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Tips & Tutorials

263 articles
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Tip: Using WidgetLocker? It Has A Secret 'Experimental' Settings Menu, Too

Yesterday, we highlighted the hidden "labs" feature in Nova Launcher. Turns out that's not the only of TeslaCoil's apps with a secret menu - popular lockscreen replacement app WidgetLocker has a similar feature, except it's called "experimental." For all intents and purposes, though, it's the same thing.

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It's also activated the same way: simply head into WL's settings menu and hold volume down for 1-2 seconds. Just like with Nova, you'll see a toast notification to let you know that the new menu was successfully unlocked.

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Tip: Access The Secret 'Labs' Menu In Nova Launcher For Even More Customization Options

Since Nova Prime made its way into the final day of Google's 25 Billion promo, we thought this might be a good time to share a lesser known feature of the custom launcher. Much like many Google apps/services, Nova has a "labs" menu that makes available some useful tweaks which aren't quite ready for prime time (get it?).

Within this hidden menu, you'll find things like the ability to increase the maximum grid size (from 7x7 to 16x16), toggles to add any size widget to the dock, force 180 degree orientation, UI Lock, and a couple of widget restore and resize options.

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Developer Chainfire Fixes Long .apk Build Times In Eclipse With New FAAPT Tool - 10 Times Faster Than AAPT

Are you a developer? No? Then why are you reading this? This is developer stuff. Heck, I really don't know why I'm writing it, I'm not a developer. I don't even have a beard.

But anyway, if you are an Android app developer, Chainfire has come up with a tool that should make your life slightly easier. Ever notice that even when making a minor change to your app in Eclipse that it takes forfreakingever to build the updated apk file?

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PSA: $25 Google Play Credit Promotion For Nexus 7 Ends On September 30th

Thinking about picking up a Nexus 7? You might want to get on that before the end of this month (right here), as the $25 Play Store credit promotion Google announced with its slate at Google I/O expires on September 30th. That means you must redeem the promotion before that date by signing into your Nexus 7 with a Google Wallet-linked Google account (that has a credit or debit card on file).

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How To: Redeem Google Play Gift Cards Using The Device Play Store App

If you've been following the Play Store-related news cycle recently, you are probably well aware that Google is on the verge of releasing gift cards for use on Play Store's digital goods. The Redeem functionality, along with a new Wishlist, came with the new Play Store APK v3.8.15 that started rolling out yesterday but, unfortunately, the UI does not expose it yet.

There is no web interface for redemption either, but after digging through the APK, I discovered that it was set to intercept calls to http://play.google.com/redeem.

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Jelly Bean Protip: Long Press Any App Picker Icon To Jump To 'App Info'

An awesome little Jelly Bean tip came across my desk today. Direct from a Googler, no less!

In the middle of a rousing discussion on G+ about the uniformity of Jelly Bean's new default app dialog (GTKA article forthcoming), Adam Powell, an Android framework engineer, clued us in to the following Jelly Bean protip:

You know the app pickers in Jelly Bean? These things:

wm_2012-07-17 14.57.53wm_2012-07-17 15.05.57wm_2012-07-17 16.04.38wm_2012-07-17 16.35.49

They've been given a makeover in JB.

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The Nexus 7 Has One More Trick Up Its Sleeve: A Magnetic Smart Cover Sensor

You thought you knew everything there was to know about the Nexus 7? Well, you thought wrong. A curious owner of the device started doing what any totally rational person does with a brand-new tablet: expose it to magnetic forces. The results yielded an as-yet hidden feature in the Nexus 7, in the form a magnetic smart cover sensor. Simply take a magnet and put it up against the front or back of your Nexus 7 along the bottom left-hand side while in portrait mode with the display on, and you can see the effect for yourself.

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[Update: Now With yakju] How-To: Download And Update GSM Galaxy Nexus To Android 4.1.1 Manually (Jelly Bean JRO03C)

Following yesterday's Jelly Bean AOSP invasion, the HSPA+ Galaxy Nexus is now receiving the release build 4.1.1 (JRO03C) of Jelly Bean. That's indeed great news, but since the rollout is usually staggered, not all phones are allowed to receive it the second it's out there. If you're rooted or have an unlocked bootloader, why not just bypass the line and flash the update manually? I just did, and it took only a few minutes.

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PSA: No, You Don't Need To Defragment Your Android Device And Yes, Android Defrag Apps Are Nothing But A Scam

Earlier today, an eager marketing person suggested we review an innovative new app that every Android user like totally needs, dude - Android Defrag. Created by Enlightened Software House, the app promised to "Increase your Android Mobile & Tablets Performance Speeds, Battery and Memory Today." There was a Pro version too, and it only cost a buck - what a deal! Here, check out this gem's full description:

Increase your Android Mobile & Tablets Performance Speeds, Battery and Memory Today with the NEW Android Defrag PRO version direct from Andriod Google Play Store!

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[Update: Affecting Only Some Units] The Nexus 7's Screen Has Surprisingly Bad Image Retention - Just Take A Look At These Photos

ASUS Response: We've received a response from ASUS that they're unable to replicate the problem on production units (I/O units are, technically, pre-production), so this may have been sorted out in time for the initial consumer run. It appears, then, that this problem is at least affecting only some units.

Update: Here are some more comparison photos from a different Nexus 7.

wm_IMAG0132 wm_IMAG0133

wm_IMAG0134 wm_IMAG0136

wm_IMAG0138 wm_IMAG0139

wm_IMAG0141 wm_IMAG0142

Some have suggested this is a native behavior with IPS displays called "image retention." I did a side-by-side of the same image with a Transformer Prime and Trasformer Pad 300 - both of which have IPS displays.
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