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.  Perhaps this step-by-step – to update to the latest android, root, and keep stock recovery – will help others.

  1. Download latest image for your pixel variant (sailfish for 5″ marlin for 5.5″) https://developers.google.com/android/images
  2. Remove -w flag from flash-all.(bat/sh) and save file to prevent the wiping of everything
  3. adb reboot bootloader
  4. run flash-all.(bat/sh)
  5. WAIT for it to do its thing!  Doesn’t appear to do much, but it is.  Do not ctrl+c, This may take five to 10 minutes where it looks like nothing is happening.  Eventually, phone will reboot when done, and you’ll get a bunch of output in your cmd terminal.  Afterwards you’ll be upgraded (w/o root); go check About Phone after login (and also let the upgrade finish after boot) to confirm.
  6. adb reboot bootloader
  7. fastboot boot TWRP-XX.img ( fastboot boot whatever version appears to be the best ) – this simply boots you into TWRP for supersu
  8. Make sure unlock pattern shows up and/or you are able to decrypt your device.  If it does not, reboot and go back to step 6
  9. flash superSU inside twrp
    1. This is well documented on xda – I recommend you search for the threads but in short, this means downloading the latest / “supported” SuperSU for pixel, copying it to the device, and Installing the zip
  10. reboot system, and you are rooted
  11. (begin optional stuff, for the restless) install busybox pro
  12. turn off phone, turn phone back on using volume down +power to go into bootloader
  13. flash kernel and whatever other root things you may want

Tethering / Hot Spot capability is all but required for most folks these days.  These are the basic steps (and really the primary reason why I root) to disable the bullshit my carrier imposes on my “unlimited data” plan.  

  1. adb shell
  2. su
  3. mount -o rw,remount /system
  4. echo “net.tethering.noprovisioning=true” >> /system/build.prop
  5. settings put global tether_dun_required 0
  6. reboot and profit aka keep your ~$150/year for the privilege

Disclaimer: I am NOT responsible if your brick your phone.  Seriously this isn’t for the meek, it voids your warranty, and scares your (future) children.

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.