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2 years ago

How to: Sync OS X 10.8 Notes with your Android device

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While we're all about the little green robot in this part of the Mobile Nations, when it comes to computers there are a good few of you out there rocking an Apple desktop or laptop. The latest incarnation of OS X, 10.8 Mountain Lion -- check out our sister site iMore if you haven't already -- brings a number of iOS flavored additions to the desktop environment. Using iCloud, new apps such as reminders and notes can sync with an iOS device so you have all of your stuff, all of the time. But, what if you use an Android phone or tablet, and a Mac? Can you get some everything everywhere syncing too? Of a fashion, yes.

The stock calendar, contacts and mail apps built into Mountain Lion will still continue to sync your Google stored information to your desktop. No issues there. But what about Notes? Despite having possibly the worst font ever put onto a computer screen, the stock Notes app is pretty handy. It's always there, or not far away at worst, and is as good a way as any of just jotting down some quick points. Everyone has a different preference, but personally I haven't found a total all-encompassing note taking solution that I like. So I make notes everywhere, including on my Mac. We're never in front of a computer for that long though, so it'd be pretty swell if we could take our notes with us and luckily Apple has made it really straight forward. It only works one way though, so while you can edit notes on your Mac and sync them with your Android device, it won't work the other way. Still, it can be done, so we'll show you how. 

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2 years ago

From the mail bag: Managing two-step authentication for the ROM addict

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Jean15paul writes,

I just read the article on using 2-step and I want to start using it, but I'm a ROM flasher.  How do I manage?  I think this could make a great article.

We think it could make a great article, too, Jean15paul. And it goes for users with more than one mobile device as well as flashers and ROM-a-holics. As safe as two-step authentication is, it was clearly designed for folks with one phone, and one computer, who don't like to erase and re-install either one. Unfortunately, this is a hard hurdle to cross.

The easy way, and the way I'm lucky enough to be able to do it, is with an old Android phone that's a dedicated authenticator. I reverted my Nexus One back to stock, and installed the authenticator app. I also use an authenticator for Blizzard games, so this worked well for me. I keep the phone charged, and any time I need a code I can start it up and get one -- until the power button goes out again, that is. This way I'm not ever locked out of my Google account, which can happen when flashing ROMS or jumping to a new phone.

Of course, that's not a good solution for most folks. If you have an old Android device laying around, I really recommend you try it (as well as printing out your 15 one-time use codes). If you don't have access to another Android phone, which is going to be most of us, things are a little bit rougher. The best solution I can find is to disable two-step authentication from the web (in your Google account settings) before you wipe and flash a new ROM. Once you're satisfied that it's worth keeping for a few days, re-enable it and go through the set-up with application specific passwords again. It's a lot of work, and adds a good bit of time to your set-up every time you flash a ROM. But it's also the best way to guarantee you're not locked out of your Google account.

Of course, since it's a pain in the you-know-what, most folks aren't going to do it. Never mind what you know, or what you've heard is best for your online safety, people always like to take the easy way out. With that in mind, I want to share a little nugget of wisdom passed on to me by a teacher about passwords. Long passwords with upper case and lower case letters are very difficult to crack. They are also difficult to remember. To make the remembering part easier, use the first line from a favorite song all in one word. For example, ItsAllRightIfYouLoveMeItsAllRightIfYouDont is a password that probably won't ever get cracked, but is easy for me to remember. It's just a pain to type out on an on-screen keyboard. But it's still better than being hacked.

Have a question you need answered? (Preferably about Android, but we're flexible.) Hit up our Contact Page to get in touch!

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2 years ago

How to adjust the call settings on the Galaxy S3

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The Galaxy S3 allows you to adjust pretty much every setting you can think of

The Samsung Galaxy S III (S3) is one of the most configurable phones available. The good news is that you really don’t have to do anything out of the box and your Galaxy S3 will work fine.  But one area that can really be tailored to your personal tastes is in perhaps the most important of all apps -- the Phone app

The Phone app is one of the more robust apps on the Galaxy S3. The Call settings allow you to adjust everything from a call rejection list  a personalized EQ setting for better audibility.

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2 years ago

How to use Motion gestures on the Galaxy S3

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The Galaxy S3 breaks new ground in lots of areas; one of the ways this phone separates itself from the pack is with the use of Motion.

When you first turn on your Samsung Galaxy S III (S3) you may not immediately be aware of all the Motion capabilities as most of them are turned off by default. Once you begin to explore the Settings and menus you will find yourself opened up to quite an array of new ways to use this phone. 

Accelerometers and gyroscopes are not new anymore to mobile phones.  Anyone who as use their phone like a steering wheel in a racing game or taken advantage of a gyroscope in navigation software knows how cool this technology is.  Essentially, when a phone can sense movement and gravity it can do all sorts of things.

Samsung has really raised the bar in this technology with the Galaxy S3. In order to use all these cool new features, we need to know how to turn them on.

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2 years ago

How to add and arrange Home screens on the Galaxy S3

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Home screens on the Samsung Galaxy S III (S3) are very configurable; you can even delete complete Home screens and add brand new ones. 

Out of the box, the Galaxy S3 comes with seven home screens. As we have learned, you can customize each screen with App icons and widgets and really tailor make each page to better suit the way you use the phone.

One great feature is that you can delete complete Home screens and start over and add new ones. You can then rearrange your Home screens so that what you need is available in exactly the way you desire. 

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2 years ago

How to change the font size and style on the Galaxy S3

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Without rooting or installing additional apps, you can easily change the style and size of the fonts on your Galaxy S3.

Changing the font size is nothing new – all Android phones running Ice Cream Sandwich can do that.  Changing the font style, however, used to require a rooting of the device and/or the installation of a third party app.

The Samsung Galaxy S III (S3) offers tremendous capabilities when it comes to personalizing your experience on the phone. As we have covered in other “How To” articles, you can change the way your home screens are arranged, as well as apps, icons, and sounds -- pretty much anything you can think of.  Changing the style of the font as well as the size really makes a difference in the way everything looks on the phone.

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2 years ago

From the mail bag: Getting new fonts on the Galaxy Tab

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George writes, 

I was just wondering if there was any other legit way to get fonts onto this (Galaxy Tab) device. No offense but the stock one on the ICS version, of the Galaxy Tab is fugly. And that's being polite. I tried the whole search online thing, but as I don't speak Korean there were very few I could choose from.

Any help would be appreciated.

Hey there George, thanks for writing in! And don't worry, we take no offense to the fact you think the Roboto font on ICS is "fugly". Some of us like it, some don't, but what's most important is that you're given a choice to use what you like -- and Samsung has you covered there.

Hit Settings > Screen > Screen display > Font Style and you'll see the image above, with a limited selection of built-in fonts. If none of those tickle your fancy, tap the "Get fonts online" button and have a look in Google Play. As you noticed, many of the fonts in Google Play are not English (Latin) fonts. Makes sense, Samsung is a huge Korean company. Luckily, third party developers have you covered.

Fire up Google Play and search for Fontomizer SP. Or just click right here to see it on the web. Get it installed, look in Settings > Security and check the box that says "Allow installation of non-Market apps", then run the app. It has a huge database of free fonts to choose from, and will download and install them, making them available in your font selection setting. No need for root, or any hackery of any kind, you just have to allow the app to install the downloaded fonts. Fontomizer has been around for about a year now, and we think the developer is pretty trustworthy. If we didn't we wouldn't have recommended it.

Hope this helps, and good luck!

Have a question you need answered? (Preferably about Android, but we're flexible.) Hit up our Contact Page to get in touch!

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2 years ago

How to uncover and use the hidden Service menu on the Galaxy S3

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Hidden in your Galaxy S3 is the ability to test out all major display and sound functions.

I usually like to have some sort of diagnostic tool for my smartphones to make sure that every feature I pay for actually works. One great thing I just discovered about the Samsung Galaxy S III (S3) is that it has the diagnostic capabilities built right in.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I swear that I see a dead pixel on my phone or that the vibration isn’t working like it should. I want to always be sure that even if I don’t use all the features, they're in good working order.

The Galaxy S3 makes this incredibly easy for all of us, but Samsung doesn’t exactly let us know that we have that capability built in.

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2 years ago

From the Android Forums: Nexus 7 hard reset questions

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Willter12 asks in the Nexus 7 forums,

I have read that a hard reset is activated by:

  1. Turn off.
  2. Hold vol up/vol down/power on
  3. Select Recovery using vol buttons and press power button
  4. After several minutes, screen with red triangle will appear
  5. Hold volume up and press return for menu to make hard reset

All goes well til #4. Here I get blank screen showing "Google" and it never moves into the red triangle picture and just freezes. I have waited over 20 minutes for the boot into recovery menu and nothing happens.

Have I missed a step or is something wrong? If onboard recovery process is broke is there a way to fix it? I would like to have access to hard reset should something dire go wrong.

No I am not rooted nor have I tried to root and have only loaded apps at this point. Everything else is working fine and this appears to be an excellent device.

Thanks for any advice....

You read right, willter12. But it happens that there's a bit of a bug and you won't be able to follow those standard directions with the Nexus 7. Amend them with an extra step -- plugging the tablet into your computer. Once you are at the bootloader screen, you can't move on to recovery unless there's a connection on the USB port. Plugging it into the wall won't work, but the computer you use doesn't have to have the SDK or Fastboot set up on it, it just needs to be turned on. Change your steps to read like so:

  1. Turn off.
  2. Hold vol up/vol down/power on
  3. Plug the tablet into the USB port on a computer
  4. Select Recovery using vol buttons and press power button
  5. After several minutes, screen with red triangle will appear
  6. Hold volume up and press return for menu to make hard reset

It's inconvenient, we agree. But at least it's fairly easy to work around since the computer requires no set-up. As you mention, this is important for everyone -- not just those that live to hack. 

Have a question you need answered? (Preferably about Android, but we're flexible.) Hit up our Contact Page to get in touch!

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2 years ago

How to: Use your USB flash drives with the Nexus 7 [root]

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One of the few negative points with the Nexus 7 for some, is the lack of any sizable on-board storage. Indeed, looking at a couple of the latest big name game titles such as Max Payne or the Amazing Spider Man further compounds the frustration. With games going well in excess of 1GB -- and even approaching 2GB -- there isn't a great deal of room left for music and videos. 

Make no mistake, we're not here to discuss the lack of microSD card. It is what it is. But, what we are here to discuss, is a way of using a USB mass storage device such as a flash drive, with your Nexus 7. Hit the break and have a look.

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2 years ago

How to set lock screen and security options on Galaxy S3

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With NFC and all your personal information, its time to keep your Galaxy S3 safe from potential thieves and peeping neighbors. 

It is much more convenient not to use security options on your Samsung Galaxy S III (S3) or other Android phone. However, this is sort of like playing Russian roulette with your data and personal information.

Imagine if you lost your phone and someone was able to access everything inside. What would you lose? What would the “ripple effects” be? Could your bank information be compromises? Your credit? In today’s day and age we just can’t take a chance of our sensitive information falling into the wrong hands.

Fortunately, the Galaxy S3 offers some easy and powerful built-in tools to help keep you phone, your information and your peace of mind safe and secure.

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2 years ago

Keeping ideas synced while on the go using my Android device

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Lately I have been looking for various ways to refine how I work, the goal is to have things synced to be able to access from various places. Since I am not always at the computer, or the same computer for that matter, it can be difficult to keep my ideas with me all the time, and even more difficult to continue on an idea that I may have already started. Dropbox has proven to be a great tool for me, I can upload things that I want to be able to access later, and then download them elsewhere, and I have been looking for a tool to compliment that well on Android. When I was using the iPhone 4 there were many note applications that synced directly to Dropbox, but I haven't found any that worked well for me on Android, as most of them require you to save, then upload and that isn't what I was ultimately looking for. Let's hit the break to see how I was able to solve this issue, and what you can download to do the same.

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2 years ago

How to replace icons on the Home screen dock on the Galaxy S3

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Moving the icons you want into your Galaxy S3 homescreen dock is a great way to configure your device in a way that makes sense for you.

The Samsung Galaxy S III (S3) is highly configurable. In many ways, the new TouchWiz interface simplifies using the device. In other ways, TouchWiz can make seemingly simple tasks a bit more complicated.

Here's how to swap out the apps that are in the homescreen dock on your Samsung Galaxy S3.

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2 years ago

How to use S Memo on the Galaxy S3

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Samsung has put a bunch of proprietary software on the Galaxy S III (S3) and some apps, like S Memo are particularly useful.

There are lots of note-taking apps for Android.  Some of them sync with cloud servers like Google Drive and others sync with desktop note-organizing apps like Evernote.

Samsung has attempted to create a proprietary note-taking app that syncs with all these services, uploads to Dropbox and allows you to post your notes to your various social media networks. In short, S Memo tries to be all things to all users, and, surprisingly, it does a pretty good job. 

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2 years ago

How to: Activate the Google Sound Search widget in Jelly Bean if it's not in the drawer

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One of the many added goodies within Jelly Bean, is the Google Sound Search widget, sometimes referred to as Google Ears. It's really simple, but also a really nice touch to have built in to the OS. 

For some reason -- quite possibly some licensing stuff -- it isn't always there to choose from in the widget drawer for everybody. True, that when both my own Galaxy Nexus got the 4.1 update, and my new Nexus 7 arrived, neither had this widget. Being based in the UK, I imagine that it's got something to do with location. There are alternative apps, Shazam, Soundhound for example, but why should you have to use an alternative application when Google supposedly builds the functionality into the OS. 

Installing the apk that's been doing the rounds for a while doesn't do the trick either. On Jelly Bean it doesn't seem to like installing, but it works great on ICS. The app itself isn't missing from the device, it's just frozen so you can't use it. As too is Google Play Magazines, and Google Wallet. 

So, how do you use it? Well, to unfreeze it requires root. But from there, it's real simple. Titanium Backup is a fantastically useful root application, and is what we'll be using here to make things happen. If you're not sure on what freezing and unfreezing is, we'll walk you through it.

Once you've opened Titanium Backup, and all the application data has loaded, go ahead and hit the "backup/restore" button at the top. You should then be presented with a comprehensive list of every single application installed on your device. Including, all the system apps. Scroll through until you see "Sound Search for Google Play" -- which will also be highlighted by a purple bar -- click on it, and hit the defrost button. Next time you go into the widget drawer, there it will be, ready and waiting. 

Also, remember that clicking on a song once it's been identified won't do anything either, other than take you to the main Google Play Store front page. One day, maybe, Google will bring the full range of content to non-U.S. users. We can hope.  

The same tactic also applies to Google Play Magazines, and Google Wallet. But, outside of the U.S. there's not really anything you can use these for anyway, and Google Wallet will tell you so if you try to launch it. 

The only downside -- when you reboot your device, things will be reset and the app will be frozen again. But, if you're like me, your device rarely gets rebooted unless you're going in and out of recovery. So it's inconvenient, but not massively. 

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