Galaxy Tab 10.1) is listed as p4vzw.

The ClockworkMod (CWM) ROM will be listed as recovery.tar.md5

Under cm10 I found a cwm v.6.0.1.1

44 Days of Arctic Sea Ice Melting

Ok it looks like I minced the video encoding parameters and squished the video, but I saw this startling video on a NASA site.  It shows the dramatic change in the amount of ice in Earth’s arctic region from August 1, 2012 until September 13, 2012.  That’s only 44 days and watcht the video to see how vast the area of melt is.

I will get this encoding issue fixed soon and make it Mac compatible…

Alien caught on video of high-speed train

This shocking picture is a still taken from a video inside of a high-speed rail train in California.  This is the new, 220 MPH train that runs from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

The full video is below:

Sad boo-boos, blood & death

Click on the picture to visit the site where the data is

 

People prioritize their business interests. Politicians are always looking towards gentrifying places to up the real estate values for their buddies.

There’s an active campaign to vilify bicycling in the United States. Just like when one turns on a TV and sees idiotic shows where the hosts are vilifying some poor person who made the grave mistake of being recognized or receiving attention, schadenfreude, the delight in seeing others suffer is having a field day in the US like no other time.

It reminds me of the days of old Rome when there were other groups that were vilified for purposes of entertainment.

Here’s a zoom in. Those little red pushpin-thingies with the black dots in the center are “hotspots” and represent areas of multiple boo boos, blood, and yes definitely death.

People come to San Francisco to fulfill dreams and find love, not to end up scarred, disfigured, permanently disabled, or dead.

But that’s not the agenda which drives politics. Yet the politicians are all happy and smiling. They’re always out there scoring their brownie points for “humanitarianism”, “community”, and blah blah blah blah blah.

Sad thing is, the trauma center staff in hospitals are always busy cleaning up messes from vehicle wrecks.  Yet people biking are the ones trying to do the right thing and end all the suffering.  Take the world in the right direction.  Why isn’t it a real priority to mobilize every resource available to help them?

Elections without integrity

“…elections without integrity, elections that are rigged, elections that are corrupt, create enormous problems for societies…”

Report of the Global Commission on Elections, Democracy and Security will be available for download 14 September 2012.

As this is being written, the United States is in the midst of its most significant electoral process, that for President of the country.  The entire election is a media-orchestrated farce which should enrage every citizen because every citizen is being bilked, is being ripped-off, and scammed.

America deserves a real government which requires a real electoral system and real representation by representatives chosen fairly and with integrity by the citizens.

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