WhatsApp mute function can really come in handy, especially when you are in one of those massive WhatsApp group that talks about everything and anything. Don’t get me wrong, I like big groups, it’s a very effective way to massively reach out to everyone at one go. But sometimes, sometimes you just need that peace and quiet, say like when you are trying to complete your dissertation. Sadly the badge notifications or count bubbles doesn’t seem to obey the mute instructions. So when that numbers keep adding up next to the icon even AFTER you’ve muted the conversations, you know something must be done!!
So after some Googling, I found this article which is exactly what I need. Turns out you just need to disable the BadgeProvider service. It’s apparently a uniquely Samsung TouchWiz thingie – trying to imitate iOS count bubbles I think. In short these are the steps I took and it worked perfectly! (I’m using Samsung Galaxy Note 2, running non-rooted 4.4.2)
For the longest time I have been using SMS Backup+ and Backup Text for WhatsApp to backup my whatsapp conversations. But ever since WhatsApp changed their encryption format to crypt7, both apps stopped working. Actually the last backup from SMS Backup+ to Gmail was in March 2014. I only realized it now.
The quickest solution to this predicament is to use WhatsApp Tri-Crypt. But to use it without problem you will need to root your phone. Fortunately there’s a workaround for non-rooted devices. The following is copied from the description of the app on Google Play Store.
Please download https://github.com/AbinashBishoyi/WhatsApp-Key-DB-Extractor/archive/master.zip and follow the following steps: 1.) Extract “master.zip” on your computer maintaining the directory structure. 2.) Browse to the extracted folder and click on WhatsAppKeyExtract.bat. 3.) Few have complained that it’s keep on asking to install Java though Java is already installed, then you can click on WhatsAppKeyExtractNoJavaCheck.bat. 4.) Connect your device via USB, unlock your screen and wait for “Full backup” to appear. (If you have never used USB Debugging before, you may also need to verify the fingerprint.) 5.) Leave the password field blank and tap on “Back up my data”. 6.) The key will be copied back onto your machine in such a way that WhatsApp Tri-Crypt will work.
I checked the bat file, it seems to be doing what it should and doesn’t look malicious.
So after many tries of both methods, somehow it magically worked!
Overnight my Gmail is flooded with whatsapp backups with label:whatsapp. At least now I know it works!
Why I am so keen on backing up my WhatsApp text? Other than my archiving instinct, it’s also because the WhatsApp images folder is taking up 700+MB on my phone. I suspect that’s the reason why my phone has been so sluggish recently, what with only 400+MB left on storage. The optimum space I realized is about 1+GB. Then the phone will not be so sluggish. Not sure why, maybe that’s the amount of space needed for the swap files to work properly?
Once I backed everything up, I deleted the 700+MB folder and voila! My phone is as smooth as tofu again! Wheeeee!
(Now how I wish there’s an app that automatically backup all my WhatsApp texts. Right now SMS Backup+ only backs up individual conversations. It doesn’t work on group conversations yet. That’s why I am using Backup Text for WhatsApp to export the group conversations into HTML conversations format. It’s a manual process and it’s quite tedious. Maybe this is the opportunity for me to make my own Android app.)
At approximately 2 p.m. (GMT +8) I received a notification from Samsung Push Service telling me that I have a software update.
The whole update package is 445.2 MB. A quick search online seems to indicate that this is the long awaited Android 4.4.2 Kitkat update for my Samsung Galaxy Note 2.
Update (05/08/2014): Turns out the update isn’t that great. It doesn’t really improve anything great on the surface. According to Chee Eng, 4.4.2 is supposed to be more about behind-the-scenes improvements. One thing I totally didn’t expect is the SD card access problem. More importantly, the app that I used to read manga (布卡漫画) lost access to all the downloaded manga which I’ve stored in the SD card. The only way to fix this seems to be rooting the phone. I’m still quite reluctant in doing so, mainly because I have not reached the necessary activation energy to do so yet.
Finally I’ve gotten myself a touchscreen phone. If it wasn’t for Jollideal I would still be using my loyal Nokia E71.
2 days into the phone, I still think a hardware QWERTY keyboard beats touchscreen typing hands down. But I am willing to give it a try. 1-2 months and see if I am able to overcome the obvious limitations of virtual keyboard.
But this post is not about typing. It’s about “Making Calls“. At least I thought what I got is a phone. No doubt it’s a “smart“phone, but it’s still a “phone” right? I’m supposed to be able to make calls using a keypad/dialpad right? You know the ones we used to have in phones? This one:
Ok I have to admit that it’s not entirely true that calls can’t be made. If you sync all your contacts from your previous phone or from google or from somewhere in the cloud, you should have no problem calling anyone. That is because all the contacts should already be in your “Contacts”.
But what if what you have is just a number, say 91737779? And you urgently want to call the person without adding him into your “Contacts” yet? Or it happen to be an acquaintance’s number that you don’t want to include it in your “Contacts”? Or maybe you saw an accident and you want to call “999“?
Ok, these might be special circumstances but I’m sure there are a lot more use cases for a keypad/dialpad?
But where is the keypad/dialpad in Samsung Galaxy S II?
Yesterday I passed the phone around in a table of 5 people, 3 people looked at it, fiddle with it, try out different combinations. But no, we can’t figure how to activate the keypad/dialpad! Mind you, those 5 people are heavy weight geeks, much heavier than me. But nope, Samsung decides to design their UI such that no geeks will know how to activate the keypad/dialpad. (Please leave a comment if you intuitively found out about how to activate the Keypad)
So I went to sleep yesterday thinking that perhaps Samsung decided to ditch the keypad. Perhaps they have gather enough user data about the keypad being useless. Oh well…..
Well, turns out i’m wrong. There is indeed a dialpad/keypad on Samsung Galaxy S II! But it’s UX design completely baffles me! If it’s just me, maybe it’s my problem, but 3 other people tried it and failed. Perhaps Samsung needs to rethink their UX design!
So how did I found out about it? All thanks to the mighty Googlem and surprise surprise Yahoo Answers! It’s also quite comforting to know that I’m not alone.
Apparently I was asked to be the guitarist and worship leader for the upcoming Cambodia Mission Trip. As it is quite inconvenient to bring our guitar there, we’re going to use the guitar that’s provided by our counterpart in Cambodia. As I have no idea how would the guitar look like and I don’t trust my relative pitch ear in tuning the guitar, the initial plan is to buy a guitar tuner (clip-on). But then i realize “Hey I have a E71 and I’m sure there are some apps out there that could solve my problem!”
So my first stop was Nokia’s Ovi Store, a simple keyword search of “guitar tuner” returns a few apps with price ranging from 1.99SGD to 7.99SGD. I was about to purchase the app but then I realize that “Hey why don’t I google around first, I might just find a few free apps lying around”. Google around, I did.
My first attempt was “Smart Guitar Tuner”. It is really a guitar tuner app, when you pluck a particular string, it will indicate the pitch of the string. Sadly, it is so insensitive that 9 out of 10 times it failed to recognize the correct pitch. It doesn’t help when our friend Mr. Bike Tan started flexing a super-imba guitar tuner app on his newly purchase HTC Desire Z. The app is so imba that you can actually enable FFT Rounding, Tampering Function, Apply Harmonic Product Spectrum, Adjust Tempreraments, yada yada.. Not that those functions are useful for a guitarist but it just show how cool and powerful the app is! Most important of all, the app is actually more accurate in pitch-catching than his clip-on guitar tuner!
So I went on another round of googling around. I took a slightly different approach, I started off with “free symbian apps”, hoping to find some kind of free software repository websites. Lo and behold, I found “Bits For Free“! At this point I sort of gave up on those pitch-sensing app, instead I was looking for apps that can actually generate the correct tone so that I can tune by ear. Under S60 3rd Ed. Apps, I found two apps which is exactly what I wanted and more. Both of them uses Java but hey it works, who cares?
The first app is “Guitar Tuner Mobile“. It has a very simple interface with 6 strings “EAdgbe”, pressing each one of them plays the respective tone for you to tune by ear. It also has a sound spectral analysis function but I don’t think I’ll be using it much.
The second app is the more imba one “The Musicians’ Swiss Knife“. On top of a tone generator, it has a metronome and a manual beats per minute counter! One tool for all my guitar and drumming needs! The tone generator has 45 different instruments and is able to generate 48 notes!
I really have to thank the people @ “Bits For Free“. Thanks for making my Nokia E71 experience a little bit richer before I switch over to HTC Desire Z (hopefully in a few weeks time).