Thursday, January 16, 2014

Android Lock Screen Security

Connect the dots!

Android offers a number of security options in terms of locking your device. What we mean by this is when you turn the screen on, you will be presented with an authentication request before you can actively use the device. In the current version of Android, you are presented with the following options: None, Slide, Face Unlock, Pattern, PIN or Password.

None is pretty straightforward, just hit the power button and start using your device.

Slide offers no more security than having None in place, but does offer protection from pocket dialing as it requires you to slide a lock image from the center to the side of the screen.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Android Developer Options: The Ones That Should Be Normal Options

They may not be for everyone, but they certainly shouldn't be limited to devs

Pure Android has a set of options available, in a hidden settings category, that are designed to help developers fine tune their applications. For normal users, most of the options would make no sense to mess with, and can actually be detrimental to performance and reliability. But there are a few that would be great if they graduated into the normal settings on every device.

Developer Options used to be a visible category in your device settings, buy in more recent versions of Android it was hidden, only to be found by going into Settings -> About Device and clicking on the Build Number several times. It will show you a click countdown until you become a developer; who knew it was that easy! 

Warning!  I've said this already, these are Developer options, if you don't know what a setting means or what it does, Don't Touch It. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Android: Making A Video Call

A virtual face-to-face.

You've seen it in TV shows for many years, advertised in commercials in the last few years, you've done it on your laptop, and now it is time to make a video call to a loved one from your Android device.

Obviously, the first thing you will need is an Android phone or tablet that has a front facing camera along with microphone and speakers. Since this covers most devices in the last couple years, this should be most of you. If you are one of the few that does not have this hardware, like many with older Android phones, let me know in the comments below and I'll try to help you with a workaround.

Android Home Screen Overload!

Just an extra note to add to my previous post Android Home Screen.

Every item you place on your Home Screens, whether an app link, widget or live wallpaper, adds to the amount of resources used to keep your device running. Especially the fancy, flashy animated widgets that pull info from the internet frequently. Although it will take a lot of stuff to see adverse effects, it is possible, even with just app links, to completely slow down your entire system if you have too many on the home screens.

The amount of items required to slow your machine varies depending on your device specifications, and you certainly should not be afraid to load up a screen or two, but I would highly recommend turning off the 'Auto-add widgets' setting in the Play Store on your device. You really do not need an app link on the home screens for every app you have installed, you already have them all in the App Menu.

Also, long press an app link to activate the drag and drop functionality, then drop one app link onto another to create a folder, filling up a folder is a little cleaner.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Android Home Screen

Widgets, shortcuts and fuzzy kittens.

One of Androids most powerful, appealing and functional pieces is its Home Screen abilities, offering you a place to completely customize the look, feel and operation of your device. The default Home Screens go beyond allowing you to change the background and put links to your apps, going so far as using Widgets to allow you to perform actions without having to launch an app.

Your Home Screen is the location you end up when you press the Home button on your device.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Android Recent Apps Menu

What have you been up to?

Android, as with most operating systems that we are familiar with, provides you with a list of the most recent apps that you have used. This is not like Microsoft's start menu, which populates itself with the apps/programs that you use the most, Android's is truly chronological, where last used is first on the list. Again with a Microsoft reference, try hitting Alt + Tab on your keyboard... It looks more like that, but performs a few more functions.

The recent apps list serves two main functions, first, providing you with quick access to those apps. Second, and this one is a lot more complicated, to show you the apps that are still 'running' on your device - this is a little misleading, I'll explain later.