Community Challenge 6: New Year, New phone... What do you do with the old phone?


Weekly Check #2

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Very impressive @jodru! Just to be sure, what is the cable from the DEFY XT attached to on the other end?



The cable was just a power cord. Now I can’t remember if it was plugged into my pc or not, but I assure you that if it was plugged into my pc, it was purely for power purposes. Next check in I can show that to be the case.

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Check In 2 - @hollowWorld

So! I've been able to successfully root my DEFY XT (It was a whole long process, and I had to resort to trawling the comments section of one root exploit page to find the updated version. The issue was Republic kept issuing updates that fixed the ways one could root the phone, and the pages didn't put in an edit informing you that the exploit no longer worked, but I finally found a version of the root exploit that I could use).

I’ve also been able to install an app called APK Linux, which emulates a pretty good Linux terminal without requiring root access (and when I’ve tried to run the su binary file (su is a Linux command that gives the person running the command super-user (AKA root) access) the terminal just freezes). However, even though I was able to create a C code file, put some actual C code in it, and compile it, I wasn’t able to actually run the compiled code, so I’ll probably have to find a different solution for running a full version of Linux on the phone. I’ll note, however, that it runs perfectly well otherwise, and I can use it just like any other Linux machine.

I’ll almost definitely have the final Linux thing ready for the final check in!

(EDIT: I’m playing around with Linux Deploy right now, and it should do what I need. I’ll let y’all know when I succeed!)



Check in 2

I have still been experiencing a lot of problems getting things to work on my device. I have still only been able to get about 50% of websites to actually load. Just today I think I might have experienced a break through. I acquired a micro SD card adapter and have been experimenting trying to get some other apps onto the phone by downloading the apk file from a desktop computer and then running the file once I put the micro SD card back in the phone. I had to do this because even that earlier link that was pushed out on this forum to reload the Google Play Store was not working for me…my browser would not let me through to it from the phone. So I’m trying this work around. We’ll see if things improve for me.



Weekly Check In #3

All of my attempts to use the phone as a wifi extender failed.

Not that there were many ways to do so.

With more modern phones, it seems quite plausible to use it as an extender. However, several problems arose when I tried it with the Defy XT. Firstly, being it’s on Gingerbread, there simply aren’t any applications that I found that worked to be used mainstream (most of them didn’t work at all.) The second is that generally, unless the chip is made to do this, a wifi chip cannot be used to broadcast wifi unless it is a dual band chip. For example, on my laptop, if I am connected to a 5 GHz wifi channel, I can broadcast a wifi hotspot on the 2.4 GHz band. The Defy XT does not have this dual band chip however, so the only solution to that problem is to get a USB ethernet adapter, which may or may not even work. Slight problem with that solution is since it uses the only USB port on the phone, I would not be able to charge the phone and share wifi at the same time.

So, to sum everything up: you can use an Android phone as a cloud server. In fact, it does work quite well. While upload and download can be slow, it is a viable option assuming you have 24/7 wifi and the phone stays on and connected at all times. If it happens to disconnect or turn off, the public internet ip can change, so one must pay attention to that and update their FTP settings as necessary to continue using the phone as a server. Should it replace conventional cloud servers? It’s possible, you technically could do that, but given the fact that the only thing that limits conventional cloud server use is space (usually one must dole out money per month to have more, and basic options aren’t always too great depending on what you use it for,) unless you only need the server for small files, you might just be better off using a cloud server, or at least use both the phone and a cloud server (which I currently am doing.) As for using the phone as a wifi extender, honestly, if it is even possible, it’s going to take a lot of work to make that happen. From research I’ve found that only certain phones are capable of doing this (none of them work on Republic as I recall,) and with the phone that aren’t, you probably would have to make your own app to get it to work.

Anyways, this is honestly one of the best challenges in regards to technology I’ve done, and it taught me even more about the Android system in general. I do plan on continuing to use the Defy as a cloud server until I end up building my own server, which will probably end up replacing the phone altogether.



Check in 3!

SUCCESS woooooooooooooooh!

I was able to use the aforementioned Linux Deploy to… well, deploy an older version of Ubuntu (Trusty, I think EDIT: Turns out it was Ubuntu Precise) and view it through a VNC viewer. I can install packages, edit files, compile things, and all that jazz. I’ll get pictures soon, but I wanted to say that I had done it. I’ve done the (not actually) impossible! Evidence will be arriving soon.






More proof:

Note: t2 is the compiled version of t2.c, which is shown in the nano editor above.



Check in #3

I feel I have been half way successful in my experiment. After my break through last week with the micro SD card and side loading downloaded APK files from my desktop to the phone I was able to “reboot” a working version of the Google Play store and a few other apps I was able to find. However, the outdated Gingerbread platform has made it a challenge to find working versions of some apps. As I continue to find a way to use this in the classroom, I still need to get a working version of a filter on there to make it student safe. One encouraging thing is that I am now able to navigate to from the phone so a student could use it if they didn’t have their own device to play a Kahoot review in class (once a working filter is put on it). In terms of using it as an extra camera for projects, this is also doable if a student doesn’t have a camera or phone of their own. However, I have not had a student actually do this yet. So, I would say 50%-75% progress towards the end goal right now. The issue with finding ways to get apps to work is what I feel is holding me back the most.



Hi @jodru, @hollowWorld, and @orangegiraffe,

Thanks, all three of you for participating in this challenge and seeing it through. Weekly check-ins are quite a committment, and your perseverance is commendable.

You’ve accomplished far more than I expected with these outdated devices, and it looks like you knew a lot going into the challenge, but each learned something along the way. I hope you’ll find a way to share some of your expertise here in our Member Community.

I’ll be contacting you each by DM with your prizes.


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