You may remember that a while back, we brought you news of a guide for creating your own Android utilities for Windows. Although fully functional and incredibly simple to put together, command line utilities can often feel a little rough around the edges. If you have your own custom tool but would like to make it look a little more polished, this might be of interest to you.
XDA Forum Member QuantumCipher has put together a guide for creating similar tools for Windows using C#, which provides the opportunity for a much cleaner looking interface. The guide covers creating a utility capable of performing basic tasks such as ADB commands to push/pull files, reboot your device, and install APK files. Once you know how to do this, it’s possible to create tools for much more complex tasks such as rooting and unlocking devices. If you have some basic knowledge of C# already, you’ll have no trouble diving straight into this tutorial. However, complete beginners might want to do a little research on the basics before getting started.
The guide fully explains the code required to add ADB functions to the elements of the interface, as well as how to use a text box to select a file to be pushed to the device. It should have you well on the way to creating your own toolkit in no time. Check out the tutorial thread for more information.
June 3, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
Get started with Windows 8 development with a handy tutorial. That and more are covered by Jordan, as he reviews all the important stories from this week. Included in this week’s news is an article about connecting certain Samsung devices via USB Mass Storage protocol and adding a physical camera button to your Sony Xperia Z.
Jordan talks about the other videos released this week on XDA Developer TV. XDA Developer TV Producer Jayce released a video on salary negotiation tips and tricks, which was followed up with a video on tips and tricks for the toughest job interview questions. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
What is freedom? This is a big question being asked by people around the world over the past few years. Many of us believe (and often rightly so) that we are fairly free. Arguably, this is correct in many countries throughout the world. You have political freedoms and many many more. But do you have electronic freedom?
For almost everyone reading this article, it is likely you have a Google Account. This means you have a Gmail account. It’s tied deeply into Android via the Google Apps package of proprietary applications (they are not open sourced, unlike the core Android operating system), and rely on closed back-end systems. The problem with such closed systems is:
This last part is significant. Even if you decide that you can trust Google (and I remind everyone of the flaws of the concept of trust—it is much wiser to trust no-one), they can change their legal policies such that they are no longer effectively trustworthy. Google’s own terms of service are a long read, and definitely worth taking a look at. Try and decipher them for yourself, and figure out what applies to which services.
At this point it’s worth being clear. This is not meant to be a “Google is evil” article. Google does make efforts to care about user privacy; take a look at your Google Dashboard. The company is quite transparent about the information retained. The trouble is that there’s no easy way for you to say, “No. I don’t want you to store this.” Google is a company that makes money from knowing everything it can; it’s not in the company’s interest to encourage you to make this more difficult for them! And while it is commendable Google wants to let you see what they know about you, the company doesn’t really help you adjust information such as how to remove Android devices you no longer want listed as being associated with you, including IMEIs and so on.
Over the course of this series of articles, we’ll look at ways you can move away from being so heavily reliant upon Google services. At all times, we’ll try to use Open Source solutions, which are free to use and modify. As a bonus for security, open source code is able to be scrutinized by anyone who wants to take a look at it. Per the popular Open Source advocate’s expression, “Many eyes make all bugs shallow,” which tends to improve security.
In the upcoming first article of the series, we’ll take a look at how to reduce our reliance on the Google Play Store and why we’d want to do that.
June 3, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Sometimes, standard screen control logic just doesn’t work as efficiently as we’d like. We can tune the settings to turn off our screen after a very limited duration of inactivity, but doing this will make the device a little bit of a burden to use, as we have to periodically tap our screens to keep them awake. On the other end of the spectrum, setting too long of a time will drain your battery unnecessarily. Now we’ve established that we need to tune the auto-off timer to our preferences, but who’s to say our preferences are constant despite ever-changing situations and demands.
Thankfully, this is where Gravity Screen Off by XDA Senior Member plexnor comes in. Created out of necessity and frustration, this app intelligently controls your screen by taking a look at how you use your device. Knowing that you’re not likely to use a phone when it’s resting on a table, Gravity Screen Off monitors your orientation sensor to determine its angle. If it’s close enough to horizontal, your screen turns off because it’s not likely in use. What about when you lift your phone? Good question; the device wakes up so long as nothing is covering the proximity sensor. Furthermore, the screen is kept on if motion is detected, extending the screen timeout.
The features, as described by Plexnor:
- Pocket Sensor: Recognizes if your phone is in your pocket. By turning your phone below the angle you set, it’ll prepare to turn the screen off.
- Table Sensor: Detects your phone is lying on a table and turns the screen off.
- Turn Screen On by Motion: If the screen is off and it’s facing up the device can be woken up by any movements (ex. lift up by hand) according to the sensitivity set.
- Keep Screen On by Motion: It’s a Screebl like feature but it’s relying on the small movements you are doing by your hand while holding the phone. If small motions are detected while the screen is facing up the feature keeps the screen on because it can be suspected that the phone is held and probably you are reading something. If the phone is steady the timeout will work as normal in any position you leave your device unlike in another apps.
- Turn Screen On by Proximity: Turns the screen On when you take your phone out from your pocket and Off when you put it back. By swiping your finger over the proximity sensor the phone can be woken up as well.
- Turn Screen Off by Proximity: If the device is pointing downward it takes the proximity sensor into account. By turning this off the program will rely only on the gravity sensor.
Sounds like something up your alley? If so head over to the application thread.
Let’s be honest; our phones are probably some of the most personal objects we have. From the memories captured with the camera to the hour-long text conversations, from the bank and credit card details stored within the apps to even our calendars; the consequences of a lost phone or a phone in stranger’s hands would be devastating. So in addition to the password protected lock screen, you may want to add an extra layer of security with HI App Lock.
Developed by XDA Forum Member hiapp, Hi App Lock allows you to lock any app on your phone with a four to eight digit PIN. A more efficient way of protecting information from intruders than apps that require you to navigate to a specific location to view protected files, Hi App Locks simply prompts for a PIN input every time you want to open up an app. This method also allows for the flexibility to protect any sort of data and information that may be on your phone such as emails, bank details, photos, text messages, and so forth.
Force closing the app through the settings menu would only close the app momentarily, upon which HI App Lock would instantly relaunch itself before anyone has the chance to navigate to a protected app. Other important functions include locking incoming and outgoing calls, prevention of uninstalling of apps, a widget for quick lock and unlock, and a security question in the event when you may have forgotten your pin number. Of course, however, rooted devices with ADB debugging left enabled and those without password-protected recoveries or encrypted /data storage can still find themselves at risk, so make sure you turn off ADB and encrypt your device if you’re planning on securing your device.
Hi App Lock is compatible with any device running Android version 2.1 or newer and is free from the Play store. If this has gotten your attention, make sure to check out the application thread for more information.
June 2, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
Finishing up his series about Job interviews, XDA Developer TV Producer Jayce talks about the scariest and most difficult questions in an interview. I’ve you haven’t already, make sure you check out his resume tips, tips for dealing with the phone call screen, and acing the main interview.
In today’s episode, Jayce again interviews Rachel Finan, a recruiter at Hays Recruiting, about salary negotiations. Rachel gives some tips about how to answer curveball questions. Check out this video.
June 1, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Installing the Android SDK and ADT is the first step in the long road towards coding your first Android application. Getting these tools onto your computer is also the first step towards many other goals such as obtaining ADB access and using DDMS.
While there are plenty of simpler ways to go about accomplishing the latter two tasks, it’s often best to learn the old fashioned way. And in this case, that’s installing the SDK and using that to give you the required CLI binaries. Plus, by installing the required tools to
Thankfully for both those looking to learn how to code and those looking to download binaries to use ADB and Fastboot, there is now an excellent and incredibly thorough guide geared at helping users get started. The guide comes from XDA Senior Member Apex and it covers quite a few topics.
First off, the guide starts by explaining what the SDK and ADT are, what they do, and why you want them. Next, it covers the basics of keeping a proper dev environment, installing the JDK on various OSes, and installing an IDE of your choosing. It then walks users through installing the SDK itself, as well as the ADT plugin for Eclipse and setting up a virtual device with the AVD Manager. Finally, it walks you through the basics of creating a simple speech recognition and synthesis app, as well as various ADB commands (version 1.0.20) that may be come in handy.
All in all, this is an incredibly thorough guide that will serve as a great resource for anyone getting ready to start developing some apps. Those eager to get started can do so by visiting the original thread.
If you’re an Android user, there’s really almost no reason why you shouldn’t have some basic knowledge on how to use ADB and pull a logcat. After all, what better way is there to give back to the developers that help make our mobile devices better than by giving them the tools they need to diagnose issues effectively whenever they arise? And while most casual users have used the Dalvik Debug Monitor Service to take screenshots before the feature was officially added to the stock Android UI, there’s much more that can be done with the tool.
By now, you should be no stranger to the importance of logcat. We’ve covered the topic quite a few times in the past with various tools to help you help devs looking to troubleshoot their applications. However, even with tools at your disposal, it’s always nice to know how to do the same process manually. The same can be said about ADB knowledge in general. It’s just plain useful to have, and something we’d highly recommend around here. And the ability to do so manually is the extra icing on the cake.
In this spirit, XDA Senior Member -MR.WORLDWIDE- has created a simple and introductory- to intermediate-level guide to help you accomplish all of the tasks listed above. The guide is focused towards Windows users, and it covers topics ranging from installing the Java JDK and the Android SDK, all the way to actually connecting via ADB, pulling a logcat, and using DDMS for various monitoring-related tasks. Regarding ADB commands, sample commands are given that will teach you how to accomplish tasks such as installing and uninstalling an APK from your local computer, pushing and pulling devices to and from your device, and using adb shell to access your device via command line.
Head over to the guide thread to get started
Continuing his series about Job interviews, XDA Developer TV Producer Jayce talks about the biggest unknown to most people in the job process: salary negotiation. He’s already given you resume tips, talked about dealing with the phone screen, and how to ace the main interview. Now he talks about getting the pay you want.
In today’s episode, Jayce interviews Rachel Finan, a recruiter at Hays Recruiting, about salary negotiations. Rachel gives some tips about how to negotiate your salary. Jayce then expands on his tips to help you get some bills to pay your bills. Check out this video.
May 31, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Ever since Google Keep was released some time ago, it has become an everyday staple for many users. And who’s to blame them. The application is simple, east-to-use, and has an aesthetic and efficient interface. However, one potential complaint that some may have with Keep is that it relies on Google’s cloud to store its notes and allow you to access them across devices. While Google is widely considered to be the best and the most reliable personal cloud solution, some may prefer to use a different service.
This is where XDA Recognized Developer Goddchen comes in. He created an app called Easy Cloud Notes. And as it name implies, it allows you to take cloud notes rather easily. Currently, it supports various note types, as described by developer:
It supports the common note types:
- Text notes
- Photo notes
- Audio notes
- Drawings (coming soon)
Sounds a bit like Google Keep, right? Well since we like having choice, that’s where these apps diverge. So what kind of cloud services does Easy Cloud Notes support? Currently, the supported cloud services include the following:
While I assume that most who use this app will end up using Google Drive for the back end, it’s still quite nice to be given choice. After all, that’s part of the reason we love Android, right? On top of the diverse note types and user-selectable cloud backup solutions, the app’s interface is well designed, as seen in the developer’s other apps that we’ve featured in the past.
If that’s gotten you excited, you can go ahead and give it a shot by heading over to the application thread.
May 31, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
An unofficial build of ClockworkMod Recovery has been released for the Android-powered Ouya game console. That and more are covered by Jordan, as he reviews all the important stories from this week. Included in this week’s news is an article about using CASUAL to root and install TWRP on on your AT&T Samsung Galaxy S 4 easily and news about development on the Motorola MotoACTV.
Jordan talks about the other videos released this week on XDA Developer TV. XDA Developer TV Producer Kevin gave us video on DLNA, Elite Recognized Developer AdamOutler tore apart the AT&T Samsung Galaxy S 4, Jordan interviewed the creator of Casetop and released a highlights video. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
A weather-based alarm is quite an interesting and practical innovation. It’s an idea you’ll most definitely appreciate if you’ve ever driven the car to work, only to be stuck in traffic for 20 minutes when you could have walked or ridden on a fine sunny day. It’s similarly useful when you wake up just to see snow blocking the driveway and the road, leaving you unable to get to where you need to go.
Well, since XDA Forum Member Mdk001 was growing increasingly frustrated with these situations, AlarMe was created. This is an alarm clock that, you’ve guessed it, bases itself on the weather of the day. In addition to the conventional method of creating your standard alarm with a time and description, AlarMe adds extra ‘Weather Rules’ for different weather and the subsequent time changes you would like to occur. This signature criteria allow for up to 2 different weather conditions, which you then set a different alarm time for.
With a clean Holo user interface, AlarMe presents itself with further options for customization such as 24 hours time view, imperial or metric temperature units, alarm and snooze duration, among many others. However, most importantly, AlarMe provides the choice of weather provider between Open Weather and Weather Underground, two well known and reliable sources of weather conditions. If however you did come across an issue regarding this, Mdk001 included a function which allows for the reporting of such problems. Nonetheless, we look forward to more flexibility and choice in terms of weather providers in the future.
A well-refined app with an active developer behind it and built on an interesting concept and idea, AlarMe may be an app you would like to try out. It is available for Android 2.2 and above, and is free and ad-free from the Play Store. For more information and discussion, check out the application thread.
I love the look and functionality of the ActionBar. I find my thumb has more dexterity at the top of the screen than it does at the bottom when I’m holding my phone with one hand. And so I’m happy to see that the interface is evolving while retaining that valued real estate. Play Music is one app that show off that evolution. The app allows you to see the background at the top of the page, but then fades the ActionBar background color in as you scroll down the page, becoming opaque after you’ve scrolled past the Artist artwork. This image shows that. No, I don’t have any artist artwork, but you can see that the Action bar is clear to start, then becomes orange as I scroll down. It’s a pretty neat animation trick which you can use in your own apps.
Cyril Mottier wrote a guide back in November that shows how you can animate the ActionBar. In his demonstration he makes the background fade through several ranges of color (see the video below). Once you know how it’s done, you can make it do a lot more. Play Music is simply mating the alpha with the scroll location, which I would assume is very easy on the processor. Cyril saw this demonstrated at IOIO and wrote a follow-up article that augments his earlier explanation. But I also like the idea from a comment in the November article mentioning it would be technically possible to turn the ActionBar into a progress indicator. I suppose this could be as easy as resizing a bounding box to match a percentage, but I’ll let you work out all the details.