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  1. Thread Author  Thread Author    #1  

    Question Need hackable phone to tame EAS/CMAS

    (tl;dr Super-averse to loud noises, need a phone that will allow me to kill ALL emergency alerts permanently or replace the sound with a less alarming one.)

    Hi, all.

    Joined the forum to ask this question, though I'm hoping to stick around and contribute since it seems like there's a lot of good info here. Also, I apologize (and respectfully request a point in the right direction) if this isn't the right subforum to ask for device-buying guidance.

    I'm currently a very happy owner and user of a Nokia N900 which, for the unfamiliar, runs a mobile Linux OS called Maemo which is closer to a lightweight Debian than it is to Android. However, I'm beginning to have SIM registration problems and so am in the early stages of researching Android phones to succeed it.

    As it was introduced in 2009, it predated the whole CMAS-alert system and does not (cannot - lacks the hardware to) receive any alerts, whether they be Amber, Weather, "Extreme" or Presidential.

    A little background on me - I've been clinically diagnosed (got the eval papers to back it all up) with Sensory Integration Disorder. This basically means that I'm very susceptible to sensory overload and high levels of anxiety as a result of it. For perspective, the only way I was able to survive October (national fire safety month) at my last job, which had scheduled alarm system tests and evacuation drills during that time of year, was with anxiety meds or by simply finding out the schedule and taking those days off.

    From what I've heard in discussions here, phones supporting CMAS alerts output an extremely loud sound that ignores volume settings and, at least in the case of the "Presidential Alert", cannot be turned off. The words "scared the hell out of me" and "panic" have been used, and that was in the case of people (presumably) without my condition. I've read forum threads on how to combat this, but most of them had users reporting that the fix was only temporary and, after a reboot, the alert sound was back in all its unwelcome noisy glory. Needless to say, this whole scenario is one I am not happy with. It seems that this system ignores the plight of people with challenges like mine and while I'm not going to demand they up and abandon it, I am interested in taking charge of my own situation and applying a bit of that good old Open-Source "hardware-obeys-its-owner" philosophy to fix it.

    Assuming that I am not interested in hearing or professing any political views or conspiracy theories, assuming that I am not presently willing to engage in a debate over the merits of my intentions, and assuming that I am fully willing to take responsibility for anything that may happen to me as a result of ignoring "essential" alert information (which I'd be doing by default anyway as my current phone isn't equipped to receive the broadcasts at all), can someone recommend me a device that will, once rooted (or if rooted out-of-the-box), allow me to either:

    A. Disable ALL alerts (important: This must include Presidential alerts) completely and in a fashion that survives reboots,
    B. Adjust the volume of the alert tone in a fashion that resists all other changes than those I explicitly make myself,
    or
    C. Dig into the filesystem to replace the alert tone with a .wav (or whatever format the system uses) that doesn't sound like something out of the sixth layer of hell?

    I thought maybe a Nexus would be good for this. I know they run stock Android - are they rooted OOTB? Is there a good phone that is? Is this something that CyanogenMod can definitely fix? Finally, can someone point me in the right direction for finding out how to go about making the desired changes once I have root access to the device? I could buy a backup N900, as it is a VERY nice device and I love it to death, but the hardware isn't getting any newer or faster (or lighter - it is admittedly a bit of a lead brick), and there are some nice features of recent Android phones (e.g. NFC) that would be cool to have.

    Oh, and I'd be buying the phone outright and not going through my carrier. Don't like carrier UI lockdowns and they'd likely get in the way of this particular goal.

    Thanks. My nerves and I really, really appreciate the help.
  2. #2  
    srkmagnus's Avatar

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    Default Re: Need hackable phone to tame EAS/CMAS

    On my Nexus 5 I can go to settings > sounds > alerts then disable it (on, off, vibrate). The same is available through Google Now I believe. Is that what you are referring to?
  3. Thread Author  Thread Author    #3  

    Default Re: Need hackable phone to tame EAS/CMAS

    Yes and no. What I've read is that you can disable all the alerts except for the Presidential Alerts, and that none of the alerts can be assigned a custom sound - they all use the EBS tone.

    What I'm looking to find is a device that either comes rooted out of the box, or is very conducive to easy rooting, and can have these defaults overridden. I want to disable Presidential alerts, and I want to (in case an update auto-resets the alerts to "enabled") hack into the directory containing the alert tone (I'm assuming it's a .wav or .au somewhere in ROM) and replace it with something gentler-sounding so that if the alerts are somehow reactivated, they won't end up giving me a heart attack.
  4. Thread Author  Thread Author    #4  

    Default Re: Need hackable phone to tame EAS/CMAS

    Any further suggestions on this? Hoping to be able to have a device identified by the start of the new year. Many, many thanks to anyone who can help (and to srkmagnus who has already responded).
  5. #5  

    Default Re: Need hackable phone to tame EAS/CMAS

    I don't think there's ever been a Presidential Alert. If there is, imagine how nuclear war will affect your nerves. :P

    As long as you disable the other alerts, you should be fine. If you really want to be able to disable them entirely, though, any popular device that's easy to root should be pretty much created equal. I'm not familiar with what options are available specifically, but the Android modding community is large enough that I'd think someone has done what you're considering.
  6. #6  

    Default Re: Need hackable phone to tame EAS/CMAS

    VoX Communications announced it will resell Nokia's Maemo Linux-based N900 smartphone with a mobile VoIP plan offering unlimited data and voice service. Meanwhile, Nokia confirmed that the N900 will be the first smartphone to run the Moblin/Maemo mashup, MeeGo, when a preliminary version of the operating system debuts at the end of the month....

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