Anti-Hacking Tools for Android – 2017 Guide

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Anti-Hacking Tools for Android – 2017 Guide

 

Android officially has the largest market share in the smartphone world and there is almost 1.5 billion people who use Android smartphone or tablet. This speaks volumes of the quality and affordability that Android offers to their users, but there are also problems and liabilities that always come with using widely popular brands.

Security is frequently one of the questions that come with using Android and this topic is always a matter of interest, especially if you’re using your Android devices for your work and some form of confidential data manipulation. We’ve decided to talk about anti-hacking tools that can make the breach of your security much more difficult for cybercriminals. In 2017, you can expect that there will be lots of new viruses and malware to look out for, so here are some tools to help you along the way.

AppLock

We all love using apps and while they’re incredibly useful, they can also serve as the back door through which hackers can slither through unnoticed. Too many people are still not careful enough about what they’re installing on their devices and whether those apps come from trusted sources and therein lies the problem. To put a stopper on having this problem (even potentially) is to secure your phone with an app that is specifically designed to lock all other apps. While your lock screen only protects you from the outside attacks, it doesn’t do much more for anything going on inside your phone and this is where AppLock takes center stage.

Once you’ve downloaded it, you are free to lock any app you feel should be protected – anything from Facebook to your email and bank accounts. By using this app, you’re making sure that no one but you will be able to touch your private information plus you will limit the access that apps have in your device, so you’re killing two birds with one stone.

Use High Quality Password Manager

Seeing that practically everything on the internet has to be protected by a password, you need to do your best to keep this aspect of your security in check. This isn’t necessarily easy, because you need strong passwords for every account you have, and that means complex words usually concocted with numbers and special characters. If this sounds like a lot of work, well, it is, but thankfully, you don’t have to keep it all in your head. There are some very good password managers like Zoho, LastPass and RoboForm that will do an excellent job in managing passwords for your numerous accounts. Not only that, but a password manager worth its salt will suggest how to make your passwords more secure and give you additional tips on how to protect your privacy even more. You are also able to keep in check any personal information you have and protect your usernames as well.

Encrypt Everything with a VPN

Privacy when you’re using your Android device is equally important as when you’re using your desktop computer or laptop, though we often forget this. Smartphones are quite vulnerable to security breaches and one of the best ways to prevent that from happening is to encrypt both the data on your phone and your internet connection. Whenever you’re connected to a public network, you’re in danger of catching a virus or having a hacker on your tail, and virtual private networks simply erase this problem. Good VPN providers like Nord VPN can provide you with military level encryption for your Android device, so that hackers can’t harm your privacy in any way. Talking about anti-hacking tools, when you want to encrypt some very important files on your device, there are great encryption apps that you can use and that are also free, so that you don’t have to spend a lot of money on your Android security.

Use Security Software You Know Is Good

Long gone are the times when you could just pick any antivirus and be set when it comes to security. Android devices need to be protected with strong antivirus software because while it’s the most versatile platform, it is also most prone to small, pesky security issues like spyware and viruses. Depending on what kind of an internet user you are and how much sensitive information you’re managing on your device, you need to find antivirus that suits your needs. Sure, there are some great free version like Avira, Avast and Panda, but if you need stronger security that includes anti-spam, antimalware and functioning firewall, then you will have to pay to get all-encompassing protection. You may not pay it gladly, but online security is scarce these days, and paying a couple of bucks a month is more than acceptable for the peace of mind you’re getting in return.

Get Email Encryption Software

Email scams are still very much a thing, even though many of us believe that we wouldn’t fall for that. While you’ve got your security software to protect you against spamming and phishing, it would be wise to encrypt your emails in general. A lot of sensitive details are conveyed via email and chances are you don’t want your mail to get into wrong hands. If hackers get into your email, they can take advantage of your address book and spam all your friends and colleagues, which never ends well. Software like Data Motion and HP Secure Wall have proven their worth over time, which is why it’s worth given them a shot.

Anti-hacking tools for Android abound these days and all you have to do is take your pick. Of course, it’s very important for you to be wary as well and know what not to do when browsing the internet because no anti-hacking tool will help you unless you always remain security aware. What apps and security software do you use? Please comment and share your opinion. – Thomas Milva

 

Thomas Milva is 28, he lives in Baton Rouge and is a dedicated Analyst of Information Security, which is why he moved to Baton Rouge, where he lives now and he loves it.  He’s got Italian ancestry and is very fond of his pets, Reggie the dog and his two goldfish. Thomas mostly works from home, which is why he’s contemplating of adopting another dog.

 

Quadrooter Qualcomm Exploit

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Quadrooter Qualcomm Exploit

Quadrooter-vulnerability-affects-nearly-1-billion-Snapdragon-powered-Android-devices

QuadRooter sounds like another serious Android security exploit. One which can apparently allow a malicious app to gain root access on Qualcomm based Android phones and tablets, enabling the app to then do pretty much what it pleases. According to Check Point, the research group that discovered QuadRooter, up to 900 million Qualcomm Android devices could be affected. This exploit targets the Qualcomm drivers which is why it is specific to this hardware. As of the Augusts 1st security update Google has patched 3 of the 4 vulnerabilities and will patch the last one in the September 1st update. To keep your device safe from these bugs it is always bests to stay on top of your security updates. One of the best ways to protect your phone from malicious software is to only download apps from google play or trusted sources.

quadrooter-scanner

If you want to check and see if your device can possible be vulnerable to this threat then you can download and run QuadRooter Scanner by check pointPersonally I am hoping that a developer can figure out this exploit and use it to get many android users root access. I am sure someone can create a app that gets root then injects supersu and su binary into the device. If you are hoping for the same I recommend not updating to new security patches and give the developers some time to get devices root access. 

I wouldn’t be surprise to see this QuadRooter vulnerability implemented into Kingroot app some time soon, as it would make there app unstoppable on Android devices. What do you think about this bug please comment below and let me know.

RootJunky

 

Creating your first Android Icon Pack

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Creating your first Android Icon Pack

app icon

Notiflux a youtube fan contacted me the other day to see if i would like some custom Icons to go with my RootJunky logo and colors. I told him, I would love it.  From there Notiflux created me some awesome icons using Gimp a photo editing program. You can also use programs like Paint.net and Adobe Photoshop which is my favorite. With these cool new icons in hand I had to take on the task of creating a Icon Pack App for them.

 

paint.net

Creating your first Android Icon Pack can be a little challenging but I hope that this post will help you along the way. One of the first things you need to do it download and install the Android SDK which is included in Android StudioAfter installing Android Studio you will need to update the Android SDK to get the latest version, check this post for help.  NOTE  I used Eclipse to build my apps as that is want i am use to but if you are just getting started it is highly recommend to use Android Studio. 

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Creating your first Android Icon Pack is really easy if you use Apex Icon Pack Sample as your template. This is really helpful in getting everything to need setup and running.  Open Android Studio or Eclipse and Import the Sample app. Once done you can go ahead and make some quick edits to it and have your own icon pack app.  While editing I have found it easier to look at the XML files instead of the Graphical layout or resource views, its is much more logical this way.

A couple really good recourse to help you in editing the Apex Icon Pack Sample can be found Here and Here. The main files that you will be editing are the files in folder RES and SRC the rest of these files can me left alone for the most part. You can put your edited Icons in the drawable-xhdpi folder. Once you have make all your edits you can either run the app on a connected phone over adb or you can export the app to a APK file and then install it on any device you want to.

It you have a day or to to read through all the this information and get a Icon Pack of your own, it can really be a lot of fun. Use your imagination and there is no telling what awesome things you might create. If you would like to Check out my Icon Pack that works with a bunch of Android home launchers like Apex and Nova click here and you can download it from the Google Play Store.

Extra Credit

Link to the files i used in my app can be found here, should be a great help if you need to compare some code like i did.

RootJunkySDL.com

Thanks to Notiflux for all his help

RootJunky Out

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Google Cardboard: It’s just a box

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Google Cardboard: It’s just a box

 

Google Cardboard VR is a free open source D.I.Y. project Google started to inspire VR (virtual reality) development and to get it into the hands of the common user. It’s acentually free at worst low cost, by only requiring everyday household items or easily accessible parts from a local crafts store. To save time at the cost of only a few bucks more then building your own, you can order one from Unofficial Cardboard. Google provides a free stencil print out and parts list with a blueprint for assembly that starts with Biconvex Lenses, Neodymium Magnet, Ceramic Magnet, Velcro Strips, Rubber Band and an NFC Tag which is optional. The box itself is specced specifically to work with most devices and screen sizes, just make sure to use plans or purchase the headset that’s designed for your device’s size. Google also designed a special UI to simulate the VR experience, by utilizing all the high end tech your current device has inside it. Since your device is already equipped for VR argo it’s accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer, this seems like a no brainer, at least for Google.

Google wants to immerse you in an interactive virtual reality with nothing more than a piece of cardboard and your current device. Providing free virtual reality apps for 360° video, gaming and interactive educational apps on both Apple and Android platforms, but other than the Google provided Cardboard app some 3rd party apps may vary store to store depending on the developer. With the Google Cardboard app you get a portal to a virtual world that feels bigger than the tiny 5 inch screen it’s being displayed on. Described as a theater experience, with the feeling of looking at a huge screen at a pleasant distance it’s easily fun for everyone of all ages.

It’s just a box, but thanks to your current device’s super high end tech, it’s so much more than just Cardboard. It’s a virtual reality console with endless possibilities for entertainment & educational purposes, for those of all ages.

#360Video:                                             bestcardboard-cardboard-100569399-orig

Watching VR 360° videos is an indescribable experience that can only be understood by participation, spectators will get a good laugh. You don’t necessarily need a VR to watch a 360° video via mono screen, although the side by side VR style with head movement to control the view is incomparable. To watch a 360° movie or music video, simply open YouTube and search #360Video. You can select the viewing options on the player, in the bottom right corner via the goggles icon. There’s a variety to choose from, music videos like live concerts to horror movies and live action adventures that bring the POV into the stories.

 

Star Wars – 360° Virtual Reality

The Star Wars #360Video gives you a short POV of a Droid wheeling along on the Death Star marching floor. While wheeling through the corridors of the infamous destroyer of worlds, the Sith Lords right hand Darth himself makes an appearance. While on the mighty Death Star, you’ll get the unique perspective of a lonely single dorid on its mission to collect data and escape with its batteries intact.

 

360° Horror | “Eat You Alive” with Chris Riedell, Jason Horton and Lauren Reeder

When it comes to virtual reality horror the YouTube Space LA team is winning with its new video. Get that fly on the wall feeling in this zombie apocalyptic stand off between man and monster, which aren’t so different in this story. With headphone and an office chair that rotates for ease of view, you’ll feel as if you’re standing in the room frozen in fear. It’s a highly adult horror short that’ll get your heart pumping damn near outta your chest.

Gaming (Android)

Thanks to Google’s Cardboard project, virtual reality gaming that fully brings a player into its characters world is finally here. The way a game acts and reacting to movements and provides a believable experience. When you add a gaming controller and headphones into the mix you get one h.e.double hockey sticks of an experience that takes your breath away. The games currently available aren’t the best of quality in the sense of graphics and storyline. Think of this as a big beta test to see if there is a market for VR that’s worth the time and effort to develop higher quality more expensive games. In consequence the more users and downloads of VR apps will push the development community to make better games.

House of Terror VR

This is a creepy twist on escape the room that takes place in a virtual world, where you’re trapped in a house of terror with monsters and no way out in sight. Your goal is to survive each room, avoiding giant spiders and lurking evil, while looking for the way out. This app does require a bluetooth gaming controller for moving the character around the room, a VR headset like Google Cardboard and a pair of headphones to really be immersed into the experience. If you want to test your escaping skills as well as you courage, this game is perfect for you.

 

Galaxy VR Cardboard Space FPS

Galaxy VR is a space flight simulator that puts you in the cockpit of a starship fighter. You’ll get to experience a true VR FPS thats multiplayer. This game has it all from amazing graphics to reaction timing with seamless head tracking and it’s an online multiplayer, could you ask for more? You can even look down and see your full body avatar, the controller in your hands and the hands reacting to your button pressing IRL (in real life). With an option to play first person or 3rd person view, there are 3 different camera angles in game play to choose from. Unlock the full app by paying a small fee, for additional gameplay options and modes. Once you get used to the movements and past the motion sickness this app is definitely one of my favorite VR games. Join me in the fight, download the app now and get ready because there is no traditional main menu here. You  start the game in mid flight, sitting in a starfighter with a 3D holo HUD in your lap, and in a fight for your life against other live players from around the world. What are you waiting for? The future is here, go download it!

PS:

You can even play Flappy Bird from the Birds POV with Flappy For Cardboard VR.

download

Apps (Cardboard Demo)

The free interactive educational opportunities provided by Google alone are worth the small investment in Cardboard. You can visit and learn about historical places and look around as if you were actually standing in the room. Get a tour of a famous foreign or domestic landmark with your own personal virtual tour guide. Visit the old neighborhood and walk the streets to slight see with Google Street View and be your own tour guide. Visit and learn with Google Cardboard, it’s time to go on an adventure.

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Tour Guide

Let’s go on an adventure, without leaving the comfort of our couch. Learning historical facts about places you’re practically standing in. Very interactive and immersive with the Tour Guide saying “to your right, over to the left you’ll see”, things like that really make you feel like you’re standing in a room with a person whose describing a room as if they were there with you. It makes learning feel fun, I almost forgot it was an based on teaching i found myself spacing out and wandering around looking at the whole surrounding area. This would be a good way to teach the kids about places all over the world and keep their attention while doing it. Only thing I would like to see added to this tour guide app is a LIVE #360Video for a more convincing feel of being there, or at least some sounds of the scenery. Overall, this is an amazing app for learning about our world and the special places some only dream to see like this.

Expeditions

“Expeditions lets teachers take students on field trips to anywhere. Coming to schools worldwide in time for back to school. If you’re an educator, learn more about bringing Expeditions to your school” Click Here to learn more.

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Weeeeeeee, boy Google Earth VR is fuuuuuuun! This is one of those (needs a controller) to really enjoy apps. Just strap in and strap…on? It’s going to be one hella ride. Flying from city to city from a bird’s eye view. Visiting old places, and future old places to be. Checking out New York City and taking a FPV flight around the Statue of Liberty as if you’re an American Eagle. Google Earth was always a blast, but this is a welcomed add-on to the mix. Using the gaming controller to move front, back, side to side and to control which direction you’re moving to and fro simply use your head and look to stear. Go take a look at what’s out there via Google Earth in a whole new virtual reality world, where you feel like a spirit moving with the wind high up in the sky. Go anywhere in the world and feel as if your flying right above your dream vacation spot or old fishing hole, this is a tool only limited by your imagination. Go explore the world, your world.

 

TILT BRUSH GALLERY

google-acquires-tilt-brush

View creations made with Tilt Brush, a painting application made for virtual reality. Load pre-made sketches and watch them draw in as they were originally created.” Click Here to learn more.

 

In A Nutshell:

Google really nailed VR. They got it gaining momentum in the development community, which is good for VR, because without developers there’s no content for users. Using a person’s current device with a simple cheap cardboard box setup, freaking genius! Now for comfort and user friendly ease of use i’d suggest a little modification to the simple setup Google lays out. For example; I use an elastic sweat band to hold the Cardboard device on my head so I can use the gaming controller. Also I added tiny cushions to the nose rest, since it starts to irritate the skin after a few minutes of uses. I’ve also added a few good layers of duct tape to the cardboard as a reinforcement to strengthen its dexterity. In conclusion I enjoy using wireless headphones to enhance the experience with the spatialized audio, which helps fully immerse me in the world i’m playing or exploring in. Once you have your own Cardboard setup, you’ll find your comfort zone and person interests, just give virtual reality a chance.

You can learn in a whole new format. Taking education to a whole new level by taking you from your seat to the venue. Interacting with the student and giving them a personalized experience in a way that was never possible before. Children will never learn the same thanks to Google, and that’s a beautiful evolution in education. Affordable high quality VR in the hands of the masses, that’s Google’s goal. Even Gaming in VR changes game play and how a player interacts with the game world. Looking right, leaning over, falling back, all have a reaction in the virtual world giving players more control than ever. Imagine being able to duck IRL and the enemy in VR misses his killshot. Picture shooting in one direction, steering the character in another all while looking in the other direction for cover without moving the flow of fire. I call this the triple Y axes advantage, that only VR games can provide. Even movies and music videos have to reevaluate their way of production to accommodate this new media and social outlet. Being in the center of the experience is what entertainment strives for, it’s that feeling you get when you tunnel vision into the screen and forget you’re in a theater full of other people experiencing the same sublime euphoria, that is the true goal. With VR and #360Video the future of media entertainment is here, and it’s beautiful.

 

How I Use Google Cardboard VR:(Android)

VR, as we know it right now, is in it’s early beta testing. Slowly but steadily picking up users along the way, as more and more developers create more and more apps. By contributing to the VR “cause” with purchases of apps and leaving good ratings and positive encouraging reviews, I hope to motivate developers to create more and I suggest you do the same.

I like to watch #360Videos, play VR games & take Tour Guides all around the world. With my Beats By Dre PowerBeats2 bluetooth headphones and my Amazon Fire TV gaming controller I can fully immerse myself in a movie and video game. Sitting in the comfort of my office chair I can spin 360 degrees with ease, which takes a lot of the work off the neck when turning 180. Watching movies in 360 with spatialized audio is how I like to enjoy short films. I wouldn’t enjoy long length feature films that are over 15 mins long. After about 15 mins I find myself needing a break from the virtual world, because of motion sickness. So I watch short horror films that bring me into the terror and give me that feeling of fear and excitement that only movie theaters once could deviever. There are some good action films that are good #360Videos but there is something about the horror genre and VR that compliment each other perfectly. Gaming in VR is a whole different ball game, and takes a lot of getting used to. Moving around spinning and flipping in a virtual world, even running in VR for long periods of time can have IRL effects. I only game for about 5 mins at a time, to keep myself from feeling vertigo and getting nauseous. I think this is a graphics and rendering meets head tracking and stitching issue, that money could solve. So again I encourage you to download VR apps, try them and leave some positive reviews and feedback. I prefer to VR with Android, since there are more developers and well Google does Cardboard. That and my bluetooth gaming controller won’t work with my Apple device, but there are VR apps for Apple devices. Personally I like the way my iPhone 6 plus’s bigger screen produces the VR effect in my Cardboard rig over my Samsung S6. So when I using an app like Tour Guide, which doesn’t require any interaction just pure observation, I tend to use my iPhone 6 Plus for the more clear and detailed viewing experience. I love introducing people to VR for the first time and watching their reactions to it. It brings me great joy to see someone smile ear to ear while experiencing something so new and foreign for the very first time.  

So, that’s how I like to do VR. I hope this was informative and motivated you to at very least give Google Cardboard or any form of new age VR a try.

 

Kenn Bosak

Writer/Dev./Tech

Google Cardboard VR

November 1, 2015

Android Launchers Part 3

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Android Launchers Part 3 – conclusion

Welcome to part 3 of our look at Android launchers. In this post we will discuss launchers in general and ask a simple question. Is all of this choice worth it?

To use a launcher or not to use a launcher – That is the question! Whether it is nobler in the mind to suffer the conformity of apple or take arms against the colours of touchwiz, and by opposing end them.

Publication1William Shakespeare wrote that, or at least something very, very close to that. I don’t want to make this post remind you to much of high-school English class but what was William trying to say? This is my opinion…….
We have heard the arguments before, people who enjoy conformity and more communistic viewpoint should buy an Apple phone. This is not a bad thing. They are great phones, and all comrades are considered equal. All use imessage, all use facetime, and with this comes the ability to streamline services and production. Apple is the icon of conformity and Android OEMs would love to have that level of success with their own apps and services. Samsung has tried to push its services in a wide variety of ways, HTC has Zoe and LG follows along with this approach but non can compare with Apple’s magical ability to glorify conformity. Are they wrong? Why does it matter if i don’t have a choice? If the correct and best option is already laid out in front of me why would i need to look elsewhere? As parents do we not lay out the best choices for our children and tell them what to choose? This is done with love and for the greater good. Apple has spent countless manhours creating the best icon for you, the best app for your needs and the best layout for your information. I am not saying this to be sarcastic. Many people, about 20% globally and about 50% in North america prefer the option of a ready made choice. And why not? It’s easy. The rub with this viewpoint is that the whole is more important than the parts. Your individual identity is lost.
Android is the choice for those that like choice or so it is said. “Be together, not the same” as the slogan says. But is android the choice of freedom? Yes and no. Samsung, LG, Sony, HTC and the rest have tried to get you to enjoy their premade choices. They have each failed at their version of communism so they allowed more choice as the years have moved along. A little more colour in the pristine white of conformity. Is it enough? Sony’s themes have always been gratifying and improved over the years. Samsung has done wonders with the new touchwiz theme engine but again, is it enough? Is this preset amount of easy change something to Shakespeare would write about? Are these the choices of freedom, the ones that are truly noble in the mind?Publication1
Well they work and they work really well. Anyone can open the Sony theme engine on their Xperia and in a few taps have a new look on their phone. Samsung has also done amazing things in 2015 to allow colour into our lives. All the OEM have given in to bits and pieces of personal choice. This is good for us all. Even Apple has opened up little but little.
So why do we need launchers? They can muck up processors and slow our phones down. They can be difficult to work with. If you really want to make a launcher your own it can take hours of time and adjustment to get it just write. Why bother?

Shakespeare also said
“This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to your smart phone.”

That is what Shakespeare said or at least it was really close to that. This is the point i am trying to make; launchers allow you to be true to yourself. When my phone rings the Knight Rider theme plays. KITT even talks to me when I get a notification, sure he calls me Michael but i am OK with that. The point is that i feel like myself with the phone. And the best part is I can have a multiple personalities. So many different launchers, with so many different strengths, the possibilities are endless. I can change who am from day to day. We can all express our individualizam.
So go out and be true to who you are. If that means an iphone or sticking to touchwiz, great be happy with who you are. If you have a taste for colour in your life, if you need to push away from the ordinary, then go for the customization that launchers can give. It does not matter which one you start with, what matter is that you start to explore. There is an odd kind of spark that happens when you see someone with a heavily modded layout. You know that they also dream in colour, and that they are true to themselves.

Perhaps i am making much ado about nothing, a phone after all, is just a device. A piece of overpriced glass and metal. It has no soul. Thing is, not all of us are artists, not all of us can sing or paint. For some our phones are our canvases. The device may not have a soul but we all do. So let your colours shine.

E. Tuesday.

Android Launchers Part 2

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Screenshot_20151018-121159Screenshot_20151017-122712

 

We are back with part two of our look at Android launchers.  Last week our attention was focused on two of the best launcher for customization and stability, NOVA and Action Launcher 3.  I said that this week we would be looking at the fun launchers.  Two of the best launcher to use for sheer enjoyment are Buzz Launcher-Smart & Free Themes and LINE Launcher.

These launchers are built for fun.  They don’t have the clean and nearly invisible feel of Nova or the detailed care of Action Launcher 3 but they are still full blown launchers with a vide variety of customization tools and tricks.  I would say that all 4 launchers are in the same league but definitely not at the same level.  Buzz and LINE come with bloatware tied to the launcher and the launcher itself, general bogs down the system.  Thanks to RootJunky I recently installed Marshmallow and the launchers do seem to run a bit smoother than they did on Lollipop but they still slow me down, just a touch. Anyway if you are looking for performance look back to the first two launcher we looked at.  If you looking for fun…. well then, here we go.

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LINE LauncherScreenshot_20151017-123935

Let’s start with LINE Launcher. This has to be the most adorable launcher on the planet. I can’t help but fall in love with the simple fun you can have with all of these free themes.   There Screenshot_20151017-115548 Screenshot_20151017-120131is a great sense of anonymity on the internet and you dear reader, have no clue of who I am.  I could be the stereotype of a 15 year Korean girl that just loves all things cute and cuddly.  Thing is, i am not and I still like LINE launcher.  I am secure enough to tell you that all 220 pounds of my middle aged, manly fury loves these themes.  They are just such great fun.  With a quick jump to their theme shop you can browse by what is new, by season or colour.  It is so easy to find a theme that fits your mood or activity for the day.  I will be honest with you and say that do not keep these themes or this launcher on my phone all the time.  I will not be using these themes if I am have a beer with a friend and swapping some manly stories.  It just does not fit. However if i am going hiking with my daughters, now that’s different.  Halloween is coming and why not enjoy the time with a safe for work and safe all ages theme?  LINE launcher is definitely a lot of fun.  Check it out and I am sure that you will find something to like.  They do have a variety of themes and something to fit all tastes but they excel at cuteness.  If you have an old phone that you are handing down to your daughter, put this launcher on it and she will be the coolest kid in grade 3.  

Not sure why a kid in grade three needs a phone but we’ll save that for another post.

 

Buzz Launcher

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Screenshot_20151017-114825If all that cuteness was to much for you, focus on Buzz Launcher.  I see this launcher as the one created for and by Fanboys and even some Fangirls.  Buzz like all launchers allows you to customize your phone’s layout.  It is a powerful tool but not really different than any other launcher in capabilities. Where buzz really shines through it Screenshot_2015-06-21-17-48-14Screenshot_20151017-120828community involvement, and it is a community of Fanboys.  If you are into comics you will say “excelsior”  with every theme dedicated to Stan Lee’s Children.  Into Gaming?  Buzz has a theme for you.  Check out the Clash of Clans theme.  Tap the hog rider to open your phone and the Witch opens your app draw.  Prefer a different set up? It is fully customizable.  

As a Kid, i thought Knight Rider was the coolest thing ever.  And now my phone plays the show’s intro for a ringtone.  Hangouts opens when I press KITT’s voice box.  For that alone, I love this launcher.

But what if you are a 15 year old Korean girls that does not like comic, games or american TV shows from the 80’s.  That’s OK because Buzz Launcher has themes with the latest Korean Pop band.  Seriously, It has a lot of Korean Pop bands…… but 50 million Koreans can’t be wrong, so don’t judge!

It does not matter what you are a fan of, form Premier League Soccer to boy bands around the world you can find it on Buzz.  The app has a great setup for viewing and sharing your themes. You view themes created by fans of nearly everything, download it and make your own modifications, just to give it that personal touch.  If you have a super fan living inside of you, give this launcher a try. You will be impressed.

Buzz and LINE, two great launcher for your Android device.  If you are looking to add some fun into your daily driver these are great places to start.  What is your launcher of choice?  Is all this cuteness and fanboyism to much for you?  Do you prefer the more refined approach of Nova or Action Launcher 3?  Does your heart flutter at the cute characters on LINE launcher? Will Yoda or your favorite team stare back at you from your phone’s launcher?  

Let me know were you stand, comments are welcome.

Next week we will wrap up this discussion with an overview of launcher and their worth.

 

Until next time.

E.Tuesday

 

 

 

 

 


Plex Media Server

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Plex Overview

Plex is an online streaming service where you provide the content. Content is provided by selecting folders or files, including digital copies of downloaded videos.  These can include home movies, tv shows, photos and music.  These can be streamed and shared via Plex. Plex connects your device’s files over Wifi on and off-line (with a premium option available for a small fee). Think of Plex as a way to watch what’s on your phone, but on your PC; what’s on your PC you can watch on your tablet;  and also on your TV with no plugs or internet. All you need to use Plex is a wifi router and all your devices on the same network.  With internet access you can share those files with friends and family.  It’s a great way to show off that family vacation video or new favorite movie.

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Plex is the new XBMC

XBox Media Center or XBMC for short, is the soul and roots of what Plex does and what it offers. XBMC is now known as KODI, but Plex has been my XBMC replacement for years. Plex, like XBMC, is a DLNA host that allows you to access your provided content via media server. The DLNA option enables even more streaming possibilities without running the Plex app. For example, on the Xbox One, the Plex app requires a premium membership; but since you can use Plex to host your own server, just go to Xbox Media Center and you’ll see the name of your Plex Media Server for streaming over the air. This only works for devices that are on the same wifi network, internet is not necessary for DLNA.

Plex w/Friends

Adding friends is easy and so is selecting the files and folders you share with them. You can even monitor who’s watching what and on which device. Why Plex alone when you can Plex with friends? 🙂 Sharing your new favorite movies and music couldn’t be any easier. Just add a friend to your list, download the digital copy of your new “gotta see this video” and add the file to a public folder to share with everyone. Be the talk of the group by finding the new hit show or keep up with everyone’s favorites.  You can decide what’s worth watching or listening to based off your friends Plex content.

How to share

Now that you have some friends on Plex, let’s talk sharing. Sharing on Plex is easy and safe thanks to the controls they offer, both for free and also with some premium setting options.  Just choose the friend(s) you want to share with and the libraries you want to share with them. From there you can set rating and content controls. Setting restrictions is great for sharing with the kids, so you don’t have to worry about them watching your digital copy of Fifty Shades or listening to that new Fetty Wap album. It’s also handy for keeping personal files private while allowing access to other media, all within the same folders or libraries. Building a strong sharing and streaming community is what Plex is all about.  They make it really convenient for anyone to use, even a noob.

 

Channels on Plex

Using channels on Plex is the neatest feature by far. It allows you to watch live TV and use an OnDemand like catalog with provided plugins liked it CBS, History Channel, FOX, even YouTube and others. Plex channels is a portal to a never ending, always growing list of apps within an app inception like world, that you could get lost in. It’s clean neat and very organized for being free; well basically free if you’re a premium member which starts at $4.99 a month. Just go to the channels tab and search for the desired plugin, once you’ve found it just click and wait for the server to connect. After a few hours, you can either stream Live TV or an On Demand like content depending on the channel plugin and what it offers.

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How I use Plex

I use Plex for all my entertainment media streaming needs, including LIVE TV, an On Demand like catalog, my music & photos. Plex offers a DLNA server that casts over the wifi network and does not require active internet, just a connected network of devices. The Plex app itself is like the cloud; I provide the content and anywhere I can access the internet and install the Plex app I can access my files and stream them without lag or much buffering depending on the quality and internet strength. Using Channels and plugins like iTunes and Photos brings all of your media together organized and always ready to share. Sharing digital media fills in the gaps of Plex and helps you keep connected with family and friends.  You are able to share photos from today’s big event or introduce someone to your new favorite TV show.  Plex has so much to offer, it’s crazy not to use it and use all of it.

DLNA streaming works offline and only requires that both devices, the one hosting the server and the other you’re using as a screen to stream, are both on the same wifi network. From here, within the Plex app, you can choose the bit rate and image quality to better tune your streaming and avoid lag or buffering. This is how I utilize Plex with my Xbox One, since the Plex app on that device requires the paid premium membership to stream within the app. First, I have the Xbox One and Plex Media Server connected to the same network, over wifi. Next, I open Xbox One’s Media Player and select the Plex server and appropriate folder to start streaming, it’s that easy. The DLNA server is the best work around for viewing Plex content on a device that does not support the Plex app, but does support DLNA.

The channels Plex offers like Yahoo Screen, iTunes, Photos and Tablo make streaming your media simple. Since the Plex Channels let you basically use an app within an app, you can watch Yahoo Screen content that’s otherwise browser based, or listen to your iTunes music on a device that does not support the iTunes app. Tablo is an over the air TV tuner/DVR that gives you the ability to stream LIVE TV and pre-recorded content, from your home set top box or on the go in the Plex app. So where ever there is Plex, Smartphone/tablet/PC/ect, you can watch LIVE TV or listen to your music and even watch free On Demand like content from FOX or Comedy Central. Channels is a perfect work around for accessing your favorite media content when it’s not always available the way you need it.

Sharing your collective media with family and friends is the best way to keep up to date on the latest trending shows and movies. It also gives you the ability to share photos and music with everyone, so you can show off the photos of the big event or introduce the gang to the newest best band ever. There’s nothing like watching a new movie or listening to a new song and having the ability to share it with someone who’s near or far and get their take on it. Logging into Plex and checking out what’s new in your friends queue is like waking up on christmas morning, each library has something new to view. If your family members like mom & dad or the kids want  to watch that movie you been talking about or see those photos from that vacation you won’t shut up about, all they need is a Plex account and internet access. Finally sharing your digital media, movies, music, and photos is easy, safe, and convenient.
So that’s how I use Plex.  It organizes everything I download or imported onto my PC and makes streaming it wherever I go possible. Plex is where my PC, phone and tablet(s) collective media is stored and is the one place to access everything at once no matter where I am or what device I’m using.

 

Kenn Bosak

Writer/Dev./Tech

Plex Is My New Ish!

October 1, 2015

Huawei P8 Lite Android Phone

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Huawei is a newer phone company here in the US. I am really looking forward to what they will bring to the table. Rumors around the Android community say that Huawei may be making the next Nexus device. For this reason, and the fact that I have never owned a Huawei product, I decided to check out the Huawei P8 Lite. Hopefully it will come soon and I can do a review on it and you can join in my journey to discover all the Huawei has to offer. Check out all the specs on this bad boy below and if you are interested in the Huawei P8 Lite.  Gearbest has a great price on them right now CLICK HERE

Display: 5.0 Inch HD 720 Screen
CPU: Octo Core Hisilicon Kirin 620 1.2GHz
RAM+ROM: 2GB RAM + 16GB ROM
Cameras: 13MP rear camera + 5MP front camera
OS: HUAWEI EMUI 3.1 compatible with Android 5.0 system
GPS: GPS/AGPS/Glonass
Bluetooth: 4.0
Networks:
2G GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz
3G WCDMA 900/2100MHz
4G FDD-LTE 1800/2100MHz

Battery Capacity (mAh): 2200mAh

Micro SD Card Slot

 

 

Unlocked for Worldwide use.

Google Now competition Cortana and Hound beta

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Google Now competition Cortana and Hound beta

I am sure that all of you have used Google Now and its awesome search features and cards.  Recently two new android apps have come to market that match up very well against Google Now.  The First is from the creators of Sound Hound and is call Hound Beta – Voice Search+ and works really really well with a major focus on returning a voice based answer to your questions.  The Second app was just release a couple days ago or maybe leaked 🙂 its called Cortana and is created by Microsoft. Since Microsoft made Cortana of course it uses Bing as its search engine and normal comes with windows phones.

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All three apps have a nice menu for customizing the cards that show up and your search results. In my experience Hound is great at answering long questions with many parameters while Cortana is much better at answering fun and simple questions like tell me a joke. 🙂 see below

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So if you would like to try out a new voice search application then download these and check them out probably the best part about voice search apps is finding all the Easter Eggs hidden inside :-). Please let me know if you fine anything really funny or just plain awesome.

 

RootJunky out!!

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.

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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.

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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