Aug 222014
 

Just prolongated my KPN subscription and ordered the Samsung Galaxy S5. Samsung offers a free S-View cover and 32GB memory card until the end of the month, so if any of you (local) S5 owners is interested in the S-View cover, let me know.

Jun 092014
 

I’ve used CyanogenMod before and was very satisfied with it. No bloatware, latest features and stable. Had it on my Motorola Droid (special version, since it’s not officially supported), on my Galaxy Nexus, I have it on my Galaxy S4 (my work phone) and after the latest KitKat update from Sony that drains the battery faster than a crackwhore needs her next shot, I decided to give in.

Bootloader unlock, which means a factory reset (you have to request the unlock key from Sony support). Which was the alleged solution to the battery problems anyway, so what could go wrong.

Enter Murphy.

My Windows 8.1 laptop does not recognize the XPeriaZ in fastboot mode. On neither USB port. Not with Android drivers, not with Sony drivers. Just an unknown device with a yellow exclamation mark in the device list. So I hooked up my phone on my Linux server. Yep. That just works.

CyanogenMod usually works perfectly with the ClockWorkMod recovery instructions. Boot in fastboot mode, flash the boot.img and reboot. Flash the custom rom image, and while your at it the Google Apps, and reboot and done. Not this time. The phone is stuck at the CM boot logo. Read the instructions again. Okay, mandatory “factory reset/wipe data” when doing a fresh CM install. I thought I did that, but hey, let’s restart. Flash boot.img, reboot, factory reset/wipe, install CM, install Google Apps. Reboot. Same thing: the CM boot logo. WTF?!

Google is your friend. I wasn’t the only one with this problem. Seems that the data partition made by Sony is encrypted in a way, and CWM does not wipe it properly or doesn’t wipe it at all. TWRP (TeamWin Recovery Project) should be able to do it properly. Next restart: flash the twrp image, reboot. Wow, nice GUI! No fiddling with the volume buttons, just point and click. Wipe the data partition/factory reset. Put the CM and Google Apps zip in the update queue (!) and flash them. Reboot. Wait. CM boot logo. Wait some more.

YES!!!! It asks for my PIN to unlock the SIM card.

Enter Google account credentials and……..oh wait. I have 2-factor authentication and the authenticator was …. on this phone. What now? Damn you Murphy. Turns out you can install the authenticator on another device, scan a barcode (the squares thingy) from a browser on your desktop and then it “moves” the authenticator to that device.
After that, I could succesfully login on my Google account with my fresh CyanogenMod installation.

Only to find that it does not automatically download all my apps. In fact, none of them. Ah well, at least it’s working again.

One more word: if you play games that are Google Play Games enabled, make sure you install Google Play Games first and then the games. Doing it the other way around will give you strange and unpredictable results. In The Gate for example, I got an “Download failed because you may not have purchased this app” which is very weird, since it’s a Free-2-Play game. Just uninstall, install Google Play Games, and then install your games.

Sep 102013
 

Since yesterday I started playing Please Stay Calm on my phone. It’s a zombie game, kind of turn based. You have a limited amount of energy (and health of course) that you can use to scavenge for stuff or to hunt/kill zombies. Other than most games, the scavenging and hunting is done GPS based, so the game will list locations (shops, streets, etc) you will know.

Of course you can connect with friends (via Facebook or the app). You need to level to progress. You need money (found by scavenging or by selling stuff you found) to buy weapons, build safehouses, etc.etc.

It’s a simple game to play, the interface is not difficult and you don’t need superfast reflexes to dodge the zombies like most other games. I like it. At the moment I’m only at level 4, but for less than a day playing that seems okay (maybe it’s not).

Have a look here: http://pleasestaycalm.com/ and find the app in the Playstore or on iTunes.

Aug 082013
 

Experimenting with Spotify, throw (Sony), DLNA, uPnP and knowing that my Squeezebox server is something that will obsolete in a while, I found something that might just be right. Of course it does not have the nice hardware like the Squeezebox itself, but I get some stuff in return.

I found Plex. It is a mediaserver that you run on a computer in your home. It indexes your music, your movies, and your pictures. And with the Plex clients, you can browse and even play that content. DLNA browsing is not so surprising, but DLNA by itself does not help if the browser/client does not know how to handle a specific filetype. My phone does not know how to handle a movie in MKV format. It does not recognize my camera’s RAW format. Plex does. And it does it well.

The client app on my phone was not free, it was € 3.71 or something like US$ 5.

When connected to WiFi on my local LAN, I can play content (movies will be the main bottleneck) in any quality, even 20Mbps in 1080p is no problem. But you don’t always have your own WiFi at your disposal, that’s why you can connect your server to myPlex. On the server you enter the myPlex account information, and you enter the same credentials in the Android app. This is how they find each other, much like the Squeezebox has.
Now I can still see everything on my server, and from within the client I can choose the quality I want the data to be streamed to me. If you’re on a tight data-subscription, you can turn the quality down, but when that is of no concern you can turn it up as much as you like (or as much as your provider lets you).

Just tested all this, and tonight in the restaurant I could show a movie in full HD with subtitles. Over just 3G. Don’t worry, it was just a test, we had a lovely dinner with no movies ;-)

Aug 032013
 

Yesterday I started with the “real” Zombies, Run! app, not the 5K training. I knew I had to evade the zombies for real now, noone to protect me or so. Very early in the run, I picked up some supplies. Batteries, a sports bra, things. Not long after that, I got a zombie warning, about 100 meters away from me. Evading the zombies meant accelerating, so I did. But the distance between me and the zombies only got smaller and finally I threw away 3 items from my inventory which seemed to distract the zombies from me. WTF? This pattern continued until the end of the run, so in total: 0 zombies evaded.

Read the FAQ.

Here’s how chases work:
When a Zombie Chase is triggered, the app calculates your average pace over the previous 30 seconds
You must increase your pace by 20% from this average
You must maintain that increased pace for 1 minute in order to escape the zombies.

Right. Should have read that before I ran. Hope things get better on the next run. You can see my run here.

Jul 272013
 

It’s all over the news. Well, something like that. It spiked my interest and I installed Waze on my phone. It looks cute, and for people without paranoia (you will be sharing your location), it can be both fun and helpful. One of the features is that it lists gasstations nearby. Not so spectacular, it’s on Google Maps too you might say. But Waze lists them sorted by distance from your current location including the current fuel prices. So, let’s save ourselves some money, and start using Waze :-)

Waze on Google Play.

Jul 222013
 

After more than a month of waiting for Android 4.2.2 I decided to go for it, and try the alternate route. I downloaded a Generic ES (Spanish) 4.2.2 ROM (read here), and flashed it to my phone. The downloading of the image and installing the flashtool are the timeconsuming tasks, flashing the ROM is a piece of cake. Be sure to not wipe the data and cache partition (untick 2 of the 3 checkboxes) if you want to retain what’s on your phone.

With the new Android I would be easy to acquire root, so DoomLord said. No unlocked bootloader or whatsoever needed. So I downloaded his tool, did what the screen said, and less than five minutes later I had a rooted-phone. Things couldn’t be easier than this.

May 302013
 

I bought a Sennheiser/Adidas PMX 680 today, so I could finally “test” Zombies 5K. First the unpacking and connecting the headphone of course, it’s a nice thing.

So I changed into my running gear, changed some settings in Zombies 5K, and started listening. Yes, listening. Zombies 5K (and also Zombies, Run!) is a novel, a game and a training assistant in one. A novel, because it tells a story about a zombie-infected world. A game, because you are a runner (Runner 5) in that infested world and you need to do tasks/complete missions to proceed. And of course, it’s a training assistant because you guessed it: you can only complete missions by physically running!

First mission I thought would be easy, but I never do interval trainings, so after the mission I was more exhausted than my regular training. But I felt good about it, and the story and game is such a great addition to running, it actually makes me WANT to run more. But….doctor Myers gave me a day of, so I will run on Friday!

Check their website for more info on Zombies, Run!