How to Root the Tecno N7 and install CWM

The Users of the Tecno N7 know what a bargain the device is and for the enthusiastic modders and those wanting maximum control of their device, having root is important.

Being a chinese device there isn’t much that happens in the mainstream developer circles (XDA) concerning it but there is an active community complete with very easy to use tools that you can use to root your ching chong thing and have just as much fun as the rest of the android crowd.

Now few of the regular tools seem to work so I dug around the interwebs till I found the simplest rooting tool ever. It goes by the name SRSRoot and all it needs is adb drivers and you are good to go. Be warned though that it needs internet access to talk to its servers. This got me worried for abit before I realised I barely know what rootkits Google has hidden in the OS for the US govt and that I barely have any sensitive info on the phone anyway. All you do is click root and it looks for the best way to do it and does it. Pretty simple and straightforward.

Screenshot_2013-09-03-14-21-03[1] Screenshot_2013-09-03-14-20-51[1]

Installing CWM was the hardest part no small part for the reason stated before, the community is still small.

I however found a no brainer resource that shows you step by step how to generate a CWM recovery for your device.


  • A windows 7 based PC or Laptop
  • ADB drivers installed on your machine
  • MTK Droid Tools v2.4.8 which can be found here
  • Tutorial which is to be found here
  • If you want to dump your ROM or backup here is a tutorial

Its a pretty straight forward process where the  software will do all the heavy lifting for you leaving you with a custom made recovery for the Tecno N7 allowing you to flash whatever zip you fancy and to mod it to your hearts content with custom themes etc. I believe the procedure will work with just about any other chinese or otherwise device that is based on the Mediatek chipsets. Ie if your processor is MTKxxx then this is likely to work. Just about all Chinese made phones i.e mi-Fone, Tecno, etc have MTKxxx chipsets and should work. It creates a custom recovery based on CWM specifically for your device. It doesn’t get more custom than that.



I am informed that Tecno have not released the kernel source and thus building a custom ROM for the device will be impossible.  I don’t know how true that is since there are some for the N3 so there may be hope yet.

I went through all this trouble because of a problem with installing Google play services on this device. It kept popping an error when it tried to install and it was driving me nuts. Some apps require it to run e.g Foursquare, Hangouts, Avast Mobile Security etc.

All I did was clear the dalvik cache and wipe all the phone memory (that is do a factory reset and wipe ) and flash the gapps for ICS again from CWM and I was back in business.

Try it out and tell me what you think.

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Tecno n7

Being an Android loyalist, for the purpose of preserving the notes in my wallet, I only buy android handsets. They happen to be the only kind of smartphones that can hold 2 SIMs. This helps alot when I need MPesa but also need Orange Kenya’s cheap internet.

Samsung products are in my opinion overpriced for what they wind up delivering compared to their Chinese counterparts. But then again these may just be sentiments from a broke guy and I might have to eat my words sooner rather than later.

The first phone I tried out due to its price point was the Mi-Fone A351 for about 6,000/-. It was bought in a hurry since I was travelling and needed a smartphone. It also seemed to have reasonable specs . Humongous mistake. The build quality was atrocious, it crashed every other hour and simple things that even the Huawei Ideos could handle it struggled with. For instance when an app crashes, I cannot report to google the play store keeps crashing.

Later I got a chance to get something better and I decided that Tecno deserved a chance. Their previous offerings have been solid in performance and basically delivered precisely what was suggested on the box without fail. That tends to be important.

I fired up Olx and looked for the nearest deal. long story short I got a Tecno N7 for a steal and was pretty proud of myself, for a while.

It has pretty much what you would expect in a midrange phone with features balancing out. It has a dual core processor, 5 inch screen, 4GB internal storage(About 700MB available for apps and 2GB for your other stuff) a 5 MP shooter at the back, 1.3 MP at the front and the usual sensors, compass, accelerometer, GPS etc.

I was pretty proud of myself until I updated the google play store. There is this app called Google Play Services that is supposed to do mysterious things on behalf  of google for developers of apps or vice versa. All I know is some of the apps I need want it and refuse to work otherwise. Case in point Foursquare. For those with space issues, the app is humongous like 20MB and so it is not popular with them. I hate it for a totally different reason though am not sure whether its Google or Tecno at fault here.  The app simply refuses to install claiming it is incompatible with another app with the same shared user ID. Google just gives me people with similar issues albeit its not so widespread.


The soft keys at the bottom of the screen also only work when they are in the mood. I donno if this is a flaw with my particular handset or if this happens to all Tecno N7s.

But Aside from that everything else works fine and the humongous screen is just the best when watching the downfall of Miley Cyrus.

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My Top Android Apps

Having been an android user for several years now, I can comfortable list the apps I must have installed on my phone to feel comfortable and use my gadget optimally.

So here is my definitive list and is not necessarily conclusive seeing as time has not stopped and I have less than normal loyalty to any software/platform/device.


  • Official Twitter App


Twitter is my no.1 source of news, gossip, humor and a personal realtime information source that I ave relied upon many times in the past.  This has always been my default and only twitter client. Several versions ago, the functionality was rather bogus and other clients such as Uber twitter, seesmic etc but the constant advertisements and requests to buy pro versions put me off and I stuck to the regular app. They have since greatly improved even adding Instagram like filters for its photo functionality.

  • Google Maps


Google Maps

If there is a favorite and must have app on any smartphone anywhere it is the maps app and by far Google has the best product. Their strategy of crowd sourcing their mapping to all and sundry has yielded the most comprehensive privately funded mapping product that is freely available to the general public. I have helped map some parts of the country that I have had the fortune of having intimate information about and thus I could say I have made my mark too.

Before any trip I make it is the first app I consult to know the estimated distance I would be driving and the general route that would get me there. Granted it is not as comprehensive as in the ‘developed’ countries with turn by turn directions and traffic info but it is good enough as it is.

SoundHound Shazam


Ever heard an awesome track or song in a matatu or the over the radio and would almost kill to know the name or the artiste so that you find it later on youtube or buy it or something? Then you can appreciate how convenient having an app in your phone that can do that is. I remember seeing this capability first in Sony Ericsson handsets and it was called TrackID back then.

Sometimes Sound hound doesn’t find the track and I switch to Shazam and vice versa. I prefer Shazam though due to its easy integration with social media and the faster loading. Must have apps if you are an audiophile or really into music porn.


  • Google Reader


Google reader


I read lotsa blogs and keeping track of  new posts is impossible. Enter google reader that neatly arranges all new posts up for you to read, laugh,gawk, sneer and get inspired by. It helps sustain my reading habit(or at-least whats left of it) because otherwise I and my bookmarks bar on my browser would be overwhelmed. This I also use everyday and is possibly the first app I download whenever I get a new android phone.

  • Opera Mini

Opera mini


This has been a constant on the cellie since the dumb phone era of Nokias with 32mb internal storage. Used to be (and still is) the first essential apps I download after getting a data connection on a new cell phone. Incidentally the few manufacturers that bundle it with the phone software manage to lock it in an ancient version impossible to upgrade(Am looking at you Samsung) and am forced to install another alongside that remains up-to-date.

Opera mini is seamless, reliable, data saving and generally awesome.


  • Ma3Route


This is the only Kenyan made app that I use regularly. Its directions functionality when using public transport (read chaotic Matatus) is legendary and has saved my skin several times. The traffic update thing needs some more polishing but is usable as it is. I also like that it tells you how much the fare will costs thus avoiding getting swindled by touts.


  • Foursquare




I have waited with baited breath for a local recommendation app for local spots eg restaurants, hotels, clubs, fuel stations and that sort of thing based on location but I suppose this is a problematic business model. Populating the database is costly and if  crowd-sourcing is the intended method of getting the data then the motivation for using the app or service needs to be appealing.

Google latitude tried this out but Google barely marketed it and it is a ghost town todate. Foursquare has stepped in nicely and with the growing user base, maturing platform and improving aesthetics, it has garnered some semblance of reliability in terms of local recommendations. Most recommendations however are mostly middle class joints with most people checking in to posh venues and avoid tagging when they are in river road.

Thats my list, would be interested to know what others deem their must have apps.

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Making money the old school way

Nowadays everybody is falling over themselves trying to make money in new exciting fancy ways like Google or Facebook. ‘regular ’ ways of making money are pushed to the curb and termed old, lame and unimaginative. All this when our world has not had any significant change in the basic structure. 

The rich are still rich, no revolution there. Women are still
objectified and considered somewhat inferior (Don’t deny it, you know
it’s true). Superior Civilizations (Technologically more advanced)
still call the shots and proceed to rape poorer societies by stripping
them of resources and all hope of meaningful progress. The youth are
fuelled by hormones and demand change and peace and equality and that
the suns temperature be reduced by 10 degrees immediately. When they
get old and get to control resources they say the youth of their time
are very unappreciative and should work harder rather than complain.
Kids in Mesopotamia didn’t like vegetables or doing homework. They
shared the consensus that their parents were dinosaurs and should
seriously consider upgrading their firmware even at risk of crashing
the system (not in those words exactly). How different are they from
our spoilt brats?

My point is we are not that different from the guys in the medieval
ages, in fact if you were born back then you would be just like them
or vice versa. Evolution takes millions of years not centuries. So we
aint that much brighter than Copernicus or the guys who burnt witches
at the stake.

Anyway my post today was about making money. The old school way of
making chums was by farming and industry. Making machines/tools/food
was the ticket back in the day for living in the house on the hill.
All these other guys are just hangers on and leeches on the core
industries. Though farmer’s aint the richest, they should be and they
are the single biggest contributors to the economy.

These realizations came to me as I listened to an uncle of mine
mesmerize us with how much a crop of Aloe Vera can rake in for you in
a good harvest. Aloe are (I think) a broad range hardy drought
resistant plants that need next to nothing from you. Just plant,
leave, come back to harvest. They are used to make all manner of
things, from shoe polish to lotions for chicks. All from one plant.
Now there is nothing as convenient as doing nothing and getting
something. Rabbits are another lucrative source of cash, the need
little in terms of food, and are fine eating scraps from your table.
Of course it may not be as easy as I put it but what am trying to say
is to be the one creating the raw material for others to use is a very
good vantage point.

If today I was told to invest in two or three sectors I would choose
Energy, Agriculture, and Water Utility. No industry can survive
without either of the above, and therein lays the secret. Demand can
only go up; only thing that changes is the price. The three industries
are not invincible but they are least likely to suffer without
everyone wanting to help out to bail them out.

So before you hatch another harebrain idea to burn your cash again,
Try go back ocha and figure out what the local sonko does. May be a
lot easier for you and you may wind up giving him some tips.

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