Sunday, 25 December 2011

Ainol Novo 8 Advanced 2.3.4 Rooted UK Rom V3.0

(UPDATE 11/04/12) New version released see front page for more details, download links shall remain active for a while longer as will the comments for this version.


Yup that's right folks, I have been promising a new rom for a couple of weeks and what better day for it to be released than today :) I'm going to keep this fairly short and sweet as I am overloaded on xmas grub and want to slob out.

This firmware is frankly pretty awesome, it's based on the latest 22/12/11 release with full Root and added bits from Cheeyee @ Chinadigital (make sure you thank him) which gives you 2GB userspace, USB Bluetooth dongle, USB GPS dongle and USB Gamepad support. If that is not enough for you you also have the latest Google apps, Market, Facebook, Skype (which now works) and Dolphin Browser HD. Flash support has been cooked in as well and seems to work fine. This is presently English only, I shall try to make a Multi Language in the next week or so (and have it work a bit better than in V2.0)

Not Enough For You?

Then how about this . . . Power issues are fixed, performance issues seem to be addressed (can't test iPlayer as the BBC has broken it at the time of writing) The Market has gained the ability to see near enough every single app there is, that's right you read it correctly Angry Birds, Facebook, Dolphin HD and Skype are are visible on the market, you can even update the rom installed versions. Install Chainfire3D and the Pro key then use the market fix to see and install Tegra games so you can have legit versions of those as well.

You still want more?

Fine ;) This rom is pretty much bursting at the seams with loads of other stuff, there's more done, fixed and added than I remember. Install, enjoy and explore :)


Download Links:

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Quick update on 3.x firmware progress

Just a quick post to let all of you watchers know how things are going. The new 3.0 version is currently in testing and will be released sometime between xmas and new year. The power bugs present in the first releases are no longer present so no more random waking up and all that rubbish.

Quick feature and bugs list:
  • Currently English/Chinese only, I may release this first then do a 3.1 release for Multi Language.
  • YouTube app seems to have developed a stutter all of a sudden.
  • Oddly though flash performance in the browsers is much better so YouTube works great in the browsers.
  • iPlayer app and broswer performance still a bit off but much better, not tried at 190-200dpi but the really bad stutter from before is gone and it just hesitates for a frame or two or plays at a lower frame rate.
  • Lots of updates to all the included apps so latest Google Maps, Market and so on.
  • I'm trying to find someway to install certain apps after installation such as Flash and Skype as these really do not like being cooked into the rom, if I can't then I shall at least include the ones you cannot get from the market in the download so you can install them yourself.
  • Other little things that I can't remember right now :)
It's coming and coming soon so watch this space . . .

*UPDATE* It seems a new firmware has been release, possibly an official non beta 2.3.4 so I'm going to stop work on the current version I have and restart on that one, It will not add much delay to the release but will be worth the wait if it fixes some more bugs.

Friday, 2 December 2011 now live :)

Everyone please update your bookmarks as I now have a proper domain of registered for this blog, the blogspot address still works but some site features like followers and such no longer behave when that address is used.

I shall be looking to slowly add more feature to the site but rom development comes first :)

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Ainol Novo 8 Advanced 2.3.4 Rooted UK Rom V2.0

(UPDATE 11/04/12) Condensed post as new release available on the front page, download links remain active for now but comments have been closed.

Ainol Novo 8 Advanced 2.3.4 Rooted UK Rom V2.0

 The first release of my firmware has been a huge success, with downloads in the hundreds, users from across the globe and plenty of feedback I say thanks to you all.

Now that's out the way on to the important part of this post ;) VERSION 2.0 IS HERE! After a lot of positive feedback and because there were things that needed fixing I have been working on a second release quite heavily since the first was posted. It's not perfect, some bugs are still there but it's a definite step forward from the first release. Check the readme below for the full lowdown.

Forum Links:
XDA Developers Thread, MP4 Nation Thread, China Digital Thread,
Tablet Republic Thread,


Download links (once again if you mirror please let me know)
Ainol Novo 8 Adv 2.3.4 Version 2.0 (Rapidshare) 
Ainol Novo 8 Adv 2.3.4 V2.0 (Mirror, Thanks Rikeys @ China Digital)

Friday, 18 November 2011

Over a 1000 views :)

Thanks to all the people who have been viewing and leaving comments for the Novo 8 firmware, the traffic for the site has been pretty good seeing as it went online two weeks ago for a firmware for a niche Android tablet. As far as I can tell there have been around 200+ downloads from my rapidshare account and there are a couple of mirrors as well that have had a few so it looks like there are a fair few of you giving it a go.

I am currently working on a second release which hopefully will add some requested features and try and smooth over some bugs that have been reported.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Deaf in one ear and need Stereo To Mono?

Until a while back I thought being deaf in one ear was a fairly unique thing, lately I have met quite a few people who have lost hearing in one ear for a multitude of reasons.

Like me they all like to listen to music on some form of personal player be it their iPod, iPhone, iPad, Android Phone/Tablet, Mp3 Player, CD Walkman etc . . . the problem is that when listening to music with only one ear you're a bit stuck, older rock and pop music by bands such as Queen, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, The Who and others heavily used the two channels to create all these cool sounds with sweeping vocals and effects moving across the channels or having instruments on one channel while vocals were on another.

As an example I am deaf in my left ear and when listening to Bohemian Rhapsody I only get half the vocals, Money by Pink Floyd the opening cash register section fades to nothing and back again. Radar Love by Golden Earring becomes almost an acoustic/vocal track (but not in a bad way) because I can only hear the right channel, and guess where they put that cool bass guitar riff and drums?

A lot of more modern music styles tend not to use this much as it became a bit 'old' so while there are still issues they can be less noticeable.

Years ago when I still had a Cassette Walkman (kids ask your parents) I used to use Winamp to play my MP3 tracklists in mono to record onto tape and this got round the issue, however in the digital world you're stuck unless you have a player that gives you a mono down-mix setting.

Recently I stumbled upon an American company called Scan Sound who make a line of products called the 1Bud's. The rather clever people behind this range have made a unique earpiece the actually does proper stereo to mono conversion, unlike the cheap adapters that just join the Left and Right signal wires together (all of which fail) These earpieces have a small unit built into the lead that performs a proper mixing of the left and right channel into a mono track that give us mono ears the full and terrific sound of music.

I personally ordered the one pictured below which has a twin design with the little bud giving you the main sound and the larger flat section a incredible amount of bass (they make stereo ones as well which I'm sure would rock your brain loose) The pro version comes in both Left and Right handed designs with dedicated iPhone/iPod versions.

Right handed Pro version

They also offer a range of other designs with a basic single bud and over ear ones which you can find here 1-BUD Single-Ear Stereo Earphones

Delivery to the UK was quick and at a decent price, after telling a friend about this who was about to lose his hearing he bought the same design as me and loved it, he also ordered the more basic version for his other half to use at work so she could have some music and still hear what people were asking.
(My friends hearing has since returned after his treatment was finished so while no longer a mono ear he still loves the earpiece)

This post might comes over as a bit like a bad TV advert for these guys and maybe it is, but for us mono ears out there this is the stuff of dreams and it was not an easy thing to find, I've been looking over 10 years for a solution and found this company more by luck than anything so hopefully it will help others in the same situation as myself.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

ASUS WL-520G Heatsink upgrade and DD-WRT

A couple of years back I finally had enough of my rubbish ASUS WL-520G wifi router which spent half it's time overheating (even in the winter) or the unstable firmware would just lock up for no sensible reason despite just sitting there doing nothing much a lot of the time.

It became a case of fix it or bin it so I thought 'what the hell' and set to work, I decided to tackle the heat issue first and removing the lid left me confronted by this. What you see here is a tiny heat sink held on with double sided tape that was stupidly hot and the pair of chips to the right were baking away nicely as well. Cost cutting at it's finest.

The dented fins were from a failed attempt to remove it.

Removing the heat sink was tricky as the tape is remarkable strong so I broke out the plumbers wrench, firmly gripped the heat sink and gave it a good twist.

Who said IT work needs delicate tools?
After removing the tape and finding a suitable sized heat sink from an old motherboard I needed to find a way to secure it on, not having any mount points I resorted to an old trick that rescued 486 and Pentiums 1's fitted with cheap heat sinks that were meant to grip the chip firmly but just fell off, enter stage left . . . Superglue!

Superglue and Thermal Compound sandwich anyone?

While it might sound odd, Superglue actually has quite a high melting point so a decent dab in the corners and a good helping of Thermal Compound in the middle and your sorted. I wouldn't recommend this for your old vintage Socket A chip though they got far too warm, watch this video to see what I mean.
(Fun Fact:  The BBC 'borrowed' this idea for their recent Shock and Awe series, they wanted to demonstrate the amount of heat a 'modern' CPU generates, so they dug out some crusty old Socket A system and promptly set the chip smoking by running it sans heat sink)

The end result was what you see below, I added a couple of old graphics card ram brick sinks to the smaller chips that were overheating and ended up with this.

Afterwards it did run better than before but still would lock up randomly including when it was idle. I took the next step and installed DD-WRT and all was good. If you have a router that is loaded with second rate, feature restricted and normally unstable firmware I highly recommend DD-WRT, the risk is small but the reward far outweighs the risk.

It's still going strong now with a larger antenna fitted to support the few legacy devices we have at home that lack Wifi N capability. It's not the most impressive hack you'll ever see but it did the trick and saved me having to fork out for a replacement.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Ainol Novo 8 Advanced Custom Rom


Well as a first proper post goes this is not a bad way to start.

I bought one of these great tablets off ebay a few months back from a UK company called Gadgetfreakz, actually it's my second the first was a semi dead unit I bought 2nd hand from someone else and it refuses to be fully fixed . . . for now.

Aside from some minor issues such as screen viewing angles and a bit of back light bleed these things are a cracking buy for the money with a high res 1280x768 Screen, pretty good GPU that can play some Tegra games, HDMI out and USB input among other things.

However the firmware on them left a lot to be desired and is in Chinese by default, thankfully the latter was easy to deal with to an extent, the former not so easy. Recently a 2.3.4 beta Rom appeared on the Chinese speaking boards and was a major improvement over the 2.2 releases however as always they were in Chinese as a first language and contained stuff that was no use to us English speaking types. So I decided it was time to apply a bit of magic and make my own Rom. Download link at the bottom of the post.

This has also been posted up on MP4Nation and XDA Developers

(screenshot app not included)

Links to the firmware (if you want to mirror please let me know so i can add links here)
Novo 8 2.3.4a Firmware UK Edition (Rapidshare)
Gadgetfreakz Mirror (Thanks to GFZ @ XDA for the mirror)
TabletRepublic Mirror (Thanks to Andropos)

Obligatory first post :)

Hello world,

I finally went and made myself a site. This is where I shall be posting my various fixes, tweaks and hacks for the large amount of things I do when bored or in need of a 'If it's not broke, make it better' © moment.  I have little things dotted here there and everywhere and it would be nice to have them all under one site. I shall get round to giving the blog a proper theme and style later . . . but for now let gets some posts up.