Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Adding maps and custom POI to Garmin-Asus A10 GPS smartphone

Just like all other Garmin GPS devices, Garmin-Asus A10 GPS smartphone also supports multiple map and multiple custom POI file.

You can add maps into this phone by creating a new "Map" folder either in /storage or /sdcard and put the Garmin map with .img extension inside that folder.

Putting the file in /storage will utilize part of the phone's 4GB internal storage, and putting the file in /sdcard will utilize the storage in your micro SD card in the phone.

If the map comes with JCV file, create a "Garmin" folder either in /storage or /sdcard, and then create a "JCV" folder inside your "Garmin" folder, then put the JCV file inside it.

To put the custom Point Of Interest (POI) files into the phone, create a "POI" folder inside your "Garmin" folder and put the custom POI files with .gpi extension inside that folder.

Besides, the maps that preinstalled in the phone are resided in the /storage/.System folder.

When you have multiple maps in the phone, you might want to choose which map to use for your GPS navigation. Here is the place to do the selection: go to Settings > Navigation.

Then tap on the phone's Menu key again to show this pull-up menu.

Select "Map Info" and you will finally reach the place to select/deselect your maps.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Enabling WiFi wireless tethering in Garmin-Asus A10 to share 3G Internet with Samsung Galaxy Tab

I have just mentioned that Garmin-Asus A10 smartphone is a very good companion with Samsung Galaxy Tab. One of the crucial function for this companionship is wireless tethering, which is definitely possible but also not so straightforward.

This is because Garmin-Asus A10 is running on Android 2.1 (Éclair) which doesn't come with tethering feature, and Samsung Galaxy Tab is not able to connect to Adhoc WiFi hotspot (the portable WiFi hotspot running in Android smartphone or iPhone) without some tweaking.

You will need to root both the A10 and Galaxy Tab in order to achieve this. Rooting can be done using DooMLoRD's Easy Rooting Toolkit v4.0.

Once successfully rooted, you can proceed to install Barnacle WiFi Tether from Android Market to enable tethering function in Garmin-Asus A10.

You also need to replace the stock /system/bin/wpa_supplicant file in Galaxy Tab to a patched one to enable it to connect to any Adhoc WiFi hotspot. Here is the detail instruction and here is the wpa_supplicant file suitable for Samsung Galaxy Tab running on Gingerbread.

Now, tethering is ready. You only have to do the above for one time, and can enjoy the tethering function for unlimited times.

To tether the 3G Internet of Garmin-Asus A10 to Samsung Galaxy Tab, run the Barnacle WiFi Tether app in A10 and start the tethering. Then, enable WiFi connection in Galaxy Tab, and you will soon see them associated.

If you have other Android smartphone running on 2.2 (Froyo) and above or Apple iPhone 3Gs and above, you can also tether to Galaxy Tab after replacing the wpa_supplicant file in the Galaxy Tab with the patched one as mentioned above.

Garmin-Asus A10 Android smartphone stock clearance sale (RM5xx) - a good companion for smart tablet

Garmin-Asus A10 Android smartphone is on stock clearance sale nationwide now!

This Android smartphone with Garmin Nuvi 1690 GPS features used to sell above RM1200 for the standard package itself, and now you can get a complete set with all the following items at a price of RM5xx only:

  • The standard package - the phone, indoor charger, USB cable, earphone and battery
  • Car charger and windscreen suction mount cradle
  • A10/M10 desktop battery charger and 1 additional battery
  • A10 anti-fingerprint screen protector
  • 2 years warranty from SiS
This is really a very good deal to buy it as a companion phone for Samsung Galaxy Tab or some other Android smart tablet or Apple iPad, although we know that Garmin and Asus had discontinued their deal in producing future Garmin-Asus smartphone, and the Android in Garmin Asus A10 remains as 2.1 (Éclair) only.

Why? Because firstly, the Garmin-Asus A10 has a built-in Garmin GPS with Nuvi 1690 features, with a very fast responding and good signal reception GPS chip inside (compared with other smartphones with GPS or a-GPS feature). This phone can locate your location within seconds once its GPS feature is turned on!

The "Where To?" and "Where Am I" app are commonly used GPS feature. Beside that, you can also install additional GPS app into the phone, such as Sygic.

Secondly, the Samsung Galaxy Tab is too troublesome to use as a phone. The A10 with small 3.2" screen is nice to carry in your pocket and work as a phone. It has nice speaker that make your ringtone louder than most Android smartphones too.

So, with this companion, you can:
  • Use the A10 as your phone, GPS, calculator, and perhaps basic camera
  • Use the Galaxy Tab for Internet, gaming, reading, and other smartphone functions
In fact, I have found out a way to tether the Internet access of your A10 to Galaxy Tab, so you just need one SIM card with data plan in the A10 for this companionship to work seamlessly.

The pros of A10:
  • Small size, easy to carry in any pocket. Good companion for tablet
  • Superb Garmin GPS function
  • Garmin maps are popular and have worldwide coverage. Free unlimited map update available for MalSingMaps (MSM), MalFreeMaps (MFM), etc. Many custom POIs and travel guides can be downloaded from the Internet too.
  • When attached to its car GPS cradle, incoming phone calls are handled by the loudspeaker on the cradle. You don't need bluetooth or wired headphone for hand-free phone conversation
  • Long lasting 1500mAh battery (can last for more than 30 hours without charging if not using GPS)
  • Built-in 4 GB internal memory, and support additional memory (up to 32 GB) with micro SDHC card
  • Its phone casing and accessories are solid and of good quality, same material with Garmin GPS products. Better protection from scratch and drop.
  • The current cost of RM5xx is competitive to standalone basic GPS device and entry level Android phone. With A10, you get both of them in a single device! In fact, its hardware spec is better than Samsung Galaxy Y S5360 and HTC Explorer.
The cons:
  • The 3.2" screen size with only 320x480 resolution is good enough for GPS and general phone function, but is small for other smartphone functions which you can use the 7" and above Galaxy Tab to handle
  • The 3.2" screen is a bit small when use as GPS in car, but the voice is loud and clear
  • CPU speed at 600Mhz and 512 GB RAM is good enough for GPS and general phone function, but not powerful enough for many apps that need higher resource, which you can use the Galaxy Tab to handle
  • Latest firmware is Android is 2.1 (Éclair) update-1, able to install and run most Android apps in the Market, but lack of new features in Android 2.2 (Froyo), 2.3 (Gingerbread) and above. You will need to root it and install Barnacle Wifi Tether as tethering is only built-in in Android 2.2 onwards

You can consider this phone if you are still using Galaxy Tab as your phone (make this a good companion) or you are considering entry level Android smartphone such as Samsung Galaxy Y S5360, HTC Explorer, etc. At almost the same price, this phone has better hardware specs, Garmin Nuvi 1690 GPS functions, and come together with a lot of accessories.

Upgrade phone SD card and move data from old memory card to new one the safe and flawless way

I have just purchased a 16GB Class-10 micro-SDHC memory card to replace the existing 8GB Class-4 micro-SDHC memory card that comes with my HTC Incredible S Android smartphone.

The question is: how can I migrate all the data in the existing SD card to the new one, so that when I plug in the new SD card into the phone, all my data will remain there and all the apps continue working as before?

After some trial and error, I have found the following perfect way.

Step 1: Go to Settings > Storage of your phone, and tap on "Umount SD Card".

Step 2: Switch off the phone and take out the SD card from its external memory slot.

Step 3: Slot in the old micro-SD card into an SD card adapter, and slot in the adapter to your computer's card reader.

Step 4: Use XXCOPY to backup all the content in the SD card to your computer storage. You can download XXCOPY for free here.

I use this utility instead of the Windows copy-and-paste method to ensure all the data are copied over, and to preserve the directory date and attributes as before.

In order to use XXCOPY, go to Windows > Run... and key-in "cmd" to go to command console.

Sample command: xxcopy f: c:\backup\sdcard /backup
where f: is the drive where the SD card is mounted, and c:\backup\sdcard is the destination to copy the data over. The "backup" parameter tells XXCOPY to preserve all the dates and attributes of the original files and directories.

Step 5: When the backup is done, safely remove (eject) the SD card adapter from the computer's card reader slot. Take out the micro-SD card from the adapter.

Step 6: Slot in the new micro-SD card into an SD card adapter, and slot in the adapter to your computer's card reader.

Step 7: Format the new micro-SD card.

Go to Windows > Computer, right click on the SD card and select "Format..." from the menu.

Make sure the file system is FAT32 before you start the format action.

Step 8: Use XXCOPY to copy all the content in your backup folder to the new SD card. This is exactly the reverse of Step 4.

Sample command: xxcopy c:\backup\sdcard f: /backup

Step 9: When the copy is done, safely remove (eject) the SD card adapter from the computer's card reader slot. Take out the micro-SD card from the adapter.

Step 10: Slot in the new SD card with data into the phone's external memory slot.

Switch on the phone and you are done.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Creating cool zooming presentation slides with Prezi

Still using your MS PowerPoint or OpenOffice.org Impress to create your presentation slides? Here is something different, something new and cool called Prezi.

Prezi introduced the Zooming User Interface (ZUI) whereby the presentation materials (text, images, videos, etc.) are placed on a big virtual canvas, and it allows you to zoom in and out the area of discussion (i.e. the frame) along the presentation. This makes your presentation standout from the traditional MS PowerPoint or OpenOffice.org Impress presentation slides.

The zoomable canvas makes it fun to explore ideas and the connections between them. It results in visually captivating presentations that lead your audience down a path of discovery.

You can see it in action here:

The tool to make Prezi presentations is available on their website as a kind of Cloud-based SaaS service. The public access license is free, while licenses with additional features are chargeable on subscription basis. There is special discount for educational use.

Friday, February 10, 2012

HTC Android smartphones to get Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) update soon

HTC has just announced that they are planning to roll out Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) update by March/April 2012 for at least the following models:

  • Sensation
  • Sensation 4G
  • Sensation XE
  • Sensation XL
  • Rezound
  • Vivid
  • Amaze 4G
  • EVO 3D
  • EVO Design 4G
  • Incredible S
  • Desire S
  • Desire HD
This is a good news for the users of above HTC Android smartphones.

Asus Eee Pad Transformer TF101 to get Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) update in February 2012

Source from AsusTek is saying that Asus Eee Pad Transformer TF101, the predecessor of Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime, equipped with Android 3.2 Honeycomb OS, will get its Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) update soon within February 2012.

This 10.1" Android tablet sets itself apart from other tablets on the market by featuring an optional docking station with full QWERTY keypad, touchpad, secondary battery, USB port, and SD card reader, making it convertible to netbook-like Android machine, has been selling very well since its launch in 2011.

With its new Android OS update, we can anticipate more fun and new experience in using this Transformer tablet.

Singapore ranked #1 in terms of smartphone penetration

According to recent smartphone penetration statistics from several sources including Netsize Guide, Informa, Google, Ipsos, and Go-Gulf.com, it is concluded that by December 2011, Singapore is the champion in terms of smartphone peneration, and also is the world's first country that have more smartphone than feature phone in used.

Population = 4.9 million
Mobile phone subscriptions = 8.1 million
(many people carries more than 1 phone!)
Feature phones = 3.7 million (45.68%)
Smartphones = 4.4 million (54.32%)

The top 10 countries in smartphone penetration as compiled by Go-Globe.com is as below:

How about Malaysia? Here is the data:
Population = 28.1 million
Mobile phone subscriptions = 36.6 million
(some people carries more than 1 phone!)
Feature phones = 31.4 million (85.79%)
Smartphones = 5.2 million (14.21%)
I think one reason for Singapore to achieve such a high smartphone penetration rate is that mobile operators in Singapore are offering smartphones bundled together with their data plan at very low price or even for free. In Malaysia, smartphone price is relatively high, and the discount offerred by mobile operators in their bundled data plan is not attractive enough.
Surprisingly, Korea (which Samsung is based in) is not in the top 10 list, yet. Here is the data:
Population = 48.6 million
Mobile phone subscriptions = 54 million
(some people carries more than 1 phone!)
Feature phones = 37.6 million (69.63%)
Smartphones = 16.4 million (30.37%)
And Japan:
Population = 126.9 million
Mobile phone subscriptions = 126.8 million
Feature phones = 108.7 million (85.73%)
Smartphones = 18.1 million (14.27%)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Security flaw in some HTC Android phones might expose WiFi password

It has been reported that a security flaw in some HTC Android phones might expose WiFi password stored in the phone to hackers.

This security bug was found by Chris Hessing and Bret Jordan back in September 2011, and they have posted the detail of the exploit in their blog recently.

Affected HTC Android smartphones include but not limited to: Glacier, Desire HD, Desire S, Droid Incredible, Thunderbolt 4G, Sensation, Sensation 4G, EVO 3D, EVO 4G, ...

HTC had been informed about this bug before it was published, and they have just announced that the fix has already been developed.

"Most phones have received this fix already through regular updates and upgrades.However, some phones will need to have the fix manually loaded. Please check back next week for more information about this fix and a manual download if you need to update your phone."

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Inauspicious dates to avoid for wedding/marriage in 2013

I have posted the list of auspicious dates for wedding/marriage in 2013 recently, and here is the reverse, namely the inauspicious dates to avoid for wedding/marriage in 2013. The list below is produced based on the Chinese almanac Tong Shu. (Click the image to enlarge)

If you are concerned, then you should probably avoid getting married on the listed days above.

Bear in mind that although the Tong Shu is a compilation of Chinese astrology and calendaring studies gathering wisdom of thousands of years, we should use it wisely and rationally, but not be too superstitious on it.

Related articles:

Auspicious dates for wedding/marriage in 2013

Many couples plan for their wedding more than 1 year ahead in order to have sufficient preparation time.

Here is the list of auspicious dates for wedding/marriage in year 2013 (year of Snake), which is produced based on the Chinese almanac Tong Shu. (Click the image to enlarge)

Bear in mind that although the Tong Shu is a compilation of Chinese astrology and calendaring studies gathering wisdom of thousands of years, we should use it wisely and rationally, but not be too superstitious on it.
Related articles:

Upgraded my home MFP to Dell 1355cn colour multifunction laser-class LED printer from Brother DCP-130C multifunction inkjet printer

I have just replaced my Brother DCP-130C multifunction (print/scan/copy) inkjet printer, which I blogged about it here quite some times ago which has been serving me for about 5 years, to a new Dell 1355cn colour multifunction (print/scan/copy/fax) laser-class LED printer.

The Brother DCP-130C MFP is still functioning well, but I have planned for its replacement to laser printer for quite some time because:
  • its ink is water soluble and hence the printed area will be damaged by any drop of water. This is the weak-point of all inkjet printers using non-water-resistant ink.
  • the printing needs 1-2 seconds or so to dry out, and will be distorted if the printed paper side touched with any kind of surface or object before the ink is dried. This is another weak-point of all inkjet printers.
  • the inkjet print-head need frequent cleaning with its own ink, causing the ink in the cartridge to dry up eventually, even the printer is seldom in use.
  • the ink and its cartridge has short expiry date, especially after taken out from its vacuum packaging.
  • the print quality of laser printer is better than inkjet printer, especially in text printing.
Although the cost of my Brother DCP-130C MFP is just RM199, its ink replacement cost is high.

I have waited until today for the upgrade, because the cost of colour multifunction laser printer is high (normally above RM2k). Beside that, colour laser MFP is usually bulky and heavy.

Until recently, I found out there are 2 such printers selling at the price of RM1699 and also with compact size. They are Brother MFC-9120CN selling in Tech Hypermart and this Dell 1355cn selling in Dell Online Store.

I have chosen Dell 1355cn because reviews from a few sources in the Internet say that the print quality of Brother MFC-9120CN is below average, and the print quality of Dell 1355cn is above average.

Beside the additional fax and network functions, my new Dell 1355cn has much more features and settings than my Brother DCP-130C.

I like its network function. I connected the printer's network port to my WiFi router. This enable me to print from any computers linked to my home LAN, either wired or wireless. In fact, I can also print directly from Android smartphone using the PrinterShare app via Google Cloud Print service. The printer can also send out email alert/report to my email account directly.

There are several ways to do setting and configuration to the Dell 1355cn printer, such as directly using its panel buttons and LCD display, using web browser by accessing the printer from LAN, using a utility program named Tool Box. I prefer to use Tool Box as it is easier to use, and it can do the most complete set of setting, configuration, maintenance, reporting and diagnosis.

Just like my Brother DCP-130C, this Dell 1355cn printer has a USB port in front, enables it to print out photos or graphics directly from thumb-drive or connected digital camera, without using a PC.

The Dell 1355cn's paper input tray can hold up to 150 sheets of paper (compared with 100 sheets in DCP-130C). This is considered low capacity for laser printer, but good enough for home user like me. On top of the standard paper tray is another priority tray which can hold another 10 sheets of paper.

It is possible to set a 4-digit password to access its admin configuration functions, and to set a separate 4-digit password for its copy/scan/fax functions. This is a good feature to prevent children from playing around with the printer panel buttons.

There are many more functions and features of Dell 1355cn to talk about. You can find out more about this printer by reading its manual. At it price, I won't expect sophisticated feature from it, and these sets of functions and features already satisfied me as a home user.

Download user manual of Dell 1355cn colour multifunction laser-class LED printer here.

All in all, I think this printer is a good buy for home user to upgrade to colour multifunction laser/LED printer. If you don't need the colour printing function, the cost of mono B/W multifunction laser/LED printer is even cheaper.

However, there is some trade-off for this upgrade too:
  • Obviously, the new printer price is much higher than its predecessor.
  • The cost of laser toner cartridge is also much higher, but it can print more pages and also last much longer .
  • The power consumption also increased a lot, from the previous inkjet's 20W to current LED laser printer's 320W. Anyhow, 320W is considered very low for laser printer class, thanks to the LED technology which is more energy saving than traditional laser printing, and as a home user I don't print a lot every month.
  • The new printer has almost the same footprint as the old inkjet, as you can see and compare with their photos posted in my blog here. However, the height of the new printer is more than double the previous one.

Hint: Click on the "Older Posts" link to continue reading, or click here for a listing of all my past 3 months articles.