Android Lollipop Upgrade (5.0)

November 30th, 2014 No comments

As you can most likely see I have not written a blog post in a long while :). Being busy with work and all, it does not seem to be as bigger priority as it was in Uni days!

Yesterday I upgraded my Google Nexus 4 from KitKat to Lollipop, Android Version 5. Normally these upgrades go well from Google but yesterdays one went very wrong. Findings so far seem to suggest it may have been down to a lack of storage available on my phone which prevented certain things from executing and installing but that is not definitive. Even so having read around the Net I can see others had the same symptoms as me.

After the upgrade whilst the phone booted and I could access it, the phone itself was sluggish and at times unresponsive. Most odd after the upgrade was all my Google authored apps like Google Play, Gmail etc. would not work whilst others did. Again these symptoms seemed to shared by others.

Whilst looking around the phone within Apps (Settings->Apps->Running), I could see Google Play Services was constantly trying to restart and and would hang. This lead me to believe there could be an issue here which also ties up to why the other Google apps were not working as expected. I could also see the version of Google Play Services was not the latest and the version shipped with Lollipop.

With all the above in mind I came to the conclusion Google Play Services needed to be updated and did not get updated in the original upgrade. However with Google Play Store (a Google App :) ) being down this had to be done manually. To do this I followed these steps:

Allow Apps from Unknown sources (this can be disabled later) – Settings->Security->Unknown Sources.
From your phone or via a your computer with a USB cable download Google Play Services APK file:
http://www.apkmirror.com/apk/google-inc/ – The APK file can be downloaded here. Please ensure you download the correct version for your, there are instructions on the site on how to know which one to choose.
If downloading from your computer copy the APK file to a directory of your choice.
If you downloaded direct from your phone, got to Downloads or navigate from your phone to the directory you stored the APK file.
Tap the APK file, choose open with installed and Install.
You may need to reboot the phone but I found things then to start working as expected again.
There is no warranty of guarantee for this process from me (Simon Money) or anyone else I know but what I do know it worked for me and its a better alternative to factory resetting your phone :).

Bye.

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PSN Outage Update

April 27th, 2011 No comments

In addition to being down and not offering any real explanation for being down other than the vague description of effectively saying they have been hacked, Sony now say that every detail we could have possibly given them including credit card details have now been comprised. This can be seen in the below announcement:

PSN Service Update 26/04/2011

To be honest I don’t think any store including Sony should be storing credit card details. With 3D secure and how this could be further developed there is no reason to, other than quick purchasing for next time when you buy, which I for one always opt out of. Credit card details could be sent to banks directly, all the merchant would need to know is the fact that the payment had been authorised. This is a similar concept to PayPal.

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PSN (PlayStation) Network

April 23rd, 2011 1 comment

PlayStation Network went un-expectedly down on Wednesday the 20th and at this time is currently still down. Users got a error message when trying to automatically sign in, which referred to a PSN download error code. PlayStation then added the message that the network was down for maintenance. The down time has meant that 75 million customers that use PSN have not been able to play their games online, with some games only able to be played online. The down time is causing a lot of anger in the community. The reason that is being suggested is that hackers attempted to gain access the PlayStation network. Sony says on their blog “An external intrusion on our system has affected our PlayStation Network and Qriocity services”.
Currently Sony have not said when normal services will be revived but are working to get the solution sorted and have the network up as soon as they can. Keep a eye on the PlayStation blog for more updates.

I personally own a PS3 and have found it a little annoying the network has been down for as long as it has, as like many i like to play online with my friends. This has not stopped my playing my PS3 though, it has given us all a chance to play those single player campaigns that the developers put a lot of time into but so often don’t get played because the majority of people prefer the online experience. Another point to raise is the PlayStation network is free to all PS3 owners and i would prefer to be free even if this means the occasional down time. I am now wondering how big the next system download will be and reading the patch notes, should be interesting.

Feel free to give your own view on the current down time!

Playstation Blog Link

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Prey

March 14th, 2011 No comments

In this age of high tech gadgets, with many of us carrying hundreds of pounds worth of stuff on us every day, the need to protect our gadgets from thefts increases. If you loose your laptop or phone its not always easy to get back and in most cases you won’t. Best i could think of is going to the police and report it stolen, but then whats the chance of some one handing in a gadget that is worth alot of money.

So whats the solution ? Well i came across a free open source anti theft software for laptops and smart phones called Prey Project. Basically you register on the site, download the free software and install it. It then sits invisibly on your laptop until you login to your prey account and activate it. As soon as the device connects to a WiFi connection ( or sms message) Prey will start receiving reports about the device. Prey has alot of features for a free software, which i was very impressed by. Some of the features of Prey are: Get screen shoots of what they are doing on your device, lock the computer until a specific password is entered, scan your computers hardware (ram, cpu, motherboard ect), get Google maps position of where you device currently is and If your device has a webcam you can take a picture of the thief. You can also wipe important passwords, hide Outlook/Thunderbird and make alert noises/messages appear.

There is also a paid monthly version if you wanna use it on several devices (about £3 for 3 devices), but from what i can see the average user is not gonna need to get the pro version. With the pro version the only feature i like the look of is having reports more often.

http://preyproject.com/

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Android Gold Rates App

March 6th, 2011 No comments

Simon Money – Advanced Java 2010/11 Gold Rates and Headlines Android from Simon Money on Vimeo.

During my last semester at University I created an Android application as part of an Advanced Java module. The Android app is based around gold rates and like every other Android app is written in Java! The app offers a variety of functionality from its base feature of pulling down a Gold Rates data feed, the ability to record the last gold rate in the database for comparison, the graphing of change with other visual indicators, a news feed and the ability to view currencies by a Google map, as in you select a currency from its position on a world map.

When started, the app goes to a Java Servlet I created and passes the gold feed URL to be pulled back for processing, the Java DOM library is used for this. The Servlet parses the raw incoming feed, creates a new XML document with the minimal data we actually want and then passes this back to the app. Next, the app parses the incoming feed and displays it within the OS based GUI widgets, as can be seen in the picture and video above. For last rate and latest rate comparison, these rates are stored in a database server side.

The News feed for the app is dealt with in a similar way. Headlines can be viewed on the main rates screen as a marquee or viewed on a separate screen as a list, again using Android’s base OS widgets.

Once the app has the data, as well as displaying it and showing change with colour, a bar graph can be created to show further change at a high level. A further visual background graphic along with textual details are also shown on this screen. The “comparison” screen as I call it is created using android’s graphics/paint functionality, which allows for the creation of shapes, importation of images and a lot more.

The final main functionality of the app, is the ability to view rates via a Google Map. This works by having each of the worlds major currencies pinpointed on a world map, using an icon. When the user hits one of the icons, they are shown the latest and last gold rate for that currency. This feature was created using the Google Maps API for android, which I found to be very powerful. After obtaining an API key, you really get to use the functionality available which can range from pin-pointing items on a map to finding geo-codes from place names and more.

This is a project I very much enjoyed and was sad when the module ended. Working with Android and creating this project, enabled me to appreciate the power of Android OS and its underlying technologies such as the way it elegantly handles processes, something I believe my app compliments.

Please feel free to view the video above but first request the password!

*This is a University non-profit project!

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Away 3D

February 28th, 2011 No comments

Away 3D logo

Away 3D is a open source real time 3D engine for Flash. Away 3D is free and is capable of creating amazing 3D simulations with run time calculations such as shadows, shading water, wind, particles and reflections. Away 3d is similar to the  popular Papervision3D engine. They both are 3D engines but i would say Away 3d is a much more powerful run time simulator from what i have seen. I would also say Away 3D is coming along quicker in terms of what it can do at run time with small amounts of processing power. With Away 3D Developers have created huge cities, airplanes, cars, games, which all look stunning for just using the flash player. Some of the stuff is hard to belive its created in a flash player environment rather then a complex 3D render. Away 3D comes in a lite version with holds the most of what general stuff needed for most users and cuts down on library size. If you are new to 3d or more advanced, Away 3D is not too hard to get to know and learn as it has lots of documentation on all aspects and classes/methods  in a live doc format online.

Away 3D Documention – http://away3d.com/documentation

Away 3D Download – http://away3d.com/downloads

Below is a few videos showing off some good work, that really show off what away 3D is capable of.

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Hello and Welcome!!!

January 29th, 2011 1 comment

This is a brand spanking new Blog relating to our newly to be built website at http://www.mbitonline.com.

On this blog both myself and Elliot will be publishing posts relating to the latest in the world of technology. We will also be posting about what’s new on MBIT Online, in particular interesting snippets about the various development stages we will/have gone through whilst creating our new website.

We each have a variety of interests and both have studied and worked in industry. Personally, I am interested in Web and mobile based technologies as well as e-commerce related issues such as SEO and PPC. In my work I also have an interest in infrastructure and security technologies, all of which i’m sure will feature on this blog at some point! Example personal web project I have worked on a sites based around PHP, Ajax, HTML and CSS etc. Other examples of work completed include a Google Android Based app.

Elliot on the other is also interested in Web and graphics based technologies, in particular Flash and ActionScript 3 but i’ll let him tell you more about that!

Pooling both our skills together, our main website will be based upon Flash, ActionScript 3, HTML, CSS PHP as well as other technologies. The site will be built with SEO in mind. As mentioned, major points of interest during the development stages of our new site will be posted up here.

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