Tag Archives: Google

Google Now Can Remember Where You Parked Your Car

Google Now can help you find your parked car

If you are like me, you probably have lost your car on more than one occassion in a mall parking lot.  From experience, I can tell you that this is not fun at all.  Let’s throw in some rain and/or snow to the mix, and it’s even more miserable.  Admit it, you dread the systematic approach of walking down each and every isle until you find it.  Can you believe, I’ve even resorted to calling someone to drive me around the parking lot in its pursuit?  Truth.  Well, Google Now can be your parking savior.  I bet the person I called to help me find my car probably wishes I knew about this sooner. Oh well, you live and learn.

A few steps before trying it:

1. Make sure you have the latest version.  This feature will require (at least) Google Search Version 3.4.  If you are not sure how to find out which version you have, all you have to do is open the Google Search app and find the menu button, select “Help and feedback,” then look at the numbers listed.

2. You need to tell the app that you drive.  The Google Now cards will only show if the app thinks that you drive.  There is one way to make sure that it does.  To do so, when launching the Google Search app, you can tap the customize button (looks like a magic wand) and pick the option “Everything Else.”  Then you must click on,” How do you usually get around?”  You should select “Driving.”

3.   Begin Driving.  Google will use the device’s GPS  (so your location must be turned on in order for this feature to work) and accelerometer sensors to distinguish driving from other types of movement.  Shortly after parking your vehicle, a Google Now card should display with a map showing your approximate location.  When the card appears, you can expand the map by clicking on it. If you happen to accidentally swipe the card away, you will have a few moments to get it back by pressing the undo button, so you better act fast!  Also, Google will not keep track of your location overnight (yet).

Locations may not be exact, which is why this is not a replacement for your brain.  When possible, try to pay an inkling of attention, but then again who am I to talk = )  I’m actually writing this post right now while wandering aimlessly trying to find my car… jk.

 

You can download the latest version from the Google Play Store or find the APK here .

 

FoxFi Tethering App Stopped Working After Android 4.3 Update

FoxFi Troubleshooting

After updating my Galaxy Note 2…

I know what you’re thinking…

“Damn! She writes a tech blog and is STILL rockin’ the Note 2! Aren’t they on the 3 already, and the 4 is but a shiny sparkle in Phablet lovers’ eyes everywhere?!”

Why, yes…yes I am still PROUDLY using it.  It’s still pretty damn awesome minus the need for a new screen protector and a missing S-Pen, which is the result of one too many Jaeger Bombs a couple of months back.

Anyways, I am getting sidetracked here.  The point of this post is that not too long ago, I upgraded my software to the latest 4.3 version, and my FoxFi tethering app stopped working.  I got some error message about needing to contact my provider to subscribe to this feature.

I do not have AT&T, but I found this image online of someone who apparently had the same problem, and my sick humor finds it absolutely hilarious.  If you are a returning reader, then you probably will too.  It definitely looks like something I would do.

Well, apparently in the latest OS patch, my tethering had been blocked.  My heart literally sank when I tried to connect to my FREE mobile hotspot.  I mean, what the heck is the point of still being a guest at the Unlimited Data party extravaganza and not being able to tether to your heart’s content.  You would have thought my dog died or something judging by my reaction, and rightfully so.

So, what did I do when this happened – I trolled the internet for someone like me who writes posts on how to fix these sorts of things.  Just like you are doing now reading this, I sat there for 20 minutes clicking links on a search to make this  ::insert expletive here::  then  ::insert compound supporting expletive here::  work again.

Here’s the fix for it.  Note, it may involve a couple different steps.

1. Make sure you update FoxFi to the latest version.  You can do this from the Google Play Store.  If you uninstall the app and reinstall it, this also accomplishes the same task, because it will automatically update to the latest version.

2.  Launch the app and check the box to activate WiFi hotspot.

FoxFi Troubleshooting

3. You will need to install a certificate in order to use the app.

FoxFi Troubleshooting 4. You can name it whatever you want.  As you can see from the image below, I was not very original.

FoxFi Troubleshooting

5. Then, you will have to check the box next to “I trust this application.”  If you’re working through trust issues presently, you may have a little trouble with this step.  Just book an extra therapy session this week and you’ll be fine.  Trust me – no pun intended.

FoxFi Troubleshooting6. You will then get a message telling you to beware that after the next update to Android KitKat 4.4, you may be…how can I put this nicely…S.O.L.  So, you may want to ignore any future software update notifications.  This is not fact, but just a disclaimer from the developers, as they do not accept any responsibility for this and give subscribers a fair warning.

FoxFi Troubleshooting

 

P.S. You will be required to password protect your phone either by pattern or pin in order for this app to work.

Assistive Touch for Android

floating touch

Wow! I can’t believe it’s been quite a while since my last post guys, but I have been crazy busy with some absolutely enormous changes regarding my professional life.  So, it feels beyond awesome right about now to finally find a moment to sit here and type this.  With that being said, the highlight of my epic (sarcasm) weekend was finding an app whilst browsing the Google Play Store called, “Floating Touch.”

“What is floating touch?”  Well, I thought you’d never ask.  The app is basically the equivalent of the iPhone’s “assistive touch” functionality, only a lot cooler, because it’s completely customizable.  For starters, you can place the button practically anywhere on your screen and also make the expandable menu a variety of colors…whatever suits your fancy.

Here is what mine currently looks like…

floating touch android

floating touch menu android

Basically, when you want to expand the menu, all you have to do is tap the virtual button.   I will admit, until you get used to it, it can be slightly annoying, because it happens to find itself in the wrong spot on your screen occasionally.  For example, when you go to hit send for an email, you actually hit the floating touch button, forgetting that it’s there, but a quick flick of the button to a different area of your screen solves this problem.

You can also customize what options you want to appear in your menu as well.  All customizations are done by launching the actual application, and it’s extremely simple to use.  Well, I’ll let you all try it out for yourselves.  You have nothing to lose, because there’s a free and paid version.  Personally, I’m happy with the free one, and that is what I am using at the moment.  Ladies and gentlemen, I leave you with this…Happy Touching!  Okay, maybe that wasn’t the best way to word it, but you get the idea.

P.S.  Not to change topics, but I have the Verizon Corporate Classic 5K run coming up this Thursday, and guess what new toy I’m Super-Dee-Duper excited to try out…THESE bad boys!  I will have a complete review on them coming shortly.  Stay Tuned!

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How To Enable Hidden Developer Options on Samsung Galaxy S4

Hidden Developer Options Samsung Galaxy S4

While browsing around your new phone, you may have noticed something missing from your shiny, new S4 – the Developer Options Menu.  So if you find yourself saying “Where art thou?” then this post is for you – yes you.

Only modders will find this vanishing act clear as day, while the rest will know something is not quite right when they try to connect their S4 to their computers only to find it “just charging.”  Don’t fret.  It’s there hidden behind a hokey pokey scavenger hunt of sorts.

So why the vanishing act?  Well, Google removed this easy access option, so that the technologically challenged would not mess up their phones.  That is either A. Annoying or B. Genius.  You pick.

So, how can you get it back?  Well, keep reading…

To unlock the Developer Options menu go into SETTINGS > ABOUT DEVICE and Scroll down to BUILD NUMBER.

Now tap on “BUILD NUMBER” 5 TIMES.  You will see a notification pop up saying, “Developer Mode Has Been Enabled.”

Hidden Developer Options Samsung Galaxy S4

Hidden Developer Options Samsung Galaxy S4

Hidden Developer Options Samsung Galaxy S4

If you have made it this far, congratulations!  You’re a developer!  Gold Star for you = )  Don’t get too excited now.

Now, back out of the ABOUT DEVICE menu and you will see DEVELOPER OPTIONS where it should be.  So, you can now turn on USB debugging mode and whatever else you may need. (Note: If you are trying to connect your phone to your computer you will need to enable USB Debugging and Stay Awake).

Hidden Developer Options Samsung Galaxy S4

There you have it.  By the way, the first time I did this, I thought it was so incredibly awesome that I just wanted to get my hands on about 20 different GS4’s so I could do it 20 different times.

Android Universal Search Application for Samsung Galaxy S4 and Note 2

vtap universal search

A few days ago, I was assisting someone who was set on returning their newly purchased Samsung Galaxy S3, because despite all of its bells and whistles, still managed to lack one feature in particular – a universal search function.  This happened to be a deal breaker for him, so he was ready to pay a restocking fee and reactivate his prehistoric blackberry back onto his phone number.  Apparently dealing with its slower than slow browser capabilities were more than worth it if he was able to search his entire phone contents with a couple clicks of his qwerty keyboard.  For some reason, this didn’t sit well with me.  I mean to each their own, but his new phone was light years ahead of what he was about to go back to.  It’s like he had a Maserati for a day, but was about to turn the keys in and pull out of the lot with his Ford Tempo that he traded in only a day earlier.

I was not about to let the sheer awesomeness of this device slip through this guy’s hands, all because of one measly little universal search function.  No.  Not happening on my watch.

When the S3 came out, it actually did have this function built into the operating system, but because of Apple’s lawsuit regarding infringement Samsung removed this ability from the phone, essentially “dumbing down” its flagship device.  Don’t even get me started with this, cause I would like to keep this post to a relatively easy read.  That being said…

I had about 2 minutes while I was processing the return, to save this guy from making a huge mistake.  Thank you 4GLTE, because within no time I was able to search the Google Play store and find  and download Vtap by Veveo onto my own phone to test it out.  It’s a 3rd party universal search function, and within seconds I was hooked, and I was sure the guy standing across from me would be too as soon as I showed him this needle in a haystack.  Seriously, I felt like Christopher Columbus, except for the fact that Vtap isn’t exactly America.  After the initial setup it worked flawlessly!  I was able to find contacts, apps, music, text messages, emails, utilities and other essential things on my phone quickly and easily.  For a full description of what the app is capable of, click on the link above, which will take you to Google Play Store.

As if this awesome app isn’t enough…wait for it…

vtap universal search by veveo

After, you download the application, you can go into your widgets and you now have a Vtap universal search widget that you can put on one of your customizable screens.  It’s the little things that make me happy.  I swear.

Long story short, remember the gentlemen I was talking about earlier, well after I showed him Vtap, he kept the Maserati = )

Turn Your Phone Into a Free WiFi Tethering Hotspot With FoxFi (No Root)

FoxFi WiFi Tether (No Root)

UPDATE: If you have already been using FoxFi/PDANet+, and it stopped working after you upgraded your phone, please click here.

Ready…Set…Take #2 (This is my 2nd time around writing this post, because I fell asleep in the middle of writing it the first time and for some reason it never autosaved) Can you say FRUSTRATING!?!  Anyway, I’m hoping I can do my original justice, so here goes nothing.

For a small endangered species of smartphone users (those with unlimited data), coming across a free wi-fi tethering app that actually works is like finding the Holy Grail of smartphone apps.  To top it off, it’s even more exciting when you don’t have to root your phone to use it.  If you have no idea what the word “root” refers to, you can either A. click the little grey link above to find out or B.  Ignore it, and keep reading on, because it’s probably something you would not be interested in doing anyway.  I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say you’re going with option B.

Personally, I have searched high and low for a reliable tethering app, and the one that I keep coming back to is FoxFi.  No, I am not being paid to promote this application in any way by its developers in case you are wondering.  I like it so much, I paid for the premium version.  Here are some advantages of FoxFi, as taken from the developer’s site:

  • No rooting required, avoid hassle and risk of bricking
  • No need to install anything on the computer
  • Supports connection from any tablets including iPad, Kindle, Nook etc.
  • Supports connection from PS3, XBox, WII etc.
  • Supports multiple connections at the same time
  • Secured with WPA2. Avoids the security risk of enabling USB debugging.

FoxFi usage is covered under the same phone data plan you have and no tethering plan is actually needed.  So you can see why the unlimited data feature coupled with this app make for a grand old-time.  Currently WiFi mode may not support some phone models, and the developers are working to expand the supported list. However Bluetooth/USB mode will work for all phones. To check and see if WiFi mode can be supported on your phone visit http://foxfi.com/devices.

The app is completely free, but currently it has a usage limit that requires you to restart FoxFi to continue using free mode. I found this annoying and well worth the $7.95 that the full version costs, which has no usage limits.  You can also rename your network to something really uncool like “iheartJustinBieber4Ever” (I just threw up a tad in my mouth typing that) and then go on to create a security password to keep your pesky neighbors from hijacking your data connection.  Everyone has neighbors that get their electric, water, and cable turned off on a regular basis right?  No? Then again, maybe that’s just me.

Please note that some model phones running Jelly Bean have locked-down the WiFi hotspot feature, and because of this FoxFi will ask you to install a user certificate on those phones. The side effect is that the Android system will require you to set a screen lock first (and only allows Pattern, PIN or Password) when you install any user certificates. If you are 100% opposed to having to have a sreen lock on your phone, then use the app in USB mode.  To undo the screen lock you have to remove the FoxFi certificate first (simply click “clear credentials” in security settings).  Also, on HTC phones, you may require to use the app via bluetooth.

In case you are wondering, yes this app currently works for the Samsung Galaxy S3 and Samsung Galaxy Note 2.  I’m actually using it right now to write this blog post, because maybe just maybe, I’m speaking from personal experience when I talk about those “neighbors” who periodically get their utilities turned off.  Don’t judge me.

 

Android 4.1.2 JELLYBEAN

Photo Courtesy of Goodereader.com

Photo Courtesy of Goodereader.com

How stinking cute is this picture above!?  I kinda want it painted on my wall, but the only problem is that in a couple months it will be outdated, and I’ll have to add on another race participant.  Eventually, I will run out of wall space.  I get sidetracked easily.  Can you tell?  Ok, back to the purpose of this post…

I know 4.1.2 has been out for quite some time now, so I’m am a little late with my timing, but I have ran into a lot of people lately asking me about whether or not they should do this update on their Galaxy S3’s and Note 2’s.  I’m guessing they haven’t yet, because they have either 1. Been deferring it or 2. Have recently received replacement devices without the upgraded software version.

JellyBean 4.1.2 brings a ton of new features to the Galaxy S3 (most of which came standard on the Note 2 out of box).  Some of these enhancements include:

  • Multi-View (Multi-Windows Multitasking, Same as Note 2)

    Photo courtesy of www.android.com

    Photo courtesy of http://www.android.com

  • Page Buddy
  • New Gallery App (Same as Note 2)
  • Brightness Slider In Notification Panel Can Now Be Disabled
  • Notification Panel Can Now Be Customized
  • Smart Rotation (Screen Display Auto Adjusts To Your Angle of Sight)
  • Continues Input in Samsung Keyboard (Like Swype or Android 4.2 Keyboard)
  • Paper Artist App
  • Group Cast App

If you have the Note 2, by performing this update, you will be able to use more apps in the Multi-Window function.  This Rocks!

If you haven’t gotten a pop up message alerting you to download the software update, you can always check by navigating to:

  1. Settings
  2. About Phone
  3. Software Update
  4. Check New