Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Developing Android Apps

I have been recently tinkering with Android app development.  Nothing really extravagant so far, just some stuff to satisfy my own purposes on my home network.  So far I'm impressed with the Android development environment.  It took no time at all to catch onto.

I friend of mine is working on a much more serious application and is documenting it as he goes.  Check it out here:

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Missing Album Art in Android

I have an HTC Desire Android phone and have been a bit annoyed by one little glitch with the music player.  It seems that only some of my music is showing up with album art.  On my PC, about 98% of my music has album art.  I realize this doesn't effect the listening experience, but it does take away from the overall experience of a polished device/software.

After scouring the internet, I found lots of people with similar problems and no one with a solution that would work for me.  I decided that the issue had to be with the way that the files were tagged.  I typically use iTunes on my PC to organize and manage my music and I use Double Twist to synchronize the music to my phone.  I decided to let another application have a peak into the files in question.  I grabbed a copy of Media Monkey and looked at the tags using it.  After scrutinizing and comparing working files with non-working files, the only thing I could determine was that the album art in the non-working files was showing up with "Image Type" set to "Cover (Front)", while the working ones were set to "Not specified".  I changed the non-working file to "Not specified" and transferred the updated file to my phone and viola, album art.  Seems like maybe the Android music player is not paying attention to all tags, or perhaps "Image type" is not a standard tag, I don't really know the standard so I can't say who is at fault.  I believe the cause was iTunes and it's feature to automatically get album art, but I can't be sure.

Here's how to do it:
  1. Open Media Monkey and point it at your music library.
  2. Navigate to the song(s) that are not showing album art on the Android.
  3. Right click on the songs and select "Properties".
  4. Go to the Album Art tab.
  5. If the album art "Image type" is set to anything but "Not specified" then you will need to change it to "Not specified".
  6. Make sure that  "Apply to selected tracks" is checked.

That should fix the problem.  See the images below for screenshots of what you are looking for.
This is what you will see if it needs to be fixed.

This is after it has been changed.  Don't forget the checkbox.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Home DNS Service

I have been on the lookout for a home DNS service, without much success.  I'm not looking for a service to point a domain name at my home computer from the public side of the internet.  I'm looking for a service that will point a machine name to an internal IP address without rolling my own DNS server.  I figured that someone might have something like this as a paid service.  Definitely something I can see a service like OpenDNS offering.  Basically, when a computer on my network does a lookup for machine XYZ it should check the list of internal addresses and if not found, fall through to public DNS entries.  Then on the service website, you could configure your internal ones in a password protected area.

Anyway, after having no luck finding such a service, I decided to just use a domain I already had.  So (assuming I own the domain I just went to the DNS management of my domain and pointed to my internal IP address of the machine.  Now I can access the machine by name on my network.  It's not the most ideal method since you have to own a domain name, but it was the simplest solution I could find.