Thursday, March 24, 2016

Google Building An Echo Competitor

I wonder what took them so long. This was such an obvious thing for them to do esp with the always listening feature on Nexus and Moto devices. They really missed a huge opportunity with the onHub routers but im hoping this is a surprise release during IO

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Android Mid Month Security Patch

Its stories like these that make the case for Nexus phones even stronger. It does seem like Android N is trying to get a grip on the "fragmentation" issue but till that is truly fixed my recommendation to family and friends is the Nexus line of devices

Sunday, March 06, 2016


Ive been using Hangouts for years but have felt that over that same time it hasnt gone anywhere. In terms of features it seems years behind the current crop. For the past week or so I have been using telegram and absolutely enjoy using it. Something as simple as link previews just makes the sharing experience between friends that much better......Google better whip up something fast for messaging else they wont have a race in this horse at all

Sunday, February 21, 2016

LG G5 - Modular Phone

Going by the video from Android Central LG has the winner here. The phone looks different and in a good way. If this phone is a preview of things to come from Project Ara then Google has a real winner with the modular phone concept. 

It should be interesting to see what Samsung reveals in a few hours with the S7 series but LG has done something innovative here

Friday, February 19, 2016

Samsung Galaxy S7

Again thanks to evleaks, look like Samsung will have the best looking phone this year again 


Courtesy Evan blass we get a sneak peak at the HTC iPhone M10...

It looks hideous, an odd mix of the Galaxy phones and iPhone. 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Amazon Echo

It puzzles me how Google still doesn't have anything that competes with the Amazon Echo....Amazon seems to be running away with this one to capture mind share in peoples homes

Thursday, February 04, 2016

MSI Cubi HTPC Set Up

I recently purchased the MSI Computer PC Barebone . Its a Broadwell i3 with an integrated Intel HD card that is capable of playing 4k video.

I had some trouble with a previous i5 model where it would not recognize the hard drive at all making it a brick. I had no such trouble with this one but wanted to outline the steps to get it all set up because the documentation around it is really sparse.

To get 4k video playing smoothly, you need two sticks of RAM. This machine is quite picky about the RAM you install, I went with Crucial 8GB Kit (4GBx2) DDR3 1600 which has worked fine. Before you can do that though, you can only install Windows ( or your operating system of choice ) with one stick of RAM. The device wont even post if the second ram has been installed.

Once that is done you have to flash the bios from the files provided on MSI's site using a bootable USB drive (remember to turn off Windows 8/8.1 features in the bios else you wont be able to boot in to DOS). After that is done it will recognize the RAM in the second slot and windows will be able to access it.

Figuring out this bit was quite annoying and I spent a lot of debugging this than I thought. After that however the machine runs like a dream and plays video smoothly which is what I need from the HTPC.

Hopefully this helps out other people who have purchased this and cuts down set up time. If you have questions post in the comments below

Monday, February 01, 2016

Facebook for Android Battery Life

I have a Nexus 6p and so far battery life has been excellent in my usage. The phone lasts all day with ease but when I read Russel Holly's article on how you can get some more juice out of your battery I decided to remove the app and go with his approach (I still kept messenger)

While I cant claim to have notified any speed differences in the phone the battery usage is  a lot better. I'm setting the phone to charge at least an hour or two later I'm the day than I used to which is quite impressive. I wonder what happened to Facebook's internal quest to have an amazing Android app where employees were using the app on Android devices and making improvements.

Anyone else seeing any difference ?

Yahoo WTF

The headline :- Marissa Mayer Just Fired Dozens of Yahoo Employees By Accident

Steve Harvey has some competition

Sunday, January 31, 2016

OneDrive 15 GB Storage

A good reminder if you are using OneDrive for storage that the 15GB bonus space is expiring tonight. I am planning to move everything off OneDrive this following weekend and make copies across local and other cloud providers

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Inbox by Gmail and Gmail

I spent some time going back and forth between Inbox and Gmail before sticking with Inbox. The AI along with the look and feel make Gmail look extremely dated at this point.  How long before we start seeing Gmail merge in to Inbox?

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Overhauling Google Hangouts

Its no surprise that everyone is looking to create their own messaging platform. People share their vacation pics, keep in touch with family & friends over group chats or video and pretty much anything else one could do on a social website like Facebook. Its no surprise Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion right from under Google's nose.

Google has had no shortage of messaging applications with the latest iteration being hangouts and rumors saying a new one is around the corner. I use Hangouts a lot second to only WhatsApp but when you compare it against the competition it is nowhere close to the feature set. The biggest plus point is that it is cross platform, it works on the web and syncs across any device that you might have (iOS or Android). it does video chats are reliably and the quality is great.

With that said here are some of my must haves/pain points that I hope Google addresses with Hangouts (ver Next) to bring it at par with everyone else:

Reliable Notifications : Figure out why notifications aren't sent reliably I have heard about and experienced cases where a message was sent on Hangouts and no notification was sent out, resulting in delays in response. While it does work well for a majority of the time, the couple of times that it fails really makes for a bad experience.

Make Adding People Easy: Adding people is again one of those basic tasks that a messenger should be able to do. How often have you added people on hangouts, sent an invite to let the other person add you and then be stuck in not knowing what happened ? This also ties back to the earlier point of no notifications, sometimes the invite to add a person just gets lost.

Lack of Search: This one is obvious. For a search company the app doesnt have a search feature enabled. The only way to search hangout messages is to use the Gmail app on a device or the web. For some odd reason Inbox by Gmail doesnt search hangout messages. Why this is still a problem is bizarre

Add Voice Notes, Send Video Messages : Not being able to send a video file or message is just something I now expect a messaging app to have. The fact that voice notes, video messages are still not part of Hangouts puzzles me.

I hope Google overhauls Hangouts soon or delivers a stellar new messaging app because right now ,compared to the options out there its not as compelling. There is absolutely no reason why at this point in Androids life cycle that hangouts isnt the "iMessage" of its ecosystem.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

My 2015 Homescreen

I had posted a list of my apps from 2013 and forgot to do one last year, so lets see if I can keep it going from this point forward.

In terms of arrangement, logically nothing has changed. These are all apps that I use on a daily basis. Newsblur replaced GoRead & Flipboard, Official Twitter app over TweetLanes.

The interesting addition is the Messengers folder. In it I have WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Signal and Google Messenger. While Hangouts remains on the bottom bar I wouldn't be surprised if WhatsApp takes its place by the end of this year. In terms of usage WhatsApp has just eclipsed every other messaging app for me and the group chats are essentially micro social networks. Its no surprise why everyone is trying to own this market and Google is trying yet again with a supposedly new messaging app.

I also feel that Foursquare and Swarm might not make it to the end of this year. I have been using Google Places a lot more and like the timeline feature that Maps has built in. Even with points and gamification back Swarm has just lost what made it special in the first place.