Apr 17

What I do to keep the Google Pixel’s Android OS up to date

As an ever vigilant pursuer of the most modern yet stable – oh the paradox – software for my daily carry mobile device, I sprung for the Google Pixel around seven months ago.  Having received it five-ish months ago – like most everyone else I waited forever from order / wait to in-hand – I immediately rooted it. Thereby effectively paving the way for continuing my hobby of riding the edge of brick-dom by manually flashing firmware updates. OTA updates don’t work for us hackers.

As any Google branded device owner will attest, the monthly Android OS updates are a tremendous perk over the other guys.  So, with my rooted Pixel, these very updates have become a monthly trial.  Albeit considering my previous LG and Samsung devices, this trial continues to be more or less safe – no more bootloader unlock dev community goodluckery.  Indeed, the practice is relatively routine now that I’ve performed it four such times, and put together a set of instructions that outlines the generalities as well as the odd foibles involved.

Do note that I decided to keep stock recovery awhile back; I forget the posts that convinced me of this, though many safely use TWRP as their primary recovery.  With that said, the rest of this has worked very well for me, whom simply needs root, and doesn’t want to reset from factory every update.  Perhaps this step-by-step – to update to the latest android, root, and keep stock recovery – will help others.  Please have a working adb install and your bootloader unlocked before hand.

Disclaimer: I am NOT responsible if your brick your phone.  Seriously, this isn’t for the meek, it voids your warranty, and may scare your children though this depends on how you handle stress.

  1. Download latest image for your pixel variant — sailfish for 5″, marlin for 5.5″(developers.google.com)
  2. Unzip the image, and edit flash-all(.bat or .sh – depending on your environment) and remove -w flag to prevent the wiping of all your data.
  3. Enable USB debugging (in developer options)
  4. From CLI, execute:
    adb reboot bootloader
    sh flash-all.sh
  5. WAIT for it to do its thing!  The process doesn’t give much feedback between steps.  Do not ctrl+c. This may take five to 10 minutes where it looks like nothing is happening. The phone will reboot several times, you’ll get a bunch of ‘OKAY’ output in your cmd terminal.  Afterwards you’ll be upgraded (w/o root); go check ‘About Phone’ after login (and also to let the upgrade finish after boot) to confirm android version change.
  6. Download TWRP (for pixel / android oreo)
    1. Download Magisk (Magisk v16)
    2. Copy the magisk zip file to your device
    3. adb reboot bootloader then fastboot boot <twrp.img>
    4. Install / flash the magisk zip, then reboot
  7. TWRP was patched on 3/8/18; step #6 now works again.  Instead, have magisk patch boot.img and flash it by following instructions originally found here .
    1. Download MagiskManager-v5.5.3.apk directly to your phone and install it.
    2. Download the Android 8.1 Oreo boot image taken from the official firmware and place it on your phone. (In my case, it is the boot.img file located in the image-sailfish-opm1.171019.016.zip)
    3. Open MagiskManager and then click on “Install“ and direct magisk to the boot.img you just put on your phone. MagiskManager will patch this boot image.
    4. Copy the patched boot image to your PC. The patched boot image would named patched_boot.img located in /sdcard/MagiskManager/
    5. Connect your phone to your computer and use ADB to reboot and flash the patched boot image.
      adb reboot bootloader
      fastboot flash boot patched_boot.img
      fastboot reboot
  8. And you are rooted running the latest Android Oreo.

Begin optional stuff, for the restless.

  • FYI, you can get to the bootloader through these manual commands (as opposed to adb reboot bootloader) — with phone off, turn phone back on holding volume down + power buttons
  • Flash other stuff custom kernel, busybox, xposed, etc and whatever other root things you may desire

Tethering / Hot Spot capability is all but required for most folks these days.  With root, these are the basic steps to disable the bullshit carrier impositions on my “unlimited data” plan.

$ adb shell
$ su
# mount -o rw,remount /system
# echo "net.tethering.noprovisioning=true" >> /system/build.prop
# settings put global tether_dun_required 0

then, reboot and profit (by keeping your ~$150/year for the privilege of using your data plan how you choose.)

Add more media volume levels

$ adb shell 
$ su 
# mount -o rw,remount /system
# echo "ro.config.media_vol_steps=25" >> /system/build.prop

Post Last Updated for March ’18 release of Android (Oreo) 8.1

Sep 16

Tales from the Brewery: Everyone’s Ale

It’d been two-ish years since I brewed a batch of beer. Saturday afternoon I finally sucked up the will to deal with the tedium that follows when one homebrews (e.g. cleaning, sanitizing, trying-not-to-multitask-cuz-you’ll-fuck-it-up-ing). The rewards have, in the past, been substantial: gratification through the act of creation, artistically satisfying, and socially uplifting.

I dusted off (literally) my numerous pieces of brewing gear and began the process with recipe and ingredients procured from the local Lafayette Homebrew shoppe.

With the boil underway and molecular excitement reaching peaks, the smell of my homebrew is positively intoxicating.

With the hops added and frustrating boil-over largely abated (I reviewed the preceding link after the fact), I spent the next 45 minutes of the 60 minute boil preparing for the post-boil events. Namely, after you finish the boil, you’ve got to cool it down. Lo & behold my trusty wort chiller was no longer, so I had to do it the old fashion way (that is super low-tech).

Sorta longer story short, this batch marked one of the most disappointing weekend projects as of late. A catastrophe suitable enough to inspire even the laziest of writers to blog.

As I turned the corner, well ahead of my four minute go-fuckin’-check-on-it timer mind you, I experienced a moment of realization that I am not the Flash nor Superman. All I could do was watch, the beginnings of an eventual long, dreadfully sorrowful “no” forming on my lips.

If only the irony derived from this beer’s name and fate were as delicious as the beer would have been.

Nov 13

Making monotonous jobs fun


Die Hard: With a Ventilation Duct


Bruce Willis

Apr 13

Staples redefines monitor “Response Time”






staples lcd monitor specification meaning ignorance


Either the staples editor responsible for this 25” LCD product listing revels in technological ignorance, or is just the kind of joker that amuses me most.  It’s the kind of thing you might see written into an episode of the IT Crowd.

For what it’s worth, a monitor’s response time has nothing to do with power on, but it sure is funny to think about.  (Wikipedia has it right)

Feb 13

Price (USD) of the most precious Legendary item in Guildwars 2

How much is the most valuable item in this game worth in a currency non-players will understand?

Above is the stated Gold value of the item.  But looking to actually buy we find that there is just one available for sale, and for more than 2x the stated “value”:


Let’s break it down, here are the components:


That’s: 1S 39C(opper) for 1 Gem.  So let’s find out how many gems Eternity is worth:

5000G / 1s 39c = 359712.23 Gems

And finally, USD:

359712.23 gems / 800 gems = 449.64$

To put a little perspective on this: over the past year (or there abouts) I’ve logged about 130hours of GW2 game time.  With the normal in-game, character development and equipment expenditures and a little frugality, I’ve just 7G in my “bank”.

Guild Wars 2 was designed this way – gold is a scare resource – it takes a lot of work to earn.  So actually ,$450 seems pretty reasonable given that it would take some very serious dedication to earn the gold for or craft it; probably well over a thousand hours much of which would be considered a grind.

Not that I would *ever* buy this, nor that do I even endorse such a concept. This was just FTTA.

Dec 12

12/12/12 12:12:12

It is fun to think about numerology particularly when it occurs “organically” like today’s date. Today’s date will get a lot of attention – unabashed disregard and frantic fascination alike – simply because it is a commonality to so many. In other words, it’s going to get talked about ad nauseum.

I just think it’s cool, always had a soft spot for special-looking numeric sequences. And it’s the last of the sort (like 11/11/11 11:11:11 last year) for my lifetime. That is, unless I live to be 120. (Here’s hoping?)

So do something really special today to mark and celebrate our date’s uniqueness. Chances are it’s your last opportunity, too.

Jan 12

Stop SOPA protests will have a day of productivity side-effect

With numerous time-sink sites going down (e.g. reddit, slickdeals, xda, fark, xkcd, wordpress, boingboing) after internet peoples contact their congress person(s) will have little choice but to get to work. And or post on their own blogs. Ahem. Venturebeat has handily captured screenshots of many of the stop-sopa participants homepages.

Also, who doesn’t love theoatmeal:

…As someone who creates content for the web, earns a living from it, and has had his content pirated, I do feel that we need better legislation against online piracy.
I do not, however, think that SOPA or PIPA are the legislation we need.

Want to help in the fight against SOPA / PIPA? First, go learn about the bills. After that go contact your elected officials. Wikipedia has a handy-dandy page set up which allows you to locate your state representative.

Hugs and jet skis,
-The Oatmeal

Continue reading →

Nov 11

11/11/11 11:11:11

Human kind’s fascination with time is fascinating in itself. Anticipation and anxiety go hand in hand with the passage of time. For many, the repeating of this specific digit indicates a special moment to make a wish. While largely arbitrary, it is a sweet sentiment which I share.

Discovery, on the other hand, has a much more cynical analysis of the occurrence.

“Much of the interest is rooted in superstition and numerology, the idea that numbers are inherently lucky (such as 7) or unlucky (such as 13). Numbers are of course artificial and man-made, and they have no more or less significance than humans give them. Still, numerology has been around for millennia and is embraced today by millions of New Agers and others.

We tend to give special significance to certain numbers (or sequences of numbers) because we see them as meaningful when in fact they are not. There is a well-known psychological bias in the way humans perceive and remember our experiences called confirmation bias. Often described as “remembering the hits and forgetting the misses,” it refers to the ways in which our brains selectively recall information. Our minds are good at remembering coincidences and making connections between unrelated events in the world.”

The math surrounding the number is also rather interesting.

“The number eleven has a special characteristic in mathematics where it is a prime number. It contains some interesting peculiarities where the number eleven times itself equals a palindrome:
(2 digits) 11 x 11 = 121
(6 digits) 111111 x 111111 = 12345654321
(9 digits) 111111111 x 111111111 = 12345678987654321”

HAPPY 11/11/11 11:11:11!
Now make a wish!

Oct 11

Anne Castellon is…

“a rebel with a trash bag”

“…donned a hazmat-type protective jumpsuit and gloves, inflated a small boat and rowed out into the [Petaluma’s Lucchesi Park] pond to begin collecting floating debris.

Within a few minutes, she was told by a city employee that she wasn’t allowed in the lake. When Castellon said she wasn’t coming out, the person said she’d call police.

Two officers arrived at Lucchesi about an hour later and left after about 15 minutes, never approaching Castellon. Lt. Tim Lyons said no city laws prevent floating on the algae-filled pond, or even swimming if one wanted to.

After a couple of hours, Castellon, her husband, Albert, and her brother, Walt Bagley, had amassed several large garbage bags filled with all manner of flotsam and jetsam…”

[via the press democrat]

Thank you Castellon family.

Oct 11

Just the facts, how I bought a Ford Fusion

First, for weeks, I was like, hmmmmm

Then I was like, wooo!

But still, hmm; it was a lot of $$ for a very part time player.

And for awhile after, I was like arrrgh. But since I bought from

I was like, yeeeah.