As I stepped out of the office for lunch on Monday, I spotted a news article proclaiming that Australian retailer Harvey Norman would be joining-in the global funeral for recently-released HP TouchPad. The article went live at 12.46pm and I tweeted the link at 1.21pm as I strolled up to the local Harvey Norman for a look-see.
Walking into the pokey, dark den which is their Martin Place (Sydney) store, I was intrigued by the noise coming from inside this normally-quiet shop space. A lively queue, of around 80 people, was already standing at the main cash register. I spotted a mate of mine, JP, who was towards the head of the line and he confirmed that it was the TouchPad sale queue.
JP had arrived shortly after 1pm and witnessed Harvey Norman staff scramble to respond as the email from their head office arrived – well after news outlets started publishing details. JP said the first sale-priced units (16GB at AUD98.00 and 32GB at 148.00) went into the hands of customers at around 1.15pm….well ahead of the 2.00pm sale start time.
To collapse the next 40mins for you – there was a rush of blood; I joined the queue; I bought a 32GB TouchPad. Of course, I tweeted a few updates – with photos – as I went :
By mid-afternoon, news of the complete sell-out of TouchPads in Australia was widespread. For my 15 seconds of ‘fame’, a few of my photos and a video appeared (with permission) in one article and one of my tweets appeared at the bottom of another. Oh – that was my first YouTube video to crack 10,000 views.
I unboxed the unit on Monday night and, of course, the obligatory unboxing photos have been uploaded to flickr. You can take a look at them HERE.
Step-by-step, absolute beginners’ guide to performance-tweaking the HP TouchPad
Of course, a common complaint of the TouchPad is the responsiveness (or rather, the lack thereof) of the user interface. WebOS is super-sexy, but the dual-core CPU seemingly has to work – hard – to deliver the natty ‘cards’ and rich multi-tasking capability WebOS offers. Of course people (people far more clever than I am) have found ways to address HP’s fubar. After experimenting – winning – failing – and experimenting some more, here are the steps which I took to make my HP TouchPad perform at its best with the resources currently available.
(Note: Most steps, here, are based on this informative but annoyingly-narrated and super-shakey YouTube video)
1. Fire up your Windows machine (I’m using Win7 64bit) and download WebOS Quick Install 4.2.3 – this desktop application (Java executable) allows the TouchPad to be seen by Windows when connected by USB (read: installs drivers) and is the quickest way to get third party apps , themes, patches homebrew etc across to the TouchPad. YAY! (Note: first time you run it, it will prompt to automatically download and install Novacom – make sure you do that bit!) Once running, it will sit there waiting for a WebOS device to be connected.
2. Reboot the TouchPad.
3. Put the TouchPad into Developer Mode. At the JUST TYPE… (WebOS federated search) prompt, simply type webos20090606 and enter. You’ll be prompted to add a password. Just skip ahead.
4. Connect the TouchPad to the Windows machine running WebOS Quick Install (per step one) via a USB to Micro USB cable. Just dismiss the message (USB storage prompt) that appears on the TouchPad screen. Let Windows sing and dance and carry-on. Eventually, WebOS Quick Install will find the TouchPad and the prompt to connect one will disappear.
5. Go to the toilet. Make some coffee. Have a break. That’s all the boring stuff out of the way. The rest of the action kind of starts from this point on, and it all happens pretty quickly. Time to FOCUS.
6. In WebOS Quick Install (on your Windows Desktop), click on the homebrew icon (globe with the two arrows). After it reads all the repository feeds, you’ll be presented with a long list of available stuff for you to install. Take a ChillPill 250,000mg. You ONLY want to select and install Preware. Find it in the list and press install. Once done, you can disconnect your PC.
7. Having got you all excited about what WebOS Quick Install can do, I’m going to ask you to now FORGET IT. In fact, you can delete it from your desktop if you like. That Preware app which is now on your TouchPad is nicer and just as feature-rich. But, first of all, you need to add a couple of application repositories (feeds) to its database. Fret not – while it is a little fiddly, it is straightforward and very difficult to screw up:
8. Reboot your TouchPad. Don’t ask me why… but I got errors if I didn’t do so at this point. YMMV.
9. Install Govnah 1.0.3 (CPU speed controller, monitoring app and much more). You will need this, once your new kernel is loaded, to crank up the speed. Open the Preware application, find Govnah in the Available Packages or List of Everything list. Install. Easy!
10. Reboot your TouchPad. This is CRITICAL. You’re about to install a new kernel which, for safety reasons, makes sure everything is pristine and available to be molested.
11. Install F15C Eagle v3.0.2-40 (speed-optimised kernel). Say goodbye to your manufacturer warranty – you’re now entering Dodgyville, population unknown (but 100% geeks). Open the Preware application, find F15C Eagle in the Available Packages or List of Everything list. Install – carefully following any on-screen instructions re reboots etc!
12. It’s time to crank up the CPU speed!
- Open Govnah
- Tap on Profile
- Tap on Advanced Settings
- Tap CPU Frequency
- Set the MIN FEQ to 192MHz and MAX FREQ to 1.728GHz
- Tap Apply Settings
- Tap Save As New Profile and give your settings a name (eg Grunter)
- When you return to the Profiles screen, your new profile should be in bold, showing that it is active.
- When you exit the Profiles screen you will be able to see that you have successfully cranked both cores of the CPU to 1.7GHz (YAY for you!)
13. You could stop here. I almost did as it IS noticeably faster! But then I did some more reading about the log file issue and decided to push on. Here’s what else I installed via Preware to squeeze out even more performance:
- App – EOM Overlord Monitoring.
- Patch – Muffle System Logging
- Patch – Remove Dropped Packet Logging
- Patch – Unthrottle Download Manager
- Patch – Quiet Powered Messages
- Patch – Faster Card Animations HYPER Version
- Patch – Increase Touch Sensitivity And Smoothness 10
14. Load up apps galore – including resource-hungry Flash and YouTube stuff – and bask in the awesomeness of your handiwork. Use this time to tear up your warranty cards etc too
I hope this guide helped you. If I’ve overlooked anything, or could have made something clearer, please let me know! Similarly, if you’ve found it helpful just leave me a comment, below. Of course, suggestions on further tweaks also appreciated.