Sunday, July 20, 2014

USB Debugging a Nexus 5

It is described all over the internet, so let me repeat it here :)

To USB debug your Nexus 5, first enable USB Debugging in the Developer options.
If you don't yet have the developer options visible in Settings, then enable them like this:

Go to Settings and About Phone, then scroll all the way down to "Build Number" and then tap 7 times on the item "Build number"  (yes, weird)



Once done, in the Settings menu under the Developer options enable "USB Debugging" and connect to the PC via USB.

From a command line check if you can see the phone with "adb devices".
If none shows up, you might want to kill any running adb.exe instance from the task manager and retry.

If this still fails, open the Windows Device Manager, and look for the Nexus device right at the top under "Android devices".

If this shows an error or warning, you need to install the proper driver.
Right-click on the "faulty" android entry in the list and select "Update driver software". Point the update to the android-sdk path on your computer.
So check where you installed the Android SDK into. From the SDK path it is  under extras\google\usb_driver
(e.g.  %appdata%\..\Local\Android\android-sdk\extras\google\usb_driver)
It should find the "Android Composite ADB Interface" driver.

Once this is installed, your Nexus 5 should be visible to the debugger. Again, kill any running instance of adb.exe first, just to make sure)

If not, google is your friend :)

Friday, July 11, 2014

How sorting gets ruined.

Frequent readers - or close followers - of this blog will know, that the share feature (SEND intent) is one of my favourite features on Android.

To recap: it allows any application to share content via (or send content to) any other application, e.g. email, facebook, google+, sms/text, bluetooth, ... You name it.
All that needs to be done is for the target app to register itself for handling certain content types, and then it can be picked by the user, whenever a suitable content type needs to be sent. Android will automatically generate the list of all apps that are available for this content.

So far, so god.

Now in order to be at the top of that list, most apps "fake" and "A" into this name. But this is getting out of hand.

Let me draw your attention to exhibit A:
Exhibit A - the share menu
So this makes the alphabetical sorting totally pointless.
This has to stop.

Next app will probably register itself with an underscore....

Reminds me of my times at Sun Microsystems not too long ago. Obviously a lot of things started with S there ... Sun, Solaris, SPARC, ... but then they created lines of business called Server, Storage, Software, Services.... So even when you sorted a list alphabetically, 90% would cluster under S...

Pointless.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Say Hi to my Nexus 5

So, I finally did it.

The lack of Android updates and the (inevitable) decline in battery duration - my HTC One S was already 2 years old - made me go to the Google Play store and get a Nexus 5 (32GB). With the wireless charger.

tl;dr: happy happy happy.

Buying it
Apart from UPS's blunder on literally the last mile (the guy cannot read building numbers or name plates) the buying and delivery process was excellent. Really close to one-click :)

Basics
It came with 4.4.3 and this night updated to 4.4.4.

This time I went for un-rooted and no bootloader.

Migration
Transferring apps and data was easy...Google-Login and then the apps just re-install from the play store, 99% of the data is in the cloud anyway... The most cumbersome part was getting the login and account credentials into all the apps.
Even this was easy with LastPass on Android - expect a separate post on this.

Only for two apps I needed to move local data; one was BeyondPod, my podcast manager and player. However, this was totally easy: do a backup on the old phone, choose to share the backup via PushBullet to my Nexus 5 (also an upcoming story), within a second receive a notification and the backup on the new phone, and open it in BeyondPod. That's it. All subscriptions incl listened-to state are now on the new device.
The other one was my weight recorder, and copying was easy as well, with the help of DropBox and Astro FileManager. I'll spare you the details of the file :)

The call history, sms/text and Wifi settings I got with a Titanium XML Backup (does not require root) and restore. Not too important for call log, but great for Wifi settings.

UI Experience
So now I'm sorting out where I really miss HTC sense, but it's not a lot.
Turns out the HTC contacts, mail and calendar apps had some nice advantages over stock Android.
Also turns out, that the (stock) Google Now Launcher does not have badges anymore, so I'll miss the little red number on my email/gmail and others.

The Google Now launcher is OK, especially with the Google Now just being there.
But - by Max's recommendation - I'm now testing the Aviate launcher... Sigh... 3rd story that I need to write. Suffice it to say, it's free, by Yahoo, intergrates well, and - most importantly - guesses your context (i.e. work, home, travelling, ...) and adjusts the app/widget groups accordingly.  Let's see in some weeks how this works.

So, stay tuned for some more stories on it.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Google Now on Chrome vs. Celsius

A couple of weeks ago, I enabled Google Now notifications in my (desktop) Chrome browser.

One thing I noticed, that on the weather card the temperature for Vienna, Austria, was given in Fahrenheit, instead of Celsius. Weirdly, there was no setting for this.

My PCs are definitely all running with Austrian locale (so it should be Celsius), this particular PC even with German language (and the combination of German and Fahrenheit is rather odd). And nowhere could I change this.

My mobile devices are also all on Celius, so I thought it could not have been picked up from there.

Oddly, however, on my other PC (laptop), it displayed in Celsius. And even more oddly, this PC had English as language.

So did some Googling and found suggestions that you need to change this on the iPhone (iPad in my case), and that maybe switching to F and back to C could work.

That's what I did. Go to Google app on iPad, then into Settings > Google Now > Weather > Temperature.
Change for Fahrenheit, save.
Repeat with Celsius.

And voila, it is Celsius on the Desktop Chrome as well ...
Weird, but part of my software developer brain actually understands this.




Saturday, May 03, 2014

My Next Android?

What should my next Android be?

HTC One M8 
As much as I hate HTC for dropping further support on the One S, they still have the best hardware (IMHO) of all the Android manufacturers. As this is their flag ship product, they wont kill support for it soon. Also, there is the Google Play Edition of it, so support of future Android releases is secured.

Google Nexus 5
Plain google, good HW, maybe not as fancy as the M8 but solid. A lot cheaper (in both senses of the word). Good choice for the money, I'd say.

And I think I'd love the wireless charging.

1+ One
OnePlus seems to have fancy HW and a weird go-to-market approach: selling hardware by invitation only... Only make me want to have it. You won :)



Saturday, March 15, 2014

Google Timer

Just discovered this:
Enter timer in the Google search or awesome bar of your favorite browser, and Google will present you a nice little timer app/widget.

Just then enter whatever time you want/need and start.

You can also go fullscreen, e.g. if you need to project this during presentations or so.

Cool thing is, wherever you have google, you have this timer.

There are some nice short cuts, try them:
timer 10 minutes
timer 16:30
timer 5:30 pm

Friday, March 14, 2014

Where are the Mesh Networks?

With all the (justified) uproar about the NSA and GHCQ, which should actually be an uproar against the Telcos and ISPs (and backbone providers playing along) one wonders, why there is no rush to mesh networks, giving us a bit more independence of centralized networking providers.