Thursday, July 31, 2014

Facebook Beta for Android (Update)

I'm not really the type to install an app and be done with it.
Can't remember when but a friend posted in FB that it's now open for public to join FB App Beta Group.

The reasons to use a beta app (or not) are as below though it can be more as these are just my opinions.

1. All the bugs
2. Constant updates (sometimes 2-3 times a day)

1. Latest updates
2. Can comment and possibly be heard by the FB Dev Team
3. Higher compatibility with custom ROMs as most issues are fixed consatntly

Here's how to get the FB Beta App:

1) Join the Facebook for Android Beta Testers Google group
2) Allow beta downloads by clicking Become a Tester in the Play Store (you need to join the Google Group before becoming a tester)
3) Download Facebook from the Play Store to update your app
4) Join the Facebook for Android Beta Testers group on Facebook to tell us what you think


Do you notice anything different about the interface? :)
Current version before update. Weird numbering no?
Quite a size for just an update
The latest version

It seems that just one of those days where FB updates itself more than once a day

The latest, latest version today. Quite a bump up I see

Friday, July 25, 2014

Android App from Xiaomi to check Mi3 Authenticity (with translation)

Apparently, even the great Xiaomi is not spared from being counterfeited.

There are a lot of fake Xiaomi phones in the market as it is fueled by the humongous demand paired with very few supply (Xiaomi only sell through flash sales).

Besides from raiding stores with authorities, Xiaomi has developed an application (still in beta phase) to help customers identify whether the phone is original or fake.

It is in Chinese language though but I've ran through Google Translate app, it's not perfect but you'll get the gist of it :)


Pic 1: The front page of the app website. 

Pic 2: It has Mi logo, so should be trustworthy?
Pic 3: After installing the app, I ran it & this is the result screen.

Pic 4: Translated as "Details"

Pic 5: Translated as "Model"

Pic 6: Unicorn Version? LoL!~
Pic 7: "Buy Channels" = "How you buy" perhaps?

Pic 8: "Online sales" means via the Xiaomi Flash Sales
Pic 9: "Sales Time" = Date it was bought (20/5/2014)

Pic 10: "Warranty Time" = Warranty Expiry Date (1 year)

Pic 11: "Share Results" = Share to other apps

Pic 12: "Detailed Configuration" = Hardware & Software Details

Pic13: I think they mean Original Mi3? :)

Pic 14: I guess the hardware has been verified :)

All in all,I'd give it a 85% score, very useful but would be better if it's in English too as Mi3 phones are sold to other countries besides China too.

Then again, I can't really determine the validity of the app as I do not have a fake Xiaomi to verify.

Until then, it's better to have something than nothing.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Disk Usage for Xiaomi MI3

One thing about having a phone with limited memory is that the effort needed to maintain such resource. 

Of course when I bought Xiaomi MI3 I've already considered this & bought a few OTG USB drives but some days, I just forget to bring this drives, so it's crucial to have some space available in case you needed it. 

So here comes DiskUsage App where you can download here

It has a very simple interface & a user friendly system. 
After installation, just select which memory to scan. 

After it finished scanning, you can instantly recognize which folder consumed the most memory & space. 

You can use pinch gesture to zoom in or out. 

Click a folder, then click show tab, it will use the default file explorer app to open that folder, then you can do whatever you want with those files, move it, delete it, etc. 

I highly recommend this app for android users. 

Failed to update Xiaomi MI3 [solved]

For my Xiaomi Mi3, I already downloaded & flashed to Dev ROM Kitkat 4.4.3, stock ROM is Jellybean 4.3
I am currently on build 4.7.11 & as always, MIUI will give a weekly update, so the latest revision is build 4.7.18

As usual, just open the Updater App to check whether if you have any available updates.

MIUI Updater showing if there are any updates

Friday, July 18, 2014

Xiaomi MI3 Glass SP Stress Test

Recently I bought a cheap non-branded glass screen protector from a seller in ebay but due to some defects, I was refunded.

*defect here means for example, that at top corner it just won't stick.

Since I already bought a replacement, I decided to try it out.
I wondered how many bends or how many stabs can this cheap glass SP withstand.

From the video, you can see I really stabbed the SP with a scissor, even tried to scratch it but nothing. Screen still intact without any damages.

Only after about 4-5 minutes later (video skipped because hands troublesome), then only the glass SP gave up and cracked when bent.

Then any stabs, can see marks on the screen already.

Conclusion, a cheap glass SP (RM13 with delivery to be exact) does its job very well.
Though the oleophobic layer doesn't hold long, in terms of protection, it's freaking good investment.

Bending it like Beckham

Thursday, July 17, 2014

MIUI V5 for Xiaomi MI3 updated ROM

After some tinkering with the phone, just found out that the ROM is updated to kitkat 4.4.3

The stable ROM is kitkat 4.4.3

I wonder when will we have the latest 4.4.4 update.

Android 4.4.3

The Best Al-Quran App with Xiaomi MI3

Alhamdulillah and syukran to whoever forwarded the info to download this app.

Friends have explained that someone has paid for the app to be shared for free for others to download for a certain period of time.

The introductory is very good, easy to read

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Use Internet Connection from Laptop/PC to Xiaomi MI3

Here's a nifty feature I just noticed with my Mi3.

Usually it's always been the phone being set as the modem, and all internet connection are tethered to that phone.

But as we all know, most data bandwidth are limited so whenever you have a internet connection to your laptop/PC, you can just connect your phone and it can use the internet from your laptop/PC instead.

I think it's easier to connect the phone to the free Wifi but there are some circumstances where wifi is not available but only LAN connections are provided.

Lots of major hotels have been doing this actually, maybe it's cost factor, who knows.

The toggle automatically appears, no setup required

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Google Search from Any Screen for Xiaomi Mi3

After Google updated their Google Search, MIUI V5 had some issues where there a black icon.

It was simply solved by changing the default language to something else then reverting back.


But that's not the story, the main story is the latest update and it's impact.
According to the changelogs, now Google Search or rather, Google Now can be activated from any screens in the phone.

Weird thing is, it's not by default.

So below is how you enable such feature.

Step 1: Open Google Now & go to Settings

Step 2: Go to Voice

Step 3: Go to "Ok Google" Detection


Final Step: Retrain Voice Model so Google can have a benchmark of your voice
And there you go.

But I noticed that devices with dual mic & noise suppression have better voice recognition and response.
Try It..

Starbucks Android App with Xiaomi Mi3

I'm a coffee addict but never really was a Starbucks fan due to their price.
But somehow I still have a membership card.

So as I was scouring the app store, I found about their app and had a go at it.

The app page in Google Play

Apparently I still have some credits.. Woohoo..

They allow you to add nicknames in events you have multiple cards

Ok, 2 more drinks to go before I can claim any free drinks

Nice feature where you can pay just by letting the Barista scan your "card"

Sunday, July 6, 2014

FTP File Transfer with Xiaomi Mi3 MIUI

One of the advantages of using a smartphone is that it can be used as an extra drive.
So it is crucial to have a simple but useful way of transferring files.

The most commonly used method is by connecting the phone to PC/laptop with a USB cable.
But then, how would you go about it if there's no USB cable around?

The first solution is to use the native FTP server.
You can find it the Explorer icon.

Then just click atthe FTP icon to open the FTP window.

Over here, you can setup everything for your conveniences.
If you're just transferring files once in a blue moon type of person, then you can just use anonymous login.
But for me, I use a lot of FTP especially for websites, so i setup the username & accounts for convenience.

After it's all done, just press start server and the app will start the server.
Just type the FTP data into your FTP client or in the Windows Explorer tabs.

For me, I used Filezilla FTP as I'm more accustomed to the FTP interface.

All this talk about FTP may sound a bit boring or too technical for basic users.For that, I would recommend users to use AirDroid app.
Airdroid gives an option whether to login with IP address or web interface

Basically it's similar to FTP transfer but with way better and user friendly interface.Since it's all based on icons, it's hard to not learn how to do.

AirDroid is requesting permission if you're trying to connect with IP address

The web interface is recommended instead of using IP address as it can login with your FB or G+ accounts to make it more secure.

And it has lots of functions too. My favourite is that it can "install" an app from your PC.Airdroid uploads the file to your phone, then your phone installs it. You just have to press "install" when prompted to.

This is useful for me because usually, I'd have to copy the APK to my phone drive first, open File Explorer, find the APK, then install.By installing apps through AirDroid, it's all reduced to 2 steps only, plus there's no APK file in the phone itself (so memory space is saved)

SwiftKey Keyboard V5 with Xiaomi Mi3

For all of you who didn't know, Xiaomi Mi3 with official Malaysian ROM already has a Swiftkey pre-installed. It's Version 4.4+ variant.

But here's the odd part, if you try to update the app, you can't because apparently Play Store sees it as a different Swiftkey thus no updates (FYI, the latest version of Swiftkey is V5).

So there's a theory that Xiaomi ripped off Swiftkey, modded it as their own.

Though that's very unlikely as I'd prefer to think that Xiaomi has a deal with Swiftkey for their older versions for cheap.

Moving on, I went to download the latest Swiftkey. And I have to admit, I love the default layout, stunning and clean!

Simple and clean layout

The abundance of themes available
It's worth to note that Swiftkey has revamped their business model by offering the app for free with optional in-app purchases.

To be frank, I love this idea.

This way, lots of people can enjoy the app "officially" and those who really enjoy it can continue to support the company by buying the themes.

And as a casual user, they gave me 10 paid themes for free. Maybe it's a marketing gimmick, but if it's free, why complain? :)

Keypress heatmap

Here's something new I just noticed. They implemented a so called heatmap of the keyboard layout.

The idea is that to show the user how accurate they are when keying the letters. The rounder and sharper the circles are, the accurate you are.

From my heatmap, you cas see it's a bit blurry of big. I think that's quite accurate considering I do have big hands, I used autocorrect lots of time & definitely used a lot of the "Flow" feature to.

In fact, the "flow" has been quite accurate. I think the cloud based sync learning has been useful as they can use the data to predict what word you're actually typing.


Cool Unlock Feature in Xiaomi Mi3 MIUI

So I was reading out a thread in MIUI Forums until i stumbled upon this useless but funny feature in MIUI.

When unlocking, try this gesture to get a cool unlock sound.
As in demo, it must be in reverse V shape, a reverse U won't work.
And don't forget to allow the unlock sound option in settings.

But I noticed that when you change the theme, the unlock feature won't work.
I guess maybe it's just a one-off easter bunny hidden feature in the original theme.

Google Chrome Desktop Remote with Xiaomi Mi3

Having a desktop remote feature is something of a godsend for multitaskers as it allows you to connect to your PC/Laptop from anywhere provided there's internet connection.

What's cool is that you're actually controlling the laptop as though you're in front of it. Whatever the laptops sees, you see, from your phone/tablet.
This includes the mouse cursors.

So I decided to test out the Desktop Remote with Xiaomi Mi3,works flawlessly.
Even tried using with 3G data, still works though lagged a bit.
Very cool feature indeed.

Forgive the video quality, still trying to find the best screen recording app

Google Translate on Xiaomi Mi3

Trying out Google Translate App on a Xiaomi Mi3 using the camera function.

It works by capturing a picture of the sentences, then it will do some sort of scanning then asks you to highlight which sentence requires translating. After that it will display the translated version of the sentences.

I have to say, it's quite handy especially if you don't know how to type the words.

My only wish is that it can translate offline in the future because right now, it still requires the phone to be connected to the internet.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

2 Step - Verification for Android Devices

And  with all the news of accounts being hacked, today I decided  that I need to take extra measures to secure my accounts.

This is especially important for me because I have around 4 android devices logged in the same account.

It's not really the most secure but it's definitely better than nothing but here is the 2-Steps Verification from Google.

Step 1 : I already changed my password, so my device asks to re-login
Step 2 : The device will ask to login from the web instead. Maybe it's totally locked out

Step 3 : From web interface, login to Google account using new password

Step 4 : After login, Google will send a code to your registered phone number to be filled in the later box

Last Step : Using the SMS Code you received, just fill in the box

So, when Google meant by 2-Step Verification is that Web Verification and then Phone Verification.
It does make sense, similar to T-Pin Codes used by Banks for online transaction nowadays.

It isn't perfect as it still has some loopholes like what if the phone was stolen and used to login the account?

I hope they can create more secure methods after this but I guess it should suffice for now.

UPDATE (6/7/2014) :
it seems that Google had already anticipated in cases where you'd lose your primary phone, hence this extra tab where they ask to put secondary phone numbers.

What's cool is that you can put any numbers, not just a handphone but landlines too. With that, they'd just send a voice code.

How cool is that.