Android IP Security Camera

IP Camera LogoIn a previous post, I outlined how I used open source software and an older HTPC to serve as a web 2.0 cloud security camera hub.  My wife and I have loved this setup so much that we’ve added another non-traditional ip camera to our security setup.

A friend at work has been talking this week about how he is trying to re-purpose his old android phones into useful gadgets and it got me thinking.  I have a Sprint Epic 4g that is not being used due to the fact I’m not a Verizon customer.  This Epic 4g is a powerful small phone that has potential that is wasted just sitting in my junk drawer.

Today I charged the Epic 4g and connected it to my wi-fi network.  Browsing the Google Play store, I stumbled across an app that utilizes an android phone to create a IP web camera.  So I immediately downloaded the app and started setting the app up.  The IP web camera app is appropriately titled “Android IP Webcam”.  The webcam essentially turns your phone into an ip webcam that is accessible via a browser, skype, iSpy, and a multitude of other media streaming players.

Webcam web access served from Epic 4g

In my case, I utilized iSpy to connect to the camera and set the Epic 4g in an inconspicuous place in my home.  When properly set up, iSpy will detection motion from the IP camera and record the motion into a playable video file [more about this can be found in my previous post].

In less than an hour, I have an extra IP Security camera at no cost to me.  The Epic 4g is small, hardly noticeable, and has an amazing camera.

Dropbox two step authentication

Dropbox has finally enabled it’s two step authentication for it’s users.  This is an important thing to do for everyone here!  If a hacker gets your password he could read all of your files unless you have this two step authentication enabled.

The way it works is a simple process that a hacker would have one hell of a hard time to overcome.  Basically anytime you log into the web version of dropbox or want to add a new computer to your set up a secure code is sent to your mobile phone that you will be required to enter.

This is brilliant! Even if my best friend had my password, he wouldn’t be able to add a dropbox account of mine to any of his machines without also having stolen my cell phone. I suggest everyone head over to dropbox and turn this on immediately!

Above shows how to enable two step authentication

If you haven’t signed up for DropBox yet, what the heck are you waiting for? It’s free cloud storage and a TON of it!  It’s by far the best cloud storage in my opinion.  Click here to sign up now.  Dropbox is available for Windows, Mac, linux, android, iOS and even Blackberry.

Droid Razr Root

Once your phone is recognized by adb, it’s time to root your phone. Some people are concerned with rooting and rightfully so. If you don’t understand root, let me shed some light on it for you:

Rooting the Droid Razr can  prove to be difficult if you have a hard time getting adb to recognize your device.  However, following the instructions in my previous post should fix any adb problems.

Once your phone is recognized by adb, it’s time to root your phone.  Some people are concerned with rooting and rightfully so.  If you don’t understand root, let me shed some light on it for you:

Rooting

Since Android is based on the Linux operating system, it is highly configurable.  However, linux is a very secure operating system.  The normal android device can not make many administrative-level changes to the operating system or the android environment.  In linux systems, the root user (aka superuser) has unlimited administrative access to the operating system at all levels.  Even though some files and options may be locked from the normal user, a root user has no limitations.

Since root can edit/change/make files anywhere on the Anrdoid system, it is a very powerful thing to do and must be done with caution.  If you’re a novice and don’t understand what rooting a device provides, it’s probably best that you don’t root your droid razr.  However, if you know the advantages of rooting and are willing to take the risk of potentially messing up your phone then you’ve found the right place.

There are many advantages to rooting including:

  • USB Tethering
  • Wifi tethering
  • CPU / Kernel Management (optimization / battery saving)
  • Root-only backups
  • The ability to install custom ROM’s
  • many more.
Ok, I’m ready to root 

To root my droid razr, I downloaded an adb batch script from the xda forums.  I was really ticked off because the developer of the adb script put the download behind a registration-required forum.  I appreciate his hard work, but this is total BULLS#@!.  This developer can easily scrape the usernames and passwords of this forum and potentially have usernames and passwords of xda members.  (How many xda forum members do you actually think use different passwords for everything?).  I find this activity completely shady, and therefore I’ll offer his script on my website without stealing credit for his hard work.   At any time, if he removes the requirement to register to download this file I’ll remove my hard link.

Download: Droid Razr Root Ice Cream Sandwich script  Credit goes to the Eternity Project

Warning: This file was tested by me on Ice Cream Sandwich Android 4.0.4, I’m uncertain of the results on any other flavor of ICS.  Do not use this file on gingerbread.

Once you’ve downloaded the script, unzip it into any directory of your choosing.  The contents should look something like this:

Droid Razr Root
Droid Razr Root Directory (click to enlarge)

After you’ve unzipped the files, ensure that your android phone has USB debugging and allow mock locations enabled under your android system settings.  Be sure your phone is NOT in mass storage mode (PTP mode worked fine for me.)

After you’ve doubled checked your Android Operating System settings, plug your phone into your computer’s USB port.  If you’re running Windows, Now you’re ready to double click the batch script.  The file is called EasyRootICS_Windows.  Note: If you are running linux or mac, there are respective files for you as well.

After Double Clicking and opening the batch script, you’ll see a window that looks like this:

Easy Root Droid Razr
Easy Root Droid Razr (Click to enlarge)

Follow the instructions in the batch script (Just pressing the spacebar works) and it will reset your phone three times.  After the final reboot, your phone will have superuser (Root).  Congratulations!  If you have any questions/comments/problems feel free to add a comment below. Comments can be added without registration.

Android Root Overview

  • Download the root script
  • Download: Droid Razr Root Ice Cream Sandwich script  Credit goes to the Eternity Project
  • Unzip the root script
  • Put phone in USB Debugging mode (Android System developer options)
  • Allow Mock locations (Android System developer options)
  • Ensure phone is not in USB mass storage (Camera PTP works great).
  • Plug phone into computer
  • Double click EasyRoot batch script and follow directions
  • Phone will reboot three times
  • Congratulations!

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Droid Razr Problems

If you have recently purchased a Droid Razr and have Droid Razr Problems with it concerning rooting, I’m about to save you a bunch of time.

If you have recently purchased a Droid Razr and have Droid Razr Problems with it concerning rooting, I’m about to save you a bunch of time. I came to the Droid Razr from a Droid Charge. The Droid Charge is extremely easy to root, has many available roms and a wonderful development community. The Droid Razr is a different monster. Because of the many different flavors of the Droid Razr, there are many options that can easily confuse even the most talented android experts.

If you go to your android system settings, you can find which type of Droid Razr you have. I have a Verizon XT912 Droid Razr that came stock with Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich. The first thing I did as soon as I got my new phone was set up my google account and give it a quick overview to test functionality. After that, I knew it was time to being rooting the device. Here’s where the problems began.

The Droid Razr community knows, but doesn’t spell out to newcomers very well about the issues with this phone. Motorola has locked the bootloader of this device and therefore rooting and installing roms is a bit different. Although I have done a few days of research, I haven’t dug into the low level specifics. The theory goes like this: Since we can’t hack the bootloader to install a custom rom, we bypass it and install our bootloader and rom on a different part of the system. After our new rom is loaded, our “man in the middle” tells the system to boot from our new rom. I call it the “man in the middle” because it isn’t technically the bootloader since the stock bootloader is locked.

This locked bootloader prevents would be hackers from installing Droid Razr Clockwork Mod tools. However, there are many options that will give you clockwork-like features. The option I sprung for was a piece of software called SafeStrap 2.0. Unlike other phones where you would normally flash this software to your device, it is installed into the system via a downloadable apk (droid app). After installation, a user can simply press the menu button at boot time to enter the Clockwork Mod sub-system and install roms.

Droid Razr Problems

However, the large problem I had was getting the Droid Razr 4.0 rooted. The theory behind the root is simple: Use adb to push the correct files and scripts to your device to access root and then install the superuser.apk. However, Adb did not recognize my device. This must be an extremely common occurance, because the internet is littered with people who have this same issue. I found a lot of people with the same problem by googling “adb doesn’t find droid razr”  Typically the device can’t be found because your computer doesn’t have the drivers for your computer.  I downloaded the official drivers from motorola and ensured there were no other phone drivers on my computer.  I plugged the phone into every different usb port on my computer.  I uninstalled the drivers / restarted my computer / tried all the usb ports again with no luck!  For some reason, the phone was being installed as a motorola networking device when I the drivers should have installed it as a “Mot Composite ADB Interface”

Finally I was at my wit’s end, ready to throw the computer through a wall.  I uninstalled motorola’s drivers and found an old version of the driver to install.  I then did a factory reset of my phone and did NOT set up my google account on the phone.   I enabled USB Debugging and set the USB option to PTP (do not use mass storage).  I restarted my computer and BAM!  The device was discovered and I was able to root the device.  Below is a screenshot of what the Motorola Droid Razr should show in Windows Device Manager.

Droid Razr Device Manager
Droid Razr Device Manager (Click to Enlarge)

The moral of this story is that Motorola’s drivers SUCK.  Do not download the official motorola drivers, they’re horrible!  Instead of downloading the official drivers, download the older drivers.  In case some idiot wants you to register for his website in order to download them, I’ve made them available: Droid Razr Drivers. Motorola is also stained in my mind because they have locked the bootloader of this device, preventing consumers from getting full enjoyment out of the phone.  The droid razr community is still in it’s infancy, but information is hard to find.  The droidrzr forums are a cluttered mess.  The XDA forums are in better shape, but the damn developers force people to download files from their personal off-site webpages that require seperate usernames and registrations.  Don’t get me wrong, I really appreciate their work, but their marketing skills are lacking.  My next few posts will outline how to root, safestrap, and install a ROM onto this device.  I will not force you to register for my site, and for christ’s sake you can leave a comment for free (WITHOUT registering).

Droid Razr Problems Overview:

  • Uninstall previous phone drivers from your computer (In my case I had to uninstall droid charge drivers)
  • Don’t install Motorola’s official drivers.  Install the older drivers that I have made available here: Download Motorola Droid Drivers
  • Do a factory reset of your phone
  • After the factory reset does it’s thing, do not set up your google account on the phone.
  • Set the phone to USB debugging
  • Set the phone USB mode to PTP (Not mass storage).
  • Restart your computer after installing the correct Motorola Drivers
  • Plug your phone in and your device manager should install an ADB device.

If you have any issues, leave a comment and I’ll address them to my best ability.  If you read this post in it’s entirety, it probably solved a problem that would’ve taken you a long time to fix or you’ve already been researching this problem for a long time and appreciate the answer (especially if you were on the brink of throwing your phone through a wall like I was).









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