Renaming an Android shortcut in TouchWiz (the hard way)

February 23, 2014

Warning: the information presented below might break your phone. It’s quite easy to make a typo and delete all your shortcuts… which will leave you pretty much up the creek. I probably should have backed up launcher.db before I did all this, but I didn’t. Shame on me. So don’t do this unless you know what you’re doing. If you break things it’s not my fault.

I recently switched from using Astro File Manager to ES File Explorer. In almost all respects, ES File Explorer is a better file manager – but it has one significant shortcoming. In Astro, you can create a shortcut and specify its name at create time; in ES File Explorer your shortcut is named whatever the file was originally named.

This left me with ugly file names (including extension) on the home screen. I needed a way to rename. Lots of articles on the web pointed to apps that would do it, but it seemed unnecessary to have to download a whole other app just to rename something. In the end I figured out how to do it.

To start with, you’ll need the following (all of which I had installed on my phone already):

Incidentally, my phone is a Samsung Infuse running Froyo… other phones may be different, and I don’t think you’ll find TouchWiz on non-Samsung phones.

First, I had to locate where the TouchWiz database was on my phone. This thread on xda-developers pointed me to /dbdata/databases/

So… start up Terminal Emulator and do:

$ su
# cd /dbdata/databases/com.*twlaunch*
# pwd
# ls

Groovy, there’s the launcher.db in the right place. Next I inspected it with sqlite3:

# sqlite3 launcher.db
SQLite version
Enter ".help" for instructions
Enter SQL statements terminated with a ";"
sqlite> .schema
CREATE TABLE android_metadata (locale TEXT);
CREATE TABLE apps (_id INTEGER PRIMARY KEY,componentname TEXT,top_number INTEGER NOT NULL DEFAULT 65535,page_number INTEGER NOT NULL DEFAULT 65535,cell_number INTEGER NOT NULL DEFAULT 65535);
CREATE TABLE favorites (_id INTEGER PRIMARY KEY,title TEXT,intent TEXT,container INTEGER,screen INTEGER,cellX INTEGER,cellY,INTEGER,spanX INTEGER,spanY INTEGER,itemType INTEGER,appWidgetId INTEGER NOT NULL DEFAULT -1,isShortcut INTEGER,iconType INTEGER,iconPackage TEXT,iconResource TEXT,icon BLOB,uri TEXT,displayMode INTEGER);
CREATE TABLE gestures (_id INTEGER PRIMARY KEY,title TEXT,intent TEXT,itemType INTEGER,iconType INTEGER,iconPackage TEXT,iconResource TEXT,icon BLOB);

My educated guess based on the tables and what was in them was that the table “favorites” would be useful. Not only did it have a title and an intent, but cellX, cellY, spanX and spanY looked like things that might be used for shortcuts.

From there it was simple to look at what was in the table:

sqlite> select * from favorites;

Luckily, it looks like shortcuts are added by _id, and the number for _id increases as new shortcuts are added. That means the latest shortcut added is probably going to be at or near the end.

So… update the record and see what happens:

sqlite> update favorites set title="VE Manual" where _id=149;
sqlite> .quit

Then go back to the launcher and look at my shortcut. Boo, it’s still the same as it was. So then kill TouchWiz by holding “Home”, clicking the “Ram Manager” tab, pressing the “Level 2” button and then the “Clear Memory” button… success! The shortcut is renamed. Tapping it causes the same behaviour as before… in all respects it’s the same shortcut, just the title has changed.

Incidentally, I ran into what looks like a problem with doing this. If I rename the shortcut then reboot, the shortcut loses its icon information. I think this has something to do with ES File Explorer being stored on SD. Strangely, it doesn’t happen when I don’t rename the file. Astro fills in the icon BLOB, but ES File Explorer doesn’t.

Editions of ARRL Hints and Kinks Books

February 14, 2014

I’ve been looking around the web for a list of the ARRL “Hints & Kinks for the Radio Amateur” editions. I wasn’t able to find one, so here’s what I know:

Edition Year Orig Price Preface
First volume (unlabeled) 1933 0.50
Volume Two 1937 0.50 Ross A. Hull (VK3JU operating as ARRL station W1MK/W1AW?)
Volume Three 1945 0.50 unsigned
Volume Four 1949 1.00 A. L. Budlong (W1BUD)
Volume Five 1954 1.00 A. L. Budlong (W1BUD)
Volume Six 1959 1.00 A. L. Budlong (W1BUD)
Volume Seven 1965 1.00 John Huntoon W1LVQ
8th Edition 1968 1.00 John Huntoon W1LVQ
9th Edition 1973? 1974? 2.00
Edition Year Orig Price Editor
10th Edition 1978 4.00 Stuart Leland W1JEC
11th Edition 1982 4.00 Charles L. Hutchinson K8CH, Stuart B. Leland W1JEC, Larry D. Wolfgang WA3VIL
12th Edition 1989 5.00 Charles L. Hutchinson K8CH, David Newkirk AK7M
13th Edition 1992 10.00 David Newkirk WJ1Z
14th Edition 1997 12.00 Robert Schetgen KU7G, David Newkirk W9VES
15th Edition 2000 12.00 Larry Wolfgang WR1B
16th Edition 2003 15.95 Steve Ford WB8IMY
17th Edition 2004 17.95 Dana G. Reed W1LC
18th Edition 2012 22.95 Steve Ford WB8IMY

All the editions from 10 on are the large format (8 x 11 inches) and have an editor; the editions from 1 through 9 are 6 x 9 inch and sometimes have the writer of the preface/forward listed. N4MW has info about the earlier editions as well as other classic ARRL publications.

Thanks also to James Smith for clarifications about three of the earlier editions.