Author Archives: Venktesh Shivam

Venktesh Shivam

About Venktesh Shivam

Final year undergrad student who loves to read and write about tech stuff especially Android based devices and OS itself. Also finds pleasure in reading fiction and watching movies.

13 Android Developer Options

Developer Options are advanced settings which are hidden in Settings menu and can be unlocked by going to Settings >> About Phone and tapping Build Number 7 times. Using these options users can speed up their device by turning animations off or can increase rendering quality for good gameplay etc. Many users don’t change anything due to fear of messing up their device but in reality they can be easily reverted by restoring them to previous value.

Build Number

 

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13 important Android Developer Options which can be used by any naive user are:

Also See: Must Install Android Utility Apps

1. Desktop Backup Password

Backups which are created using ADB tool can be protected from being easily accessed by putting password protection using this feature. Goto Developer Options >> Desktop Backup Password and Enter current password and Enter new password.

2. Stay Awake

This feature allows you to keep your screen light on while charging your phone. Goto Developer Options >> Stay awake and tick the box.

3. Select Runtime

This feature is exclusive to KitKat 4.4.x and allows you to choose between Dalvik and ART runtime. ART runtime is still not supported by all the applications but saves battery and increases performance of device.

4. Process Stats

This feature allows users to see more detailed description of the memory and battery usage by different applications installed. Goto Developer Options >> Process Stats.

5. USB Debugging

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Most used developer option and is used to test Android related tools by connecting device to PC. It is required to establish connection between device and PC.

6. Allow mock locations

It is used to fake your GPS location coordinates, so that different apps can use your fake location and you will be able to search for different areas quickly.

7. Enable MSAA for OpenGL games

While using high end devices this feature can be turned on to allow high speed rendering of graphics and better gameplay but this feature drains device’s battery quickly.

8. Tweak Animation settings

While transitioning from one screen to another there is some animation, user can speed up this animation or can turn it on/off completely to speed up the device.

9. Display CPU usage overlay

This is not much of a useful feature as it only shows list of all the processes running in the side screen pane and with time their number increases and screen becomes cluttered.

10. Show Touches

It allows visual highlights of the touches on the screen while tapping it with finger. Goto Developer Options >> Show Touches

11. Pointer location

Shows and imprints the touch coordinates on the screen with different colors.

12. Force GPU rendering

It makes use of hardware acceleration on apps which doesn’t support it explicitly and cause performance to increase or reduce accordingly.

13. Don’t Keep App Activities

Application perform lots of activities on the device and keeps track of them, this feature revokes applications right to store activities on the device.

Top 4 Stock Android Smartphones

Now a days different OEMs are shipping their smartphone products with additional UI layer and some propriety applications pre-installed on the device such as TouchWiz UI by Samsung, Sense by HTC, TimeScape by Sony and further this list includes LG, Lenovo, Huawei and many more but some customer just want the pure Google experience i.e. pure stock Android running on their high-end devices, for such users there are are some devices by HTC, Motorola, LG which run stock Android apart from their promising hardware. So here we present a comprehensive and detailed list of 4  devices running stock Android:

1. HTC One M8 Google Play Edition

HTC One M8 GPE

HTCs latest flagship running unadulterated version of stock Android 4.4.4 KitKat, this device is a symbol of beauty and performance with its metallic build and high quality ultrapixel camera. Its hardware is same as of HTC One M8 with HTC Sense sporting 5 inch 1080p FHD screen, 2.3 GHz Quad core Snapdragon 801 processor, 2 GB of RAM, Rear 4 ultrapixel dual camera with dual LED flash and a 5 Megapixel selfie shooter. It has HTC Boomsound surround speakers and a non-removable 2600 mAh battery which might be a problem for some users but is best for users demanding cutting edge hardware with stock android experience.

2. LG Nexus 5

Nexus 5

Nexus 5 is the fifth Nexus phone by Google manufactured in collaboration with partner LG. This is the 2nd Nexus manufactured by LG other than Nexus 4. This is the first device running stock Android KitKat 4.4 and expected to be preceded shortly by Nexus 6 which is due launch in mid October with Android L. This device also has impressive hardware specifications with 8 Megapixel rear and 1.3 Megapixel front camera, 2.3 GHz Quad core snapdragon 800 processor, Adreno 330 GPU backed by 2 GB of RAM. It is available in 16 GB and 32 GB variants. It is said to be one of the best KitKat device in its price bracket available for around 28000 INR in market.

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3. Moto X(2nd Generation)

Moto X

The 2nd Moto X launched within a year with top notch hardware specifications and stock Android 4.4.4 KitKat. Its predecessor 1st generation Moto X redefined the budget category of smartphones when launched and received appreciation all over the digital market and 2nd generation also seems to do the same. It boasts of 2.5 GHz Snapdragon 801 SoC, Adreno 330 GPU, 1080p AMOLED screen with 424 ppi pixel density, 13 MP rear shooter and 2 MP front shooter with 2 GB RAM. Gesture features available in this phone keeps it ahead of its competition in the market. Battery might be a topic of concern for some users but its pros foreshadows its cons.

4. Moto G(2nd Generation)

Moto G2

This device is dubbed as best budget category smartphone running on mediocre hardware with stock Android 4.4.4 KitKat which is still enough for running almost all the applications in the play store. Its predecessor Moto G(1st Generation) was the phone which re-established Motorola in many markets such as India and Brazil. It has 1.2 GHz Quad core Snapdragon 400 processor, Adreno 305 GPU, 1 GB RAM, 8 MP rear camera capable of HD videos and 2 MP front camera. The only major differences between 1st and 2nd generation Moto G are Expandable memory upto 32 GB, .5 inch bigger screen and dual front speakers. Due to bigger screen size the pixel density has been decreased to 294 ppi in 2nd Generation which was 329 ppi in 1st Generation. For the price it is available in the market, it is definitely a steal.

Top 6 Linux Desktop Environments

Linux Desktop Environments

Linux offers its users variety of desktop environments to choose from unlike Windows and Macintosh. Linux desktop environments provides users and client an intuitive and attractive desktop and also a wide variety of inbuilt media, software, games, development tools and tweak tools. Some of the popular ones are GNOME, KDE, Unity, Xfce, LXDE and Cinnamon etc. used by wide variety of Linux distributions including Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Linux Mint, Kali, BlackBox and many more. Lets have a look upon them in detail:

1. GNOME

Gnome_Shell

GNOME shell is developed by The GNOME Project backed majorly by Red Hat and other volunteers. It started as a competitor of KDE. Another desktop environment Cinnamon is based on GNOME fork only. It is a graphic intensive desktop and provides innovative and simple workspace to client. It is one of the two desktop used by Ubuntu the other being Unity and also by Fedora. GNOME 2 was very popular among the Linux community but since the inception of GNOME 3 its popularity has been declining gradually.

Also Read: Install Gnome Desktop Environment in Ubuntu 14.04

2.Unity

Unity_desktop

Unity is the default desktop for Ubuntu and is developed by Canonical Ltd. it was basically developed for netbooks and first appeared in netbook version of Ubuntu 10.10 release. It is considered best for Linux beginners due to its simplistic user interface and easy to use. It is officially available only for Ubuntu but unofficial releases are also available for Fedora and Arch Linux and can be installed with the help of 3rd party repositories.

3. KDE

KDE_desktop

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It is a major desktop environment and also one of the oldest. It act as default desktop environment for Arch Linux, KaOS, Kubuntu and openSUSE. It most resource heavy desktop of all and provides a large number of settings to customize the desktop experience. It has a keen resemblance with Windows UI. It uses Qt utility framework for apps and widgets not GTK unlike others.

4. Xfce

Xfce_desktop

Xfce is a lighter desktop environment and uses GTK framework. It is generally used to attain maximum performance and is generally used on low-powered devices. It looks very much similar to GNOME 2 and its forked version Mate but is much lighter as compared to them. It demonstrates a perfect balance of performance and looks.

5. Cinnamon

Linux-Mint-Cinnamon-Desktop

Cinnamon is default desktop environment of Linux Mint and has far better looks than others. It is mainly developed to used with a pointing gadget such as a mouse or touchscreen. It is also started as GNOME 2 fork but now is way ahead of it. It is developed by developers of Linux Mint only and is based on GTK+- framework. It uses Muffin as Window Manager which is also a fork of window manager of GNOME 3 “mutter” and introduces a new file explorer named Nemo replacing Nautilus.

6. Mate

MATE_Desktop

Mate is another forked version of GNOME 2. After GNOME 2 was permanently discontinued developers who liked it continued to use and develop it and named the new project as MATE. Ubuntu 14.04 LTS allows user to directly install MATE from Ubuntu Software Centre. PCLinuxOS and Sabayon are some good distributions to try Mate. It uses Marco as window manager which is a forked version of Metacity.

Must Install Android Utility Apps

Either you’re a beginner or a professional android geek, some of the applications are ultra necessary and are needed to exploit Android capabilities. These applications are the best android utility apps in the play store and are available for free download. So here we present a comprehensive list of must have utility apps for Android:

1. Quickoffice

Quickoffice

Quickoffice is the best mobile office suite in the play store with impressive powerpoint support and allows creating, editing, viewing and formatting of word documents, powerpoint presentations and excel spreadsheets. It also supports Google Drive and OneDrive integration so that user can edit their documents stored on the cloud. It also support portable document format (pdf) viewing but experience is not fluid as in Adobe Reader.

Download Quickoffice from here

2. ES File Explorer

ESfileExplorer

ES file explorer is a file manager application which has almost all the possible features which includes file manager, application manager, task killer, download manager, cloud storage support(Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3, Ubuntu One and many more), FTP support and LAN client. File Manager is able to perform all the basic operations like move, copy, cut, paste, rename, delete and share via bluetooth, mail or other media. It also supports .zip and RAR format and is available in more than 30 languages.

Download ES File Explorer from here

3. SuperBeam

SuperBeam

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SuperBeam allows quick and easy file sharing via WiFi Direct, NFC and QR codes. Sharing files via SuperBeam requires it to be installed on both of the devices between which transfer has to take place and the receiver can receive the file by scanning the QR code displayed on the screen of the sender device. Transfer speed over WiFi direct and NFC are way more than Bluetooth or Infrared and depends on connection strength. By downloading PC application of SuperBeam files can be shared between your PC and smartphone.

Download SuperBeam from here

4. Flipboard

flipboard

Flipboard is an online news magazine which compiles all the major news updates and magazine articles in  intuitive flip style application. Users can also connect more than 12 social networks to the app and able to get their tweet updates and timeline updates in a single application. Using + button users can also create their own magazine and  choose their favorite categories from which they want regular updates. Flipboard is available in 18 localized editions including Australia, India, Germany, France etc. Staff picks are also available with must read magazines, blogs and other services.

Download Flipboard from here

5. Evernote

Evernote

Evernote is a note taking android application which allows users to create notes in the form of text, images and audio anywhere and sync them with the cloud. Due to cloud connectivity all the data and notes are accessible anywhere on the go. It a very powerful search mechanism which can find any text in notes, images and PDFs very fast. Users can also create to-do lists, agendas, manage bill receipts and invoices, save travel tickets and many more actions. Evernote app can also be locked by using PIN lock feature and is also available for desktop.

Download Evernote from here

Best custom ROMs for Android

Best Custom Roms for Android

A custom ROM is basically a full fledged operating system which uses same kernel used by the vendor in propriety operating system which is in this case are Google and Android but there are differences like in user interface and outer functionality as core remains the same. Custom ROMs are generally  free of all the 3rd party apps installed by the vendor and results in much better battery life and fluid performance of the device. Installing a custom ROM requires a device with unlocked bootloader and root access performing which may void device’s warranty and fully wipe the phone, So a backup must be made before installing a custom ROM which can be performed with the help of Nandroid backup. Custom ROMs results in frequent updates and fast bug fixes as developer is not bind by any policies as in case of proprietor vendor. Some of the most popular Custom ROMs  for Android are listed below:

CyanogenMod

CyanogenMod 11

Probably the most popular custom ROM out there with support of almost all the major android devices. It is the oldest player in the market of custom ROMs. It also provides a custom installer which will install CyanogenMod on your phone. It was featured on Google Play store for some days before Google took it down. There are nightly, snapshot and stable builds available for each device out of which nightly is first build of the OS and snapshot is nearly bugfree version of the ROM and stable being the final build. The latest build is CM11 based on stock android kitKat 4.4 which is still in nightly phase and almost all the devices are supported by nightly builds. It is also turning itself into a standalone OS as a rival to Android.

Download CyanogenMod from here

Paranoid Android

Paranoid Android

Paranoid Android provides almost all the similar features and customizations as CyanogenMod. Thjs is the forst ROM to be based on Jellybean 4.2.2 and provides some unique UI customizations like setting the DPI according to the application, changing color scheme in the settings panel, different interfaces for tablet, phablet and phone and multi-window feature which is still in beta phase.

Download Paranoid Android from here

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AOKP

aokp_wallpaper-preview

AOKP is acronym for Android Open Kang Project. It is a very simple ROM and all the tweaks are present in ROM control menu. Most of the Motorola, HTC and Samsung devices are supported by this ROM. It is not as stable as CyanogenMod but is much fast and fluid in usage. Features like customizable LED, custom toggles, vibration patterns and Ribbon makes this ROM different from others.

Download AOKP from here

SlimROMs

SlimRomsSlim ROMs as the name suggest is a slimmer version of stock Android and features a minimalistic design but that doesn’t compromises with the functionality that this ROM offers and is available for almost all the popular devices by different carriers. SlimROMs are updated weekly hence users can expect frequent updates, bug fixes and healthy improvements.

Download SlimROM from here

Liquid Smooth

Liquid-Smooth

Liqud Smooth is a very fast, fluid and stable custom package loaded with features like SlimPie, Hardware key rebinding, Custom Carrier label and Liquid Dungeon and many more. Liquid Smooth backup app is also available on Google Play Store and can be downloaded from here.

Download Liquid Smooth from here

5 Linux Penetration Testing Distros

linux-penetration-testingPenetration test is basically an attack or way to spoil weaknesses and vulnerabilities in a computer system. Penetration testing is done with the intention to gain access to a system, change its attributes and properties and to find security flaws. It is a fully legal way to determine the security status of an IT Infrastructure as a single loophole is enough to bring whole infrastructure down. Penetration testing is used to check status of OS security services, applications, configuration settings and end-user security services like anti-viruses. Some of the Linux distributions are developed for the sole purpose of penetration testing and are equipped with most advanced tools used for this purpose. Continue reading

Top Android Music Streaming Apps

With increasing size of applications, media and games limited storage problem is a major concern for an Android user so there are many apps in the play store which allows user to stream music directly from the internet without saving it in physical storage. The key player behind these applications is cloud technology. In this technology all the songs/music is stored in a centralized server of the developer and while streaming user access those songs directly from their server. Many of these applications are Android clients of the developer’s desktop website while some of them are stand alone apps.

List of most popular Android music streaming apps on play store.

1. SoundCloud

Probably the best music streaming application in play store presently and have over 50000000 downloads. This app is developed by the company of the same name established in Berlin, Germany. It allows the users to follow the trending feed and explore trending music. Users can also save their favorite playlists and  songs and it also provides the feature of recording the audio and share it on Facebook and Google+, Search for different tracks, artists, albums, Genre based track search and play pause and forward from lock screen.

Download SoundCloud from here

Screenshot Soundcloud app

 

2. Saavn

It is best app for bollywood music. It does provides access to English music but its collection is not so rich as of SoundCloud. It is India’s very first app in this category and has seen about 10000000 downloads from play store. It also offers a pro version of app in which users can access music offline i.e. the music can be stored in cache. Users can play any song on demand, Allows to create and save playlists. Saavn Radio allows user to choose endless music for any mood.

Download Saavn from here

Saavn music app screenshot

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3. Gaana

It is also a mainstream Bollywood and Hindi song application published by Times Internet Ltd. and has a repository of about 3 million hindia and english songs. It also allows user to create their own playlists and access other playlists created by experts and seve them in  “My Zone”. It provides music in regional languages such as Tamil, Telugu, Bhojpuri etc. Non stop radio access is also provided by Gaana and 5 Radio Mirchi stations.

Download Gaana from here

Gaana app

 

4. Hungama

This app provides Bollywood music in different bit rate which user can choose depending upon the speed of internet connection. This app also has a repository of over 2 million songs and its music library has a large number of genres including Pop, rock, Bollywood, devotional and regional etc. It provides lyrics of each song listed on the app. It also allows to share songs and videos on social media and flawless radio service.

Download Hungama from here

Hungama music app

Connect your Android phone to Computer via AirDroid

AirDroid is a free and fast android app for your smartphone which allows user to connect his Android device to computer running on any of the popular platform such as Windows, Linux, Mac or Chrome OS, After installing AirDroid user can manage files on his Android device, transfer files from phone to computer and vice-versa, play, manage music & videos on Android and transfer them between Android and computer, View the real time screen of Android devices, take static screenshots(root required), View and edit all the contacts, send and receive individual or group messages and create drafts etc. It also doesn’t require any driver installation as it runs purely on Web Browser and supports all of the leading browsers including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer 8+, Apple Safari, Opera Browser etc.

AirDroid uses WiFi capability to establish connection between Computer and Android device and both are required either to be paired by a WiFi hotspot or must be connected to same network. If any of the device doesn’t support WiFi then connection can also be established via USB cable.

How to use AirDroid:

  1. Install Airdroid on your Android smartphone.
  2. Connect your computer and phone to same network.
  3. Now launch AirDroid application on your smartphone
  4. Type the prompted IP address in your browser’s address bar.Screenshot_2014-09-21-15-15-51
  5. Accept the access request on your device.air

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Now your device has been connected. Now you can send files and folders from your computer to your device on lightening fast speeds.

Upload Files through AirDroid to your Android Device:

  1. Click on File to upload files to your device and choose folder or file icon to upload file or folder respectively.Air 2 - Copy (2)
  2. Choose the file or folder from your drive and click OK.

Install Apps through Airdroid:

You can also install Apk files directly from  your web browser.

  1. Click on App iconAir 2 - Copy
  2. Select apk from specific location and click OK, the application will be installed on your device.

 Access Android Camera Remotely:

To Access camera click on the camera icon in AirDroid and then you will be able to control your smartphone’s camera from your web browser.

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Access Uploaded data on Airdroid:

To access and upload photos and videos on the device click on the Photos and Videos icon  respectively.

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Create Message on Airdroid:

To access your Inbox, send and create drafts click on message icon.

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Music, Contacts and Call logs can also be accessed in similar way as above applications. Enjoy!!!