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Posts Tagged: Android 3.x (Honeycomb)

greenify

For most people, this is an old tune, one to which they have danced before: the eternal promise of extending battery life, making your device smooth and silky as the time it was taken out of the box. We have had these programs such as task managers, app killers, RAM savers, and so on for a very long time. The truth of the matter is that Android is actually quite capable of handling apps in a very efficient manner, and more often than not, these are not normally needed. Also, the available RAM on most newer devices certainly makes them obsolete (for newer gen devices anyways). Furthermore, leaving programs in RAM (when available) prevents the need to relaunch them the next time you open them. However, when a new approach is tested, it is always worth looking into it, and that happens to be the case with Greenify by XDA Forum Member oasisfeng.

The app itself acts like a bit of a task killer, hunting down applications that may be active in memory but not being used. This app, however, uses a different method to kill an app. The method used here not only disables the apps, but it prevents it from coming back to life, which is the failing point of most app killers. There are other ways to achieve a similar result, such as using the freezing feature of Titanium Backup, which essentially completely disables the app temporarily. However, using this approach also disables your ability to use said app. Greenify uses a method known as am force-stop pkgname as opposed to the commonly used kill. The app hunts for alarms and active ServiceRecords, which act as restore points for the app being killed and gets rid of them. This way, the app is completely disabled without actually completely disabling the app.

The app requires root, but other than that, it has no special requirements. Please take it for a spin and make sure that you leave some feedback for the dev. Also, please leave your experience as well. Did it help? We would love to know.

No more envy of your friends’ iPhone which never become slow and battery hungry after lots of apps installed. With Greenify, your Android device can also run almost as smooth and lasting as the first day you have it!

You can find more information in the original thread.

Want something published in the Portal? Contact any News Writer.

Minimalistic Text Editor for Android

January 18, 2013   By:

Wordpad_Android_TextEditor

As mobile devices have evolved, so have the tools for performing every day tasks. What used to require Microsoft Office on a standard computer can now be accomplished with various mobile applications that can create, edit, and view Office documents (because Microsoft still can’t figure out how to mobilize their mammoth, memory-hungry, piece of… oh never mind). Further expanding the analogy, we used to use apps like Notepad to edit text files, and now we have a bevy of apps on the desktop that allow you to not only edit a text file, but also features color-coding for different programming languages.

Sure, we have a number of text editors on mobile, but many of them try to be all things to all people. Now we have a new text editor designed for Android 3.x and above. Wordpad – Minimal Text Editor by XDA Forum Member Gibbz1 lives up to its name, and takes the minimalistic approach to app design.

When you open the app for the first time, you are presented with the screen seen to the right.

There is not much more minimal than that. You get a nice blank screen, with a blinking cursor waiting for you to type or to open an existing file. One downside to the app is that it can only be used with text files on your SD card, and does not show up as an option for editing text files elsewhere on the device. That said, the developer is very responsive, and is looking to continue to add features. So visit the application thread and add your feedback.

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holoAlarm

If there’s one thing you may hate but may not be able to live without (and no, I am not talking about your significant other), it is the alarm clock. Some people have an internal one and have the uncanny ability to wake up 5 minutes earlier than their alarm; others have one that sits across the room and is the equivalent of the entire cast of the 12 Days of Christmas parading around your room. Either way, you still have an alarm clock. I, personally, use my phone as mine, and it is set to give me the peaceful sounds of AC/DC’s Back in Black. To each his own, right?

Well, XDA Forum Member dalien26 has created Holo Alarm, Timer, Chrono, another app which follows Google’s Android Design Guidelines and presents a very nice interface and feature set for what can be a very cruel application. He put an alarm clock, timer, world clock, and chronograph into one handy application for Android 3.x and above with the following features for each:

Alarm
-multiple Alarm
-select days of alarm
-select any music on your phone / sdcard

preferences

General
-set alarm name
-Alarm in silent mode
-progressive volume
-set progressive time
-independent volume
-set volume max ( for independent volume )

Snooze
-Shake to snooze
-Set snooze time

Dismiss
-Shake to dismiss

Timer
-simple timer
-predefined values

Chrono
-simple Chrono
-lap time

World Clock
-Multiple Clock

Now I will warn you that the “Shake to dismiss” feature does not mean that you throw the phone across the room in anger to shut off the alarm. That would be simply unwise, however satisfying at the moment. Visit the application thread for more information and to keep up with the updates, and make sure to set your alarm.

 

gardentroopers

If you are looking for a recipe for fun, XDA Forum Member Dimmerg has a recommendation for you.  He recommends that you try his Garden Troopers dish. To make this delicious dish Dimmerg has made the following recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 (16 ounce) package frozen yogurt
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 2 large cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 2 game modes, sliced
  • 5 difficulties, julienned
  • 10 game fields, raised and dried
  • A handful of entertainment

Directions

  1. In a large bowl combine tomatoes, cucumbers, frozen yogurt and a handful of entertainment. Refrigerate overnight, or for at least 1 hour.
  2. Split into two smaller bowls, and one game mode to each bowl. Mix to combine.
  3. Mix the 5 difficulties in a blender
  4. Take each small bowl and dish onto on to 10 plates with a bed of 10 game fields, add the difficulty mixture on the top of the plates.
  5. Submit the completed dish to Google.
  6. Wait for approval and serve to XDA-Developers.
  7. Optional:  Replace frozen yogurt with a honeycomb or ice cream sandwich, for a unique twist.

To try this fun and exciting game check out the Garden Troopers thread. This recipe for fun will keep you entertained for hours. With different difficulties and game modes, the challenges are lasting.

facelock

With the introduction of Android 4.0, came the facial recognition unlock feature (or gimmick to some). While far from being a secure way of preventing unwanted access to your device, it adds an extra layer of security that requires less effort to use than traditional methods. Inspired by this, XDA member adnanahmad1786 has developed FaceLock for Apps, which takes the same concept and allows you to protect specific applications with facial recognition. Furthermore, it’s compatible with Gingerbread for those of you yet to receive the ICS goods.

The free version allows users to lock Settings, Play Store, Task Manager, and one application of choice. While this is by no means a way of completely securing your device, it’s a pretty cool way of preventing access to specific device features—thus preventing people from messing with your settings and social network accounts, or preventing your kids from making any unwanted purchases on Google Play.

Once the app is trained to recognize your face, any protected app will automatically initiate your front facing camera (which is a requirement for this app, for obvious reasons). Should your face not be recognised, it will ask you for the pin/password you set as a failsafe.

As mentioned previously, the app requires a front facing camera and Android 2.3 or above. It can be found here in it’s original release thread.

USB Mass Storage

For those running the latest and greatest Android has to offer, you may have noticed that USB Mass Storage has gone missing on many devices. For years, USB Mass Storage was the de facto way for users to connect their devices to their computers and transfer just about anything. Opting instead to go with MTP, many devices running Honeycomb, and now Ice Cream Sandwich, have removed USB Mass Storage entirely because it doesn’t require storage to be dismounted in order to connect.

While many are perfectly content with MTP, there are others who dislike its lack of native support on OS X and how initial connection can sometimes take a long time. In an effort to solve this problem for Samsung Galaxy Nexus owners and pretty much anyone else running ICS, XDA Recognized Developer cyansmoker has released an Android application and client computer helper app called Alt Mounter. Alt Mounter acts very much like USB Mass Storage used to, but with several improvements. Says cyansmoker:

Alt Mounter is two things: 1) a small service and its widget, running on your device; 2) a helper running on your computer.

When you use Alt Mounter, mounting your storage on your computer is close to instantaneous. It works like a Dual Mount application; i.e. it does not unmount your storage from your device (it does not need to)

Users should keep in mind that this is a beta release, so there may be some bugs left to work out. That said, the app is still pretty stable for anyone looking for an MTP replacement. Unfortunately, the helper app is only available to OS X users currently, but cyansmoker states that it can be ported to Linux and Windows users if the demand is high enough.

If you’re looking to bypass MTP, head on over to the original thread to get started.

Flying Farting Donkies

Every once in a while an application comes along where the jokes just write themselves. This application is one of them. Flying Farting Donkies is a simple, yet thoroughly enjoyable game. XDA Senior Member adecker introduces the game by saying the following:

Introducing Flying Farting Donkies by Decker-Barringer Technologies; DBT for short.
FFD is a fun and challenging arcade game that is safe for kids and adults to play!
It features OpenFeint to track scores, provide achievements and social networking, built on Unity3D FFD provides fast and fun gameplay!
Collect the beans to gain gas, tap to let it out and fly!

This game is a gas. Literally. Once you download this game and let her rip, you will be ignoring the barking spiders in no time. Once you blow the donkey’s big brown horn you may need a new pair of trousers.

The free version gives users one game level. Luckily the free level is quite repayable, as you try and fly the farting donkey farther each time. However, it would be nice to have another level, or have the beans and pills locations a bit more randomized.

Those interested can find out more in the application thread.

Untitled-1

It would seem that Google has a bug in their AOSP code that was introduced around Android 3.2, which affects how the OS handles USB Storage and can prevent write access to SD cards and USB sticks. XDA Elite Recognized Developer, Senior Moderator, and News Writer Chainfire sums up the issue in his blog post:

In the past, an app would request the “WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE” permission, which would grant write access to all external storages (user/group “sdcard_rw“). This has apparently been changed to only grant write access to the primary external storage. A second permission has been introduced called “WRITE_MEDIA_STORAGE“, which would grant access to the other external storages (user/group “media_rw“).

The problem is, a third party will not actually be granted this permission, only system apps and apps provided by the device manufacturer will normally be granted this permission. There are exceptions, apparently on some devices third party apps will be granted this permission, but according to the AOSP sources, they’re certainly not supposed to.

As Chainfire investigated the issue he came across code in the /system/vold/Volume.cpp that explicitly states:

 if (primaryStorage) {
     // Special case the primary SD card.
     // For this we grant write access to the SDCARD_RW group.
     gid = AID_SDCARD_RW;
} else {
     // For secondary external storage we keep things locked up.
     gid = AID_MEDIA_RW;
}

On many devices, the internal flash is considered the “primary SD card.” The real SD card then becomes the secondary external storage, and is locked down—protected by the unattainable “WRITE_MEDIA_STORAGE” permission.

Chainfire submitted his question to the Android Developers Office Hours team, and they ended up discussing it in their live hangout on April 11. Unfortunately, the Google engineers present in the hangout were not able to provide any real answers, as this is a complicated issue and the question was only raised an hour before the show went live. They have however promised to get to the bottom of this issue, and get back to Chainfire (and us) at a later time.

Also according to Chainfire, the problem is actually present on ICS builds for the SGS2 as well, though Samsung “worked around it using a very ugly permission hack“:

<permission name=”android.permission.WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE” >
     <group gid=”sdcard_rw” />
     <group gid=”media_rw” />
 </permission>

What you see here is Samsung piggybacking the WRITE_MEDIA_STORAGE permission to the WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE permission, so apps do not experience the described problem.

Whether or not Google intended for connected SD Cards and USB sticks to be limited to be read-only for third-party apps remains to be seen. It does however give birth to a disturbing thought: What if the code and accompanying notes are Google’s first stages of implementing some sort of write protection for external storage, and thus further limiting our mobile freedom? We can only hope this is a genuine bug, as freedom is one of the very reasons we all avoid the Dark Side.

[Huge thanks to Chainfire for the heads up and help!]

QuickChange

A penny saved is a penny earned, that is unless Canada follows through with its threat to stop producing the Canadian penny. If you are like most people, when you do use cash and you get change, you often don’t like carrying it around. Some throw it in random places. Others unload their pockets every night into a single jar. A solution exists either way.

XDA Forum Member NickAVV offers you version 3.0 of his QuickChange application. In the words of the developer:

QuickChange … helps you keep track of how much money is in your piggy bank, or other coin-containing apparatus. It supports 7 different currencies too. It has a slick new interface, lets you track multiple jars, shows you graphs of your balance over time

Keeping track of your spare change turns it from a nuisance into a valuable asset. By setting a goal you can save up enough to get that upcoming Nexus Tablet. Seeing your progress helps to motivate you. QuickChange even allows you to view a graph of your jar’s balance over time.

QuickChange works on all versions of Android from 2.1 onwards. Check out the application thread of more information.

Card Swapp

Are you often multitasking while synergizing with the C-suite to maximize the ROI of the SEO implementation of your web presence? Do you mow through your piles of RFPs before COB? Do you have heated debates regarding the use of double-declining versus straight-line deprecation of capital improvement assets? Most importantly, are you tired of lugging around paper business cards while networking?

If your brain didn’t melt from the questions above, XDA Forum Member sharpwitz may have a solution for you. The application is Card Swapp. Card Swapp creates a QR code full of your contact information for people to scan. With the app, you can now avoid typing in your contact information manually ever again.

The Card Swapp App that manages business cards better than BUMP and Linkedin’s Card Munch. This app is also the 1st and only business card with a built in news feed.

Not only does Card Swapp create QR codes for your vendors and contacts to scan, but it allows you to scan other QR codes you see in ads, business cards and from other Card Swapp members. You can follow Twitter accounts, access and save restaurant menus and hours, and get live traffic reports.

Card Swapp is more than a business card QR application. It is possibly the business card QR application of the future. The application is available for Android 2.1 and higher, and *sigh* the iPhone. Learn more in the application thread.

Barbell Loader

Math is difficult. When you are spending your time pimpin’ to the beat, walking down the street with your new la freak, with your animal print pants out of control, there is only one thing that matters for LMFAO and yourself. That fact is that you are sexy, and you know it. But how does one become so self-aware of his or her physical attractiveness? Well, it is simple—you work out.

Lifting weights takes a lot of energy and concentration so often times your mind isn’t as quick as it can be to add up the weights of the different discs you are placing on the barbell. There is no need to fear, however, my muscle head and casual weight lifting friends. XDA Forum Member somecanuck has a solution. The application Barbell Loader is created for alleviate this issue.

Tired of adding up weights in the gym? Barbell Loader Pro does it for you!

Using this application really could not be simpler. You simply tap to add a disc, and the application adds it up for you using magic. The app allows you to enter your data both imperial and metric, and you can even mix the two. It will then tell you how much weight you have in kilograms and pounds. Barbell Loader can even estimate your one rep max. It works for anyone of the delicious versions of Android from Gingerbread on up. Find out more by visiting the application thread.

Quill

It’s one thing when an Android application adds support for new versions of Android or Android devices. It’s another thing altogether when an application developer makes an application compatible with specific features on a particular Android device. And it’s even more exciting when that feature actually rocks.

For users of the Samsung Galaxy Note, there’s an application updated just for you. XDA Senior Member Volker1 has updated the Quill application with S-Pen functionality. The app also supports active pen input on the ThinkPad Tablet, HTC Jetstream, and HTC Flyer. It doesn’t end there. There are a plethora of features in addition to S-Pen support including:

Active pen (digitizer) support on ThinkPad Tablet, HTC Jetstream, HTC Flyer, and Galaxy Note.
Very fast response to pen strokes.
“Fountain pen” mode supports pen pressure data, more pressure = thicker line.
Pinch-to-zoom.
Double-finger tap to zoom.
Two-finger move gesture.
Pen strokes are vector art, zoom does not pixelate your writing.
“Pen only” mode (optional) disables touch input while writing.
Android 3.x hardware accelerated graphics.
Open source (GPL), so your notes are not stuck in an opaque file format.

A couple features of note are the pen pressure data, and that the artwork is stored in vector format rather than being rasterized. For the pen pressure data, it actually accounts for how hard you press on the screen to determine the thickness of the line which is on its own a cool feature. For the vector images, well it’s pretty self explanatory. Just keep zooming, no pixels! Of course, to take full advantage of the application, your device must be running either Honeycomb or Ice Cream Sandwich.

For more information, download links, change logs and more, check out the original thread.

StatusVolume

Recently our good friend and Member Advocate Admin egzthundar1, wrote an article for people with Windows Phones with broken volume rockers. While this certainly is a great application, I think we can all admit, that while this helps Mango users, it doesn’t help the over 9000 people who use Android. But fear not my green robot friends rocking Honeycomb and above, XDA Senior Member kevdliu created the Status Bar Volume Control Application. This simple application allows you to change the system volumes in a status bar notification. The operation is simple and described by kevdliu as such:

The four buttons on the notification mutes the selected volume, lowers it by one, raises it by one, and displays the system volume slider respectively.

Don’t have Honeycomb or Ice Cream Sandwich? First of all, you should. I promise, it won’t hurt. Second there is another option for you, Widgetsoid. This application allows you to add a widget to your home screen and create your own widget with different buttons to easily and quickly access and control different functions of your Android Device. Widgetsoid has options for controlling the sound, an easy quick mute and unmute option and a turn on and off WiFi, 3G, 4G or Bluetooth option. You can create a button to lock the screen, enable and disable GPS and, if equipped, Near Field Communication. Widgetsoid has options to show signal strength, battery temperature and CPU usage. You can customize the color and appearance of Widgetsoid as well.  There are a lot more features on Widgetsoid that are not mentioned here.

So, if you have suffered the loss of the hardware button functions, due to repeated use or an unfortunate run in with the Washing Machine, or if you know someone with an iPhone that brags about their single button, you have options. You can use kevdliu’s Status Bar Volume Control Application or Widgetsoid to show that Android is so awesome that it doesn’t need buttons to function, but is still powerful enough to handle more than one button. More information is available in the Widgetsoid and Status Bar Volume Control Application threads.

[Thanks to Ken J for the tip!]

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