Android Causing WiFi Router Lockups

I’ve had an Android phone for about a year and a half (the HTC Evo from Sprint) but primarily because of battery use issues I’ve never used it on my home WiFi network.

In the interim, a few months ago I purchased a Barnes & Noble Nook Color, which runs a custom version of Android. I’ve also experimented with dual-booting the Nook with CyanogenMod 7, an open-source version of Android. When I dual-boot into CyanogenMod 7 and connect to my Apple Airport Extreme router, the router will loose Internet connectivity after only a few minutes, requiring me to cycle the router’s power off and back on to restore connectivity.

Now that I’ve been able to install the authorized version of Netflix onto the Nook after Barnes and Noble’s latest Nook OS update, I tried running Netflix on the Nook on my home network. After watching video for 15 or more minutes, my Apple router loses Internet connectivity.

My youngest brother has a newer HTC Android phone, and after he connected to my local WiFi network almost immediately the Apple router lost connectivity. It happened so frequently at one point that I was beginning to think the router was dying.

However, after futher experimentation I’ve determined that if I don’t connect any Android devices to my WiFi, the router seems to work as flawlessly as ever.

Time to check Mr. Google. Using the Google-suggested search term “android crashes router” (the term pops up immediately after I start typing “android cras   “ so I know plenty of other people are looking for a solution) 4,730,000 results come up. After reading through a number of posts by people experiencing the same issue, I have yet to come up with a definitive answer. What is it about a variety of versions of Android connecting to WiFi that is causing many different brands of routers to lose Internet connectivity? The problem is by no means an Apple Router/Android WiFi incompatibility – it therefore seems more likely an issue with Android itself, or at least certain Android builds.

The suggested fixes range from people suggesting that they try to update their router’s firmware to trying to confine the router to Wireless “G” only.

Ironically my HTC Evo phone can also be used as a WiFi hotspot. I can connect any Android device to the Evo’s WiFi hotspot feature and transfer all the data I want without issue. In other words, Android cannot cause my Android phone’s hotspot feature to lose Internet connectivity.

It would be logical to assume that this problem is an Android software issue. The problem seems inconsistent, most probably because of the patchwork-quilt variety of Android hardware and custom OS builds.

So far, the problem hasn’t even seemed to be officially acknowledged as an issue. I suspect that bad Android battery life has prevented a lot of people from trying to connect their Android phones to their home networks via WiFi, so mass numbers of people likely haven’t experienced the potential WiFi router crashing problem.

Of the people that do connect their phones to home WiFi routers, some people never have a problem, while others are constantly plagued by it.

Android crashing WiFi routers is enough to cause me to veer away from future Android devices, unless and until the problem is solved. Phase one of the chaos of the Windows desktop has spread to smartphones.

Welcome to the new Windows fractal – it’s name is Android.

GNC-2011-11-07 #719 On the Road!

I want to thank the Gadget Professor Don Baine for stepping in while I was in Los Angeles. Many of you asked how to get more of Don’s show, well you can subscribe to The Gadget Professor here at GNC in the second column of the website.. Ok lost of tech and I get you all caught up on the past week.

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$3 Dollar Tablet Stand

Ever wander into the iPad/tablet accessory isle at your local big box electronics store looking for an inexpensive stand for your iPad, Nook, Kindle, or other tablet/reader device? If so, you know these things have a tendency to be rather pricey and may not even do what you want them to.

I’ve got an inexpensive, very effective solution you may not have thought about. Make a trip to your local hobby store, a dollar store, or any store that sells nick-nack type items. What you are looking for are small easels either made of metal wire or even wooden ones with folding hinges. These can sell for as little as a $1 and up.

I purchased the pictured wire metal easel from my local Hobby Lobby store for $2.99 plus tax to hold my Barnes & Noble Nook – about $60 dollars or so less than I would have paid for a specialty tablet stand.

Save your money and have an effective solution all in one fell swoop.

CyanogenMod 7 On The Nook Color

CyanogenMod 7I’ve had my Nook Color for about a month at this point, long enough to develop a real feel for how it integrates into my life.

Keep in mind, the Nook Color is not an iPad and sells for half the price of the cheapest Apple jewell. I’ve already got the latest iPod Touch with dual cameras, so I don’t need or currently want cameras in a tablet device.

The Nook Color shines best as a word-centric consumption device. It takes the Internet and turns it into a very portable book.

To be perfectly honest, the stock Nook Color version of Android is very locked down. Besides being a good reader platform for books and magazines, you can browse the web, do email, do social networking, and run a limited but growing number of apps (mostly paid but a few for free) from the Barnes & Noble Nook Color App Store. The Nook Color stock software experience is nice for what it does, but still rather limited overall. The included stock Android browser does include the ability to run Adobe Flash. The Nook Color has a bright and very clear 7 inch widescreen capacitive glass touch screen along with about 10 hours’ worth of battery life.

What makes the Nook Color a great value at $249 dollars is its ability to boot into other versions of Android FROM the built-in internal Micro-SD chip reader without affecting the built-in Nook Color’s Android operating system.

After experimenting with different bootable Micro-SD card arrangements, the best pre-built Android solution I’ve found so far comes from http://www.rootnookcolor.com, a website that is selling pre-configured versions of Android to give a good overall tablet touch screen experience starting at $39.99 for a pre-configured 4 gigabyte Micro-SD card.

Cutting to the chase, the best version I’ve gotten so far from Root Nook Color.Com is called CyanogenMod 7, also know as Gingerbread. This version offers great battery life (almost as good as the stock Nook Color Andriod at about 7 hours) and even enables undocumented Nook Color features such as its built-in Bluetooth radio. It also comes installed with the full Android Marketplace, enabling the ability to browse, download and install most of the available Android apps, now numbering in the hundreds of thousands. As mentioned above, since it’s running entirely from the Micro-SD card slot, the stock Nook Color Android operating system remains entirely untouched and completely intact. It’s not even necessary to remove the Micro-SD card to boot back into the stock Nook Color operating system since it comes pre-configured with a dual-boot loader.

While it’s possible to play YouTube and other videos along with apps such as Pandora, by far the most use I find myself making of CyanogenMod 7 is as a highly portable news feed consumption device. I am currently compiling a list of Android apps that take the best advantage of the Nook’s 7” display and will report on these apps in future posts.

Overall, the Nook Color opertated with the CyanogenMod 7 version of Android from Root Nook Color.Com offers a genuine Android tablet experience at a bargain basement price with very good overall performance.

The Tablet Influence

image

I’ve had my Nook Color Android-powered e-reader for a few weeks, long enough to really get a feel for not only the e-reader experience but a bit of a tablet experience as well.

I have to admit I was initially somewhat dismissive of tablets. My feeling was though they would be useful in many situations, I personally had little use for one. I spend the majority of my time in my truck, where I’m already equipped with an iPod as well as laptop computers. I felt that the iPod had most of the functionality of an iPad, and that since my MackBook Pro was running most of the time when my truck is parked I really wouldn’t have much use for a tablet.

Since having the Nook Color I find myself spending quite a bit more time on it than I initially thought I would. I use the iPod for listening, and I’m using the MacBook for tasks such as recording my own podcast as well as email and iTunes. However, a great deal of the time I find myself using the Nook Color to browse and consume web-based content.

I believe the adoption of tablets is going to change the content that people consume from the Internet. The change isn’t going to be dramatic or overnight, however it does seem to me that if I’m browsing on a tablet I’m much more likely to read certain types of articles and/or news stories that I probably wouldn’t read in a laptop of desktop browser.

In other words, tablets are turning the Internet into the equivalent of a digital book or magazine as opposed to something that is best used sitting at a desk. The effect of this change in consumption psychology is likely to be subtle but relatively substantial over a period of time.

Barnes & Noble Nook Color e-Reader

Over this past weekend I ended up purchasing a $250 dollar Barnes & Noble “Nook Color” e-reader from a Best Buy store. It has a very bright, clear 7” diagonally measured widescreen capacitive glass touch screen display.

Barnes & Noble ships the Nook Color with a specialized, tightly locked-down version of Android that promotes access to the Barnes & Noble store content. It includes the Android web browser, along with a couple of games and the Pandora music service app. With the latest 1.2 version of Barnes & Noble’s Nook Color Android, they also give access to email and currently about 170 or so apps that can be purchased from the Barnes & Noble app store.

I’ll be perfectly honest here. What persuaded me to buy the Nook Color was watching a number of different YouTube videos of Nook Color units that had been hacked to run different versions of Android. As it turns out, the Nook Color is a very hacker-friendly device. The Nook Color’s WiFi radio contains Bluetooth, which Barnes & Noble’s Android does not yet take advantage of, though alternative versions of Android can and do enable Bluetooth on the device.

The Nook Color is manufactured by Foxconn, the same Chinese manufacturers that make the iPad, iPod, and many other modern consumer electronics devices. The Nook Color is a very nice piece of hardware. It has a 1.1 gigahertz Atom processor that’s backed down to 800 megahertz in order to help conserve battery life. Also when the unit is asleep very little battery power seems to be consumed.

There are several different approaches to be taken from outright replacing the Barnes & Noble Android, rooting it to allow the full Android store, to running alternative versions of Android from the included Micro-SD card reader slot built-in to the unit, leaving the Barnes & Noble Android intact.

After a weekend of experimental hacking, here are my conclusions. Though the Barnes & Noble Android is fairly limited, it offers quite a nice experience. I’ve determined that I want to keep that Barnes & Noble Nook Color experience untouched. It is quite valuable as an e-reader that offers multimedia functionality.

I can, and am, experimenting with a couple of different versions of Android running directly from a couple of different Micro-SD cards. I have a Micro-SD version of Android 2.2, as well as a version of Android 3.0. The Nook will automatically attempt to boot first from the Micro-SD reader, so when I want to boot into the built-in Barnes & Noble Android, I simply turn the unit off, eject the Micro-SD chip, and turn the unit back on.

While searching the Internet for information, I came across a website (http://www.rootnookcolor.com/)that is selling pre-configured Micro-SD chips running either Android 2.2, or Android 3.0. I ended up ordering a 2.2 version, which I won’t receive for a few days. These pre-built versions contain a boot loader, which allows the user to select which operating system to load without having to eject or insert the Micro-SD chip each time.

I am perhaps more of a unique case, since I spend most of my time in my truck. I already have the latest version of the iPod Touch, which gives me 95% percent of iPad functionality in a smaller package. When my truck is parked, my MacBook Pro is almost always online. The only use I could come up with for a tablet would be for use as a nice screen to watch video on, or an e-reader, since other uses are already covered between my iPod Touch, my MacBook, and my Sprint Evo Android smartphone. At upwards of $1,000 for a fully-configured iPad 2.0, that’s a price that’s just too steep for these functions. However, at $250 dollars for a very capable piece of hardware that can easily be made to do other things, along with something to experiment with, it starts to really become interesting.

Barnes & Noble should be commended for the Nook Color. As stated before, it is an excellent piece of hardware. It’s been a long time since I was in a Barnes & Noble brick & mortar store, and until now I haven’t felt compelled to buy any e-books from them online. However, now that I have the Nook Color I’ve started out an experimental subscription to Popular Science magazine. So far I’m enjoying the experience. The Nook Color uses the ePub format, and also uses Adobe technology to display color magazine and newspaper publications.

My hope is that since the Nook Color is so hackable, it will act as a doorway to reward Barnes & Noble.

 

GNC-2011-04-08 #661 Insane O-Meter

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Show Notes:
Firefox Release Schedule!
AT&T and Verizon told to Share!
iPad O’Scope.
BitTorrent grows up.
Microsoft and Toyota.
Robot gets Shot?
F35 Ejection Seat Test.
Computer Screen Chapstick.
UK Seizing Domains!
China says no more Time Travel?
Tethering stealing?
Fed Gov’t Shutdown?
Want Bonus get Social.
Chrome to add Malware detection.
Google Travel only if Feds can Monitor?
Samsung 1 Million to Schools.
64 Bug Fixes on Patch Tuesday!
Signal Phone Boosters to get Regulated.
Hacker says he was working with Feds.
Windows Phone 7 Update Cautions.
81 Billion Light Year Explosion.
Space Shuttle Images.
ISS Gateway to Mars.
Jailbreak it?
Vulkano TV Streamer.
Websites for iPad.
MPAA loves to Sue and little else.
Seizing Domains to Continue.
Verizon keeping iPhone users connected.
2 Million iPad 2’s.
Facebook Open Source Servers.
Sushi Blocks.
Topener!
Mini Coffee Machine.
New Fire Extinguisher.
Dish + Blockbuster = Store Fronts.
March Madness digital results!
YouTube Organizing!
ESPN Goes Live!
Vortexbox!
Vending Box
HitPad customized news.
Gmail Updates.
GoFlex Sim Review.
100 Atari Games for Ios
Homeland Security Updated via Facebook?
Time Warner off to Court.
WHS 2011 Available.
Pandora spying on you?
LinkedIn and Android.
Skype Linux Update.
Bing iPad App.
Nook Apps?
Verizon 2yr contracts only!

Barnes & Noble Nook Color

Nook colorAndy McCaskey visited the Barnes & Noble booth and took a look at the Nook Color. The Nook Color was created with content with a lot of color in mind, like magazine and children’s books. It is wifi enabled and has about 8 hours of continuous reading under wifi. It is a full color touch screen, it uses Vividview technology and has over 16 million colors on the display. The screen is 7 inch with a resolution of 1024 x 600. The screen is crisp and clear with 169 pixels per inch. It is backlit and the screen is coated to release glare.

You can also use the Nook to listen to audio books or music with the installed audio player. There are 8GB of memory enough for up to 6000 books and has a microSD slot and can extend up to 32GB of memory. The Nook color also includes some extras such as Pandora, Quickoffice and some games. It runs on the Android platform. The reviews of the Color Nook for the most part have been positive and the Nook line was Barnes & Noble’s best selling line in 2010.

It has gotten a lot of rewards including the CES 2011 People’s Choice Award for Last Gadget Standing. I took a look at the Barnes & Noble Nook Color at the local Best Buy and I was impressed. The screen seemed to be responsive to my touch. It was bright and the colors were crisp and clear. It is definitely worth a look.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News

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GNC-2010-06-22 #586 Simply a Monster Show!

Cover a huge amount of ground tonight, there are some real gems in amongst the regular content as well that I talk about that are not in the show notes so listen in to not miss anything. It is great to be back in Hawaii with nothing on my travel agenda. I had a great time with the meet-up in Rochester where we talked shop and where I shared some of the plans for this show going forward.

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