I recently purchased a Pantech Burst Android phone. It’s a nice budget phone with LTE capability. When I set it up initially, I noticed a strange thing about it. I disabled mobile data at home because I have Wifi access. However, the mobile data feature got enabled automatically when the phone woke from sleep mode.
The first thing I did was to contact Pantech support, but they only suggested that I reset the phone. A factory reset would reset the phone and erase all apps and customization, which meant that all the works I did would be lost. Before doing that, I tried to find a solution that would still retain the customization and files.
An online article pointed the right direction for me to solve the problem. This is the quote from the article.
Apps need a special permission to turn on or off mobile data. There’s no built-in way to search for apps that use a particular permission, but you can look at the list of apps in Settings → Apps. In the “downloaded” list, if you click on a suspect app, you can see what permissions it uses. The permission you’re looking for is “change network connectivity“. Any app with that permission might be connecting or disconnecting networks. If you found one in the “downloaded” list, and you don’t think it should be allowed to do that, there’s a button to uninstall it.
You can also see what permissions each app wants before you install it, in the Play Store’s install screen.
I followed the directions to check my downloaded apps. There were a lot of apps to check. Fortunately, I found it within just a few tries. The culprit for this problem was the app Battery Defender. I have this app on my HTC One X and it works beautifully, but apparently it does not work properly with a Pantech Burst. After I uninstalled the Battery Defender app, my phone does not enable mobile data automatically any more. I have included a screenshot of the permissions. The specific setting is under SYSTEM TOOLS section.
I recently upgraded my phone to an HTC One X android phone. The phone performs very well. I have used some Android devices before, including the highly rated Asus Transformer. I was not impressed at all by those Android devices’ performances. This phone actually changed my view of Android. It has a large bright screen with high resolution. Every operation is responsive and does not lag at all. It’s way faster than my iPhone 4. There is, however, only one thing I do not like about this phone: the battery life is way too short. By default, it cannot last for even a day!
I have spent some time learning how to better manage the battery usage. Most of the suggestions I found can help to increase the battery life only by a little bit. Of all the tweaks I found, there are only some that would significantly increase the battery life. Here are the tweaks that I want to share.
Configure Accounts & Sync
On my HTC One X, this is under Settings -> Accounts & Sync. If you turn auto sync completely off, you will notice a dramatic increase of the battery life. However, turning everything off defeats the purpose of having a Smartphone. Instead of turning auto sync off, I just turned off syncing for some apps. For example, I never used the Stocks app: there was no reason for it to sync with the server. Go through all the apps listed under Accounts & Sync and turn off the apps that you do not use. After configuring this, I can now use my phone for two days without charging.
Turn off Fast boot
I usually turn my phone off when I go to bed. The phone is supposed to keep the charge when it’s turned off, but I found that it still consumes quite a bit of power when I turn it off at night. I estimate it loses about 15% to 20% of battery life. This had me worried a bit. I thought my phone might be defective. I then found out the reason why the battery still drains when it’s off. That’s because I have this feature called fast boot. This is turned on by default. With this feature, the machine is not completely turned off. The phone is put into sleep mode, which still consumes power. I turned fast boot off and the phone no longer drains battery when it’s off. This setting is under Settings -> Power.
Always Exit out of an App
If you do not exit out of an app when you are done, the app is still running in the background. Some apps can drain out power quickly. I learned this when I found out the Weather Channel app used over 60% of my battery because I did not close it. Be sure to check the battery usage from time to time to make sure nothing is out of the ordinary. You can check this info by going Settings -> Power -> Usage.
These are the 3 tweaks which I found affect the battery life greatly. There are, of course, some minor tweaks. I am listing these here:
- Turn off wifi, mobile data, GPS or Bluetooth when they are not in use.
- Lower the brightness of the screen.
- Lower the screen time out.
- Do not use live wallpaper.
- Install battery saving apps.
- Limit use of widgets.
A few months ago, my iPhone 4′s original battery couldn’t last more than a day. I bought a 3rd party battery to replace the original one. To my dismay, the replacement battery only lasted a bit longer than the old battery. I contacted the seller of the new battery. They agreed to send a new battery at no extra charge. The new battery they sent was still no good. So, I tried a different vendor and bought a more expensive battery. The battery life of this newest battery was only slightly better than the previous two replacement batteries. It never occurred to me that the problem was not with the battery.
Just a few weeks ago, I restored my iPhone due to other problems I encountered. I noticed the increased battery life right after I restored my iPhone. The battery life had gone from less than a day to two and a half days! I think part of the reason for the improved battery life was due to less applications installed on my iPhone. When I restored it, all the purchased apps had to be re-installed. I only installed a handful of applications that I used more often. I had quite a few applications previously installed that had processes running in the background even when the apps themselves weren’t running. They quickly drained the battery.
You should give this a try if you have problems with the battery life of your iPhone: You may find that you do not need a new battery after all.
We use a WDTV media player to display slides on a big screen TV. The WDTV was modded using WDLXTV to automate the downloading of the slides. I was not involved in setting it up. However, when we did a security scan, we found that there were a lot of services running and that some of the services were vulnerable to attacks. After consulting with the person who set it up initially, we determined that none of the services were needed and, instead, should be turned off.
The configuration file is in the root directory of the USB storage. The file is called S00custom-options. You can either (1) turn off WDTV and move the USB storage to your computer and edit the file on your computer or (2) [if ssh or telnet is turned on] log on to the WDTV and edit it online. I modified the file to turn off telnet, ftp, samba, ssh and mt-daapd.
# disable telnet server
config_tool -c TELNETD=OFF
# disable pure-ftpd server
config_tool -c FTPD=OFF
# disable samba share
config_tool -c ENABLE_SAMBA_SHARE=0
# disable dropbear ssh server
config_tool -c SSHD=OFF
# Disable mt-daapd digital audio server (saves ~10MB ram)
config_tool -c MT-DAAPD=OFF
Please see this page if you want to learn more about the options. After making the changes and restarting the WDTV, there was still one port open. The port was 111. The process was portmap, which is used to mount external NFS shares. I was supposed to be able to modify the S00custom-options file and add this line.
config_tool -c NFS=OFF
However, it wasn’t working. I found that there was a bug in the init file for portmap service. The service would run no matter how you configured it. My next step was to find a workaround. Reading through the main wiki page, I discovered that you could create a script to run after the machine boots up and finishes running all the other init scripts. The steps to create the S99user-script are detailed here.
My script looks like this:
I checked the ports again after this, and all the ports were finally closed.
I just replaced my old wireless router with a DD-WRT compatible router TP-Link TL-WR740N. The firmware has been reflashed to the latest DD-WRT version. After the switch, all my computers and wifi devices worked fine except iPhone and iPad. The wifi connection was intermittent on my iOS devices. When I tried the SpeedTest app, the performance was really bad. Sometimes the test failed completely.
I have tried a lot of different solutions that I could find on the internet. Here is a list of stuff I tried.
- Changed the wifi settings on the iOS devices to use public DNS like Google’s 22.214.171.124 or 126.96.36.199.
- Reset the network settings on the iOS devices.
- Tried different versions of DD-WRT on my router.
- Changed the router settings to disable QoS or WMM.
- Changed the router settings to use only 802.11g.
None of the above fixed the slow connection problem. I finally found an article about Netflix on iOS (iPad, iPhone) problem with DD-WRT’s dnsmasq. My problem was more serious, because the wifi connection was so bad and it’s not usable. I disabled dnsmasq on my router and rebooted it. My iOS devices could connect to my router once again without any problems! I have used the new settings for over a week now and I have never experienced slow wifi connection on my iOS devices again.
You can find the settings under Setup -> Basic Setup. Make sure Use DNSMasq for DHCP and Use DNSMasq for DNS are not checked.
I use an Asus Transformer at work. It is one of the company’s higher end models. It has a Tegra 2 3D processor, which is great for gaming. However, I do not use it for gaming that much. I found that, because of the mini-HDMI output, it is easy to use it as a media player. The price is kind of steep if I use it solely for the media player function. I set out to find a low cost Android tablet for my personal use. My criteria are: Android 4.0, mini-HDMI output, USB port and 7 inch display.
Here is a short list I found. I like the NOVO7′s low price and large storage. However, the company has no US service center. It would be a hassle if you need to contact their support.
Which one you think is the best? I’ll update the list once I find more tablets meeting my criteria.
||1 GHz ARM Cortex A8
||800 x 480
||Front: 0.3 MP
|Ainol OVO7 Advanced II
||1.2 GHz Many Core A10
||800 x 480
||Front: 2 MP
|X10 AirPad 7p
||1.2 GHz Allwinner A10 Cortex A8
||800 x 480
||Front: 1.3 MP
||1024 x 600
||Front: 0.3 MPBack: 2 MP
||1 GHz Boxchip A10 Cortex A8
||800 x 480
||Front: 0.3 MP
If you want to try Chromebook but do not want to shell out $300 for the hardware, you can actually transform your old laptop to a Chromebook for free. All you need is a 4GB USB drive and a laptop capable of booting from a USB drive.
Sound interesting? Let’s get started. The following instructions are for a Windows PC.
- Download Image Writer for Windows from this link. There are two files to choose from. Click on the second one for the binary.
- Create a folder on your desktop and extract the zip file you downloaded from step one to this folder.
- Download the Chrome OS image from this link. Click on the USB icon to download the image for USB drive.
- Extract the image file from this zip file, and place it in the folder created in step 2.
- Insert the USB drive to your computer, and make a note of the drive letter of it.
- Double click on Win32DiskImager.exe to run the program.
- Click on the folder icon to select the Chrome OS image file. The file is usually called ChromeOS-Vanilla-version-number.img .
- Make sure the Device refer to the USB flash drive you just inserted. If not, just click on the drive letter and select the correct one. Note that everything will be erased on the flash drive. Backup everything if you still have files on it.
- Click on Write to write the image to the USB drive. This will take several minutes.
- Take the USB drive to the computer you want to try and boot from the USB drive.
I tried this on an old Dell Latitude D630. The boot-up time is less than 30 seconds, which is fast for an old computer.
What’s your experience with Chromebook? Tell us in the comments section.
I recently changed my home wireless router’s encryption from WEP to WPA Personal. Most of my computers and wireless-enabled devices could connect without a problem except for an old set-top media player. The player did support WPA Personal, but it just wouldn’t connect. When I looked at the router’s status, I could see the player trying to connect. However, it only connected for a few seconds before suddenly disconnecting.
After I entered the passphrase several times, I then realized the media player only took a WPA key. There was no way to input a passphrase to the player. Some routers do generate the key for you, but mine does not support it. I needed a way to convert the passphrase to key.
WPA Passphrase to Key Calculation
After I entered the converted key into my media player, it connected to the wireless network and worked right away. This is very useful if you have wireless-enabled devices that only take a WPA key but not a passphrase.
For most Android 3 tablets, the screen resolution is over 1024×768, which is more like a desktop computer. However, when you visit mobile enhanced sites, you can only browse the mobile site, not the full site. Some sites offer you the option to switch to the full site, but some do not.
You can follow these steps to change the user agent string on Chrome to view the full site:
- Tap on the top right icon and then tap on Settings.
- Tap on Advanced and scroll down to find User Agent String.
- Change it to Desktop.
- Refresh the page and you’ll see the site is now the full site instead of the simplified mobile site.
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