Category Archives: Tips and Tricks

From 5 minutes to 30 minutes (android phone)

I came home from work around 7 – 8 pm, while on the way home I either listen to the radio, mp3s, Twitter, Facebook, Vines, Path or Reddit. One of the shortcoming of using it intensively, is the battery life tend to shorten and it is obnoxious. Because the trip from work to home is around 100 minutes, I don’t want spending it by daydreaming just because the battery is dead.

I knew this all along, I never been a fan of saving battery apps, so i have a couple of routine things that i do to save battery. But never have I seeing the benefit directly from my action. Last week, i was Redditing intensively, suddenly i got a warning that battery is only 15% left, that’s quite horrific, knowingly i just charged up my phone to 80% around noonish.

Star trails over Yosemite Falls

The activity that I’ve done that costing the battery is reading & posting path, reading feed at Feedly and last Reddit, using bacon reader app. I notice before that the biggest battery hog are screen, after a quick check, the battery cost around 35%, and more quick look, i notice gps cost 5% battery, android keyboard eats a large amount too, around 5-10%, WiFi 5%, and others like OS & system 30% etc ( which we can’t do anything about it ).

So what did I do to save up battery? The first thing I do is, sets the brightness setting all the way to the lowest setting, because its night time I don’t really need really bright screen. The second I did is, turning off the WiFi, the bus that I rode doesn’t provide any WiFi, so why bother? And turning off GPS is also a must, unless you’re using apps that uses GPS (Path, Instagram, Google maps, if you’re just reading news or Reddit, just turn it off right away).

That’s just the basic, I usually do extra things to save more on battery life, i skim apps that run on background. Facebook is one of the apps that run intensively on the background, i usually uninstalled right away on my phone, but have it on my tablet. Antivirus cost around 5 to 10 %, but there’s not much to do there. One of the dreaded, background apps that i hate the most are carrier app, that pop notification a couple of times a day, you can’t remove it (unless you root it), but fortunately in android 4.1, you can disabled (look in setting menu) it so it does not active at all. This is awesome btw, this feature are alpha on android 4.0 .

TL;DR version of this writing are, to save up battery

  1. Set the screen to the lowest brightness setting
  2. Turn off WiFi (if there’s no secure WiFi around)
  3. Turn off GPS (unless your app use GPS, like Path, Instagram, Google Maps)
  4. Disabled annoying menu

Just by doing this, my 15% battery, gone to 10% in the next 30 minutes later

Game Backlog

I’ve been active buying PC games from steam for quite a while now, the reasons are, the concept are dead simple: buy once and installed anywhere as long I have only one account logging on on my steam client, I can play at home and office the same game (sometimes the same save game too); there are workshop for many pc games (like fan base in game customization) and last but not least, the crazy game sale that they often have, either on steam itself or on other site.

Stacks

Now about the sale that happen often, are sometimes crazy cheap, it felt irrelevant to buy or download pirated games. Why, you say? First of all it’s freaking cheap, sometimes I can have 3 awesome games for a mere 1-2$ USD; the second is I don’t need to worry about cracking or viruses, upload ISO, daemon etc. here’s a couple of website that I always take a look to find those sale:

I use Google reader to read these site, but because its going to close on July 1st, now I use Feedly. There are company that offer game sales (mostly high quality indie game) in a bundle:

  • The Humble Bundle, These by far the best in “Pay what you want. support charity. Get cross-platform, DRM-free games” sale model. The game choice are almost always awesome.
  • The Humble Bundle Weekly, same as above but happen more frequently (7 days deal) with a smaller bundle to offer
  • The Indie Gala, sometimes super awesome, sometimes just average games
  • Groupees, same as above
  • Indie Royale, same as above
  • IndieGameStand, only offer one game and its up for 3 days
  • for others, just watched the subreddit on game deals

December 11 2012

With all of these sale happens on regular basis, its going to make my game backlog abundance, plus the steam summer sale is going to happen soon, so time to save up! :)

YouWave Android: the easy way to run Android on your PC

While looking for a demo of Angry Birds, I notice that Angry Birds for Android are free but alas, I don’t have an Android phone yet. So in the spirit of getting free stuff :) I try to install Android OS on my PC.

A lot of tutorial teaches how to install Android on PC but many of them are for developer, take a lot of numerous steps, needs Java to runs or even using live CD. This means, the choice is not for ordinary users who just want to try Android app. That is where YouWave Android came along. The process is brief; you just download and install the software.

To install YouWave Android, first you download the software at YouWave Android site (currently only for Windows XP/Vista/7)

youwave starts

Follow through the installation step and you’re done! To use it just click on the icon in the desktop

youwave desktop

It came pre-installed with a couple of apps, a news aggregate app Newspaper, tower defense game Robo Defense free, puzzle like rush hours, Othello, jewels and Advanced Task Killer to easily kill running app.

android bejewelled

To install Android app are easy, just download from your browser and put it in the default apps directory “<user home directory> /youwave/Android apps/” or any directory of your choice.

download .apk

No direct install from Android market yet so you have to install it manually, there are many places you can download Android app, just Google it using “Android apps” keyword, or you can visit slideme.org or getjar.com to download the apps, Android apps use .apk for its file extensions.

The minimum requirements for YouWave Android are Intel 1.6GHz CPU or its equivalent, with 1G of RAM and 500MBytes of free disk space. Internet connections are needed depends on what the apps you are using.

Pros:

  • It is easy to install the software
  • And it is easy to install Android apps; just download it on the default or preferred apps folder
  • Can try a huge library of Android apps
  • It is fast.
  • Have screen rotations features but you have to click it manually

Cons:

  • Ads, there is a lots of ads in it, but there is a work way around, just block any connection to the internet. Usually there is a connection each time the software start, you can block those connections using firewall or just turn off the internet connection.
  • Huge resource use, it means it decreases laptop battery fast, my laptop battery usually lasted around 2-3 hours before it needs to be plugged in, with this software, my laptop only lasted 1 hour or so while playing tower of defense game (Xeno Tactic II Lite) (tested on i5).
  • Huge resolutions, this is usually good news but for wide monitor like my laptop and LCD (1366 x 768 pixels) it is bad news, because it uses a really high resolutions for its height and no resize options, that is why I couldn’t took a good screenshot of the software.
  • No access to Android market yet but you can download apps
  • The means to use the software only trough mouse and keyboards, so no microphone, camera, orientation sensor, SD card support and accelerometer in here yet (tested version 1.31).
  • Still can’t play Angry Birds, because it need ARM Code processor (tested on Intel i5) :(

Check out YouWave Android here

Awesome Extensions for Your Firebug

Firebug, an add-on for Firefox browser, is an awesome tool for web development. It can inspect and tweak HTML page and CSS in real-time, so you can see temporary changes that are made to the page in that moment without refreshing the page. It also has an advanced JavaScript debugger; you can see the full Firebug features here

This article is about further extensions for Firebug, which can extend Firebug from its basic feature for web development by installing additional extensions (that is also a Firefox add-on). If you’re still new in what is Firebug and how to use it, there is an extensive tutorial here at Makeuseof about “Amateur’s Guide To Customizing Website Design With Firebug”.

Here are a couple of its popular extensions, which I use in day to day basis:

YSlow

Among other extensions for Firebug, the most popular one, are developed by Yahoo! inc Company. YSlow analyzes web pages and why they’re slow based on Yahoo!’s rules for high performance web sites. The rules are

  1. Minimize HTTP Requests
  2. Use a Content Delivery Network
  3. Add an Expires or a Cache-Control Header
  4. Gzip Components
  5. Put StyleSheets at the Top
  6. Put Scripts at the Bottom
  7. Avoid CSS Expressions
  8. Make JavaScript and CSS External
  9. Reduce DNS Lookups
  10. Minify JavaScript and CSS
  11. Avoid Redirects
  12. Remove Duplicate Scripts
  13. Configure ETags
  14. Make AJAX Cacheable
  15. Use GET for AJAX Requests
  16. Reduce the Number of DOM Elements
  17. No 404s
  18. Reduce Cookie Size
  19. Use Cookie-Free Domains for Components
  20. Avoid Filters
  21. Do Not Scale Images in HTML
  22. Make favicon.ico Small and Cacheable

It ranked (like A, B, C, D) your website for performance based on three predefined rulesets:

  1. YSlow(V2) – this ruleset contains the 22 rules listed above.
  2. Classic(V1)- this ruleset contains the first 13 rules listed above.
  3. Small Site or Blog- this ruleset contains 14 rules that are applicable to small web sites or blogs.

Note, the tools that are available in YSlow are also really useful, like JSlint a JavaScript code quality tools; YUI CSS compressor, Yahoo own tools that minifies CSS and including one of my favorite image compressors, Smush.it. It compresses image size so it became smaller without any loss of quality and thus makes the web load faster because of it smaller size.
You can install the YSlow extensions here and the full guide for the extensions here .

SenSEO

This extension analyzes web pages and tells you how good they fulfill on-page Search Engine Optimization criteria. It gives you

  • Overview of SEO-important web page components
  • Analysis of on-page-SEO-criteria
  • In the newest version SenSEO (1.4.3 in the time of writing) checks
    Correct usage of Document-Title, Meta-Description and Meta-Keywords
  • Headlines, Domain and URL-Path
  • Other general content-criteria

As you can see in the screenshot, it shows all of the component that are needed for search engine optimization, from h1 to h6, meta description and keyword, the alt attribute in images and it even show how the search engine read the website trough visible content.
You can install the extensions from here.

There are others popular extensions like Flashbug (displays all the running .SWF file trace output), FireQuery (plugin for jQuery development), you can see it at “Firebug Extensions add-on page”, The extensions is ranked by its popularity and the complete list is in the official “wiki for list of all Firebug extensions.”.

How to Add Typekit to your Thematic Child Themes

@font-face at-rule is one of the most anticipated feature in CSS3, it allow you to define custom font for your website, allowing you to upload fonts to your web server and deliver the font itself to the client browser

Typekit is a web service that provide fonts & the font delivery service for this use, the huge benefit of using Typekit is that you dont have to think about the font license that you’re going to use and the bandwidth that the font are going take, Typekit will take care of that. But lets get to the point on how to use it on your thematic child themes,

After signing in (currently on invitation only), you’re asked about the name and the address of your website (you can use localhost for testing environment) then you’re asked to add snippet code to your html head tag like this

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<script type="text/javascript" src="http://use.typekit.com/XXXX.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript">try{Typekit.load();}catch(e){}</script>

to use it on your thematic child theme use this code at functions.php

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function childtheme_typekit() { ?>
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://use.typekit.com/XXXX.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript">try{Typekit.load();}catch(e){}</script>
<?php }
add_filter('thematic_head_scripts','childtheme_typekit');

(change the XXXX or change all the snippet code)

What this code does is put the script at your head tag. Easy right? if you want to know more about thematic you could visit Thematic Framework.

About Typekit, I was a late invitation on Typekit, i’ve notice on twitter that every body got the invitation since first august but i just get the invitation yesterday. My experience using typekit? it’s downright easy, u could automatically add font stack on the Typekit Editor in case the client browser doesn’t support @font-face.

after testing in localhost environment this is the screenshot of Typekit in action

This is good-dog font, using h1 selector with letter-spacing -1

Typekit comes in two version, the free and the pay version, the free version you’ll get less choice of font and you’ll get typekit badge while using it. There are 3 pay version scaling up the number fonts, bandwidth use & features.

Right now i’m using the free version, i haven’t thought in upgrading my account, because right now i dont have any plans on what i’m going to use it for.

A week with green PC

Last week my PC went down and in the emergence of work that i have to do, i want to buy a PC quick, without the necessity to think the specification. I had a couple of things in my mind when i want to buy the PC. First, it has to be energy efficient, it had to be cheap and it had to be durable, because my pc went on around 20 hours a day. i was thinking to build my own specification for the pc but the budget that are available at that time are only $450 and the time was not sufficient.

c01578420

After careful thought in choosing the right PC, i stumbled upon a great bargain branded PC, HP Compaq CQ2030L at bhinneka.com for $419. I choose this because compared with building the PC by myself with the compaq specification it makes around $390, it still a bit pricey but considering that it is branded and uses intel Atom 230, i’m sure that it’s durable and very energy efficient, the uses of Intel Atom that coined me the PC with the term green PC.

The things that interested me the most is that the package that are offered by Bhinneka was bundled with an 18.5inch wide Compaq LCD and HP Deskjet 1550, The LCD will surely help me in coding but unfortunately for the printer, is that i’ve just bought a new printer and scanner last month, so i gave it away the printer to my relatives. The first time i hand on the PC, i was quite shocked of how small it is because it’s my first time using a thin PC like this. I’ve done a couple of research before i bought it, one of them is the PC only consume less than 100watt of electricity, the processor itself is only 22watt max.

When the package came, i asked to the delivery guy, is there a Windows XP driver on the box? the guy answer, there’s none. That’s when the first problem came, i was intended to install win XP on the PC but there’s no driver at hand and no PC at my house, later then the delivery guy promise me that it’s not a problem, i can ask the technician at Bhinneka to help. Felt relieved by the promised, i’ve knew that i can count on the help of the technician at Bhinneka. But boy do i was wrong about it, i sent a polite email to care@bhinneka.com to guide me to the location to download win XP driver.

After three days with no response (no autoresponder too), i knew that i can’t expect help from them, so i had to search it by my self. After googling, i found the driver at HP but only for Windows VISTA. Such a crap moment, knowing pretty sure that the PC itself couldn’t run Vista smoothly, but the HP only provide VISTA driver for that type.
After googling a few hours more, i’m pretty sure there’s no other site providing the driver. So i went back to HP.com and tweak the keyword and found the driver. The driver i get is from the Compaq CQ2000 type, the CQ2030L type is for Indonesian only and doesn’t provide XP driver. Everything went smoothly with the CQ2000 driver, It runs really well on XP sp2. if u want to download HP Compaq CQ2030L driver for Windows XP u can download it here.

So how is the performance of the PC? it runs everythings smoothly, right now at the time of the writing, the programs that are running is notepad++ with 8tabs, Firefox with 9 tabs and 8 add-ons, Xamp Server (httpd & mysqld), Comodo firewall and antivirus, password manager and download manager. Is there any hiccups? nope, there’s none. Does it runs Adobe photoshop? or illustrator? yes, but i only test it with Adobe CS2.

I’ve runs photoshop with Firefox, notepad++ and Xamp server, there’s not a single hiccups. i use the photoshop to edit 3000×4000 res photo. the system runs smoothly. All in all, the PC fulled up to my expectation, the only things that i don’t try with this PC is playing 3D games which is not the first thing it was intended.

Google Hack on Document

Beside using google hack query to look for songs and movies. I’d like to give an example query on how to use google hack to search document across the web.

Google Hack
pic by Brian Sawyer

As an example, let say we want to look books about “Angels and Demons”, i can give two query samples that help you search books about it. But let me give a warning before that if we want to use this query, the result in google is 98% filled with illegal use of copyrighted material, so proceed with cautious and another warning is make sure that your PC is installed with the latest antivirus and dont ever use this query with Internet Explorer Browser, because IE is prone to Cross-Site Scripting(XSS). We never know the search result site is infected or not.

The first query to look for document that have Angels and Demons keyword is

-inurl:(htm | html | php ) intitle:”index of” +”last modified” +”parent directory” +description +size +( pdf | lit | rtf ) “Angels and Demons”

And the other is the one that is more accurate but lesser result because the search query is targeted on the ebook or ebooks named folder.

-inurl:htm -inurl:html intitle:”index of” +(“/ebooks”|”/book”) +(chm|pdf|zip) +”Angels and Demons” “Last Modified”

To use the query we could directly click on the query above or u could copy paste the query on to google search bar. To modified the query in to anything that we want to search, just copy the file extension that we want to search, like if we want to look for a microsoft word document, just add or change the (chm|pdf|zip) keyword into (doc) or (chm|pdf|zip|doc).

The ( | ) sign resembles the meaning or, so if the query use (chm|pdf|doc) it meant to search file that have a file extension of thebookthatyouwant.chm or thebookthatyouwant.pdf or thebookthatyouwant.doc

Like i said before about google hack, there’s a lot of website that offer this kind of function to search books, songs or a movies. So why do we need to learn this query to look for books etc on google? The purpose to learn this tutorial is just a back-up plan, in case the favorite website that u visit is down or filled with spam.

Yup there’s a high probability that the site that offer this kind of function can be filled with spam/malware/virus, base on my experience there are 4 site that was my favorites happen to have virus, the site is down or change into a must register site.

Here a couple of website that are my preferred site to search specifically on pdf document

In case you’re not sure about the safety in using this site, just use the latest Firefox browser with NoScript add-on, or use Opera browser instead.

Using Cash and Delaying the Purchase

count your money

The hardest thing when differentiating between needs and wants is viewing the benefit of the things that we are going to purchase. If we can clearly see the benefit, we can judge it right away that the purchase we are going to do are necessary, not an impulsive buying.

The bad things is when we really want something badly, our judgment become blind to view the benefit objectively. This happen to me very often, especially with books. To prevent it growing into a bad habits, i have a couple of routines that i usually do to monitor my monthly spending allowance

  • use cash
  • and the other is delaying the purchase

use cash

I can’t tell you how much i saved my money by using cash but let me explain how it goes, if we have a commitment in using cash for buying things, we have to prepare money in advance for spending. The amount money in your wallet is fixed so you can’t over budget using cash. If the cash in the wallet is thin, i usually have to go trough 2 choice, going to nearest ATM or ask my wife. Making the process of taking money longer sometimes could turn off impulsive buying in my case and the most positive thing in using cash is that we can aware the amount money we use.

The other one is delaying the purchase, this is my golden rule in buying expensive stuff. When i was confuse in choosing two item, i choose to delay the purchase a week or a month, rethink it again in another day, if i still remember it after a couple days couldn’t get over it, rethink the day to day useful of the item, ask ourselves if this item could encourage our line of work, could this item boost up our productivity or is there an alternative beside buying this item. If it’s an impulsive buying our conscience will tells it or the passion in buying will fade away.

I’m not saying that buying the things that we want is bad, i even encourage it if there’s a budget in spending it, buying the things that we want could motivate us further in doing what we do. It fulfilled our self actualization needs and the thing that we want could become the source of our creativity in working.

What i thinks is unhealthy is the impulsive buying that leads to debt. Spending more that you have. Just a couple of weeks ago i’ve gone eating with my friends. By looking at their jobs and lifestyle i know that they overspend their monthly allowance. While we are eating together after shopping, she even said that she had to use credit card again for her daily expenses, because she literally doesn’t have any money until next month paycheck.

I was sad seeing that kind of situation, i told her to budget their expenses, but i know that my advice doesn’t get through to her because its the second time i hear her complaint about day to day expenses. I’m not trying to interfere with other people’s business, but i’ve seen to many of my friends and relatives buried themselves in debts. Slowly but sure, their daily life becoming like a robot, working just to pay debt, day after day, month after month.

How to Eat a Banana

Banana
pic by .mands.

Just Read an 1986 books from Bondan Winarno, a famous journalist & freelance writer in Indonesia. he wrote an interesting article in one of his books called “Seratus Kiat” (a hundred tips).
The article title is How to eat a banana, what interest me the most is that the article really tell u how to eat a banana, it just make me awe of how something that simple there’s an international norm on eating it.
Okay here’s a couple of choice on how u eat it. Which do u think that will fit an international norm on eating it?

  • Peel the skin and eat it right away
  • Peel all and throw the skin then eat the fruit or
  • Peel the skin partially and slice accordingly to what u can eat at the moment

If u guess, peel the skin partially and slice accordingly to what u can eat at the moment (not eat it straight away the fruit), u guess it right.

By knowing this, it really tells us no matter how much you know about other culture, there always new things that comes up for u to learn. But to be honest, I still eat banana right away after i peel it at my home, but i think we need to learn this manner if we were in other country because we want to appreciate others. By all means manner is the manifestation of respecting others, so by learning it, we know that we were in the right path in respecting others.

If u want to be more mindful of what you eat, there’s a more elaborate guide on how to eat banana from MindfulEating.org
In case u never seen a banana tree, i wrote in my past post about huge banana tree