Just a little quick heads up that aLogCat has pushed through an update. While this has been updated in the past and gone without mention this latest update now brings support for Google TVs.
So head over to the Play Store and update.
Hi there, it’s my first post on Droidaphile, so here’s some random information. I’ll keep it slightly Android-centered. I got into Android when I heard about the Nook Color on NPR, and how it could be, as they called it, “rooted.” Yeah, it’s a pretty common term to us now. I accidentally installed Cyanogenmod 7 on the device memory once, then there was no going back. I learned about how everything worked, and I ended up wiping my boot partition. That didn’t go very well, but I got it back. I currently have a Galaxy Nexus, an HP Touchpad, two Nook Colors, a Droid 2 (currently bricked), and this little known cheap tablet that is easily hackable called the Pandigital Novel is in the mail. I know stuff, it’s very varied, and may show during my time on this site. I also hide on Google+ (here – http://goo.gl/AIJlE), and that’s where I got connected to this site. I will post here whenever there is something worth posting, that isn’t already covered everywhere else.
We all have them. The apps we simply cannot live without. I have been flashing a lot of roms this last week, average of 1 a day and something struck me. With every flash I have first installed the same 10 or 20 apps. That got me thinking.
These are the apps I cannot live without so why not share them with you. Or at the very least give you my top 10. Now these are just for my main phone, no matter the rom or the Android version. With that in mind let us begin and none of these are in any order either.
As good as the default keyboard is on my phone I need to use SwiftKey. I know some of you out there hate it. You rather one of the many others out there and there is some good ones. But Swiftkey for me just feels the best. Would I like to be able to theme it a bit more YES! but for me that is the only fault I can find. I have even got used to the new place for the comma in Beta3 and find it better than ever. I should also point out that SwiftKey was the very first paid app I bought. It is the best app I have ever paid money for. Give one month trial a run and you will see what I mean. And it will take a month for you just to figure out how great it is and you will buy it.
I need to text the States. Using my phone number to text an international number would run me around 50p a text and that is one way to rack up your bill really quickly. Enter HeyWire. You get a US phone number that allows you to text using a data connection. All for free. For example I think I have sent around 70 texts to the States in the 10 days or so. That would be £35 added to my bill at the end of the month. The savings are amazing. Check out our previous coverage of it should it interest you. It has had a couple of updates since then mostly to improve the servers. (As an ad-on there is Skype for international phone calls)
3: ES File Explorer
A simple free file explorer that has root access. Yes I know, there are apps out there that look better and do lots more. Thing is I do not need them. It is clean, easy to use and with the latest update to allow you to backup apps it has helped me get rid of an app that I used to backup apks simply.
This app needs no introduction. A great way to move files up to 300mb from your phone to pc, or phone to phone. It is a must have for keeping those pics, apk’s or anything else backed up. Plus if you are lucky enough to have picked up one of the new HTC One range of phones you will start off with 25gb of storage. More than you are ever going to need.
5: SMS Backup & Restore
Nothing worse than flashing a new rom, or changing phones and losing all your text messages. Backup to your sd card either manually or on a schedule of your choosing and never lose a text again
I feel looking back on this list that this is a strange one to include. But it does remain as part of this list. I like knowing what permissions every app on my phone has. Even from Rom makers when they include what they feel are better apps. It is comforting to know that I can see if I am comfortable having them on my phone. For more info check here and here
7: My Battery Drain
Again, it is the simple apps that make life just that little bit better. My Battery Drain is one of those. All it does is measure how much your battery is draining. It will not tell you what apps are doing it. Just how much you are losing. Check out our previous post about it for more info.
This is one of those apps that I always install but do not use that much. It can be weeks before I find there is need of it. So why is it here? I know the moment I do not install it I will need it. But what does it do. In a sentence it frees you from your usb cable when you are looking to move files back and forth. Connect both your phone and pc to the same wireless network and off you go. Moving, editing, creating folders, deleting all a breeze. Not only that you can backup apks direct to your pc at the touch of a button and even edit your address book. And let’s not forget being able to read and send text messages from inside your browser. Because reaching to the end of the table is too much hassle when you hear your phone go off.
9: Andoku 2
Just a simple Sudoku game. I have yet to find a better one to waste my hours on. I am not a big gamer on my phone. Yet this is perfect when you are sitting about at the docs or need to kill 5 minutes. If you think you know of a better one for me to try out let me know I will be happy to test it.
10: Google+/Google Reader/GMail
For this last entry I have included these 3 as one entry. They are all Google apps and for some some do come pre-installed on roms some do not but each one is always installed by me.
So there you have it. My top 10(12) apps that I cannot live without. If this list has helped you find an app or two that you now love let us know. And do you have your own list of must have apps? Drop us a line in the comments below or over on our G+ page.
I have tried to stay away from this. We here even at the Droidaphile offices had only one thing to say about it here. But I can’t
Free Kittens, I mean Instagram is here. And what a couple of days it has been.
Well over a million downloads within 24hours (I am sure I could find the exact number if I cared that much about knowing, but I don’t to be honest with you). Checking the Play Store at it moment it is showing 77,626 reviews with an average score of 4.4 – something I will come back to in just a moment. Those numbers are staggering for an app. It does bring up an interesting question of why has it it taken so long for it to arrive on Android. I mean the demand is here for it. But that is a different matter altogether.
Lets think about those reviews shall we. Yesterday I said I was not going to install it. Well I did. Only to open it up and see a login screen. I thought to myself “Hang on a second. All this app does is applies simple filters to pictures you take. I am not logging into an app to let me do that. I can do that already, and with much better filters.” Or before they could take my details off me I removed it. Let go over the reasons for that choice. Instagram compresses your pics and adds in a crap filter after you sign up. Why would you want to do that. For a long time now we have had some amazing app in the Play Store that do that to our pictures at FULL RESOLUTION. Camera Zoom FX, Retro Camera, Paper Camera and the list goes on and on. And that is just the cameras, lets not count the decidated photo-editing apps like PicSay, BeFunky (what I use) or Photoshop. Plus, the camera in ICS has filter effects that you can add to your pictures. Someone yesterday commented yesterday that if this was any other Android app it would have a rating of around 2, and I fully agree. It is an average app with no real thought behind the design. To the team behind the design of the app I have one thing to say ask you. Do any of you even own, or have ever used, an Android phone? I mean it looks almost like a carbon copy of the iOS version. We are not iPhone users.
Then last night I stumbled across this post on my G+ stream. The amount of what I can only describe as stupidity amazes me.
Where to being. Here on Twitter is a good place. The amount of hatred and childish actions really leave me speechless.
One thing I have noticed about Android users is while we make fun or iPhone users we never think we are better than them simple because of what phone we have. We don’t view those with different phones as below us. Yet for whatever reason a large amount of iPhone users think like that. Not all, I know quite a few iPhone users who do not think like that. But my experience has been that the majority of Apple users feel like that. So tonight I am more happy than ever to be an Android user.
(And why has this post been called The ‘Free Kittens’ post? Well you have Christy Ramsey to thank for that due to her post on Google+ yesterday)
Last month I wrote a little piece on aSpotCat by Sam Lu. A great wee app that give you details of every permission that every app on your phone is using.
I did a double take. And read that again. ‘Turn tablet on and off. I uninstalled Jem Spinner and went to install it again. I could not believe that I had allowed myself to install an app that listed that sort of permission. But there it was, or should I say there it was not listed in the permission when you install.
Take a look at the video below and you will see the process of the install of Jem Spinner. Looking at all the permissions it lists. Once installed I open up aSpotCat you will see that it lists permissions that are not declared when you install from the Play Store.
Reaching out to Michael with regards to why his app needed such a permission and asking why was it not declared in the inital permissions list I get this reply
Thanks for taking a close look at Gem Spinner II.
The short answer to your questions are: I don’t know, but I don’t take advantage of those permissions.
I use a cross-platform tool called Marmalade to build Gem Spinner II for both iPhone and Android. Those permissions are the ones I inherit from the underlying Marmalade system. I *believe* it was just an oversight on my part, and that those permissions are not used by the Marmalade system either, so I could have just removed them from the manifest. I will certainly look into that for the next update.
For now I can tell you again that I don’t take advantage of those permissions, that I don’t read much less write the battery state, and I don’t turn off the device.
Let me know if you have any other questions about the game.
I asked about spoke to a couple of devs, they seemed to agree with this explanation and I left it like that. Life got in the way, I forgot to follow it up. Last night however I was looking for a new game to play I remembered about Jem Spinner and thought to myself it has been over a month an update will have been pushed out, all will be well and I can buy it. In my haste to check out when it was last updated I went ahead and bought it and only after did I check it out with aSpotCat and the Turn phone on and off permission was still there.
I find this really unsettling. After contacting the dev this should have been taken care of as soon as possible.
So think of this as a PSA for your phones. Double check the permissions that your apps use. Lets hope you don’t come across anything else. But if you do let us know.
We all love seeing just how far we can push our phones once we root them, but it is never enough.
In time you start looking round the house for other older phone, then when that is done you turn your eyes to the big one. The holy grail of rooting. THE TOASTER.
I know what you are thinking, it’s too hard, it can’t be done. But now thanks to some hard working devs it is quite simple. Quinney899 over on Xda came up with this simple to follow guide.
The only way to root the Toaster v2 is this:
1. Open the plug and remove the fuse and/or the earth connections, then seal the plug
2. Plug in and switch on your toaster’s mains connection
3. Place your fingers between the two toast areas
4. Push the button to toast
5. Your fingers work as a JIG. Now it is in bootloader mode
6. Push in the code: Toast, Stop, Stop, Toast, Toast, Stop (will unlock your bootloader)
7. Download your selected ROM crumbs off the thread and place them in the drive (crumb tray)
8. Close your crumb tray, replace the fuse and earth connections in the plug
9. Your toaster is now rooted
And there you have it.
Hit up the XDA thread for more details on what is a truly great day for the rooting community. And don’t forget to read the fully thread. A few others suggest different methods but for me and my Cookworks Signature it was the method that cracked it
Disclaimer: Droidaphile is not responsible for any damage that you do you yourself, your toaster or anything that may ever happen. Do not blame us if your husband/wife/girlfriend/boyfriend runs off with the postman/milkman/poolboy or your best friend/family member. Nor are we responsible for the dog chewing on your shoes or the cat eating grass and throwing up all over you. And it is also safe to say we are not responsible for any zombie outbreak or thermo-nuclear war of any type. In short: DO NOT COME CRYING TO US WHEN YOU MESS UP.Thank you and have a nice day