Malicious Apps: Mining Your Own Business

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Malicious Apps: Mining Your Own Business

Whether you know it or not, you may be an investor in bitcoin.  Ok, that’s not entirely true.  But your phone may have helped someone else mine it without your consent.

Researchers at Kaspersky Lab, a cybersecurity company, have recently found multiple “mining” apps on the Google Play Store that are disguised otherwise.  Apps hiding under the mask of games or streaming apps have secretly been using smartphone processors to mine cryptocurrency without the user’s knowledge.

Mining in Smartphones

Thanks to its recent news hype, most people are familiar with the concept of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and how it’s mined.   There’s no physical digging, but instead users are rewarded the currency in return for processing transactions and updating the blockchain ledger.  And since processing transactions takes hardware and electricity, the more technology you have at your disposal, the more currency you can earn.  This has resulted in giants entering the business and consolidating massive amounts of hardware in warehouses.

Smartphone processors are not as powerful as their desktop counterparts, but when one app is able to tap into thousands of them, the results are still significant.   Kaspersky Labs has found multiple apps with this affliction, some of which have been downloaded more than 100,000 times.  Some of these apps are even programmed to keep tabs on how much processing power their using so as to easily fly under the radar of the average user.

Google’s response

Google has since removed the known abusers of this tactic, but it’s hard to say how many apps are in public hands right now doing the same thing.  It also seems that the betrayal of trust isn’t the only underlying issue here.  Recently Google announced that it would remove any and all mining extension in the Chrome Web Store, regardless of if users were aware of what they were doing or it the extensions were legitimate.  The question remains whether this policy will expand into the Google Play Store, but I think it’s safe to assume it’s only a matter of time before it does.

And until then the question becomes how to avoid these kinds of apps.  Right now from a development standpoint there are no permissions that must be accounted for in relation to mining, so there doesn’t seem to be much security that can block these kinds of apps (other than mindful downloading).

What are your thoughts on your phone being used as a mining tool without your consent or knowledge?  Do you have any thoughts on how to prevent this?  Let us know in the comments below!

Building Your First Augmented Reality App

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We’ve talked before about how influential augmented reality is going to be in the future.  What we didn’t mention is how easy it can be to take part in shaping that future.  Over the course of the next two posts we’ll show how to incorporate AR into an app, and when it’s all said and done we’ll be able to look at a virtual elephant in the real world.

It’s not too complicated as far as subject material goes, but there a couple steps involved so we’ll split this into two pieces: gathering our resources and then putting them into action.

Before we do any work though, let’s take a second to discuss the bigger picture of what we’ll be doing here.  If you’ve ever experimented with game development, then you’ve probably heard of Unity.  If not, then some things in this tutorial may seem a little confusing at first (but far from impossible!).  Unity is a development environment where developers can make 2D and 3D games, and we’ll be using it here to host our augmented reality app.  Click here to download Unity, and when you do make sure that you include the Android/iOS and Vuforia plugins.

We all know about Android and iOS, but odds are Vuforia is a new name.  Vuforia is a popular AR platform that allows us to use image targeting in our apps.  Essentially all we have to do is pick a 3D model and an image.  Vuforia will then root our 3D model to any images it sees in the real world.

For example, in this app we’ll be using a 3D model of an elephant made with Blender, and the image will be a $1 bill.  With this combination, any time our app’s camera finds a dollar bill in the real world, it will place the 3D model on top of it.  The result is the title image of this post.

Ok, that’s enough background.  Let’s jump into the actual set up.  Use the above link to download Unity if you don’t already have it, and then go to developer.Vuforia.com and create an account.  After you’ve made an account click on the develop tab and then click to create a new license key.  You can name this anything you want, but as you can see in this image I chose “VuforiaElephant” as my name.

After creating the license key you’ll be able to click on it and see a string of random characters representing it.  Copy and paste this value; we’ll be using it later in this tutorial. 

We create this license key so that our app in Unity will be able to connect to our Vuforia account.  Now for the second step we’ll need to do create a database inside of Vuforia to hold our dollar bill image.  Change your selection from License Manager to Target Manager and then add a new database.  I’ve named mine “DollarElephant”.  Inside of this database we’ll click “Add Target” to add a new target.  Pull any image of a dollar bill from Google images and add it here.  Then set it’s width value to 5 and give it a name (dollarTarget is just fine).

When you’re done with this click to download the database, and that’s everything we’ll need to do in Vuforia.  Before moving into Unity let’s also get the 3D model of an elephant we want to use.  Click here to download the elephant made by sagarkalbande (and feel free to try this out with a different model).  Save this file onto your computer and now let’s move into Unity.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed right now, don’t worry we’re not going to do much else in this first part.  For now let’s open Unity and create a new project named “VuforiaElephant”.  Go to “File”, then “Build Settings” and select Android as your Platform.  After making this change the little Unity cube should appear next to Android.

Finally inside of the Build Settings window click on “Player Settings” and a bar of options will appear on the right side of your screen showing setting options.  Open the tab that says “XR Settings” and check the box that adds Vuforia Augmented Reality to our project.  Go ahead and import the settings that Unity says it needs to add, and now we’re ready to start the fun stuff.

If you’ve made it this far down the blog, then good work sticking through the dry steps.  We created a Vuforia account, made a license key, and selected a dollar bill as our image target.  Then we downloaded our elephant 3D model and created a new project in Unity.

So now we just have to make the connection inside of our Unity app between the dollar and the elephant.  Stay tuned for the second part of this tutorial in the next few days and we’ll finish out the project so that everyone can have their own virtual elephant! Does app development have you completely lost? Check out Phonlab Android app development classes HERE

Android Adding Animated App Ads

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Android Adding Animated App Ads

Whether you like them or not, ads are here to stay.  They’re the reason so many apps are free to us as consumers, and without them we’d have to pay a few more valuable dollars out of pocket.  That being said, the less of a nuisance an ad is the better.  Google is exploring how to make ads more interesting, and the results are pretty meta.

Google’s New Strategy:

Google is testing out two new forms of advertisements, and while they’re in beta testing right now, it’s just a matter of time before they’re rolled out to everyone.  The first of these are video ads in the Play Store’s search results.  These videos won’t autoplay, but upon searching for a game users will have to option to watch trailers for related games.  Not too complicated of an idea, but certainly more interesting than just seeing 4 screenshots of what gameplay entails.

Now the really interesting change that Google is exploring is how to interrupt user’s experiences with ads without them realizing they’ve been interrupted.  The solution?  Games within games.  Usually when you complete a level or die in an app game you’re confronted with a short video of the newest game on the Play Store.  If you’re anything like me you count down the seconds until you can click to skip and get back to what you were doing before.  Google plans to make this experience less of a hassle by creating playable ads.  So when your game/app is interrupted by an ad, that ad will actually be a mini game that can be played.

The hope behind this is to get users more involved and increase the click rate on advertisements, all the while exposing players to games of similar styles and genres.  According to Google, video ads are used in almost half of the 1,000 top-earning apps.  A big change like this is certain to get some exposure.

Impending Impact:

It’s possible that these ads have an adverse effect and cause games to become more burdened with advertisements, but I for one have a bright outlook on this new implementation.  If this change is done in a tactful way that replaces current ads rather than adding on to them, things should be fine.

And from a developer’s standpoint, this change should be welcome.  I think It’s important to emphasize that an app only has to have as many ads as its creators choose it to.  Developers can learn how to easily integrate AdMob into their apps, and then decide how apparent they want ads to be in their app.  There’s a fine line to walk between scaring away users with too many ads and bringing in revenues, so regardless of any changes that come a free market should balance this trade off out.

How do you feel about Google mixing things up in its advertising department?  Let us know in the comments below.

How to set up SuperSu root manager after root

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How to set up SuperSu root manager after root

If you have SuperSu on your device you must be familiar with rooting. So what is SuperSu application and what can you do with it? In general it is the tool which manages root permissions for all the applications on the phone which require root, with SuperSu you can select which apps have root access and which do not.

Lets have a look inside SuperSu, inside you have 3 sections: Apps, Logs and Settings.

The 1st section (APPS) shows you list of  applications installed on the device which asked for root access.

Click on app to open menu: next to option ACCESS you can select PROMPT, GRANT or DENY, depending if you want application to gain root privileges. Try to keep list of apps with granted permissions as short as you can, allow permissions only for the apps which either work with root only or have more privileges with it.

Next option is NOTIFICATIONS, you can choose options: “Global Default” to see  notifications if app is gaining access on the screen or “Disabled”, to switch off annoying dialog for specific app.

The 2nd section (LOGS) Shows you which app asked for root permission, time and which action was taken (allowed or denied) in case you switched on Logging option in settings. Pretty simple. Let’s move further!

The 3nd section (SETTINGS) Settings is the largest one and the most important – Settings. Correct set up is of great importance to avoid problems.

Enable SuperSu – switches on/off root on the phone, should have checkmark for root t work;

Re-authentication – disabled in case you do not want SuperSu to ask permissions again in case app is reinstalled or upgraded. If option was enabled SuperSu will always ask again permissions for the app after upgrade/reinstallation. I keep it disabled to avoid annoying dialogue pop-up.

Default access – selects default root access for all apps in case no option was chosen when prompt appears. You can choose GRANT / PROMPT/DENY.

Auto deny countdown (available for PRO version only) – gives you option to set up countdown time on SuperSu prompt asking to grant or deny access, basically that is how long user will see prompt on the screen to decide the destiny of app, in case no option selected – default value is chosen. Keep in mind that setting the countdown more than 10 seconds may cause crashes for apps which are written not in perfect way. As for me it is a bit useless:)

Show notifications – you have two options to select: “Global Default”  – if you wish to see notifications in notification menu bar about gaining access, “Disabled” – in case notifications are annoying for you and you want to get rid of them. I always select second one.

Logging – if you are not a developer, do not plan to be developer and do not need to get debug logs from SuperSu or even do not know what it is  – select option NONE, otherwise if debugging is important choose GLOBAL DEFAULT. Keep in mind it may cause crash of the application in case root permissions are asked great deal of times and logs are saved, stored, fill up memory of the phone.

Clear logs after – time-frame during which SuperSu logs are saved in case Logging is enabled. Otherwise option is grayed out.

Logs date format – choose format of date displayed.

 The Auto-refresh apps and logs tab allows the phone automatically refresh apps and logs tabs as new entries are added. Detection depends on access and notification settings.

PIN code (Pro version only) – gives option to protect SuperSu with PIN, may be useful in case Multiusers option was enabled and different users use device.

Enable Su during boot – applies all permissions during boot in case option enabled. Otherwise, permissions are applied randomly after the boot. Better to keep option enabled for boot settings to be set up properly. This option is disabled by default – make sure you switch it on.

Launcher icon – gives you variety of SuperSu  logo options, also you can select INVISIBLE to hide icon.

Theme – select dark or light theme of SuperSu interface

Language – gives option to select convenient language from the list of available.

Install SuperSu into /system – option to make SuperSu system app, in this case you will not be able to remove it from regular application manager. To delete SuperSu you will need to use either Alternative App manager (Titanium backup), or use ADB, one more option – factory reset of the phone.

Trust system user – option to give root access to the apps that are located in /system/app (System applications).

Reinstall – designed to fix SuperSu crashes (SuperSu has stopped), click on it to clean up previous installation, then install from PlayStore. Not advised to use this option if no SuperSu issues occur.

Switch Superuser app – designed to change root manager, will clean up SuperSu. As for me SuperSu is the best app to manage root access, however if you prefer another one or just want to experiment – can try, that is your choice. Note that root can be lost during process and you will need to start all over again.

Full unroot – important option but tricky. Allows you completely remove root from device. Be careful with it – it can softbrick phone, I am seriously. Before clicking this button very important to switch off option Enable SuperSu, on the top of settings. Once done you can unroot, but not before unless you wish to flash stock firmware.

Pretty wide variety of options. Cannot really skip mentioning what to do if you selected option for SuperSu icon to be invisible.

In case the icon was hidden and you need to launch SuperSu there are a few options:

1) Dial one of codes on the dial pad, one of them may work:*#1234#* or *#*#1234#*#* or *#7873778#* or *#*#7873778#*#* (does not work on Android 6.0)

2) Download Enable_SuperSU.apk  (google it) and manually install on the phone. Once you launch it app will ask root access > hit GRANT. You will see pop-up with options to Enable Su and Make it visible (100% working).

3) Open PlayStore – find SuperSu and follow steps: Uninstall > Install > Open (sometimes may cause issue with updating binaries).

4) Use adb terminal (phone and adb drivers should be installed on PC) and type adb shell am start -a android.intent.action.MAIN -n eu.chainfire.supersu/.MainActivity (100% working)

You can also use Terminal emulator (available on PlayStore) and type there am start -a android.intent.action.MAIN -n eu.chainfire.supersu/.MainActivity

No need to type “adb shell” as you are already in shell 🙂

 

What if you rooted phone with the other application and now have KingUser or SuperUser but SuperSu is in your dreams and you cannot sleep even because of that.

There are several options how you can change root manager app. Keep in mind is not safe.

There are 2 options:

1) Download SuperSume application from PlayStore it costs 4$ approximately. Install it on the phone and launch > you will  get prompt asking root access > hit ALLOW. Then click on large blue button with Android guy and wait, process takes up to 5 minutes. In case nothing happens in 5 minutes – reboot phone and try again.

Phone may be rebooted automatically during process, do not panic. In case you see SuperSu after reboot  – means operation was succeed.

Open SuperSu – application will ask to update binaries – hit Continue and select Normal installation. Updating binaries may take up to 5 minutes, in case it is taking longer – reboot and try again.

In case update was successful – will get notification about that – restart the phone and use SuperSu, you are done and awesome.

In case you get error during binaries update – reboot and try again. Make sure KingUser/Kingroot was removed from the phone, if no – disable it from Application manager and try updating binaries again.

In case Kingroot/SuperUser was removed but SuperSu was not installed – try installing the one from PlayStore.

Keep in mind this method can cause bootloop and is not very safe, in case you do not want such thing to happen to your phone and have headache restoring it  think carefully why do you want to change root manager, what is purpose. Strongly NOT recommended for Alcatel, Huawei, ZTE and other Chinese phones.

2) Use adb or Terminal emulator and script to change icon. This method is more safe, but more difficult.

Firstly download mrw folder, place it in the internal storage of the phone.

Then  download ADB and drivers on the PC, connect phone and make sure it is recognized with adb. Then type: adb shell

In case you do not want to use PC/do not have it try Terminal Emulator from PlayStore on the phone> open it and ALLOW root access.

Now type following in the command line (both, PC or phone):

su

Hit enter, you will get prompt to allow root permissions, hit ALLOW.

The command line will move to next line and you will see # sign.

Now type:

sh /sdcard/mrw/root.sh

hit Enter, you will see code is running, some errors may appear but do not pay attention, SuperSu will be automatically launched in case of Success, application will ask to update binaries – hit Continue and select Normal installation. Updating binaries may take up to 5 minutes, in case it is taking longer – reboot and try again.  Make sure KingUser/Kingroot was removed from the phone, if no – disable it from Application manager and try updating binaries again.

In case update was successful you will get notification about that – restart the phone and use SuperSu. You are done and awesome.

In case SuperSu was not launched after script – check manually if you have it on the phone. If nothing appears – guess what? You are right – reboot and try again from the very beginning.

Note, script will not work in case mrv folder is located in the other location, different from specified /sdcard/mrw/root.sh

-Diana Lisovenko

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. 

eclipse

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

Please Comment and Share if you found this post helpful.

Discovering the Hidden Power of Android

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How to harness the full power of your Android devices.

 

Android Devices today are very powerful; many of them have faster processors than your 5 year old laptop, and a higher screen resolution than that old 480p tv you bought 10 years ago. But even today, we are still faced with the fact that there are just some things that you cannot do on a smartphone that you can do on a laptop. Things like using a keyboard and mouse, or a wired controller, or being able to get into the main filesystem of your device etc. But today I am going to be showing you a few neat tricks that you can use to make these things possible.

 

Keyboard and mouse support using an OTG cable

Have you ever wanted to use your phone like a computer, to write that book report, or important document you are working on? But then you realize that your phone does not have a usb port to actually support this feature? Well all is not lost, because there is a way to make this possible. You can use a USB OTG cable to harness the power of using a keyboard, and mouse and to plug in usb drives to Android. Not only are these cables very useful, they are very cheap, some selling for just a few dollars depending where you get them from. They are very easy to find on Ebay.com and Amazon.com.

51davjmWnSL._SL1000_

Best of all, you do not have to do much of anything to get this working, since android already has this support of keyboards and mice built in. As for usb support, all phones are different and some phones require root and a root file browser, such as ES File Explorer, or Solid File Explorer to take advantage of using USB OTG storage.

Screenshot_2015-12-29-10-10-20Screenshot_2015-12-29-10-10-46Screenshot_2015-12-29-10-14-56

How to gain access to the hidden parts of Android

For those of us who like to be able to tinker and tweak our devices, or to be able to see what makes our devices tick, there is a way for us to be able to do this. Since Android is a form of linux, we are able to gain what we call Root access to a device. This root access gives us the ability to do many advanced tasks on our phones that are not possible to for the average user to do. Things such as:

  • Access and change the main filesystem using a file browser
  • Access the terminal emulator
  • Add or remove system apps to free up space
  • Backup and restore apps using titanium backup
  • Change the color and look of many parts of the system, such as the status bar menu items etc.
  • Flash a custom recovery, and install custom roms
  • Overclock the processor to make the phone faster, or underclock it to save battery life
  • Use a custom audio driver such as Viper for Android
  • The possibilities are basically endless!

 

Rooting not only does all of this to your current device, but you can also do this with an older android device and give it a second life; the after life 🙂

 

Conclusion

So to sum it all up, the possible ways to use your Android device to the fullest are basically endless. The features that i have talked about here are just scratching the surface when it comes to the possibilities that Android holds. So before you go and think about buying that next Iphone, think to yourself what things can I do with an Android that i can’t do on Iphone.

 

By: Tristin L.

Misfit Flash

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Misfit Flash

The Misfit Flash fitness tracker is worth way more than it’s meer $29.99 price tag. The Flash is a slim fashion friendly wearable fitness tracker that measures sleep and activity. This information is available through syncing the Flash with your smartphone via the Misfit app (on both Apple & Android). The app helps organize all the information collected by the Flash. For example, calories burned, distance traveled, steps taken & sleep duration/quality. With a catalogue of pre programmed activities to track like running, walking, tennis, cycling, basketball & soccer, tracking different activities is simple and this keeps the collected data accurate to each activity. This is an always on fitness tracker. Once you put it on you don’t need to remember to charge it or plug it in to update or receive logged data. With a battery life of 6 months to a full year, depending on use. Misfit is considerably one of the most convenient fitness trackers available, especially within it’s low price tag. In addition to tracking fitness and sleep the Misfit Flash also works as a wireless bluetooth button that can be programed to trigger events. Events such as services like, Yo, IFTTT, Harmony & Ring my phone. Other events such as music and camera control are also available for programming. With the services event options you can extend the reach of this tiny fitness tracker. To use this feature and use the tracker as a bluetooth button with programmed responses first you’ll need to install and setup the Link app by Misfit.  

myfitnesspal_screenshots

Misfit Link

The Link app by Misfit picks up where the Misfit app leaves off. Stepping in after the fitness and sleep tracking and enabling the interactive functionality such as the single, double, or triple press and the long press options. After syncing your device with the Link app, you’ll be presented with pre themed options like, music remote, selfie button, preso clicker, bolt switch and the custom button option. We’ll be covering the custom button option. Where each click, tap and press are blank and customizable with 3 sub options. The 3 sub options are, services, music remote and selfie button. Inside the services option there’s time & progress, yo, if, harmony and ring my phone. Music remote options are next, back, volume up and down. The selfie button list is short but still very useful with its take a photo and burst pictures options. With these plug-in like events, that can be programmed to react to a single or patterned click of a simple fitness tracker, the events options are only limited to your imagination.  

Custom Buttons

A profile for every occasion. Switch between profiles for fast functionality based on your needs in the moment. There are a bunch of pre built profiles such as the Bolt option, that comes with two button options, single press (change brightness) and long press (power off). You can create many custom profiles that have up to four button combo options, in case the provided ones fll short.

download (1)

IF (If This Then That)

By far one of the best most useful apps to be published to date is IF by IFTTT (If This Then That). Which means just that. If this (Misfit Button Pressed) Then (Play/Pause Music). It’s very simple to set up recipes. Just open the IF app and create a recipe with the if this then that template. With over 230+ services to choose from for there are endless options to combine. Just login to the services you choose to use and select an event that will domino effect a responding event. If you can’t seem to think of anything, to get the creative juices flowing try the shared recipes in the recommend or collections folders.

IFTTT Recipes

Some fun Misfit Flash IFTTT recipes are; (IF) Single Press (Then) Toggle Hue Lights On / (IF) Double Press (Then) Toggle Hue Lights Off. (IF) Triple press (Then) Send Daily Activity Report To Google Drive Folder / (IF) Long Press (Then) Play Workout Jams. Get creative with your recipes and the available services.

MyFitnessPal

For counting calories and logging your meals, MFP is your best option out of the vas list of apps available. Here is where you log the food you eat and the calorie count takes place. See the Misfit Flash tracks what calories you burn but that’s only half of the equation needed to do some diet math. MFP is the missing half, by giving you something to subtract them calories from. Knowing the macros of your meals is important when you’re trying to lose weight. So you’ll have a calorie intake number and a calorie outgoing number to make sure you’re not burning the candle at both ends. Keep track of how many calories you’re taking in and make sure it’s healthy (advise a trainer or nutritionist).

MFP Tips

Logging meal preps can be a pain in the glutes, but with MFP it’s actually pretty simple. Just scan the barcodes of all items used in the meals and create a preloaded meal. So when you go to log a meal prep and it’s something you have had before you can just go to the meals section under diary and select the matching meal. Other tabs besides the meals section are frequent, my food, and recipes. Recipes will scan your food shopping recipes from the grocery store, making entries as simple as possible.

UA-Record-app

Record

Now that you have a way to measure the calories coming in from food, the calories going out from the Flash but that’s mostly just calories burnt from motion in general without taking in account for which weight lifting activity the motion was for (excluding running, walking, biking, soccer and swimming). The missing link in the calorie counting madness is weightlifting. Record by Under Armour fills in the gap left by conventual fitness tracking apps. Log your workout by time and activity and get the best estimated feedback possible. Combine the calories burned with Record to the calories burnt with Misfit’s Flash and then subtract them from the MyFitnessPal calories to get a complete calorie count.

Record Yourself

Tracking activities and workouts is simple and the feedback is pretty accurate. Just set your high, weight and BMI/body fat information. Once you provide that the app can tell you how many calories you’re burning based off the activity you are doing. With two options for tracking, one being log entries and the other tracking a workout live. So if your phone is dead and you can’t do a live log, you can always just enter what you did and the amount of time spent doing it to get feedback on an activity you already did. Personally I like to see what the workout I have planned will burn by logging it, then deleting the log and tracking it, then compare results.  

How I Use The Misfit Flash

Utilizing the Misfit Flash for all that it’s capable of doing isn’t a short process but after you’re done setting it all up and linking all the third party vendors like Link, MFP and Record, it’s simple to keep up with. Personally I lost 80lbs of fat within a year using the Misfit Flash as my calorie counting guide. I had no clue what I was doing trying to lose weight, but luckily I made a random small investment in a tiny doodad called Flash. The Flash helped me to understand how many calories I burn a day without even working out, just dailymotion. That alone gave me a good idea on how many calories to allow myself for meals for each day. After I got the hang of the calorie basics, I started taking gym related activities into consideration and started counting the calories I burn working out. So now I know my daily calories burnt and the kinda calories I burn on top of that at the gym with the amount I consumed with my meals. With all that information I was able to plan for success. Prepping meals and workout routines to balance my calories and macros.

It’s also basically my wireless bluetooth button. Thanks to the Link app made by Misfit the maker of The Flash. it’s possible to give functionality to the fitness tracker. With options for things such as take photo or play/pause music, or log activity and control Bolt smart lights also a Misfit product. In addition to the preloaded options there is an endless variety of possibilities provided by IFTTT via their 200+ channels list. For example: I have a Misfit Flash custom Link profile that is set up for all IF related reactions. Like, press once (only provided options) double press (sends sms to my girlfriend “omw home” ) tripple press (log GPS into google drive folder, named cool places) and long press (only provided options) another few IFTTT events are sleep duration and goal achieved. For example, When I sleep longer than 8 hrs I have IFTTT turn on all my lights and E-Mail my boss that I might be running late. When my daily goal is achieved IFTTT reminds me to have a reward via a SMS from myself. It’s a super useful button. I find myself using it for something other than fitness tracking at least 3 times a day. almost always for recording a Snapchat video or taking a photo handsfree. To take a hands free selfie with Snapchat just set up the Flash in the Link app and choose the selfie button preloaded option. There will be two button functions, one for the single press and one for the long press. Single press will take a single photo in almost and photo taking app (I had problems with instagram). The long press starts to either take burst photos or records a video again depending on the app being used to take the video.

This $29.99 fitness tracker is my favorite piece of tech. It’s cheap, it’s simple, it’s got so much potential, the only limit is your imagination. If you’re looking for a fitness tracker or a bluetooth button this is the device for you. It’s the best for the buck and does more than expected of it. For $29.99 it’s worth giving a shot. If you don’t like it you can always regift it to the healthy and fit family member who’s in need of their very own tracker, but i’ma bet you’ll love it. Get yours Misfit Flash Here for just $19.99.

 

Kenn Bosak

Writer/Dev./Tech

Misfit Fitness Tracker

December 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.

YouTube RED

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YouTube RED

October 28th is the day you have been dreaming of……youtube videos without any of those annoying ads for cars, toliet paper or viagara.  YouTube Red is a paid membership that lets members enjoy any video on YouTube without ads while still supporting creators.  It also lets members save videos to watch offline on mobile, play videos in the background, and offers members access to exclusive content, all for $9.99 a month.  This works on all devices, anywhere you can sign into youtube.  Free ad-supported youtube will still be available.

So whats your opinion on this?  I’m pretty excited about this new feature.  We are an impatient society, we don’t have time for slow wifi, tv commercials or youtube ads.   If you are a heavy youtube watcher, this feature is a must.  Think of this as a dvr for youtube 🙂

If you have a youtube account, check your email for further information on this new feature.

 

 

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

Screenshot_20151017-115404

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