Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
If you’re looking for Android automation that isn’t as challenging as Tasker, find bellow the ideal solution :)
Tasker is the de facto standard for Android automation. The only caveat with Tasker is its rather steep learning curve. For anyone wishing to add automation to their Android device, Tasker is the app to use — if you have time to invest in learning the ins and out of the app (the end result is worth it). If you don’t have time to spend diving into that which is Tasker, there are other apps that make automation easier. One such app is MacroDroid. Although it doesn’t have the impressive abilities of Tasker, it can make automation an option for those less than Android adept.
You’ll find only one version of the app on the Google Play Store — the free version. This version is limited to only five macros, with a few actions and constraints per macro. With an in-app purchase, you can gain access to the Pro version and unlimited macros (with unlimited actions and constraints per macro) for $2.99 (USD).
Let’s install MacroDroid and see how you can make it a part of your daily Android life.
Installing MacroDroid is quite easy. Just follow these simple steps:
- Open the Google Play Store on your Android device
- Search for MacroDroid
- Locate and tap the entry by Arlosoft
- Tap Install
- Read the permissions listing carefully
- If the permissions listing is acceptable, tap Accept
Once the installation is complete, you’ll find the launcher in your app drawer or on your home screen (or both). Tap the launcher, accept the license, and you’re ready to automate.
The MacroDroid home page (Figure A) is perfectly designed to make it easy for any level of user to get started.
MacroDroid running on a Verizon-branded Droid Turbo.
The first thing you might want to take a look at is the templates. From within this listing (Figure B), you can get an idea of what MacroDroid is capable of (you can even edit specific templates).
The template section offers plenty of pre-fab automation macros.
Each automation macro is broken down into three categories:
- Trigger — what causes the action to occur
- Action — what the automated task actually does
- Constraint — add an option that must be present before the action can occur
To add a new macro, tap the Add Macro button on the main window. Let’s create a macro that sets the phone to silent when you arrive at work (Note: The details of creating each macro will vary). The first step is to select your trigger (Figure C).
Selecting a trigger for your macro.
Search through the list and tap Location Trigger. You’ll then be prompted to select from Area Entered or Area Existed. Select Area Entered and tap OK. Next, you have locate the area on the map. You can tap the radar button at the top to select your current location. Tap the check when finished. (Note: You can’t enter an address, so you must manually find the location on the map.)
Now, select the Action from the list. For our silent mode macro, locate and tap Set Volume. From the pop-up (Figure D), you can adjust the volume for alarms, music, notification, ringer, system sounds, voice calls, and Bluetooth voice. Adjust the volume to fit your needs, and tap OK.
Setting the volume to silent for when you enter work.
You can add more actions for the trigger (for this example, we only need the one). Tap the right-pointing arrow to move to constraints. For this particular action, we do not need any constraints (Figure E), so tap the right-pointing arrow at the top right of the window.
Adding a constraint to a macro.
The last step is to give your macro a name and tap OK. The macro is now in place and will immediately start working.
That’s really the basic in and out of using MacroDroid. If you want to dig a bit deeper, you can also create variables for your macros. You can create boolean, integer, and string variables that can then be used in the Actions category (for example, to help you count how many SMS messages you receive from a single contact during a day). To create a variable, tap Settings (from within the MacroDroid main window) and then tap Edit MacroDroid Variables. Tap the plus sign [+], give your variable a name, and select the type from the Type drop-down (Figure F).
Creating a variable.
Once the variable is created, you can edit it (say you need to change the integer from 0, which is the default, to 1). After the variable is created, you can then use the variable as an action by selecting Set MacroDroid Variable (within the Add Actions screen) and choosing your newly created variable from the list (Figure G).
Setting a variable as an action.
Depending on the type of variable, you can define how the variable is to be used (such as Value + 1 for an integer).
Although MacroDroid isn’t as powerful as Tasker, if you want to enjoy automation on your device (and don’t want to have to endure the steeper learning curve of Tasker), this is your app. Give it a try, and see if it doesn’t perfectly fit the bill for your Android automation needs.
Do you automate your Android — or do you prefer everything to be under your specific control? What type of mobile user are you? Let us know in the discussion thread below.
Skype ID: romanas_lauks
Marketing Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development
It’s time for our roundup of the latest, greatest Android apps and games.
Runtastic made its name as an activity-tracking app – hence the name – but now it’s turning its attention to your night-time health. This app aims to track your sleep cycles, complete with a smart alarm to wake you up at the right moment – translation: not grumpytime – as well as helping you pinpoint good and bad influences on your sleep.
Messenger is Google’s latest attempt to break out a feature of Android into a standalone app, which can then be updated more frequently via Google Play. In this case, it’s all about the messaging: SMS, MMS, group texts and more.
An essential download for winter sports folk, this provides maps and weather forecasts for pistes around the world; tracks your speed and distance while skiing and snowboarding; and has some inventive social features to challenge friends, or simply (virtually) yodel at them.
Rooster Teeth is one of the most creative studios making original videos for YouTube at the moment, and now it has an official app for fans to keep up with its output. From gaming Let’s Play videos to comedy, it’s a handy way to watch – albeit not one that’ll replace the main YouTube app for more casual viewers.
Home Design 3D
Having moved house earlier in the year, I’ve been building up a mountain of bits of paper with scribbled layouts. Home Design 3D is one of the apps aiming to take that process digital, as you quickly draw rooms, place furniture and then see how it all looks. A handy visualisation tool.
Forgotten that Facebook had groups? Apparently around 700 million people are still using the feature. This new standalone app – part of Facebook’s strategy to “unbundle the big blue app” – focuses on groups: creating new ones, joining existing ones and posting to any that you’re a member of.
There’s a growing community of cookery apps on Android, with this one aimed at a wide audience (translation: even kitchen liabilities like me) with more than 1,000 recipes to try. Step-by-step instructions, built-in timers and the ability to control the app with your voice when your hands are floury make it very useful.
A Hollow Body
Looking to fill time during the (long) wait between series of Sherlock? This app from the Museum of London is just the thing: a narrated walk starting near St Paul’s Cathedral, inspired by the original Sherlock Holmes stories. Note, they’re stressing it’s NOT just a guide: “You should imagine walking through a film, where you are the main characters…”
OurHome – Chores and Rewards
This is a good idea for parents grumbling that their children don’t help out around the home. It’s part family-organiser, so you know who’s where when; it’s part motivational tool to reward kids for doing chores; and it’s also a digital shopping list, kept updated in between shop/supermarket trips.
Finally, a simple but potentially-effective idea for charities to raise money through mobile donations. SnapDonate lets you take a photo of a charity’s logo, then donate to them in a variety of small-to-medium amounts.
Dots and its sequel TwoDots have been very popular on iOS, but now the latter is on Android too. It’s the perfect pick-up-and-play puzzler, as you connect coloured dots across 135 levels, challenging friends to beat your skills as you go.
Kingdom Rush Origins
Kingdom Rush is a rightfully-respected brand in the tower defence genre, and from what I’ve played so far, this is the best version yet. Pitched as a prequel, it’s an absorbing strategy game as you marshal your fantasy forces (and towers) to fend off onrushing enemies.
The Banner Saga
Thankfully spared a lawsuit from the Candy Crush people, this Viking-themed RPG is a carefully-crafted treat. Its battles and storytelling blend perfectly, as they did on iOS, with a tale you can happily lose yourself in.
If you’re more action-focused, you’ll love Turbo Dismount. It’s a “crash simulator” that sees you trying to causing as much chaos as possible with “Mr Dismount and the cars who love him”, with slow-motion replays making the most of the impressive physics engine.
Mark of the Dragon
Breeding dragons? There’ve been a few popular mobile games along those lines in recent years, but Gamevil’s new release looks like it’s putting a fresh spin on the theme. So yes, breeding and battling, but a community of guilds and multiplayer raiding looks to add depth too.
Five Nights at Freddy’s 2
It’s not so long since the (excellent) Five Nights at Freddy’s game was released for Android, with its tale of a spooky pizza restaurant and creepy animatronic characters. The sequel looks equally impressive, as you track the characters through security camera footage, and fend them off.
Battle Worlds: Kronos
A good week for hardcore strategy gaming, with Battle Worlds: Kronos a turn-based tablet wargame with depth to spare. You can play alone – the promise of 50 hours’ solo play looks about right – or pit your wits against other humans in the multiplayer mode.
Kabam’s second entry in this roundup features more critters that you have to collect and train up for fights, with more than 200 to find, and a host of battles to harden their skills. It’s colourful, with a neat touch-friendly interface.
The almost Game Boy-style retro graphics will have gamers of a certain age salivating at the sight of Endless Doves, but its gameplay has much more to offer than old-school visuals. “Collect Doves, Don’t Crash” is how the developers sum it up. Miles more fun than Flappy Bird is how I’d put it.
Jet Run: City Defender
Finally, Jet Run: City Defender is one of the best-looking Android games this week: an into-the-screen action game that sees you whizzing through urban landscapes in a jet, letting anything in your path have it with both missiles. Like Temple Run meeting After Burner, it’s great fun.
That’s my choice, but what Android apps and games have you been using recently? Make your recommendations – or give your views on the picks above – in the comments section.
Skype ID: lina_deveikyte
Marketing Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development
Call it the sumo wrestling battle of the smartphone world — two gigantic devices competing for our attention and our buying dollar. It’s the battle between Google’s Nexus 6 and Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4.
The Nexus 6 and Note 4 are both big and brimming with power, but make no mistake about it: While the phones may share a shelf in the “plus-sized Android” aisle, they’re very different devices that offer dramatically different types of user experiences.
So which plus-sized Android phone is right for you? Let’s start by breaking down the key differences – practically speaking – between the two devices:
1. Style and design
The Nexus 6 is basically like a giant Moto X: It has a gently curved back, soft-touch plastic material, and an aluminum frame around its perimeter. It’s simple yet elegant and really an attractive phone.
The Note 4, on the other hand is a Samsung device. It’s boxy and flat, with a thin and removable faux-leather plastic back. It does have a metal frame instead of the faux-chrome plastic usually favored by Samsung, but it still errs on the side of chintz and isn’t exactly what you’d describe as a sophisticated design.
The Nexus’s curved form makes it the far more ergonomic and comfortable-to-hold phone of the pair. Although it’s slightly larger than the Note, it feels like it’s designed to fit into your hand. It’s a sharp contrast to the Note’s boxy nature, which feels awkward in comparison.
The Nexus 6 runs a pure, unmodified version of Google’s new Android 5.0 Lollipop software. The Note 4 runs Samsung’s TouchWiz software on top of the Android 4.4 KitKat OS.
On that note, the Nexus is guaranteed to get fast and frequent ongoing software upgrades from Google moving forward; the Note is likely to get upgrades eventually, but it’s dependent on Samsung to roll them out — and Samsung tends to be one of the less communicative manufacturers when it comes to the realm of upgrades.
As far as user interface, it’s no contest: The Nexus’s pure Lollipop software is clean, modern, cohesive, and all around just a joy to use. Samsung’s TouchWiz UI has gotten less bad over the years, but it’s still a bloated and inconsistent mess compared to the stock Android setup.
The one area where TouchWiz has an advantage is in the realm of features: While Samsung does cram its software full of gimmicky silliness you’ll likely never touch, it also provides a few genuinely useful additions you won’t find on the Nexus 6 — namely the options for viewing multiple apps on the screen at the same time, which can be particularly valuable on larger-screened devices like these.
If you want to watch a video while answering a text or reference a document while composing an email, the Note has the upper hand; you can use its split-screen or floating app functions to accomplish those things. On the Nexus, meanwhile, your only real option is to toggle back and forth between the two processes.
The Note has an integrated stylus; the Nexus does not. If you’re someone who likes the idea of drawing or scribbling on your smartphone’s screen, that’s something significant to consider; the Note 4’s stylus is top-notch and in a completely different league from any third-party accessory you could purchase.
The Nexus 6 has front-facing stereo speakers that sound fantastic; the Note 4 has a single small speaker on its back that sounds pretty bad. Not much more to say about that.
On paper, both phones are perfectly equipped in terms of horsepower — but in the real world, the Note 4 is noticeably less smooth and snappy than the Nexus. There’s frequent jerkiness in animations and transitions, for instance, and tasks like switching apps or even just opening the Recent Apps switcher don’t happen as instantaneously as they should. The phone is by no means slow; it’s just less zippy and responsive than what you’d expect from a device of this caliber — and than what you’ll experience on the Nexus 6.
The Nexus 6 comes with a choice of 32GB or 64GB of internal space and no SD card; the Note 4 comes with 32GB of internal space and an SD card that allows you to add up to 128GB of external storage. For most people, 32 to 64GB should be more than sufficient — but if you need a lot of local space, the Note 4’s opportunity for expansion obviously has added appeal.
Both phones do respectably well. If you’re among the minority of users who values being able to swap out a phone’s battery on the fly, meanwhile, the Note 4’s battery is removable while the Nexus’s is not.
In terms of charging, the Nexus supports standard Qi wireless charging out of the box; the Note 4 doesn’t. Both phones offer a USB-based fast-charging option.
The Nexus 6 uses the standard virtual on-screen buttons for Android’s Back, Home, and Recent Apps functions while the Note 4 sticks with Samsung’s typical mishmash of physical and capacitive buttons for those functions.
The physical-capacitive mix isn’t ideal — the physical button requires a fair amount of force to press while the capacitive ones take just a gentle touch, which makes for a jarring and somewhat awkward experience moving between them — but if you’ve used mainly Samsung devices in the past, you’re probably used to it and might even prefer it.
There is the argument that having the buttons below the screen instead of on it makes the display seem bigger — but on the other hand, the non-virtual buttons don’t rotate with the screen and don’t change or disappear based on context, as their virtual counterparts do. (Also, the Nexus’s screen is 5% bigger than the Note’s, which might counterbalance the “more screen space” argument to some degree.) With Lollipop, too, the Note 4’s buttons are going to look especially dated, as that release introduces a revamped appearance for them that can’t be applied to permanent keys.
Skype ID: romanas_lauks
Marketing Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development
When looking for a suitable web framework you could definitely come across – Symfony and Yii – top PHP frameworks. But what to choose? Most interviewed developers prefer Symfony than Yii. Let’s see why.
Code maintenance and management. I believe there is no problem to create a code from the very beginning. Still when it is a long term project there could arise some issues – for instance, after several months of the development on Yii there could arise some problems with small workarounds, hooks…it would definitely work but supporting would kill you. Protection from corruption is quite important for every company but who would like to care about hooks and workarounds everyday if these issues could be avoided?
Style of the code. Yii team has their own code style, it’s great. Still it can be a problem in case you have a project with different code guidelines than Yii team use. Sure, you can contribute some extensions in Yii community and save the extensions similar to native Yii code. But in the end you would have to switch between different code guidelines all the time – not great. Namespaces. Namespaces helps to shortcut class names, helps with classes autoloading etc. Yii doesn’t not use them. I believe you would feel more comfortable with namespaces.
Test driven development (TDD) issue. As for code testing, tests should be written easily. In case Yii, its global service locator (Yii::app()) destroys attempts to write tests. Starting with one test, after some time you would understand that you would need to mock this service and another one, and both of them depends on 3rd service…in the end many services interact with each other in Yii L As a result we get tight coupling, which is tricky for performing decoupling application.
Thus, in spite of Yii has CWebTestCase, fixtures, base integration with phpunit etc it is more useful to test services/models without mocking other services and framework classes.
ActiveRecord. Having ActiveRecords as framework core is great, it’s really useful for beginner. Still Yii active record is too simplified and tightly coupled. Another more serious issue – there is no separation between entity and entity manager. Using Yii we have to use static methods for querying models and non-static methods for model logic. ActiveRecord and ActiveFinder are provided by a single instance in Yii and there could be a trouble when queries mixed with entity getter/setter.
Ah, regarding to static methods for querying, they can’t have state except for static one. And if you want to mix few conditions you have to merge criterias. What is Symfony in this case about? It has Doctrine 2 – quite serious ORM with unit of work and other cool things. Or as an option you can try Propel ORM. There is the things you would really like: real getter/setter, db schemas and migrations generation, behaviors that actually a generator addons, reach set of generator properties and integration in some Symfony components like forms and validator. It has some issues as well, still it works better and you can get clear separation between entities and queries.
Extensions. As for extension in Yii, firstly you should find and download it on the Yii site, manually copy it to the project directory, attach it in config. And then to monitor the site for updates. Such procedure is not comfortable for 21th century. Composer could be a great choice in this case. You can easily define project dependency and run update. It download extension/lib/component/bundle or whatever you want, setup autoloading and you can use it. Also composer cares about all component dependencies and downloads them. All components can be updated to most up-to-date version with one command. Also you can specify which version to use: to download test or dev versions , it’s easy!
There is another cool thing – contributing. It’s easy to publish your package and make it globally available, easier to define versions, easier to fork extensions, easier to send pull requests etc.
Now some short facts about Symphony:
- Symfony is not a framework but a project. Depending on your needs, you can choose to use some of the Symfony Components, the Silex micro-framework, or the full-stack framework.
- Symfony is used by many large companies (like the BBC or CBS), by many large websites (like TED, wetter.com, Lockers) and some Open-Source projects are also powered by Symfony (CMSes likeDrupal or eZpublish, libraries like PHPUnit or Doctrine, products like phpBB orshopware).
- Symfony enjoys a huge community of users and contributors; during the last year alone, 550+ people contributed to the Symfony core and the community created over 1,600 bundles for the full-stack framework. Symfony also has several annual dedicated conferences around the world and a large number of user groups.
- Symfony has been created in 2005 and here to stay. Besides SensioLabs, many other companies rely on Symfony for their clients and they contribute, invest money, and sponsor the future of the project.
- Symfony embraces the “don’t reinvent the wheel” philosophy, and provides tight integration with many other Open-Source projects.
- Symfony tries to bring innovation to PHP: it was one of the first major frameworks to embrace PHP 5.3, to introduce the usage of a Dependency Injection container, and to use a templating engine for its templates by default,Twig, which is now also adopted by major CMSes like Drupal and eZpublish. Symfony also has some unique features like its gorgeous debug toolbar and its great built-in profiler.
Conclusion. In case you would like to create a small blog – Yii would be a great choice. If you are going to develop a serious application, if you know why you need a Dependency Injection, and need to cover most of the code tests, need a super plug-in architecture, work with migrations and a fixture – only Symfony.
Thank you for your attention and look forward to your thoughts.
To make sure your reputation stays clean, you have to keep an eye on what’s being said about you. These tools can help you protect your good name. If you conduct business online, or if you have an online presence for a product, service, talent, or skill, you need to manage how the millions upon millions of online users perceive you. It takes only a few bad comments, posts, or blogs to ruin the reputation you have spent years building. Fortunately, there are tools out there to help you manage that reputation. Those tools aren’t exactly obvious — and you have use caution when selecting them (to make sure you’re not about to get caught up in a scam). But when you find a reliable tool, it’s wise to make use of it.
Here are five tools you can use to help you ensure that your online brand and reputation are where you want them. Naturally, these tools require some work to really make the most of what they offer. And most of them aren’t just one-time usage tools — you actually have to spend time with them to really help massage your reputation.
1. Google’s Me on the Web
Google has a nice tool that allows you to easily monitor search results for your name. Me on the Web is included in the Google Dashboard. It allows you set up search monitors for your name/brand, assists you in the removal of unwanted content, and can help you manage your online identity. The search monitors are incredibly helpful as they alert you when others (individuals, companies, etc.) mention your name or your brand.
Reputation.com is a service that allows you to see how you look online. The service is free and it doesn’t use your information for any untoward activities. All you do is create a free account. Then you can monitor your online “buzz,” search for and remove any negative information/mentions about you, and find out how you can control what people see when they search for you.
Naymz is not a free service (although you can sign up for a 30-day free trial) and is a bit different from the other tools. Naymz is a network that includes tools to help you manage your reputation. With these tools (and with interaction within the network) you earn free products and services (as your reputation grows). Thanks to the Naymz network, you can get a quick assessment of what your peers think of you as well as connect to Facebook and Twitter.
4. Whos Talkin
Whos Talkin is a social media search tool that shows you what members of social sites are saying about your name or brand. Using the tool is as simple as entering your name (or brand), clicking search, and waiting for the results. Whos Talkin doesn’t help you manage those results, but it will give you a lightning-fast look at what the Web is saying about your name or brand. What is done with those results is up to you. Why use this over a simple Google search? Whos Talkin focuses only on social media, so your results aren’t buried inside other results.
Yasni is a nice free tool that lets you search for people and services. The results of those searches will tell you how that person/service is seen from an online point of view. The only downfall of Yasni is that it will include any results that match your criteria. You are also given popular search terms that are associated with the name/service. Although you won’t find tools to help you correct any negative comments/posts/results, you can at least discover all the key terms that are associated with you and your brand.
Your reputation is everything in this constantly shrinking online-centric world. If you don’t monitor and manage your online name and brand, you run the risk of seeing your reputation plummet and your value disintegrate. Give each of these tools a test – drive and see if you can come up with a one-two combination to help you keep your reputation in check.
Past Monday introduction of another low-priced rival to the iPad won’t keep anyone at Apple’s California HQ up nights, analysts said. They state neither the Kindle Fire nor the Nook Tablet menace Apple’s dominance of the tablet market. Let’s see what LI members think on this point.
“If you are looking for the best e-reader and not the best tablet – stay away from the iPad – you can’t read it in the sun.”
Corporate Recruiter at Clearwire
“If you want something just to use as an e-book reader, I’d go with the Kindle (not the Kindle Fire). It is, by far, the best of the three for reading. But that’s pretty much all you will be doing with it. On the plus, my Kindle has been in my coat pocket for a month without a recharge. Just turned it on and the battery is sitting at a quarter.”
PHP Developer at Quotient
“Kindle designed to read the books. People who designed Kindle (at least Kindle Keyboard version) knew few things about books and kept in mind that this device will be used for reading. E Ink screen (no glare), large buttons to scroll pages on each side and month of battery juice makes it simply best piece of hardware for book reading. On top of this, 3G version offers free 3g wireless access to Amazon store at any time. And all this at $139.00.
IPad looks cool, it’s trendy but designed for people who don’t like or simply can’t read, especially something boring like a book. Perfect device to play Angry Birds though. And it cost $500.
And Nook. Well, nobody cares. Honestly, Barnes & Noble should stick to what they do the best – losing in everything to Amazon.
Bottom line: Buy Kindle Keyboard 3G if you need best book reader. For everything else – iPad or any other tablet will do the trick.”
Directing e-commerce development and e-branding strategic planning
“I have the Kindle and also an iPad.
I believe that the Kindle is great for reading actual books published with a Kindle version but what it doesn’t do is have a large collection of magazines, newpapers, and RSS feeds that I personally like to follow.
When it comes to reading e-books, I’d recommend the Kindle for great visibility, durability, and it doesn’t strain your eyes. However, I’m quite the night owl myself so I’m disappointed that my Kindle does not have a back light (can’t read in dim lights and I don’t like those little light bulb clips).
The iPad is good for other things (especially with the Flipboard app) like magazines and news, but it does strain on your eyes after a while and is rather heavy without a stand. It does have a back light though and I love reading it at night. Also note that the iPad also has a Kindle app.”
Experienced Game Flash Artist in Production, Assets, and UI | Game Marketing and Product Management Enthusiast
“Kindle Fire hands down. First of all the main reasons to buy a tablet in the first place are eBook capability, web browsing, multimedia and applications. Kindle Fire supports of all of those at a lesser price than the iPad. Additionally the price makes its accessible to nearly anyone. Add to that the free cloud drive account which means there is no need to have multiple versions with different hard drive sizes.
It’s more portable, the screen is very durable, and because of the size and cost less cumbersome as mobile device. Wi-Fi only is also not an issue because of all the Smartphones with Wi-Fi, why pay for another feature and another data plan?
Also it simplifies the nature of online shopping natively through the Amazon store, which offers music and video much like iTunes, but unlike them you can in the same place purchase other more common retail products also.
The Kindle Fire is the more practical tablet for everyday people and business folks in my opinion, based on capabilities, pricing, accessibility, and how seamlessly it integrates into your regular activities.”
Inbound Marketing, Web Design, Graphic Design
And what device do you prefer? Please share your thoughts in comments bellow.