HTC Dream's notification LED color.

Android documentation says:

public int ledARGB

The color of the led. The hardware will do its best approximation.

Best approximation my ass. I wanted #fb2a0c, I got pink. To get the orange color, I needed #080800, for which orange is most certainly not what I'd call best approximation. It seems that Dreams' drivers just feed the raw RGB values to the hardware without bothering to do any processing on them.

To make it easier to find out which color to feed your device to get the real best approximation of color you want, I made this quick and dirty android LED tester. Just slide the sliders until you're satisfied, note the values and get on with it.

As a note, you might want to only serve the fake colors to devices you tested them on, in case other devices handle this properly and your app would turn out to blink the LED in real #080800, which is to say, almost black. I do this with if (Build.DEVICE.equals("dream")) color = 0xff080800; else color = 0xfffb2a0c; obviously if you test on more devices and they're all equally quirky, you need to add more checks.


Making Android application icons

Making application icons which would fit in style of the original icons on Android isn't at all easy. I've found it's easiest to model icon in 3D and render it. In the best interest of aesthetically-sensitive android users worldwide, I'm making available this android application icon template you can use to make your new beautiful icon.

It's got the camera, lights and whatnot setup just the proper way. It's still a little bit off the original icons—the shadow could be softer, for instance—but works good enough for me after some time struggling with blender's clunky interface. If you can fix it, great—the drop has guest upload enabled, so feel free to share your improved version.


Extracting 9-patches from apk files

As you may or may not know, 9.png files in compiled android packages have the nine patch metadata info rolled from the image OOB into the PNG file. Following quick and dirty ruby script extracts it back.

#!/usr/bin/env ruby

# Rafał Rzepecki 
# public domain
# deserializes metadata of 9-patch png file
# optionally writes out png with 9-patch info embedded (needs imagemagick for that)
# quick and dirty hack, no error handling, almost no test, YMMV
# for format specs see android/platform/frameworks/base/libs/utils/ResourceTypes.cpp
# (in android platform source)

if ARGV.length == 0
    print "Usage: #{__FILE__} <serialized nine-patch png file> [optional output png with inline 9-patch info]\n"
    exit 1

filename = ARGV[0]
png = File.open(filename) { |f|f.read }
index = png.index 'npTc'
data = png[(index+4)..-1]
wasDeserialized, numXDivs, numYDivs, numColors = data[0...4].unpack('C4')
paddings = data[12...(12+16)].unpack('N4') #left right top bottom
xDivs = data.unpack("N#{numXDivs}")
yDivs = data.unpack("N#{numYDivs}")
colors = data.unpack("N#{numColors}")

print "was deserialized: #{wasDeserialized}
paddings: #{paddings.join(', ')}
xdivs: #{xDivs.join(', ')}
ydivs: #{yDivs.join(', ')}
colors: #{colors.map{|c| "#%08x"%c}.join(', ')}

if ARGV.length == 1
    exit 0

# quick and dirty
`identify #{filename}` =~ /PNG (\d+)x(\d+)/
w, h = $1.to_i, $2.to_i
`convert #{filename} -bordercolor white -compose Copy -border 1x1 -stroke black \
-draw 'line #{xDivs[0] + 1},0 #{xDivs[1] + 1},0' \
-draw 'line 0,#{yDivs[0] + 1} 0,#{yDivs[1] + 1}' \
-draw 'line #{paddings[0] + 1},#{h + 1} #{w - paddings[1]},#{h+1}' \
-draw 'line #{w+1},#{paddings[2] + 1} #{w+1},#{h - paddings[3]}' \