Geeks in a Corner, Talking Tech
August 9, 2014 by thewheat

Corner Geeks 31: The Post I/O Experience Part 5 – Android Wear


Android WearAndroid Wear

  • Android wear UI is not customizable
  • Pairs with Android phone via Bluetooth (requires Android 4.3+)
  • 1 day battery life
  • Notifications appear on watch
    • Swipe left to dismiss
    • Swipe right to take further action (e.g. open in phone)
    • Reply with voice (only for certain apps)
    • Requires 2 hands
  • Availability (in certain locations):
  • Samsung Gear live (vs the G Watch)
    • smaller screen (1.63″ Super AMOLED vs 1.65” IPS LCD)
    • higher resolution (320×320 vs 280×280)
    • smaller battery (300 mAh vs 400mAh)
    • extra Heart Rate Sensor (common sensors: Compass, Accelerometer, Gyroscope)
    • has a Bluetooth / Wi-Fi antenna
    • cheaper in US (US$199 vs US$229) (Australia: $1 more expensive, AUD$250 vs AUD$249)
  • LG G watch
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July 30, 2014 by thewheat

Corner Geeks 30: The Post I/O Experience Part 4 – Chromecast, Chrome OS, Cardboard




Chrome OS


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July 25, 2014 by thewheat

Corner Geeks 29: The Post I/O Experience Part 3 – Android L, Android TV, Google Fit, Android Auto


Android L Developer Preview

Android L

Android TV

  • Android TV Website
  • Google Content (movies & music) on the big screen using voice commands
  • Game focused: has hardware game controllers, similar to Ouya
  • Controlled using swipes with Android wear or voice commands on an regular Android device
  • Can cast screen/content from Android devices to Android TV using Google Cast
  • Play Store available to install apps

Google Fit

Android Auto

  • Android Auto Website
  • In-board car dashboard powered by your Android device
  • “Dumb” dashboard monitored, all powered by external Android device
  • Google’s response to Apple’s CarPlay
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July 20, 2014 by thewheat

Corner Geeks 28: The Post I/O Experience Part 2 – Polymer


Polymer logo


  • Polymer Project website
  • Polymer Elements
    • Polymer Core elements: a set of utility elements including general-purpose UI elements (such as icons, layout elements, and toolbars), as well as non-UI elements providing features like AJAX, signalling and storage.
      Docs | Demos
    • Paper Elements: Polymer’s paper elements collection implements material design for the web. They’re a set of highly visual, highly interactive elements that include things like controls, layouts, hero transitions, and scrolling effects.
      Docs | Demos
  • Polymer Designer: Designer is a drag and drop tool for prototyping apps using Polymer. Save your experiments as Github gists.
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July 16, 2014 by thewheat

Corner Geeks 27: The Post I/O Experience Part 1 – Goodies, Android One and Material Design


Android One

Watch the Google I/O 2014 Keynote on YouTube

Goodie count

Android One

  • Reference hardware for OEMs
  • High quality affordable smartphones
  • Stock Android & Automatic Updates from Google
  • 4.5″ Android device, dual SIM, FM radio, micro SD card slot
  • Under US$100

Material Design

Material Design

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June 17, 2014 by thewheat

Corner Geeks 26: The Pre I/O Experience


Google IO 2014


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May 3, 2013 by thewheat

Corner Geeks 25: The Windows Phone Experience


Windows Phone Live Tiles

  • Lumia 520 for AUD$176
    • Specs don’t really matter because it’s a pretty good experience
    • 512MB RAM which limits some heavier apps but still a pretty smooth experience. Much better than cheap Android phones
  • Good Polish unlike Android back in the day that had a lot of rough edges
    • In between iOS and Android but closer to iOS
    • Find my phone
    • Sky Drive Integration
      • Save Photos automatically
        • can’t seem to enable only on WiFi so may be hazardous to your 3G data
        • doesn’t upload screenshots
      • Office Documents synced in the cloud
    • Office
      • Can create and edit Word and Excel files offline
      • Can view Powerpoint files
        Windows Phone - Office - vlookup
    • Bluetooth transfer data migration
    • Consolidated settings (like iOS) but also and in app
    • Glove usage! (probably a Lumia feature)
  • Good Features
    • People Hub
      • Combines all social streams (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) into one stream
        Windows Phone - People Hub - social stream
      • Like Twitter lists but for all social networks supported
        Windows Phone - People Hub - groups
      • Photo Stream of all updates with photos
    • Bluetooth image sharing!
    • Has Android like intents/sharing of data to other apps. E.g. from photo app, can share photo to apps like WhatsApp / Email / any app that supports receiving images
  • Gripes
    • App selection still small. No official Dropbox app, no instagram
    • Search page is not a web page. E.g. Search in browser address bar brings you out of the browser to the search page, and clicking a link in the search page goes back into the browser
    • Sharing Intents inconsistent
      • But doesn’t seem to work for all things… Can share photo (.jpg file) from camera to WhatsApp but cannot share screenshot (.png file)  to WhatsApp. Can’t share URL to WhatsApp.
      • Perhaps more of a non-mature app ecosystem rather than Windows Phone fault. App developers need to program their apps right
    • Notifications could be better
      • If app is a Live Tile, then you can see the notification number
      • If app is not a Live Tile, there is no easy way to know what app caused the notification (iOS has it best with badges)
    • No quick toggles
      • Have to go into settings to turn things on and off similar to iOS (e.g. enable/disable data / WiFi)
      • Hard to toggle vibrate
    • Can’t disable screen rotation. Less sensitive than Android which is good.
    • No file explorer or file system like Android
    • No auto-sign in like Android for Google sites
      Windows Phone - no auto sign-in
    • Switching apps shows “Resuming…” quite a bit. More to do with how Windows Phone handles apps. Could be due to limited memory of 512MB and may not occur with higher end devices with more RAM
    • No Bluetooth tethering (available in iOS and Android)



Windows Phone - Me app  Windows Phone - opening unrecognized files


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April 27, 2013 by thewheat

Corner Geeks 24: Facebook Home in Review


Facebook Home - lock screen

  • Makes Facebook so much easier to access
  • Even I found it fun to use even though I don’t like to
  • Not good for those with ADD
    • Seems to bring new pic/updates each time you turn it on
  • No way to filter who appears on home screen
    • Possible embarrassing photos shown in public / accidental leakage of personal information or photos
  • Limited launcher
    • Only Facebook notifications on home screen (notification drawer still available from the top)
    • No widgets / Folders
  • Chat heads is not a Facebook Home feature: it’s a Messenger feature.
    • Also available for iOS but with limited functionality (jailbreak gives you OS wide functionality)
    • First app to bring drawing over apps to mainstream
    • Scared of possibilities: pop-up ads!



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April 9, 2013 by thewheat

Corner Geeks 23: Facebook’s Home


Facebook Home

  • An Android lock screen/home screen/app launcher and that focuses around people not apps
  • More that just a widget it’s a full experience
  • Cover Feed
    • First thing you see when you switch on: a lock screen with status updates & notifications
    • 1 status update per page, swipe for more
      • Background status image / profile image that pans slowly
      • Press to show full view
      • Double click to like
      • Like and Comment buttons in the corner
    • Circular unlock
      • Uses your Facebook profile photo as an icon to swipe
      • Swipe up – apps
        • Swipe left for all apps (app drawer)
      • Swipe left – messages
      • Swipe right – last used app
  • Chat Heads
    • Overlay icon of people who you are chatting with
    • Shows over any and all apps
    • Can drag anywhere but docked to screen edge
    • Throw to bottom dismiss
  • Facebook Notifications on lock/home screen
  • HTC First – mid ranged phone for the masses with Facebook Home pre installed.
    • Gets full Android notifications (e.g. Calls, texts, mails) on lock screen vs only Facebook notifications for other phones
    • Back, Home & Menu capacitive buttons


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March 23, 2013 by thewheat

Corner Geeks 22: Samsung Galaxy S4 – Life Companion?


Samsung Galaxy S4

After much fanfare there S4 was finally revealed and it seems more of an upgrade to the S3 itself but with the latest version of Android and a lot of Samsung software tweaks (some of which should be coming to the S3 as well), The S4 is bigger (screen-wise and feature wise) yet physically smaller and lighter when compared to the S3 (130g vs 133g).

Upgraded specs:

  • Processor (new quad core / an octa-core vs dual core / older quad core – market dependent
  • Screen (5” vs 4.8”)
  • Cameras (13MP vs 8MP)
  • Battery (2600mAh vs 2100mAh)


  • 5″ (4.99”) Full HD Super AMOLED 1080p screen (1080×1920, 441ppi)
  • Android 4.2.2
  • 16 / 32 / 64 GB storage with microSD card slot
  • 2GB RAM
  • Similar dimensions to S3 but thinner narrower, lighter
  • 13MP rear camera, 1080p video
  • 2MP front camera, 720p video
  • 2600mAh (removable)
  • 3G & LTE (all LTE frequencies – global roaming)
  • New/Notable features
    • 802.11ac (Typical WiFi, NFC)
    • IR LED for remote control functions
  • Still has microSD & removable battery
  • Extra Sensors: IR Gesture, Temperature, Humidity (in addition to Accelerometer, RGB light, Compass, Proximity, Gyro, Barometer)
  • Available starting end of April and will be available in 155 Countries

Software Tweaks

  • Dual Camera: uses rear and front photos & videos (front video can be toggled as an overlay during the video which recording)
  • Sound & Shot: 5 seconds of audio before/after photo
  • Drama Shot: composite multiple shots (over 100/ second – choose which ones to composite)
  • Eraser: remove unwanted bits in the photo
  • Cinema Photo: make cinegraphs
  • Air view: hover over items to reveal more info (like stylus hover in Note II / mouse hover). Use front camera.
  • S Translator: text to speech and speech to text
    • 9 langauges: English, French, German, Italian, Latin-Amera, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Brazilian Portugese
    • Offline support
    • Integrated into Samsung apps
    • Optical reader app –  so you can take a photo of signs and menus to translate them.
  • Adapt Display: adjust brightness, saturation, contrast depending on what is being used
  • Story Album: automatic photo album creation (e.g. uses location to detect holiday). In-app purchase of physical albums
  • Samsung Home Sync support
    • Home Sync is a physical device with 1TB personal
    • Phone, TV, tablet, PC connectivity
    • NFC tap to connect
  • S Voice Drive: S Voice with interface for driving
  • Samsung Smart Switch: for migrating data from ‘any’ smartphone to the S4
  • Glove support
  • Samsung Hubs: video, book, games store
  • Samsung Knox: separates work and personal space
  • Group play: sync devices to play music together. Games support it.
  • ChatOn
    • Dual Video Call: uses front and rear cameras for video chat
    • Screen share
  • Air Gesture: navigate by swiping hand over camera: scrolling, previous/next photo (S3 had something like this)
  • Smart Pause: pauses video when you look away and resumes when resume looking
  • Smart Scroll: tilt device to scroll
  • S Health: health monitoring
    • Keeps and tracks different data with the help of accessories
      • S band, Body Scale, Heart Rate Monitor
    • Tracks
      • Calorie Consumption / Burned
      • Sleep Pattern
      • Heart Rate
      • Exercise
      • Weight
      • Blood Sugar & Blood pressure


  • Pouch
  • Flip Cover
  • Protective Case
  • S View Cover: transparent section to view things like caller ID


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