Ask the Dev #14 – Steady Hawkin, a Team Rogue Member
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Q: Tell us about yourself, the team, and what you all do.
A: Team Rogue is made up of three guys: TDR, Bazar6, and Steady Hawkin.
TDR is the brains of the entire operation, he really knows the ins and outs of Android. His main specialties would have to be kernel and recovery building. A few months ago he got into compiling CM9 for the Xoom and the rest is history. It really seems like there is nothing this guy can’t do.
Bazar6 is the theme guy. He has been known to whip up some epic themes for the Xoom, as well as the icons and other pics we use for the team. He also is behind some of the tablet notification menus we have in our CM9 builds.
I (Steady Hawkin) do a few things. Primarily I am sort of the “liaison” to the android community. I do a lot of testing, coordinating, planning, hyping, posting, as well as providing support for the products that we release. I have messed around with kernels and compiling CM builds, but I’m not even close to being on TDR’s level.
Q: What are you currently working on?
A: We have a few things in the mix. For the Xoom we just released our “Rogue Touch Recovery”. We are also a part of the CM team now as maintainers for the Xoom, and should have official nightlies rolling out for the Xoom (wingray & stingray) in the very near future.
The E4GT is a device that I actually just got rid of. Once we get ICS kernel source for it, we plan on releasing one last kernel/recovery build. It will most likely include a similar style of Rogue Recovery like we are pushing out for the Xoom now.
Last but not least we have the G-Nex. We are still undecided with whether or not we’re going to dive into this beauty. If we do release something, it will likely be a version of Rogue Recovery and/or a kernel. More info will be released in the future.
Q: What is your favorite thing about developing ROMs? Kernels?
A: For me personally there are a few different things. First and foremost would have to be the big performance and battery gains that come from having a custom kernel. ROMs really mean a lot as well, having the ability to completely customize your user experience is one of the many reasons why Android is so great. Last but certainly not least is having a rock solid recovery. Not only should your recovery work without issue every time, but having a simple, intuitive UI makes it a painless experience as possible.
Q: What got you into developing ROMs and kernels?
A: I have always had an interest in cell phones, I remember 15 years ago when I got my first Motorola and I found a hack for displaying what cell towers I was running off of etc. For Android, my buddie showed me his OG Droid and he had a bunch of stuff done to it, I was like man how did you do that?! After he showed me how to root it, I just started checking out various forums and exploring all of the awesome options you have as an Android power user. Seeing what has been done makes you start to try and figure out what can be done.
Q: How did you learn how to create ROMs/Kernels?
A: Again, for me personally I just read as much as I can. Lots and lots of trial and error. I get to cheat though, if I ever get stuck or have a noob question I can ask TDR. Sometimes I think he is half human/half computer, the guy is a beast!
Q: What makes you keep developing, even when things don’t work at first?
A: Just having a vision with how you want things to look or run, and knowing that if you want something bad enough you’ll find a way to make it happen.
Q: What are the current dev computers?
A: I have a really shitty HP laptop with specs so bad I can’t even post them. I run Windows XP with Ubuntu inside VirtualBox. TDR has a 2 year old Core i7 860 with 8GB Ram, a 250GB SSD, and two 2TB hard drives. It runs Windows 7 with Arch Linux running inside VirtualBox. Bazar6 has a Dell with 4GB of Ram, a 210 GB HDD, and a 1.5TB+ external drive. He has Windows 7 and runs Ubuntu inside VirtualBox. He does his themeing using GIMP and Photoshop CS5.
Q: What does your current Android family consist of? What are some of your former devices?
A: Currently I have a Sprint G-Nex (Toroplus), a Xoom (Stingray), and an Epic 4G Touch. My past Android devices would include the OG Droid, and a Droid X. TDR rocks a G-Nex (Maguro), a Xoom (Wingray), and he’s got a Nexus S as a backup. Bazar6 has a Thunderbolt, a Xoom (Wingray), and has an OG Droid as a backup.
Q: If you could have an app do anything, what would it do?
A: I would love to share an answer to this question, but we got something in the mix.
Q: If you could have a electronic device available, what would it be?
A: I finally feel like I’m at a place where I love both of the devices I have. In the future, I will be looking at the new Nexus tab and phone.
Q: What are your thoughts on the “fragmentation” problem in the Android world? What do you think Google can do to fix it?
A: Man, this is a tough one, it really is a double edged sword for Google. On one hand, having all of the different manufactures put out different hardware that can compete in the market at all different price points is what has really helped rocket Android to the top. On the other hand, it presents some issues for developers and keeping things uniform. Add to the mix that all these different manufactures want to add their own “skin” to the OS, and things start to get dicey. In terms of core software, I really do think that ICS was a HUGE step in right direction and I see things getting better.
I think that the biggest issues that Android is up against currently is the carriers. From CDMA users not getting any love from AOSP, to carriers taking forever and a day to impose cuts and tweaks to OS’s before devices can upgraded, to locked down bootloaders and/or denying access to certain partitions of devices, it’s really a mess. What can be done about this? Well to be honest, that’s a question that’s well above my pay scale. But, as an HTC rep once said, if you want open buy a Samsung
I think that the real issue that needs to be worked on are the carriers.
Q: What are your suggestions for up and coming developers?
A: Never give up would be the biggest. Decide what it is you want to do and then read, read, read, and then read again. You are going to fail so many times it will seem like you’re wasting your time, but when it finally clicks (which it will), there is no better feeling.
Q: Where can we keep up with you?
A: You can reach me or anyone on our team on G+ or on Twitter. Holla!
Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
A: Really big into riding dirtbikes and quads. I use to be a sponsored snowboarder as well. I was hit on my streetbike about four years ago so enjoying those activities has been more difficult physically for me. Now I primarily like to spend time with my wife, kick it with my friends, fish, work on Android, and ride, but not as hard as I was able to before my accident.
Q: If you could add anything to the AOSP code, what would you add?
A: Without a doubt it would have to be some love for us CDMA users. I understand that’s a pretty weak answer because it’s the fault of the US carriers not Google, but it’s still what I would like to see most.
Q: Who is your favorite Android manufacturer?
A: I use to absolutely love Motorola, but that has changed due to the way they have conducted business lately. I still think they have the best radios and their build quality is top notch, but my new love would have to be Samsung. For the most part they seem to understand what users want, and I feel like they are headed in the right direction.
Q: What’s your favorite type of music?
A: For whatever reason, I’m all about rap and hip-hop. On occasion I’ll mix in some some classic 80s music, or old school rock. I have a sneaking suspicion I’m going to be like that dude in office space who’s like 40 and still bangin rap.
Q: Do you and the rest of the team work together in person or online?
A: Since we are spread all over the globe, everything is done online. G-talk is a very powerful and useful tool.