Pocophone F1 Fixed – So Much Software in Smartphones!

I had really bad touch screen glitches in my phone, and I was convinced it was a hardware issue. Well, turns out that in addition to the ROM (I run LineageOS), there is also a separate Kernel. Updating to FrancoKernel seemed to have fixed it!

This is not the first time I had a problem with software that I wasn’t even aware of: In the past, I had a phone where I had to update the radio firmware, as the new SIM card I got was constantly crashing…

 

Lineage OS on Xiaomi Pocophone F1

Lineage OS on Xiaomi Pocophone F1

My old Oppo Find 7 served me really well for 5 years. But Oppo stopped updating Android a long time ago, so I switched to Omni ROM. But updates stopped a year ago as well, and I had to fight with more and more demanding applications.

So I switched to another China-Phone, Xiaomi Pocophone F1. I gave MIUI 10 a try, but I decided to switch for the following reasons:

  • No interest in the full stack of Google applications
  • Need the ability to modify my hosts file for global ad blocking
  • Nontransparent permission management

So here are the steps I took to install Lineage OS on the phone instead:

  • Unlock Bootloader
  • Install TWRM (watch out: As soon as you boot back to MIUI, it will be removed!)
  • Install Vendor Firmware (watch out! Only 9.x works, not 10.x)
  • Install Lineage OS
  • Install Open GApps Pico
  • Install Magisk (also provides root, SuperSU did not work)
  • Download your favorite ad-blocking hosts file. Use TWRM and mount system, then copy the file to /system/etc.

Biggest downside of using Lineage: Fortnite does not work any more!

Teufel One S: Große Enttäuschung, kein Chromecast

Nachdem ich vor längerer Zeit ein Raufeld One S gekauft habe, wollte ich mein Netzwerk durch ein weiteres Gerät ergänzen. Da es offiziell als Nachfolgeprodukt beworben wurde, habe ich mich für das Teufel One S entschieden. Das war eine Große Enttäuschung, denn Chromcast Support wurde entfernt, eine von mir viel benutzte Funktion. Bei einem nicht gerade billigen Gerät (€200) nicht nachzuvollziehen, und ich bin auch nicht bereit, den Aufpreis von weiteren €200 für das Teufel One M zu bezahlen.

My favorite Android G1 apps

  • OI File Manager for file browsing
  • AppManager to install apps outside the market place
  • PDF Viewer – not optimal as it renders externally, but better than nothing
  • Toggle Settings – most important app!  Allows quick turning on and off of power consuming services
  • Battery Widget – shows the precise charge of the battery
  • Meridian Player – pretty good audio and video player
  • Steel – webbrowser, I like it better than the default browser
  • Notepad with Sync – allows the synchronization of notes with Helipad
  • Tetherbot – allows tethering of a laptop for web access.  Works only with cable and requires root access on the phone.
  • ConnectBot – SSH Client
  • Metal Detector – amazingly, it really works
  • Google Sky Map – cool, but useless in a city
  • Doom for Android – because we can
  • TED – Browser and Viewer for TED-Talks
  • Terminal Emulator – Command Line
  • The Weather Channel – in my opinion the best weather app – allerdings it only supports °F, not °C.

Vodafone UMTS with Ubuntu 8.04 and Thinkpad T61

The instructions here are based on this set of instructions (thanks to taternik, the author).

First, I made sure that the card works via Windows.  The preinstalled Windows has a Tool for configuring the Card.  Make sure that everything works there first.  I disabled PIN-entry.  Supposedly there is a way under Linux to have a pin-prompt, but I skipped that part.

Two new files have to be created as root:

/etc/ppp/peers/vodafone

###########################################
#Suggested Vodafone PPPD configuration file
#File /etc/ppp/peers/vodafone
###########################################
#Set this to the device allocated to the GlobeTrotter
/dev/ttyUSB0
#Baudrate
115200
#Idle time for closing connection
idle 7200
#Lock the device for this PPPD process use only
lock
#Use normal handshaking
crtscts
#Assume it is a modem device and force modem control methods
modem
#Any user can start the connection
noauth
#If a default route exists replace it with the ppp link
#You get an error if this command is not supported
#by your version of PPPD
replacedefaultroute
#Make the ppp link the default root
defaultroute
#Username and Password for computer/GlobeTrotter ppp link
#Normally ignored. Change if GSM Operator requires it
user vodafone
password vodafone
#Change the path to chat if required for your version of Linux
connect "/usr/sbin/chat -V -f /etc/ppp/peers/vodafone-chat"
#Accept IP address provided by network
noipdefault
#Detach PPPD from console used to run the program {optional}
#updetach
#Get DNS addresses from operator
usepeerdns
#Don't use VJ compression for ppp link
novj
###########################################
/etc/ppp/peers/vodafone-chat
# Suggested chat script called by PPPD
# File: /etc/ppp/rogers-chat
###########################################
ABORT BUSY
ABORT 'NO CARRIER'
ABORT ERROR
REPORT CONNECT
TIMEOUT 10
"" "AT&F"
OK "ATE1"
OK "AT+CGDCONT=1,\042IP\042,\042web.vodafone.de\042"
SAY "Calling Vodafone UMTSn"
TIMEOUT 60
OK "ATD*99***1#"
CONNECT c
###########################################
###########################################

Almost done! Now we only need a way to start the connection.  This must be done as root with the following command:

sudo pppd call vodafone

For convenience, I created a launcher with the type "Application in Terminal".  When done with the connection, it can simply be stopped with a Ctrl-C.

VoIP with Sipura, Sipgate and Netgear Router

A year on, I thought I’d give it another try. I have a Sipura 1001 connected to a the Internet through a Netgear WGR614, all configured for Sipgate.

The trickiest part was to configure the router. Automatic routing didn’t work, so I had to create a port forwarding table. What confused me for the longest time was that the instructions on the Sipgate website were incorrect, at least for my configuration. The Sipgate website mentioned the wrong RTP-Ports. They listed UDP 5004 for UDP, but by logging into the Sipura’s web interface, I found out that there was actually a range for UDP, from 16384 – 16482. Strange.

Anyway, if you are in a similar situation, I strongly recommend to check the device’s interface to find the proper ports to be forwarded.

Creating a free public Hotspot

My first hope was to buy a working solution, rather than building one.  Well, the price tag was beyond €1000, so that became a last-resort option.

My neighbor was then pointing me to OpenWRT, a Linux System for embedded devices.  He suggested to use it together with ChillySpot.  Cool.  I started to look into WRT, and for a while I was hoping to use it directly on my D-Link.  But that was too much to ask for, so I invested in a Linksys WRT54GL, a fairly cheap router that was opensourced by Linksys (thank you, Linksys!!!).  Installing OpenWRT was a breeze, and I was truely amazed!  A fully working Linux system, with web server and plenty of goodies, running on a router!

The excitement wasn’t lasting for long, though, as I was trying to get Chillispot to work. Even though there was plenty documentation online, the project became quickly a pain: Dependencies were missing, far too many parameters had to be tweaked, and the whole thing felt like a mess.  Even worse, eventually I figured out that Chillispot would not work without an accounting system, consisting of a Radius and Database Server, and those cannot be installed on the Router.  So I’d have to configure my home server, figure out a way to connect securely, etc., etc.  That was too much, and I started to look around for other software.

Then I discovered, NoCat, and NoCatSplash specifically. That sounded exactly what I wanted.  But my excitement started to crumble when the whole damn thing first didn’t work, and then started to give me Segmentation Faults.  I even went back and installed older versions of WRT, which only made things worse.

The final rescue came in the form of EWRT – a bundle of WRT and NoCatSplash.  So I flashed the router again.  First I got a shock – it looked as if I had lost WRT and was back to the Linksys interface!  But soon I discovered that EWRT simply gave the system the Linksys look.  And it worked – it worked beautifully!  Modifying the splash screen to fit the Cafe’s theme was extremely easy, too.

And that was that.  There is no collecting of information, but that wasn’t a firm requirement, and in retrospect seems like a lot of hassle for very little gain.