Time to Start a Fresh….

Or, I need a new phone so how and what did I choose?

You may have gathered that I have recently had a lot of trouble with my old phone. And the rushed release of the last post was due to the purchase of a phone a few days ago making the post some what out of date due to one or two comments but I released it as I felt one or two things needed to be said.

I originally intended to buy a Nexus 5 when it came out, I was also looking at the Samsung phones but thought I needed to do some research first. In the end I went into a shop with an open mind for several reasons. The main being that the phones that I was thinking about may not be what I want and also the price. I feel that alot of phones are merely fashion statements such as the S4 and iPhones and seeing as though I hate Apple with a passion, samsaung were considered but the price was to high. I also learn’t that they both break easily, especially the screen.

I went with an idea of what I wanted, Android (with updates), a decent sized screen, a basic set of apps and no features I don’t need (straight away counting out the S4 with all its fancy stuff, nice phone though). I spent some time talking to the shop person and we went over the various phones in the place… all high end ones which I suspect because they were popular (read fashionable). He then mentioned another make/model, Huawei Ascend P6. It has An Android 4.2.2 which isn’t bad and seems pretty close to pure android although they have added their own stuff. The number of apps seems pretty basic with very little crap like Facebook! which is good because I would have taken it off.

This phone doesn’t have a HD screen, but whats the point? I’m not going to watch films, etc because little screens don’t do justice to films and TV I think it a waste of time. What I did want was a phone for the obvious calls and texts, plus music including podcasts, reading,  browsing and anything else I find I can use it for. The phone it self came with 8GB but much less available to the user and 2 GB RAM, but it does have a micro SD slot which many of the expensive ones didn’t. There seems to be a push towards the cloud, I think this is wrong big time, not just security reasons but data signal is not reliable to warrant being reliant on cloud storage, its also expensive. The phone is not 4G capable but seeing as though 4G is restricted to a few major cities and not in my area then I really don’t care for it. The camera didn’t seem that bad either, much better than on the old phone.

I decided to buy this phone while I was there, although I had originally intended to buy at the end of the month but my Wildfire had become more or less unusable and I needed a phone. Why did I buy and not get an upgrade? I’m not entitled to one for another year BUT, I think people should have buy they’re phones instead of being tied to one one that comes with a contract that doesn’t suit them. I have found, that the contract allowances suit but the phone doesn’t because its either got to many features or its to small. It would be better to buy a phone then get a contract that suits the person which would be far better. Another big plus of this phone being bought independent of the carrier is that it is unlocked, meaning that if I go abroad I can put a local or international SIM in to the phone for cheaper calls.

So far I am very happy with this device to the point I currently have no need to root it but may do in the future to add a custom ROM or simply to add or change things to suit me. I have been slowly getting it set up with apps, etc as I need them and have found one or two that are better than what I was using before.

Forcehawk

So, Just What Does This Thing Do?…..

…..or, What Can It Do?

The title of this post can refer to two things. The first is obvious, what the gadget, software or app is meant to do. The purpose for which it was designed. For example, a toaster to make toast or a music player to play music on the computer or other device. The other meaning refers to what is going on underneath the hood, the inner workings if you will.

Over the past few months I have been able to get my hands on some new toys (TV, Tablet, etc) as well as new services and apps to use on them. Each new thing as been got for a reason, it has something I want or has a purpose for which I have a need or require. Although in the case of apps, a use or pupose such as music, navigation or something else to make life easier. Many have been deleted because I found they weren’t what I wanted or didn’t fulfill the purpose for which I intanded. In this case I will download/install apps until I find something which serves the purpose.  I try and keep apps/software up to date so updates are done when they come out but some updates have bought in things I think aren’t so good so apps will be uninstalled and replaced.

This ‘not so good’ seems largely to apply to android apps…heres a hint, new permissions which I find unacceptable and an invasion of my privacy. I find this a good reason for NOT updating and will find an alternative. Many times it has been a google own app so when I get my new phone I plan on putting a custom ROM on the thing and making it fully custom, eventually! Or at least root the thing and unstall the offending item. Its one more reason to learn to code so if necessary I can pull the nasty stuff out if I need to. If Android is supposed to be open why cann’t I uninstall the stuff that I don’t want?

Now back to what does this do thats useful. In many cases good things can be introduced with updates such as new features or, I can find an app which suits my needs and a little investigation provides me with more useful stuff within the app, In some cases I find that a device will have a feature that is useful that I didn’t know about because the feature isn’t well  publicized. This is were research comes in. It can largely be a simple matter of reading that handbook or idiots guide as I call it that it comes with. But this doesn’t have everything. Stuff can be found in various places, the manufactures web page,  forums and even G+. Recently I didn’t find out about a feature by research but simply came across a blog post that detailed a feature in Android that hadn’t been publicized but was useful.

In the case of apps and services it can be a case of checking the wiki or in the case of forums, information is posted by people who have somehow found a hidden feature, An example is the advanced privacy settings in some android (the latest android updates). In the case of services, it may pay to check the on-line guides. For example I have recently been using Spotify for streaming music as a replacement for LastFM as well as listening to albums that I haven’t got a round to buying or just a ‘test’ listen. I was poking around the guide for this service and found features that I didn’t know about or at least realise what they did. And I only thought it was a streaming service.

Now, bare in mind what I have said and apply it to gadgets (TV’s, phones, etc). If you spend sometime playing with your toy, gadget what ever you want to call it. You’ll soon have an idea of what it does. You’ll soon have it doing the thing for which you intended but do a bit of reading (even just checking the web) you’ll get more out of it. BUT, do this reading lark with the aid of a search engine because you’ll get better info from those who use the stuff than from the manufacture. I have a feeling they don’t want to give much away as the web site as the info seems very basic.

I decided to write this post on the grounds there are many stupid people out there that I see every day either not making the most of or incorrectly using or just plain not getting the phone, tv, etc to work properly. Just look at people trying to get their phones to work…

Forcehawk

 

This post was started a month ago and is a little out of date but still went a head with it has I wanted to get these words out of my mind!

Connecting Android to Linux Revisited

Recently I wanted to upload some files to my Nexus 7 but found the previously offered solution to connect the device was a one way thing. By this, I mean I can access and download files but not the other way round. This meant a new solution had to be found. A quick bit of searching and I found Airdroid. I gave this app a trial run and so far I am very happy with it, so much so that I will likely not be using the old app.
Airdroid is simple to use but requires an account which is free although for added extras (which I don’t think I need at this point) there is a subscription which doesn’t seem to be that much although looking at the forums there is problems with one or two of these features. These may be fixed soon.

The installed of the app was easy as usual and I first tried it on the Nexus 7 and it worked a treat but the features of the app suit phones! I have now installed it on my Wildfire (to be replaced in the next month or so). Once you are logged into the app on the phone you are given two options, I go for the web site where you log and have access to your device and are faced with the following screen.

airdroid

It must be pointed out that only one device can be logged with the account. I found that when I logged in with the wildfire that the Nexus 7 was logged off the account. This means that only one device can be associated with the account. The reason for this is that some of the apps features within the account are geared for use with one device for example find device. If there are more devices registered then problems will arise. Its no problem to change the device so one account will accept what ever machines you want to access at the time although I recommend keeping the phone and not your tablet registered to the account, simply because the service seems more geared towards phones (eg, find device,etc).

 

Edit- This also works for the Huawei Ascend P6

Forcehawk