Tuesday, August 28, 2012


We all know, that no-one ever - ever!! - reads the terms-of-service of a web service. So in a very laudable effort, the guys around ToS;DR did this for us.

ToS;DR is of course a play on the ever popular tl;dr, which is not a broken HTML tag, but stands for too-long, didn't read:

Said whenever a nerd makes a post that is too long to bother reading.
(source: Urban Dictionary)

ToS;DR - short for Terms of Service; Didn't Read - takes care of that:

They created a dash board of the most important web services out there, and flagged them from class A (green) to class E (sooo red, you don't really want to touch it) with the most important aspects and consequences of using said service, like e.g. that twitpic by the terms of service you agree to (!) takes credit for your content.

This catalog of services and their ToS is just great. Imagine, this were to be represented as XML (or in any other machine readable format); then a browser extension could actually flag web pages you visit according to their service, i.e. really warn you about your "loss of copyright" (exaggerating) if you upload to twitpic...

I want this!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Look, What I just did to my HTC One S!

No, the Jelly Bean upgrade is still not here for HTC One S, but at least here in Europe we got the 4.0.4 upgrade on ICS.

Upgrade was totally smooth and flawless. And now, back to waiting for JB...

Friday, August 17, 2012

Listen, listen, gone.

So, finally, Google Listen is gone from my mobile.

I'll stick with BeyondPod.

Google Play Store Gift Cards

According to several reports, the Google Play Store is finally getting gift cards.
Google Play Store Gift Cards - Great Idea!:

This essentially places the Google Play Store on par with the Apple iTunes ecosystem.

It means that anyone can purchase apps and content from the Play Store, without the need for a credit card.
For example, my kids!

And thus it gives more revenue opportunities to app developers in the Android ecosystem.

Well, let's see when it will become available outside the US...

Monday, August 13, 2012

Cisco AnyConnect VPN Client for Android

Finally, with my move to an ICS device I do have a VPN client compatible with our corporate VPN, Cisco AnyConnect. For earlier versions, this was only sort-of available for rooted devices, and I did not really want to root my old HTC just for this.

But now for Android 4 and above (ICS+) there is AnyConnect ICS+ available in the Google Play Store.

 Setup and installation is straightforward. Of course you need to know the connection details of your VPN (hostname, mainly; assuming you do know your userid and password anyway).

It comes with a nice widget for fast and easy access; remembers your userid after the first connect, and also shows the VPN status with a key (connected) in the notification area.

Works great.

Still don't know what I should do in the corporate network with my mobile, though.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Replacing Google Listen

The other day Google announced they would discontinue Google Listen (my favorite podcast fetcher and player for Android until now):

We launched Google Listen through Google Labs in August 2009, to give people a way to discover and listen to podcasts. However, with Google Play, people now have access to a wider variety of podcast apps, so we’ve discontinued Listen. People who have already installed the app can still use it, but after November 1, podcast search won’t function. You can access your podcast subscriptions in Google Reader in the “Listen Subscriptions” folder and download them from the Import/Export tab.
So I finally did some research for a good podcast player for Android; my criteria were:
  • use or at least import my current podcast feeds from Google Reader
  • an option to restrict episode download on Wifi only
  • an option to restrict episode download only when charging (not too critical, though)
  • easily accessible controls for play/pause and skip
  • good control over the order the episodes play (playlist)
  • good UI
I found all this in ... drumroll ... BeyondPod.

What I really like is the smart play list, where you can configure BeyondPod to e.g. take all episodes from category x from oldest to newest first, and the all other episodes from category y. I use this to start with all the short 2-5 minutes episodes from e.g. FM4 or OE1 (both from Austrian public radio), followed by the longer ones, e.g. Tech News Today, or In Beta.[1].

The concept of categories makes it easier to configure update frequency, order in which to play episodes, etc etc. Really nice set of settings there.

BeyondPod comes as a free trial version, with all features enabled for the first 7 days. After that, you either continue using the free version - what they call "Lite" - with a limited feature set:
When using the Lite version, you can still add feeds, update, download and play your podcasts. The main limitation is that in order to get the latest episodes, you have to manualy refresh each of your feeds using the circular "Refresh" button located in the top right corner the Feed Content View.
This is too "Lite" for me, so I purchased the BeyondPod Unlock Key from the Google Play store for €5.51/$6.99 so I can continue to use the full version. Still worth the money.

I moved to BeyondPod about a week ago and I'm glad I did.

btw: you can find a review of BeyondPod All About Android episode #5 (minute 38:20)

[1] other weekly podcasts like TWiT, or TWiG, or AAA I still listen to on my iPod nano

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Data Usage Monitor in Android ICS

Found this while playing around with my HTC One S running Ice Cream Sandwich (aka ICS, aka Android 4.0) while on vacation and roaming (!).

If you pull down the Settings menu or open it via the apps screen under *** more you will find a Usage menu.

Opening this will reveal some very useful and detailed statistics about the data usage of your phone.

You can see the wireless data as it accumulates over the data usage cycle as you define it. Since I am on a corporate plan where the billing cycle starts with the first of the months, I set the usage cycle to the month. If your billing cycle starts on the - say - 21st, you should change this to 21st to 21st of the following month. Set the Reset data count value for this.

You can also set two different thresholds.

  1. A simple warning when a certain data volume is reached within the usage cycle - see the 1.0GB bar in the graphic
  2. A real limit, where - once reached - the phone will no longer allow a data connection. As you can see I have not activated the hard limit.
If you scroll down further, you can see in detail how the data is been use per application. This lets you easily identify data hogs, giving you some good data points when you want to tweak your data consumption.

In my cases here (just for demo) a good idea would be turn of one of the podcast players (I have both, BeyondPod and Google Listen active right now... more on this later), and also restrict them to Wifi only... Or maybe do less Facebook while commuting :)

Very useful indeed. If you are running ICS already, take a look at it.

BTW: You can turn this on for Wifi, too. This will give a separate tab on this page.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Wonderfull errror message

Thank you, Facebook... that really helps.
btw: I only clicked on a Instagram link on Facebook. The error itself is from http://graph.facebook.com/l.php?u=http....

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Android ICS for Raspberry Pi

Wow, ICS is coming to the Raspberry Pi... you know that little cheap alsmost DYI computer.

This sounds like serious fun!
I just might...
I just might...