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General Chat Thread, And I wonder why so many people brick their devices! in General; Maybe it's because I'm a bit poorly (hence grumpy) at the moment, but I am currently shaking my head in ...
  1. #1

    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    And I wonder why so many people brick their devices!

    Maybe it's because I'm a bit poorly (hence grumpy) at the moment, but I am currently shaking my head in disbelief at a situation that I find is getting more and more common, and that is device flashing and the inevitable avalanche of 'How do I do this' type post that appear whenever some helpful soul has posted a link to the newest firmware release for a device or, as on XDA, they have delivered their latest shiny custom ROM to a waiting world.
    I first noticed this on XDA Developers (possibly one of the greatest assets for phones on the net) when I first got the Star N9770. They have a very large thread about how to root the device (like you do) and install/roll back ROMS. After a bit of reading I decided I could do well without the hassle as the phone had had several types of wireless and cameras fitted and unless you got the specific ROM by matching up random serial numbers and left it as a stock device which suited me fine tbh (that and my particular ROM couldn't be rooted).
    The thread is located here: STAR N9770 DUAL CORE MT6577/ulefone N9770. - xda-developers and even by page 3 you can see a pattern emerging in that many of those attempting to flash their devices shouldn't be allowed to do so. There are dozens of I've bricked my device' posts which are matched only by the amount of 'How to I do this?' posts, almost all of which had (at the beginning) been granted the stock reply to read the instructions' at the beginning of the thread.
    It's the same same for the tablet I am awaiting delivery for I spent a few minutes this afternoon looking to see what firmwares were available and how to flash it (quite easily thankfully). The device comes with Android 4.1.1 but I found a link to a 4.2 beta which sounded interesting but on getting the download page here: Ainol Novo Google Android Tablet PC News - Ainol Novo 7 Venus Quad Core Android 4.2.2 Firmware Beta I was quite shocked at the 3 comments by people who, essentially shouldn't really be trying this unless they know what they are doing. And it's not like there are not enough vids on YouTube and guides elsewhere to guide them.
    I think my point here is that will it ever get to a point where the people who know how to do things in the technical world will stop trying to explain to those who don't because it is simply not worth the trouble?
    Or perhaps that x% of all devices sold globally will be bricked by foolish individuals who can't follow instructions and hadn't considered that if they couldn't understand what is going on then perhaps they shouldn't be attempting what they are doing?
    Anyway, time to take my medicine and have a nice lie down.

  2. #2
    Marshall_IT's Avatar
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    It a difficult situation, I didn't know how to root my sgs2,but I looked it up, read multiple threads, blog posts, watched a number of different how to videos and thankfully I managed to root and flash it without any issues.

    However, without the stellar work by those individuals, I never would have been able to root and flash my device.

    But I, like you, take a measured approach, make sure I have all the facts, know all the pitfalls and proceed with sure care and diligence.

    The problem here I think, is the problem of this generation, the tl:dr generation. With certain things, you just can't cut corners. There are no short cuts.

    Only quick ways of screwing things up.

    I'd like to make a post entitled, The 5 quickest ways to brick your phone. Although I'm sure it already exists, and no 1 is not reading the whole how to before proceeding.

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    I think it is a sign of a deeper issue, most of these people would not be messing with their phones if the vendors did a half decent job of making them let alone supporting them. To put it nicely a large percentage of the products ship as barely polished excrement with the promise of future updates to maybe make it work. Problem is that now their are active communities that fix these abominations the vendors do even less.

    People are left with the option of suffering with the junk or doing what the rest of the internet is doing. Unfourtunatly this seems to be forcing many more people to do the in thing including those not suited to it. If the devices weren't junk to start with bundled with vendor filth then this would not be such a big and growing problem.

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    Marshall_IT's Avatar
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    Many people jailbreak iPhone too, and that's not because it's a badly finished product. That's due to the restrictions. It seems most people are stuck between those 2 places.
    The carriers in the USA are a lot more restrictive, like stopping wifi hotspot features etc...

    As a side note, I've never even considered rooting or flashing my nexus 7.

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    I've considered going my Desire HD but never plucked up the courage to do it, want to get it running latest Android if I can but there is something saying don't do it.

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marshall_IT View Post
    Many people jailbreak iPhone too, and that's not because it's a badly finished product. That's due to the restrictions. It seems most people are stuck between those 2 places.
    The carriers in the USA are a lot more restrictive, like stopping wifi hotspot features etc...

    As a side note, I've never even considered rooting or flashing my nexus 7.
    Whether it is a lack of polish or very visible and uncomfortable handcuffs, it is still glaring problems in the products themselves that is making this so popular in the first place.

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    When I first got my HTC Desire before I had even turned it on I had the guide how to root it handy. I don't really like how the phone arrives with apps that you don't particularly want draining your resources all day long and standard users been unable to remove them and been locked to certain networks. I did want to enjoy the full experience of having a phone which I could customise how ever I wanted.
    I did like trying all the different roms available, seeing how each release by different developers speeded up the the phone and increased battery life. Also I liked checking all the tweaks and seeing the different things that were possible to do with a phone. Some of the android apps require a rooted device to work properly. Another benefit of having a rooted device is having the ability to be able to do full phone image backup/restore, similar to how imaging a pc works.
    Later after that I got a HTC One X and flashed a custom rom the same day. I couldn't imagine life with out root! And I love been able to customise my phone to the full extent.

    There is a lot of benefits to having a roooted device, more than I have listed, but I have always been prepared of the possibility of bricking my phone. Fortunately it hasn't happend yet.

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    Domino's Avatar
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    Don't buy a dodgy Chinese phone with random components then

    I've been using android a pretty long time. And have rooted/ custom ROMd every single device. Not had any insurmountable problems..I think peoples issues normally derive from a lack of being prepared properly. or even prepared to research properly.

    ...I doubt that'll ever change.

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    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    It's not really a discussion about the pro's and con's of rooting devices, but rather one of 'Some people either don't read instructions or are not capable of following them correctly and as such should not attempt any kind of 'self-help' on their devices'.
    Or to be more accurate, 'Just because you can doesn't mean you, yes you who hasn't read beyond 'download here' on the first page of the thread. Should'.
    Last edited by Dos_Box; 14th April 2013 at 10:47 PM.

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  11. #10


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    Quote Originally Posted by Dos_Box View Post
    Some people either don't read instructions or are not capable of following them correctly
    A big part of the problem is that forums are an extremely bad place to put those instructions. Everything you need to know is not always contained within the first couple of posts of a thread. Instead, it is scattered across multiple websites and/or sub-forums with tens or sometimes hundreds of pages, each filled with useless trivial comments, massive signatures, hideous avatars, animated GIFs, Tapatalk spam and information that is no longer relevant. Is it any wonder people end up with bricked Android devices due to the high signal to noise ratio and the vast array of variables involved (carrier-specific firmware, manufacturer restrictions, devices with the same model name/number but different hardware etc.)? With cheap Chinese tablets and smartphones especially, how do you find the single comment that could mean the difference between bricking/not bricking your Android device or fixing/not fixing an annoying bug or feature? It's almost impossible unless you have hours/days/weeks to sift through the metaphorical haystack looking for the elusive needle!
    Last edited by Arthur; 15th April 2013 at 12:17 AM.

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    witch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur View Post
    A big part of the problem is that forums are an extremely bad place to put those instructions. Everything you need to know is not always contained within the first couple of posts of a thread. Instead, it is scattered across multiple websites and/or sub-forums with tens or sometimes hundreds of pages, each filled with useless trivial comments, massive signatures, hideous avatars, animated GIFs, Tapatalk spam and information that is no longer relevant. Is it any wonder people end up with bricked Android devices due to the high signal to noise ratio and the vast array of variables involved (carrier-specific firmware, manufacturer restrictions, devices with the same model name/number but different hardware etc.)? With cheap Chinese tablets and smartphones especially, how do you find the single comment that could mean the difference between bricking/not bricking your Android device or fixing/not fixing an annoying bug or feature? It's almost impossible unless you have hours/days/weeks to sift through the metaphorical haystack looking for the elusive needle!
    Absolutely! And added to that you sometimes get what appear to be detailed instructions but which in fact miss out something important that you were expected to know already. Which, if you have never done this, you may not, even if you are quite tech minded.

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    Danp's Avatar
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    This also reminds me of when I was self employed fixing computers, building websites etc and I was faced with competition from people who have just played with their own computer and at home and then think they can fix anything. Same with photography, a very good friend of mine has her own business as a wedding photographer, has done it for 15'odd years, she is faced with people who can take the odd decent picture who suddenly think they are amazing.

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    I was always a bit wary of trying to flash my devices here, especially within Warranty/Contract Period, so before I had my HTC Desire last contract I waited until near the end of the contract before I flashed mine, it wasnt for the faint hearted I felt and needed LOADS of research and careful reading before taking the plunge with that phone, one part wasn't especially well explained I found out from the various forums and threads I read and that was regarding the HTC drivers needed by windows to flash the device, once that was sorted out, it was relatively painless and it actually improved my phone no end I felt just having a plain "non-bloated" OS on the phone.

    That is one of the problems I find, the amount of crap that some of the networks bundle with their phones O2 and Orange who I have had phones with in the last 10 years seem to love loading the phone with junk from what I have seen which just isn't needed, that being said, I am using Apple now and the iPhone is quite similar. Jailbreaking is seeming more tempting here by the week

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    tom_newton's Avatar
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    I think some of what i'd term "over easy bricking" is due to developers not expecting to be left without input devices... think about how most of the guys writing 'phone software cut their teeth: probably developing s/w for a PC. It goes wrong, you've got a whacking great display, some disgustingly standard input devices (keyboard, mouse) which have support at BIOS level, 30-years-worth of PC engineering, and a handful of ways (CD, network, USB) to get data back on to the device.

    Now give said developer a device that has very few of these advantages, and I will show you some software that "bricks too easy". I've seen similar challenges here at Smoothwall: when we started making hardware devices (our first products were all "install on your own tin") we ran into a number of issues we just didn't expect - oh the disk check needs keyboard input sometimes? No surprise, it was written for a server OS (the abundance of IP KVM/ILO should tell you a lot about the real headless nature of servers) - well there's no keyboard now, whatcha gonna do?

    We now have to work extra hard to avoid these sort of problems: sometimes this means putting twice the engineering effort in for the same feature.

    So in answer to the original question: I think "bricking" will get more difficult. Granted, some of the suppliers have no impetus to make it harder (specifically those having their s/w replaced with someone elses), but as we get more embedded developers coming through the ranks who think like true embedded devs, I think we'll see improvement.

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    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur View Post
    A big part of the problem is that forums are an extremely bad place to put those instructions. Everything you need to know is not always contained within the first couple of posts of a thread. Instead, it is scattered across multiple websites and/or sub-forums with tens or sometimes hundreds of pages, each filled with useless trivial comments, massive signatures, hideous avatars, animated GIFs, Tapatalk spam and information that is no longer relevant. Is it any wonder people end up with bricked Android devices due to the high signal to noise ratio and the vast array of variables involved (carrier-specific firmware, manufacturer restrictions, devices with the same model name/number but different hardware etc.)? With cheap Chinese tablets and smartphones especially, how do you find the single comment that could mean the difference between bricking/not bricking your Android device or fixing/not fixing an annoying bug or feature? It's almost impossible unless you have hours/days/weeks to sift through the metaphorical haystack looking for the elusive needle!
    It used to be, well for XDA anyway, when the amount of smartphones was small, that each phone would have it's own forum and as a sticky at the top of each one would be instructions on how to flash the device being covered. Since the availability of smartphones back (then let's say circa 2007) was limited and that most people who owned and wanted to change the ROM were technically competent the forums wee largely free of the type of posts that now overrun them. For instance, a brief look at any of thee threads discussing the HTC Tytn II: Tilt, TyTN II, MDA Vario III Windows Mobile ROM Development - xda-developers has very few 'problem' posts compared to this newer one concerning the Samsung Galaxy SII and the difference is huge: Galaxy S II Q&A, Help & Troubleshooting - xda-developers where I found one thread in which a user was complaining they couldn't find the volume controls!
    I wonder how long it will be before some of the more forums have entry tests to ensure anyone trying to join will understand the subject matter within to prevent contributors getting bogged down with hand holding?

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