Effective Technical Writing

In over a decade of my technical writing experience, I have been rather amused to see how newbie technical writers execute their duties as a professional technical writer. Ironically although they possess knowledge of technical writing tools like Adobe Frame Maker or Robohelp, along with inborn writing skills, still somewhere they get lost when it comes to producing a well ‘constructed’ user guide or online help!

Yup, the word is ‘getting lost’! Many less experienced technical writer often forgot the fact that above all of their tools knowledge and writing skills, the most crucial aspect is ‘well constructed composition’! Many times even for small screens or modules, I have seen writers simply writing and writing without realizing the importance of ‘well organized composition’ of the content.

So what is well organized composition and how to achieve this goal? Well the answer is simple – trash the unwanted, focus ONLY on what is to be conveyed to the end user, and decide the most crucial element of all – the approach! As a technical writer you have to come up with a ‘approach’ that would help you organize and present the content of your document in a highly effective manner. For example, you have one new field that is being added to 10 screens. So you have to decide the approach on how are you going to present this new field to the end user? Are you going to mention it 10 times for all 10 screens? Or are you simply going to create a new chapter mentioning this new field and then simply place a reference link in all 10 screen chapter? Well the shorter, simpler and crispier is your approach, the better! Because users are impatient and want to have information as quick as possible! The best thing that the tools offer is the facility to add reference links! Reference links allows you to minimize the repetition of content and the length of your user guide as well! What is necessary to understand is when you write a user guide, you are providing information and at the same time you also are instructing the user on how to perform a specific function! So it is necessary that you gel both of these aspects and then present it in the simplest manner possible!

Remember as a technical writer you should understand that your end user is your student! He or she is completely unaware of the features that are you going to write about and hence it is very important for you to think of all aspects that will help you present your ‘story’ to the end user in the most effective manner. Well imagine or rather consider yourself as the Director of a movie! Yup, the movie (software) is written (coded) by the programmer, and now it is YOU who have been given this magnanimous task of ‘presenting’ this movie to the end user! So guess what would be your first stand? As a Director, the very first task would be to decide on ‘how to present’ this movie? What should be the ‘approach’? Many times a movie that has to be directed has many complicated sequences, just the way the software has many complicated screens or fields! But a seasoned Director knows how to present such complicated movies in a most effective manner! This is because he is a good analyzer! He breaks every aspect of the movie in bits and pieces, and then he analysis each piece of the movie and then comes up with a finalized approach! Similarly as a technical writer you have to break a module into pieces, analyze each of the screens and then come up with a finalized TOC (table of contents)! Once your table of contents is finalized then you are all set to start up with writing on each of the chapters!

Table of Contents is the blueprint of your approach! It displays How and Where you are going to mention features and functionalities of each module! Think like a ‘teacher’ or rather like a ‘friend’ when you write a user guide! Just imagine if your end user is standing next to you and asking you on ‘how to do, what to do, to get a desired outcome’ then how would you explain? Wouldn’t you try to explain it in the most easily understandable way? Wouldn’t you give one or two example, or demonstrations? Well certainly you would! So that is how you have to be when you are writing a user guide! Always imagine that your end user is standing next to you and asking you about a feature of the software and then start writing so that when you write you will be more sensitive to the end user needs and expectations! And eventually you will generate the most effective and usable user guide!

Thus to become an effective technical writer, some of the crucial aspects that you need to understand and implement are:

Analyze the features

Do not overload yourself with too much of information

Use only that information which needs to be conveyed in the user guide

Work on the ‘Approach’, try to ‘present’ the gathered information in simple, shorter and quicker way

Use Reference links wisely so as to minimize the repetition of content and as well as to generate a compact user guide which is not lengthy and boring!

 

Energy Harvesting- Charge your wearable technology with heat, sun, and vibration!

As wearable technology gets more popular and smart clothing gets… smarter… one major challenge is going to be how we are going to power all this stuff! Sure, a glow in the dark LED snowboarding suit is cool, but the last thing you’d want to do is have to plug your smart jacket into an outlet to charge it up! Energy harvesting is going to become a much larger industry in the coming years, mark our words. In fact it’s estimated go grow from $605m in 2010 to $4.4bn by 2020! Check out some interesting clothing integrated energy harvesting possibilities for how you will be able to charge your wearable tech using the sun, heat, and good vibrations!

Harvest Those Good Vibrations
Piezoelectric vibration sensors are a mouthful to say but are already in use today in Nike’s smart shoes (not pictured) that wirelessly link to your phone or fitness tracker (like the Nike+ FuelBand perhaps…) and track your steps and speed. These sensors use constant movement to generate current to power a wireless link. They are particularly useful in running shoes where there is a lot of constant motion, but can also be woven into clothing to form a fancy capacitor that will store energy to power your devices. For a lower tech solution there is also the nPower PEG which harvests kinetic energy and charges an internal 1000mah battery that can be plugged into numerous devices to provide completely green energy!

Heat It Up With Thermal Sensors
Thanks to something called the Peltier effect, sensors can be placed around your body and detect the differences in your body heat to generate a current. By now most of us know you can get more power out of a dead battery by sticking it under your armpit for a while and heating it up. That isn’t the Peltier effect… that’s just gross. However, these thermal sensors can generate a current not only from your body heat, but from the difference in temperature on the inside and outside of a garment! These ‘thermopiles’ can already generate up to 2mW when walking around, which won’t charge your iPhone but is more than enough to power a health monitoring device or trickle feed some other piece of tech. These sensors can even be washed and ironed without having to worry about breaking them.

Solar Power To The Rescue
While themopiles and fancy vibration sensors are great for trickle feed a wireless connection or a low energy consumption piece of tech, sometimes you just need some serious energy production! This is where solar cells come to the rescue, and thanks to advances in flexible solar cells they can now be added onto clothing, jackets, backpacks, and more quite easily and even (dare we say it) stylishly! New solar cells have an increased efficiency so that they can generate power even from indoor lighting ‘low light’ conditions. And thanks to the advances in flexible lithium ion batteries that can be woven into clothing now, they can provide enough power to actually charge and power cell phones, LEDs, music players, and more.

As our clothing gets smarter and our energy needs get higher and higher, we can expect to see these new methods of harvesting energy becoming more common place. There’s no reason why these technologies can’t be used in tandem either, so before you know the days of plugging in your smart phone may be over and the days of being a living breathing energy generating power plant may be upon us!

Comparison Review: 2011 Ford Mustang vs 2010 Chevrolet Camaro

Two giant auto names Chevy and Ford are at it once again. This time, these two iconic manufacturers are staging war in terms of who have got the better performing vehicle in the market.Ever since the launching of the Ford Mustang in 1964, the models built in with the V6 engine has failed to perform to expectations. Instead, they have been reduced to becoming merely a cheap option for daily transportation. Then came GM’s reboot of whole new 2010 Chevrolet Camaro and it set a whole new standard for engine performance with its 304-hp and 273 lb-ft torque V6 engine. For the first time, pony cars offered true power on the road without having to sacrifice fuel economy rating.

To further understand just how impressive the Camaro engine is, the 2011 Mustang GT offered a V8 engine that earned a rating of 315 horsepower, which is only slightly above the performance of the V6 engine for 2010 Chevy Camaro. This therefore irked the folks at Ford and this was to be the start of yet another intense phase in their rivalry.

Hence, they came up with new engines for the Mustang series that were due for release in 2011. some of these models will go on sale this year. The rebirth of the “5.0” V8 in 2011 mustang is the biggest news for Mustang fanatics, which claim to deliver some of the highest engine ratings the industry has seen thus far – 412 horsepower! The V6 also received some tweak of its own such that it can now deliver 305 horsepower and 280 lb-ft torque, which was slightly above that of the 2010 Camaro’s. But there are no changes in 2011 Chevrolet Camaro, it will come with same specs of 2010 Camaro. Only difference between 2010 Camaro and 2011 Camaro is official rating.

Some of the officials from Ford were asked to respond to rumors on whether the Mustang pony car was detailed and improved in an effort to compete with the Chevy model, they could not deny the fact. That admission therefore focused on a lot of attention on what each side is going to do next and that made a really interesting prospect for consumers.

Soon after Ford announced the numbers for the new mustang V6, GM followed it up with their own announcement. They have cited that their V6 engine will have its new official power rating for all of its future models, which is estimated at 312 horsepower and 278 lb-ft torque. Once again, 2010 camaro took the lead on this ongoing battle.

Again Ford stated that its 2011 V6 Mustang will give 31 mpg’s on the highway with a six-speed automatic transmission while Camaro gives 29 mpg with six speed manual transmission

When weight is concerned lightest V6 Camaro comes with hefty 3,719 pounds, while Ford’s calculation for the 2011 Mustang V6 is 3,473

How did GM achieve this and pull in 8 extra horsepower? It’s pretty simple. They have tested the Camaro V6 engine in accordance with the Society of Automotive Engineering to provide more certification to their engine offerings. Even the GM officials claimed that any step Ford was taking to further their efforts in this long-running competition only served to fuel GM’s desire to up their own.

It was getting clearer by the day that the ability to perform better than your closest rival is what motivates each party to improve on their engine design and performance. In addition, market trends also indicate that more horsepower also means more sales.

A Ford spokesman is therefore quick to point out that while GM has outdone them in terms of official horsepower rating, there are several aspects wherein Ford has the advantage. Ford officials argued that better horsepower does not automatically translate to better mileage. They cited transmission system, curb weight, and other such aspects that will impact the overall performance.

Regardless of which of these manufacturers win the battle, it was clear that the consumers are the true winners in this battle of the V6 models – 2011 mustang V6 and 2010 chevy camaro. It means they get to enjoy high performance without compromising fuel economy and price.

Protecting domain names with trademarks

In a recent editorial by Internet Business Law Services, the organization reviewed the importance of protecting trademark based domain names. According to the article, there are two crucial documents drafted by Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) that protect domain name owners from trademark fraud.

The first document, “Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy” (or Dispute Policy), serves as a dispute resolution tool to assist businesses in defending their domain names. The policy was implemented in 1999. The Dispute Policy protects registrars during trademark-based disputes and disputes arising from abusive registration of domain names (also known as cybersquatting). Top-level domain names with .com, .info, .org, .net, and .name are protected under the policy. It is imperative to note the terms of the Dispute Policy are automatically included within the registration agreement between the domain name holder and registrar. Per the Dispute Policy procedures, trademark-based disputes may be solved via arbitration, court action, or by agreement between the parties. Court action must be filed in a court with appropriate jurisdiction.

Overall, the ICANN Dispute Policy allows complainants to resolve specific controversies through administrative proceedings in front of an approved dispute-resolution service provider who is selected by the plaintiff. The complaint must be filed through an approved dispute resolution service provider. Resolution service providers can be found by visiting the ICANN web site.

According to the Dispute Policy, third parties must submit to the administrative proceedings when the plaintiff asserts one of the following to the service provider:

The third party’s (respondent) domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights.

The third party (respondent) has no rights or legitimate interest in respect of the domain name.

The third party’s (respondent) domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

It is the plaintiff’s responsibility to support his or her argument. The third party is not allowed to transfer the domain name in question during these administrative proceedings.

The second document provided by the ICANN to assist in protecting trademark rights is the “Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution.” Often referred to as “Dispute Rules,” these procedural rules are applicable to domain name controversies solved via the Dispute Policy. The rules were founded in 1999 and are the required rules for the ICANN administrative proceedings. The rules establish the requirements of the grievance; necessitate proper notice to third parties of grievances filed against them and provides examples of proper notice; and determines the requirements of the third party’s answer. The response must then be filed within 20 days of the beginning of the scheduled administrative proceedings. If this is not done, the panel will provide a default decision.

Top 10 Business Apps For Blackberry PlaybookTech, Mobiles and Gadgets

Blackberry Playbook is the latest edition in the world of Blackberry phone devices and it is the first tablet launched by RIM. The Playbook is specifically designed and developed to cater the business needs of Blackberry Smartphone users. Having a light weight of just 425g and 1 GHz of dual core processor, the Blackberry Playbook is featured with a 3-mega pixel front camera and 5-mega pixel rear camera that provides a high definition to your video calls.

Moreover, its 16 GB memory, web browser flash support and 8 hours battery life makes this new Playbook a stunning addition to the business arsenal of most of the businessmen worldwide.

With the development of this advanced Blackberry Playbook, several business apps have also been developed to by Blackberry portal. However, there is not a vast selection of Playbook business applications but herewith I have documented to you the best 10 Blackberry Playbook business apps that will prove to be essential for your business kit.

1. Documents To Go Premium

This app is wonderful if you want to work with your business files and data in the format of MS Office. With this Documents To Go Premium app, you can read or make or edit your all files of MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint and can also see PDF. It also has the feature of bi-directional desktop synchronization that enables you to update the new version of any document automatically.

2. Adobe Connect Mobile

As mentioned earlier that Playbook has 3-mp front facing camera and 5 mp rear camera but it is the Adobe Connect Mobile app that enables you to work with both of the cameras while using video conferencing. This app is available with 24*7 support via monthly subscription and is the best method to deal with your colleagues and clients with blackberry.

3. iSpeech Translator

If you are in a business that requires you to deal with International clients and you are not very fluent in speaking many of foreign languages; iSpeech Translator is the right app to grow your business. This free application features speech recognition and also translates text to various supported foreign languages. Isn’t it wonderful!

4. Business Card Reader

It is a wonderful application to organize all your business contacts in your Playbook. You just have to take a photo of the required card and its ABBYYS text technology will automatically read it and set up the new contact in your Smartphone with correct phone numbers and email addresses.

5. Currency Exchange Rates

While dealing business with foreign clients, it is quite essential that you understand all the foreign currencies accurately and put the figures correctly. So here is the free Playbook app that converts 70 different kinds of currencies across the world and helps you stay update with the world’s business market.

6. Poynt

This app is highly beneficial to you if you are in an unknown city. Point gives you a route map of everything you want to look for and thus saves you time and energy.

7. IdeaPad

This app is for those people who want to note down their ideas during meetings. With the help of its in-built templates, IdeaPad will help you take written notes or make diagrams and to draw mobile user interface concepts.

8. Fortune Magazine

This is a quite useful app for business people that is laced with latest business news and updates such as love market news, stock quotes and other useful data. Thus it helps you to get important information about specific companies across the world while you are on the go.

9. Easy Agenda

This app is really useful for business persons as it keeps a full track of all your meetings or conferences with exact date and time and thus you can check all your scheduled programs with a glance.

10. Time Traveler

If your business required you to travel around different parts of the world, then the different time zones of different places is a thing that can certainly put you in trouble. But Time Traveler is an useful app that will always keep you on time according to the time zone ball.

 

5 Strategies for Online Business Success

With the economy the way it is these days, there’s not a better time to start a business. Many successful businesses have been started during tough economic times, so if you’re afraid of starting one, don’t be. Follow these tips, and they’ll help you succeed much more quickly.
1. Choose a good topic for your product line.
What are you interested in? What background do you have? What do you feel passionate about? Whatever that is, build a business around it. You may create your own products, or you can sell affiliate products. It’s important to decide this up front because you don’t want to get stuck down the road with a business you hate. It makes it harder to market because you don’t want to, and your sales will suffer.
2. Do keyword research to help you reach your market.
If you want to effectively promote your products and services, then you will need to do some keyword research. Not only will this help you in creating marketing materials that will get you traffic and sales, as well as search engine optimization, you’ll also find out what your audience is looking for. It’s a lot easier to create products that sell when you give your audience what they want.
3. Build a website and use it to promote your products.
Approximately 50 percent of the offline businesses in the United States don’t have an online presence. Because of it, they are leaving a lot of money on the table. You can avoid this by building a simple presence online. A squeeze page and a blog built using WordPress is really all you need. Write and post to your blog regularly, comment on other blogs, and use guest blogging. Keep building your presence, and it will help your bottom line.
4. Build lists of prospects as well as customers.
List building will make your job easier. Only about two percent of those who visit your site will return. The rest you will never see again. If you want to keep your visitors coming back, then the easiest way to do it is to build a list and then build a relationship with those on your list. Send them articles and other useful material, as well as sending them a sales email once in awhile. Try to mail weekly if possible. If you mail too often, you’ll lose a lot of subscribers. If you rarely mail, some may consider your email spam.
5. Stay focused. Don’t try to do too many things at one time and make sure what you are doing fits in with your overall business strategy.
Your plan should be simple. Find a topic, build a simple website, set up a list, and start promoting. Only use one internet marketing technique to market and use it until you master it. Then learn another one. This way you don’t get overwhelmed. Anything you do in your business can be scaled, so just keep building.

HOW TO: Root the HTC Desire (Updated, Easier Method)

Yesterday I posted how to root your HTC Desire, which was the first method made available by Paul @ Modaco.  Today he’s created a new method which is much easier.

Note:

  1. I take no responsibility for anything that might go wrong. You do this at your own risk
  2. This method will wipe your phone completely – so backup everything using either SMS Backup Restore/ Call Log Backup Restore / MyBackup Pro / Sprite Backup or any other backup apps available in the market
  3. You need a microSD card to create a goldcard as per the instructions.  At the end of it you won’t be able to use that SD card as a normal memory card.  Don’t use your primary SD card, use a spare, smaller card – even 1GB should suffice
  4. Any problems either post here, in the original Modaco thread (linked above)

Skip to the rooting method

Read this whole topic – it contains a ton of useful information as well as the instructions and downloads!

Remember that if you use this guide, you do so entirely at your own risk!

Welcome to my guide on how to root the HTC Desire!

Compatibility

This guide will allow you to root your HTC Desire, provided it has a bootloader version of 0.75 or below. To check this, turn off your device, then turn it back on with the ‘back’ key held. On the second line in green text you will see HBOOT- and then a number. Provided this is 0.75 or below, this guide should work for you.

O2 Germany devices are currently shipping with a 0.80 bootloader, and as such cannot be rooted using this guide at this time.

Desire rooting protection

Back in the early days of Android, rooting was easy. You had several options – you could flash stuff via the bootloader, you could flash an engineering bootloader, you could use kernel exploits – there were many ways of getting the low level access to your device that – in fairness – I think we as paying customers are entitled to. As time has progressed however, the manufacturers have made things harder and harder. The Desire is not a straightforward phone to root, for many reasons, including…

  • a ‘perfected bootloader’ that doesn’t allow flashing or booting of any images (even HTC signed ones)
  • a RUU flash process that does not allow downgrading of the bootloader to earlier versions
  • a kernel (that as yet does not have publicly available source) that as yet has no known exploits
  • a new protection method previously seen on the HTC Tattoo that protects key partitions from having write access. Even with SU access, it is not possible to write to the boot, recovery or system partitions.

In reality, the options for rooting a device this secure are limited. Even if a kernel exploit were found, the key partitions would still be unwritable, rendering su access useless. This was circumvented on the Tattoo very cleverly, using a specific memory address from a confidential Qualcomm datasheet, however this information is not yet available for the Snapdragon chipset used in the Desire (and indeed may never enter the public domain).

And so the root process becomes a process of methodically probing every possible point of exposure on the device, looking for the slightest chink in the armour. I found one and we’re putting it to good use! The downside is that it’s not as easy or as pretty as rooting a device that is actually DESIGNED to be accessible at the lowest level, such as the Nexus One.

Shame on you HTC for going to such unnecessary lengths (but that’s another story for another day).

What this root process provides and does not provide

The root process will…

  • flash your device with a new, generic 1.15.405.4 based ROM that has Superuser access
  • show you how to enter the recovery image in future, allowing you to flash update zips

The root process will NOT…

  • enable you to flash your device with a custom recovery image that can be launched easily by just holding down the volume down button when powering on
  • enable you to have write access to the /system partition in normal use of the device

Both of these limitations are being worked on of course.

Pre-requisites

In order to complete this guide, you need the following…

  • a HTC Desire
  • a PC
  • a microUSB cable
  • a microSD card (to be made into a ‘goldcard’)
  • the downloads below
  • balls of steel (actually, I just made that up)
Download

To be ready for the guide, download the following items…

  • the ISO image – DOWNLOAD / MIRRORS COMING SOON MD5: 854bdbb3c5898b15f92b5991204c9288

Once you have this on your machine, you’re ready to start!

The guide

Follow through these steps, one by one and at the end of it you’ll have a rooted Desire with the latest ROM.

Note: This process will wipe your device and there is currently no option to backup your device ROM before you start.

  • Make your microSD card into a goldcard by following these instructions (it’s a good idea to back up the contents of your card first!).
  • Unzip the file you downloaded to a directory, then open a command prompt / terminal window at that directory.
  • Turn off your HTC Desire, then turn it back on with the ‘back’ button held down. You’ll see ‘FASTBOOT’ written on the screen in a red box. Connect the phone to the computer.
  • In the terminal window, enter either (as appropriate, with no quotes)
    ‘step1-windows.bat’
    ‘./step1-mac.sh’
    ‘./step1-linux.sh’
  • When this step has completed, using the optical trackball, navigate to the ‘BOOTLOADER’ and then ‘RECOVERY’ option on the menu, using the volume buttons to move and the power button to select.
  • In the terminal window, enter either (as appropriate, with no quotes):
    ‘step2-windows.bat’
    ‘./step2-mac.sh’
    ‘./step2-linux.sh’
  • When this has completed, your device should be at the ‘recovery’ screen. Select the ‘wipe’ option, then select the option to apply an update zip from sdcard, and select ‘rootedupdate.zip’. This will take a little while, so go make a nice cup of tea. When the flash has finished, reboot, and you are DONE!

Troubleshooting

If you have any issues with the root process, post below, and we’ll do our best to help!

And finally!

If you wish to do so, you can express your appreciation by signing up to a MoDaCo Ad Free or MoDaCo Plus Account using PayPal or Google Checkout, as detailed in this post on MoDaCo
. As well as donating to support the work that goes into all the various MoDaCo activites, you get cool stuff like free software (there’s some great Android stuff coming too!), an ad free MoDaCo site and of course access to the MoDaCo Online Kitchen. All signups are very much appreciated.
Enjoy!

P

Thanks to ChainsDD for his excellent new Superuser Permissions update and Amon_RA for the recovery image I butchered here.

HOW TO: Root Your Desire Easily (Method #1)

This guide shows you how to root your Desire very easily. There’s two methods to root, I prefer this one.  You just download a Linux Live CD and use it to run UnrEVOked.  Don’t be put off by the word “Linux”, this tutorial’s really easy.

Disclaimer: I take no responsibility for anything that may go wrong by you following these instructions.  Proceed at your own risk!

What You’ll Need

  1. HTC Desire!
  2. blank CD
  3. computer with CD/DVD writer, and some software to burn with (if you don’t have burning software try ImgBURN)
  4. A Linux LiveCD (I used Slax)
  5. If you’re on a wireless network, then download Unrevoked for Linux from their site and copy it onto a USB stick (or your phones SD card)

The Guide

  1. Burn your Linux LiveCD to your blank CD using your burning software
  2. Keep the CD in the CD drive and restart your computer
  3. You should see Slax starting to load up – if not you may have to change your boot sequence so that the CD boots before your hard drive (guide)
  4. You’ll see a Slax start screen – select “Slax Graphic Mode (KDE)” then wait for Slax to load up
  5. Once you get to the Slax desktop, open Firefox using the icon in the taskbar at the bottom, and go to: http://unrevoked.com/.  Select the Desire, click “Unrevoked3″ and select “Download for Linux”.  Choose the Save option when prompted by Firefox
    If you’re on a wireless network just copy the file from your USB drive or SD card to the Desktop.
  6. Extract the file you download (instructions below if you don’t know how)
  7. On your Desire go on Settings > Applications > Development and make sure “USB Debugging” is turned on
  8. Connect your phone to your USB cable
  9. Run Unrevoked (file’s called reflash) and wait a couple of minutes whilst it roots your phone
  10. When it returns the success message you know you’ve successfully rooted your phone!
    The video below shows the rooting process:

(Optional) Detailed Instructions on How To Extract the File You Downloaded

If you don’t know how to extract the UnrEVOked file downloaded from Firefox, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Slax desktop (close any open Windows)
  2. Double-click the Home icon on the Desktop -> go into Downloads
  3. Right-click reflash.tar.gz and select Preview in Archiver
  4. Right-click the file in the window that opens, and select “Extract”
  5. When it asks you to select a location, click the Folder icon next the text box (which says root) and select Downloads
  6. Press OK

Final Word

At the end of this guide your phone should be rooted and you’ll be in recovery mode.  At this point you can restart your phone and continue using it normally, but with the bonus of having root permissions.
You’ll be able to run apps that need root permissions like ShootMe for screenshots, and Titanium Backup which lets you make a backup of all your apps and the app data (really suggest you do this if you’re going to install a custom ROM)

You can now move on to installing custom ROMS including the leaked version of Froyo if you like

HOW TO: Root Your Desire Easily (Method #2)

This guide is for Windows users who don’t feel comfortable with Method #1.  It’s still really quite easy to follow as you’ll see…
Whilst these instructions will work, I’ll try to go into a bit more detail tomorrow and hopefully get a video tutorial up too.

Disclaimer: I take no responsibility for anything that may go wrong by you following these instructions.  Proceed at your own risk!

What You’ll Need

  1. unrEVOked3 for Windows – download

Preparation

  1. Uninstall HTC Sync if you have it installed
  2. Install the hboot driver using these instructions (it says Evo, but works for Desire) – when complete restart your phone
  3. Reinstall HTC Sync
  4. Double-click the reflash-bundle.exe file you just downloaded
  5. It will ask you where to install it, so just pick a location on your computer you can remember

Rooting

  1. Go to where you installed Unrevoked
  2. On your Desire go to Settings > Applications > Development and make sure you have USB Debugging turned on
  3. Connect your phone to computer via USB
  4. Run reflash
  5. Wait a couple of minutes whilst your phone is rooted
  6. If all goes well you’ll have a rooted phone

Final Word

Once rooted, you can install HTC Sync again.

At the end of this guide your phone should be rooted and you’ll be in recovery mode.  At this point you can restart your phone and continue using it normally, but with the bonus of having root permissions.
You’ll be able to run apps that need root permissions like ShootMe for screenshots, and Titanium Backup which lets you make a backup of all your apps and the app data (really suggest you do this if you’re going to install a custom ROM)

You can now move on to installing custom ROMS including the leaked version of Froyo if you like :)

UPDATES

  1. 17 July 2010 09:29: Added “Reinstall HTC Sync” step.  This will make sure the phone is always recognised and prevent it from being reported as “disconnected”.  Still need to uninstall so that you can install the hboot driver without interruptions.
  2. 21 July 2010 19:18: Added note that phone should be restarted after installing hboot drivers

HOW TO: Install A Custom ROM On Your HTC Desire

Once you’ve rooted your phone you’ll probably want to install a custom ROM to take full advantage of the new gateway you’ve opened in to phone modding.

Requirements

  1. A rooted Desire

Choosing A ROM
If you’ve already found a ROM you want to install then skip down to the “Installing the ROM” section.

I use XDA-Developers to browse and download ROMs.  There’s a massive selection there all created and customised by various developers.
Just visit the Desire Development section to find a ROM

There’s plenty of ROMs to choose from, each with their strengths and weaknesses.  In order to pick a good ROM there’s a few things to consider:

  • Developer – ROMs are developed usually by individuals, some are created by teams (such as CyanogenMod).  There’s a few dev’s that are well known and have decent reputation, here’s a few examples:
    1. richardtrip – developer of the DeFrost ROM
    2. AdamG – developer of the OpenDesire ROM
    3. uDK – released the leaked Froyo for Desire
    4. Cyanogen – well known for the CyanogenMod series (but currently no stable version for the Desire)
  • Features – what’s included with the ROM.  Here’s a few things to look out for:
    1. HTC Sense – quite a few ROMs don’t actually have HTC Sense.  They run Vanilla Android, which is Android without HTC’s Sense User Interface, and HTC’s applications.  I quite like Vanilla Android, but if you need Sense then make sure the ROM you choose has it.  If you’re not familiar with Vanilla Android then there’s no harm in installing a vanilla ROM to try it out.
    2. A2SD – Apps to SD card feature which means you can install apps to your SD and not have to worry about free space on your phone.  Although Froyo brings A2SD to the Desire anyway, I still managed to run out of space using it (it stores part of the app on the phone still).  As a workaround I switched to the unofficial A2SD method which stores the full app on your SD card though requires an initial setup stage where you create a partition on your SD card to store the apps.
    3. Cache to SD AKA dalvik2sd – This relates to the unofficial A2SD mentioned above.  If you have a fast SD card (class 4 or 6) then it might be worth looking out for this feature too.  If you’re still on a Class 2 like me then it’s probably better if you get a ROM without this.
    4. Custom Kernels – some ROMs will have a custom kernel which features UV (Undervolting) and/or OC (Overclocking).  From my limited understanding, UV causes less voltage to be provided to the processor and therefore increases battery life, whereas OC increases the maximum number of CPU cycles and therefore makes the phone run a little bit faster.  I prefer to stick with the stock kernel in terms of OC/UV.  Additionally, some kernels add support for things like ext3/ext4 partitions, Wireless N and volume hacks.
    5. Theming – some ROMs have exactly the same functionality as other ROMs, but simply look different.  Dev’s have created skinned versions of both Vanilla ROMs and of HTC Sense ROMs.  If you want an alternate look then a themed ROM might be worth looking out for.
    6. Extras – there’s a lot of other customisations developers choose to make too.  Usually the dev will list all the features and modifications in the first post of the article (assuming you’re using XDA) so you can have a look and see if it’s something you like!
  • Updates and Issues-have a look at the topic to see if there’s been many updates to the ROM.  Good developers maintain their ROM and actively fix any problems that occur.  Unfortunately, there’s a number of ROMs where the developer simply wanted their 5 minutes of fame, and then didn’t bother updating the ROM any more even though it has several issues.
    At the top of quite a few ROM topics, the developer will mention and issues that the ROM has so that you’re aware of them before installing.  You can also read through the topic to see if users are reported any other bugs too.  If it seems unstable then it might be worth holding off that ROM for a while.

Installing a ROM

  1. MAKE A BACKUP OF EVERYTHING FIRST.  If you don’t know how have a look at my tutorial here.
    There’s also a backup method in ROM Manager called “Backup current ROM” which I suggest running at least once too.
  2. Download the ROM file from the topic on XDA.  Certain ROMs such as the HTC Sense Froyo’s also need a radio file, if that’s the case then download that too
  3. Connect your Desire to your computer in Disk Drive mode
  4. Copy the ROM file (should be a zip file) and radio (if you need one) to the SD card
  5. Unmount your phone – Eject and change mode to Charge Only
  6. Reboot into recovery using one of these methods:
    • If you have adb install just open Command Prompt/Terminal and type: adb shell reboot recovery
    • If you have ROM Manager installed just choose the “Reboot into Recovery” option
    • Otherwise, turn off your phone -> Hold down Volume Down and Power to boot into hboot -> use the Volume Down key to select “Recovery” and then press the Power button to select it
  7. Once in recovery use your trackpad to scroll down to install zip from sdcard
  8. Choose choose zip from sdcard
  9. Select the ROM to install – your ROM will begin to install
  10. Once installed press the back button a couple of times to go back to the main screen of Clockwork Recovery
  11. Choose reboot system now
  12. If your ROM needs a new radio installing then check if there’s any specific steps in the ROM topic, otherwise just repeat steps 6-9 but select the radio zip file instead of the ROM in step 8
  13. Your phone will now restart and attempt to boot into the custom ROM

FAQs

  1. My phone gets stuck at the boot screen, help!
    Just go back into recovery and select the wipe data/factory reset option.  Then restart your phone.  If the problem persists have a look in the ROM topic because it may just be a faulty version of the ROM.
  2. How Do I Create An Ext Partition for A2SD?
    This is only needed if you’re using the unofficial A2SD script.  If you want to use Froyo’s built-in version then you don’t need to do anything.
    You’ll need 1) AmonRA recovery port: link and 2) UnrEVOked again
    Using the root guide you used previously and get to the point where you have to run UnrEVOked – but DON’T CONNECT YOUR PHONE yet
    Go on File -> Custom Recovery, and select the AmonRA file you just downloaded (e.g. recovery-RA-desire-v1.7.0.1-R5.img)
    Now connect your phone and let UnrEVOked do it’s thing
    You’ll end up in recovery mode, but now with a different recovery image
    Scroll down to Partition SD Card
    Select Partition SD
    Press Trackball to confirm
    Set the swap size to 0
    Set the ext-2 size to any size you want – this is where your apps will be stored.  I’ve found 2GB way more than adequate but it’s down to personal preference.
    Fat32-size should be remainer.  This is your normal storage space for everything that’s normally on your SD card (what you see when you connect in Disk Drive)
    Press the trackball and your SD card will be partitioned.   When you restart your phone the A2SD script should automatically copy all your apps to the new ext2 partition, and installl any future apps to there too!