From Android Jelly Bean (4.1.1) to Kit Kat (4.4.2) on Samsung Galaxy S3 mini

Root your s3 mini and get android kit kat

Root your s3 mini and get android kit kat

I spent about 14 months without touching my S3 mini, and messing around with it. Very recently however the battery started draining out immediately after a phone call so I was desperate to fix the issue. I’m nowhere near a phones expert, but every problem has its solution and this is what I wanted to find out. So first thought of eliminating any issues that may have been software related. After installing and unistalling numerous apps, it was time for a phone OS update. S3 mini is shipped with Android 4.1.1 (aka JellyBean) so I was looking to update to 4.4.2 (Kit Kat stable version). If the issue persisted it would be time for a new battery I guessed. I know that i’m talking specifics here and the process may apply to other phones but I own an S3 mini so here goes each step I followed:

1. Back up the entire phone. Few tips on this include, fully utilizing your google account for contacts and calendar, storing every media in SD card and keep an up-to-date Play Store account. All other stuff like texts, need to be specifically backed up. For texts I used SMS Backup & Restore. I was also pleased to find out that Whatsapp messages are stored in the cloud so once you reinstall and connect to your account you lose nothing.

2. Download following files: CF Auto-root, CWM Recovery file, Odin3 v3

3. Turn your phone off and reboot in download mode. You can do this on Samsung Galaxy by pressing and holding volume down, power and menu button all at the same time until warning appears on screen. Press volume up button to enter the download mode.

4. Run Odin3 on your PC and connect your phone to your computer. ID:COM box will turn either blue or yellow once it detects the phone.

5. Click on PDA button (…in Odin3) and select the CF-Autoroot file already downloaded in step 2. Click on start button to begin rooting.Your phone will restart a few times during the process. Wait until rooting completes and when ID: COM box turns green along with pass message displayed on the screen, unplug phone and restart it in normal mode.

To install the Recovery tool
1. Switch off your device and then switch on in download mode just like told above.

2. While Odin3 is running, connect your device again with computer after which ID: COM box shall turn yellow. Now select the CF recovery file by clicking on PDA button. Make sure that only F.Reset and Auto Root options are checked while all other are unchecked. Now hit start button to begin installation. Wait until CWM recovery installs in Galaxy S3 mini and then disconnect it from computer. Reboot it in normal mode and you have CWM installed in your smartphone device.

Installing new rom
After following these steps your phone should be rooted and you are free to install any custom ROM suitable for your phone. In my case, after looking around a bit I went for CyanogenMod 11 which would bring Android Kit Kat on my s3 mini

1. Download the zip files and move them to your Sdcard with the help of USB cable. You will need CyanogenMod11.zip and Gapps.zip

2. Now remove the USB cable and and switch your S3 Mini off.

3. Go in to the Recovery Mode, to do that press and hold the Volume Up button, Home key and Power button all at the same time. Release the buttons as soon as you see the Samsung logo.

4. Once entered into Recovery Mode, head to Backup and Restore and then select Backup. This will perform Nandroid backup and will come in handy if anything goes wrong.

5. Now clear out the data by selecting Wipe Data/Factory Reset. Once the process is complete, select Wipe Cache Partition and lastly go to Advanced and then select Wipe Dalvik Cache.

6. Now go back to the main menu and select Install Zip From SDcard and then select Choose Zip From SDcard. Browse to the location where you put the CyanogenMod 11 zip file and install it.

7. Repeat the Step 6 to install Gapps as well.

8. Now select Reboot System Now from the main menu. The first time boot may take few minutes so be patient.

After doing all this, battery issue still remains. Another big issue of this version of the room is that it’s got some issues such as no 3g network connectivity. I hope that future releases of this rom will fix this problem.

Get your comms right! (UK version)

comms_error

I have been fortunate enough to work as a software engineer in both Greece and UK. I have also been very fortunate to work in various types of businesses and software projects. From agile projects to strict waterfall, from huge teams (25 or more people) to just 2 or myself only, from low-budget projects to hundreds of millions… and for small financial or retail companies to the largest banks of both countries. I want to take this opportunity and talk from experience about the one factor which is crucial to the project outcome. It should be treated as top priority and without any more words I have to reveal that this is communication. This post therefore is purely about communication and it will deal with communication problems that I faced while living and working in the UK, within English speaking teams.

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My evening with Dream Theater (14/02/2014 – Wembley Arena)

meeting Dream Theater

With Dream Theater

When my friend Panos called me in August I was on a summer holiday in Mani – Peloponnese. He sounded very excited on the phone and got straight to the point. Dream Theater had just announced the European tour dates and on Valentine’s day 2014 would be London’s turn. Wembley Arena was the venue, and having been on the new Wembley Stadium just two months before that phone call, I could not turn down the proposal.

When I came back to London and my normal life, Panos and I were visiting the website everyday, waiting for the tickets to be released. This is when it occurred to us. Shall we go for VIP? VIP included a meeting with the band right before the show. It was so exciting just to think about it. It didn’t take long to decide. We went for it. The fact that I could speak just for a few minutes with the keyboards player that I just admire as well as those massive musicians was more than just another factor.

One week before the show, Panos and I started getting organized. What would we listen to? What would be the set list? What shall we bring for the band to sign? There was a massive build up of feelings. One very significant detail, is that Mr Bob Katsionis, one of the greatest Greek keyboardists would also be joining us.

Next thing I can remember is waiting in line to meet the band. Then they come out. Jordan Rudess is carrying his iPhone recording a video walking towards us. At some point, his phone comes so close and all I can say is “Hey, Jordan” on camera! I couldn’t feel my legs. During my photo with the band I just couldn’t believe that I was standing next to Jordan Rudess and John Petrucci. I said “Greece salutes you” – John Petrucci responds: “For those about to rock”.

Another 15 minutes goes by and then its my turn to chat a little bit with each of the band members. I remember I first asked Mike Mangini about how much time does he spend on warming up before the show. “At the beginning of the tour, almost none but now it can get up to an hour”. Same question for John Myung: “About two hours” was the response! WOW! I then asked Jordan to post some more exercises for keyboards on his youtube, he mentioned his online conservatory and we also talked a little bit about warming up. With John Petrucci and James Labrie all I could say was “Thank you” for the songs you guys have produced. The overall Meet and Greet experience was just great. I guess everyone would want a few more minutes with the band members, but we have to realize that those guys are the best musicians in the world. They are not there to chat, they are there to play. A very nice gift was waiting on our exit – a signed poster of the Enemy Inside and a set of picks, one being John Petrucci’s

Being in the 3rd row had great advantages. First of all we were feeling every sound. Apart from the fact that John Myung playing almost in my face, I was also able to have a clear view on Jordan Rudess and John Petrucci. Big big credits to the sound engineers, although we were almost in front of the PA, sound was very clear.

There are four big moments from the show that I will remember forever. First one is the intro, the False Awakening suite video which was amazing and of course the moment were the screen drops and the Enemy Inside starts. Second moment is Space Dye Vest. This is one of my favorite songs, the first time I watched it live and almost cried. Amazing performance from Dream Theater on that one. Third one, Illumination Theory. You gotta love this masterpiece. Its not just the song, or just the strings session in the middle. Its the overall feeling of the sound and the amazing performance of Dream Theater. Excellent choice to add songs from Awake and Scenes from a memory. This shows great respect to previous work. The fourth moment is the Dance of Eternity. A musical piece that should be part of the material taught in every music school around the world.

Overall the band seemed to be finally free. I can’t speak for them but I have the impression that there is an enormous amount of musical freedom during the Mike Mangini era. Their shows are a level up and it seems to me that their musical explorations are simply expanding further. Whether this will bring better albums we’ll have to wait and see but we have to acknowledge that Dream Theater are always experimenting with new styles and new sounds. I haven’t listened to a “bad” album by this band and this is why I’ll remain a huge fan and follower.

Dream Theater, thank you for this absolutely amazing musical experience

The Enemy Inside poster signed by the band

The Enemy Inside poster signed by the band

My John Petrucci pick
My John Petrucci pick
The Enemy Inside

The Enemy Inside

Space Dye Vest

Space Dye Vest

Jordan Rudess in action

Jordan Rudess in action

Jordan Rudess with the keytar

Jordan Rudess with the keytar

My Budokan DVD Case signed by the band

My Budokan DVD Case signed by the band

The setlist:

False Awakening Suite
The Enemy Inside
The Shattered Fortress
On the Backs of Angels
The Looking Glass
Trial of Tears
Enigma Machine (With drum solo by Mike Mangini)
Along for the Ride
Breaking All Illusions

Act II
The Mirror
Lie
Lifting Shadows Off a Dream
Scarred
Space-Dye Vest
Illumination Theory

Encore:
Overture 1928
Strange Déjà Vu
The Dance of Eternity
Finally Free

Working in a wannabe-agile team

Direction

I decided to write a post about my experience of working in a very demanding banking organization. The team itself is divided between various sites in UK and India which makes communications quite hard. When I joined the project I was warned about the cultural and technical difficulties that exist in the team. Worth noting that it consists of permanent staff as well as contractors and of course our offshore partner.

Part of my role in the project, is to break those IT stereotypes that the team is suffering from. My managers have every confidence in me, I believe I have gained their respect and they keep consulting me on a daily basis about how to go forward. It seems to me that they would love the culture of the IT department to be modern and the people to be willing to adapt to new policies, technologies and procedures. I know that they would love an agile team but at the same time they acknowledge that as a team we do not have that capability quite yet.

Having said all that, I came across a very interesting article about ways to perform Agile Transformation in organizations that suffer from lack of adaptability.

The biggest issue in such situations is the people. Especially the permanent staff. In our company we have people that have been programming in the waterfall model for almost 20 years, knowing nothing about object oriented programming for example. People that love to stick to the process of first making the perfect design, and then to develop the product. From my experience this situation almost never happens, and waiting for the perfect design costs time and money. As someone that believes very much in the success of the project both from a technical as well as a financial side, it is my obligation to change that mentality. I believe very much in an Agile world.

BUT:

My enthusiasm is slowly decreasing. In order to get anything done, you need to wait for ages. I have met many people criticizing the choice of the language (Java) simply because they had never had any experience with it. Moreover, when you try to convince them to do things a different way, they become as stubborn as a donkey (popular Greek expression).

I guess that the article mentioned is right:

“Agile adoption is a harsh mirror. If you don’t want to know how ugly you are, don’t look in.”

Question is however and goes to the managers: Where do they see the department going?

Hanon – The most valuable exercise resource

109638_1_hanon_the_virtuoso_pianist

When I was studying classical piano at the music school I always had one nightmare every time I had to attend class.

The exercises.

I could never appreciate how important they were, plus I was so enjoying the melodies and the history of every piece of classical music that I couldn’t wait to play it. Of course, that was about 15 years ago. Studying the exercises at home was never an option for me as I would sit down in front of my piano and I would play all kinds of songs, or just melodies.

15 years later, I found myself enjoying some exercises from the book pictured above.

HANON – by Charles-Louis Hanon

I believe I can easily say that it is invaluable. Tons of exercises for finger independence, scales, power etc. Best recommendation is to play along the metronome from 60bpm to 108bpm and repeat the exercises regularly before continuing to the next one.

At the end of the book there is an amazing comment from the author apparently:

Every pianist that wants to become virtuoso, needs to repeat the whole book everyday for a long period of time

Of course I am not anywhere near that, but it would certainly help me improve my technique.

Hanon2First_BIG

Manos Hadzidakis – A prophete?

I know that this post is for those who speak Greek and I apologize to the rest of you who won’t understand it.

Manos Hadzidakis is on the top 5 of Greek Musicians – Composers of all time. Mostly well known for the music on “Never on a Sunday” which is a shame since he composed some amazing musical pieces. He did have his own style in melodies and harmonies and he managed to find the right balance between vocals and music in a song (something which I admire).

In the video posted, we see some of its personality. We listen to some quotes mentioned 20, 30 or even 40 years ago and they are still applicable today. Especially in the political and economical situation my country is in. For example, back in 1994 when the fascist Golden Dawn party was just a violent gang, he performed a big concert in Athens against fascism. He was in charge of national radio after the dictatorship promoting the culture, new artists etc.

Manos Hadzidakis for me will always be a noble man.