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Monday, 27 March 2017

Hands-on with 5 Android apps you should download in March 2017

There are nearly 1.5 million applications currently on Google Play and with so many choices, finding new worthwhile apps can be a hassle. As we have the last several months now, today we’ll be showing you another 5 Android apps that you should definitely give a shot…

Podcast Go

My go-to app for podcasts on Android for years has been Pocket Casts, but recently I found a surprisingly pleasant alternative that doesn’t bring a price tag along with it. Podcast Go is a simple, material designed application that has an easy to use UI that makes sense for sorting multiple podcasts.
You can easily access a chronological list of podcasts that you’ve subscribed to, and also download those episodes for offline usage. The app doesn’t have any cloud sync options, nor can you remove the ads, but it’s a clean and useful app that is a great free alternative to PocketCasts.
Listen to your favourite podcasts in your phone! Podcast Go is the most elegant podcast player for Android phones and it is free. Podcast Go allows you to find, download, and listen to podcasts offline any place and any time. You can subscribe your favourite artists so you will be always up to date.

Peek Launcher

As in last month’s best apps list, we’ve got another simple launcher to show off. This time, it’s “Peek Launcher.” This dead simple launcher is designed to make it as easy as possible to access the app you’re looking for. The launcher still has support for things like icon packs and wallpapers, but it keeps the homescreen as clean as possible by having a 4×2 grid that includes apps you’ve pinned and your most frequently used apps. Below that is a T9 keyboard for searching your apps.
A swipe up reveals your app drawer, and a swipe down pulls up a Google search. One of the nice little touches I noticed as well was support for app shortcuts, which makes a lot of sense on a launcher like this. I also liked that the launcher pulls its theme colors from your wallpaper. Peek Launcher is free to download.
Unlike your current launcher, Peek Launcher can contain all your content without turning into a cluttered mess. Add all your contacts, favorite websites, shortcuts to actions inside apps, folders, files,… Peek Launcher will still look as clean as the day it was born.


Android’s standard status bar is clean and useful, but as with everything, there are always ways to improve it. Generally, doing so requires root, but “Status” makes it easy to change-up your status bar without rooting. The free app takes advantage of Android’s open nature and can fully replace your status bar with a fully customizable one.
You can edit the icons, colors, and much more to suit your needs. I did find that the app could be a little unstable at times, but for the most part it worked well. Status is free to download on Google Play and has no in-app purchases.
Status is a status bar replacement that draws an overlay on top of the system-generated status bar. This means that the actual status bar is only hidden under the replacement; touch gestures are not overridden, and the standard notification panel is still shown.


For those of you who need to keep close tabs on your internet usage, Glasswire is an app absolutely worth downloading. The free app keeps constant track of what apps are using mobile data/Wi-Fi on your phone and how much they’re using. It’s interesting to see how apps are using your data in such a comprehensive way too. You can see data usage over the course of just a few minutes or for up to 90 days. Glasswire is also free to download on Google Play and has no in-app purchases.
Instantly see which apps are wasting your data, acting suspiciously, slowing your phone’s Internet speed, or causing you to go over your carrier data limits. GlassWire makes it easy to keep track of your mobile carrier data usage and WiFi Internet activity.

Meteor Speed Test

At this point, I think everyone is pretty familiar with Ookla’s Speed Test app. Another option many don’t know about, however, is Meteor. Meteor is designed with the average user in mind. For many, the numbers displayed in other speed test apps don’t mean much, so Meteor translates that into standard lingo.
Further, Meteor shows how your internet speed will service popular apps you have installed such as YouTube, Facebook, Google Maps, Chrome, and more. You can keep track of locations and networks you’ve tested and sort them by how good they are. Meteor is also completely free on Google Play.
Meteor is the first speed test app for all earthlings — not just network engineers. Meteor will not only test your speed, but also tell you what experience you can expect while using popular apps given their connection requirements. Say goodbye to gibberish — Meteor gives an easy to use score in addition to numerical results.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

How to download the Android O Developer Preview

On 21 March 2017 Google made available the Android O Developer Preview, and for the second time it did so ahead of its annual Google I/O Developer's Conference. The final version won't be with us until late summer, but if you're curious it is possible to download Android Otoday on compatible devices. Also see: Android O latest news and rumours

Should I install Android O?

Unless you are a developer, then the answer is quite simply no. Google doesn't intend this first build of Android O to be available to the general public, and for that reason it has not issued the beta through the usual Android Beta over-the-air channel.
Some of you will insist on doing so anyway. So you should know that this will be entirely on you, and if you don't know what you're doing you could very easily brick your device. And with that in mind you should take the necessary steps to ensure all your data is backed up.

Will my phone or tablet run Android O?

The Android O Developer Preview can run on only certain Google devices. Those devices are:
  • Google Pixel
  • Google Pixel XL
  • Google Pixel C
  • Google Nexus 6P
  • Google Nexus 5X
  • Nexus Player

How can I download and install Android O?

In order to download Android O you will need to manually flash the software to your device, but be warned that this will remove all data from the device. 
Click here for advice on how to flash that file to your device.

How do I uninstall Android O?

To uninstall Android O following your trials you will need to download and flash to your device a factory image of Android Nougat.
On the next page you'll find our advice on how to use the Android Beta channel to install Android OS previews, including the current Android Nougat 7.1.2 beta. Right now this method will not work for Android O, though we will update our instructions accordingly once Google releases Android O into the Android Beta channel.

Android Nougat is now available to Google devices and will be coming to other phones imminently. A beta version of the most recent update - Android Nougat 7.1.2 - is available to download to Pixel devices now.
Android Nougat 7.1.2 is said to be "an incremental maintenance release focused on refinements, so it includes a number of bugfixes and optimizations, along with a small number of enhancements for carriers and users".
The Android Nougat 7.1.2 Beta is for developers, but as before anyone will be able to install it on a compatible device.

How to download Android Nougat 7.1.2 Beta

Downloading Android N is simple with Google's Android Beta Program. Any devices enrolled to the programme will receive OTA updates to the latest Android operating systems where available.
• To enroll in the Android Beta Program, open the browser on your compatible Nexus or Pixel device and head to g.co/androidbeta. You will be asked to sign into your Google account.
• Scroll down the page and you'll find a heading 'Eligible devices' with any compatible Nexus devices that are also signed into your account listed below.
Android N - enroll
• Find the Nexus device you wish to enroll to the beta programme and click the green 'Enroll device' button beside it.
• Tick the box to agree to the terms and conditions, then tap 'Join beta'.
Android N join beta
• A message will pop up to tell you your device has been enrolled and will soon receive an OTA update to the beta version of Android. Click Ok.
Content continues below
Android N enrolled
• The update notification arrived on our Nexus 6 instantly, although it can take up to 24 hours. If you don't receive your update notification after that time, check you're connected to the internet then head to Settings, About, System updates and check for updates. You will not receive OTA updates if you previously manually flashed Android on to that device (as we had with our Nexus 6) - you'll get a notification that verification has failed. Instead you will need to manually install Android N on that device, and you can follow the same instructions we provide below for manually installing Android Marshmallow.
• Once you see the update notification, pull down the notification bar and choose Download.
Android N notification
• In the next window you'll be told that this will install a preview version of Android N on to your device. Ensure you are connected to Wi-Fi, then tap Download. (Note that the screenshot is of the Android N Developer Preview and not the Android N 7.1.2 Beta.)
Android N download
• You can now install the Android Nougat 7.1.2 Beta. Tap Restart & install to begin the process.
Android N restart & install
• You'll automatically receive notifications of any new Android Nougat update. Also see: How to update Android

How to uninstall Android Nougat 7.1.2 Beta

Removing or uninstalling an Android N Beta is as easy as is installing it. You simply head to the Android Beta Program page at g.co/androidbeta then tap the Unenroll device button next to your Nexus device. Do note, however, that doing so will wipe all data on your device - be sure to back up Android first.
We've left our instructions from last year on how to flash Android Marshmallow on to a device on the next page for those who need to manually flash the software. Most readers can ignore these instructions.

10 Best Cheat Sheets That A Programmer Must Have

Opening heavy books and digging StackOverflow might be the wrong option when you are in a hurry. Some programmers like to make their own cheat sheets according to their weaknesses and strengths.
But, you don’t have to spend much time and energy as we have compiled these cheat sheets that you can consult anytime.
Let’s get started (And don’t forget to check out fantastic deals on different courses at the end of the article):

Must Have Cheat Sheet For Programmers

HTML5 Cheat Sheet:

HTML5 is the fifth and most recent version of HTML. This markup language finds its use in presenting the content on the web and helps in its proper structuring. HTML5 is also being widely used in the cross-platform applications that could be easily run on any device.

CSS3 Cheat Sheet:

cssCSS3, the latest CSS standard, is totally compatible with the earlier CSS versions. This web styling language described the look of a web document when it’s written in HTML.

JavaScript Cheat Sheet:

learn-javascriptJavaScript is also known as the programming language of the web. This lightweight programming language is used to create dynamic websites and web apps. HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are the 3 core technologies of the World Wide Web.

Python Cheat Sheet:

pythonlogoThis widely popular and general-purpose programming language is easier to learn. Python promotes code readability and lets coders express themselves in fewer lines of code. Its large standard library is often called Python’s biggest strengths.

Java Cheat Sheet:

java-logoReleased by Sun Microsystems in 1995, Java has become the cornerstone of many applications and websites. This fast and reliable language outshines by eliminating the language features of other languages that cause coding errors. Java also finds its use in Google’s Android OS.

PHP Cheat Sheet:

php_01This widely popular and open source scripting language cab be embedded in HTML and finds wide use in the web development process. PHP is a simple language for a newcomer but it’s good to have a prior knowledge of HTML and CSS.

Ruby Cheat Sheet:

ruby_badge.sh-600x600Designed by Yukihiro Matsumoto, this object-oriented and dynamic scripting language is used to develop apps and websites. Just like Python, Ruby is an easy-to-learn programming language for the beginners. Ruby also powers the Ruby in Rails framework, which is used on GitHub.

C# Cheat Sheet:

C#Pronounced C-Sharp, Microsoft developed this programming language by combining the principles of C and C++. This general purpose programming language finds a wide use in coding Windows software.

Swift Cheat Sheet:

swift_tutSwift is today’s hottest programming language that should be a priority of every aspiring programmer. Recently open sourced, this language from the kitchen of Apple is used to code apps for iOS platform and Apple devices.

SQL Cheat Sheet:

sql logoSQL (Structured Query Language) is a special-purpose programming language that’s widely used for managing data stored in relational databases. SQL was initially developed at IBM and initially called SEQUEL.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

How To Use Blue Light Filter In Windows 10 And Save Your Eyes From Strain

Ever felt the problem of watery eyes when you wake up from sleep to work on your laptop screen? We’ve already told you about a widely popular app named f.lux, which works on Windows, Linux, and mac OS. Recently, Google and Apple also launched Night Mode feature in Android and iOS, respectively.
Now, Microsoft has decided to add an inbuilt feature in Windows 10. But, before going ahead and discussing it further, let me tell you the need for options/programs to decrease the blue light. Can’t I just decrease the brightness and reduce the strain?
Even after decreasing the brightness, blue light emissions from screen are still high enough to swell your eyes with water. There’s a receptor cell named Melanopsin beside rods and cones in our retina. Melanopsin is blue light sensitive. Well, I think that’s enough biology, let’s tell you about the newly introduced Blue Light Settings in Windows 10.

Windows 10 Creators Update: Blue Light Filter

Recently, Microsoft launched Windows 10 Insider Build 15002. It’s a massive release that brings along many new features like Blue Light reduction mode, Dynamic Lock, Microsoft Edge improvements, Start and Shell improvements, etc.

How to use Windows 10 Blue Light filter?

Note: Please make sure that you’re running the latest Windows 10 Insider Build 15002. If you’re not running it, to do so, you need to read How to join Windows 10 Fast Ring from this tutorial and grab the latest build.
Windows 10 Blue Light Filter setting is very easy to set up and use. This means that it comes with a cleaner and fewer configuration options. You get the option to adjust the screen’s color temperature automatically, toggling it on and off, and set personalized hours.
To enable the Blue Light mode in Windows 10, you need to follow these steps:
  • Simply open the Settings app on your Windows 10 PC. Now, look for the display option and click on it.
  • Near the top, you’ll find a toggle below Lower blue light automatically. Now, turn this toggle to On.
  • After enabling Windows 10 Blue Light Filter, you need to click on Blue light settings for further options.settings-display-windows 10 creators update
  • The Blue light settings page tells you that displays emit blue light and Windows 10 can show warmer color to make it easier to sleep at night. Here, click on the Turn on now button to enable it automatically.blue light settings windows 10
  • From the other options, you can disable the automatic option and configure the options manually. There’s a slider for changing the Color temperature at night.
  • You also have the option to manually set the hours for lowering blue light.

Super Mario Run hits Android, rolls out version two on iOS

Super Mario Run hit Android a day early. Originally expected today, March 23, per Nintendo’s earlier announcement, the game arrived on the Google Play Store yesterday instead, along with an update on iOS. The iOS exclusive ran for three months, and brought the app over 78 million downloads, the gaming company said during its earnings in January.
Of those players, more than five percent purchased the game, bringing in $53 million in revenue for the title. That dollar amount is fairly high, given the $10 purchase price in order to unlock the full version. And it performed better than analysts had expected given its top dollar price point – many games that only charge a dollar or two for in-game items convert less than 5 percent of their users.
But Nintendo had hoped for conversions in the double digits, Chief Executive Tatsumi Kimishima had said.

Now on Android, it’s interesting to note that Nintendo didn’t try to tweak the game’s revenue model. It’s still a free download which requires a one time in-app purchase of $10 to unlock the levels beyond worlds 1-4.
However, the most notable part of the update to version 2.0 on iOS is that Nintendo has made more of the game free to play, the App Store description says. Now, if users complete one of Bowser’s challenges, they can unlock the previously locked course 1-4. Plus, if you clear the courses 1-4, you’ll get more courses to play in Toad Rally.
Version 2.0 was simultaneously released to the Apple App Store when it hit Android. The update also brings new playable characters, including different colors of Yoshi. Plus, you can play Toad Rally with a Yoshi of a particular color to get more Toads of that color. And the game is adding new buildings, making it easier to get Rally Tickets in the Bonus Game House, and adjusted the ease of play in some areas, among other tweaks.
But it will be interesting to see how Super Mario Run’s Android release affects Nintendo’s revenues – especially given that iOS users tend to spend more money on games and in-app purchases than those on Android.
At the time of its launch, there was pent-up demand for Super Mario on mobile, which is what allowed the app to surge to the top of the App Store after its release, earning 5 million downloads on its first day live. That demand in the market has been at least partially satiated now, and many regular gamers found they completed Mario in a matter of days.
But with the update, Mario has again gotten a little pop on iOS. The app is now the #9 free overall app on the App Store as of this morning, up from #49 over the weekend.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Google releases Android O to developers, promising better battery life and notifications

For the second year in a row, Google is making a developer preview for the next version of Android available in March, well ahead of its presumed consumer release in the fall. This one is codenamed “O,” and your guess is as good as mine as to what dessert the final version will be named after. It isn’t yet available for regular users to try out. Although developers can begin testing it right away, it’s best for most people to let things stabilize a bit more before they try it out. Developers can download it today.
Google isn’t yet telling us everything that’s coming in O, but the marquee feature is meant to address a perennial smartphone problem that has seen equally perennial attempts at fixing it: battery life.
For O, Google is continuing its trend toward aggressively managing what apps can do in the background (as iOS has long done) to ensure that runaway processes don’t destroy your battery. As Android VP of engineering, Dave Burke, puts it: “We've put additional automatic limits on what apps can do in the background, in three main areas: implicit broadcasts, background services, and location updates.”
It’s possible that these “automatic limits” could wreak some havoc on existing apps that assume a more liberal stance toward what they’re allowed to do in the background, so developers will want to check up on how it works with their particular apps.
Improvements to battery life is a hard thing to judge — especially with early versions of software. So we won’t know whether Google’s strategy here will be effective on most phones for quite some time.
Easier to judge: changes in the notification system in Android. It seems like notifications get tweaked with every iteration of smartphone software, but Android’s approach has generally been better than the competition’s. For O, the big change is that apps can “group” their notifications into categories called “channels.”
 Image: Google
 Image: Google
That’s pretty vague, but what it sounds like is that you’ll be able to set what kind of notifications you want from each app from within Android’s main notification settings pane. So if an app offers “high-priority alerts” and “marketing,” you can turn them off directly in Android’s settings rather than digging through the app’s interface.
And speaking of “vague,” Burke also says O has “new visuals and grouping to notifications that make it easier for users to see what's going on when they have an incoming message or are glancing at the notification shade.” We’ll need a bit more clarity before we can know exactly what this all means — or if it’s just random new options for developers that will get used rarely. For something as essential as notifications, it behooves Google not to mess around with the interface too much, unless there’s something genuinely great here.
Here’s one great addition we just found in Google’s developer documents: you can snooze notifications so they appear at a later time, just like you do with email. That’s pretty great.
 Image: Google
Battery and notifications are the biggest changes announced today, but there’s a grab bag of other stuff which may appeal to you. For example, Google is aiming to improve sound quality with wireless headphones with “high-quality Bluetooth audio codecs,” as well as Sony’s LDAC codec.
Google is also letting app developers create “adaptive icons,” which will change their look and shape depending on what home screen theme the user has opted for. That’s either a sign that theming is going to be a bigger deal than it used to be on Android, or it’s a sign that all those Android icon packs are getting popular but are still too confusing to set up for most users. Let’s go with both.
GIF: Google
GIF: Google
Here are a few more additions that hang together thematically, related to how stuff gets displayed or navigated on the screen:
  • A genuine picture-in-picture mode for videos
  • A new pop-up window that apps can use instead of the system alert window (actually that sounds terrible)
  • “Multi-display support for launching an activity on a remote display,” which could refer to something like a PowerPoint presentation mode or a Continuum-style Android-on-the-desktop mode. Either way it sounds weird.
  • New ways to support keyboard navigation, including especially arrow and tab button navigation
Take that grouping together, and you begin to see signs that Google is pretty serious about making Android work better on Chromebooks. Of course, the current version of Android Nougat is still not available on Chrome OS. I’ve been told that the plan is not to allow Android on Chrome OS to stay a generation behind, but that after it exits beta this spring, it will be kept at parity with the current phone release.
However it shakes out, it seems clear to me that Chrome OS with Android apps is Google’s strategy for big screens going forward. If there’s another Google-made flagship Android tablet, I’ll be mildly surprised.
Lastly, there’s a mix of stuff that’s clearly filling out cases developers have asked for to ensure their apps feel either more professional or less of a hassle to use (or both):
  • Autofill APIs, which will make it easier for password managers to register themselves as the official autofill app for punching in your oft-entered yet still-sensitive information into other apps
  • Support for fonts as full Android resources, so they can be used and defined more simply in XML layouts.
  • “Wide-gamut color for apps,” so that they can take full advantage of the stupid-good screens on flagship phones
  • A “telecom framework” so third-party VOIP apps can act like first-class phone apps as far as the OS is concerned
  • WebView (the thing that lets apps use the Chrome rendering engine to display web content) is going to work a little more smoothly because apps will have “multiprocess mode” enabled by default and handle crashes themselves. They can also use Google’s Safe Browsing verification to ensure users aren’t caught on phishing sites.
  • New Java stuff, including “Java 8 APIs and runtime optimizations” and “the new java.time API.” Google also claims the “Android Runtime,” the code behind the code that runs your apps, will be “faster than ever before, with improvements of up to 2x on some application benchmarks.”
  • Something called “Network Aware Networking,” which should allow Android devices to communicate directly with each other over Wi-Fi, even if the network isn’t connected to the internet
Developers will be able to test Android O in a desktop emulator or on one of the following devices: Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel C. If you want to try it, you will have to manually download and flash it yourself, rather than sign up for an over-the-air update. That’s for the best, probably: last year the first few developer previews were very much not the sort of thing you’d want to use on your primary phone, and chances are good the same is true this time around.
I asked if there would be a beta this year and Google’s not saying yet — but last year it waited until Google I/O in May to release a truly public beta that made it easy for regular people to try it. Perhaps the same will happen again this year — we’ll be at Google I/O May 17th–19th to let you know if it does.