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See more information on my gadgets at gadgeteer.co.za/gadgets.
Upgrading my Samsung S4 to Android 4.3
Upgrading my Samsung S4 to Android 4.3
Process to update the Samsung S4 i9500 manually to Android 4.3 Most users will use the Kies software to update, but it could be that you want to do this manually because your update is not yet available (or you want to live on the wild side). In my case I also wanted to retain my rooted status of my phone and unfortunately the app that does the update and retaining root all in one step (Mobile ODIN) is not supporting the i9500. I downloaded the official Samsung ROM update for 4.3 for South Africa from the Sammobile site (www.sammobile.com/firmwares/). I followed the instructions at android.sc/update-samsung-galaxy-s4-i9500-with-official-a... to flash the updated ROM to my device. It rebooted fine with its original apps and files in place, along with even the Google Launcher that I had just installed a day ago. Always let the phone finish its first reboot without interruption (unless you see an error message) as the first reboot will take a little longer than normal. I followed the instructions at www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/520949/20131110/galaxys4-i9500... to get my root access back. Only odd thing is that with KNOX now installed it warns about some low level apps being blocked for root access so I followed the tip at the bottom of the page (www.theandroidsoul.com/root-galaxy-s4-lte-i9505-on-androi...) to freeze these notifications out. Non-root users won't worry about this.
Hewlett-Packard HP-41CV
Hewlett-Packard HP-41CV
If I was asked what was my all time favourite "gadget" I would have to answer my HP-41CV calculator... not only did I have a highly portable fully programmable device but it also set me off on my IT career! Most notable is that I have sold off just about every other gadget and phone over the years but there was never any question of letting go of my trusty HP-41CV. I got this calculator when I was studying engineering at university in 1983. I seem to recall my father organising it through an uncle of mine who worked at Hewlett-Packard at the time, who got it at a staff discount for me. I was over the moon when I got this device and it really opened the world of programming for me and testing out what I could do with it. HP had a whole ecosystem of quality accessories, had the Key Note magazine that helped build the HP users community, etc. The Solution Books allowed you to type the code in yourself to add new games and functionality - this may sound elementary but is vitally important as it was essentially open source code that showed me how games and applications worked so that I could apply similar techniques in programs I designed myself. They had also standardised on RPN for calculating (which is extremely powerful) as well as various accessories which were way ahead of their time. Of course with an HP41C going to the moon at the time, that only served to further enhance its image. These calculators were drop tested 1m onto concrete and were built to really last - most are still running today after 30+ years. Yes I'm trying to source some N size batteries to start mine up but I have no doubt it will work. The career changer for me was that after university I joined the police (because back then we had to do national service in either the Defence Force or Police) and one challenge for the guys was wanting to know what shift (a morning, afternoon, night or rest day) they would be working on some future date (eg. Christmas, their birthday). So I wrote a program that would quickly work this out. Needless to say I was a big hit and the "go to" guy to find this out quickly. Later on when the Information Systems IT Unit was being formed in Cape Town the Colonel in charge of my unit called me in and said I was submit my request to go to IT as that is where my future lay.... and it all happened from there thanks largely to having a device like this. The photo album shows various accessories that I bought including extended functions modules, a rechargeable battery pack, a magnetic card reader (so save and reload programs), solutions books, manuals, and HP Key Note magazines. One extra photo is included on the excellent go41cx emulator for Android (see market.android.com/details?id=o2s.emul.hp41cx). This emulator faithfully reproduces all the functionality of the HP-41CX including add-on modules. I'm busy practising on this emulator in preparation to being able to start up my calculator soon. The original HP-41C was fully functional and could accept any additional function modules, and the HP-41CV had some extra memory built in , whilst the HP-41CX had the extra memory as well as the Time and Extra Functions modules already built in. The extra function and memory modules along with full programmable capability meant these devices were very hardy and future proof - you could spend the money as you were investing in something long term that you could extend along with your needs.
Acurite Personal Weather Center
Acurite Personal Weather Center
I bought an Acurite Personal Weather Center but discovered that in the Southern Hemisphere you not only need to rotate the weather station by 180 degrees, you also then need to modify the wind vane to correct for that rotation. I also bought their smarthub to upload weather data to Weather Underground.
Green Energy Devices
Green Energy Devices
Some of my solar installations
Trackr
Trackr
My Trackr devices arrived finally on 13 Jan 2017. I'll post any interesting photos here about them.
Inoreader RSS Reader
Inoreader RSS Reader
My source for finding tech news. Find it at www.inoreader.com.
Fitbit Illness Stats
Fitbit Illness Stats
Some may wonder why my regular 5 to 8 daily posts suddenly dried up 4 days back (and some may not which is all fine as I prefer to focus on tech stuff and not my own daily lessons in life). For the second time in 32 years I was hit by an extreme viral infection (only detected by high fever and blood tests). This time around though I was wearing a Fitbit with 24/7 heart rate monitoring, so I've got some tech stuff to dig into now while I recuperate. The future of wearables is not just about tracking fitness, it also needs to be about early detection and identifying disease and illness from the patterns detected, whether at rest or while exercising. There is a wealth of big data sitting with Garmin, Fitbit, Polar, Jawbone, and others which include current heart rate, resting heart rate, perspiration, temperature, altitude, sleep patterns, state of activity, etc. Matching this to known patterns over time could be extremely useful. In my own case I can now see the small dip in resting heart rate just before the symptoms struck (about 6+ hours). And if I had bothered (I did not feel like it later on) to confirm by Saturday I would have seen the alarming increase in my resting heart rate (I was in bed and not walking around) and may not have waited to Sunday to check into hospital (I have an idiosyncrasy in that I rarely know when I'm ill as my heart rate is usually on the higher side and if I have a rare headache it is usually from blocked sinuses and hayfever). The question though really is, there is all this health data tied up in proprietary databases, and the data is getting better and better, but is there any serious drive towards it being available for mass analysis? Fitbit for example does not even have an "activity" classed as "illness" where we could enter details eg. flu, cold, etc. It just seems such a waste of data collection and not at all in the public good? In many industries the cost of doing business includes either a payment to some central fund (levy like tobacco or fuel) or otherwise the provision of statistics. How come the fitness tracking market does not have to contribute anything except income tax? Health and fighting disease should be a public priority and we should all be standing together, not separating around profit and locking others out. I know there are some initiatives like Achu, which I just deleted now as it gave zero indication to me despite me sharing my data to their app.
Fitbit Blaze
Fitbit Blaze
I recently replaced both my Pebble Time Steel watch (just bought out by Fitbit) and my Fitbit Charge HR with a single Fitbit Blaze. The Blaze is a fitness device with some notification features and some nice watch faces. Battery life is around 5 days. Overall I'm quite liking it although it does not have all the fancier features of the Pebble watch. What I do like over the Fitbit Charge HR, is that you can swap out wristbands and frames.
Manjaro KDE Linux
Manjaro KDE Linux
Some screenshots of my install process. Manjaro is an Arch Linux distro.
LG Watch Sport
LG Watch Sport
My new Android Wear Watch
Water Systems
Sonoff Wifi Smart Switch
Sonoff Wifi Smart Switch
Bought two of these switches today and set them up to work with a mobile app as well as with our Google Home
Piwigo Web Photo Album
Piwigo Web Photo Album
Piwigo is a functionally rich web based photo album service that you can self-host for your family, friends or even broader. It's plugins extend its functionality and one plugin will also allow you to easily import photos from your Flickr albums complete with captions and tags. Albums can be embedded within each other and users can even create their own custom Collections. It is a pretty good replacement for services like Flickr if you want to self-host your photos. Another nice thing is that if you have a hosting provider that offers Softaculous, it is one or two clicks to install it yourself. See http://piwigo.org
Garmin Dash Cam 55
Garmin Dash Cam 55
Bought in Feb 2018
Team Chat Collaboration
Team Chat Collaboration
Some screenshots of team chat apps (Slack alternatives) I have been testing out

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