Phonlab E-Campus Free Course

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Phonlab E-Campus free Chromebook Support course

I have been working with Phonlab for many months now and we decided to bring everyone a FREE course on Chromebooks to help techs and repair shops trouble shoot and fix customer devices. If you want to get access to this FREE course just head over to Phonlab.Teachable.com and enroll. Once you enroll in the Chromebook Support course you will have access to all the lessons. We hope you enjoy them and if you find them handy you may want to check out Phonlab E-Campus where we cover smartphone repairs and security.

 

RootJunky

 

Cyanogenmod 14 Released

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Cyanogen mod 14 Released

logo

CyanogenMod 14 official release has started for many devices. Nexus being at the top of that list along with oneplus devices. CyanogenMod 14 release brings CM up to the latest Android OS which is Nougat and all its glory. If you are looking to see if CM14 is available for your device check the official download page you can also check here for unofficial builds. You can also download CyanogenMod Recovery if you want to use it over TWRP Recovery. Here is a list of some of the New features included in this release.

  1. Multi Window Support
  2. New System UI
  3. Better Battery Management

These are all features that are new or improved on Android 7.0 Nougat.

Below is a video showing off CyanogenMod 14 Unofficial check it out.

 

Android Nougat 7.0 Official

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Android Nougat 7.0 Official

CmNkRwNWgAATRbA

OTA UPDATES AND FIRMWARE

Google has finally released the latest installment of there OS, Android Nougat 7.0 and if you are looking for the firmware and ota update files then you can come to the right place. First lets talk about the firmware update files that we have and how to install them. Check out all the latest features at Googles official page HERE

There are 2 options to install these ota update files which is really nice.

  1. copy the update.zip to your sdcard then boot into stock Android recovery with holding volume down and power and then selecting apply update from sdcard.
  2. Boot into stock Android recovery with holding volume down and power and then selecting apply update from adb. Then from the computer run command adb sideload (nameofotaupdate.zip)

Note: you can use these ota updates from either being on Android N developer preview or from being on stock Marshmallow the latest firmware and the ota update will work just fine. The Reason the the ota update will work is because it contains a full system flash and all the files needed.

OTA UPDATE REQUIREMENT

1. bootloader unlocked or locked either will work

2. device on stock firmware with stock recovery

3. they will not work with TWRP or a custom rom installed.

DOWNLOAD LINKS BUILD NRD90M

Nexus 5X

Nexus 6

Nexus 6P

Nexus 9

Nexus Player

More files will be added once they are available.

Official Firmware With Fixed Flash Files

These files are the stock Android Nougat Firmware but they have been update to work correctly with .bat flash files for windows and .sh flash files for mac or linux. These repackaged firmwares also includes a No wipe options which will allow you to keep your app data on the device and not wipe it. you can use these file to update or restore your nexus device even coming from a different rom should work.

How to Flash these files

  1. Boot into bootloader mode by holding volume down and power
  2. plug device into the computer and double click on the .bat file you want to use.  For Mac and Linux use the .sh files by opening Terminal and cd to the director then use ./nameofflashfile.sh to run the script.
  3. watch the script and follow its instructions. thats it.

DOWNLOAD LINKS TO FIRMWARE BUILD NRD90M

Nexus 5X

Nexus 6

Nexus 6P

Nexus 9

Nexus Player

More files will be added once they are available.

You can also download the firmware straight from Google HERE

TWRP 3.0.0-0 Released with new features

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TWRP 3.0.0-0 Released

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New features in TWRP 3.0.0-0:

  • Completely new theme – Much more modern and much nicer looking (by z31s1g)
  • True Terminal Emulator – Includes arrow keys, tab and tab completion, etc. (by _that)
  • Language translation – It won’t be perfect and especially some languages that require large font files like Chinese & Japanese won’t be availble on most devices. Also some languages may only be partially translated at this time. Feel free to submit more translations to OmniROM’s Gerrit. (mostly by Dees_Troy)
  • Flashing of sparse images – On select devices you will be able to flash some parts of factory images via the TWRP GUI (by HashBang173)
  • Adopted storage support for select devices – TWRP can now decrypt adopted storage partitions from Marshmallow
  • Reworked graphics to bring us more up to date with AOSP – includes support for adf and drm graphics (by Dees_Troy)
  • SuperSU prompt will no longer display if a Marshmallow ROM is installed
  • Update exfat, exfat fuse, dosfstools (by mdmower)
  • Update AOSP base to 6.0
  • A huge laundry list of other minor fixes and tweaks

WARNING: This is our first release in a long time. We have a lot of new and somewhat aggressive changes in this new release. The changes to the graphics back-end may cause some devices to not boot up properly or have other display-related issues. If you are not in a position to reflash an older build of TWRP, then wait until you are or at least wait until others have tried the new TWRP 3.0.0-0 for your specific device. You don’t want to end up with a non-working recovery and have to wait several hours or days to get to a computer to be able to fix it.

Team Win Recovery Project has been my favorite recovery ever since it was released. Dees_Troy and his team have done one amazing job at keeping up with this custom recovery and i am really thankful to them for all there hard work. If you love TWRP as much as i do please send then a little donation to say thanks 🙂

Donate to TWRP HERE

Going a quick search of the TWRP site it looks like there are already a bunch of official supported device that have builds of TWRP 3.0.0-0 available today and more to come soon i am sure, here are some of them.

Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, Nexus 9, LG G4, Moto X Pure Edition, Moto G 2015, Galaxy Note 5. Many more are available these are just some of the mosts popular.

Click HERE to see if this new version of TWRP is available for your device.

 

Marshmallow Headache

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Marshmallow Headache

 

Google defines Hyperglycemia as:

A high blood sugar. An elevated level specifically of the sugar glucose in the blood.

The Mayo Clinic advised me that symptoms of hyperglycemia develop slowly over several days or weeks. The longer blood sugar levels stay high, the more serious the symptoms become. Early symptoms of hyperglycemia can be fatigue and Headache.  Fatigue and Headache!

So why are we discussing blood sugar levels? Why do i have fatigue and headache? Well I think that I may have a small case of hyperglycemia brought on by the sweet, sweet goodness of Marshmallow.  Please allow me to explain.

android-6.0-marshmallow

So a few weeks back I had no headaches and no regrets, but i wanted some more, something sweet.  At that point in time my trusty Nexus 5 was consuming a fruit and fiber diet of Cyanogen Mod 12.1.  There was also a sprinkling of Xposed modules to guarantee a well balanced diet.  Then Rootjunky (ohhh, such a fitting name to someone who deals in the drug of modifications), came along with his tempting video for rooting Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

I thought to myself, this is great, I will enjoy the sweetness of marshmallow along with root access. I decided to leave the bland taste of CM12.1 for Android 6.0 Marshmallow.  Afterall, there is s’more to love.  I honestly really like it.  My Nexus 5 seems smoother, and somehow more refined.   Battery life was never the N5’s strongest point so the doze feature on Marshmallow created battery drain as slow and sweet as molasses.  The honeyed improvements to the “do not disturbed feature” are greatly appreciated.  It is similar to what Lollipop had to offer, it has just been processed a little finer. I personally use this feature a lot at work and find it very handy.  Everything was so sugary. Even the new boot animation was like watching someone pulling multicolored taffy.

It was like saying “trick or treat”, when I held onto that home button to turn on, Google Now on Tap.  Each time I was blessed with a little treat.  Sure there were some instances where it do not provide me with anything.  I wish I could have thrown eggs at those time; like I would have at delinquent household, refusing to join in the Halloween candy giveaway.  Most of the time I was happy with the added functionality.  Using any app for the first time was sugared with permission checks.  Each time I consented to give access, I found the sweet taste of marshmallow was in the air.  

Sounds good so far, right?  Well this is when the gooey, softy, sugary sweetness of Marshmallow Android 6.0, started to cause fatigue and headache.  The first time I precieved Marshmallow was maybe too sweet for me, occurred when I noticed and new app from Chainfire call [root] LiveBoot.   Not sure how long this app has been around for but it was the first time that I noticed it.   I have been a big fan of his SuperSU and 500Firepaper apps so I knew that this would be worth the download.  I installed and tried to run the app but nothing……. It did not work with Marshmallow!  The new OS was simply too sweet and the LiveBoot app could not handle it.

White_Marshmallows

I should mention that sometime last week Chainfire brought the fibre.  He was like bowl of All-Bran; regulating sugar levels, as his update allowed the app to work with Marshmallow.  Not a moment too soon as far I am concerned. The app is really cool.  I have developed a habit of turning my phone off and booting it up in front of family and friends just to show off the app’s boot animation.  I let them think that I am some kind of supper moder who can read and understand the animation!

Turning my phone off and on made me notice another aspect of Marshmallow that was too sweet for my blood.  Powering the phone down only gave me one option – power off.  What happened to my enhanced menu with reboot options?  I know that with root access I can make that happen again but then I have to endure the bitter taste of finding just the right app to do that for me.  Before it was just there.

The sweetness of Marshmallow just became stronger as I stuck with it.  A new cyanogen theme was available for Halloween.  It looked really cool and guess what?  It does not work with Marshmallow, it is for Cyanogen.  For some reason with Marshmallow, Star War’s commander will not sync up with my Google play account?  I had a level 8 town hall, I am not going back to the beginning now!  All this Marshmallow sweetness and it is sweat, is giving me Hyperglycemia.  I have the symptoms, fatigue and headache.  Now what will I do?

First off, if I am honest it is really not that bad. There are apps that I can install to get back some of the functionality I had.  With Rootjunky’s help my Marshmallow is rooted so I have room to play.   I have also seen lots of hints that CM13 may not be too far off.  That is quite the accomplishment. I was not expecting anything before Christmas but looks like the Cyanogen crowd are working hard.

I guess I was like a kid during Halloween with Marshmallow candies.  I don’t not think of the consequences, I saw something sweet and went for it.  Now I am suffering with a sugar headache but you know what?  I will do it all over again next year.

By

E. Tuesday

 

 

P.S.

Have you ever installed something sweet and regretted it later?  Tell me about it in comments area.

 

P.P.S.

So while playing with Marshmallow and writing this article a few ideas came to mind.  Would you like to see a post about comparing stock Marshmallow to CM12.1 or CM13 when it arrives?  I am thinking of comparing two identical phones, one with stock and the other with a custom ROM (Maybe even kernal).  We could look at benchmark programs for performance and battery life.  We can also do some real world tests to see what if any difference there is.  What do you think leave me some encouragement below if you would like to see a post like this.

Googles Live event times and links

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Google’s Announcement event today

  • When: Today, September 29
  • What time: San Francisco: 9 a.m. — Chicago: 11 a.m. — New York: 12 p.m. — London: 5 p.m. — Beijing: 12 a.m. (September 30) — Sydney: 2 a.m. (September 30).
  • Live-stream: You can also watch the stream on YouTube on Google’s channel. Once i get a direct link i will update this post.

I will be watching this live event and hanging out on twitter to so come and hangout with me and we can chat about the event and new devices being announced. From what i have ready we should see a Huawei Nexus 6P, LG Nexus 5X, chromecast 2nd gen, chromecast audio device and Android 6.0 Marshmallow. All in all it should be a really fun show.

nexus-6p-1nexus5x-2.0

The Future of Android Community Development

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The Future of Android Community Development 

(and why RootJunky isn’t rooting)

 

android-development

What is the future of android development when it comes down to the Android community and forums like XDA developers? Here are some of my thoughts on this matter. I have been in the Android community for many years now and have seen lots of new and exciting ideas and mods for Android. Lets walk through some of these awesome developments.

Root

Root access on your Android device can be compared to having admin rights on a Windows computer. When you get your phone or tablet from the store, you are just a user and can’t access anything deeper in the settings; you can’t even delete apps you don’t want. This is why we want root access on your Android devices.  However, even this process has become very  difficult for many users since the manufacturers and carriers have locked down the bootloaders on many devices.  In order for a phone with a locked bootloader to get root access, a developer has to find some kind of exploit in Android or in the device itself. As time has passed, this is getting harder because every time an exploit is found, Google creates a patch for it. This is a good thing for security, but really bad news for users with locked bootloaders.

NOTE: Many Developers that have started in the Android community have been picked up by Google and other companies and can’t research find these exploits for the community anymore.

Roms

A rom is a operating system replacement that normally adds many new features to your device, but can sometimes take away features as well. There are many roms to choose from depending on your device.  Some of the most popular are: CyanogenMod, Alliance, AOSP, AOKP, ViperRom, and OmniRom.  These are well supported and work great. That being said, once you install them most will remove some or all of the custom features that come with your device. There are many roms that have very bad development and can cause major problems like camera and wifi not working. Some of the best roms to install are stock based roms with just some mods added. These stock roms will be fully functional and can add great features to your device.

Recovery

Recovery is a major need for android development.   It is used to flash rom mods, and many times to get root access. TWRP and CWM recovery are both great and development is solid on them. But to install either you need an unlocked bootloader or some kind of exploit. Safe Strap is a recovery that doesn’t require an unlocked bootloader, but it does need root access to install.  Unfortunately, the developer behind it has moved on to other things.

Bootloader

Many manufacturers like Motorola, HTC, LG, Huawei and Samsung have programs you can follow to unlock the bootloader on your devices.  This is nice, however, they are very limited to a special list of devices. Some Manufacturers even leave their bootloaders unlocked to start. This makes development much easier, but also makes the devices much less secure.

Mods

Mods are probably my favorite part of Android development because they only add to your device experience. Mods like Xposed framework and theme engines are among some of the greatest. But, here again, most mods require root access to use and many even need custom recovery.

Community Development

Development for Android has become harder every time a new Android version is released. Every release brings new features and new challenges for the dev to figure out.  For example,  Dalvik changed to Art run time environment.   Tools that a developer previously used don’t work anymore and new tools have to be created. Most Developers in the Android community work on these awesome exploits and mods in their free time which makes development a little weak at times, but who can blame them. After all, development for the Android community is free of charge.

Summary

At this point, you may be asking yourself “why is he covering all of these points just to talk about the future of android community development?”  In conclusion,  Google has made many advances in their Android operating system that have improved the functionality, performance and added many features that have come from the community.  Features such as flash light toggles, permissions per app, and Themes engines being added by manufacturers ( and I think Google very soon). Many of the reasons that I rooted my phones, are now offered with stock Android or by the manufacturer. There are also tons of awesome apps on the market that let you mod your device without even needing root such as launchers, icon changers and themes for those launchers. Unless you are actually a developer, the need to root and unlock your bootloader has diminished these days; at least when it comes to the new flagship devices.   Older devices stop getting ota updates and need development in order to keep them up to date and running smoothly. I have a confession to make…. I haven’t used root access on any of my daily driver devices in over 6 months. The need for root on your devices just isn’t there anymore. On many older devices with slow hardware or lacking features, I can understand it and even back it, but on the new stuff there’s no need. Yes, you heard that right: Rootjunky isn’t rooting LOL. Rooting a device that doesn’t need it has become a real headache. Every time you root a device that is running lollipop or above you change the system files to do it and that messes up ota updates. So now you have root, but are stuck on a old android version once a ota is released, that just doesn’t make sense. Like I said earlier, the idea is to add features and updates, not stop them. The future that I see is one with less and less community development because Google and manufacturers are pushing out ota updates faster. As much as I love the Android community, I am happy to see Google stepping up their game and taking amazing ideas from the community and adding them into stock Android.

 

What are your thoughts on the future of Android community development?  I would love to hear them.

 

RootJunky out

download

 

Android M Developer Preview

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Android M Developer Preview

Google has added a bunch of new features to Android M and today we will be covering some of them. I am really excited to get the official Android M release but for now lets check out Android M Developer Preview. If you are looking for the download link to this new firmware you can find it HERE.  Right now Android M is only available on the Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 9, and Nexus Player. Here is my review Video if you want to skip right to the good stuff 🙂

New Features

1.  New Look and feel of the Home launcher or should i say Google Now Lanucher. The main difference here is the Lock screen with the added Google now microphone button and new wallpaper.

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Also you get a new app drawer that some love and some hate. it scrolls vertically and has your 4 most recent apps on top. Widgets have been organized a little different also. They are vertical just like the app drawer but if a app has multiple widgets you can scroll through them horizontally. I really like this new widget organization.

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2.  Managing Volume and notifications sounds has finally become easier.  When you press your volume up and down buttons you will be greeted with these options. If you press volume down all the way you will be able to set alarms only mode or do not disturb mode which can also be found on your quick toggles.

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3. App Permissions has bee added to the mix and i really like this feature. With app permissions you have full control over what your apps have access to or not. If you dont want chrome to have access to your camera services then just turn it off in app permissions its that simple. you can look at individual app permissions of you can see every app that can access the camera. Long with app permissions you can app links what it does is links web links to apps that relate to that app so that when you click on a link to Google drive in Chrome browser it will open your Google drive app if installed.

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You can also find this cool Memory tool in settings if you are into monitoring ram info.

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4. Google On Tap is activated by long pressing the home button on Android M. How Google on tap works is it looks at what is on your screen at the time you press the buttons and basically Google searches that info to bring you more information on it. Long pressing the home button also brings up the Google search bar for voice commands with OK Google if you want to use it. Right now Google On Tap isnt working in Android M developer preview but i am really excited to check it out when Android M is official later this year. Looks like there will be 3 different preview release of Android M before the official release in Q3. Hopefully we will see some of these features working in later previews.

Screenshot_20150605-093413

 

5. Doze is Android M new method of dealing with standby time. Basically Doze recognizes that your device isnt being used and starts shutting down serves that arent needed. Doze will give you 2 to 4 times the battery life in standby mode on Android M. Battery life and improvements like quick charging are huge for android and the mobile user. I hope to see many more big improvements on Battery life in the future.

Android-M-s-New-Doze-Feature-Is-a-Mixed-Bag-482789-2

6. Android Settings theme is a new feature that has to be turned on in developer settings. To turn on developer settings you need to click on your build number in about phone 7 times then you will have developer settings and be able to turn on the dark theme that i love. 🙂 Also you can see that the Android M developer Preview has a Easter egg just like all the other android versions but it is lacking any game like lollipop can with Flappy Android.

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7. Again Google teases us with Android Pay showing of some of its awesome features and ease of use but doesnt include it in Android M. Google Pay is going to be great competition for Apple Pay and other payment methods available today.

 

If you are looking to install Android M on your Nexus device then you may want to check out this video. How to install Android M Developer Preview.

Note I edited all the Nexus Android M Firmware and uploaded it HERE so that the Flash-all.bat file will now work.

Links to Google Announcements on Android M with more great info

Android M Developer Blog

Android M Program overview and release info

Android Factory Reset Protection

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Android Factory Reset Protection

What are the pros and cons of Android factory reset protection? This is a new feature that is included with Android version 5.1.1. First, I have to state that any security measures that can be added to your android device will only improve the safety of your personal data. That being said, you as the owner of the device, should also have the option and control to turn these features on and off as you choose. For example, unlocked bootloaders, carrier unlock, factory reset protection, and Write Protect to name just a few.

Pros

1. Device will not even boot to lock screen without the correct password. Kernel level password check.

2. Using Android device manager, you can remotely locate and/or wipe the data on your device.

3. If your device is lost, stolen, or wiped, only someone with your Google account or screen lock information can use the device.

 

Cons

1. Device protection is automatically turned on when you add a Google account and setup a lock screen password. I list this as a con because it is automatic.

2. If you have Factory Reset Protection turned on and you mess something up, it will not boot or you forgot your password, then you will also not be able to reset it in stock recovery. The only way to fix this is to use a tool like odin, rsd lite, fastboot, or lg flash tool to restore the factory firmware.

3. If you can’t provide your Google account information during the setup process, you won’t be able to use the device at all after factory reset.

 

Sprint put together a great little walk through explaining how to turn on and off Factory Reset Protection. HERE IS THE LINK

Another great read on this subject from Google  HERE

Important: If you reset your Google account password and need to do a factory reset, you need to wait 72 hours after changing your password to reset your device. This is for security purposes.