Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Update on my Xoom

I rooted my Xoom last night. After a fun weekend in D.C. where I managed to get a lot work done I had a minor setback when Launcher Pro rejected all of my widgets.  I had been planning to root the Xoom so this was a good a reason as any.  The process was fairly easy. A couple restarts but all in all, under half an hour.  I'm still not up to the latest version because there were some recent advances and I wanted to let the dust settle a bit.

One big shock.  The first time I set up the Xoom, almost all my apps from my phone were automatically synced.  This time, only the apps that I installed after getting the Xoom were synced with a few mind numbingly stupid exceptions. For some reason, the apps designed specifically for hacking my phone got synced to the Xoom.  Even after I uninstalled it, it went back on the market list to be reinstalled. Weird.

Update two:
Just wanted to add some more thoughts on the hardware after running into my first roadblock on video.  While the Xoom is definitely capable of rendering decent video, the lack of high profile decoding debacle is going to be a sore point for a long time with Tegra 2 devices.  The problem isn't so much the lack of decoding capability as it is the lack of an easy way of getting an incompatible file onto my Xoom in compatible format.  The folks over at XDA forums already have the Handbrake config file designed to get a compatible format conversion but having to manually go through folder structure, set an output directory, then upload a half hour or more later for each file isn't very convenient.

I do have a solution in mind although it may be beyond my meager programming abilities.  Basically, it would involve creating a  script in XBMC that if the video quality is Xoom-incompatible queues any file selected in Handbrake with the Xoom profile and a specified destination folder.  A potential option could be to sync that folder to cloud storage but there's nothing I'm aware of that works for cloud storage of large video files, at least not cheaply and reliably (Dropbox is expensive and does not resume downloads).

Changing gears, I've now gotten the sdcard on the Xoom working and its made me wonder, why the hell would Motorola go with a MicroSD option on a 10 inch device. Miniaturization is wonderful and all but for a device that is going to be a potential laptop replacement the ability to interface with standard size cards would be a major selling point to photographers and video editors. Sadly, this seems to be  part of Motorola's corporate culture.  They have a mentality of implementing what they can and deliberately cauterizing the rest.  In the case of the Xoom, it is fortunately limited to the hardware only.

While this new update is for the most part negative, I'm not sour on the Xoom.  I've been having tons of fun with it.  I'm close to having my interface tweaked just the way I want it, which point I'll post up some screenshots and a few how-to guides.   I expect to have a more positive post coming up soon (Doctor Who) and a much darker post that I've been wanting to get off my chest for a long time now (migraines) in the next week or so.

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