Smartphone epithany

I haven’t blogged in a while, real life got busy with various things and I just didn’t get the time. However, events of the past weeks gave me incentive to write about some things I have learned about my smart phone, specifically the Samsung Galaxy S3.

So, the S3 is a really nice piece of hardware and it comes with the Android OS and Samsung Touchwiz.
Lesson 1) Android OS, really cool OS for smartphones.
Lesson 2) Touchwiz, a fancy looking piece of junk, actually several pieces all placed onto the phone by Samsung with no way to remove the stuff if you don’t use it.

Lesson 2 became highlighted when a friend bought the Samsung S4 and the bloatware ( a phrase used to describe the extra garbage vendors place on their devices ) was startling. I’d really not thought about it too much and I was contemplating upgrading to the S5 or S6 down the line. After seeing what a disaster the S4 is, I started to think about my phone options. There was no way I was going back to iPhone. IOS is far far worse IMO than Android.

I did some research and started encountering terms like “rooting” and “modding”. These things would do one of two things. “Rooting” would give you superuser access to your phone and open capabilities that aren’t possible otherwise. The second was “modding” and what this meant for me specifically, was the ability to replace the entire OS on my phone with another one. Two were mentioned, CyanongenMod and OMNIRom.

I headed over to Cyanongens home page (cyanongen.org) and did my research. These guys take the source code from Android (AOSP – Android Open Source Project ) and then develop it further with some really cool and nice features. One key thing hit me when reading about it. NO BLOATWARE. Just a beautifully crafted Android OS for your smart phone. There are lots of smartphones supported which was amazing.

Its been a few days now and I’m running on CyanogenMod (CM) on my Samsung Galaxy S3. The installation was flawless and exactly as described. The installer is a two-part one, phone side and windows side. Once your done, which only takes 20-30mins all up, you are running on CM.

I’ve only encountered one issue to date and that involves the sending of SMS. People weren’t getting my texts. The issue was related to
a) the SMSC – the sms gateway number, I’m not sure why it wasn’t initially picked up
b) the format of mobile numbers.

I have resolved the issue and this is what I did.

To gain access to the part of my phone that would allow me to change/check the SMSC
I entered this number on the dialer
*#*#4636#*#*

I then scrolled down to SMSC.

I looked up the SMSC for Aldimobile and found that its +61418706275 but upon entering that number I got an error. It turns out that you need to enter this number in something called PDU format. Head over to http://www.twit88.com/home/utility/sms-pdu-encode-decode to read about it. At the bottom of the page is the ability to convert your SMSC number into PDU format.

Enter +61418706275 in the SMSC field
Set the receiver field to blank
Set alphabet size to 7
Hit Convert

This is what you get back.
AT+CMGW=19
07911614786072F5110000910000AA0CC8F71D14969741F977FD07

The part we want is 07911614786072F5

So back to the phone and I entered this number into the SMSC field and hit update. Then turn off and on your phone and wait about 10mins.

I tried some SMS; some worked, others didn’t.

The ones that worked, the mobile numbers for formatted in the +61…. format rather than the 0…. style.
I changed them to the +61 format and viola. SMS was working.

My Samsung Galaxy S3 is a few years old now, but it runs so fast now. It’s amazing how much better it is without all the Samsung bloatware on the phone. I read last night, an article that the S3 will not get Android KitKat ( 4.4.4 ) as the phone is likely not capable of running the Samsung bloatware. However, the S3 is running KitKat perfectly fine now for me, without the bloatware.

You may not need a new phone, you just need a new clean lean Android OS to replace the garbage that is on there at the moment.

I’m not telling you to do this, its your choice. It worked for me and I had a wrinkle to resolve which took a little time. Its neat and fast, I have more internal storage available. I don’t need a new phone now. At some point when the hardware really starts to show its age, I’ll something new with the view of putting on a clean OS before I even turn it on.

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