Audible on Linux

Not a specific Android post, but due to necessity I’ve stumbled across a way of doing something moderately simply that is otherwise moderately difficult. Your definition of simple and difficult may be different to mine. YMMV.

I love the guys over at Audible for their cheap audio books and large selection of titles. One thing that has bugged the Linux community for a long time though has been the lack of a native Linux client.

A lot of the suggested ways to get the content involve tricking Linux into playing the content by passing it through Windows Media Player codecs or by using the Windows application to create virtual audio CDs that can then be ripped. Some people also say that Wine works, but it didn’t when I tried it.

The way I tried today is to install an Android emulator onto my Linux laptop, install the Audible Android app to the emulator and get the content legally (according to Audible’s ToS). This does eat up one of your Audible installs but I think this is one of the cleanest and safest (as in playing by the rules of Audible’s DRM) ways to access their content on Linux.

This post explains in detail how to install the Android emulator, the Android .apk can be found on the Android Market site and this post explains how to use ADB to manually install the .apk to the emulator. If, like me, you have your real phone connected at the same time, make sure that you use the -e switch with ADB to install to the emulator.

Then go to your apps screen in the emulator, fire up Audible and log in as you would on your phone. Works great.

Audible on Linux

SwiftKey

Absolutely loving this IME as it takes a lot of pain out of typing on the Nexus.

It also produces some amazing results:

SwiftKey Crack

Cyanogen

Upgraded to Cyanogen 6 today and found the make-everything-work rebuild permissions option. Now working great with all my apps, root and busybox. Great bit of software.

Android as a sysadmin

I’ve already got the WordPress application for the Nexus so I can use it as a content creation device while on the move, but yesterday morning I put it through the most comprehensive administration workout so far.

On the train in to work I used the web browser and an SSH session to install a secondary WordPress build on my server.

It was fiddly, tricky and the on-screen keyboard did not help one bit in the SSH session, but I was able to copy and extract the tarball, set up the config file, install it, alter my vhosts setup and reboot Apache all from within Android on the Nexus.

It is a real computer.

Froyo, Ubuntu and Busybox

Tried to boot my Ubuntu build on the Nexus and got the shock of my life when it failed to boot. I initially got 2 error messages, the second of which was complaining about a lack of chroot.

The problem was a lack of BusyBox. Since the Froyo build was a stock + root only it is lacking some of the nice toys we are used to.

BusyBox can be downloaded from here. The busybox-armv6l works fine on my Nexus.

Instructions to install it can be found here and here.

Ubuntu now boots just fine.

Froyo + battery

On my first day out with Froyo it seems to be tanking the battery massively. Down to under 50% charge in half a day and needed a mid-day charge. It’s also getting a lot hotter around the base.

I’m going to keep an eye on it and possibly back the radio firmware down to an earlier release if this continues.

Nexus, Froyo and Flash

Or, why Steve Jobs can kiss my ring.

After many unsuccessful attempts to get a Cyanogen build to remain stable on the Nexus (*cries* so many good features) I have opted for the rooted Froyo build, available from here:

FRF50

Some goods, some bads. beebPlayer and Skype seem to be unavailable from the market for this build for the time being. On the up side, the new release appears to be a lot faster and I now have access to the official Flash app from Adobe. While there are many reasons to hate Flash, Jobs seems to have picked the wrong ones as it works perfectly on the Nexus.

Sound is exceedingly quiet in the video. Video quality is down to use of the G1 as a capture device.

Coming soon (when I can be bothered): Open Office on the Ubuntu build.

Desire user agent

A kind colleague with a new HTC Desire hit up my webserver for me and I captured this:

Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; U; Android 2.1-update1; en-gb; Desire_A8181 Build/ERE27) AppleWebKit/530.17 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile Safari/530.17

Nexus One user agent

I have seen the question asked about what user agent the Nexus uses. If no one else has already answered it, it is:

Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; U; Android 2.1; en-gb; Nexus One Build/ERD79) AppleWebKit/530.17 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile Safari/530.17

Flash on the Nexus

I was put off at first for a long time by trying to get a flash player running on the Gnome build. I eventually stumbled on this thread and found out about Gnash. A simple apt-get install gnash was all that was needed on my build to install it.

Adobe now report:

Sadly, the Nexus went chunky under the load from albinoblacksheep and almost crashed like it did last time. I managed to save the Android by killing the VNC server from the ADB shell. It took a couple of minutes of sitting and thinking to recover but after that the UI was as normal and the VNC server came back up quickly. This is the best I have from that run:

Guessing that the load came from the double whammy of both the JavaScript and the Flash I turned to a lighter weight old favourite:

It worked perfectly, without the sound of course.