Taking Android screenshots under Ubuntu 12.04

Before being able to take screenshots of an Android device connected via USB cable to a machine running Ubuntu 12.04, it is necessary to instruct Ubuntu to give the user full permissions over the device. Unfortunately the tutorials that I found on the web didn’t work, so here is what has worked for me.

  1. Connect the device and get the vendor and product ID by running
    lsusb

    in a console.
    The output should contain one line listing your Android device, similar to the following:

    Bus 002 Device 004: ID 18d1:4e22 Google Inc. Nexus S (debug)

    Note the two 4 character hex values separated by a colon behind ID, these the vendor ID and product ID for your device.

  2. With a text editor, create/edit the file
    /etc/udev/rules.d/51-android.rules

    and place the following text in it:

    SUBSYSTEM=="usb", ATTRS{idVendor}=="VENDORID", ATTR{idProduct}=="PRODUCTID", MODE="0666"

    Replace VENDORID and PRODUCTID with the values retrieved in step 1. Save the file and close the editor.

  3. Disconnect your device.
  4. Kill your Android debug server if it was running by executing
    ./platform-tools/adb kill-server

    from console in the Android SDK directory.

  5. Restart the udev subsystem to let it detect the rule created in step 2 with
    sudo service udev restart
  6. Reconnect your device.
  7. Run
    ./tools/ddms

    from console in your Android SDK directory to bring up the Dalvik Debug Monitor (DDM).

  8. In DDM, select your device in the top-left device list, wait a few seconds, then select “Device -> Screen Capture” from the application menu.
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Getting rid of scrollbars (almost)

With every new release, the team behind Canonical’s increasingly popular Ubuntu Linux distribution appears to be stepping up the pace of becoming an innovator on the Linux user interface front.

The team observed that in the light of a rising number of tablets and other computing devices where indirect mouse cursor interaction is replaced by direct touch interaction, scrollbars in their traditional form should be removed from screens. Instead, this screen real estate should be freed up for displaying the actual content a user is interested in, aiding orientation and readability on the small screens typically found on touch interaction devices. However, on desktop computers equipped with a mouse and large screen, scrollbars need to continue to have their place given that countless legacy applications will not be compatible with other forms of direct interaction scrolling such as dragging screen content up and down.

In this context, I believe the team at Canonical has found an innovative approach to unify both scrolling concepts as shown in the video below. I am looking forward to using the final design when I upgrade my desktop’s Ubuntu installation to release 11 when it comes out end of April.