Nexus 7 2013 (Wifi): Installing Android L (Android L Beta) + Root Android L (Android L Beta)

Hi everyone! Please note that this guide is not for the Official Android Lollipop. The Android L used in this tutorial is the beta version (provided by Google of course). I will update this post once I get my hands on the test tablet I used during this exercise. :)

Courtesy of geek.com

Android L

Its been a while since Android L was announced to the public. If you are a lucky owner of a Google Nexus 7 2013 tablet (like me), you probably want to try it out. Its a great leap from Android KitKat and is personally faster compared to its older siblings. Don’t worry, you could still root your device later and perform those power-user actions that you love. If you’re worried where to start, don’t be as I will guide you in this post on how to install Android L in Nexus 7 2013 (wifi) and root it.

A word of caution though, I won’t be held responsible if something happened to your device (including data loss) or if some of your apps won’t work on Android L. Android L (developer preview) is not for the faint of heart. You have been warned!

Preparing for Android L

Before we begin tinkering with our tablet, we need to download the following:

These files are optional and are only needed if you wanted to root your device:

After you have downloaded the files above, place them in a single folder. Install:

  • 7-zip
  • Adb and Fastboot

and proceed to the next stage.

Make a Backup

Installing Android L will wipe everything in your tablet including your internal storage. It would be better if you will backup your internal storage into a separate device such as your laptop or external drive before proceeding.

Be a Developer!

Before flashing / installing the actual Android L image on our tablet, make sure that you have USB debugging enabled. You can enable it via Developer Options. Enable USB debugging via developer options on your device by:

  • Go to settings
  • Go to about
  • Click “Build Number” multiple times until it prompts you that you are now a developer.
  • Connect to your PC
  • On your tablet, go back to settings
  • Go to developer options
  • Tick USB Debugging
  • Tick allow and click Ok

Now its time to flash Android L!

Installing Android L

Open the “razor-lpv79-preview-d0ddf8ce.tgz” archive and extract its contents to a folder. If you can find “flash-all.bat” or “flash-all” file on the extracted folder, then you have successfully extracted the image. Now follow these instructions:

  • Connect your device to the computer powered on and wait for the drivers to install, if it did not install, you might have to download and install this (https://dl-ssl.google.com//android/repository/latest_usb_driver_windows.zip)
  • After the appropriate drivers are installed, turn off the tablet and disconnect it from everything
  • Turn on the tablet by holding the “Power Button” + “Volume Down” key until you reach a screen something like this:
    Fastboot Screen courtesy of XDA Developers

    Fastboot Screen

    This is what we call the fastboot screen.

  • Now connect your device to your computer
  • On your computer, go to the folder where the flash-all.bat / flash-all file was located

Make sure that your have backed up everything in your tablet before going to the next bullet!

  • Double click the flash-all.bat or flash-all file, leave your Nexus alone and wait for it to finish
  • Follow the Android setup
  • Congratulations! You are now in Android L!

Installing a Custom Recovery (TWRP)

Now we have ourselves a stock Android L running on a 2013 Nexus 7 tablet. The next steps are actually not necessary if you don’t want to root your tablet and you want stay with the official or stock flavor of Android L without root privileges.

Before proceeding, transfer the “UPDATE-SuperSU-v2.01.zip” to your device. Just place it in the internal storage. No need to place it in a folder.

To install TWRP, go to the folder where you’ve put the “openrecovery-twrp-2.7.1.1-flo.img” file and follow these:

  • First, go to fastboot screen on your device and connect it to your computer
  • On your computer, locate and rename openrecovery-twrp-2.7.1.1-flo.img to recovery.img
  • In the folder where openrecovery-twrp-2.7.1.1-flo.img is located, click the address bar and copy everything
  • Now, click start and type “cmd”
  • Once the Command Prompt (or the black screen window with blinking line) appears, type cd and a space after it and right-click anywhere in the black screen and click paste. You will end up with a command like this “cd your-folder-location” without the quotes.
  • Once the left part of the command prompt text changed to the address of the folder where recovery.img was located, type in “fastboot format cache” without quotes and hit enter. Wait for it to finish and type in “fastboot flash recovery recovery.img” without the quotes and hit enter.
  • After flashing the recovery partition, go back to your tablet and press the volume buttons and navigate to “Recovery Mode”. Once the recovery mode is selected, press the power button and it will boot into the custom recovery that we just flashed (TWRP).
  • You have successfully rebooted to the custom recovery if you can see a screen like this:

    TWRP Screen courtesy by nexus7.wonderhowto.com

    Team Win Recovery Project (TWRP)

  • Once in the TWRP, click Install and select the UPDATE-SuperSU-v2.01.zip.
  • Once selected, swipe to continue.
  • Wait for it to finish and click reboot the system.
  • Congratulations! You now have a rooted Android L tablet! Enjoy!

If you have questions or suggestions to the guide, kindly make a comment below. Thanks!

References:

TCP Ping: Turns out you can ping websites using TCP!

Ping a great tool in monitoring a host status in real-time. It iTCP Pings available on all (not sure) operating systems such as Windows, Linux, Mac and even Android. I commonly use ping whenever I wanted to see whether or a host is alive or dead. However, sometimes  firewalls do block generic ping packets which utilizes Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP is a protocol in order for ping to work properly. You don’t have to dig on that but you can if you want. ;)). So now, I don’t have any tool to use to check the host status. However, one alternative is to manually check it or visit the website in order to confirm if the host is up. However, since I don’t like firing up the website and reload it every seconds just to see if it’s up or not (because I am lazy and it doesn’t have logs), I tried to see if I can do a TCP ping. I searched google and turns out there is a too called TCP ping. However its a Windows-only tool (see here). (Too bad. Yeah. Life sucks but you shouldn’t go lose hope that easily.) Turns out if you dig further you will find this! At last the tool that we have been waiting for! But wait. Hold your horses. It’s a frigging script! How do I run it and make it terminal invokable (if that is even a term)? Well, lucky for you I have the same questions. Read below to find out the answer!

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Installing Chrome / Chromium on Kali Linux (plus tutorial on editing sources.list)

Chromium BrowserSo you’ve been wanting to ditch Iceweasel (Firefox) on you Kali Linux Distro right?So how about using Chrome / Chromium for a change? Worry not, you can easily switch or use both browsers in Kali Linux. All you have to do is add the official Debian repository to sources.list install and configure chromium. Sounds pretty easy right? Well sort of. Of course there will be some hiccups while installing Chromium (on Kali Linux) along the way that is why I decided to make this post in order to help fellow newb users (like us) survive installing that friggin popular browser in Kali Linux.

UPDATE: Turns out you don’t have to edit the source.list to install Chromium. I have tried installing Chromium from a fresh install of Kali Linux. You could just skip editing the source list and go directly to installing Chromium using the terminal. However, I will leave the source list tutorial in the post for future reference.

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Copy vs Hard Link vs Soft (Symbolic) Link

Copy vs Hard Link vs Soft LinkI was trying hard to understand the meaning of links in the Linux world. Based on what I have read, there are two types of links – symbolic (soft) link and hard links. Soft links are pointers to a file while hard links are like linked copies of a file. Wait. Did I just write copy? Confusing right? Why bother doing hard links when you can just copy and paste files from one directory to another? Don’t worry I was also confused about this topic before but a quick Google search gave me a clear answer from an Arch Linux community member Dusty. He stated that in:

Copy:

  • You have two different versions of the file.
  • If you edit one, the other one stays the same.
  • If you delete one, the other one stays there, but it may not be identical if it was edited.
  • Twice as much disk space used (two different files).

Hard Link:

  • You have one file with two different filenames.
  • If you edit one, it gets edited in all filename locations.
  • If you delete one, it still exists in other places.
  • Only one file on disk.

Soft Link:

  • You have one file with one filename and a pointer to that file with the other filename.
  • If you edit the link, its really editing the original file.
  • If you delete the file, the link is broken.
  • If you remove the link, the file stays in place.
  • Only one file on disk.

So basically we need to:

  • Copy if we need a duplicate of the file which is independent of the other file.
  • Do a hard link if we need a file that is a linked very hard to the original file (all contents of the file will be edited whenever we edit one file and the link will stay even if we move the original file to a separate location) and wanted to avoid different versions (of the file) and space eating duplicates.
  • Do a soft (symbolic) link if we wanted a shortcut to the file.

And that’s it! the main differences between Copy, Hard and Soft Link. Hope we all learned something new in this post!

References:

Re: BlueStacks: Play Android Games on your PC!

Blue StacksIf you have been using BlueStacks on your computer for a while, I think this is the right time to update your installation. Why? Because I updated my BlueStacks installation and the performance difference is astonishing. It’s almost running Android apps on your computer at full speed! So if you haven’t touched your Bluestacks installation, now is the right time to update. Head over here to download the installer. Enjoy playing!

Still don’t know what is BlueStacks? You can find my post about it over here.

Quick Format vs. Normal Format? Which one should I choose?

Format Disk Window

Format Disk Window

This is a common question in which a quick Google search returned vast many results. However, I don’t usually like new information being shove into my face like a thick slice of cake so I decided to make a list describing what are the key differences of the two methods of formatting an external storage.

Basically the need to reformat things arose because my budget Android phone is excessively notifying me about numerous mounts and unexpected unmounts of my SD card which is kinda weird if you ask me since the SD card slot is located underneath the battery compartment and is not loose. After some searches I have found over Google, I have discovered that it is a pretty common problem amongst Android users and a quick fix is to reformat the SD card. However, after numerous retries of reformatting the SD card (I have tried using Windows and the built-in format feature of Android phones), the problem still persists. So I dug deeper. Turns out I should have unticked the Quick Format option in Windows whenever I have to reformat the SD card. But why? Well these are different answers I have found over the internet:

Quick Format, what does it do?

  • Fast formatting
  • Format removes files from the partition, but does not scan the disk for bad sectors
  • File recovery program could recover lost files
  • Its like taking the table of contents out of the book. The information stays there until the pages (old data) is replaced by a different page (new data)
  • Could take 3-5 minutes

Normal Format

  • Full and slower formatting
  • Files are removed from the volume that you are formatting and the hard disk is scanned for bad sectors
  • Does everything a Quick Format do and on recent versions (Windows Vista, 7), they perform a rewrite pass over the entire drive which adds a level of security and gives your drive a fresh start for new data
  • Could take hours

Basically what I really need is for Windows to repair the bad sectors of the SD card. I am not quite sure if this will work since the card is still formatting (I know its taking too long. Arrgh). ***I will update this post later!

In conclusion, I advise that whenever you are going to reuse a card or you have a card that is malfunctioning, you should do a normal format on it instead of a quick format. Though it take longer, it will repair the bad sectors which could be the culprit of corrupted data on your cards. However if you wanted to use your brand new card and is convinced that it won’t have any bad sectors on it (since its brand new), you should use quick format instead.

References: