ITmaze uses android as its preferred phone operating system. As we develop applications and learn more about this dynamic solution, this site will be updated. We anticipate adding tips and tricks as they emerge.

Android Backup

posted Oct 31, 2010, 5:30 PM by Onno Benschop   [ updated Oct 31, 2010, 6:43 PM ]

Note, the information here does not require root access, but at this time it appears that to do anything useful, you do require root :-(

Creating a backup of my HTC Desire is a bit of an issue. There are many different tools that all intend to backup your device to more or lesser degree. Some even work. HTC has made an "automatic" backup, which you can enable in Menu -> Settings -> Privacy -> Back up my data & settings. I have no idea what is backed up and what isn't since the documentation is far from complete or definitive on the matter.

I came across this post which outlines using adb, the android debugger to backup what ever you want. The instructions seem to indicate that there is much to achieve this way. To actually make it work, there are a few steps needed: (Note that this is for Ubuntu and a HTC Desire, since that's what I use - see the note at the bottom of this page for other configurations.)
  1. Download the Linux Android SDK from here: http://developer.android.com/sdk/
  2. Extract the archive:
    tar -zxf
  3. Create a file called /etc/udev/rules.d/51-android.rules
    SUBSYSTEM=="usb", SYSFS{idVendor}=="0bb4", MODE="0666"
  4. Change the permissions of this file:
    chmod a+r /etc/udev/rules.d/51-android.rules
  5. On your Android enable USB debugging:
    Menu -> Settings -> Applications -> Development -> USB debugging
  6. Plug-in your Android via USB
  7. From within the tools directory inside the extracted SDK folder which you created in #2, run:
    adb devices
If it all worked as expected, you should see your device listed in the output.

You'll notice that this doesn't contain information about what to backup, I'm still working on that and this page will be updated once that's completed.

At this time, I don't yet have access to my application data. You can access some information without root permissions:
  • adb pull /system/build.prop
  • adb pull /system/fonts/DroidSans.ttf
  • adb pull /system/app

Note: You can install the SDK under Linux, OS X and Windows. You can also connect to other devices, other than a HTC Desire. The SDK page and Developing on a Device page will walk you through that. If you're using Windows, read the Backup with ADB document first, since it will save you a lot of grief.

Sources: Backup with ADB, Android SDK, Developing on a Device

Australian Android News

posted Jul 20, 2010, 5:22 PM by Onno Benschop

A website that I've been scanning as part of my daily news brief is an Australian Android site. It contains information specific to Australia while continuing to stay relevant in the wider world.


Google Tasks

posted Jul 20, 2010, 5:09 PM by Onno Benschop

There is no standard task list that uses Google Tasks on the HTC Desire. Initially I used SSI gTasks ToDo.

SSI gTasks ToDo is an application that works really well and I would have continued to use it were it not for two problems. It is a time-limited trial. After x days it stops auto-syncing and requires you to manually sync your tasks. In order to tell you that it no longer auto-syncs it devotes too much screen space to telling you to buy the paid up version. The second problem is that you cannot buy this app from the market. You can buy it externally, but the user notes in that process don't give me as an end-user any level of confidence and I don't particularly want to start buying things willy-nilly on my phone. I would have purchased this app and was ready to hand over my money, but got stopped dead in my tracks by this limitation. As an aside, it doesn't (yet) support indenting tasks.

by Dato

I am currently using GTasks. It works like SSI gTasks ToDo, but the user interface is slightly different. I'm not yet sure if I like this interface as much, but it auto-syncs, supports indents and at this time does not seem to be hobbled or time-limited.

Tracking Billing

posted Jul 20, 2010, 4:53 PM by Onno Benschop

ITmaze is a consulting company that needs to invoice its clients for time spent on projects. Tracking time can be a complicated experience, but two Android apps make this a whole lot simpler: rtime-rec and CallTrack. Both apps log to Google Calendar. I use a separate billing calendar, just to log client activity.

by rmiya

Logging projects to a Google Calendar is simple. You launch the app, tap on the day, choose a title (I use my client's name) and tap now. When you're done, go back in, tap on the now button for the end time, add a note and it's logged.

by asterdroid mobile

Logging incoming and outgoing calls will add a whole new dimension to your client logging data. Once activated, this app just does it's thing and logs to your selected calendar.

Finally, I use a few little scripts to export my billing calendar to ics, then to csv and then into my accounting software.

Tip for new players: Calendar activities can overlap, so don't bill your client for the phone-call you made while you were working on their project :)

Android Market web search

posted Jul 20, 2010, 4:47 PM by Onno Benschop

Using the Android Market is a bit of a pain from your phone since in v2.1 of Android you cannot filter search results. The order in which the applications turn up appears to be random and you cannot tell without looking at the app if it is popular or not. Browsing from your standard web-browser is a whole lot more attractive, but how do you do that?


USB charging cable

posted Jul 20, 2010, 4:35 PM by Onno Benschop

The HTC Desire uses a USB cable for charging and docking. It's a Micro USB connection, similar, but different to a Mini USB connection. Prices for cables such as these vary widely, from $10 to $50. I purchased my extra cable for $9.95 from Jaycar Electronics [CAT. NO. WC7724] - if you have a need for white, that's also available for $14.95 [CAT. NO. WC7796]

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