As you may have heard, the final 1.71 firmware is out. Since there were issues with the 1.70 release it was pulled out, and now a fresh release fixes the last bugs in the image. Thanks to Notaz for all the work he did on this. 1.7 is the LAST major release in terms of firmware for the Pandora. While this is certainly sad, it’s quite understandable as we move to a new hardware base in 2015 with the Pyra (while no clear schedule has been announced yet). Here’s a guide for a full clean reflash on 1.71.
There are a couple of annoying defaults when the Pandora is reset after reflashing. The Pandora sleep mode is off when you close the lid, you get all the ugly wallpaper (sorry Pandora team, but I’m not a fan of that selection), you get big fat icons of the PNDs on the desktop, and a few things do not work anymore. Alright, let’s fix that! It takes less than 10 minutes.
That’s what we start with. Gee, it’s not pretty.
1. Lid close settings – Go in **Settings > Lid-Close Settings and select “Go Into Low Power Mode”. Now the Pandora will go to sleep every time you close the lid, and save a lot of energy that way. That is how you can keep it running for several days without recharging it. Don’t ask me why this is not enabled by default.
2. Font size adjustment. I guess it depends on your eyesight, but I prefer my text a little smaller, therefore I put the default size at 9 (go in Settings > Desktop > Appearance).
You can also enable hinting to your liking to make the fonts look better on your system (try out the different settings to see the difference between **None and Full).
Then… take that opportunity to shrink the fat bottom panel a little. It won’t hurt and will make you gain some healthy screen space. 28 pixels is not a bad place to be, I have seen worse.
3. Remove icons on Desktop. After years of Win XP and messy desktops cluttered with icons I have become convinced that icons do not belong there. Especially if you have a keyboard or a menu with categories, the advantage of desktop icons is pretty thin, and makes your whole desktop ugly to look at. That is very much a matter of taste, I know people who prefer to have icons all over the place (and their pants on the floor at home). If you like it clean like me, go in **Settings > Desktop > Desktop and then select the Icon tab. Choose “None”.
4. Change Wallpaper. Time to remove the wallpaper and put something a little bit personal. No, not a photo of my dog or lolcats. Go in **Settings > Desktop > Desktop and stay in the Background tab.
Click the little + sign on the left in the middle, to look for the wallpaper to insert.
Select it, then click on Close and you are done. This picture is one of the Real Size Gundam statue that was show in Odaiba a couple of years back in Japan. Not sure where the statue ended up now.
5. Change XFCE Theme. The default theme is, once again, not really to my liking. There are many xfce themes to choose from, personally I like the simplicity of “xfce-smooth”. Go in **Settings > Desktop > Appearance, then in Style tab to enter your choice.
6. Install Java Support. There are lots of good apps in Java (like Minecraft?) filling some gaps and you can install Oracle’s Java to run those. I usually keep it on my SD card (but you can get the installer on the repo) and you simply need to run the installer. Simple.
7. Install Timidity Midi. Many ported games like Duke Nukem use Midi instruments to play music, therefore it is fairly important to install Timidity support (get the PND first and put in your SD Card Pandora/menu folder).
I recommend installing the mid size set (33Megs) and using your SD-card as a medium, as long as you keep that SD card in your Pandora most of the time.
8. Install Community Codecs – Always nice to be able to launch videos directly from the file explorer, or if you intend to use mplayer which is a requirement for many applications on the repo. First you need to get the pack PND from the wiki page, then put in your SD Card pandora/menu folder.
The installation takes a while but it is well worth it. Go in System > Community Codec Pack Installer and run it.
9. If you use a VPN you probably need to set it up again after reflashing. Look at the previous tutorial posted on firmware 1.60 and up.
I had a few other steps recommended previously regarding overclocking and time setting. Fortunately, these steps have been taken care of since a couple of firmware releases back, so now you don’t need to worry about it.
1Ghz users previously had to re-install their GPU driver after each reflash, but that has now been integrated in the firmware setup as well, so you do not need to worry about it. CA-certificates have been included too in this 1.71 release so it should take care of most certificates errors you had previously with browsers on the system.
There’s a couple of additional software that you may want to install by default as well:
- WxPython – provides a bunch of libraries for software depending on wxwidgets and using Python. Anki uses it, for example.
- Sparrow C4A Manager if you intend to compete online with other community members.
And let’s not forget to look at my recommended list of software for the Pandora – maybe you missed a recent gem?