Wednesday, December 14, 2011

How to install non-market apps in Android?

Android Market is one of the places where you can get apps for download for your android device. It is not the only source for the apps. There are many other sources of apps.

I have heard that some android based devices don't have access to android marketplace. Moreover you need to have a google account to download from android market. Some chinese phones and Tablets dont have android market apps pre installed. However it is possible to install android market app by rooting the phone, it poses way larger risk to achieve something which has simple alternatives.

What you need essentially an .apk file to install it on your android device. If you have the app in .apk file it is very easy to install the app. Much more easier than installing an .exe application in windows pc.

Here are the steps to install non market apps in your android device:

  • First get access to the .apk file of the application you want to install. There are some websites which provide .apk files for the free apps available in the android market. Here is a list of some of the website I came across.

More info can be found here.

However you should make sure twice before installing applications from third party sources as they may contain malicious programs to steal your private information or harm data on your device.

The best way I suggest is to download an application from android market in a device having access to market. Copy the .apk file from it to the device which doesnt have access to android market.

  • Now the steps to install .apk files. You need to set permissions for installing apps from third party sources. Here is how to do it
    • Go to settings

android screenshot

  • Select applications in settings.
android screenshot
  • Mark Unknown sources to allow installation of non-market apps

android screenshot

Now you can install any application by navigating to the .apk file stored in your device SD card through file manager and clicking on it!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A revealing interview with Julian Assange

I came across this revealing interview with Julian Assange of Wikileaks. He was interviewd be AlJazeera news channel.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

How to get Kannada in android mobile?

Even when I was using a China mobile handset, I was engrossed with the question of how to read and write in Kannada using my phone just like in computer.

After getting my first android phone, Lg optimus, I searched breathlessly for tweaks to perform to get kannada. One workaround that I found was using opera mini browser. Opera mini browser has this option of rendering complex scripts as bitmaps. Using which you can read Kannada and other indic languages. This method, though a workaround has some pluses.

Opera mini browser is available for all android platforms. You can even install opera mini in phones supporting Java. I was using opera mini on my Lemon handset which runs on generic os used by China mobiles and supported Java.

But this work around was not sufficient for me. With no options for copying and saving text, searching, opera mini didn't quench my thirst.

On laying my hands on android mobile phone, I was determined to get Kannada. Soon I realised that the mobile phone vendors have to provide updates to the ROM with Kannada language support.

A bit of research helped me to learn rooting the android phone. Rooting essentially means getting privilege to access system files. I came across a tool called superoneclick to root my Samsung Galaxy SL (i9003) phone. However this works in windows. I haven't come across tools for linux yet.

In order to display kannada and other Indian languages, it is not enough just to have proper fonts. The OS should support complex script rendering. As the scripts for indic languages are more complex than monosyllabic languages. As for as Android is concerned there is no support for complex script rendering for ROMs lesser than 2.3 (aka Ginger Bread). I had Froyo (2.2) running on my phone. I rooted my phone, downloaded an official GingerBread ROM from installed it using the flash tool provided in the site. Since the ROMs that are available were not specific to India, I couldn't read kannada properly on installing fonts. However one of my friend is happily reading and writing kannada by following the same procedure. The GingerBread ROM for his LG phone supported kannada on installing fonts.

The problem was solved for me when I recently upgraded the Kies software on my PC and connected my phone. It showed there is a upgrade available for my device. On upgrading my mobile jumped from 2.2.1 to 2.3.6! And kannada was rendered properly out of the box . Below are some of the screenshots from my mobile rendering kannada webpages properly.

For kannada input I did the following:

1. Downloaded Anysoft keyboard from android market

2. After installing Anysoft keyboard, I downloaded kannada plugin for anysoft keyboard develeoped by Shridhar.

3. After (1) and (2) go to settings>Locale and text

Under test settings you will see AnySoft Keyboard. Tick the box. Now press " Select input method" and choose anysoft keyboard as your input method.

Now open your SMS app. Tap on language selector two switch to kannada. Tap again to switch back to english.

The keyboard supports nudi layout. No support for Baraha like input to which I have accustomed to. Other than this the tool has some issues. I couldn't find shift key for kannada keyboard. The keyboard crashes on input of certain combinations of characters.

How to get arkavattu properly in Ubuntu?

Getting kannada to display in your computer is very easy with Ubuntu. Latest version of ubuntu (11.04 in my case) supports kannada out of the box.

But for kannada input you need to add a few packages. The input method I prefer is Ibus. Install Ibus and related packages to get kannada input method working. This post is not about how to get kannada input. It is about a small tweak I did today to get '೯' (arkavattu) alongside of 'ha'.

Generally we type :
ಕ+ರ್+ಮ = to get = ಕರ್ಮ
ಅ+ರ್+ಹ = gives = ಅಱ instead of ಅರ್ಹ

I didn't dig deep to find the key combination to get '೯' properly. Tweaked a little in the .mim file to get ಅರ್ಹ properly.

This is the fix:

open kn-itrans.mim file which has itrans keyboard layout (which I happen to use).

Navigate to the following directory:

$cd /usr/share/m17n

Open the kn-itrans.mim file in a text editor (like gedit) with root privilege:

$sudo gedit kn-itrans.mim

On entering sudo password the file opens. Move down till line 84 and comment out the line by entering ';'(semicolon) at the begining of the line. Save and close.

Restart ibus. And get 'ಅರ್ಹತೆ' for sake of typing it! It solved the issue for now, but I will update about the clean fix as soon as I get to know.