Nexus 4 & 7: Android 4.2.2 Updates

Android 4.2.2 dropped a couple of days ago and the updates of my Nexus4 and Nexus7 went without a problem. The reason for this post is to point out something I found amusing about my usage of the Nexus4…

I just attempted to send a text message and noticed my Nexus4 was not connected to my phone network. I don’t think it’s been connected since the update two days ago. When I noticed, I did a search for the phone network, found it and played catch up on a couple of old messages.

What I found amusing is it shows how little I actually need a phone network. I am almost continually in wifi range and most of my communication is via email, twitter and skype, so having no data connection for two days went unnoticed. I’m glad I only pay £8/month. :)

Cheers

Tim…

Android Jelly Bean 4.1.2 on my Nexus 7…

I turned on my Nexus 7 last night and it asked if I wanted to upgrade to Android 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean). The install was pretty quick and went through with no dramas.

I’m not all that interested in the whole Android thing. To be honest, I can’t even be bothered to check the change log. It’s just an enabling technology for me, not something I’m passionate about. What I can say it that it has finally fixed the home page swivel issue. In case you hadn’t heard, the Nexus 7 automatically orientates the screen to whichever way you are holding it, except for the home page which always stays in portrait mode. Not any more. Finally it too can swivel.

I was never sure why this screen didn’t act like all the others, but it seems Google has responded to the criticism and sorted it.

Cheers

Tim…

Adventures with Dropbox and KeePass…

Thanks to Eddie Awad, I’ve been using 2-step verification on my Google account for a while. Now Jake from The Appslab has scared me into using a password manager and revamping all my passwords…

We use KeePass (on Windows) at work to hold all our passwords, so I figured I’d go with that and see how I get on. Unlike work, I want to use a single store for all my devices, so I finally found a use for my Dropbox account.

Dropbox Installations

If you don’t already have it, you need to install Dropbox on your device(s). For mobiles, that means their respective app stores. For computers (Linux, Mac and Windows), you can get it from the Dropbox website.

Shared KeePass Installation

Rather than install KeePass on each Windows/Mac/Linux machine separately, I downloaded the Portable KeePass 2.19 (ZIP Package) version of KeePass and unziped it into a “KeePass” directory inside my “Dropbox” directory. That same installation can be used on all Dropbox-enabled desktops and laptops.

KeePass Installations on Linux

  • To run KeePass under Linux, you need to install Mono. On Fedora 17 you can do this with the following command.
    # yum install mono-core mono-tools
  • Once Mono is installed, you can run KeePass with the following command.
    $ mono ~/Dropbox/KeePass/KeePass.exe
  • I created a new KeePass database and saved the “.kdbx” file in my “~/Dropbox/KeePass” directory, so it was available on all my devices..

KeePass works really well on Fedora 17 using Mono.

KeePass Installations on Android

For Android devices, I used the KeePassDroid app.

  • Install the Dropbox app if you don’t already have it. Connect to your Dropbox account and check you can see the “.kdbx” file in the “KeePass” directory.
  • Install the KeePassDroid app.
  • Open Dropbox, locate the “.kdbx” file and tap it.
  • Once the KeePassDroid app opens, check the “Use this as my default database” option, enter the password and click the “OK” key.

The KeePassDroid app works fine on my Nexus 7 and my old HTC Wildfire.

Update: Swapped my phone for a Nexus 4. Not surprisingly, the app works fine on this too. :)

KeePass Installations on iPad/iPhone

For my iPad I used the MiniKeePass app.

  • Install the MiniKeePass app and open it.
  • Hit the “i” in the bottom-middle of the screen.
  • Click the “Dropbox Import/Export” option and follow the instructions.

It’s not a thrilling app, but it does the job.

KeePass Installations on OS X

The KeePass app does not work well (see update below) under the OS X version of Mono. It’s slow and the interface is quite jerky, but you can use it.

  • Download the Mono SDK for Mac. I used the “2.10.9” stable version. When I tried to use the Mono Runtime, KeePass failed to open the database file, so definitely use the SDK. Install the Mono SDK like any other Mac package.
  • Once Mono is installed, run KeePass with the following command.
    $ mono ~/Dropbox/KeePass/KeePass.exe

If you plan to use OS X as your main platform, I would probably use a different password store until Mono on OS X becomes a little more reliable (see update below).

Update: The latest version of KeePass and Mono work pretty well, so my previous warning is not really necessary now. Remember, if you are planning to use KeePass on Mac, make sure you have the latest version of X11 and Mono (3.2.3 or later).

Update 2: I now use KeePass2 on Mac. It’s in Beta at the moment, but I’ve been using it since the Alpha and it works fine.

So that’s it. I only have to remember my DropBox password and my KeePass password and I can now use ridiculous passwords for all my other logins…

Cheers

Tim…

I’m an Android…

I wrote recently about the whole Apple vs Android thing and announced I was not in either camp. Recent family issues have meant I’m on the phone a lot more now and the “pay as you go” thing just isn’t making sense. I ventured into the murky world of phone contracts and came out with a HTC Wildfire, which is about the cheapest phone/contract you can get that in my opinion can still be called a smartphone. In fact, you can get them so cheap that they really are an entry level phone now.

The iPhone 4 was never really in the running because it is so darn expensive. I did the Pepsi challenge between the HTC Desire HD, Samsung Galaxy S and the HTC Wildfire and I picked the latter. They are all Android phones, so there was really not much difference in user experience. The Desire was the biggest, which in my opinion was its downfall. It feels like you are holding a tablet to your ear. Obviously, having such a big screen makes web stuff easier, but I’ve got my iPad for that, so it’s not really that relevant for me. The Galaxy S was a bit smaller, but still massive. The Wildfire actually felt like a phone and boy was it cheap compared to the others. That kinda swung it for me. When doing anything with the internet my preference is always, “Desktop > Laptop > iPad > Phone”, so I can’t see the phone getting much use as a smartphone, so paying through the nose for it just doesn’t seem sensible for me.

Negotiating the whole phone contract thing is a bloody nightmare. It’s like haggling with Cut -Me-Own-Throat Dibbler. Armed with lots of information from competitors websites, I ended up with the Wildfire with an unlimited data plan for less that their website was offering dumb phones with no data plans. As I said before, it really is an entry level device now.

A couple of days in and the novelty has worn off and I’m completely bored with the phone. I’m so glad I didn’t spend more money on something fancy. :)

Cheers

Tim…