Loud ramblings of a Software Artisan

Wednesday 20 June 2012

Android phone camera failure

I don't know if you noticed, but when you connect a Nexus One or a Samsung phone (Gingerbread or ICS, tested with a SGS 2 or Galaxy Note) to your Mac, the phone isn't recognized as a camera.

There is a difference between the Nexus One (stuck to Gingerbread) and the Samsung. The Nexus is USB Mass Storage (ie the phone is seen as a USB disk) while the Samsung is MTP (a variant of PTP, the USB standard for still image cameras). But in both case, the MacOS digital camera support (Image Capture, iPhoto or Aperture) recognize it but do not show anything. Adobe Lightroom is in the same boat (I'm not sure if it uses the OS capability or reimplemented it). This is because Android butcher the implementation of the Design rules for Camera Filesystem. See Android bug 2960 where you'll notice that it was largely ignored by Google despite even having a patch.

For the Nexus One this does not prevent from manually copying the images. But Samsung.... one would think they would have fixed that, but obviously they didn't. To make things worse, Samsung doesn't use Mass Storage but MTP, which mean that there is no way to just copy files from the camera[1]. That last bit is utter fail.

Update (June 21st): from the comment, apparently I can set the Galaxy Note to be as USB Mass Storage. It is complicated, needs to be done manually, require disabling USB Debugging (it will do it for you, but not reenable it), etc. In short they turned something relatively simple to something overly complex and unfriendly. Worse, it is so many to reach the dialog where like on the Nexus One, you can tap to enable Mass Storage. The positive side is that you can't enable Mass Storage without unlocking the phone, which is a security feature.


[1] unless maybe you install some tool, but anything runs better without Samsung software

Friday 1 June 2012

How to take a screenshot on an Android phone

How to take a screenshot on an Android phone, a Google Nexus One in my case. I have to document it, because "home + power" like on an iPhone (or any iOS device) is far too complicated.

Warning: this post contain whole parts of ranting and sarcasm.

  1. Configure your phone to allow USB debugging.
  2. Install the Android SDK
  3. Connect the phone over USB
  4. Start ddms from the Android SDK
  5. Select your phone.

Kaboom. It crashes.

01:42:04 E/ddms: Failed to execute runnable (java.lang.ArrayIndexOutOfBoundsException: -1)
org.eclipse.swt.SWTException: Failed to execute runnable (java.lang.ArrayIndexOutOfBoundsException: -1)
	at org.eclipse.swt.SWT.error(Unknown Source)
	at org.eclipse.swt.SWT.error(Unknown Source)
	at org.eclipse.swt.widgets.Synchronizer.runAsyncMessages(Unknown Source)
	at org.eclipse.swt.widgets.Display.runAsyncMessages(Unknown Source)
	at org.eclipse.swt.widgets.Display.readAndDispatch(Unknown Source)
	at com.android.ddms.UIThread.runUI(UIThread.java:517)
	at com.android.ddms.Main.main(Main.java:116)
Caused by: java.lang.ArrayIndexOutOfBoundsException: -1
	at org.eclipse.jface.viewers.AbstractTableViewer$VirtualManager.resolveElement(AbstractTableViewer.java:100)
	at org.eclipse.jface.viewers.AbstractTableViewer$1.handleEvent(AbstractTableViewer.java:70)
	at org.eclipse.swt.widgets.EventTable.sendEvent(Unknown Source)
	at org.eclipse.swt.widgets.Widget.sendEvent(Unknown Source)
	at org.eclipse.swt.widgets.Widget.sendEvent(Unknown Source)
	at org.eclipse.swt.widgets.Widget.sendEvent(Unknown Source)
	at org.eclipse.swt.widgets.Table.checkData(Unknown Source)
	at org.eclipse.swt.widgets.Table.cellDataProc(Unknown Source)
	at org.eclipse.swt.widgets.Display.cellDataProc(Unknown Source)
	at org.eclipse.swt.internal.gtk.OS._gtk_list_store_append(Native Method)
	at org.eclipse.swt.internal.gtk.OS.gtk_list_store_append(Unknown Source)
	at org.eclipse.swt.widgets.Table.setItemCount(Unknown Source)
	at org.eclipse.jface.viewers.TableViewer.doSetItemCount(TableViewer.java:217)
	at org.eclipse.jface.viewers.AbstractTableViewer.internalVirtualRefreshAll(AbstractTableViewer.java:661)
	at org.eclipse.jface.viewers.AbstractTableViewer.internalRefresh(AbstractTableViewer.java:635)
	at org.eclipse.jface.viewers.AbstractTableViewer.internalRefresh(AbstractTableViewer.java:620)
	at org.eclipse.jface.viewers.StructuredViewer$7.run(StructuredViewer.java:1430)
	at org.eclipse.jface.viewers.StructuredViewer.preservingSelection(StructuredViewer.java:1365)
	at org.eclipse.jface.viewers.StructuredViewer.preservingSelection(StructuredViewer.java:1328)
	at org.eclipse.jface.viewers.StructuredViewer.refresh(StructuredViewer.java:1428)
	at org.eclipse.jface.viewers.ColumnViewer.refresh(ColumnViewer.java:537)
	at org.eclipse.jface.viewers.StructuredViewer.refresh(StructuredViewer.java:1387)
	at com.android.ddmuilib.logcat.LogCatPanel$LogCatTableRefresherTask.run(LogCatPanel.java:1000)
	at org.eclipse.swt.widgets.RunnableLock.run(Unknown Source)
	... 5 more

En voila. You still haven't taken a screenshot.

And for the record, I'm aware that Android 4.0 can do it, but Google still hasn't provided an update for the Nexus One (their first flagship device) and is unlikely to do it. That's not really encouraging into buying a newer device.

Update: upgraded to platforn tools version 11 and still the same problem.