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Android

Otterbox Strada Unintentional Drop Test

I upgraded to a Samsung Galaxy S9+ a few weeks ago. I’ve always used a case on my phones but the screen on my last phone cracked after falling about 40cm onto a tiled floor. For this phone I wanted a bit more protection. I bought a number of cases, most cheap with the most expensive being the Otterbox Strada.

I’m not a fan of folio cases:

  • The front cover has to be opened to use the device.
  • The finger print reader can’t be used if the cover is tucked in the back.
  • If you’re taking a photo the cover has to be held upright out of the shot.
  • The volume up and down buttons in this case are too hard to feel. I bought the Edge Gestures app so I could easily change the volume when my phone is on my desk.

However, all is forgiven. This morning I was putting my phone in my shirt pocket when the pocket didn’t open as expected (ironically, partly due to the size of the case) and my phone fell to the tiled kitchen floor. It probably fell 140cm, hitting the floor at the bottom corner of the device. It bounced and landed on the front closed surface of the case.

I was expecting the worst but there isn’t even a scratch on the phone! I’m sure it’s partly luck that it fell in the right way but this case just saved me a €250 screen replacement so I’m happy!

Here’s a video review of the case by someone on Youtube:



Categories
Android

My S7Edge gets the April Update

My Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is now installing the April 1st update. It got Oreo a few months back and a few updates since. Going by Samsung’s track record I expect those updates to dry up any time soon but it’s good to see them still handing out any sort of updates.

In case you’re wondering, this is the unlocked international variant.

Version installed: G935FXXU2EREM/G935FOXA2EREM/G935FXXU2ERD6

Categories
Android

The Ghosts of Phones Past

Google's Security Checkup is useful. It reminds me of all the problems I had getting a phone with a display that didn't have a fault. I think I ran through the entire stock that shop had for one reason or another.

Categories
Android

Move DNG files when the Android camera exits

Many Android phones can shoot RAW photos now but some of them will record a Jpeg file at the same time. This didn’t bother me until Google Photos started backing up DNG files, but it would back up the Jpeg files too so I ended up with duplicate images. I created a FolderSync shortcut to move the DNG files out of the DCIM/Camera/ directory but of course half the time I’d forget and duplicates would end up on Google.

I bought Tasker a few weeks ago when it was finally on sale, but only used it for one task, to auto rotate the Maps application, but then this morning I realised I could use it to fix up my DNG files!

So, here’s the task I created with much help from various forum threads, especially this one. I added it as an exit task for the Samsung Camera app which at least ensures I won’t need to remember to move files around any more. It would be handy to fire it every time a photo was taken but this is a good start.

Move DNG Files
A1: List Files [ Dir:DCIM/Camera Match:*.dng Include Hidden Files:Off Use Root:Off Sort Select:Alphabetic Variable:%Filestomove ]
A2: For [ Variable:%Files Items:%Filestomove() ]
A3: Move [ From:%Files To:dng Use Root:Off ]
A4: End For

I did try adding a flash notification if %Filestomove was set but it never worked and I don’t know why. If any Tasker experts want to chime in I’d love to hear how to get that working!

Categories
Android

Sync and Backup Photos from your Android Phone

I’m a big fan of Android smart phones, but backing up photos or files has always been something that has worried me. Different manufacturers have different backup apps. A Samsung phone uses Samsung Kies, a HTC phone uses HTC Backup. Google offers cloud backup of app data if the app supports it. Google Photos will backup your photos, but they’re compressed even more unless you pay for the service (which is perfectly fair). It’s a mixed bag.

So, I’m going to tell you how I backup my phone photos, and you can do this with (probably) any Android phone. I use FolderSync to move photos off my phone and on to my laptop for safe keeping and permanent storage. I don’t like leaving photos on my phone. The phone fills up and I can’t take any more photos!

FolderSync comes in two flavours, a free lite version, and a paid version. The paid version has a few more features and doesn’t display adverts but you’ll be able to do most things with the free version too. I originally paid for the app so I could use filters but I don’t use them any more.

I love having all my photos available on Google Photos, so after a day of taking photos I’ll keep an eye on that app and wait for everything to be uploaded there. When it’s done, I tap on a “Sync All” icon on my phone and then my photos are copied over to my laptop using the local wifi network and deleted off my phone.
The photos end up in a directory on my laptop called “00-mobile-import” where I’ll point Lightroom at to import the photos. I have a Lightroom import profile for those photos and they get moved to dated folders and tagged appropriately. Lightroom doesn’t support GIFs but every now and again I’ll check that folder and move them to their own area for safe keeping.

Configuring FolderSync can be daunting, but you’ll go through these steps:

  1. Set up an account. This is how you access your laptop or computer. Usually you’ll use a Windows share (SMB/CIFS) but I’ve discovered that Macs use a newer version of that protocol that Android doesn’t understand so I use SFTP (Secure FTP) instead. You’ll want to share a folder or enable SFTP on your computer first of course. You can even backup to Dropbox or other cloud service.
  2. Next up is a folderpair. This is how you connect a folder on your phone with a folder on your computer. You can schedule backups, force the use of a certain wifi network, and change many other options here.
  3. Create a “Sync All” shortcut on your phone launcher.

The FolderSync Help Page is slightly out of date but has lots of screenshots and information about configuring it.

Apart from moving my photos to my laptop, I also use FolderSync to sync a folder of wallpapers from my laptop. I also use it to overcome a bug in Google Photos. I move RAW DNG files out of the default DCIM/Camera folder (to a different folder on my phone) as Google Photos now backs them up but doesn’t realise that the Jpeg files of the same names are the same photo. FolderSync has a feature to watch a folder but it doesn’t work on that particular folder so I manually tap another sync icon before I get home so only the Jpeg files are backed up by Google Photos. My “Sync All” shortcut also moves the DNG files to my laptop, where I delete the duplicate Jpeg files with a script but that’s for another blog post..

Howtogeek has an article on configuring it, and many years ago Android Police gushed about FolderSync, describing it as follows:

Alright, control freaks (otherwise known as “my people”), this one’s for you. FolderSync is a fantastic little app we’ve just discovered that lets users sync folders between local storage and a number of online storage services. The app supports one- or two-way sync and provides a host of settings to tweak the app to all your sync needs.

If you have an Android phone, if you take photos, if you want to back them up, get FolderSync.

Categories
Android

The Galaxy S7 finally gets Nougat

Nougat, or Android 7.0 has finally been released by Samsung for the Galaxy S7/ and S7 Edge and my phone is downloading it.

Now that it’s here I was wondering if I should install it as I’m quite fond of “Good Lock”, a replacement for the notification system in Samsung phones that doesn’t yet work in Nougat, but this comparison video (of the first beta) below convinced me to try it.

The notification panel looks ok, but has been updated since that video was made. The brightness slider can be moved to the top of the notification panel so it shows on the first pull-down now. That brightness warning dialog only showed the first time I set it to that bright. It’s definitely an improvement on the panel in stock Marshmallow on the S7. I like the multitasking, and the camera has got a nice UI update, even though I rarely use anything but the “pro” mode to shoot raw files. I hope Android Pay still works. I guess that’s one good thing about credit cards – you don’t have to worry about an OS update breaking it!

I wonder if I can enable the blue light filter only at night. That would be more useful than the screen turning yellow during the day. Nightmode Enabler doesn’t work.

Finally, here’s a video showing the final Nougat update..

Categories
Android Funny Youtube

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Blows Up

Well, that escalated quickly. So this is why they asked people not to use the Note 7 on my flight to Canada..

Categories
Android

When is Android Pay coming to Ireland?

I’ll admit I haven’t been too excited about the whole “paying for things with my phone” hype. I think I may have used a contactless terminal in Mc Donalds once. But there was a system update for my Galaxy S7 Edge yesterday and early this morning I noticed a new application, Android Pay. Despite the early hour I quickly went through the setup process but adding the credit card from my Google account brought me to this screen:

Android Pay

Various searches on Google haven’t thrown up anything useful or hopeful. It’s anyone’s guess when Android Pay will go live here. Anyone know?

Categories
Android

The Google Now mini games are fun

Next time you launch Google Now tap on the Google Doodle and you’ll see the screen above. 

They’re fun games you can play on your phone, all with a sporting, Olympic theme with cute fruity graphics!

Categories
Android

Split screen on your phone

thread on Reddit asked what you use the new split screen functionality in Android Nougat for. Apparently people use it to browse Reddit and watch YouTube at the same time. 

Samsung Android phones have had this functionality for a while but I rarely use it however I decided to try this, and it works fairly well!

‘course I don’t know how you can concentrate on something else and watch a video at the same time..

Hey! It even works with the WordPress app! 

I guess it would be useful for picking out quotes from articles, and it would save lots of tapping on the multitasking button to change apps when copying text.

Have you used the split screen feature of your phone if it has it?