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2 days ago

From the Editor's Desk: Again ...

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Up there

Another tragic week in which I have a hard time concentrating on toys, and for that I beg your pardon. We'll get to the fun stuff in a minute.

There's absolutely nothing I or any of the 298 people on board could have done to have kept that Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 from being shot out of the sky. There's nothing anyone could have done, save for the half-dozen or so people who actually fired the missile. If they really were hoping to down another Ukrainian transport plane, that makes it acceptable? We should no more accept that excuse than we should any reason for firing rockets or guns anywhere for any reason. War zone or not. It's not OK.

Back in my newspaper days the AP moved pictures of bodies from all over the world every day. We didn't have too much choice but to see them, never mind that they would never in a million years get into our newspaper. But I also think it's important to be aware of the result of our actions. We can't and shouldn't just stick our collective head in the sand. This extremely graphic (consider yourselves warned) Vice News video from the Ukraine is telling. Bodies stripped of their clothing, so fierce was the force of the fall to Earth. Farmers — for whom just trying to live in a war zone can't be the easiest thing — having to deal with the dead raining down indiscriminately.

It's odd how such helplessness breeds selfishness. I think — again — about all the flights I've taken. And all the flights I'll take in the future. My wife asks if I have anything coming up that will take me over that part of the world. (I don't.) I think about friends in this business who do have to fly over that part of the world. I briefly consider things and then tell my 7-year-old — again — that she's going to hear about another plane crash on the news, and that, no, she doesn't need to worry about me. And I use this space — again — for a bit of catharsis. It's probably not the right place to do so. But we're all friends here. And we've been here before.

And I worry that my sense of pacifism is naive — and perhaps it is. But this just isn't how humans should act.

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2 days ago

The Verizon LG G3 has problems with ART — think twice before switching runtimes

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LG G3 on Verizon with ART

A quick heads up for those of you who have just bought or are about to get an LG G3, particularly on Verizon. If you're the tinkering type who immediately runs to the developer options and enables the experiment ART runtime, you might want to hold off for a bit. I'd run ART without issue on the AT&T LG G3 for the better part of a week. But the Verizon LG G3 has some obvious issues — mainly that it shuts down randomly. A lot.

I haven't done any further debugging than that — it's pretty obvious something ain't right, and I went back to Dalvik ASAP — so it'll be interesting to see what smarter folks come up with, and if the T-Mobile and Sprint models also run into issues. But read through our LG G3 forums and you'll find I'm not alone with the Verizon version. That said, I wouldn't let this dissuade me from buying the Verizon LG G3. The included ART runtime is experimental still, is hidden behind the developer settings — and is different than what will ship in the L release of Android later this year. We'd expect Verizon and LG to get things straightened out by then.

In the meantime, if your G3 has shut off and doesn't seem to want to turn on, try holding volume down and the power button for a few seconds. That should clear things up. Boot up like normal and switch back to Dalvik, and all should be good.

Good luck. And remember that experimental things are experimental, and not always better.

Thanks, Ben, for the heads up.

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2 days ago

Google Now Launcher will be the default on future ZTE devices

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ZTE will be using the Google Now Launcher on future hardware, it's a huge deal as previously this feature was limited to hardware within Google's own Nexus family of products with other select handsets. You essentially have to sideload to install Google's Now Launcher on most Android handsets.

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3 days ago

Apps of the Week: Leo's Fortune, PassAndroid, Topia and more!

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Apps of the Week

There's no better time than a Saturday afternoon to sit down and check out some new apps for your Android, and we hope to kick off that weekend content discovery with our Apps of the Week column. Once a week we round up an app from each of the writers here at Android Central, and get a quick explanation of why they chose that particular app.

This week we're looking at a couple of great game choices, an Android Wear watchface, a Passbook alternative for Android and a few other picks to round out the list. Read along with us this week and see the apps that Android Central is using.

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3 days ago

There is no magic in root

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Android root apps

Removing some of the mystery of the superuser

While reading around the Internet last week, I noticed several otherwise fine publications making a mistake that far too many people make — claiming that rooting your Android phone or tablet or watch (we can't forget the watches) will make things run better.

That's a trap that far too many people fall into, because having superuser access (root) on any Linux-based machine can allow you to do things that make your device better. It can also allow you to do things that make a device run worse, or even break everything and leave you with a pile of copper and silicon that won't ever do anything ever again. The old adage of "with great power comes great responsibility" really is true.

But by itself, having superuser access does nothing.

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3 days ago

Turn your Android into a monitor for your DSLR with a cheap accessory and an app

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Instead of an expensive monitor use your Android phone or tablet

A little while ago we looked at using an Android phone with a DSLR and how the experience was actually pretty good. Using the Chainfire app with a Canon DSLR opens up a world of possibilities. Before we looked at importing your DSLR photos, but there's more to it than that. With a cheap accessory on top of this you can actually create a low-cost, yet still effective external monitor for your camera.

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3 days ago

Moto X gets price cut to $299.99 with the use of promo code

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Motorola Mobility's Moto X smartphone can be yours for just $299.99, without a contract, if you use a specific promo code while ordering it online for a limited time.

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3 days ago

Sony lists Xperia Z2 on the US Sony Store website for $699.99

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Sony is now showing the Xperia Z2 smartphone as listed on the US Sony Store website, for the no-contract price of $699.99, which is apparently a reduction from its normal $749.99 price tag.

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3 days ago

Google will ditch the 'free' label on games with in-app purchases

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The European Commission has announced that Google will stop labeling Android games in the Google Play Store as being "free" if they have in-app purchases, as part of an agreement between the company and the commission to offer better consumer guidance when downloading apps.

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3 days ago

Monument Valley to get more levels, could double playtime

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Monument Valley, the popular and critically acclaimed optical illusion based puzzle game, will be getting some new content in the near future that could double the amount of its current game time.

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