Articles Tagged with: android

Smurfberries: Understanding IAP and Why Free Isn’t Free


There is a new cancer out there. It doesn’t invade your body nor does it take your life. While it is 100% treatable, people are happy to be burdened with it. Some people don’t even know they have it – and many who do have it don’t seem to care. But like a biological cancer, it is growing throughout the realm of mobile device gaming – and until people are willing to shake it off – it is here to stay.

The cancer is In App Purchasing (IAP). In “common speak”, we call it “Smurfberries”.

Take a look at this screen shot of Google Play’s Android store. These are the top fifteen TOP GROSSING GAMES on the store. You might notice … they are all “Free”. Read more

About Shane Monroe

Shane R. Monroe has been doing technical and social commentary writing for over 20 years. Google+

Filed under : Smartphones, Tablets

Welcome to the Nexus: A Beginner’s Guide to the Google Nexus 7


Welcome to the world of the Nexus! You hold in your hands one of the most powerful, versatile and fun pieces of technology currently available. This article will help new owners of the Google Nexus 7 get up to speed on their new tablet and learn how they can make the most out of their new purchase.

This article assumes you are new to the Nexus 7 and tablets in general – and that you are new to the Google Android Operating System (aka Jelly Bean). If you are migrating from another Android tablet, this article will be of some use to you but the bulk of the content is for brand new folks to the ecosystem. If this is your first Android-based tablet and you’re coming from WebOS or iOS, this article is definitely for you.

The goal of this article is not to belabor the obvious – but to show you some of the lesser known features of your tablet and the Android Operating System as well as get you acquainted with “outside the box” possibilities with your new bit of kit. Read more

About Shane Monroe

Shane R. Monroe has been doing technical and social commentary writing for over 20 years. Google+

Nexus 7 Tutorial: Use Network Share as a Mount Point


UPDATED TO WORK ON JELLYBEAN 4.1.2!

This tutorial requires your Nexus 7 have ROOT access.  It is an “intermediate” difficulty level tutorial.

The Nexus 7 has no external storage medium like a microSD card.  You can use an OTG (on the go) cable to get access to removable media, keyboards, mice, etc. But wouldn’t it be nice if you could just use your home network’s Windows shares, NAS or network drive as a big fat storage unit for your brand new Nexus 7?

I know what you’re thinking.  But Shane … We have file managers with SMB (Samba/sharing) capabilities – why would we need this tutorial?

The simple answer is – this mounts your network shares as a device MOUNT POINT – meaning that share is available to all apps (emulators, media players, etc.) not just your favorite file manager.

That’s right – use any shared hard drive, network attached drive, NAS in your house/network as storage for your Nexus 7.   Sounds great, right?

For Windows folks; this is like mapping Drive S: to a network drive or remote network share.

You will need a few things:

  • Nexus 7 (Unlocked and Rooted – very easy to do with Nexus 7 Toolkit)
  • CIFS Modules (Download here)
  • Mount Manager App (Install here)
  • BusyBox (Install here)
  • Network Share on your WiFi (I’m using a GoFlex Home network drive – but any Windows share will do)
  • Some basic knowledge of working with files

Pre-Requisites:

  • Unlock/Root your Nexus 7.  This is not optional.
  • Install BusyBox
  • Ensure your network share is up and working.  If you’re sharing a Windows drive, I recommend setting up a NEW USER on Windows – one just to use for permissions for this share.

Getting it Working:

  • Unzip the CIFS modules – should be three .ko files in there.  You can put these anywhere you like – I put them on the Nexus “SDCard” folder under “mods” (/sdcard/mods)
  • Install Mount Manager on your Nexus 7.  Run it.  Grant ROOT access.
  • On the toolbar, hit the gear icon (settings).
  • Hit MANAGE MODULES.
  • Select ADD MODULE. Add each of the .ko files you extracted in Step 1.  Should look like this:

  •  Hit BACK.
  • Hit FORCE LOADING OF MODULES .. it should say CIFS MODULES ARE LOADED
    • Note: This may not work until you FORCE CLOSEthe app once:
      • Leave the app with BACK or HOME.
      • Hit the Apps button
      • Swipe off the Mount Manager app to close it
      • Reopen the app.
      • Check to see of the Modules loaded properly.
  • Hit BACK.
  • Hit the + toolbar icon to add a new mount.
  • Under Share Path, put your share: like 192.168.1.209/GoFlex Home Public or 10.1.1.14/Videos
  • (Use IP addresses not Windows PC names)
  •  Under MOUNT POINT, click the folder and it will open the default share folder.
  • Create a new folder for your share (if one wasn’t created) – the UI is a bit weird – use the Down Caret button for actions and SELECT the folder.
  • Under OPTIONS hit the + and add USERNAME.  Fill this in with your network resource username (PC username)
  • Hit the + again, add PASSWORD.  Fill this in with your network resource password (PC password()
  • Hit the + again, add IOCHARSET – fill this in with: utf8.
  • At this point it should look something like this:
    (if file_mode and dir_mode don’t fill in, add them)

  • Hit OK and your new mount is on the main screen.  Tap it.
  • If you did everything right, you will get a green check mark and it will look something like this:

  • At this point, you are ready to test.  Open a file manager, and navigate to the mount folder you made.
  • If all is good – you’re done!  You can mount and dismount this anytime from the Mount Manager.  You can automate this on boot up with the next steps.
  • Go to Mount Manager’s preferences and check LOAD MODULES and LOAD ON BOOT.  Also check ENABLE AUTO MOUNTS and AUTO MOUNT ON BOOT.
    There are also options to connect when wifi connections.

That’s it!  Enjoy your new found freedom.  Needless to say, this only works on your own network – but clever people might find a way to make it work from ANY access point anywhere.  Maybe the topic of a different tutorial.

About Shane Monroe

Shane R. Monroe has been doing technical and social commentary writing for over 20 years. Google+

Filed under : Android Tablets, Tablets

Five Reasons Why Everyone Should “Root” Their Android


Often incorrectly referred to as “jailbreaking your Android”, “rooting” your Android device can offer a wealth of new options and applications that can seriously enhance and enrich the time you spend with the little green robot.

ROOT is a Unix term for the “ultimate privilage user” on an operating system. Windows users can think of ROOT access as logging in as an Administrator level user. You aren’t actually “cracking” anything – you’re simply allowing apps you install “system level” access as a “super user” or simply put – “ROOT”.

The process for “rooting” or enabling root access varies by device. Some devices, like Google’s Nexus line (Nexus S, Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 7, etc.) are designed to have root enabled very easily. Some devices are locked down hard by the carriers – making it practically impossible to enable root access. The good news is – nature (and the developers at XDA) will always find a way. Read more

About Shane Monroe

Shane R. Monroe has been doing technical and social commentary writing for over 20 years. Google+

Cardinal Quest: Return of Rogue


It has gone by many names … It started off as Adventure, Telegard, Moria, Hack, Rogue … then came games like Temple of Apshai, Sword of Fargoal, Mystery Dungeon, Ultima … and in recent times it has gone by the name of Shiren the Wanderer, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon, Chocobo’s Dungeon 2 and even (to a lesser extent) titles like Diablo, Torchlight and others.

Now, we call it Cardinal Quest, a new Android “roguelike” dungeon exploration adventure game.

Hmmm… so what does “roguelike” mean?

Roughly based on Dungeons & Dragons, roguelike games typically feature a handful of similar traits. Most of them feature a “top down” randomly generated dungeon stocked full of every-growing-in-danger enemies, player “stats” (like strength, dexterity and wisdom), an experience + level up system, treasure chests with equipment/gold/potions, basic magic and inventory features, is played in near-real time – and of course, they typically have more simple graphics that look trite and boring to anyone that didn’t grow up with the genre.

Oh, and they are notorious for being hard and unforgiving; death of a player usually means the game is over (that’s right, no going back and loading previously saved games). Read more

About Shane Monroe

Shane R. Monroe has been doing technical and social commentary writing for over 20 years. Google+

Shine Runner: $1 Gaming Done Right


Rarely does a mobile game inspire me to write a review. Let’s be honest; mobile gaming isn’t a gourmet meal; it’s a snack. Usually a sweet, rich snack that never quite tides you over until dinner – and usually makes you a bit sick to your stomach – but it’s cheap (or free) and is readily available – like all good bad-for-you snacks.

But, to quote the old expression – even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Sad, some of you reading this don’t get what this means. But I digress …

First, I’ll be happy to admit that I’m NOT a mobile gamer, typically. I rarely play games on my phone; preferring to keep my battery alive for More Important Things(tm). But on my Asus tablet? All bets are off. After all, it’s a luxury device and not something I need or use for work. If I want to kill the battery off in a marathon gaming session – so be it. As a classic gamer, I spend a large part of my tablet experience playing emulators of classic game systems; NES, SNES, Sega Genesis, Atari 2600, Colecovision – you know, the stuff most kids wouldn’t be caught dead playing today.

Thanks to NVidia’s dip into tablet technology, many tablets (and even some phones) come with advanced gaming video chipsets known as TEGRA. This comes in two versions; Tegra 2 and Tegra 3. My previous tablet, the Asus TF101 had Tegra 2; my new tablet, the Asus TF300 has Tegra 3. This offers “console quality graphics” to tablets – but of course, they cannot add “console quality controls” to tablets and that’s one of the biggest issues with mobile games … horrid controls. While Sony Xperia devices (with real physical controls) has taken a stab at fixing this issue, others have figured out how to link up their Bluetooth compatible controllers to their favorite tablets. Unfortunately, most games do not take advantage of these controllers.

These days, for a mobile game to stick out and warrant my time and energy, it needs to address the issues of controls, time slicing (short burst play without being too superficial) and of course game play (… remember that? The KING of gaming?) As a bonus, it should be cheap, ad-free, nag-free and have no hidden “buy now” screens that only pop up after you’ve played the game for an hour.

Now that we have my thoughts on mobile gaming out of the way, let’s talk about Shine Runner. Read more

About Shane Monroe

Shane R. Monroe has been doing technical and social commentary writing for over 20 years. Google+

Samsung Galaxy Player 5.0


Android has long needed a non-phone “iPod Touch” equivalent as a way of introducing consumers to the platform, after all, the Touch has served for many as a low-cost gateway drug to everything that iOS has to offer.  Offering a reasonably priced media player with app support provides a much needed bridge for those not ready to sign a 2-year contract for a smartphone plan, or the cost commitment of purchasing a $400-$500+ tablet.

Thus far, the early Android media players have lacked both the quality and form factor that have made the iPod Touch a hit.  Units from Archos have perhaps come closest, but the smaller, non-tablet models are still bulky and clearly inferior in comparison.  What’s been needed is a device from one of the main Android phone manufacturers that can deliver the “Android phone without the phone” experience that the iPod Touch serves as for the iPhone. Read more

Samsung Galaxy Nexus 4G LTE Phone Review


On December 15th, there were two types of people in the world; ones that had never even HEARD of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus phone and ones that were ready to burn down the nearest Verizon store if there were any other delays in releasing this device.

The consumer’s anger toward Verizon’s handling (or mishandling) of this phone is actually mitigated and completely understandable – especially as the story began to unfold.  The phone’s release dates were leaked by “reputable” sources, only to come and go without release.  Some dates appeared to be purposefully changed immediately after they were leaked; as if Verizon was saying “Now now now … no peeking .. and just for that, we’re going to delay it another week – just to teach you a lesson”. Read more

About Shane Monroe

Shane R. Monroe has been doing technical and social commentary writing for over 20 years. Google+

Filed under : Android Phones, Smartphones

10 Things You Won’t Be Doing With the Amazon Fire


These days there are two phrases that are making me crazy: “Android Fragmentation” and “Amazon FireTablet“.  Both of them are deceptive and largely incorrect and this article goes about setting the latter one straight.

I’d like to point out that even Amazon themselves do not call the Fire a “tablet”.  In fact, if you look over the entire Fire site, the only time you’ll see Tablet mentioned is by reviews that are quoted.  Does that seem strange to you?  It should.

Instead of picking apart tech specs and such, I’ll simply outline ten things you won’t be able to do with a Kindle Fire that you SHOULD be able to do with an actual tablet. Read more

About Shane Monroe

Shane R. Monroe has been doing technical and social commentary writing for over 20 years. Google+

Filed under : Gadgets, Tablets

The nookColor: A Near Perfect Android Tablet?


Almost a decade ago, Microsoft said that tablet PCs were the future.  They figured that people would ditch laptops and even desktops if manufacturers would come up with a touch screen portable PC.  Instead of that taking off, we got netbooks;  aka neutered laptops.  These were well received and still enjoy a rather profitable following, even today.

Whether you’re an Apple fan or not (I fall into the latter category) you can’t argue the fact that Apple brought the tablet market back into the eyes of consumers with its iPad product.  People are eating up these “pads” or tablets and Apple isn’t the only one making them.

In fact, there are Chinese manufacturers by the hundreds making these things – with reputable manufacturers like HP, Samsung, Acer and dozens of others with a tablet offering either out now – or due out soon.  In fact, the Consumer Electronics Show this year was dominated by tablets. Read more

About Shane Monroe

Shane R. Monroe has been doing technical and social commentary writing for over 20 years. Google+

Filed under : Android Tablets, Tablets