CyanogenMod 7 On Rogers Captivate

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Mar 312011

The CMSGS team has for the last month been releasing beta versions of their port of CyanogenMod for the Samsung Galaxy S line of phones, including the Captivate. CyanogenMod is interesting because it is the first ROM for the SGS that can actually be described as developed by real developers. They have taken the source code for Gingerbread on the Nexus S posted by Google to, and have been actively porting it to the SGS hardware.

Previous ROMs for the SGS lineup have been more accurately described as “cooked” by “ROM chefs”, as opposed to developed. Essentially these chefs take already compiled versions of the ROMs released by carriers, unzip them, strip out the crap apps, add a custom theme, and a kernel, zip it back up, and call it a new ROM. The only real development was happening on the kernels, for which Samsung had to release the source code. But CyanogenMod is built entirely from source, not just the kernel. It’s a far more ambitious project.

If you’re interested in trying out CyanogenMod, the install instructions, necessary files, and known bugs can all be found in this post on the CyanogenMod forums. Please, read ALL of the post, and DO do the optional step of installing the Gapps, unless you like the idea of not having the Android Market. Please note that this is still a beta release, and the battery life is poor. But it’s getting better with each release.

Removing The AT&T Boot Screen From A Samsung Captivate

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Jan 162011

Anyone who has played around with custom ROMs on their Samsung Captivate (particularly if you started with the Rogers SGH-I896) knows that there is an AT&T logo when you first boot the phone. It’s mildly annoying for those of us who don’t actually have an AT&T phone. Well, I’ve found a solution.

First, an explanation of how the boot sequence works. When you first power on the phone, it’s the responsibility of the boot loader (similar to a BIOS on a regular computer*) to display an initial graphic on the display. The boot loader then loads the kernel, and then it’s the kernels turn to display a graphic on the screen. The kernel loads the rest of the ROM, and then the ROM gets a chance to display a boot logo or even  boot animation. The instructions below will show you how to change the first boot logo.

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ROM Of The Moment: Assonance

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Dec 062010

I’ve tried out a lot of ROMs in the last few weeks. Cognition was a great ROM, but is no longer actively developed, the developer having moved on to Perception. Perception showed a lot of potential up to and including build 4, but all builds after that have been unstable to the point of unusability. Axura CE (Captivate Edition) showed promise, but then some schoolyard drama appears to have killed off that project.

But the ROM of the moment and a serious contender for being my go-to ROM is currently Assonance 3.1.

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Recovering A Captivate From Near-Dead

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Nov 212010

A reader recently contacted me looking for advice with his new Captivate. He was concerned he’d bricked it, but the phone was getting as far as recovery mode, which meant that I was confident it could be saved. I met him at a coffee shop, and we spent some time recovering his phone. I learned some stuff, and have some thoughts that are worth sharing. But first, I’ll explain how to do this yourself.

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Samsung Captivate Wish List

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Nov 092010

Since my previous post about flashing my new Samsung Captivate from the stock Rogers ROM to the AT&T build of Android 2.2 I’ve flashed the device to a couple different versions of the Cognition ROMs. They’re certainly an improvement over the stock Rogers ROM, but Cognition is still based on the AT&T ROM, and I really do think that the Rogers ROM would actually be a better starting point because there is a lot less cruft. So, without further adieu here is my wishlist for a hybrid Rogers/Cognition ROM:

  1. Get rid of that damn AT&T boot logo
  2. Let me select the original Samsung Galaxy boot/shutdown animations, they’re actually really nice
  3. Use the Rogers modem files, since they have superior GPS functionality (though the Rogers modem config does not support HSUPA)
  4. Caller Name Display (as far as I can tell, no US carrier supports caller name display on their mobile networks, but Canadian firms do, so that explains why it’s missing)
  5. When using Maps, it seems that my direction wrong by about 90 degrees.

I think that swapping out the boot animations should be pretty simple, if I could figure out how to use make the bootsamsung.qmg files (which I believe are raw frame buffer files that are the animation) work from a file. A little more research and #2 could probably be solved. The other three require either more knowledge, or assistance from the guys who actually make Cognition.